After The Earthquake…

… came the “Beast from the East” and with it freezing temperatures and a lot more snow!

Global warming in Abergavenny seems to agree more with POTUS Trump rather than the global climate change scientists as when we moved here the accepted wisdom that it only ever snowed on the tops of the surrounding mountains.  Needless to say that has been proved wrong twice this year…


Nevertheless we are so much better prepared than the first time being clad in Mountain Warehouses base layers & jackets to march across to our Waitrose next door this morning, which I’m glad to say was open promptly at 8.30am for the “first of the few” brave souls venturing out to get much needed emergency supplies.  Tonight and tomorrow are forecast to be the worst of the weather so we thought this was wise.

James had left for Morrisons this morning on foot at around 7.30am for his shift as the roads on the estate were just too icy and with thick snow forecast for later meaning he may not get back home at all if he drove.  Again another blessing about where we now life as pretty much everything we need is walkable and it keeps you fit!  I can’t remember what it used to be like were even the shortest journey I picked up my car keys…

On our return from Scott’s Hut (sorry Waitrose) we let the hounds out for a run around the garden but it was so cold they came in fairly promptly for a gravy bone.


Rather ironically this latest weather is called Storm Emma, presumably after my daughter and one of her best friends, who just happens to be called “Snow”!  Without wanting to panic anyone I shall be dusting off my DVD of “The Day After Tomorrow” to contemplate my next steps, although given today is St. David’s Day here in Wales (& elsewhere) maybe it should be called “The Dai After Tomorrow”…

Speaking of Molly she has been a little tinker recently digging up the corner of our Easigrass looking for stones to play with behind the drainpipe.  Yesterday Chris Carpenter had been due to fix this and give the Easigrass its annual maintenance but because of the snow we’ve had to delay this to later next week.


As usual in recent weeks I’ve been adopting my Victor Meldrew persona much to Debbie’s annoyance with complaints logged with Sky for their impending price increase as our discount comes to an end.  Given we only use Sky really for recording and scheduling now given Amazon Prime Video and Netflix being available at home with smart TV’s, BluRay players and Amazon Fire Sticks giving access to catch up apps like BBC iPlayer etc. I’m really not convinced they will survive longer term, a little like the sad but rather inevitable news about Toys “R” Us and Maplin Electronics this week going into administration.

“I don’t believe it” extended to my interactions with Vodafone too when I found out they were offering monthly contracts for £6 which included unlimited calls and texts and 500MB data through a package called Vodafone Basics!  As Debbie and my phones with Vodafone current cost £9 pcm discounted, this seemed a good “standard” deal which I wanted to move to.

Alas after numerous instant messages, calls to about six centres within their customer services and launching two formal complaints it became apparent that these deals only available via Carphone Warehouse and USwitch through redirected internet links to Vodafone are only available to new customers.  Sod the concept of customer loyalty (I’m paraphrasing) the complaints manager said, we just playing commercial hardball…

Sadly for me this blog has under fifty regular followers, so I don’t wield the power and influence of various better known bloggers, however I pretended that I had a “friend” who did so they gave me a workaround much to my surprise.

Basically exactly 30 days before our discounted contracts are due to expire (no earlier and no later much to my annoyance on the former) ask for the contracts to be switched to Pay As You Go and order the two new SIM only Vodafone Basics contracts.  Once they arrive use the “Keep My Number” feature on the Vodafone website to then transfer our existing numbers to the new contracts and Bob’s your uncle a workaround is found.

How annoying and wasteful of my time and theirs, however one thing I do have as a retired person snowed in like Captain Scott is time on my hands, so for a saving of £6 a month and a better bundled deal (albeit limited only to the UK) I shall follow the process and see if it works!

On the David Wilson new home customer care front, we continue to get excellent support on the few niggles that remain half way through our five year guarantee.

After them fixing & replacing a fair amount of guttering during that last heavy snow fall (which was very wet and heavy unlike the powder snow we’re experiencing today) they have returned gently to fix our ensuite toilet where the siphon valve needed replacing and have replaced a plastic cap on the towel rail that was missing.

In the same location our shower rail at the bottom of the doors was also missing caps and the hinges had become loose so they have order brand new fittings to be fixed hopefully along with a small leak of a few drops per hour in the cold water intake pipe of our centre heating cylinder.

