Long John Peter

What I can hear you exclaim, is the author now writing about pirates?  Sadly for those fans of that particular genre I have to disappoint you, no Long John Silver or Treasure Island here I’m afraid.

No what I’m talking about is my latest purchase from Mountain Warehouse a shop that I seem to be frequenting increasingly during winter.  Now I have to say when it comes to outside clothing historically I’ve been a bit of a brand snob and stuck to makes like Berghaus for jackets or Merrel for walking boots.

However retired beggars can’t be choosers, so when the snow hit us over Christmas I took advantage of my Defence Discount Service membership to get 10% extra off the (never ending it seems) sale at Mountain Warehouse for three own brand very warm fleece lined water and wind proof jackets for Debs’, Emma and I.

Sadly James refuses to buy into my old army motto of “any fool can be uncomfortable” and refuses to join in preferring his T-shirts and unlined anorak which could explain his recent bout of man flu…

Anyway back to the point and even though the snow is a distant memory, when walking the dogs Debbie and I have noticed that the top halves of the body are as warm as toast in the aforementioned jackets but excruciatingly the lower half by comparison can only be described as “freezingly” uncomfortable.

So clutching my 15% January sale discount card obtained with the jackets (sadly not combinable with the veteran 10% discount) I decided to source a pair of long johns from Mountain Warehouse and see if they would cure the potential frost bite of the nether regions.

Now the shop doesn’t call them long johns but “base layer pant” and they come in two flavours very expensive and even more expensive (before discounts) the latter being made of thin but very warm Merino wool designed for the Arctic – as opposed to Abergavenny!  Trying to avoid the fate of Captain Oates – Corporal Shores (retired) also plumped for the matching long sleeve round neck top as well.

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The pricing of these garments needs some explanation as on each box it’s printed as being £49.99 which seemed a trifle steep to put it mildly.  Fortunately, stuck under this was a red pricing label with £29.99 showing, with a second immediately under at £24.99. Shades of Del Boy Trotter methinks, but with the additional 15% discount they came to a far more reasonable £21.24 hence me lashing out on both.

Now I’ve read online probably of the BBC business section that Mountain Warehouse had an amazing lead up to Christmas as a result of all this cold weather and dare I postulate it a rather grand pricing discount strategy that I don’t think my old Gartner CEO would agree with however…

Well, after we got back home and I changed into these little wonders before taking Molly and Hamish out for their walk and all I can say is that I was as warm as toast throughout.

Sadly I shared my experience too loudly & I now must part as a result with more of the family “silver” (pun intended) and buy some female variants for Debbie tomorrow!

On the way back we stopped at Llanfoist village hall to see the proposed design and layout of the new Llanfoist foot bridge that will mean that we no longer have to navigate the very narrow and dangerous to be honest footpath running alongside the very busy road bridge across the Usk when walking into town.  When I heard that the cost was a mere £2m of other people’s money I had no hesitation on asking them to get on with it’s construction ready hopefully for next Christmas!

Onwards and upwards…

Long John Peter

Megaliths of Wales and Other Memories

After a cold and snowy week finally the thaw has set in and very little frozen ice remains on the estate which at peak snow could only be exited on foot. Thank goodness that Waitrose is literally just over the road and that I had a pair of hiking boots to get there to hand!

In the aftermath of the blizzard we now realise that our house is well insulated but that perhaps our flexible plastic guttering needs to be upgraded. We had a piece at the front fall off during the thaw when a huge chunk of snow slid off the roof hitting it to the ground with a loud thunk! Less spectacular was a piece of guttering on the side of the double garage in our garden which sheered off for similar reasons although the pitch of the roof is a lot shallower.

Still no one got hurt and thank goodness we have just under three years of the five year David Wilson new home guarantee – we were lucky – just after we completed on the purchase they dropped it down to two years… Also the snow which is pretty rare here in Llanfoist/Abergavenny, except near the tops of the surrounding mountains, settled quite moist and heavy so fingers crossed when it’s all fixed next week we have no further repeats of the problem which seems to have affected quite a few properties on the estate.

Today was an anniversary for Debs and I, namely 28 years since we met on our blind date in Llanfrynach!  We decided to pop into town first and get local author Chris Barber to inscribe his new book “Megaliths of Wales” at Waterstones. He lives in Blorenge Cottage in Llanfoist on the single track road that winds past the local church up to the canal walk where we exercise ourselves and the dogs!

I have a lot of the books he’s written mainly on the Brecon Beacons and Monmouthshire over the years and I always enjoy his monthly column in the Abergavenny Chronicle on walking the local area, especially the nearby Black Mountains. Being one of the last few Saturdays before Christmas which granted free parking in all the town’s car parks traffic was heavy and I struggled to find a space so we nearly missed his signing which had started at 11am and was due to end at 1pm. Fortunately we arrived at the book shop with a quarter of an hour to go.

The signing seemed to have gone well as he’d run out of his second new book called “The Abergavenny and Merthyr Railway” but he inscribed “Megaliths” and promised to sign the latter for us when it came back in stock if we left our details at the customer service desk.

He was a very nice chap and agreed to have his photo taken with my two “ladies” although I think the request caused him some surprise as he shut his eyes for the photo!

Now the day before we’d gone into Mountain Warehouse opposite and bought Emma a three in one “storm” jacket given the cold biting weather and both Debbie and I realised that it was such a good buy at nearly half price (plus an extra 10% thanks to my Defence Discount Service) that we both invested in new jackets and used them to good effect when we drove over to Llanfrynach to celebrate our 28th year anniversary of meeting there on our blind date dinner at the White Swan.

Sadly the White Swan is closed for refurbishment until spring 2018 although we couldn’t see any activity going on but at least it gave us plenty of opportunity to take the 28 year later pose and allow me to take a snap with Debbie and Emma who came along just over a year later!

Megaliths of Wales and Other Memories