Spring 2017

Hello everyone! Happy April!

As always time is flying by.  I last posted just before Morgan’s 3rd birthday which was the 14th of March.  We had a small get together at our house.  There’s Morgan with his new friends in Cardiff: Alex, Tommy and Fern (and Fern’s mum Becky).

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We were joined by a handful of our immediate neighbours too.  We have some very nice neighbours and I have used Morgan’s birthday this year and last year as an excuse to invite them all over.  From left you can see Sandra, Aled, Paul and Anurag enjoying the birthday treats.

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Shortly after Morgan’s birthday, we were struck by various bugs.  When I last wrote I had said we were sick in February — I didn’t know it then but we were actually in for far, far worse in the second half of March.  I got the Norovirus (which was SO disgusting!) and then Morgan and I got another terrible cold, which turned into laryngitis for me.   Morgan seems to pick these bugs up at nursery on a Monday/Tuesday and then we spend the rest of the week recovering in time for the next bout.

In between bugs, we caught up with some people (in outdoor spaces!).  Becky and I do our best to get Fern and Morgan out for a nature walk once a week (bugs permitting).  Becky knows all the good spots for short walks around Cardiff and I’m grateful for her insight!  Here we at Forest Farm canal over near Whitchurch:

walk with becky forest farm canal

We also managed some day trips to Bristol at the very end of March/beginning of April, first to catch up with Estelle at the Bristol Zoo:

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And then to meet up with Aled’s eldest brother William and family at the aquarium:

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As you can see the weather has been quite sunny.  The weekend before Easter was so sunny we even had a barbecue!

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I am still on a quest to finish painting these damn window frames…  honestly it feels like the story that WOULD NEVER END!!!  The good news is I’m nearly done with the painting today… in fact as I write this I am just waiting for the 3rd of 4 coats to dry on the “beadings” — the little beveled bits that get nailed into the frames.  Google window beadings if that explanation doesn’t do it for you.  I can tell you from first hand experience they’re really not that interesting.

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Over Easter, we took a trip up to see Uncle Ceri, Auntie Angela, Kate and Rachel up in North Wales.  It’s about a 4.5 hour drive on the winding Welsh roads so we of course take our travel pottie.  My parents may recall a similar picture taken of me on a trip down to Florida — what year was that Mom?  1983??  Anyways my pride for Morgan’s potty training continues!  We only get an accident now and again.  Yay!

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Anyways we had a fun-filled family weekend.  On the way up we stopped to say hi at Auntie Llinos and Uncle John’s (Llinos is one of my mother in law’s sisters).  We are always treated to a nice lunch and Morgan always manages to convince Llinos to part with a small toy (thank you!).

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Up in North Wales we were joined by William, Claire and the boys and had a great time at various attractions.  I really enjoyed the Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens where this picture was taken.  It was a walled garden that turned into a manicured hillside walk scattered with lots of secret waterfalls… my description doesn’t do it justice and it was a bit overcast so the photos don’t capture it — it felt quite magical and Morgy is obsessed with waterfalls recently so it was a win-win.

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The weather wasn’t the best in North Wales but we managed to get out and about.  We visited a couple of National Trust properties (Plas Newydd and Penrhyn Castle) where the kids participated in some Easter egg hunts and model train journeys.  The train below was tiny and went about 20 yards up “a terrific hill” (as described by the engineer).  It was probably on a 5 degree upward slope but apparently the tracks were slightly damp making it an extremely difficult journey.

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We also went for a couple of nice walks with Ceri and Ang.  The first was around a pretty glacial lake, complete with ice creams and cups of tea at the end of course!

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On Monday morning, Auntie Ang and I took the kids up to this beautiful lake while Aled and Ceri did the longer version up and around the mountains in the background.


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It’s actually quite atmospheric walking towards low cloud…

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But I’m not sure it’s as much fun if you’re up high in it…!?  Oh well, the Dads were so excited to be stretching their legs in the mountains, they didn’t much care!  And they’re Welsh, so this is normal.

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And then it was time to return to Cardiff — en route we stopped at the Hill family house — that’s the family of my mother in law’s other sister Mona.  It was great to catch up with the gang.  Many thanks for lunch and the hospitality!

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Lest anyone get the impression that I don’t actually go to work — let me reassure you.  I do lead a very “normal” life here in Cardiff.  This is the view from my desk towards the other really boring buildings in the Cardiff Gate Business Park (I won’t depress myself by posting a comparison with Wellington Harbour).

work view

In my role as the “Business Change Leader”, I am working hard to embed better planning disciplines so I have mapped out the Division’s critical tasks on a 2017 calendar so we can better manage key deadlines. This is the first step on a long journey to help make workloads more visible.

session calendar

Now before I sign off, I’m sure you’re all dying to know what’s happened to the downstairs loo!  We have fare-welled these horrible splashback tiles:

IMG_0674And voila!  The  new loo:

downstairs loo

There is still a lot of work to do to finish it off — varnishing, painting, and mirror to come — but it’s a vast improvement!! And we hope you visit soon 😉

So that’s all from Cardiff for now.  I could share my thoughts on the snap election that Mrs. May has called but I find the whole situation so annoying — and once again quite divisive — that I’ll just leave it at that.  There’s just so much political craziness in the Northern Hemisphere I don’t know where to start.  I’m not usually the type to ignore global happenings but in this case I think it’s the only approach to stay sane.  Good night and good luck everyone.

 

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