15 July 2024

Joining a running club

I'm not quite sure when the idea was planted in my brain. I love running! I have been doing it for well over 10 years. And there are other people who love it too. Is it perhaps a good idea to join a club?

I do know that I was considering it when I was doing the Tuesday evening series. There were always Eryri Harriers, and they were always very kind and welcoming. They organise these events, as well. And that would be the club I would join. I live in their territory, and they seem a good bunch. They also do any type of running, which is nice.

One day I decided to go for it, and I contacted their membership secretary. A short while later I had a response, and I paid my fees. I was a member! I also joined their Facebook groups.

I didn't immediately do anything with that membership. The next thing I did with running was run a race, but I had registered as an unaffiliated runner, and I didn't have club kit yet, so there wasn't anything different yet. I did chat to some other Harriers. Thursday Hill training came up! And I really liked the sound of that. But that race was on the Wednesday, the day after cave rescue training, and I wanted to have a normal evening for a change. So that week I didn't go. I also know about Monday training, but I think that's on the athletic track, and that attracts me less. I might show up anyway! To get a bit of club spirit.

This might be a big change in my running career! I am curious to see how it pans out…

This should be my racing outfit soon! 

14 July 2024

Search practice, with technology

Immediately after the graduation ceremony, there was a cave rescue training. That was quite the transition! I drove home, went to the loo, fed the cat, changed out of my dress and into quick-dry trousers, and left again. I would eat dinner at the car park. I had packed sandwiches. 

We would do a surface search training this time. Our mapping expert had made a map with pretty much all (potential) underground venues on it, and the idea was that we would practice using that. He had instructed us to all upload GaiaGPS on our phones, and had sent us a file with all venues in one part of the woods where we would meet. 

When we got there, Ed the mapping expert first talk a bit through the software. Then he subdivided us into three teams, and gave each team a piece of paper with coordinates on, and a radio. And with the help of GaiaGPS we were expected to go to the coordinates, and report back via radio.

We did that, and from these coordinates he sent us to the first mine entrance he wanted us to check. It was very easy to navigate to it! We reported on its details, which I suspect he has by now added to the map. And then he sent us to a few more locations.

I imagine he must have kept a very cool head! All three teams were really frequently reporting back to him. He must have somehow made notes of what we all told him, kept track of where everyone was on the map, and had ideas of where else to send us. And we also sometimes told him we had spotted potential entrances that were not on the map, or if we thought a feature on the map had been misidentified.

Working with the map software went fine, radio communications went fine, it wasn't raining, and the midges were annoying but not too bad. So I think it went really well! And at some point we were all sent back to the parking lot.

In the debrief we discussed things such as what you can and cannot do when you don't have internet signal, the pros and cons of having all the information on our phones, how to combine the software with paper maps if needs be, how long a mobile phone battery last while running the mapping software, and things like that. Very useful if you ask me!

Then people started dispersing. I took the opportunity of giving my helmet with light to Miles, as there was an issue with the cabling or connectors. This had happened during the previous exercise. The light itself was still working, but that is not much use if it struggles to connect to the battery! And Miles is a champion electrician.

The last thing I did was discuss with Ed details of one feature we were convinced had been misidentified. And then it was time for me to head home as well. Time to wash the combine sweat of an academic gown in a glamorous hall, and of a cave rescue jacket in a slightly muggy woodland off me. I'm glad we had this practice, as I do sometimes veer in the direction of troglodytism…

Several of the venues we checked out

13 July 2024

Summer graduation 2024

It was time for digging out a smart outfit! Graduation was imminent. I decided on a dress and black boots. The gown providers had a black gown with gold lapels (if that’s what you call them in a gown) for me. And I went to the council chamber to await lining up in the cort├Ęge. It was busy there! 

When we got to the podium I was wondering if we would even have enough seats. I ended up on fourth row, and half of the row was unusable as the chairs were touching the chairs in front! No space for legs. But we all fit. I didn’t have a very good view, though. 

My view during the ceremony 

About half the students in the ceremony were from our School. I knew so many! It was good to see them all robed up, being congratulated by the VC. 

When we were done there was the obligatory group picture in the courtyard. (Sometimes I don’t get to see that picture. You would think it’s little effort to plonk it on Facebook!) And then we could pick out individuals and congratulate them. Students you have supervised in their final project, or personal tutees, tend to be the ones you want to see most. 

