Friday, August 31, 2012


Paralympics continued.

Not much to write today.
I hope you can see lots of pictures, though.
I put my pictures from yesterday and Bill's pictures onto Flickr. There are far too many to blog.
I do hope this web site will take you to them, if you are interested.
Apologies that they are the wrong way round. Next time I will remember to post them in reverse order.

Actually I have not done Bill's photos yet - they all need reducing in size.

This afternoon I spent my time in the velodrome once again - courtesy of Channel 4.
It was noticeable that they drowned out all the extraneous loud noises....and the heat!
So, in many ways more comfortable - but somehow you can't beat being there. But it felt all the more special because I had been there.

This evening I will spend inside the stadium. One of our local athletes will be in the 200m final at 8.20. We have timed Sophia Warner on more than one occasion and earlier in the year she broke the European record for her category at the Crawley track.

Maybe I will change the order of the photos before bedtime - it annoys me as it is now. The slide show makes no sense. But its' time for food and athletics first.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Day 1 Paralympics

"Beep beep"......the alarm was telling us that it was 4.50 in the morning.
Up, washed and dressed, picked up rucksacks and were off to the station.
We were in London by 7 0'clock.
We took the Jubilee Line round to Stratford.
And then into the Olympic Park.
It is so WOW!
Viewing it from the outside had not prepared us for the vastness and the people.
Such an atmosphere of expectation.
We were there for the first morning of the paralympics.
Slowly we made our way to the velodrome, stopping for photos on the way. It's a 20 minute walk at least to the velodrome, even without the stops.
We sat outside and had the first part of our picnic.
Once inside we to adjust ourselves to heat and noise.
Worse we had to adjust ourselves to a couple of seats which were not good. We were behind the barrier separating seats from the top of the track.......but we couldn't see over the barrier!!! Well, yes we could - but couldn't see the complete lap of the track.
I decided to stand at the back of the 4 rows of seating we were in. It was much better there and felt less like sitting in a wooden box.
I was happy at the back and felt myself sucked into the amazing noisy, enthusiastic atmosphere.
The morning session was all about qualifying....the top 4 times would fight is out for the medals later.
The first events were for women of various categories of disability - pursuit races, where 2 riders start on opposite sides of the track and aim to catch each other.
Invariably one did great cheering and applause.
The highlight was the race involving Sarah Storey GB); she already has a clutch of paralympic medals and was expected to do well.
She obliged by completing the distance in a world record time.
This afternoon she followed this up by winning the gold medal.

The colour of the wooden track is picked up in the cyclist's visor.
Even Sir Chris Hoy looked like he had a long floppy blonde fringe during his races.
Sarah Storey actually has long dark hair.

The second half of the morning was devoted to blind cyclists - or visually impaired.
In this event tandems are ridden with a sighted pilot on the front and the blind man peddling like mad at the back.

We have pictures from all parts of the day, of course - but have sorted none of them.

Once outside again, we found a place to sit down watching the big screen which has TV coverage of everything throughout the day. We ate the rest of our picnic.
Rain was threatening.
We walked along by the park waterways with some lovely planting.
Foolishly, I demanded to go into the shop. I wanted something - I still want something. After all I have a collection of all sorts of things from all the post war Olympics.
But I am not a shopper - even when I am trying very hard to be.
Things that I guess I didn't really want were much more expensive than I wanted to pay.
I'll wait - things are on EBay.......over 42,000 things. Once its all over I can start bidding.

By this time we had had enough - well, our bodies had.
Next week we must think a little more about what we will do with time when we are not actually in the Olympic Stadium.
We must pace ourselves better.
I am pretty certain that we have a couple of very good evenings of athletics coming up. On Tuesday, look out for Jonny Peacock - he's British. And next Saturday we will see the 400 metre final which Oscar Pistorius is expected to win.

