Tuesday 8 November 2022. We moved to a
Microsoft 365 subscription - it has to be done! It was a
fairly long process to install it on two computers, and it was
not entirely successful. We press on.
Wednesday 22 September 2021. The
autumn equinox. And right on time, Mr Banwy Fuels delivers
1,500 litres of heating oil for a total of £707.96.
Tuesday 21 September 2021. The fishing season is over. Lazy Lady is in the garden and the fish are in the freezer. A total of 91 from 16 outings - rather average catch but such good fun.
Tuesday 14 September 2021. My father, Harry Frederick Ling, was born on 14 September 1921. In other words, if he had lived, he would have been 100 today. Sadly he died in 1988, aged only 67.
Thursday 22 July 2021. Up at 0500 to catch the 0708 high tide to launch Lazy Lady. Beautiful dawn and trouble-free mooring, just too hot - 31ºC by mid-morning. Now to catch some fish.
Thursday 1 July 2021. Just finished a month of intense reading, writing and lecturing - books and papers, two articles covering 15,000 words, and nine lectures. I want a break, I want to go fishing.
Friday 7 May 2021. Delivered my first session of Zoom + PowerPoint lectures on Bioethical Issues for students at the London Seminary, though the majority were elsewhere, at home, in Italy, and so on.
Tuesday 15 December 2020. Up
and out to Lidl by 08.00. Twice round the store to redeem
two £10 coupons each for £40 worth of goods - canny. In
the afternoon I ate my first mince pie of the season.
Tuesday 10 November 2020. I'm in a spending on tech mood. Today I bought a Logitech C920 HD webcam. Out of the box and plug it in. The picture is extraordinarily brilliant.
Monday 9 November 2020. So ends our firebreak. I celebrated by buying a new Logitech keyboard and mouse from Currys - the old pair introduced annoyingly random errors. And I bought a copy of The Times.
Friday 23 October 2020. So begins our Welsh-wide 17-day isolated lockdown, now called a firebreak. Not much of a problem for us - we shall have to read The Times online.
Wednesday 30 September 2020. This morning I had an adjuvanted trivalent injection - aka a flu jab for the elderly. Hardly felt it, far from fainted. Next jab, a Covid vaccine?
Friday 24 September 2020. Last night we watched all 200 minutes of that epic 1965 film, Dr Zhivago on TV. First saw it on an early date with my 'new' girlfriend (later to be my wife!) in Leeds as students.
Thursday 17 September 2020. Lazy Lady off her moorings and in our back garden. A total of 11 trips out and 130 fish caught including mackerel, codling and, for the first time, herring. Quite a decent season.
Thursday 10 September 2020. Finally finished some house roof maintenance. Waterproofed the brick chimney with Extreme Climate - Next Generation Water Seal and de-mossed the roof tiles and sprayed them with Kingfisher bio-wash moss and mould inhibitor.
Friday 7 August 2020. What a difference a week makes. Last Friday we went fishing and caught zero. This Friday we went fishing and, within a couple of hours, we had caught 47 mackerel.
Tuesday 21 July 2020. Up early to catch the high tide to put Lazy Lady on her moorings. It was such a lovely sunny day we went fishing for just 15 minutes - six mackerel. And the runner beans will be ready by next week. A plateful of mackerel and runner beans – the taste of summer.
Saturday 4 July 2020. Independence Day for US and for us. We ventured out to Aberystwyth's Prom to see the sea after 105 days, that's 15 whole weeks, in lockdown isolation.
Wednesday 24 June 2020. And so to the local (within the legal 5-mile limit) branch of Travis Perkins to buy a bag of that most excellent Postcrete. It was my first trip out of the house for 14 weeks. Inevitably I'd forgotten my credit card PIN.
Monday 22 June 2020. A notable day. My first time at a Zoom meeting (mixed review), non-essential shops opened (not interested) and Mr Tesco called again (welcome for the ninth time).
Monday 1 June 2020. This is our 11th week of lockdown. For us the inconveniences are minimal - online shopping and Skype make it all bearable. You should see our tidy garden!
