Sunday, February 28, 2010

28 02 2010 (59/365)

Perhaps now at the end of month two of the 12 month challenge and 59 days into the 365 it would be a good point to reflect on what has happened to date. I am sure that others will have faced difficulties both personal and professional over the past two months, we wouldn't be human if this wasn't the case. I have added a photograph taken this afternoon of Jaycob giving his mum flowers as a 'thank you' for all that she has done for him over his recent difficulties, I just love the look on his face..... it is priceless.
I also want to add here the a little praise of my own, Emily, who did bring some things on herself in becoming pregnant at such a young age putting us her parents through a very difficult time as she appeared to be determined to do things her way ( understatement!).
Teenage mums have a very bad press which is to a large extent quite unfair. Now as a single mum at 21 with a 3 and 4 year old we couldn't really be prouder of the way that Emily has taken on the responsibilities of parenthood - it would actually put to shame many two parent households. We do despair that the system in the UK does still not make things easy for single parents who want to break back into the employment market! ( this is not perhaps the time or place to air this?)
Emily of course knows that that there are always family members ( 3 generations ) near at hand to help out..... but everyone does this willingly as they respect the good job that this single mum is doing in running her household and bringing up her children...... single mums deserve much more of a better press and will always get it from this blogger.

Below is the Ddraig-Goch365 photoset to date:
Ddraig Goch 365

Saturday, February 27, 2010

27 02 2010

Today I took to the hockey pitch again as a stubborn if slightly overweight defender for Abergavenny against a fit Whitchurch team, we sadly came up short losing 5-1. Our opponents were worthy winners who play the game in a refreshing way.

I needed a strong coffee and later a hot bath to bring me around.........and I know that my legs will not feel like they belong to me for some days.

Friday, February 26, 2010

26 02 2010

7.45 and looking ahead to Wales v France from the Millennium Stadium with a great deal of trepidation. The French side look capable of playing 80 minutes of power rugby which I am not at all confident that Wales can match....we will see.

It is a good to be able to think of such things following a trying week. I also popped down to Cardiff at lunchtime today for a Friday Pub Lunch with my IB colleagues and a chance to catch up with my missed week....hence two empty bottles of a quality red of course.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

25 02 2010

Thanks to everyone for their good-wishes and kind thoughts..... our prayers have been answered and as you can see from today's image, Jaycob Isaac was very keen to leave hospital today.
In fact he was dressed ready and waiting at the door to the Children's Ward at Nevill Hall Hospital for some fifteen minutes before his release letter was printed!
The news at 11.00am from the Paediatric Consultant Dr Maguire confirmed what we had hoped for over the past 6 days, that the infection that Jaycob suffered was from Chicken Pox, not the much more difficult to treat, Herpes Simplex.
He will have to return for visual, auditory and motor skills tests next week to ascertain if there will be any lasting effects which may require further monitoring, but for now we are just glad to have Jaycob back with us...... I think that he is quite relieved also, and even though he got on well with the fabulous staff on the ward he was only to pleased to press the button for the lift at 3pm today as he headed for home.

Thank you again from us all for your good-wishes.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

24 02 2010

Jaycob and his much loved 'Ben10' bike over the Christmas break.

I have to report that there is a further improvement in Jaycob today, even though a firm diagnosis of encephalitis caused by the chicken pox virus is not confirmed it seems the more likely as he improves slowly each day in response to the anti-viral medication. If he maintains the current rate of progress he may well be able to come home over the weekend ahead.
We are all of course encouraging him in his progress as he becomes more 'himself', beginning again to be more interested in the world around him and of course how to take things apart..... a sure sign of progress.
In addition to many messages of support from friends both near and far, we must pay tribute to all of the staff and doctors on the 'Children's Ward at Nevill Hall Hospital who strive to ensure that their charges ( and parents!!) are looked after in as normal as possible manner in trying circumstances. Their constantly upbeat concern and encouragement I am sure is at worth at least 50% in the progress made by patients and families - Thank You

The 'boyo' is nearly back with us.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

23 02 2010

We are still in hospital visiting mode, Jaycob is still making steady progress. His case is still. stubbornly refuses an absolute diagnosis, so much so that one doctor on the ward wants to study the case!!