We stopped for a cup of tea at Victoria Station before catching the train home.
Once home we felt fit for nothing.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Getting ready for the games

Short blog tonight.
No pictures.
I want to see the opening ceremony of the paralympics on TV - we'll be there in the morning, early.
Our rucksacks are packed with food and empty bottles and our cameras.
We shall be picnicking on the train which takes us to London; and then again, later in the Olympic Park.
Our train tomorrow morning is at 5.50 am.
We have to be early in the park - security is like at an airport. Every bag is searched, so I expect we will be standing in a queue for quite a while.
It is because of security that we have empty bottles.....we can have no more than 100mls of liquid.
Water is supplied from venues in the park.
But despite the security I feel so much has been done to make it easy for spectators.
For a start, we have free travel cards for within London.
I went on line for our train tickets and was offered a variety of options and routes and then ordered the tickets on the Olympic site.
Tomorrow morning we will be in the velodrome.
We will only see qualifying for future rounds. I wish I'd picked the afternoon session with a couple of finals.
Never mind, it is the being there that counts and seeing the inside of the venues.
I hope we will see some other sports after our picnic lunch.
We can stay in the park and some of the other events are not ticketed - just open for general spectators.
We'll feel like old hands when we go twice next week for evening athletics.
I am thrilled for the paralympics that the ticketed events are a sell out - plenty of atmosphere. Glad I ordered tickets long before The Olympic Games.
Time to settle down with a cuppa and enjoy the show.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Golan Heights and Cwm Penant, Wales.

Sunshine today....shame we didn't have it last Thursday for our picnic in the mountains.
Peter took us for a mystery drive. We giggled that he had no idea where he was going - just following his nose, I guess. And then sidetracked by a road closed.
Never mind, it was all glorious and was lovely, relaxed day out.
We were never  very far from Porthmadoc - just a little inland.

Overlooking the causeway at Porthmadoc - the town itself is hidden behind the hillside on the right.

Narrow road across the  Golan Hills. Not a well used road.

Small lake in the valley.

Road over the hills.

A project for somebody. In need of a little attention.

Now we are in Cwm Penant - the valley of the river Penant.
We stopped for a picnic beside the little river.

Our oldest friends.
I met Jean in my first year at secondary school.....a long, long time ago.
And Bill met Peter at about the same time - both apprentices together.

If he chooses to look silly, then we will see silly pictures won't we?

View from our picnic spot.

Water tumbling over the rocks.

We went for a walk after our food; further up the valley to a couple of isolated farms.

I felt really happy in such a beautiful spot, enjoying a relaxing day with friends. Taken by Peter.

Sheep by the farmhouse.

Chapel in the valley. Jean and I walked down to it.

Corrugated iron cottage. Pete and Jean's house was constructed like this originally, but stone cladding had been added by the time they bought it.
Do you see the crocosmia growing on the right hand side?
Crocosmia became a bit of a joke!

There was one road where crocosmia grew in abundance and beautifully by the hedgerows. Peter was eager to point this out to us.
It was actually growing in many places.

Here is some growing under the hedge outside Pete and Jean's house.
Jean pulled out surplus crocosmia in her lovely cottage garden and threw it over the hedge, where it rooted and continues to flower.
We have brought some home with us.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Timing and bowing at the track and in the woods.

Busy day....long day!
We arrived at the track at 10 o'clock this morning and got back home at 6 o'clock.
There were over 60 races.
We had enough timekeepers and also the electric timekeeping.
Chief timekeepers have lots to think about and can use that as a ready excuse for a poor performance with the watch. Well, that's my excuse for the day....but I was not as bad as at the meeting last weekend at Bromley.
However poor I may have been I enjoyed the day with some lovely people.
And there was virtually no rain at all.

Sport featured during our stay with friends in north Wales.
Peter, our host is an archery instructor.
Amongst his friends is a fellow archer who lives in a cottage high on the hills, with some woods as part of his property. He has set up a field archery course in the woods.
It is a chance to "stalk" wild animals.....models and images.

