Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Welsh beaches seaside coastline

I promised you beaches yesterday so here they are...

This is Newgale, one of the widest, sandiest and sandcastle-friendly beaches we've found. No matter how sunny, how many people there are, there always seems to be space on the beach... at least, at low tide. The carpark, however, can be a different matter.

We've also visited the slate-black beach of Abereiddy before, which is worthwhile if you want a change from yellow sand...

... and blue sea. This is the so-called 'blue lagoon' (looks green to me!) which is famous for watersports, apparently.

And - maybe not a beach - but nearby Porthgain is always worth a visit, too. Very good pub there (The Sloop) apparently (not that I'd know)...

And another place less beach than harbour (but, frankly, if the kids can find a bit of sand to dig up they're happy) is Solva...

Back to beaches, and there can't be many finer than this...

Broadhaven lives up to its name, being broad (at low tide) and a veritable haven of tranquility and calm... which you'll need, because getting there isn't easy!

All these beaches look empty in our photos and - if so - that's probably because we're often in the habit of doing as the French do - going late afternoon and staying into the evening. The sun's not as hot but the sea is warmer. And most of the visitors (having been there all day) have gone home.

So far, we've only mentioned Pembrokeshire. But our tour also took in the Gower and so to finish, how about Three Crosses...

There are many, many more of course. We've done no more than scratch the surface. But it's been a pretty good summer for beaches so, if the weather holds, you can have these recommendations on us!

Hwyl fawr!

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Didn't we have a loverly time...

We've come home, again. From - not to - Wales. It might not be the land of my fathers but it certainly feels like home (having lived not-that-far from the border for many years) and there's still a welcome in the hillsides. (And hillsides themselves are something of a novelty when you live in Lincolnshire!)

Anyway, in the manner of an awards ceremony, there a few people I'd like to thank.

First, the Welsh Assembly (or maybe the EU, or the local authorities or whoever is responsible for highway maintenance). Because - with the inevitable exceptions of those tiny, single-track local lanes that are little more than farm tracks - the roads we happened to drive along were wonderful, new, smooth, perfectly cambered, and clearly signposted. (And when you consider that signs in Wales are twice the size - having twice the number of words - that's quite an achievement.)

Ok, I know the principality (sorry, Welsh people, I know it should be 'kingdom' or maybe 'republic' but...) is small by comparison to England but, honestly, I've not had as much fun behind the wheel of a car on holiday since we last went to France. And no, I'm not being sarcastic. And, yes - I define 'fun' as a smooth, event-free and easy journey from A to B.

If that's not your idea of fun, there's plenty of the blind-bends-grass-in-the-middle-high-hedges-no-chance-of-stopping-close-your-eyes-keep-praying kind of roads as well. It's just that I didn't like them.

What I did like were the 'A' roads (and quite a few 'B' roads, too). They were wonderful.

I also liked Llandudno, and Conwy; Beaumaris, on Anglesey, and this little place with a long, long name...

And we enjoyed the beaches, too!

I'll tell you more about them tomorrow.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Yorkshire Day

It's Yorkshire Day and in honour of the county here's the national anthem as arranged by Yorkshireman Eric Fenby

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

All about that bass...

I like to kid myself I know a thing or two about singing. I've certainly been lucky enough to do plenty including appearing - several times - at the BBC Proms... though only in the chorus, not on me own; not filling the Royal Albert Hall with such a rich, deep, dark-chocolate rumbling of a voice that I'm sure people must've thought there was a tube-train clattering by or perhaps someone had turned the organ on by mistake.

Actually, it wouldn't have been a mistake. Because the organ WAS on on Sunday night in South Ken. It's part of Mahler's monumental Eighth Symphony - the so-called 'Symphony of a Thousand' because - if it doesn't quite need that number of performers, it certainly sounds like it!

And one of those performers was a bass with the best bass voice I've heard in ages. He's also got the best back-story of any singer I'm come across lately. Because despite coming from a family of gospel singers in Atlanta, Robinson shunned music and enrolled at The Citadel Military College in South Carolina with the intention of becoming an NFL football pro.

He didn't have a singing lesson until he was - wait - 30 years old, having left college (and football) and worked in corporate sales for a while.

Now in demand in opera houses all over the world, he is only talked of as an 'unlikely' superstar by those who haven't heard him.

So, go on. Hear him. Take a listen. It's a voice to die for or - in my case - to do a Mephistophelean pact for. It's everything a bass voice ought to be (and mine - a baritone if ever there was one - isn't). But, oh, I wish...

Monday, 23 July 2018

The Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters

The Mighty Dead: Why Homer MattersThe Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters by Adam Nicolson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Longlisted for the 2014 Samuel Johnson prize,' it says on the cover. All I can say is that 2014 must've been a stonking year if this book didn't even make the shortlist! I've seldom read a book that spreads itself so magisterially (and readably) over literary criticism, ancient history, linguistics, morality, poetry, psychology, sociology, and geography. It's in many ways a genre-busting book, containing autobiographical elements alongside insights into Homer, the world of the Ancient Greeks from the Steppe migrations right up to Chicago gang culture. Nothing seems out of place or forced into the narrative. Nicolson wears his learning as lightly as one of Helen's chiffon garments; the gold of his insights as delicately veneer-thin as a golden body image from a Mycenaean tomb. If this didn't win in 2014... what did?

View all my reviews

Thursday, 12 July 2018

My First Book of Quantum Physics

We were sent a copy of this book to review recently. And although we were mighty impressed with it, we haven't yet got round to reviewing it. So this book trailer couldn't have come at a better time, allowing us to share with you what we think is a fantastic resource without having to wait a moment longer.

One of Einstein's famous successors famously claimed that 'if you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics' and I'm not going to gainsay Richard Feynman.

But what I AM going to say is that it's a fairly widely held belief that children sometimes have an instinctive grasp of things that adults find incomprehensible.

So give them this. Let's learn from them!

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