Saturday 25 November 2023.  The first frost of the winter - it was -3ºC this morning.  Yesterday I sowed an early row of broad beans - the gardening year has started.

Thursday 19 October 2023.  Had the autumn Covid-19 jab.  It was Comirnaty Omicron XBB.1.5 30 micrograms/dose.  Had to queue for about one hour.  It was a rough jab - he suddenly caught me while I was standing up. 

Friday 13 October 2023. 
Drove to the local GP surgery to get our autumn Covid-19 jab for the over-65s.  A few hundred other oldies had had the same thought - the queue was horrendous.  We promptly turned around and drove home.  Another day.

Tuesday 4 October 2023. 
My annual flu jab.  Not a great start to my birthday, however, I'm told that there is venison and profiteroles later.  Poor start - good end.

Wednesday 13 September 2023. 
We climbed Pen y Fan, at 886m it is the second highest mountain in Wales.  It took us about 4 hours including lunch for 30 minutes at the top.  The sun was out, the sky was blue and the views were just stunningly gorgeous.

Saturday 9 September 2023. 
The lawn has been mowed (2x), scarified (3x), over-seeded, fertilised and finally top-dressed.  It looks awful - mostly patchy yellow and brown.  But wait a few weeks ....

Saturday 5 August 2023. 
A week of Musicfest Aberystwyth performances.  We heard Llyr
Williams, the Solem Quartet and the London Serenata.  There was a not too subtle LGBTQ+ influence.  Despite that, such wonderful music and world-renown musicians were on our doorstep.  We did appreciate it.

Friday 14 July 2023.  Executed our wills - better late than never.  Yes indeed, our days are numbered (Job 14:5), our deaths are inevitable, so we are preparing.

Friday 2 June 2023.  Finished my 9-lecture stint at the London Seminary over the last 3 weeks.  We stayed over a few days and enjoyed Guys and Dolls, the King's Coronation in the rain, Andras Schiff at the Wigmore Hall, a boat trip on the Thames and eating at Ottolenghi, Clipstone and Hawksmoor.  There was a downside - a £180 fine for inadvertently straying into Ulez territory.

Wednesday 26 April 2023. 
My fifth Covid-19 vaccination.   It was a 0.3ml dose of Pfizer Comirnaty Bivalent Original/Omicron BA.4-5.  I didn't feel a thing.

Monday 27 March 2023.  A big day - we sold our boat, Lazy Lady.  After 25 years of sea-faring fun and rich fishing she has gone.  Our parting was inevitable - we are getting older and the costs, both physical and financial, were not lessening.  We shall probably continue to fish from terra ferma.

Saturday 25 March 2023.  Last week saw the official first day of Spring.  Tomorrow is the official beginning of British Summer Time.  And this afternoon I officially mowed the lawn of the first time this year.

Saturday 26 February 2023. 
The Prunus nigra flowered.  It looks like a bumper display this year mainly because the bullfinches have not so far plundered the blossom on the tree.

Wednesday 22 February 2023.  Time for an oil delivery.  Last time (September 2021), 1,500 litres cost £708.  Today's price was £1,101.  That is a 56% increase - who is making big money on these necessities?

Sunday 1 January 2023. 
A Happy New Year, dear reader!  Welcome to 2023 - may it be a better, more peaceful, more blessed time than 2022.  Today in Aber, strong winds and heavy rain - not a day to walk the Prom.

Thursday 15 December 2022. 
It was -7.5
ºC this morning - the coldest of several frosty days and the lowest December temperature for several years.  Not much snow - it looks like another disappointing non-white Christmas.

Saturday 12  November 2022. 
Collected a
LENOVO IdeaPad Flex 3i 11.6" 2 in 1 Laptop - Intel® Celeron®, 64 GB eMMC, Blue.  In other words, a gizmo between a smartphone and a desktop PC, just right for lecturing and travelling with a decent keyboard and enough RAM to allow updates.


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.