That's a view from Theo's garden.

Firing arrows off towards the target. Theo.

Peter takes aim at a fox.

Tit Mountain and ferns. That is not a Welsh name, just a reference to its shape.

Peter the Archer.

I walked around the field archery course in the woods and hope I showed some interest.
But I kept getting distracted by views and plants.

Valerian on the wall outside the cottage.

Theo's archery equipment....lots of lovely leather.

The crystal window.

Part of the cottage.

Our friends live on the other side of the mountain.

Honeysuckle and blue, blue sky.

After the archery, it was time for a beer.
Bill could have taken  a bow - but opted not to.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Pictures from the car

Today has been Sunday...the first day of the rest of my life.
It was a day to sort out a few things and make the house tidy. Bill used the time to sort out the garden - grass cutting time.
It wasn't time for sleeping...but that's what I did after lunch and our quick trip to Sainsbury's for milk and some vegetables for the week.
I turned on athletics from Birmingham...and then fell asleep until Frieda came round. Bill made us both a cup of tea.
I had begun to sort out photos from the last week.
The first day is now on facebook. I had taken photos as we journeyed in the car. A friend from Canada and commented that she had heard that Wales is very beautiful. I wanted to show that what she heard is so right.
So here is a small selection.
We begin with our picnic spot by the Llangollen Canal.

The canal was very busy with narrow boats - the summer holiday boating holiday makers.
This spot is a special attraction for narrow boat enthusiasts, being so near the famous long, high aqueduct of Pontcysyllte.

The village clings on to the hillside.
Sadly, the aqueduct pub is closed.
Strange that a pub close to a canal and on the A5 can't attract enough custom.

We didn't walk to the aqueduct this time - it was getting quite late in the day.
This picture creates an illusion - a little like the arches are very small and sunk into water.
Definitely not so.......

This is a website picture.
We have walked across a few is really high.

Gentle hillsides before we reached Snowdonia.

The road across north Wales.

Spectacular rocky peaks.....past and present north Wales people would be able to tell me the name of this peak. Happy days, Ashley!

And now we are drinking tea in our friends' lovely kitchen, looking over the stable style door to the lovely garden.

There will be more pictures tomorrow.
Now its time to get ready for bed and maybe watch Judge Gently on TV.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Back past Bangor and all places to the south east.

Sorry blogging for a couple of days.
And today will not offer much either.
The days you missed were good for us.
We picnicked with friends in a moderately remote part of North Wales - remote and beautiful, a lonely beauty under the grey clouds.
We watched a film together that evening - "Another Year" a wonderfully observed and acted snapshot of the characters' lives.
Yesterday we shopped and feasted.
We couldn't resist the chance of a trip to Home Bargains! "Oh to have this, whilst I am here - such a good price"
The best bargains of all were the trays of winter pansies for 20p.
Went to a wonderful off license and bought some local beers...."Purple Moose" has been well recommended.
We lunched at a pub.
Then went to a lovely shop of attractive furniture, kitchenware and ornaments. The holiday feeling got to me..."Oh to have this - even though it's not very cheap"
There was a lovely cafe there - next time it would be a good choice for lunch. We had pots of tea and toasted tea cakes.
Today has been journey home day.
At the last moment we turned away from the main road - too full of caravans!
We drove up through the Llanberis Pass - looking dark and black and forbidding; rocky mountain tops to either side of the road.
Later, of course, we did pick up the motorway. We have been lucky - travel news kept coming through of major holdups on motorways; but none were where we wanted to go.
We passed along roads very wet with rain - but we met very little of it; just a couple of very torrential showers.
We stopped at Warwick Services for huge mugs of tea/coffee - half a pint almost! We sat on soft easy chairs with the free Waitrose newspaper, doing the crossword and listening to Ella Fitzgerald. It was so easy to sit and relax for an hour.
This evening, naturally, we are tired. Will go to bed soon.
I thank those that have acknowledged and sent good wishes for my birthday. I haven't opened my cards yet....I would prefer to do it in the morning when I feel alert. I look forward to it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Tiger hunt