Happy picture with Dei, new BSc Lewis, new MSc Finley, and me

Staff pic

After a while we all went to the other courtyard, where all the parents and other associates were. It was nice to meet parents, and be able to congratulate them with their offspring. And there were some pics taken. But after a while I figured it was time to hand the robe back and head for the reception. So I did! 

There were more people to congratulate there. I also expected Finley, my master student, to show up with entourage. But that didn’t happen! And I had to go. Different duties were calling. So that was it for this summer! I hope we’ll see some of our graduates again! 

12 July 2024

Summer work

The last thing I mentioned about work was the big wave of academic integrity cases that came just before the big marking deadline. So what happened next? No work? Well, less than average obviously, with me swanning off to Finland, and then taking a day off for the occasion of my dad’s visit. But the work doesn’t stop!

Three big things that happen in this period are Supplementary Assessment Week, Quality Assurance, and getting the module websites for next year ready. The first is a period (this year suddenly extended by a second week) in which students who have either not done assessments for reasons of illness and suchlike, or students who have not passed the year but could redeem that, can do assessments. If that goes well, they can still pass the year. If that is their final year, though, they will only get their graduation ceremony in winter. 

This year there were more of these assessments than ever before. Something is not going quite right! We might need to try to find out why this is. But we all had to set up these assessments for all our modules; sometimes a first sit for each separate assessment, and then an additional assessment for students trying to redeem the entire module. And then we have to mark it all. 

Quality Assurance involves evaluating all your modules, evaluating how the changes implemented last year have panned out, addressing all the feedback the students have given on it, and detailing what changes will be made for the new year. The deadline for making substantial changes, though, has already passed. 

The module websites are delivered to us as an empty template from a central source, and then we have to populate them. Some of that is just a question of copying information over from last year. A lot of it, as well, has to be custom-made. An overview of what happens when might have to be adjusted to the new timetable. Sometimes you have to re-record your lectures. If you have new or change assessments, these have to be put on there. Et cetera!

The new template has pretty pictures!

There's more going on, of course; I myself have been quite busy with updating the School EDIS induction information, and have been trying to organise a new procedure for the induction. New employees should be given information by their line manager, the head of the technical staff, and me as the equality, diversity, inclusivity and sustainability (that last term was added recently) lead of the School. Suddenly I wasn't being informed anymore of new arrivals, and I have been running around trying to find out why, and what now. And then there are always smaller things happening.

There is obviously still a lot to do, but at least in summer, it doesn't really matter when you do it. Not very many things are timetabled. So you can organise other things, such as sustainability surveys of your house, and organise work around that. I enjoy that!

Will I reach new academic year without too much stress? We'll see! I have a few time-consuming tasks on my hand, and I have one module I really need to think about how to do things in practice. Stay tuned!

11 July 2024

Slate Trail maintenance

I hadn't seen Kate for a while, what with all my recent travelling. So when she was available on the Saturday after my dad's visit, I was glad. She suggested we walk part of the Slate Trail. We had, of course, already done the entire thing, but she had recently become one of the volunteers who maintains it, or rather, a dedicated part of it. So we were going to walk that!

The forecast was rain all morning, then a nice afternoon, and then rain again in the late afternoon. So I got to her place at around lunchtime. And we decided to have lunch first.

After lunch we set off, and parked in the valley of Afon Cynfal. Bryn was keen to get started! Unfortunately, he was also very keen to eat as much sheep poo as he could. And human poo as well, unfortunately. Kate had to keep a close eye on him.

Near the start

She also kept a close eye on the route. She photographed all the way markers. Were they in good condition? If they weren't, she would be the person to replace them. And on a stretch that I remembered as being really awful with regard to the bracken, she cut some down. The dog noticed and started helping. He ate any inconvenient grass that got in the way!

Later in a field with high grass he had an absolute whale over time. Most of the time he is just trotting along, or focused on any sheep poo he can eat, but here he was so busy running around like a headless chicken he didn't seem to think of anything else. It was very cute.

We also got to a bit of an ambivalent crossing over a fence. The signage seemed to direct you to an uncomfortable crossing with barbed wire, while 2 m away, but a bit hidden, was a better crossing without. Kate added a way marker, and chopped down some of the bracken that obscured the view.

When we were near the hillfort we had a little snack break. That bit of the route is also very beautiful! All the way until you have to be on asphalt for a while, on road to the Manod Quarry. And in order to get there, you have to lift the dog over a stile. He can do ladder stiles on his own, and some other stiles, but this one had too much of a step over a wire fence. He is 35 kg but we did it. 

