“I’ve put you down for the cabbage” said FB. “Oh that’s OK” said I. This was a little while ago – December 1987 for the pedants. GPD and I were living in Pembrokeshire in newly married bliss, working at a consultancy in the stable yard of a field studies centre. We lived in a doll’s house cottage in the countryside, GPD’s bachelor pad that we were gradually transforming into a house for two. It was an idyllic spot, unless the army was on exercise; our cluster of cottages was by a tank firing range and during the summer the Europeans would visit and spend a week or two blowing the cliff tops to smithereens. They would generally do this at night, and the windows would rattle with each deep, echoing boom. Not the sort of stuff you find in estate agents’ blurb. It’s a beautiful area nonetheless; I was back there last summer working on a beach below the range and our cottage looks as cute as ever.
Anyhow, the kitchen staff at the field centre had recently catered for some big event and were on strike, refusing to cook a staff Christmas dinner. Undeterred, we all agreed we’d do it ourselves Continue reading →
“It hasn’t stopped raining for two days! I haven’t been able to get any washing out” GP1 said.
Head snaps round. Eyes swivel left. Is that my son talking? The one who had six wet towels on his bedroom floor the last time I arrived home from fieldwork? Well, I have to confess it was those six towels that did it, particularly when combined with the five more I found on his brother’s floor and the distinct absence of clean, dry, sweet smelling towels in the airing cupboard. But I’ve already told you about those. What I maybe didn’t tell you was that I threw a wobbly and when shortly after I left for yet another two weeks work, there were rules. Continue reading →
Neglect. As in My blog has fallen into a state of neglect. I haven’t written anything. It has accumulated spam comments (now deleted, I hope). There are real comments, including some from Reluctant Memsahib, one of my favourite reads, and I haven’t responded. I’ve been busy. I’ve been away. I have lots of excuses. I don’t really like excuses, though. My sister has taken me to task. “Why doesn’t your blog work? It won’t load” she asked. I think it’s sulking.
It’s not that there’s a shortage of material. The holiday, for instance, is begging to be told. Stories about the fading American lady in Fiji Continue reading →
I’m off into the wilds of Perthshire for a week or so, looking for Slender Naiads – no, not water nymphs but a rare species of plant that grows in some of the freshwater lochs up there. After that, I’m off to Wales, weather and engineers permitting, to dive on the only Welsh maerl bed, conveniently located right in the centre of a major engineering project. It should therefore be very quiet in this corner for the next couple of weeks. I have a list of things to do as long as my arm and really should not be sitting here blogging. Must go. But first…
GP2 said the other day, in a very accusing tone of voice, “You are going to be here for my birthday this year, aren’t you?” “Well yes, but it looks like I’ll miss GP1’s.” “You’ve missed mine for the past two years.” I’m not sure that’s strictly true, personally, as I think I only missed last year’s, but the guilt strings have been suitably twanged. Poor neglected children. There’s a post over on Mother at Large all about the evils of leaving your child with a minder (she’s reporting the opinion of others, I must point out). What would they say about missing your child’s birthday? Will I be struck down by a bolt from the heavens? And what age are children when they stop minding that you’re not there for their birthday? When do they stop counting down the days? I’ve a feeling I’ve got some way to go on that front.
It may or may not be an urban myth that the Eskimos have a huge number of words for snow. After a week walking the sands of the Dyfi estuary in mid Wales, I am sure that the Welsh should have at least as many words for sand. Fine sand, medium sand, coarse sand – this doesn’t do justice to the wide expanses of the stuff that fill this beautiful estuary. We stood on the dunes at the estuary entrance on Day 1, looked across the flats towards the far distant head and gulped at the prospect of visiting tens of grid points between here and there over the next few days.
There were small ripples that were hard underfoot, soft underfoot, dry, wet. Mega-ripples Continue reading →