Oh and we’ve also had a carpenter round to sort out the door to the den cupboard that was sticking, the guest bedroom and our own bedroom ensuite where the door locks were very stiff to close which were all done so quickly I couldn’t believe it.

I really have to say the way they fix these is really excellent although I am glad we bought our house in Llanfoist when they still offered five year guarantees rather than the two years on offer for new home purchases today…

So all in all I’m kept very busy in my retirement, following up customer issues and complaints as if I’d almost reverted back to my old role as VP Service Delivery – as I think it was called – only in reverse! 🙂

Now before I wrap up this post, what else has been going on in the “Escape to Llanfoist” world recently?  Well without going into too much detail we’ve celebrated the arrival of Debbie’s free bus pass as she reached the incredible age of sixty last month and a more detailed account of her party is the topic of my next blog.

On the health front I’ve continued with my vegetarianism while Emma has become vegan, alas this has been accompanied by toothache which given my fear of dentists resulted in too much ibuprofen and co-codamol which wasn’t very clever and resulted in acute constipation, however I am relieved to announced that this discomfort has now passed (pun intended) and I’m feeling 100% fitter and only 7.25 lbs away from my 12 stone weight target!

Lastly to note, somewhat mystifyingly, my right big toe is finally showing signs of getting over a recent gout attack thanks to a squirrelled away supply of old Naproxen tablets.  Sadly this is incomprehensible to my very near teetotal, rich food avoider & vegetarian self thank God I’m not a hypochondriac!




After The Earthquake…

It Never Snows In Abergavenny…

…is a phrase an old gent sat next to us a year or so ago in a crowded but warm Abergavenny cafe as we gazed outside at the chill air.  “It’s to do with being surrounded by mountains” said the knowledgeable local dressed in tweed sagely!

So we took last night’s weather forecast with a pinch of salt but woke up to the following Christmassy scenes for real. 🙂


Molly was hesitant to go outside initially but Hamish came to the rescue having frolicked in the snow many times before.  Here’s a short video of her first time in snow, but be warned, for those of you of a nervous disposition or eating breakfast please look away…

Sadly, the deep snow has led to the cancellation of today’s Christmas Fair as I just found out on receipt of the following email. 😦

Screen Shot 2017-12-10 at 09.03.42

It Never Snows In Abergavenny…

Back & Forth, Back & Forth

I’m starting to get to know the A465 Heads of the Valleys road rather well between Abergavenny & Merthyr!  I was up at the crack of dawn (well OK 8am) carrying down the broken JVC 40″ flat screen TV (with integral DVD) which had developed a large crack when I got back home from Curry’s PC World yesterday.  I’d rung the store in Merthyr retail park straight away and they said return it ASAP.

Fortunately the car park was deserted pretty much at 9.15am when I arrived so I handed it over and got a refund.  The chap serving was the same as had sold me the TV previously and he told me about compact Blu-ray players that would connect to our old Samsung which seemed like a good idea but only their Cwmbran store had stock.  So retracing my steps I headed off back home and told Debbie the good news.

A quick scan of google showed us the Cwmbran store was in the normal retail park and so off we headed and as luck would have it a Sony piece of kit fitted the bill perfectly as it had BBC iPlayer & Amazon instant video and was a lot cheaper at £75 compared to the £280 I’d originally shelled out.

Once back home and configured all we had to wait for was Nicholls to deliver tomorrow our new distressed wood & branch console for our bedroom and Debbie would be happy!  To celebrate we took James & Emma for a quick tour of the Brecon Beacons in the afternoon and had coffee in Brecon town’s Costa.

Later, some spectacular views of snow on the mountains were enjoyed by both when I parked the Freelander up overlooking the old Roman Road just outside Brecon.

Eventually we headed off to the A465 and I recrossed my earlier route from Merthyr – what a day!     Capped off by Emma’s decision to delay her return to London from tomorrow to the 2nd April as she was enjoying her visit so much. 🙂

Back & Forth, Back & Forth


Well at long last the winds have started coming from the North and as a result our weather has turned cold.

After our customary daily trip to the waste transfer station to get rid of all the cardboard boxes from the HiFi, Debbie suggested we go to the top of Blorenge to the Keeper’s and Foxhunter’s car parks, where these photos were taken.

We got back home to get ready for a quick shop, Debbie in Romans, myself in the local fishing shop when James came downstairs and told us he has an interview with the Blue Cross charity shop in town at 2pm, fingers crossed! 🙂