The road to Manod

Kate & Bryn framed by mining relics

When you reach the end of the quarry road you're back on an old and pretty tramway. That's lovely again! After descending into Cwm Penmachno we had to walk on the road for about half a mile, and then we were back on paths through fields. And we found out comfortable time was up. The rain predicted for the late afternoon was making its appearance! That was a bit sub-ideal. But not the end of the world.

Bryn & Cwm Penmachno 

It is a fair distance on a gravel road, and then a short stretch on asphalt, and then you are back in the village. We weren't even that wet, but we were still wet enough to want to change into dry socks, shoes and trousers. Which we did! Festooned with a cup of tea.

It was already dinner time, and I was hungry, but I first brought Kate back to her car, which was still towering over Afon Cynfal. And then I drove home, to quickly dive into the fridge.

It has been a pleasant afternoon! And I could imagine that looking after a stretch of Slate Trail is quite nice. Maybe I should check if they need more volunteers. It comes through my village as well, after all!

10 July 2024

End of the cake competition

It was a long time after the semifinals! I suppose the two final bakers may have been on fieldwork a lot this spring and summer. But finally, the final came. It was a battle between lemon meringue pie and cinnamon buns. We would combine this with the end-of-academic year social. 

When it is the final it is followed by the award ceremony, so we have to hurry up with the voting. And the final is busier than normal. That means everybody knows there is a limited cake, limited time, and a lot of people! So everyone goes early. Everyone, except one of the bakers. He had reached the final being late, and totally losing his anonymity carrying in his creation. And he did it again! There were a lot of expectant eyes on him when he walked in…

There was a sizable queue. I was in it on time! I could try both entries. And they both were very good. But I was even more taken by the cinnamon buns than by the lemon meringue pie. So that was what I voted for. 

Just after 11 we were called in. The head of school would announce the winner. And it was my esteemed colleague Craig, with the cinnamon buns. Master of baking, but not at all master of doing it anonymously. And now he will get to decide what charity the proceeds of the cake competition go to. Unfortunately, he will also have to organise the whole thing next year! I am already contemplating recipes to try out then…

Craig (on the right) being congratulated by the head of school

09 July 2024

Election results

I didn't want to count my chickens before they were hatched. All the polls suggested a big Labour win, but the polls aren't always right. I decided I would only get cheerful, or otherwise, when the results were in.

I woke up on the day after the elections at about 6 am. The cat was running through the bedroom, meowing. Maybe she was excited about the elections as well. I decided I might as well decide the day had started, and I switched on the radio. And the massive Labour win had indeed materialised! And no Tory seats at all in all of Wales! What a lovely way to wake up. 

From the BBC website 

I also checked the results for my own constituency. It was a new constituency; we had been Arfon, with a Plaid Cymru MP, but now we were Bangor Aberconwy, which includes places like Conwy and Llandudno, so was much more wealthy and English. When the constituency lines were redrawn by the Tories, they had probably figured that that would be enough to swing that entire constituency to Tory. But were they right? 

You couldn't expect the radio to give the results for every constituency, so I checked that online. We were Labour! I was a bit surprised; I had only seen placards for Plaid Cymru, and not really bothered with checking the predictions. Where I had seen my placards are not the most densely populated parts of the constituency. So it hadn't been representative. But I am happy with a Labour MP. Let's hope she does well!

My constituency indicated by the arrow

It was quite satisfying to follow the news that day. Lots of big names in the Conservative Party had lost their seats. The liberal democrats had bounced back. And the Greens had more MPs than ever before! And Reform had fortunately not done all too well.

It was a good way to wake up! And a good way to end the week. And I hope the next five years will be quite satisfying. Labour has been deeply disappointing during the campaign (although you could ask: what campaign?) but the proof of the pudding is, obviously, in the eating. So we'll see! At least I couldn't have hoped for better election results!

08 July 2024

Neuadd Ogwen finished and tried out

Finally, the concert venue next door had soundproof doors! And it didn't waste any time; the very same week they were going to try them out. They had organised an evening with several DJs, and I was sure that their brief had been to just make a lot of noise. Dilwyn, the manager, had told me about this, and said he was going to be running around the building measuring sound levels to see how good these doors really were. And so it happened!

Doors in position, and pebbledash too

I was home late that day, as I had met my Welsh tutor in the pub. So by the time I got home, the party had already started. And I was glad to hear the sound being very muffled! That's how I like it.

