Thursday, December 31, 2015

Book - Ruins of empire

Back in the UK, almost the first thing Gek and I did was to join the local library. But this book I read in Singapore whilst awaiting our leaving date. A very interesting look at the Islamic, Hindu and Confucian views of  humanity and their struggle to understand the runaway success of a seemingly chaotic Western Enlightenment view coupled with the attendant industrial revolution.  al-Afghani for Islam, Liang for Confucianism and Rabindranath Tagore for Hinduism; all three looked to Japan as a model for reaping the benefits the West had to offer without losing control of their own  societies, ie without democratising .  They are still struggling with this puzzle even today, The Islamic State is currently using Western invention and production with it's Jeeps, guns, missiles, computers, the internet etc. whilst at the same time trying to destroy the system that gives them clout.  Hopefully, we are perhaps seeing the death throws of extremist views, extremist views on anything.  But I will not hold my breath.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Gek at Christmas

What to say?  Some people enjoy the strangest things.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Darwen Visit.

During a brief break in the atrocious weather, we took a stroll through Sunnyhurst Wood,   the place I use to come sail my boats as a lad.

The mock Tudor cafe still in business.

Water, water everywhere.

Potter's Gate, the summer holiday's meeting place with my first girl friend, Pat, back in 1960.  Memories are made of this.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


Photo taken 2013
Sadly, my uncle Granville passed away on the 22nd.  Regretfully we didn't get up to Darwen to see him since we have been back in country.  RIP Granville.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Jenny in her Doctorate get up, 1993.  Ten years ago today, Jenny died.  She may be gone but will never be forgotten.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Our New Wheels

Isn't she great?  Well, Gek is wonderful,  the car is just great.  With plenty of room for four passengers and fold-forward rear seats for carrying our 'kit' at other times, this little monster fits the bill a treat.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

The Knap, Barry.

A much bleaker day than when we were last here in the summer of '13.  The sea was as grey as the pebbled beach.

The tidal reach here is quite something, 30 ft?

The grass everywhere is almost luminescent and seems to be still growing.  It may be very wet, but it is relatively mild.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Clowning Around

Polly came to stay the night on her way to a work related event in Bridgend the next day.  Well, I do like sausages, what to say?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Rhymney Ridgeway Walk

The Ridgeway  is an old walking path, not one of the newer pathways made from the disused railway lines.

The walk is overgrown in many parts with brambles and ferns, making for a scratchy progress.

This horse seemed quite perturbed by our appearance on the trail.  Not many pass this way.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ystrad Mynach Christmas Fayre

With the main street through the village shut and the shining sun brought out the crowds.

 Our local butcher was doing a roaring trade.

Christmas deco for a dog.

Male voice choir.  I must take Gek to hear the real deal sometime soon.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

First Frost or was it Snow?

November the 21st and the van is iced.

But nothing daunted, we donned our all weather gear and set off up to the Penallta Park.

 Passed a space ship just landed.

 Where did all the autumn leaves go?

Away on the wind.

To leave beauty behind.

A frosty shadowie for you know who.

 The wind was biting atop the hill, it be snow on them far hills.


Very Lord of Rings down here.

Home for a hot drink.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Nottingham via Hooke

Cottage style accommodation at Hooke.  Since i had 'misplaced' ie lost, my Canon battery charger there are no pictures of the hair raising ride Dylan gave me in his Lotus 7 look-a-like  Tiger something or other.  White knuckle doesn't really cover it.

After a couple of homely days with Sarah and family, we motored up to Nottingham via Tewksbury,

stopping in the town for a bite to eat.  This is full size, not in miniature scale.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

D'em Boots are Meant for Walking

After getting our feet soaked on the last couple of outings, we decided to invest in more appropriate foot wear to cope with the pathways in Wales's autumnal weather.  Guaranteed for 5,000 miles. Should be just about enough for us.

As well as booted, Gek is suitably suited in a Gortex, all weather coat, complete with woolly hat. Looks the business, does she not.

The first test for the boots was a rather easy walk across the Hengoed viaduct.  Ystrad Mynach is at the junction of four railway lines built in the 19th century, only one of which is still used by trains.  The other two have a new lease of life as cycle and path ways, including the one that was carried by this impressive viaduct.

The views up and down the valley from the viaduct are quite something, even in the mist and rain.

On the other side, back to the overgrown railway cuttings which go on for miles.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Caerphilly Castle

This photo gives you some idea as to the size of Caerphilly's castle, the second largest in the UK after Windsor.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Ystrad Mynach - Parc Penalita

Five minutes walk from our front door.

A long disused  railway line turned into a cycle/walking pathway into the valley

An Ystrad Shadowie, for you know who.

Just look at that sky.  Autumn colours are being blown away and trees take on another hue, silvery this time.  Love the changes wrought in temperate climes.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Kestrel View, Our New Home?

A bungalow with a view, not only for Kestrels.

This was our third visit to The View in two days.  I think we like it. We are to buy.  On this visit we chatted with the immediate neighour, Rob and the opposite neighbour Ron.  I had told Gek before we left Penang that within hours of moving into a street in Wales, the neighbours would be round for a chat.  In this case, we haven't moved in yet and within 15 mins we are on friendly terms with next door.

Five minutes walk round the corner the local pub.  Very local pub it is too.

On the very top of Hengoed Hill a chapel established in 1710 with the present building going up in 1829.

 From the foot path behind The View.

Gek in her new Berghaus all weather coat.  Could be doing a bit of rambling by'er in the coming  months.  And yes, that is a blue sky you see there.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Welsh Weather

Sunday, clear and bright,

Tuesday, cloud and wetting mist.  The way of the weather in Wales, but beautiful whatever the Atlantic throws at us. Those are low flying crows, not the old RAF Black Arrows.