Sunday, 29 January 2017

Cold and training

There was an icy cold wind down at the harbour today. I pull Annie's collar up when it's as cold as this, it's surprising how many people comment on that hood on her coat :)

Looking out across the boatyard and caravan park I could just about see there was snow on the mountains, so zoomed in to get a closer look.

Sunday must be the day that the lifeboat crew do their training as there were lots of the buoys in water and the lifeboat men were weaving in and out of them and I stood and watched for awhile.

I was surprised to see the fire engine approaching and wondered why that would be. I stood and watched a while longer and it became obvious it was the fire brigades training day too!

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Film night


Last night, husband and I had a rare night out together. We went to a free community screening of the film I, Daniel Blake. Ever since I read a review of this film I have been wanting to see it. Not only did we have free tickets they even gave us a small bag of popcorn each, husband doesn't like popcorn so his was brought home :)

We arrived early but instead of having a drink at the bar where they served alcohol and coffee, we had the pick of the seats so we sat at the front so husband could have some leg room. The theatre is old, a bit chilly and damp but I have to say we did enjoy the film.  I'm not a political activist but it was interesting listening to the speakers before and after the film. The group of local people who organised the screening fight against austerity, cuts and local issues.

The film chronicles the life of a fifty-nine year old man who following a heart attack has been assessed as being fit to work. It highlights the fact that the benefits system punishes claimants and is harsh on the disabled. I'm not going to write a review of the film but it is a touching story and well worth seeing.

When I started this blog anew I took out much of the personal detail.  I've thought long and hard about writing this piece but I need to say it and with my husband's agreement will say the film did strike a chord on a personal level.

My husband had worked all his life and now finds himself unable to work due to illness and disability. Unlike the character in the film though he scored enough points in his assessments to receive sickness benefits. However, he has had the indignity of three assessments already and we find them intimidating and humiliating.

Unfortunately prior to his illness my husband was made redundant not once but twice, the first time having worked for over thirty years on permanent night shifts in industry. The second time he'd held down a job for over five years in the retail sector, having progressed from part-time hours to a full-time position.  Following the first redundancy he went to sign on and took a job that he had no experience in as he was so desperate to work. He became very ill shortly after the second redundancy. He was hospitalised again six months later but was much more seriously ill the second time around.

One of my most endearing memories was him lying gravely ill in hospital having just applied for a temporary vacancy for  Father Christmas. He looked at me and told me he knew he wouldn't be able to be Father Christmas. It almost broke my heart when they phoned and offered him an interview and I had to tell them he was in hospital and unable to attend.

So like the character in the film my husband found himself in his fifties, looking for work and claiming benefits and he came up against some of the same bureaucracy. My husband had never used a computer and if it hadn't been for me helping him with his job searches he would have felt as desperate as the character in the film. In fact I applied for the Father Christmas job for him and he would have been so good with the children.  In fact he had the relevant experience as he'd dressed up as Santa for them in his previous workplace :)

Thankfully, we'll never be in the same boat as the characters in the film but if you get a chance to watch it then please do.

I Daniel Black chronicles the life of a man who has been assessed as “fit to work”
I Daniel Black chronicles the life of a man who has been assessed as “fit to w
I Daniel Black chronicles the life of a man who has been assessed as “fit to wor

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Books, coffee and collisions

I mentioned on my blog that I was waiting for this author's next novel and now I have it. It's actually a book of fourteen short stories and I can't wait to get started. From the reviews I have read it will be well worth the wait. We only have one bookshop locally and although their website said the new book was in stock it turned out not to be in store. I had to order it online, wait a week and then go and collect it. I chose to collect it from their Llandudno branch as that gave us an excuse to go out for the day.

It was quite a pleasant day and we discovered a small cafe that we've never been in or even noticed before and I would definitely recommend it for the friendly service, good food and nice atmosphere and we discovered it's actually a Turkish restaurant. Now we have found it, next time I'd like to try a Turkish mezze with a nice glass of red wine! I like being able to add this streetview image for you. 

In future when the weather improves and if we have Annie with us it will be nice to stop and eat at a pavement table. Anyway, I had the most delicious mushroom omelette served with hot crusty bread and butter and I had a nice pot of tea served in a china teapot.

At home I almost always drink coffee. I've been planning to write a post about coffee so here it is. First thing in the morning I have a mugful of instant coffee and my preferred choice is a rich roast. When I come in after taking Annie for her daily walk I like to use my coffee machine. My favourite pods are cortado, americano and when it's very cold or wet I like to have a hot chocolate, my guilty pleasure is  adding squirty cream and mini marshmallows to that :) If I have coffee when I'm out and about I choose to have a latte more often than not. At Christmastime I treated myself to this Twelve Days of Coffee set and I'd only used the dark roast and the rich roast when I took the photo. I have to say I wasn't too impressed with the cinnamon flavoured coffee. These little sachets supposedly make four cups of coffee in the cafetiere or in my case two good mugfuls :)

Something very odd happened on the journey home from collecting my book, some idiot in a red car overtook us on a narrow stretch of road that made us comment on how that driver had taken a risk. There was also a white car behind us trying to get past but he waited until it was safer to do so but he not only got past us, he passed the red car and a black car in front of that. When we got to the exit to the roundabout we pulled up behind the red car and we saw him run into the back of the black car in front of him waiting to exit, now that could so easily have been our car he'd hit had he not overtaken us. When he got out of his car to inspect the damage I'd say he was a twenty-something male. That wasn't the end of it though as the white car had obviously gone all the way round the roundabout and then stopped and got out to see the incident with the two cars in the collision and he ended up blocking our view making it difficult for us to exit. I can only assume that the red and white car had been racing each other and the white car had then gone all the way around the roundabout looking to see where the red car was. The driver in the white car waved us on and we can only assume that it was because we were witnesses to what had just happened. Such young idiots on the roads these days! Sometimes it's just safer to stay at home with a good book and a nice cup of coffee :)

Monday, 23 January 2017

Bones and shipwrecks

Following all the recent high tides and stormy weather it's nice to get down onto the beach again with Annie. She doesn't mind that I have to negotiate lots of pebbles as I follow her. Look what I spotted a couple of days ago, something that had been washed up by the sea. I photographed it this way not knowing what I was looking at

then at home I rotated the photograph and realised it was a jawbone with teeth. I've done some googling and the best I can come up with is a buffalo's jawbone! Husband thinks it could be from a dog but I don't like to think of a dog being lost at sea, perhaps it's a seal's jawbone. Any ideas?