Later there was a knock on the door; as expected, it was Dilwyn with his measuring equipment. I invited him in. I was quite pleased with the doors, but he wasn't yet! It was still louder than the wanted it to be. He said that the doors had gaps. One thing he had noticed but that there is a light coming past the doors in the porch. That shouldn't happen! And what I hadn't spotted yet was that the doors in the very back of the venue hadn't been fully installed yet. The builders would have to come back to finish them. If you put your ear to the door pane, you could hear the noise. So that really still needed to be improved on!

It is true you could still hear the music inside my house, but with it being that muffled I was not worried at all I wouldn't be able to sleep through it. And I indeed slept like a log. The one thing I am still nervous about is the artists unloading after the gig. That is obviously something they do outside, right underneath my bedroom window! Soundproof doors don't do much if you're outside of them. But I didn't notice anything.

There will soon be some concerts; in the next two weeks both Arrested Development and Huey Morgan are due to play. By that time, hopefully the installation of the doors will really be finished. And then I can judge the final product. But I have faith!

07 July 2024

On television

More than a year ago I was asked to collaborate on a television programme about sea level change and Wales. It had been an interesting morning! But then, of course, it ends up in the editing studio, and you never know when it will actually be broadcast. If you are interviewed for the news the turnaround time is quick, of course, but this wasn't. But they hadn't forgotten about me. I got an email to tell me this week, it will actually be broadcast! I was glad they had thought of me. I won't watch, of course, given that I don't have a TV licence, but I hope other people will see it and hopefully enjoy it. Did I make sense at the time? I hope so!

06 July 2024

Having a sustainability survey done on my house

In January, I attended a sustainability event, during which there was a presentation by an initiative on making houses more sustainable. You could get a state-sponsored survey on your house, which would result in a detailed report on how you could improve sustainability and how much that would cost. That sounded good! So not long after the event I emailed the organisation to officially declare my interest. I got a message to thank me for my message and that they would get back to me. That took a while though!

When they did get back to me we quickly sorted out an appointment. And two men showed up: Raman, who I had met at the sustainability events before, and an additional man, Dewi. And we first sat down to talk through some things. Raman filled out an extensive form. I had also sent him energy and water bills beforehand.

When we were done with that, Raman started measuring up the entire house. Measured sizes, noted windows, measured moisture content of the walls, took notes of heating, measured airflow of fans, and whatnot. He looked both inside and outside of the house, and even had a look in the loft. It took a fair while!

Raman’s door gap meter

In the meantime I had asked Dewi if he spoke Welsh, and he did, so I basically took the opportunity to have a bit of a chat in that language. That was nice! But in the meantime I was starting to get a bit nervous. At some point I had to go to work, and this was looking like it would take longer than planned. But in the end, Raman declared his information-gathering finished. And the next stage was that he would go to his office and prepare a report. So we said our goodbyes. 

After they had left I sent him a floor plan of the house which might help him; he had taken his own measurements, but it can be nice to cross-check that with an original source. And later I got an additional request for some information on my solar panels and some other last loose ends.

Now I have to wait several weeks for the report to arrive. I am curious to see what it will say! I assume that they will recommend more insulation in the loft, and I should indeed to make that happen. Additionally, I think they would recommend that I put more insulation between the old(er) part of the house and the extensions. Between the bedroom and the conservatory there is an old thin door and some single glass, and the same holds for between the kitchen and the kitchen extension. That probably leaks quite a lot of heat in winter. Not sure what else they will say! Which is good; if they would only suggest things I could've thought of myself it wouldn't be a good use of time and money.

I will report back when the report is in. I hope a lot of it is implementable without too much hassle!

05 July 2024

Swift boxes responsibility

There is an array of swift boxes fixed to the building where my office is. It's nice to hear them screaming around, and see them pop into and out of the boxes. But these boxes also attract a lot of swift researchers (swifties?). A while ago there was a cherry picker in front of the building, as people were installing a camera in one of the boxes. And later there was lots of walking around in my corridor as a microphone was also installed in one of them. They were doing that through the window, and the cable went through that same window to power the equipment.

A while ago I was coming out of the building to get to my bike to go home, and there were lots of swift people there. And it turned out that they had a new trick; they had fixed Velcro to all the boxes, with the idea of being able to attach a battery powered microphone pack to them. Most of them are not positioned so that you can easily run a cable to them. And they had put one such pack up.

I had a chat with them. It’s interesting to see what they could do with audio! The idea is that you can hear the parent come in with food, and that you can check what the time intervals are between these visits. What determines their length? Short ones mean it’s relatively easy to get a full load of food. If the periods get longer, something is amiss. It would be interesting to find patterns in this.