Wednesday 22 April 2020. Lawn
Scarified twice, mowed once, fed with 5kg Neudorff organic lawn
feed and improver and then irrigated with one inch of water and
over-seeded with 150g of Gro-Sure multi-purpose lawn seed.
It now looks awful.
Friday 3 April 2020. Shopping online. Between 17.00 and 18.00, the Tesco man came with bags and bags of mostly edible stuff – fruit, veg, frozen, fresh, cheese, chocolate, bread, Yazoo (I’m allowed one treat) and even dental floss. Will life ever be the same again?
Saturday 28 March 2020. The oil man delivered 1,500 litres for £637.88. That is £69 cheaper than the last delivery 14 months ago. The central heating is back on!
Monday 23 March 2020. Went shopping in the morning. Just in time. By the afternoon the UK was officially in Lockdown.
Had a splendid
at the Reading
Some want to
did my best to
Monday 2 September 2019. Took Lazy Lady off her moorings. Not a great fishing season - the weather was poor so out only five times and caught only 76 fish, about half of which are already eaten.
Tuesday 23 July 2019. This morning / afternoon, we went fishing for the first time this year. It was 23 mackerel caught on the 23rd. So it was mackerel fillet in a white bread bun with horseradish and yoghurt plus some salad for lunch. Two hours from sea to table - that is fresh, fresh fish.
It rained soon
Oh, for some
sun, some calm
seas and some
a tiny chip of
flew in my
while I was
- yes, I was
goggles and a
rolled back my
washed out the
Hooray for the
Wednesday 20 February 2019. Fitted another cartridge valve to the Bristan shower. The last one was fitted on 23 February 2018, so it lasted just about a year, but the boys at Bristan refused to replace it under their one-year guarantee because I had bought it the previous October. There is a design fault and a lack of goodwill somewhere here.
Friday 17 August 2018. While my
dirty, polluting, petrol-guzzling Renault Clio was in the
repair garage, I was lent an eco-friendly, electric Renault
Zoe. What fun and a taste of the future when we shall
all be driving such two-pedal, silent cars. I was
impressed - how the milk float has advanced.
Tuesday 7 August 2018. The Brumettes (Esther 15, Rachel 13 and Naomi 11) are with us for the week. Yesterday, we climbed Pen Dinas and swam in the sea off South Beach in Aberystwyth. Today, an early start to climb Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales (1,085 metres or 3,560 feet). It was a 2.25-h drive there, then a 3.5-h ascent (via the Llanberis path), a 1-h lunch and photographs at the summit, a 3-h descent, plus a 2.25-h drive back. We were bushed. There was 100% mist going up, but the sun came out on the way down. Lovely all-round experience. Tomorrow, Machynlleth market then crabbing in Aberystwyth harbour.
Monday 16 July 2018.
the rain drove
us back to the
We’ve not seen
rain for about
6 weeks -
today's was a
Saturday 14 July 2018.
Out fishing in
for the first
time this year
- calm, blue,
eat with the
first of our
Friday 13 July 2018.
Up at 06.00
and out by
07.00 to the
Lady - all
the next few
2018. The current
heatwave hit a peak this afternoon - the mercury rose to
a staggering 39ºC by our backdoor. Some cooling
rain would be nice.
2018. Caught the
05.30 milk train to London to arrive at Euston at
10.13. I had a meeting from 11.00 to 14.30.
Then it was the 15.43 train back to Aber at 20.20.
A new adventure!
Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Shakespeare
and some trans
Renovating a tired lawn - over the last 10 days, I've
awful, but in
a week or two
it should look
for tomorrow -
just on time.
2018. Finished painting
Tyrolean end wall of the house with two coats of
Weathershield masonry paint - 8 litres in total, up a
ladder, for 3.5 hours each coat. Phew!
2018. Today marks 50 years since the
1967 came into
force – since
at St James's
and Bartók -
the Royal Academy
(OK, a bit
& Grill (nice,
Friday 6 April 2018. The
cutting of the
year - despite
is about the
usual time to
get out the
Friday 30 March 3018. At last the Prunus nigra has flowered, albeit sparsely thanks to a pair of hungry bullfinches - this is the latest date ever for our tree. Could that be because of global cooling?
