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.
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
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 harbour
Lady - all
the next few
current heatwave hit a peak this afternoon - the mercury
rose to a staggering 39ºC by our backdoor. Some
cooling rain would be nice.
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
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
key for the one we lost somewhere, sometime.
It cost an eye-watering £217.83 - that won't happen
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
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 so I had to scrape the
Monday 24 October 2016. Today I learned that my Bioethical
Issues in now available as an ebook - https://www.dayone.co.uk/collections/ebooks-2/products/bioethical-issues-ebook
Tuesday 18 October 2016. The tree surgeons - Joe, Stuart and Tristan from Arbcore - came to chop and trim several of our 30+ year-old trees, front and back. Not the cheapest, but (apparently) the best.
Monday 10 October 2016. Affinity
meeting in London followed by You Say You Want a
Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970
exhibition at the V&A and dinner at the Ritz.
Tuesday 27 September 2016. Wendy and I attended Uncle Jack's funeral
in Long Buckby, Northamptonshire. About 280 people
were present. I read Psalm 23.
Thursday 22 September 2016. It was exactly 40 years ago today, 22
September 1976, that we moved to Aberystwyth - how times
flies! It was a Wednesday. And then it rained
for a month.
Monday 12 September 2016.
My favourite (and only) uncle, Uncle Jack died peacefully in
his sleep this morning at 10.20. He had cancer. We
visited him at Northampton General Hospital last Monday.
Wednesday 31 August 2016. This morning, just before I was due to attend a magistrate's sitting, I spotted a powerboat circling wildly about 500m offshore. I thought the crew had been thrown overboard. I raised the alarm with the harbour-master. The RNLI launched and recovered two men from the sea. Sadly, one of them died. The RNLI said that I saved one life - I wish it could have been two. This episode has had a sobering effect on us and the community.
Monday 15 August 2016. This morning
we caught just six mackerel, but
On raising the
is now due for
operation at a
end to our
August 2016. Back from
a couple of days of
walking and eating in the
celebrating our 44th
Also Esther, our eldest
grandchild, became a bona
fide teenager today – happy
Thursday 28 July 2016. Most, if not all, of the sponsorship money for my Wolf Run is now in. It reads like this: online donations, £1,359.30 + Gift Aid, £224 + offline, £105.00 = a grand total of £1,688.30. I always hoped I could raise £1,500 so I'm delighted. And thank you again you generous donors. And remember, it's never too late to add to the pot!
Monday 25 July 2016. Picked all the cherries - hardly a bowlful,
the poorest crop ever. Most had rotted on the tree
because of the wet, wet June.
Friday 22 July 2016. We went fishing early this morning for the first time this season. It was slow going, but we managed to land seventeen of the mackerel beauties. Guess what we’ve got for dinner tonight?
just as we
Plop! as I
the harbour -
later at low
Tuesday 5 July 2016.
A nice email message today, 'Your
JustGiving page was one of the most successful of
June. Out of 67,626 fundraisers, you were in the top
Monday 4 July 2016. First training since the Wolf Run, about 23 days ago. The severe contusion and 'the mother of all bruises' on my left thigh have subsided. Once cautiously round the village in 5 minutes 50 seconds - I'm pleased with that.
Friday 1 July 2016. While
at the Royal
Belgium 3-1 in
the Euros 2016
Friday 24 June 2016. The
been counted –
the UK is to
From now on,
23 June is the
Monday 18 June 2016. Yet
and the Arts
Scott's - we
Saturday 11 June 2016. The Wolf Run
- did I finish
YES, of course
It was tough,
seen so much
and read all
about it here
Wednesday 8 June 2016. My last training session before the Wolf Run.
the village in
with that -
the foot is
Now two days
of rest before
the big event.
Thursday 26 May 2016. My first tentative run for 17 days. Once around the village in 6 minutes, fifty-six seconds. My ankle held up - I am delighted (and relieved).
Monday 23 May 2016. Another cultural day in London
- Pekka Kuusisto (violin) and Nicolas Altstaedt
(cello) at the BBC3 lunchtime concert at the
a guided tour
dinner at Quo
Sunday 22 May 2016. The Golden Anniversary of my baptism. See the address I gave at Carey Baptist Church, Reading, here.
Wednesday 18 May 2016. In the last three days I've had
an x-ray and
damage to my
left foot is
but it is
23 days to the
Saturday 14 May 2016.
the last four
days, even as
early as 07.15
It's been fun
11 May 2016. In the last
two days I have seen my own
GP as well as an A&E nurse
and consultant. None of them
thinks my foot problem is a stress
fracture. They have prescribed
rest, gentle exercise and
analgesics. I am frustrated.
Monday 2 May 2016. A standard training run around the village ended up with bad, bad pain in my left foot. Oh dear, is this the beginning of something serious?
Monday 11 April 2016. A busy day in London. BBC3 lunchtime concert by I Fagiolini at the Wigmore Hall, the Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art exhibition at the National Gallery and dinner at Koffman's restaurant at The Berkeley.
25 March 2016. Another
barrier has been broken –
this time the
30-minute trail at Nant yr
Arian. My time was 29 minutes,
Wednesday 23 March
life has changed. The Exchange Store has
re-opened, after 20 years, in Capel Bangor ... and
it takes the vouchers for The Times
newspaper. No longer will I have to drive 8
miles every day into Llanbadarn Fawr to collect my
copy, from now on it's a brisk 250m walk.
Monday 21 March 2016.
That 12-minute barrier has been
twice round the village in 11 minutes, 42 seconds.
Thursday 17 March
2016. Went for another 5km run on the Nant yr Arian trail –
this time I followed the correct route. Time –
30 minutes, 34 seconds.
Friday 11 March 2016. Somewhat inadvertently I've downloaded Windows 10 onto my PC. Seems OK, so far. A couple of glitches, easily fixed. Postscript: loading Windows 10 onto my netbook was an entirely different experience. The Uni Help-desk team tried and failed. The problem is the machine's small memory because 10 needs about 13.5GB of space to download. Anyway, eventually, and surprisingly, the Knowhow boys at Currys did it for a mere £20.
Thursday 10 March 2016. Went for my first 5km run on the Nant yr Arian trail – gorgeous day, beautiful scenery, soft, muddy running surface, but with some killer slopes. Time – 26 minutes, 41 seconds. Postscript: in my enthusiasm (and ignorance), I missed some of the route direction markers, so this was a truncated run.
Monday 7 March
2016. It is exactly
two years since my Bioethical Issues -
Understanding and Responding to the Culture of
Death was published. Thankfully, I
don't have to live off its royalties.
24 February 2016. The oilman delivered a bargain fill up -
£401.63 for 1,500 litres. That's over £335 cheaper
than last time, 16 months ago.
Thursday 11 February 2016. Twice round the village in 12 minutes, 29 seconds - my fastest ever and my hip is much improved.
Thursday 14 January 2016. The Prunus nigra flowered - is this the earliest ever? It must be a benefit of global warming.
13 January 2016. As the Beatles sang, 'It's getting better all the
time.' Once round the village now in under
6 minutes, in fact, in 5 minutes, 48
Saturday 9 January 2016. A week of interval training - 10 x 90m sprinting followed by 10 x 90m jogging, plus a 5-minute starting and 3-minute ending of jogging. Today was my best time, 19 minutes 45 seconds.
1 January 2016. I
celebrated the New Year by running my new 3-mile
training route in 26 minutes 21 seconds. That's
just less than 9 minutes per mile - not bad for an