Monthly Archives: March 2016

Easter etc

We’ve had some really great weeks since coming back from the Netherlands and some particularly important milestones. First and perhaps most importantly, Morgy turned two!  He looks thrilled right?

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We invited some of the neighbours over and every single one of them turned up.  Now that’s something I can’t complain about — this is possibly one of the friendliest neighbourhoods I’ve ever lived in and the Welsh are some of the nicest people on the planet.

It’s also pretty interesting living in these terraced, Edwardian houses and fun to compare and contrast.  From the front, they all look deceptively similar.

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But when you go inside someone else’s, you see just how different they are.  Apparently, we have one of the longest kitchens on our side of the street, and a downstairs bathroom (quite coveted!).  I had a ten minute conversation with Peter, Carol and Reisha at the door of our upstairs bathroom as we compared the directions of our bathtubs and the size of our back bedrooms.

More nuances came to light as I talked to the neighbours on the north side of the street, who get the sun through their front rooms.  We’re on the south side so we get the sun in the back of our house, which means our front room is the darker, colder (and draftier!) one.  This is fine with me because it means we will be enjoying barbecues in the back yard in the summer until late (should summer ever arrive!).  [Moving swiftly on.]

There were two other very important milestones for me personally in the week Morgy turned two.  First, I got back on my bike for the commute to work, which was just fantastic!  I love riding my bike — it’s great for fitness, it’s great for the planet, it’s great for clearing your mind — and heck, it’s free!  I’ve never commuted in a car to work until living in Cardiff and it’s just so… annoying.  Anyways it’s great to be back on the bike and it means the boys can have the car without having to drop me off at work first.  Were my muscles sore you ask?  Well my calves were but the quads were fine.  As it turns out, I have no arm muscles left so they couldn’t get sore…!

And — for the dancers amongst us — I did my splits on both sides for the first time in about 2.5 years!  Honestly this nearly brought me to tears — not out of pain but out of … emotion…?  As most of us women do, I think I went into pregnancy quite naively, having no idea what would (or could) happen to my body.  Of course I knew I was risking stretch marks but I didn’t really contemplate other potentially horrifying physical impacts (which most women keep quiet! BIGGEST CONSPIRACY EVER).  You may remember that I had a terrible time with my pelvis while pregnant (and in the years since) and it’s only since doing my splits again that I feel like some semblance of my old body has returned.  Yay anyways for bodies and their resilience.

Right, onto less emotional happenings.  Aled and Morgy were up in the Brecons enjoying the last bits of winter.  We’ve had some comments on the wet nappy in this picture but what can I say?  These are real mountain men!

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My genius DIY husband called on the skills of his ancestors to build this stone raised bed so he can show Morgy how vegetables grow this summer.  I don’t even think Aled googled this — just got up and decided he would build it — sweet as!

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And then it was out to Pembrokeshire for Easter.  We had some nice weather on Friday so went down to Newport Sands but then it turned to custard unfortunately on Saturday (and not the edible type).

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There’s Morgy and Kate near the newly planted fruit trees — six of which are ours.  Three plums and three apple.  We’re expecting our first harvest in summer 2018.  (I’ve paid very expensive botanical consultancy and planting fees to secure the sunniest part of this orchard!  Yeah right, thanks Steve!)

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And the egg hunt.  No need for an Easter basket when you’ve got a dump truck!

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With many thanks to Nana and Teidi for having us all for Easter!

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Spring please?!

Crikey another month has passed… where does the time go?  Honestly the time just seems to slip by and every day feels like a marathon to run, a mountain to climb!  I feel exhausted on most days but the boys keep me going.  I should try and reduce the number of things I attempt to fit into my awake time but there’s always something to do — a birthday card to write, a tax form to fill in, a dentist appointment to schedule, a friend from far away to re-connect with.  I know parents have been busy since time began but I wonder if life was always this manic?  I am convinced life before the smart phone was far simpler.

Luckily I only work four days a week so I don’t feel like I am totally missing out on Morgan’s youngest years.  And it also means I’ve been able to enjoy some settled February days when the sun actually shone on the garden!  A welcome break from the horrors of November, December and January.

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In February we went down to Devon to help tidy up Willowdene, Uncle Martin’s house.  Uncle Martin passed away last June and the Evans family has been on quite a journey since then, working hard to ensure his collection of stamps and postal history books made it to the right libraries, museums and auction houses.  His memory lives on in his brother, his five nephews, their wives, and his philatelist friends around the world.

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The other mildly interesting thing worth mentioning is our trip to the Netherlands last week.  As you may remember, I am currently working on a project at the International Baccalaureate and I attended an architecture summit in their Hague office.  Since Aled is still a stay at home Dad, we decided to make a trip of it.

We flew over on the Saturday before the conference started and stayed in a house down in Scheveningen (a small town right next to the Hague), which is both close to the beach and within easy cycling distance of the IB office.  We headed into Amsterdam for a whistle stop tour on Sunday morning.  Morgan loved the trains but thought the canal boat tour was just ok.

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Mommy was far more enthusiastic… I mean just look at these buildings!  And bridges!  I love Amsterdam!  Just love it!  Look how quaint it is!

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We had lunch with my old neighbour Frank (from Weesp) and his partner Joke.  It was so nice to see them and brought back some really fond memories of writing my masters thesis in 2006.  I finished it when I was living above Frank’s office and I was so flattered when he asked for a copy of it.  I’m not sure how many other people bothered reading it, hahaha!

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Yup — I love this place!  I’m not sure why, but I feel really at home in the Netherlands.  I love the Dutch and I love zooming around on my bike.  It’s all so… convenient.  Perhaps this is a reaction to my daily commute here in Cardiff — in the car on the motorway.  I’m hoping to find a cycle route when the weather gets nicer.  Fresh air is good.

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Here I am getting ready to cycle to work in the Hague… very stylish no?

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So the boys had an awful lot of fun while I was slaving away.  They explored the pier…

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And the beach…

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And of course, they watched some cranes.  Like most boys, Morgy loves watching all sorts of construction and destruction.

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We were blessed with another beautiful sunny day on the Saturday following the conference so we headed over to Madurodam, a model village in the Hague.  Well maybe it’s more like a model country.

 

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I’ve only been to one other model village at that was in the Cotswolds last year, in a little town called Bourton on the Water.  Since then, I’ve become a huge fan of model villages.  Look how cool they are!

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Here’s Morgy and Dadda trying to prevent a major flood!

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And look, we couldn’t have a post about the Netherlands without some windmills!

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I will sign off with a Chocomel — which I dedicate to Fieke H, my Masters study buddy.  Without countless cups of Chocomel, I’m certain neither of us would have finished our theses on time.

IMG_7741PS — to all of those whom I did not manage to see while we were in the Netherlands, I am sorry!  Travelling with a toddler on a work trip is hard work.  Hope to see you next time!  Or… come visit us in Cardiff!  XOXO