A lovely surprise arrived on the Ward this morning, a special small blue parcel full of goodies and a balloon from my wonderful colleagues at the IB in Cardiff - a big Thank You from us all.

I am also sure that everyone's prayers, thoughts and goodwill messages are having the desired effect - many thanks to everyone from the whole family.

Monday, February 22, 2010

22 02 2010

Day 3 Jaycob looking more himself, he walked a little today and painted some pictures in the playroom. He did have to have an EEG this afternoon, and. is not looking forward to a possible 3 week stay in hospital. The diagnosis is still an encephalitis of some kind.

His sister is Abi also being very brave in very trying circumstances.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

21 02 2010

Day 2 in the Children's Ward at Nevill Hall Hospital. Jaycob who has suspected encephalitis (either chicken pox or herpes related) is responding slowly to treatment. He did manage to smile and squeeze my finger today. He is still quite tired but is now eating again.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

20 02 2010

Short update post. This morning at 8.15 Jaycob was admitted to Nevill Hall Hospital having suffered another funny turn.

Bless him he has had a CT  scan and a lumber puncture in addition to anti-viral medication and has been quite poorly throughout the day -he has been extremely brave. The medical team have been marvellous -we hope for better news tomorrow. 

Friday, February 19, 2010

19 02 2010

Winter has not quite let us out of its icy grip. This morning following overnight rain which turned to ice, cars and paths were well and truly frozen this morning - a morning for de-icer and scrapers ( gloves ans scarves!).
It was a typical Friday in work where several projects due for delivery finally moved towards their conclusion, as final tweaks to developments ends the week with them much nearer final delivery....phew!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

18 02 2010

It appears that winter has not quite finished with us yet as more snow sweeps in. I must admit that I took the afternoon off in order to avoid a snowy rush hour.... which didn't seem to appear!

( image courtesy of @jamesfk)

At home with some free time I finally download the BBC iPlayer for the Wii, this means that from now on catch-up TV is now playable on the television, no more laptop screen viewing. It does appear that the Wii Wi-Fi usage does cause issues for other devices in the house!

This post was partially sent from my HTC Google phone with additional material added later.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

17 02 2010

Having been without my beloved mode of transport since 11 02, I finally received confirmation from the windscreen company that Audi was ready for collection. Having been repaired the only concern was how to get the car home.....a few trips later and it was back on the drive.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

16 02 2010

利是, 利市 or 利事

At lunchtime today there was a Chinese New Year lunch celebration. These food and cultural events are held on a regular basis at the IB Cardiff and draws together colleagues from a variety of countries and cultures who cook or bring in food linked to the main theme. Above is a lucky red envelope complete with a 2 Jiao note.
Gung hee fatt choi

Monday, February 15, 2010

15 02 2010

Mmmmm another day another walk for lunch.  Today's lunch was a coronation chicken wrap and a latte all for £4.50.

The rest of the day seemed just hard work, not helped by a trip to the Emergency Room withmy grandson at the end of the day - thankfully he just appears to have become overtired while on his antibiotics , he seems to be almost back to normal......home at 8:15pm...bed!!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

14 02 2010

Happy Valentine's Day dear readers. I hope that there was a sharing of tokens of affection between both yourself and your loved one today.....I hope that it was suitably enigmatic!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

13 02 2010

With apologies to any sportsmen who may be viewing this blog post for the rather shocking image above. It is your truly following the first hockey match that I had played for almost 12 months, having gone into semi retirement following the conclusion of the 2009 season. I have been intending to make a gentle return to the hockey scene for some time. The match started at midday today in order to be over by the time of the Wales - Scotland Six Nations International.