Tuesday 24 October 2022.  
It may have been the day that Rishi Sunak became the UK's new Prime Minister, but we bought two OPPO Reno8 Lite 5G smartphones - the Lings have at last entered the 21st-century.
Thursday 19 October 2022.  
Yet another booster - 0.5 ml Spikevax bivalent original Omicron (Moderna) vaccine.  Go away wretched Covid-19 virus.

Wednesday 12 October 2022. 
Flu jab – 0.5 ml Seqirus adjuvanted quadrivalent (aQIV) vaccine.  Manufactured specifically for those aged 65 and over!

Monday 19 September 2022. 
Watched the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on TV for about 8 hours.  Solemn yet splendid, especially those ten pall-bearers from the Queen's Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.  God save the King! 

Friday 9 September 2022. 
This year's fishing season for us is over.  Lazy Lady is back in our back garden.  In total, the catch was 118 fish caught over only 12 outings.  Appropriately, we caught most (32) on our Golden Wedding Anniversary.

Friday 29 July 2022. 
Our Golden Anniversary - we have been married 50 years!  And it gets better and better.  Deo gratias.  Up early fishing (32 caught), dinner of mackerel, runner beans and beetroot (the best), out late at a concert by the wonderful Solem Quartet (CD bought).

Tuesday 19 July 2022. 
Hooray, at last, we’re both pox free - negative lateral flow tests this afternoon.

Monday 18 July 2022.  Predicted to the hottest day ever in the UK - maybe 40ºC.  Therefore up at 05.00 to pick raspberries and white currants before the sun gets a hold.

Thursday 14 July 2022.  The fishing season has started.  We were out early this morning and caught seven.  Come on runner beans, we need you to accompany the fish on our dinner plates.  Yum, yum.

Thursday 7 July 2022.  Well, I suppose it was bound to happen.  A sore throat three days ago,  a cough two days ago and a headache yesterday.  Yes, that wretched Omicron virus, probably its sub-variants BA.4 and/or BA.5, has got me - a positive lateral flow test.

Monday 4 July 2022.  Just filled up our Renault Mégane
with diesel - £106.01.  What?!  Thankfully I could remember my card's PIN.

Wednesday 16 February 2022. 
The Prunus nigra flowered today, just three or four tiny pink/white blossoms to be joined by hundreds more in the coming days.

Friday 14 January 2022.
  It is exactly a year ago today – 24 January – that Mum died.  We miss her and think of her every day.  But we are not downcast – our confidence, as was Mum’s, is in Christ and his John 14:3 promise.  And maybe this evening we will drink a glass of her favourite sherry in her honour.

Friday 14 January 2022. 
On Christmas Day the steering wheel lock on our Renault Mégane jammed.  I had it repaired today for £620.  What?  The required gizmo is the size of a decent apple - can you guess what I’m thinking?

Monday 22 November 2021. 
The first frost of the autumn/winter, a little later than usual.  It was -2.0ºC this morning, but wonderfully bright and sunny.

Saturday 6 November 2021. 
Had the Covid-19 booster jab.  It was the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine curiously rebranded as Comirnaty.  Apparently the new name is an agglomeration of the words 'Covid-19 immunity' and 'mRNA'.

Tuesday 26 October 2021.
  We did our first LFTs – ordered last night, delivered by post this morning.  Anyway, both his and hers were negative – phew!

Thursday 14 October 2021.  The tree surgeons came and felled a huge wounded cherry and an out-of-control cedar that I planted 40 years ago.  Sad but inevitable.

Tuesday 5 October 2021.
  My mother, Patricia Ethel Ling, was born on 5 October 1921.  In other words, if she had lived, she would have been 100 years old today.  Sadly, she died on 24 January 2021, aged 99.
  How she would have enjoyed a party with us all, along with her card from the Queen!

Saturday 2 October 2021.  We had our flu jabs, Fluenz Tetra, along with almost 800 other oldies at our doctors' surgery this morning.  What a slick operation.

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.

