Month: December 2018

Looking back on 2018

2018 had many high and low points, and it was really a year of change and renewal.  The biggest issue that weighed on my mind towards the end of 2017 had been the renewal of my visa which was done successfully for another 5 years. By the time you read this almost a year would have passed from those 5. My mother’s health took a turn for the worse towards the end of December and at one point I was looking for flights just in case I had to return to South Africa. Fortunately that did not happen, but she remains in high care and who knows what the future holds. (Update: I will be returning to South Africa for a brief visit at the end of February 2019)

I had also been contemplating resigning from my job as I was really getting tired of the atmosphere where I worked, sadly it was all caused by the same person and by the end of August I had made my decision and resigned. It just goes to show how bad things were, and I am amazed that I stuck it out for 3 years. I have a new job now, albeit it as a contractor and am still in Tewkesbury, but would probably leave like a shot if a better job came up elsewhere. My new employment is interesting though, I have learnt a lot of things that I had never considered before, and that is a good thing.

The weather was also surprising, with 2 snowfalls in the early part of the year. They were fun, and I got some great pics. So far (touch wood) we have not had snow, but that is pretty much how we felt at the beginning of the year too.

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We also lost Ray Thomas, Mort Walker, Billy Graham, Stephen Hawking,  Harry Anderson, George and Barbara Bush,  Aretha Franklin, Burt Reynolds,  Joe Jackson, Dolores O’Riordan, Montserrat Caballé, Hugh Masekela, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, John McCain, Morgan Tsvangirai, Pik Botha, Margot Kidder, Sir Roger Bannister, Kofi Annan, Charles Aznavour, Paul Allen, and Stan Lee (complete list at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deaths_in_2018

Because the weather was better I ended up gallivanting again, and visited a number of places during the year. Naturally I ended up taking way too many photo’s as usual. I also ate too much ice cream, read lots of books and watched too many anime and movies. 

The highlight of the year was definitely  the trip I made to Liverpool in June and it spawned a whole wodge of blogposts.

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and of course my visits to Evesham were amazing, and it is a place I enjoy visiting. Hopefully next year I will get to the light rail that runs there too. 

This was also the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, and I am still involved in the Lives of the First World War Project. (Please note that the original url of Lives is no longer in use)

The project finishes in March 2019 and I may find that I have a lot more free time on my hands from then. 

I was also lucky to get to travel to Wales and paid a brief visit to Swansea and Mumbles

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and I paid a few visits to Bristol in July and August. This time around exploring beyond the cemetery and harbour too. I will be returning there once the weather improves. 

Meanwhile back in Tewkesbury, we had the usual Medieval Festival as well as the Classic Vehicle Festival.

The one thing that I can be sure of is that I live in interesting times, and I expect 2019 will bring quite a few highlights and low lights to blog about. I may be making a short trip to South Africa in 2019, but haven’t made a decision yet, there are many factors involved in deciding, but really need to look into all of them. It is an expensive trip and with my job still being as it is I have to be rational about something like that. 

That is 2018 in a nutshell. I have deviated from my usual format this time around, its much easier to do, and I can always add bits on in these last days of the year. Irrespective though, with Brexit looming in the distance who knows what April may bring. The election in South Africa is also looming in 2019 and given how bad things are getting there who knows what the year will bring. You can bet that more money will be squandered on everything but the poor. We will just have to wait and see.

DRW © 2018-2020. Lives URL Changed 29/12/2019 


Let’s play Poohsticks

This morning, while riding on the cycle track on my way home I encountered a man and his toddler on the cycle path. “We’ve been playing Poohsticks” he said. 

It was a lightbulb moment.  Now Poohsticks is a very famous game invented by A. A. Milne for his son Christopher Robin Milne, and the game first came to prominence when it was described in the author’s book The House at Pooh Corner.  We more or less have a perfect spot in which to play it, so it was just a matter of time before Miss Emily was roped in for a quick game. 

Dressed to the nines, with her new red purse, felt hat and wellies we headed for the Carrant Brook. 

“Why are we going to the river?” she asked. “Are we there yet?”

I first took her down to the bank and tried to explain the rules. She sat on the tree branch and tried to listen attentively. She had already waylaid a passing twig that she wanted to hurl into the river. “Not yet Miss Emily.”

She eyed another tree branch that was in the river and claimed it as her own “I win!” she exclaimed.

“Nope, not quite Miss Emily, that is overdoing it.”

“Oh Pooh”

We walked a bit further “What about this cool brick?”

“Nope, it will sink like a stone. Enough speculating, lets go stand on the bridge and we can see whose stick gets to the finishing line at the narrow gap downstream first”

We walked up to the bridge and Miss Emily tried to look over the railing, “this railing is too high, maybe if we get that brick I can stand on it?”

“Forget that brick Miss Emily, you can look between the rails. Now get your stick ready!”

Miss Emily pushed her stick through the railings until she was holding it over the water “I am ready!” she shouted excitedly.

“Me too. When I say three let them go and whoever gets to the narrowing first wins. 1, 2…………. 2,5………… 2,6…………  3!” 

The sticks tumbled down into the water to meet their fate. “I’m winning!” she cried.

“No wait, I could be loosing. Which is my stick? I am all confused.”

“That’s always a problem when you play Poohsticks unless you mark your stick properly.”

“That sounds complimacated and way too much work.” She said thoughtfully. “After all this is not the Olympiciamiam Games.”

“You mean the Olympic Games?” 

“Yes, them too. Just imagine winning a gold medal and lots of ice cream in the Olympiciamiam Games as well as in the Olympic Games!”

“I knew it would come down to ice cream again.”

“Let’s have another round.” she grabbed a stick from the pile “Ready when you are!”

And so we played Poohsticks from the bridge.

“That was fun!” Miss Emily said, “I think I am going to enter the Olympiciamiam Games when I grow up.”

“Don’t grow up Miss Emily, it’s a trap!”

“It is?”

“Most definitely, just think, had I not had you I would not have been able to play Poohsticks.”

“That’s true. I don’t think adults play enough games once they grow up.”

“I agree. Come, let’s go get some ice cream, what flavour would you like?”

And so we headed off home via the ice cream shop, Miss Emily had learnt something new, and I had ended up with muddy boots and many pics. The brief sunshine had felt invigorating and we were both ready for the weekend. “it will soon be a new year Miss Emily, how long have you been with me?”

She thought for awhile, “Since September 2016.”

“Time passes very quickly these days”

“Uhu, so we better play games more often then.”

“Good idea Miss Emily, a very good idea.”

The final score? Miss Emily won by 3 sticks and 1 ice cream.

DRW © 2018-2019. Created 29/12/2018


Hungry Elephants on the loose!

There are many things to see in Cheltenham, and I used to see the Elephant Rampage mosaics in lane called Grosvenor Place South ( 51.898817°,  -2.071789°) each time I went to the Lidl in Cheltenham, and I have always meant to use the images but never did. Today I am finally posting the pics of the mosaic. Unfortunately some of the name plates have been stolen, and I hope to root around and see whether I can at least add in the information. The story is really about the circus that came to town and the elephants hat made an unscheduled stop. I am posting them in the direction that they are supposed to be viewed from (top to bottom in this case). The story is told in better detail at http://cheltenhamdailyphoto-marley.blogspot.com/2008/04/elephant-rampage.html

Enticed by the irresistible aroma drifting from Bloodworths Corn Merchants they raided the feed store
Their keeper frantically struggled to control their errant charges
Amazed Cheltonians and the local constabulary watched with alarm and delight

DRW © 2018 – 2019. Created 23/12/2018