We also discussed the sparrows that seemed to very proudly take over these boxes in the winter, when the swifts are away. The swift people told me that indeed they often managed to get one brood in before the swifts return! I can imagine why they sometimes triumphantly stick their little sparrow heads out of the swift boxes and cheep away to tell everyone what they’re up to. 

Bold sparrow declaring themselves a squatter

When they had my ear anyway, the swift people asked if I would check every morning if the battery-powered microphone pack was still in position, and report back. So I did! 

I just reported all was well for two days. On the third day I had to report it seemed to be tilting. And the week after it was at a really precarious angle. 

Left: June 26 (the 3rd day); right; July 3

How will this saga continue? Will the swift people appear on time to save their microphone pack? Will they have to buy better Velcro? Will they indeed manage to find out under what circumstances it is easy for the swifts to find food without too much effort? Time will tell!

04 July 2024

Learning PSA the modern way

I had done particle size analysis (PSA) for my PhD, but nothing really since. The laser particle size we had was quite old then, and I did my work in the early noughties. I figured a lot would have changed since then! But I knew that Ocean Sciences had bought a new machine, and there was an offer for being trained up to use it. I took that offer. It is a very useful skill to have! Foraminifera often care about grain size, and given that they are nowadays increasingly used as environmental indicators, and pollution really cares about grain size, it has only become more important. And this machine can even give you the shape of your particles. Jaco and I had been wondering if it can tell the difference between  foraminifera and sand, or even between planktonic and benthic foraminifera! If it can, that could save a lot of time in some projects…

We spent the morning being told and shown by an employee of the manufacturer how it works. It looks like it is fairly straightforward. Only really doing some measurements will show if that is true or not. I'm sure I can use this in some Masters projects! A good thing to get out of the way during the relatively quiet time in summer…

03 July 2024

Guided walk about On Nos Olau Lleuad

I looked at the weather forecast, changed into quick-dry trousers, and set off to the starting point of the guided walk about celebrated Welsh book Un Nos Olau Leuad. We would gather rather high up in the village, and I assumed we would walk down from there. The evening would end in a pub near me. 

It was only raining mildly. I figured that I was the first one! You could either go straight to the beginning, or hitch a ride with the local electrical van, and I had chosen to walk. I figured the van would first wait for stragglers, and be a bit later. And soon another slightly bedraggled lady ended up at the same address. I approached her asking if she was there for the same purpose, and she was! And then more appeared. Two of them I recognised from an earlier guided walk; that had been archaeology and ecology in the Carneddau. We had a nice chat.

After a while we decided to check the junction nearby, and we found the van and everybody belonging with it. They hadn't bothered to look around the corner to the actual address where they had told us to meet. But now we were complete, and it could start. 

The first thing the guide, Ieuan Wyn, did was if a bit of an introduction. He reminded people of when the book was written and published, and what the circumstances were of the author. He also touched on the form of the narrative; it’s childhood memories from an adult man. Even though that is a bit weird; when you read the book, it really has a childlike perspective, where things that happen are taken as given, and not reflected on. Adults looking back tend to do that differently, but hey ho. 

He then proceeded to mention a lot of locations that were mentioned in the book, and explained what their real names were. Quite a lot of them are slightly altered, and some I thought I recognised, but wasn't sure of. Braich-> Braichmelyn, Pont Stabla -> Pont Twr (the most plausible bridge), etc. Some locations I really couldn't place, like an auntie’s house which turned out to be in Deiniolen, and the house where the protagonist lives. And that was the house where we had gathered. 

The street and house where both author and protagonist lived

Ieuan Wyn explain the various locations where the author had lived, which were all quite nearby. And took us to the house that is the location of a nasty eviction at the very start of the book. But then the rain was hammering down! It was decided that we will try to do some of the talking inside the bus. We could still see the locations from the inside. And after we had seen these locations higher up in the village, we went to the church. The protagonist is a churchgoer, not a chapel goer. I had never been in there! It had been built by Penrhyn Estate (of course) and there are several scenes that are set inside it. It was nice to see the details all matching up.

To the church 


After church we went to the little parking space next to my house, as that plays a role as well. Not as a parking lot, obviously. But although there were probably about 20 pubs in the town at the time where the novel is set, there is only mention of one (now closed), and that his back entrance where is now the parking lot. So some of the scenes were really set nearby! And the guide also spoke a bit about the two various locations where there had been holding cells; I blogged about the older ones earlier, and now I also know where the newer ones, in use at the time of the book, are. I think had actually found out before, but forgotten again. 