Something I have written about before on an old blog is that the the remains of a Victorian cargo ship  can be seen at the harbour at low tide. It purposely  hasn't been disturbed during all the recent work on the sea defences. You can read about the ship here and this is my photo from today, I was pleased to get the heron in the picture at the same time :)

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Whatever the weather

You may have noticed that my daily walk of choice with Annie is now down at the harbour. It's a very popular place with dog walkers and I'm recognising the regulars and we say hello and exchange little views about the weather and such. It reminds me of where daughter and son-in-law live and they used to regularly meet up with other dog walkers, they became so friendly that as a group they would occasionally meet up leaving their dogs at home and go out for a meal together and they'd call that occasion "the dog's dinner" :) I'm not at that stage yet!

Yesterday it was even windier, colder and the sea was rougher than the day before. The start of the boardwalk had built up with sand but not so much to make the boardwalk inaccessible.

There was a jet-skier having a wonderful time out on the waves, we couldn't make up our minds if he was being brave or foolhardy.

I wondered what I had seen on the jetty in the harbour and only on zooming in with the camera that I could tell it was a group of birds snuggling up together against the cold I think.

I thought I would include a screenshot of the area taken from Instant Street View to hopefully give you a better idea of where the boardwalk is in relation to the harbour and the sea. It's not possible to share the image directly as I'm sure the area would be out of bounds to the streetview vehicle! I hope the link will work for you to have a look around.

link here

We were looking at some old maps online the other day and husband remembers there being a timber yard and sawmill at this site and boats would deliver the timber direct, but now that's long gone and the site is used a boat yard. Something else amused us and that was learning the dunes were used as a rifle range in the early 1900s, now we didn't know that :) Having thought about this it was probably for the troops of WW1 based at the nearby army camp.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Stormy weather

We're quite lucky as we don't get much snow, if it snows here it's so much worse everywhere else. We had a downpour of hailstones yesterday afternoon but not for long. It was blowing a gale this morning and having heard on the news about high tides, I slipped my old camera in my pocket when I took Annie to the harbour for her walk. You can tell how high the water is in the harbour and how choppy the sea is.


I feel really sorry for people on the east coast of England who are having to evacuate their homes as they brace themselves for floods, so severe that there is a threat to life. I hope no harm comes to anyone when these storm surges happen with this evening's high tides.

We live in an area that has been flooded several times before although thankfully we have never been directly affected, I do know people whose homes were flooded in 1990 and 2013. We are always mindful that it could happen here when the weather is as bad as it is now.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Out and about with the new camera

It was fine and mild today so as I was itching to get out and about to try out my new Christmas gift camera we headed off to Conwy. Apart from the five test photos taken in the house these are my first proper photos. They may not be that good as I only had my distance glasses on and I really cannot see to read anything in them so the photos were just point and hope for the best :) I don't think they're too bad considering it was also a grey January day.

We walked along the harbour and I think the mussel shop was closed but there were a couple of boxes with mussels and dressed crab for sale. We watched a couple take a bag of whatever from the storage boxes and post the money through the letter box. I would say these are probably the finest mussels you would be likely to find as they are gathered in a traditional way and processed right here on the quayside.

We didn't buy any ourselves this time but found a dog-friendly pub and had a nice mixed grill each with Annie being fed tidbits under the table :) I enjoyed our trip out and am looking forward to more photo opportunities, next time I'll be wearing my other specs so I can see what I'm doing :)

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Start of the year

I can't believe we're a week into the New Year already. I took down the Christmas tree and packed it away on Monday instead of waiting until Twelfth Night as tradition says. I think it's alright to take it down earlier anyway :) I started my new diary recording my weight and a resolution to lose a few stone but as we have only just finished eating the Christmas cake and I've put the remaining chocolates and tins of biscuits in date order, attempted weight loss is on hold for a while. My diary was a birthday gift from daughter and I was happy to discover blogging friend Ann's photo of William and Hamish for July, that makes it really special.

Husband had his annual diabetes eye test scheduled for Tuesday so we planned to have a trip out on Thursday but after de-icing the car and realising just how cold it was we changed our minds about heading into Snowdonia. I'd taken Annie to the boardwalk at the harbour first thing that morning and it was a little slippy underfoot so it became a stay at home day instead. I took a photo of the thermometer in the car, I haven't noticed a minus temperature on it before.

It rained all day Friday but I headed into town and managed to find some nice seat pads in the sales at four for £10. I thought they were an absolute bargain. The old ones I plan to give to charity to sell on.  On Saturday, having pulled out the table and chairs  to replace the seat pads I decided to change the furniture around in the dining area of my room, the two computer desks have been moved along and I like the arrangement better the way they are now.

The weather has suddenly became milder after the coldness of Thursday and if it stays mild we might venture somewhere this coming week to try out my new camera. It wasn't easy trying to pair the new camera to the computer via WiFi and I can't remember having that much trouble with my old point and shoot camera, but anyway I got there in the end and we're raring to go :)