Wednesday 28 April  2021. 
Had my second Covid-19 vaccination dose - 0.5 ml Oxford-AstraZeneca (ChAdOx1-S) - at my local doctor's surgery.  'Little scratch', she said and it was all over.

Sunday 25 April  2021.  We walked the Prom this morning before on-line church - the sky was blue, the sea bluer.   The last time we walked the seafront was Sunday 20 December 2020 - four months ago.

Friday 19 March 2021. 
This afternoon, as the sun came out, so too did my lawnmower for the first time this year. Appropriately, tomorrow is the first day of Spring.

Thursday 18 March 2021.  Liberation Day!  This morning I moved my email address from to   So ends my 30-year email connection with Aberystwyth University.

Thursday 25 February 2021.  That bellwether of Spring, the Prunus nigra has flowered.  It's a little late this year, but still very welcome.

Wednesday 10 February 2021. 
Had my first Covid-19 vaccination dose - 0.5 ml Oxford-AstraZeneca (ChAdOx1-S) - at my local doctor's surgery.

Monday 25 January 2021.  
That inescapable day has finally come.  It is with profound sadness that we announce that Mum died, quietly and peacefully in her sleep, late on Sunday night, 24 January.

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!

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!

Monday 11 May 2020. 
The old, faithful, fan-trained Victoria plum tree had to be felled.  After some 30+ years of fruitfulness the bacterial canker had wreaked havoc and it was dying fast. 

Wednesday 22 April 2020.  Lawn Day.  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.

Sunday 22 March 2020.  We went to 'church-on-the-web' this morning - who'd have ever thought?  There I was in my jeans and a polo shirt!

Monday 16 March 2020.  Went for lunch to the well-known Harbourmaster Hotel in Aberaeron just 4 hours before the Government recommended avoiding restaurants because of the coronavirus pandemic. The downside is that the National Orchestra of Wales has cancelled its concert in Aberystwyth on Thursday.

Saturday 14 March 2020. 
Mowed the grass for the first time this year - some of it was 15cm high.  And we are picking and eating rhubarb - in mid-March?

Saturday 8 February 2020. 
Ran to Whatley's house and back ~ 3,500 steps.  Time = 19' 12"  some 12" faster than a week ago.  How long can these improvements continue?

Tuesday 4 February 2020.  The Prunus nigra flowered - pretty, delicate and pink.  As many as 8 bullfinches have previously been gorging on the flower buds.

Monday 27 January 2020. 
Having not run for 18 months, I'm back to my winning ways of less than 6 minutes around the village - 5' 57" to be precise.  Feeling good and left-foot pain has gone.

Friday 17 January 2020.  My new running shoes arrived from Sportsshoes.  They are Asics GT-1000 8, electric blue and silver, an upgrade from my previous 4 version.  I hope to try them out tomorrow.

Wednesday 1 January 2020.
A happy New Year!!  This is the first time, for three whole years, that I've not been ill, in bed with all sorts of bugs and antibiotics, etc., on this auspicious day.  Here's to a blessed 2020.

Wednesday 25 December 2019.
  A merry Christmas to all my readers, yes, including you!  May 2020 be a wonderful year of Contentment and Thankfulness (CaT) for all of us.

Friday 6 December 2019. 
I'm already in 2020, well, I've just got some new specs which bring back 20:20 vision apparently.  Some trouble and bad advice initially - should have gone to Specsavers.  I did!

Monday 18 November 2019.
  Had the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) today.  It should keep those nasty Streptococcus pneumoniae bugs and pneumonia at bay for the rest of my life.

Tuesday 12 November 2019.  It's flush-the-central-heating-system day.  Cleaner (Fernox F3) was added 7 days ago.  Now the brown/black sludge is drained off and the radiators are repeatedly filled and drained until the water is clear - well, more like the colour of apple juice.  Then inhibitor (Fernox F1) is added and it's good for another ten years.

Monday 28 October 2019.  First frost of autumn. 
It was 0.5ºC this morning - the fig tree did not like it and curled its leaves in rage.