Wednesday 21 March 2018. Collected a Renault
Mégane replacement key
for the one we lost somewhere, sometime. It cost an
eye-watering £217.83 - that won't happen again.
Tuesday 20 March 2018. The
Spring equinox, when the
length of day and
night are equal, and
it's goodbye to winter and
hello to spring. It was
here this morning, but that is
Monday 5 March 2018. Our way out, the
A44 between Aberystwyth and
Llangurig, has been impassable
for the last four days - the
snow drifts were cleared last
night. We've returned to
2018. Today I have painted the top of my desk with floor paint
2018. The Big Clearance
begins - long overdue, we have
bitten the bullet by sorting,
saving or shedding 40 years of
household 'stuff' including
toys, clothes, electronics and
pure junk, even my fishing rod
and reel that I bought when I
was ten years old.
happy New Year
to all my (few
My cold is
sun is out and
a pheasant has
up our garden
- a happy New
have started a
2017. Wendy's big Christmas
present arrives - a tumble dryer.
Our house is now looking even more like
a Bosch showroom with five such big
German appliances in the garage and
three in the kitchen. Bitte schön.
Wednesday 6 December
2017. Two men from
Carpetright came and laid vast expanses of beige carpet
throughout about half of the house. It looks
gorgeous. But now it’s shoes off at the front door
and all eats/drinks in the dining room - well, for
a couple of months.
Monday 20 November 2017. Mr
Oil came early this morning. 1,500 litres for
£691.43 - considerably more than last time, but that was
21 months ago. We're now dreaming of a warm, white
Wednesday 8 November
frost of the autumn/winter. It was -1.0ºC
this morning, but wonderfully sunny. The
long-range forecast is for an Arctic winter.
Wednesday 4 October 2017. 'The length of our
days is seventy years ...' (Psalm 90:10). Yes indeed,
today mine are. And I am
both content and thankful.
Wednesday 20 September 2107. After 13 years, my last day sitting on the magistrates'
bench. As everyone knows, those approaching 70 are
quite incapable of making sound judgements.
Tuesday 19 September 2017.
After CT scans, multiple tests and numerous
examinations, Wendy was discharged from Bronglais
Hospital. She is OK, dog-tired, but cheerful. The
headaches and aphasia continue but the former are
readily controllable (paracetamol) and the latter is
Friday 15 September 2017. Yesterday, while I
was lecturing at the Wilberforce Academy, Cambridge, Wendy
had a sudden headache and lost her speech and
comprehension. When we arrived back at Aberystwyth we
went straight to A&E and the diagnosis was an aneurysm
in an artery of her brain.
Monday 21 August 2017. An unusual purchase today - a bath and
taps. Yes, that old cast-iron bath is finally
going to be replaced by a sleek Carronite model with
smart Bristan taps and a cute pop-up waste.
Friday 11 August 2017. Just back from a jolly week with the family (8 adults and 8 children) at a farm cottage (sleeps 22) in the Brecon Beacons. The area, quite unknown to us, is scenically beautiful.
Tuesday 1 August 2017. Ordered a new carpet for the hall, lounge,
landings and stairs. It will be fitted in October,
after the bathroom has been renovated. Is there no end
to home improvements?
Saturday 29 July 2017. Exactly 45 years ago we were married. We celebrated in the Crickhowell area by climbing Table Mountain and staying at the Gliffaes Country House Hotel - wonderful grounds, decent food.
Friday 14 July 2017. Sent off my driving licence application
form (confusing and ambiguous) for the over-70s together
with my old green licence (issued in 1977) and a truly awful
Saturday 1 July 2017. The
pictures have been rehung, the doors have handles again, the
sockets and light switches are back on the walls and two new
smoke alarms have been installed. Now onto the lounge!
Monday 26 June 2017. Ah,
the joys of home decorating. The repairing and preparing
and painting of just the hall and two landings have taken 3
weeks - those architraves, window frames, balustrades, skirting
and ten doors. Soon be over!
