Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Weather Notes

A few years ago when I was over in the USA I bought an outdoor thermometer like the one in the picture. I was struck by the ridiculous range of temperatures it showed; the usual range of British temperatures is zero to twenty C, anything outside that is cause for major news coverage.

Well, this morning is the lowest I’ve ever seen it register. A brisk -7 Celsius, around +20 F. And yes, its headline news on the news.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snow Notes

The weather was a bit interesting this morning. Following some snow and a freeze last night, a fresh coating of snow early this morning turned the world into a rather slippery winter wonderland.

I took this photo at Trefforest station at 9am this morning. As you can see, no salt or grit anywhere.

In Cardiff all the pavements were iced over, and there were tumbles aplenty; thankfully I managed to stay upright.

Rugby Notes

Ebbw's game was frozen off at Cardiff last Saturday, so here instead is a YouTube clip of one of the worst tackles ever, by Newport's Jeff Cranton on Ebbw Vale's Peter Griffiths, the father of the actor Ioan Gruffudd, from the 1977 Cup semi final between Ebbw Vale and Newport. Some other old clips from the Cup competition follow.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Had a pleasant surprise today.

A few months back Whittards closed its shop in Cardiff, meaning that they only had one store in Wales, at the McArthur Glen outlet shops in Bridgend.

The Cardiff store is back open, seemingly bucking the recession trend. I duly replenished my stocks of coffee.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Notes

Went to Caerphilly’s medieval fayre yesterday. Beautiful cold day, lots of stalls, food and drink aplenty. Came home with baklava, cheeses and beer. I reckon that’s a successful day.

The most bizarre sight of the day was when we were walking past Caerphilly Castle. Atop one of the turrets was Dr Who’s tardis! It has been in town as Dr Who filming has been taking place in Caerphilly, and they have ‘borrowed’ the tardis for a while. The BBC has the story.

Crimbo Notes

The tree is up (mostly thanks to Janesy) and so the countdown to Christmas starts here.

Starbucks has got the (now ritual) eggnog latte, and Costa's creme brulee latte is a nice festive treat.

We're off to meet Santa at Tredegar House next weekend, and hopefully we'll go to Llancaich Fawr manor house to join in with some festive singing one night this week.

Christmas pressies are mostly packed (well, apart from those which Amazon have lost in transit) and cards written: if you haven't had your card in the next week or so then you can assume that either I've forgotten about you or that I just don't like you!

Rugby Notes

I’ll keep this short.

Ebbw Vale at Pontypool last weekend.

Lost 9 – 14. Dire. Report.

Ava's Diary

where? what?
Originally uploaded by Martin Veale

Lots going on, as usual. No sooner than we did our creche harvest festival concert than we started preparing for our Christmas show.

We do two shows this week (both matinees). Hopefully a pic or two will make it onto here.

Book Notes

To my mind, the biggest retailing losses of the recession is the loss of Borders in the UK. The Borders bookstore in Llantrisant has been a favourite haunt since it opened a couple of years ago. Its popularity was helped by the fact that there was a Starbucks there too.

My views completely echo this straight lift from Robert Crampton’s (as always) terrific column in The Times...

Strange, Borders going belly up. My local branch was always packed; my family alone has spent a small fortune there over the years. And, unlike, say, your average travel agency (how much longer can they last?) or indeed bank, Borders has, or had, the feel of a vibrant, optimistic, well-run, up-to-the-minute business, providing, to my mind, a pretty good modern shopping experience.

Maybe too modern. The last few times I’ve tried to track down a book in Borders, the assistant, in that charmingly chilled-out non-competitive young person way, has suggested I’d be better off going on Amazon.

Sports Personality?

It’s a joke.

Ryan Giggs is, by all accounts, one of the most famous Welsh sports stars right now. But a personality?

BBC Wales’ Sports Personality of the Year was duly won by Giggsy-wiggsy last week, and is in the running for the UK version too. But, as The Times points out, he once advertised Quorn in the 1990s and was out-acted by the tofu.

UPDATE: Mr Charisma signed off his acceptance speech of the UK award with "but... yeah... thanks."