Early autumn 2019

This post is long overdue but what can I say? I’ve been working so hard this year, in particular since returning from America in mid-August.  I was asked to stay on as an interim Programme Manager at the QAA to oversee the delivery of its membership outputs and line manage the Membership, Quality Enhancement and Standards team whilst a new director was recruited.  It was exhausting but a good challenge for me and I’m really proud of what we managed to achieve.  I finished up there in late November after a 5 week handover to the new director.

The QAA is full of lovely people and I really miss my colleagues there, as well as my lovely landlady Claire, whose house I lodged at a few nights a week.  I couldn’t have managed the commute or the time away from the boys without her hospitality, moral support, and delicious Monday night dinners 🙂  Cheers to you Claire!


I will also really miss the Gloucester Cathedral, a building that truly inspired me and which I never tired of photographing.  Here is the cathedral on a beautiful sunny morning.


And here in the early evening… seriously how did they do this a millenia ago…!  Go ancestors!  Thank you for this amazing workmanship.


So now back to late August, to share the happenings since returning from the USA… first stop was the National Museum in central Cardiff to see the snake exhibit.  Snakes literally give me goose bumps but that’s sort of irrelevant when you are the mum of scientist!  Check this crazy snake out — desperate to find a way out!


And here’s Morgy and Aled – note outstretched tongue on small blond snake!  Highly dangerous!


Later we wandered up into the galleries and came across a really cool exhibit by a British artist named David Nash.  He makes all sorts of sculptures out of wood, including this awesome tower made out of cork bark!


We headed out to Pembrokeshire over the August bank holiday weekend and enjoyed some really fantastic weather.  Here we are with Nanna at the pub down in Pwll Gwaelod.


The major triumph of the weekend was getting both my inlaws in our inflatable kayak!  Here’s Nanna in the kayak with Aled at Pwll Gwaelod — Taidi went out the following day from Cwm yr Eglwys beach on the other side of Dinas Head.


Aled and I also enjoyed some rare time to ourselves on a hike up Dinas Mountain at sunset and had some beautiful views of the cliffs:


The following morning we went out for a kayak from Cwm yr Eglwys and I was SO MAD I didn’t have a camera!  The scenery was really spectacular, with emerald green water swirling around some impressive sea stacks and some amazing geological folds in the cliffs.  Really beautiful.

Back in Cardiff the following week, Morgan started Year 1 at Marlborough Primary School.  This is the only pic Aled got of him — annoyingly eyes closed!


Outside of work and school, we went on some adventures in September and October.  First was a short trip up to Symonds Yat for a hike in the Wye Valley, a lovely part of the world.


We hiked down to the river, passing a tree that had thousands of coins in it — just like in the Lake District!  What a strange phenomenon!


And then by the riverside, we had a butterfly photography competition.  Morgan had become fascinated with butterflies over the summer, especially after Taidi gifted him with several caterpillars in August.  They are now in a jar on the bookshelf, safe in their little chrysallises (sp? unsure of plural ha!), awaiting warmer weather.


That weekend we also stumbled upon a Mini convention down in Cardiff Bay!


Next was a local outing led by our neighbours Paul and Anurag – up the tower at St. Margaret’s church on the edge of Waterloo Gardens, one of the parks near our house.  (I will add here how delighted I am to see the flower beds growing after two summers without them whilst the flood defences were being built – humph!)


I don’t actually have a picture of the church from the outside but if you are desperate, you can read about it here.  In any case, the tower is only open once or twice a year and we’ve all been meaning to climb it — so thank you Paul and Anurag for paying attention to when it was open this year!

First a shot of the lovely mosaics at the bottom…


Here we go, up a very small spiral stair case…


Some beautiful light streaming through as we near the last ladder…


Nearly there…


And here we are!


It was cool to see our neighbourhood from above — certainly a different perspective of Penylan.


And then it was my birthday — one more year til 40 yikes!!  Where does the time go?


In October, we headed east to visit Aled’s eldest brother William, Claire, Owen, Alex and Dylan in Wokingham.  The weather was pretty horrible but it did not deter us from getting out and exploring Windsor… by boat!


That’s right folks, when you’ve got torrential downpour, don’t fight it — get on a duck tour!  Fun was had by all!  Here’s William, Claire and Dylan.


…and Dylan, Morgy and Alex.


All the pictures of me, Aled and Owen were blurry 🙁

Here’s a picture of the famous Windsor Castle — look at this miserable weather!  (Why do these people cling so stubbornly to this rainy rock?)  Weather aside, it’s great to connect with our British family here and Morgy loves playing with his cousins.  Thank you William and Claire for a lovely weekend  as always XOXO


On the way back west, we took a small detour south to pop into Nic and Liz who live in a beautiful village in Wiltshire.  Look, their roof is thatched!  Isn’t it awesome!?


Their village is so picturesque!


And they’ve got a new, adorable puppy named Arthur who was just bursting with energy — so cute!!


(Thanks for a lovely meal guys!)

… I am getting a bit tired so will stop here for now and pick up where I left off in the next post… a fantastic outing to Bristol to see the SS Great Britania with Estelle! XOXOX