Friday 9 June 2017. At long last we have a
replacement for our written-off Clio. It's
another Clio, same shape, same colour, just with
more updated gismos. The registration is
CV10 NLC to be remembered as Naomi Likes Cake.
Monday 5 June 2017. To London, despite the
terrorist attack on London Bridge two days
ago. Now a subdued city. A National
Gallery tour with Gayna Pelham - the best so
far. Dinner at Clos Maggiore (advertised
as the most romantic restaurant in London) - one
of the best so far.
Thursday 1 June 2017.
start of Summer. Today we joined the 21st
century and installed a dishwasher. I have
mixed feelings - I shall miss the nightly
post-dinner tryst with my wife as she washed and
I dried and put away!
Wednesday 24 May 2017.
Ran to Jones'
drive and back in 25 minutes and 15 seconds - a
new target to beat. I've not run this
route for 7 whole months and now I'm just 7
Wednesday 17 May 2017.
Back to my
young ways - twice round the village in 11
minutes 56 seconds, a BMI of 21.98 and a weight
of 11 stone 3 pounds. Some times I feel
like Benjamin Button.
Saturday 22 April
first run since 22 December, 4 months ago.
Once round the village in 6 minutes and 5
seconds - very pleased with that as a decent
baseline on which to improve.
Saturday 15 April 2017. My Easter present, a Flymo hover lawnmower - a replacement for a 17-year-old model which 'died' last week. I really wanted a ride-on mower - maybe next time!
Monday 3 April 2017. To London - Apollon Musagète
Quartet (Haydn and Arensky) lunchtime concert at
the Wigmore Hall - wonderful. Three seats
along was a student I taught at University 30
years ago. Then to Tate Britain for the David
Hockney exhibition - mixed. Finally
to Pollen Street Social for dinner - superb and
Monday 20 March 2017.
useful Renault Clio was written off today - a
young driver rammed me nearside at an
Aberystwyth roundabout. Thankfully no-one
was injured, but it was not the jolly First Day
of Spring I had hoped for.
Thursday 16 March
musical evening with the National Orchestra of
Wales and Simone Lamsma playing Mendelssohn's
violin concerto in E minor - superb.
Wednesday 15 March 2017. A spring day - I mowed the grass for the first time this year.
Saturday 11 March
2017. After a three-month break due to
illness, I'm back swimming on Saturday mornings - a
cautious 10 lengths for starters.
Wednesday 1 February
2017. The Prunus nigra flowered -
neither early nor late. Perhaps global warming
is neither here nor there.
Tuesday 17 January
from JustGiving, 'John, you were in the top 5%
of fundraisers for 2016. Well done on
raising so much for your cause.'
Monday 9 January 2017.
emerging from a two-week humongous cold having
sampled the full pharmaceutical panoply,
including three mega-doses of antibiotics.
Sunday 25 December 2016. A not so merry Christmas. The Queen missed the Christmas day church service, and so did we. We’ve both had shocking colds. We managed scrambled eggs for lunch and a Waitrose curry for dinner. So we have postponed Christmas Day until at least tomorrow. And we haven’t opened a single present yet.
Tuesday 20 December 2016.
I gave evidence at the
coroner's inquest into the death by drowning of William
Davies - see entry for 31 August 2016. It was a
moving hour with tears. The verdict - death by
Friday 18 November 2016.
This is the first
anniversary of my running training - who'd have
thought? Today, twice round the village in 12
minutes 1 second. Twelve months ago, I did once
round the village in 8 minutes. That's progress!
Thurdsay 17 November 2016. A 94-mile-an-hour storm hit Aberystwyth this morning. I was in court (on a 2-day trial) by the marina and saw/felt the full force. This evening, a National Orchestra of Wales concert - Die Fledermaus Overture, Elgar's Cello Concerto (Leonard Elschenbrioch, soloist) and Brahms' Symphony No. 4. A very mixed day.
Monday 31 October 2016. I've never caught anything by beach
fishing - until today. This afternoon I hooked three
dabs at Borth - just as the sun set. Beautiful.
Wednesday 26 October 2016. First frost of the winter - down to -1.5ºC