Wednesday 23 October 2019.
Three holes in my arms - flu jab, shingles vax and blood sampled for numerous tests.  Pneumonia vax next month.  And I did not faint.
Saturday 19 October 2019.  Walked from Tenby to Saundersfoot along 4 or so miles of the wonderful Pembrokeshire Coast Path.  Stayed at The Grove in the £343 per night Bramble suite, for free! 
Sunday, we attended Bethesda church in Narberth - hear the minister preach without sermon notes. 

Tuesday 17 September 2019.  Had a splendid afternoon with 14 ministers at the Reading Evangelical Leaders Forum (ELF) speaking about bioethical issues.  Some want to take practical action against abortion.  We shall see.  I did my best to chivvy them along.

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. 

Wednesday 17 July 2019.  We launched Lazy Lady this morning.  It rained soon after.  Oh, for some sun, some calm seas and some fresh fish!

Tuesday 2 July 2019.  Yesterday a tiny chip of concrete flew in my right eye while I was angle grinding - yes, I was wearing glasses, goggles and a face mask.  Two A&E doctors failed to remove it.  Oh, the pain.  Today another A&E doctor rolled back my eyelid and washed out the offending grit.  The pain gradually subsided.  Hooray for the NHS!

Friday 14 June 2019.  Just finished delivering 9 lectures on bioethical issues, over three Friday mornings and with over 1,000 PowerPoint slides, at the London Seminary.  What a privilege.

Monday 20 May 2019. 
What a weekend!  Thursday to London Seminary.  Friday delivered 3 bioethics lectures.  Saturday chased Mr Bunyan around Bedford.  Sunday
witnessed our eldest grandchild, Esther (aged 15), and her father, Simeon, being baptised at Monyhull Church, Birmingham.  Soli Deo Gloria.

Saturday 4 May 2019. 
For dinner tonight, the last of last year's mackerel catch.  From the freezer and just about as tasty as if it were caught today.  Looking forward to this year's catch starting in July.

Saturday 20 April 2019. 
All the fence panels are now installed, even a home-made 535 mm wide one.  And they are as straight as straight can be.  And they look pretty.  Now onto summer project 2, the fruit and veg garden.

Tuesday 2 April 2019. 
The last post - seven 600 mm deep holes have been dug through recalcitrant shale and seven 1.83 m fence posts have been concreted in.  It's been a struggle that, thankfully, will not need to be repeated anytime soon.

Thursday 28 March 2019.  
National Orchestra of Wales concert at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre - the overly-brassy Borodin's Prince Igor and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No 5 book-ended Rodrigo's wonderful moody Concierto de Aranjeuz played by the fabulous 24-year-old guitarist Thibaut Garcia.  A night to remember.

Wednesday 13 March 2019.  
My new passport arrived today, six days later than Wendy's.  The question is: will we ever use them?

Friday 1 March 2019.  
Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!  Happy St David's Day!  We applied for new passports online today, even taking and adding our own (unflattering) digital mugshots.  Cost = £151 + p&p!  Sent separately to the Peterborough and Durham Passport Offices - weird?

Monday 25 February 2019.  The warmest February day on record in the UK - it was 20.3ºC in Aberystwyth.  The first time a temperature over 20ºC has been recorded in winter.  I even had to mow the grass.

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.

Tuesday 12 February 2019. 
Fitted 26 kitchen cabinet handles this morning.  They were replacements for the 5-year-old, sub-standard original things which 'peeled'.  Good 'ole Magnet exchanged them free and gratis.

Friday 1 February 2019. 
We came out of a Dry January - it was not difficult and we felt neither better nor worse for the experience.  And 'no' we are not about to try going vegan!

Monday 28 January 2019. 
The Prunus nigra flowered - right on time.  Some serious snow is forecast for later this week.  I hope so!

Tuesday 8 January 2019. 
Happy New Year!  The oil man came today - 1,500 litres for £706.39 which is just £15 more than last year. 

Wednesday 26 December 2018.  Yes, I've made it - unlike the last two Christmases, I've got through the current festivities without being bed-ridden
by the foulest of colds.  'Hang in there until at least the New Year', I tell myself.

