Adventures in the world of slow

After yesterday’s fun in the snow, today was always going to be a little slower. And in a triumph of wordplay, I decided to head off to the River Tawe to start using slow shutter speed techniques with my 10 stop ND filter on the waterfalls.

As if to confirm the slow nature of today, a selection of Sunday drivers littered the roads. It’s not just their inappropriate use of speed I dislike, it’s the generally poor standard of driving that comes with the Sunday driver; braking hard at the speed sign rather than slowing to meet it, failing to indicate and wandering all over the road to name three. All three of these were in evidence today.

At the river, we wandered and strolled, occasionally stopping for me to take long exposure photos. Slightly more occasionally, we stopped for Rufus to catch little stones, chase them into the water and for him to bark at me if I got anything wrong with either activity. Things that count as being wrong are:

  • Not throwing a stone
  • Throwing a stone in the wrong place
  • Taking too long between stone throwing
  • Taking too long to operate the camera
  • Not handing out enough treats

He’s a good teacher though, and is never slow to correct me if I make mistakes.

Before we knew it, we’d been out for over an hour. The clouds were beginning to peep over the hills and the temperature was starting to drop again as the sun became obscured by the first signs of the approaching rains. So we set off back to the car. I was surprised at how far we’d come along the river, which is well below the level of the road, and it took a little longer to reach the car than I had expected.

Our journey back included encounters with a driver who seemed to indicate at every roundabout junction, but never acted on the indication. I actually got quite good at anticipating where he was going by the position of the car on the road. Despite his attempts to run me off the road, we arrived home and settled down to a day of slow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One of those days

It was going to be one of those days. A ‘day after’ day. I’d had a busy Saturday – and early start followed by a late finish. In addition, today’s weather was forecast to be stormy with lots of wind and rain. A fine recipe for a day in watching TV with my feet up and ultimately achieving nothing. It started off on course – I had a lie in until 8.30am – very rare for me as I feel guilty if I’m in bed after 7! When I got up I was feeling quite awake and the predicted storm hadn’t arrived. Judging by the clouds, it wasn’t far off but at least I hadn’t woken to rain lashing against the windows.

Feeling suitably inspired, I decided to try my hand at some baking. I recently harvested a lot of apples from my tree, and some blackberries from the hedge line in the garden. So apple and blackberry pie was on the cards. I followed this recipe which was straight forward enough. but never having done anything like this before, I was glued to the iPad (which was displaying the instructions). In no time, the apples were simmering, the blackberries washed and my hands were covered in pastry mix. Persevering, I managed to come up with a reasonable pie in about an hour. By the time I’d got everything in the oven, the storm had found it’s way to Wales and I was watching the tress in the garden taking a battering as I did the washing up.

I left the pie to cool and headed off into the loft to continue laying the insulation. It’s going well, and today I was able to get rid of some of the rubbish up there (there was an old TV aerial we used to use for a second TV upstairs) and some odd bits of cardboard. The last roll of insulation I had went down, and some off-cuts filled in the gaps in the corners. By my estimation, another four rolls will complete the job. I then have to fix some more wood to the floor to make a walk way, and some raised platforms to store things on so the insulation isn’t compressed. It’s another two or three evening’s work.

Then, for fun, I took some self portraits using the infra red camera. It’s kinder to the skin as the infra red light penetrates the top layer slightly, hiding blemishes. Suddenly, it was 4pm and I wondered, as I always do on a Sunday, where the time had gone. It was clear outside – the storm had disappeared off to the north – and I popped outside to see what there was to see. I managed to gather a few more blackberries and was pleased to see that some of the spiders in the hedge had survived the wind and rain.

All in all, a day of trivia and little of any consequence, but no less enjoyable for that.

PS – just had the first few mouthfuls of my pie and it is delicious!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Chilled out Sunday

Sunday morning. There is already a ‘Groundhog Day’ feel as Rufus nuzzles my hand with his nose at 5.10am. I resist until 5.30 when we venture out into the pre-dawn morning so he can satisfy his need to clear the garden of all creatures. The birds were singing the dawn chorus and over the bay, a pinkish glow heralded the sunrise, which wasn’t due for a while yet.

Back in bed, I’m nice and warm again and Rufus settles back on his bed for a lie in until about 7am. Rufus scorns his breakfast until he has watched me eat mine and had his two little bits of toast. Only then does he devour his food.

I had originally planned to go to Whiteford but it would mean a 45 minute drive each way and as I had plans for the afternoon, we’d only get an hour or so there.  So Cefn Bryn became the new destination. 20 minutes to get there gave us more time to actually walk and enjoy the early morning. We had the ridge to ourselves and we walked unhurriedly along.

It was grey to start with but as we walked, so a break in the clouds approached from the west. In front of it, the clouds formed odd wave-like patterns that looked a bit like the patterns formed in sand by the tide. Between the cloud waves, the sky was a deep blue.

We spent nearly two hours on the common before most people had stirred. Birds foraged on the ground and only flew off as we got close. I watched three buzzards circling on air currents  and in the distance sheep grazed and some horses watched us walk by.

Back home, we chilled on the sofa for half an hour before I took Rufus back to his own house. Then it was off for Sunday lunch in a lovely old pub near Ewenny with a friend followed by a visit to Ikea. I was looking for a chest of drawers and managed to find one. But the box was so heavy and lacking in grip that it proved almost impossible to get it into the car. Only the laughter of my ‘friend’ fired me up enough to get the package into the boot.

Once I got home, I had to carry the box up the steps to my house. Once again the lack of anywhere to grip the box made it a nightmare to carry and it was heavy enough that I could feel my back beginning to hurt. Inside, I checked the package weight. 94lbs. Perhaps it should have been in two boxes! I left the assembly for tonight. I think it can wait while my back recovers.

All in all, a most enjoyable Sunday.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.