Gentle morning.
Late breakfast and then chatting.
This afternoon went to Theo's......sounds like a smart restaurant.
Theo is a friend of our friends.
He lives along now he is a widow in a charming old cottage in a remote spot high on the hills.
Both he and Pete are archers - shooting arrows.
Theo has set up a field archery course in his woods.
Its a bit like golf - a walk in the country punctuated by some action.
The action involves aiming at model animals in the trees and firing off arrows.
It is a popular form of archery, but I have never seen it before.
Home then for a good meal and wine.
Will I manage to stay awake all through Who Do You Think You Are?
Hope so.
Tomorrow the weather promises to be fair and we will go off into the mountains and vales.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


The day we went past Bangor

Just  few lines.
Relaxed and happy.
Left home quite late really.
Stopped at Warwick Services and decided to have a drink -  huge mugs of tea and coffee with an eccles cake in Starbucks. Sat on sofas with a sudoku puzzle for nearly an hour!
Then stopped by Pontcysyllte the impressive high aqueduct for a picnic. Loads of holiday narrow boats on the canal.
Then drive through Snowdonia, looking as wonderful as ever.
But Ashley wasn't there for ever was he?
How strange to drive to Bangor and not be seeing him.
We had a few more miles to drive.
Greeted by our friends - and a nice cup of tea.
Later a tasty meal and the wine bottle was open. Felt good.
Lots of laughing and discussing life, the universe and everything.

Glad to know my sister in law is being well looked after her DVT diagnosis.

Monday, August 20, 2012



I am really looking forward to a few days away with friends....and seeing the beautiful scenery of north Wales again.
Haven't been there for 18 months - since were there to assist Ashley with his move to Newcastle.
But right now I am not looking forward to gathering together all my needs for a few days away.
I feel so tired tonight.
In fact I will have a cup of tea and go to bed.
I would rather get up early to sort everything out. Packing always seems more daunting than it need.
I don't think the shop made me feel particularly tired.
I did put a little effort into tidying the kitchen.
Today is the first day of the new Mondays - with just Bill and I being in charge. Though we look forward to seeing our ex colleagues pretty often on Mondays.
I think Bill was more busy with customers than me today - me being tucked away in the kitchen.
We have just heard that Bargain Hunt will be filming in Dorking at the end of October - using the 4 antiques centres in our street.
Shame - I think it will be during the week that we are away again.
But undoubtedly Pilgrims would be a good bet for finding bargains that the contestants might make a profit on.
I shall continue to blog and facebook whilst away.... our friends are 2 computer people! So I shall keep up with our news and will check emails.
Beware - there will be lots more photographs during next week.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Sunday lie in, storms, sunshine, athletics and a gripe.

I lay in bed, debating.
Get up? Stay in bed?
Just up the road the huge car boot sale would be beginning - people unloading their treasures.
Oooh! I should be there.
Then I thought about all those hundreds of stalls filled to overflowing with nothing much of use to me - that would be so frustrating.
Just 3 weeks ago I uttered the words "Never again"
But today I only had time for the Pease Pottage sale.....surely I should go?
No - bed, cup of tea and sudoku conquered.

By half past eleven we were out - off to the track at Horsham.
The skies had been blue, the sun shone and it was delightfully warm.
But cloud filled the sky as we drove.
Still very hot.
The first rumbles of thunder were heard and spectacular flashes of lightning.
Storms excite me - but people must be aware of the potential dangers.
People didn't stand out in the middle of the field and others were advised not to be leaning on the huge vertical bars of the throwing cage......just in case.
Suddenly there was one awesome streak of lightning and instaneously a violent crack of thunder.
The storm was right overhead.
But still it hardly rained.