Tuesday 20 November 2018. 
The battery in the Renault Mégane has died.  A 'cheap' non-Renault replacement costs a whopping £149.00 + 20% VAT.  At least Wendy won't have to wrap this as my Christmas present.

Monday 12 November 2018. 
It pays to shop around.  John Lewis asked for £199.84 to renew our home contents insurance.  Saga offered an identical - actually a slightly better - policy for £69.80.  It's called a no-brainer.

Monday 29 October 2018. 
The first frost of the season.  It was
-1.5ºC this morning - white and pretty outside, warm and cosy inside.

Wednesday 10 October 2018.  Back from a few days celebrating Wendy's big birthday at The Grove in Pembrokeshire - visited Narberth, Laugharne and St David's, walked Stackpole Quay, Barafundle Bay and Broad Haven.  Just lovely.

nday 1 October 2018.
  At last, finished painting the Tyrolean walls of the house, well the front half.  Two coats, mostly off a ladder.  That's enough - the back half next year.  And so end external renovations for 2018.

Monday 10 September 2018.  
Lazy Lady is off her harbour moorings and in our back garden.  The fishing season, at least, for us, is over.  A decent catch this year, a total of 138 fish from 14 trips out.

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.  Caught another 8 mackerel quickly this morning before the rain drove us back to the harbour.  We’ve not seen rain for about 6 weeks - today's was a welcome 0.5 inches.

Saturday 14 July 2018.  Out fishing in Cardigan Bay for the first time this year - calm, blue, bright and hot.  Caught 8 mackerel to eat with the first of our runner beans and black cherries from the tree.  This is summer.

Friday 13 July 2018.  Up at 06.00 and out by 07.00 to the harbour to launch Lazy Lady - all calm and lovely.  Hoping for some serious fishing during the next few weeks.

Wednesday 27 June 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.

Tuesday 19 June 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!

Friday 15 June 2018.  Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Shakespeare Company's theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon.  Thrilling, gripping and at times frightening - what a wonderful production despite the modern dress and some trans characters.

Saturday 26 May 2018.  Renovating a tired lawn - over the last 10 days, I've scarified, fertilized, mowed, over-seeded and top-dressed it.  It now looks awful, but in a week or two it should look lush, like Wimbledon centre court.  Thunderstorms are forecast for tomorrow - excellent, just on time.

Tuesday 8 May 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!

Friday 27 April 2018.  Today marks 50 years since the Abortion Act 1967 came into force – since then, there have been almost 9 million abortions in Great Britain.

Friday 13 April 2018.  A day in London.  Free concert at St James's Church, Piccadilly by the Solem Quartet (Haydn and Bartók - wonderful), Charles 1: King and Collector exhibition at the Royal Academy (OK, a bit dull) and dinner at Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill (nice, but overpriced).

Friday 6 April 2018.  The first grass cutting of the year - despite the cold Spring, this is about the usual time to get out the Flymo.

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 -2.5ºC here this morning, but that is irrelevant. 

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 'civilisation'.

Friday 23 February 2018.  Today I have painted the top of my desk with floor paint (yes, it's brilliant stuff) and replaced the valve cartridge in the shower (slightly tricky, but gratifying) - the triumphs of DIY.

Monday 12 February 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.

Monday 1 January 2018.  A happy New Year to all my (few and special) readers.  My cold is abating, the sun is out and a pheasant has just strutted up our garden - a happy New Year indeed!

Monday 25 December 2017.  Oh no, not again!  I have started a cold on Christmas Day.  This time, despite the malady, we have eaten well, with thankfulness.

Friday 22 December 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 Christmas!

Wednesday 8 November 2017.  First 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 2017After 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 improving.

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 mugshot.

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.  The official 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 seconds slower.

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 2017.  My 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 great fun.

Monday 20 March 2017.  Our very 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 2017.  A 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 2017.  Message 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.  At last, 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 2016I 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 misadventure.

Friday 18 November 2016This 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