Friday, November 20, 2009

Food Notes

The Welsh Assembly Government last night announced the winners of the annual True Taste awards. A couple of companies I frequent got a mention: the Llwynhelyg Farm Shop in Sarnau (near the caravan) won silver in the retailer of the year category, and Ultracomida, a wonderful Spanish-style cafe/deli in Aberystwyth won bronze in the eating out in Wales category.

The Brew Wales blog has lots more on the awards, particularly the alcoholic ones.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Marmite Notes

If you love Marmite, you'll love the Marmite shop that is on London's Regent Street until early January.

The shop sells everything Marmite-related - from homewares to artwork, clothes to food, books to special Christmas boxes. Apparently you can also get some toast and marmite. You’ll either love it or hate it.

Rugby Notes

A fine win for Ebbw Vale on Saturday. In windy conditions accompanied often by torrential rain at Eugene Cross Park, they beat high-flying Swansea 14-7. (BTW, it was nice of Wales to move their game against Samoa to Friday night so as not to clash with Ebbw’s fixture.)

A well deserved win as they played the conditions better than the visitors, and the pack showed a huge improvement over recent weeks, especially at rucks where the clearing out meant that there were far fewer turnovers lost. Jonathan Griffiths did some great work in the lineout too, stealing some important ball.

Special praise must go to the half backs. Andrew Williams was every bit as good as Gareth Bowen (3 pens), and Andrew Jenkins had by some distance his best game for Ebbw, clearly man of the match. Olli Halford took his try well, and Nick Wakley looked useful at full back, threatening in attack and solid in defence.

Thankfully the shocking decision by the touch judges in giving Swansea’s conversion despite it sailing wide right didn’t affect the result.

There’s a pause in activities while Wales have a couple of friendlies, and then its a trip to Pontypool on 5 December.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ava's Diary

Ava hard at work at the 'puter
Originally uploaded by Martin Veale

Here I am, hard at work at the computer. I need to catch up with my diary, so hopefully there'll be a bit more from me in the near future.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Book Notes

Whilst there's lots of reality TV about, the "reality" approach hasn't yet permeated into children's literature just yet.

Rugby Notes

Ava and I went to see Ebbw’s narrow (22-24) defeat at the hands of Llandovery the other week. Coming in on the back of a couple of enormous wins, Llandovery were big favourites, but Ebbw gave a very good account of themselves and could have won it. Could have, could have.

Ebbw bested their pack and kept the Llandovery backs starved of ball – which was just as well as they looked likely to run riot every time they had the ball. What centre Joe Ajuwa is doing playing at this level is beyond me.

Centre pairing of Nick Wakley (thanks Graham for the pic) and Shaun Powell looked good, Rhys Williams was as good as ever and Chunky’s work around the field was excellent. But winning is a habit that Ebbw seem to have gotten out of.

Didn’t go to Carmarthen last weekend to see the 3-41 reversal there. Again, a 3-3 half time score didn’t hold up as the team faded in the second half.

Saturday coming it’s the last home game of 2009 (who the heck sets the fixture list?). Ebbw entertain high-flying Swansea. I’ll travel in hope...

Concert Notes

The second gig was a different kettle of fish. No new CD to promote, just a band which seems hellbent on having a good time. Without doubt, this is one of the best nights out that money can buy.

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes are generally reckoned to be the best bar band in the world, and playing in such a ridiculously small venue as The Globe in Roath, Cardiff. The place was packed (around 300 or so lucky ticketholders), but there were almost as many on stage as there were in the audience.

The venue is so small that the band can’t all get in the backstage dressing room at the same time. Whilst waiting to do their encore the band all have to huddle in the toilets; such is the glamorous life of the rockstar!

The show is a glorious two and half hours of non-stop rocking good time. Rock, blues, whatever, all the classics were there (including my favourite Walk Away Renee), all the singalongs, the audience participation, even down to getting Welsh translations for some of the lyrics.

It’s the fourth time I’ve seen Southside, and he seems to get better with age.

Concert Notes

Two concerts (gigs I think the kids call them) in two days earlier this month. First off was the aging rockers Magnum at the Muni in Pontypridd. Really good concert just like the old days, right down to the wind machine blowing Bob Catley’s hair, albeit a bit greying nowadays.

As EyeJay notes, a big chunk of the show was focused on the last few albums (note to self, will have to buy the new one), but some of the classics were there too.

I reckon it was over 25 years ago when I first saw Magnum (at the Student Union in Cardiff, I think), and it’s always a great show. There’s another review here.

A quick note about Liberty Lies, the support act from the Black Country. The lead singer was MeatLoaf-lite, but they knocked out a useful set. Nowadays it seems that word of mouth and gigging is how bands get found out about. Supporting Magnum can't hurt either.