And the winner of Today’s Idle Thought is…

Fourfoot Said, over on the twitter, the other day, that to relieve the lockdown boredom he was composing a Top Ten list of pubs in Cardigan in the 1990s (he put it much more eloquently than I).

And I thought to myself, that’s a wonderfully fruitless pursuit. I’ll have some of that.

Except mine would be a different flavour of ‘that’, obviously, having been to Cardigan no more than ten times.

So here, on a complete whimsy and composed during some of my more random moments when I’m not working, and presented for the half-dozen or so of my former schoolfriends who pop by occasionally is, in reverse order…

My Top Ten Pubs In Abergavenny, (Just Before I Left)*

10. Hen & Chickens, Flannel Street
The Hen & Chicks was a friendly pub, and Flannel Street is bang in the centre of town. On the downside the pub always seemed smoky, poorly ventilated, a bit gloomy and the windows never seemed to let in much light. A smokers pub. Relatively easy to get served provided you weren’t wearing school uniform – probably due to all the gloom

9. The Black Lion (opposite the market)
Another smokers pub, where you could cut the air with a not very sharp thing, and that was entirely down to the regular gang of heavy smokers who seemed to live in there, and not the atmosphere. Usually full of early-20s hardened drinkers you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of. Not easy to get a drink here unless they knew you

8. The Sugar Loaf (formerly The Golden Lion), Frogmore Street
I used to love the Golden Lion. It was a fantastically friendly, proper, small town pub. Never full to the brim, never empty. The kind of place where you could go with a friend for a quiet drink and a chat and a gossip. And they kept a fairly decent cellar. So why doesn’t The Golden Lion figure at the top of the list? In the last year I lived down there the pub got taken over by a new landlord. It was extensively refurbed and it became a plastic watering-hole with piped music of very dubious taste. And I got banned on my first visit, by the new landlord who, unfortunately, had recently received a sense of humour bypass. The last laugh is on him though. He got thrown out and the pub was closed. For good

7. The Bridge Inn (on the river, opposite the actual castle)
I wasn’t a regular ‘regular’ at The Bridge Inn. but the few dozen times I visited, it was a really nice pub to go to. A really nice pub to visit

6. Kings Arms (Cross Street, near the town hall)
Very convenient for a swift half. Not a huge pub, but comfortable. Prone to fairly frequent visits from the rozzers

5. King’s Head Hotel (opposite the post office)
At this time in my history The King’s Head was the best pub in Abergavenny. A really nice lounge, occupants of a bar who didn’t make you feel like you were a visiting alien. Great staff. Relaxing and relaxed. And a tidy cellar

4. The Clytha Arms
Tucked away on what was then the A40 and is now a very minor, rural road, The Clytha did decent food, very nice ales and ciders, had a tidy garden, and was just a lovely place to go

3. The Skirrid Inn, Llanvihangel Crucorney
Perhaps getting a higher rating than it should, but The Skirrid Inn was another way-out-of-town rural pub worth visiting. Quiet, good ambience, well looked-after and comfortable, good for a couple of friends or a small group. And historical. If you go to the staircase you can see the rope burns from where Judge Jeffreys (the Hanging Judge) would send the unlucky defendants after he found them guilty in his totally fair ‘trials’, which he used to hold in the Inn

2 The Foxhunter Inn, Nant-y-derry
People, old school friends like him, like her, like her, and like him and him, who I used to hang around with a lot, would think The Foxhunter is an odd inclusion on this list, considering the quality of the other pubs. But The Foxhunter had one very special quality none of the other pubs had. And no, that quality isn’t that the pub was named after the most famous horse belonging to Aberdare’s most famous son, Colonel Sir Harry Llewellyn (though it was, obv). The special quality is that I could walk up the lane from the house, climb down onto the railway line, and walk the 3/4ths of a mile to the pub. And after an evening in the pub, the close proximity and straight-line of the railway track made getting home again very straightforward. Never had to worry about the traffic. The trains didn’t run by hourly timetable on that little line, they barely ran by calendar

1. Goose & Cuckoo (in the middle of absolutely nowhere)
I shall forever associate The Goose with its long departed landlord, Uncle Alf. Alf used to serve me cider from the bar and, when nobody was looking, cider from the special corner of his cellar. The location of The Goose can redefine ‘isolated’. Uncle Alf used to laugh at people who said he should put signs up to guide customers in. He didn’t actually want too many people coming in. Alf liked the pub how it was: so quiet that he rarely opened the lounge, just the bar would do. No food, no music. Just conversation and a decent pint of the very best home-made brewery supplied beers and ciders. This is a worthy winner

*I told you it was whimsy, right?

New hobby (obsession?)

I do appreciate Wikipedia.

I make a small annual contribution to the service, and I regularly use it as a source of information (let’s face it, any website that no longer accepts links/references to/from the Daily Mail because – and I quote – ‘the Daily Mail is not a trusted source’ can’t be all bad).

