Sharing New Year’s Resolutions

Last night in-between listening to Amazon playlists of New Year party music, being taught to dance the “Twist” by Debs and watching Jools Holland’s Hootenanny, the four humans still up in 2018 (James had been ill unfortunately with flu most of the previous day) decided to write down and share our New Year’s resolutions.

So in order of increasing numbers of resolutions here I share them for the whole world to see (and monitor progress)…  There’s nothing like a bit of peer pressure to keep you on you toes nor a blog post to jog your memory!


Become pescatarian
No potatoes (eat healthily)
Workout three times a week
Go abroad with Emma
Go see John & Thomas
Work five hours overtime each week

Comment:  knowing Josh as I do regarding meat I shall attempt to hide the bacon in the fridge this morning…


My family come first
Taking care of myself
Never be selfish
Always remember loved ones
Do things I want to do
Never feel guilty
(This should be first sic) I have the most loving, selfless, wonderful husband anyone could wish for and neither of us are perfect but the love we have for one another will be endless

Comment: I think Deb missed out “practically perfect in every way” as pertains to my good self, but due to a total absence of conceit I will forgive her and of course reciprocate the sentiments!


Get down to twelve stone weight and stay there
Put Deb first always
Keep walking the dogs with Debs but get James to drop us off in Brynmawr and walk back to Llanfoist along the old railway track
Stay the night in a local Youth Hostel with Debs and Emma
Write a blog about Deb’s helicopter ride Xmas present from me
Write a blog about Emma’s glider experience Xmas present over the Brecon Beacons from Debs and I
Make sure Deb’s is proud of her sixtieth birthday party
Help James & Emma to realise their dreams
Play AD&D as Dungeon Master
Watch live test match cricket with Debs and my brother

Comment: Looking forward to crossing them off one by one, key to the first is sticking with being a veggie after my Xmas “break”!


Remain a vegetarian
Climb Pen Y Fan
Go abroad with Josh
Learn to make vegetable gyoza dumplings
Play all the Final Fantasy games
Read 100 books
Keep swimming
Go gliding
Go horse riding again
Play more guitar
Book fairy drops
Give to charity

Comment:  I wonder if I can register as a charity?

So there we have it, 365 days to go to achieve them, wish us all luck!

Signing off as Evenstar level 15 elven thief…

Photo on 01-01-2018 at 10.28


Sharing New Year’s Resolutions

There be Pirates at Blue Cross!


It’s been an interesting day here in Llanfoist with us just getting back from Brynmawr Asda to pick up some vegetarian stuff for Emma who has just gone back to not eating meat on ethical grounds.  Also emergency supplies of breadsticks, rice cakes and melba toast for Debs who can’t find them in Aldi.

This necessitated a drive up the roadworks on the A465 and what a lot of progress they’ve made in the last month or so.  It really will be quite spectacular when they complete it.

Earlier I’d taken Emma swimming where we both completed ten lengths of the Abergavenny leisure centre pool.  Even a few weeks ago that would have been nigh on impossible for me and totally impossible for Emma as she couldn’t swim!

Before these aquatic adventures though Debbie and I had driven into town to support James at the Blue Cross charity event (10,000 steps for pets) and this was the sight that greeted us as we approached the High Street…

Country music accompanying James & Phil
James dressed as a pirate and a singer dressed as a cowboy
Mam supporting James with a big smile
Mam supporting James with Dad’s crisp fiver!
A svelte looking Phil with a touch of the Freddie Mercury?

The event was well supported and the singing duo very good too, I believe the main chap was called Jeremy and the other chap stood in when the former’s wife hurt her foot!

There be Pirates at Blue Cross!

I Wonder What Happened To Them?

Wearing a tie naturally – I think visiting Quentin’s house in Penarth

It only seems like yesterday but it’s 27 years to the day that Debbie and I met on our semi-blind date  – I saw what she looked like in a home video of a children’s party – so I knew she had one child but two came as a bit of a surprise!

James on the left and Alex on the right as I first knew them Christmas 1989

We didn’t have much money then but we had good friends who brought us together and we’re now back in Wales living out our retirement…


I Wonder What Happened To Them?


Yesterday was the third anniversary of my dad’s passing.  It only seems like yesterday and yet so much has changed for me since then.  I remember being very moved by a beautiful bouquet of flowers sent to my old home in Surrey by my then work colleagues in Gartner, I was very lucky the people there were very supportive.

Little did I know that major changes in my life would be shortly forthcoming and despite the sadness of the loss of my father, I know he’d have approved of the new direction we’ve taken in terms of early retirement and moving to Wales.

Yesterday was also another chance for me to practice my taxi driving skills as I took Debbie, Sian and Wendy for an early Christmas meet up at Val’s house near Bridgend as part of their “forever friends” group.

Val’s been through some tough times undergoing chemotherapy but was in good spirits when we arrived and the spread she put on was fantastic.

I couldn’t stop eating! 🙂

Her husband Glen looked after me while the girls chatted and showed me his impressive model train setup in the garage outside.  I have to admit I’d owned a Hornby Flying Scotsman train set as a boy and I’d got into lots of trouble having discovered it weeks before my birthday. Feigning being sick to get off school, I’d then unwrap it, play with it during the day, before wrapping it back up and placing it back into its hiding place before my father got back from work!

Of course eventually I got found out and my then headmaster of Bridlington grammar school Mr Coomber wrote a lovely letter to my father basically saying I’d turn out alright and that it was normal of boys my age to rebel slightly, fortunately I believe he was right…

In any event as we prepared to return home Glen appeared with a Bachmann digital passenger set with a British Rail class 25 diesel locomotive and 2 blue/grey mark 2 coaches.


It had been virtually unused and although I didn’t like accepting such an expensive item he and Val insisted and so today I’ve been reliving my youth on our kitchen dining table.

The locomotive is really heavy and very detailed, but the thing I found most difficult was fixing the power clip to the rail & without this advice from YouTube I’d have never done it.  Eventually though I got it working as you can see from this clip, I even managed to control the train lights and have to admit that digital train sets have come a long way from the old analogue ones.

Another strange thing happened yesterday when out of the blue I was contacted from Canada by the granddaughter of one of the diaries we’d published on Kindle.  Needless to say I immediately organised to send her the original which I believe I’d picked up on eBay probably after a house clearance in the UK.  Sadly the diary hadn’t been kept in the family so I was glad to rectify that omission but even better when I looked in my filing system I realised I had four of his medals too.


This morning I went to the Post Office and despatched them all together so fingers crossed Isabel gets them within a week safely to share with her mother who’s still alive and named after her father.  I was also sent a picture of her grandfather which really brings to life an amazing story, maybe one day all the diaries will make it back to their descendants – I really hope so – I know how much I treasure all memories of my father which are dotted around our house here in Llanfoist.


So all in all a very satisfying couple of days!





Bruce Springsteen in Llanfoist

Unbelievably Bruce Springsteen came to our local Bridge Inn today and sang his heart out.  Strangely his band was conspicuous by their absence but lots of the local community came along to support him and Debbie, Emma & I did the same.  Emma took the photo below, James had a long day in the Blue Cross shop in Abergavenny town and so looked after Hamish.

I’m practicing my Six Million Dollar Man look having bought the complete DVD box set yesterday…
Emma laughing at my “look” – note the e-cigarette and large glass of Pino…
Springsteen in full flow – videoclip below…

Bruce Video

Bruce Springsteen in Llanfoist