Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tea and family

Here we are in the pub, after the lovely tea at Fortum and Mason.

Here we are in Fortum and Mason having our tea
Here we are in Green Park on our way to tea

We had a great day. As Kate said - we packed an amazing amount into 1 day. Selfridges, Cabinet War rooms, Tea and a meeting in the pub, then home to cheese, wine and a film. And we lost an hour's sleep!

Great though - I really want to do it again next year.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Two nations divided by a single language

Our newspaper has just pointed out that there is an American TV programme starting here called The Mentalist (tee hee) and the first programme is directed by David Nutter! Ah That has made me smile all weekend!
Once again I am blogging about names!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lots of pix of Llantwit

It was such a beautiful day that I went for a walk with the camera. These pix are on the blog but if you want to look at them they are on Picasa too

I hope

Thursday, March 12, 2009


To be honest I have always been rubbish at sports. I wasn't always the last picked for teams as I was this height when I was 12 so I was often chosen as goalie in netball where I just stood in the way impressively. However, other than that it was never good. My PE teacher, Miss Tucker (who was lovely and a realist) once remarked that if only I could run as quickly on the tennis court as I did for the dinner queue I might have the makings of an athlete!
Out of the 5 of us siblings. The boys were quite sporty. Helen wasn't but 2 of her children are. But by the time it got to me there was nothing left in the gene pool for me and mine. It was a proud day in the Martin family when our children were put in the bottom set for PE at their High School. As Kieran remarked the bottom set was full of people who were too fat or too clever to be good at Sport. They seemed to spend their PE lessons being smart arses.
My school was far too small to have sets for PE. However by the fourth year (Yr10) we were allowed to choose which sport we did. The table tennis table was in a different room to the gym. So all the people who were too clever or too lazy to be good at sport (I can't really remember any fat girls and I admit I was lazy rather than clever) used to choose ping pong. Somebody would be lookout and we would simply sit round chatting for an hour or so unless Miss Tucker felt the need to look in on us.
Anyway, that is not to say that I don't do any exercise. I walk regularly and I go to Pilates once a week. I have done Pilates for several years and I think it keeps my stiff back moving. My Pilates teacher, Vicki, is lovely and has an excellent sense of humour. During Tuesday's class we were on the floor waving our legs around in some tortuous manner. Vicki said. "if you find this hard then you can lower your leg a little" I didn't need to be told twice and my raised leg was quickly a millimetre above the floor. Unfortunately Vicki was passing and said. "Choosing the lazy way,Frances?" and hoicked it higher again. Later in the class we were doing some complicated stretch during which I had entirely lost the plot. Vicki happened to be passing then. "Arm straight Frances! Ah your such a challenge to me!"
See nothing changes! She would get on well with Miss Tucker!

Monday, March 09, 2009

A moan

I am fed up with housework. I've got to be honest, it's not my strong point. I do have a bit of a weird obsessive compulsive in me in that I like things to be in their proper place or in neat little piles and get irritated when they're not. But actual dusting and getting into the corners is not my favourite past time. Which is a shame as it seems to need doing ALL the time! As soon as it's done it needs doing again! I work pretty hard (most of the time) during the week and just do not want to spend my weekends sweeping and hoovering and dusting and all that other crap. This weekend for example I went away to my friend Emilie's to help her celebrate her 30th birthday. I had a great time, came home tired and hungover and managed to ignore any gathering dust. I then go to work this morning, work all day, come home and go for a run with the dog and just as I am planning to settle down for the night and watch last night's Lost, I suddenly start noticing how dusty everything is and spend the next hour cleaning because I can't bear it - argh!!! I can't be alone in being completely and utterly fed up with this? Maybe I should just try and be like my friend Lyndsey who takes great pleasure in cleaning?

Anyway, moan over and in the mean time here's some pictures of me and my friends from university dressed up in an 80s theme for Emilie's birthday at the weekend. I decided to channel Joan Collins in a Dynasty stylee...nice. However despite the fact we look horrendous it was a lot more fun than bloody dusting :)

Visit to Crufts

Nicky and I went to Crufts yesterday and had a very nice day , pottering around and seeing lots and lots of different dogs. Here is a boxer who has clearly had enough of being on show and is having a nap.Here are some Pharoah hounds who are very intent on the lady preparing their dinner which is why they are so fixed on the same thing - they got chicken for dinner, which is better than what was on offer for the humans.
Here is a collie who is clearly interested in something going on down the aisle.
And finally here is the new love of Nicky's life. When we got to the corgis she was astonished that she had never met one before, and was totally smitten with the Pembrokeshire ones, like this one below. The are very fox like in the face, with huge bat ears and very bright, alert eyes. They have stopped docking their tails now, and they have lovely long bushy tails. Nic wants one. They are very cute, and as they were cattle dogs, will run and run for hours and can do agility courses and all sorts, which is a bit surprising as they have such short legs. We saw other Heelers (cattle dogs which nip the heels of the cattle, but are so low to the ground that if the cow kicks the kick goes over the top of them) from other countries and they are all the same basic shape, which was interesting.
It was interesting to see so many different breeds, a few of which I had never heard of. There were also loads of stalls selling all sorts of things. They had collars and leads covered with different colour diamante so you could have the ultimate bling dog if you wanted. Nic managed to get a fitted waxed jacket that she has been looking for for a while as well as a really nice waistcoat/bodywarmer and 2 shirts. When she goes racing and is leading the horse round the parade ring they have to dress smartly, and these will fit the bill admirably. They were all greatly reduced as well, so she had a very successful day indeed.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Blue screen

This is a picture of Helen, Brian and us at St Donat's at New Year. We propped the camera on a rock to take the photo so it''s a bit lob sided. But the back ground looks like a blue screen. It is as if you could substitute the Bristol Channel with the Taj Mahal if you so wish!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Blog for Helen

I have started a blog - just our of curiosity to see if I can keep it up and find something to write.

Here is the url if anyone is interested. (it's not very exciting)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


This weekend we had a lovely weekend in Woodstock (Oxfordshire not the famous festival place). Very nice it was too. I would post pictures but Trev was having trouble down loading them. Anyway they were mostly of our walks around Stowe and Blenheim. Very pretty too but there is plenty on the internet if you want to see pictures of them. Anwyay, on the way home we were a bit Stately Homed Out so we went to Bletchley Park, which is where the code breakers were based in the second World War. A very interesting place it is too. Enthusiasts have reconstructed the early computers by salvaging valves and transformers from machines. A real labour of love. One thing I learned this time was of the use of pigeons during war. No longer will I curse pigeons as flying rats because they are remarkable birds. Basically they would parachute them in to occupied territory and the resistance would use them to send messages to the UK. The Germans were aware of this and it was illegal in Nazi occupied territory to be in possession of a pigeon unless you had a licence and you could be executed if you were found with one. They had troups positioned on the coast whose job it was to shoot pigeons.
At Bletchley they have an excellent video telling you all this. It says the War office recruited the finest pigeons available. I just like the idea of a kind of James Bond pigeon. All a bit Nick Parks really!