The meeting continued. It was a very busy open meeting.
People of all ages from 8 to 80 (maybe that was some of the officials!) competed in the whole range of track and field events.
We were a happy band of 9 timekeepers - yes 9!
Everybody was relaxed and enjoying our normal chat and banter.
There were no electric times today - so possible to tease each other about their times being wrong; but done with no malice.
I was working with a young man, Steve, who has only recently taken up timekeeping. I am pretty sure I have convinced him to come and timekeep at the Crawley open meeting on Bank Holiday Monday.
It was a lovely meeting.

It is such a shame that this track and sports centre will be demolished.
It has only been there about 25 years.
First the council pleaded that it needed too much money to renovate the buildings.
Since then housing developments have already commenced quite close to the site.
The truth seems to lie along the lines of......the council can make so much money by selling the site.
A new track is promised - to be built in the grounds of a local school.
Ah well, that's progress.
The place was alive with hundreds of people today.
Families mostly.
And the tribe of Sussex officials.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


6 hundredths of a second

Six hundredths of a second!
It takes much longer to say or type.
But those 6 hundredths (plus) of a second matter to me.
That was my average error as a timekeeper today. It was made worse by some appalling errors.
I can find things to blame of course - but probably better to own up to a bad day.
The athletics meeting was for a British Athletics League match in which our A team are involved.
I suppose it is the equivalent of the top flights of the football league.
It is the sort of meeting where the chief timekeeper takes his job very seriously  with pre planned  duties worked out and nothing is left to chance. (Except the chance of having a poor timekeeper!)
I don't normally get concerned about bad days - though this was probably one of the worst.
But this chief will analyse all the results when he gets home and will send emails to all timekeepers with all the averages of each and everyone of it has been a very public display of ineptitude!
The Crawley team did what they had to do (I think) they had to do well enough not to get relegated. The team from Glasgow are promoted.
It was good to see some good athletes on display.
I worked with a lovely man - older than me. He has leukaemia - maybe under some sort of control right now. We talked cancer just a little.
We ended the meeting with a bonus. The host club had laid on a barbecue for the afternoon and a beer tent.
We had half a pint of locally brewed draught beer before we left - brewed at Westerham.
Westerham was one of the lovely places we drove through on the way home.
The country route home from the track (just south of Bromley) was really lovely this evening.
What a beautiful day of weather!

Friday, August 17, 2012


Art work

My brain hasn't felt in gear today.
It is very unlike me to feel too hot.....but a stint at the ironing board has left me reeling.
And yawning.
As I have little to say, I thought I would feature an artist.
One of my facebook friends is an artist and she finds many artists to share.
My facebook friend is Paula Oakley - do look her up.
But today I feature Kay Prior from the very east of Sussex.
I like this work.
She portrays landscapes without being very photographic. Of course I love photography - but a painting is a different medium and I expect different things from it.
This is a view of Winchelsea - which is a beautiful place to visit.

OK - you can't see Winchelsea,  but its up there at the top of the hill.

Bill and I enjoyed a visit there a couple of years ago.

At least you can capture swans in flight exactly as you want them with a paintbrush.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


High tide and wind.

Ford car boot sale was full of sellers.
We didn't buy very much really - but I like what we found.
Balaton for breakfast - not many more of those occasions, now. Possibly five.
It was warm by the river - but windy. The very high tide was whipped into quite a frenzy.

Bill looks out to sea from the end of the pier. It is not a long amusement pier like at Brighton - just a place to walk and sit and enjoy the scene.

And to meet friends for a chat.

Not many people about.
But good conditions for kite flying.

Good for surfing too.
I don't think I have seen surfers at Littlehampton before.

This afternoon I had my hair cut. I am less pleased this time - I think I asked Rob to cut too much and it looks a bit sensible!

Made a cup of tea back home and watched last night's Who Do You Think You Are - the genealogy programme.

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