Largely run/populated by volunteers, Wikipedia is not without its flaws, but overall it’s a Very Good Thing.

Anyway.

I have discovered this page in Wikipedia.

Well, although it’s a page it is actually a dynamic list.

When I first stumbled on this dynamic list I realised that it had a very North American bias.

So now I’m chipping away at it, adding more global information to make this a less American list.

At the moment I’m focused on this sub-list.

Great fun!

What do you mean, get a life?

0202 ni tuoba gnikcuM

There’s something monumentally anticlimactic about flipping the calendar over on to a New Year.

I mean yes, it actually is a new year. But it’s also just a mere 24 hours since you last woke up.

So you haven’t really Rip van Winkled your way through twelve months. Just six hours (if you have dogs that’s about all the sleep they’re going to let you get).

And on that topic…

Today is 2nd January 2020 and it is Robyn’s birthday, One year old – which is very difficult to believe, because none of us (humans) can remember a time when Robyn hasn’t been with us.

28th February 2019 was the day she came to live here.

We love her to bits.

And she us.

Blogathon 16/19: Let There Be Light

And there actually was.

It’s been a busy day. Not mentile back-to-back stuff, but busy.

I cleared the back patio of brambles (which was a major undertaking).

Then I don’t know what I did.

Then we went in to Nottingham to see some things.

Then, back home, I reassembled the previously flooded light fitting, wired it up and got it back into the ceiling mount.

And it all worked, as prophesied by Young Masher.

Then I went down to the stables and rode my pony*.

And now this blogging malarky.

Mind you, before 9am Sam had run over six miles, so I don’t know why I’m so knackered.

*not an actual pony

A Very Big Day Out

Early Saturday we took a train down to that London.

We arrived in St Pancras International where a small selection of ordinary punters amazed and astounded us as they sat at the public pianos and showed what they could do.

My favourite was the young guy who played a variation of the first movement of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells.

Then we took a tube to Hyde Park Corner where we joined up with a big bunch of like-minded people on what was a lovely sunny afternoon.

We stood about for a bit. Then moved onto some parkland where we sat down and I most definitely did not fall asleep,

After a while that was an age and also not an age, we (eventually) walked from the foot of Park Lane to Whitehall.

When we’d finished with all that we walked to Covent Garden where, amongst the trendy eateries and hipster drinkeries we found a proper pub.

A pint of cider shandy, half a pint of cider, a small dry white wine, and a diet coke which cost the wallet-robbing amount of…

£20!

Have a word with yourself London. That’s bonkersly mad.

Anyway.

It was the most overtly political day of my life, and that day was all the better because there were four of us, marching as a family.

Here are just a few photos (but between us, we took dozens):

#PeoplesVote

#PeoplesVote

#PeoplesVote

#PeoplesVote

#PeoplesVote

#PeoplesVote

#PeoplesVote

#PeoplesVote

What kind of a weekend did you have?

Out of Office

Hi, thank you for dropping by.

We are currently away, enduring the hardship of 41c in the sub-Sahara.

We are putting on brave faces against the unrelenting bar service, awesome food, and top flight customer care.

Enduring this for a week is going to be tough, but we’re determined to give this our very best shot.

Back to the UK next weekend.

Meanwhile, we’ll do our best to cope with everything this place has to offer.

Some things never change

In a stunning return to the form of October last year, my back decided to mess me about.

The fact that this coincided with me going out and buying a soopah-doopah hybrid (road- and mountain-) bike is, I’m sure, entirely erm coincidental.

Especially as I haven’t even got the SDHB home yet; it’s still nestling at the store.

And on that basis I can’t even blame taking up cycling as the cause of the aforementioned back issue.

Anyway.

The weather has been a bit pants, hasn’t it?

And for that reason none of the motorbikes have been out of the garage for months.

But, like all good people of a technical inclination, I have got a small geekage project running on the side.

I’ve been playing with the project of geek, but only now and then, and usually for just 15 minutes a session; it has a very steep learning curve and I’m on the edge of my technical comfort zone.

However, it’s safe to say that I’m attempting to get to grips with something that makes working with SharePoint and/or OneDrive look (and feel) like child’s play.

Back

Backs are amazing when you think about them.

Firm and inflexible, yet pliable and bendy.

Strong and supportive, yet yielding.

And load-bearing.

Connected to almost every part of the body, and if you add in the spinal cord and central nervous system components, your back is the hub of everything that you do.

It’s 3am.

I’ve been awake for two hours.

Awake because of back pain.

I have done ‘something’ to my back. No idea what.

It just isn’t working like it should.

I’m not whingeing.

I have a golden opportunity to catch up with my latest rewatching of The West Wing.

And I can tuck in to some serious reading.

So what’s not to like?

Getting in to the bathroom, for a start.

It’ll pass soon. The back thing, not the wanting to go to the toilet thing.

And look at the exercise my bladder is getting.

That’s got to be positive too, yes?