After that we went to the pub. I was glad! I was hoping for something hot. The communications about this event had been that a light meal would be served. Coming in we noticed it wasn't hot at all, but at least we could get a hot cup of tea or coffee with it. That helped!

I chatted a bit more with some of the other participants, but I did not stay long. And even then it was after nine when I left. And the next day was going to be a long one. But I was glad I had gone. It really lives more in your head if you know where all these scenes are set! So that was an evening well spent. And I was also glad I had managed to read almost the entire book beforehand. The guide read out scenes that related to the locations where we were, and I recognised all of them from recently having read them. Even finishing the book would not have given me more relevant locations. So both the re-reading and the walk were a success! I am now a better informed reader and Bethesda resident…

02 July 2024

Visit by my dad

My dad is a train nut. And he sometimes goes on holiday with other train nuts, to look at trains. And this summer, he would visit Liverpool in that context. And that’s not far from Wales! So he figured he might drop by. And we made it happen. 

Organising the logistics was not straightforward, but we had sorted it out the previous time I was in the Netherlands. So on the day I knew which train I had to pick him up from. I thought. I was a bit early and decided to go to the platform. And who was there? My dad! He had decided to take an earlier train, and, being 86, he hadn’t thought it was the obvious thing to do to send me a message to let me know. 

We got home and had lunch. In the garden! He had been looking forward a lot to sitting in the garden. But after lunch he thought it was a bit chilly. When we had a drink later on we did it in the conservatory. At least you can see the garden from there. 

The cat had my dad wrapped around her paw as well; she often held on to the comfy chair

We also went the cheese shop between lunch and drinks. It would be nice to be able to offer him local cheese. And for my once indefatigable dad, that was enough of a walk! He feels his age. And I went for a run; I wanted to keep that routine up. I want to feel my age as little as possible.

The Friday would have good gardening weather, but we seemed to get distracted. My dad, who is an unstoppable DIY-er, spotted that the toilet seat wobbles, and wanted to do something about it. Together we managed. 

I also hauled him up to a local event of which I had slightly misinterpreted the content. Oh well! He now knows of a community initiative. We didn’t stay long and it was only 200m away, so not much was lost. And he did see a chance to cut the grass (his offer) while I went for a run. It was sweet that the neighbour’s dog tried his bark-for-cuddles routine on him and it worked! 

The Saturday was supposed to be rainy, but in practice it wasn’t bad at all. We got some good work done in the garden! And we mucked out the gutter of the conservatory. And when I say ‘we’ I mean my dad. 

Some good ladder skills at 86

We also sat down with his phone! I knew he would get himself a smartphone, because I had heard him ask my sister if she could advise him on that. So now he had one, but he didn’t know how it worked. And it was a Samsung (I don’t like them!) so I wasn’t very familiar with it either, but a combination of trial and error and googling on my iPhone got us far. By the evening he was actively texting relatives and acquaintances! A keen student. And if he took long over composing a text I used the opportunity to make progress in my book I wanted to finish that weekend

We also properly installed the new cat flap. After the cat demolished the old one, I had only managed to half install the new one. If I fully installed it the flap wouldn’t move freely in the frame. And it was mysterious why! But we sorted it. 

We also of course spent plenty of time having tea or wine or suchlike and chewing the fat; unfortunately, rarely in the garden. And with all that, the last evening passed.

The next morning was not very relaxed; when I got up I checked my dad’s trains. His Eurostar seemed to be running as normal, but his direct train to London was cancelled due to personnel shortages. (Last time I travelled, it had been floods.) So he had to take an earlier, indirect one. But we found out on time. And soon I waved his train goodbye. 

There he goes

01 July 2024

Re-reading Un Nos Olau Leuad

Before I had the faintest idea I would ever live in Bethesda I had read this book, which is by many considered to be the best book written in Welsh ever, and it’s both set in the town, and written by a man who was from there. I didn't really recognise any of the places mentioned in the book. It is cleared at a lot of places are not referred to as modern inhabitants do. Back in the early 20th century, the A5 was not known as the A5, for instance! 

Moving to Bethesda I became more curious where everything would have taken place, but I didn't really act on that curiosity. Until I saw advertised a guided walk in the area in the theme of the book. It would both involve locations that had been important in the life of the writer, and locations that feature in the book. That sounded enlightening! I signed up.

That meant that now I needed to really quickly reread the book. I wanted to have it fresh in my memory when I would join the tour!