Slip sliding awaaaay!

Out with Rufus this evening. Off to the river we went to catch the last rays of sunlight. I was looking for a place to cross so I could climb up to the stone circle. The river was quite full, as you would expect after a few days of rain. It takes a while to drain from the surrounding hills and mountains and the high water can be a few days after the actual rain has stopped.

So I was being extra careful in picking a place to cross. I had my wellies on so I could wade but even then, with some of the submerged stones slippery with slime, I had to be sure that my footing would be secure. All the while Rufus was crossing back and forth with four paw drive and the knowledge that I would dry him off later. Then I spotted it – a great big slab of rock, free from running water and extending almost two thirds the way across the river. I could cross on that, wade or jump the other bit and all would be well.

I got to the middle of the slab and suddenly I was falling. My foot had hit a damp patch that was like ice and my feet had gone from under me. You know when you fall and you feel it’s all going in slow motion., Well, that was me. I remember knowing I was going to be okay because the slap was bigger than me, and I remember thinking hitting the stone would hurt.

I landed on my hands and it did hurt. Then, a few milliseconds later, I started sliding down the slab towards the water. It was a pure cartoon moment. If I slipped off the slab, I would fall a foot or so into a pool of water that was probably deep enough for me to disappear under. I scrabbled and scraped and my fingers finally found the edge of the slab above my head and I managed to stop.

I may have sworn. If I did, it was probably only a mild expletive. Honest. I managed to stand up and found a crack in the rock to wedge my foot in. Then, pretending nothing had happened in case anyone was watching, I got back to the bank and started looking for another, safer, crossing point. The fingers of both hands had gone numb but I was okay.

I did manage to cross and I got to the stone circle. And I got back across safely again.

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Another day of fun

Another day off today – where does all that leave come from and how does the office get by without me? Answers to these are on my other blog – “101 improbable things”.

First stop, the bank to pay in some change I’d collected, and a cheque for £1.08 being the extra interest I’d earned on a now closed account. I was surprised to see that they had already started to demolish the buildings of St David’s shopping centre. I managed to get a few photos of the area so that i can compare them with photos taken after the demolition. I’ve been snapping around Swansea for years so that i can record the changes.

Then it was off to pick up Rufus for our day of fun. The weather forecast was for heavy showers so immediately after I picked him up, we went to the site of the old Felindre steel works, a local favourite of ours. We had half an hour of chasing sticks and stones before the drizzle started. So off we went to my house for food and to wait out the shower.

Eventually, it cleared enough that we decided to head off to Gower. Cefn Bryn is a ridge running along the peninsular at around 200m. If I remember my ‘O’ level Geology course, it’s made of Old Red Sandstone, which means at some point it was under the sea. It was just as wet as we set off. The rain was blowing into my face, covering my glasses water. Rufus was happy – he always is regardless of the weather.

Not long after we left the car, I had my head down against the wind and I heard Rufus yapping. It’s not like him and I thought something was wrong. I looked up to see him chasing a rabbit. The rabbit was making sharp turns to stay clear and Rufus, being a large dog, couldn’t make the turns. But he was keeping up with the bunny. I managed to reach them just as Rufus chased the rabbit into a clump of gorse. The rabbit got away.

We managed about 3km in total before we were fed up with the weather and headed home in the car. I practiced a bit on the guitar while Rufus slept his chase off. Rufus has a chew that he leaves at my house and rather than chewing it, he carries it around, placing it in important places during his stay. He likes to tease me with it too and every time I try to get it off him, he walks away. This time I walked after him, and a very slow game of chase developed.

I had to take some photos of guitars that I’m selling and I had to fix strap locks to one of the bass guitars. Then I could relax and take it easy for a bit.

Tomorrow we head for the hills, so it’s an early night for both of us. In fact, as I type, one of us is already snoring quietly in front of the TV.

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Stoned

For hippy related ‘stoned’ stuff, please click on the link to the late 60s. This is a further chapter in the tale of Rufus and the Quest for the Perfect Stone.

As has been mentioned in several posts from the past, Rufus does love me to throw stones for him to fetch from the depth of any body of water larger than a raindrop. Today was no exception. As I walked along the bank of the Tawe near Cerrig Duon, he walked in the river. I threw stones and he tried to dredge them back out. I am still an amateur stone thrower so there was lots of barking and yapping as he tried to teach me the art to the standard Master Rufus expects.

When I throw small stones for him, he will often leap to catch them. Today, I used the burst function on the camera to snap him as he jumped. He pulls some faces, twists and turns and more often than not catches the stone. You can see from some of the photos that he also kicks out with his front paws and this generally soaks me and the camera.

Great fun was had by all.

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Day Off 1

A day off with no fixed plans is scary and great at the same time. Scary because I might waste it by doing lots of little things and getting no where or achieving nothing. Great because anything is possible.

After weeks of being unable to get out, I wanted to do things today. I got up at 7am (it’s a lie-in for me) and by 7.45 I had decided to go to Cardiff by train. I was leaving the station at 8.28. Not long afterwards, I became aware of the conversation of two young ladies sitting behind me. It was about boyfriends, and who was seeing who, and how Jane, who is pregnant (‘I didn’t know that’) had downed a whole bottle of Jack Daniels (other whiskeys are available), and how David was now dealing, according to Steve. All of this was interspersed with some lovely swear words. In fact, it would be more accurate to say that the swearing was occasionally interrupted by conversation.

Then, two different passengers had a long conversation about umbrellas (ella ella eh eh eh) – how the one she had made her hair swirl around in the wind like a snowglobe and the one her friend had fitted into her handbag but was a bit heavy and that Diane always had really nice umbrellas (ella ella eh eh eh). After that, the hours I spent in Cardiff were a bit of a let down.

I had always planned to take Rufus out in the afternoon. I was home in plenty of time to collect him and head off to the river. We like the river. Even the weather looked as if it had cleared up, with sunny spells and blue sky. We left the car and made our way down to the river. I should have realised the dark clouds to my right were destined to find us but the wind was blowing from ahead and I thought that was where the weather would come from. We managed to get about 20 minutes from the car before the first few hail stones floated down. I managed to get my waterproof trousers on but by the time they were zipped up, it was raining and hailing hard.

Rufus doesn’t mind the rain but he’s not partial to hail so we both looked for some shelter. Rufus found a boulder and stood behind it. I joined him but it wasn’t really big enough for me. Rufus cuddled in during the worst of the hail, which started to drive at an angle because of the wind. When the worst of it was over, we  had a quick discussion and both agreed that heading back to the car would be the wisest action.

Of course, as we got back to the car, the downpour stopped and the sun came out. So with just a look, we both agreed a little more exercise was in order. We headed off up the other side of the valley to a standing stone that can be seen from the road. It was a short up hill pull, ideal for both of us as we were out of practice a bit, and at the stone, the sun was warm and beginning to dry us out. But in the distance, another dark cloud bank was heading our way, so we quickly headed back to the car.

Alas, we weren’t quick enough and with the car in sight, the heavens opened with heavier hail and rain than before. We could have done with an umbrella (ella ella eh eh eh) – any design, any shape, heavy or light. Rufus was glad to get in the car (he usually makes excuses not to have to leave) and I joined him. Pools of water started to form in the footwell as I struggled to get the soaking wet weather gear off. By the time we were ready to leave, hailstones covered the road like a thin coating of snow. The noise of them hitting the car drowned out the radio. I decided to wait for a while before setting off.

And as usual, by the time I dropped Rufus off, it was a glorious summer’s day again!

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