I should have been more suspicious and asked more questions ahead of saying yes to playing - one question would have been, do we have a full team? The answer would have been well hopefully! We actually began with 8 players against the 11 man Swansea University side, having to take one player off to umpire. We actually offered the opposition a 5-0 walkover and 3 league points, however they preferred to play the game.To say that we were apprehensive in defence would be an understatement as the table topping team of young students took aggressively to the pitch as you will see above they are runaway leaders of the division by 10 points.
The game actually became an even tussle when we went to 9 players after 15 minutes and the final result:

Abergavenny A - 0 Swansea Unviersity B - 2 ( 1 goal scored in each half!!!)

As you can see from the picture taken following the game the rather overweight Abergavenny centre back did not look too tired at the end of the game, thanks to the commitment of the Abergavenny youth players - thank goodness for 17 years old legs!!!!
More next week........ Mmmm we will see, I did enjoy myself though, I have missed life on the pitch.

The next picture today I suspect was taken in the late 1980's ( the photo is black and white, plus the game was on a grass pitch!!!!) and shows a somewhat younger and slimmer me front left when I was actually a right winger.... oh! happy days.
The shot above was taken I believe at a mixed game in the 1990's and contains some long term Abergavenny Hockey members ( Trevor Scott back left, Adil Gatrad back right, Pat Harrison back third from left, Kevin Phillips front left, Nigel Sanchez to the left of me) - myself with novelty facial hair!!! - I know many of the other names however does anyone else recognise themselves?

Friday, February 12, 2010

12 02 2010

TGIF - Thank Goodness It's Friday! No, these were not all opened today honestly only the bottle in the foreground was tonight's tipple with dinner. After the week that I have had it was very welcome, and by the time you read this dear listener the bottle will be empty!
There is a rumour that tomorrow pj23harry will return to the hockey pitch for Abergavenny Hockey Club 2nd XI in a match against top of the table Swansea University.... time will tell.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

11 02 2010

(image source Wikepedia)
I had a carefully conceived plan today to post on the 20th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's (Madiba) release from prison - the walk to freedom and the movement of South Africa away from the apartheid years - the great man can be seen here recently with his former jail guard ( link) I was musing with recent news items as to what I was doing 20 years ago, of course the release came close on the heels of the breaching of the Berlin Wall the year before. It was of huge import to my wife's family as her aunt lives in South Africa and has done for many years, indeed Deb herself had visited her relatives in the dark apartheid days of the 1970's when a South African stamp in a passport meant questions asked and possible rejection in many other parts of the 'right thinking' world.
The one thing that I can still hear as clear as a bell are the chuckles of joy from Archbishop Desmond Tutu at seeing Mandela walk free in 1990 - magical!
Unfortunately at 7.30 am I was faced by a much more mundane problem - see below!
Indeed a smashed rear screen on my beloved Audi! All esoteric, culture driven and doubtless worthy blog posts flew from my mind as I came down to earth with a bump - or a crash followed by a the tinkle of falling glass. It was straight on to my insurance company and through to their windscreen replacement service for the low down on the repair and its implications ( mainly an excess of £75!)
Above you can see the cleaned up window following around an hour of work to prepare it for the 35 mile trip to Autoglass in Cardiff - above is the cleaned up window with the glass in a recycling bag!
This was followed by a slightly chilly trip down to Cardiff with youngest Laura following in her car which will be my transport to work tomorrow! As with all of these happenings there is never a good time, things are extremely busy in the world of IB online with workshops for Diploma teachers beginning next Wednesday and all of the things which have to be in place beforehand - 30 globally spread leaders to be prepared and their workshop spaces etc.. etc....
I must however be grateful that much like the recent flat tyre, it was a clear dry day - if cold. By Sunday I hope to be reunited with Audi and able to see clearly behind me.... safer but again a little bit poorer until the next time!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

10 02 2010

Arghh! Today is one of those when you arrive in the dark and leave in the dark! !!!

It is actually darker than this 6.17pm

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Today's image doesn't sadly the full effect of this evenings sunset picture taken with my HTC G phone and trimmed using IrfanView a program that I really rate as a quick and easy image editor. The photograph was taken looking toward the western sky here:

View Larger Map
The large white building is the ASDA ( Wall-mart) store in Brynmawr which was built on the site of the former Dunlop Semtex Plant which was sadly demolished in 2001. The original factory was a masterpiece of the use of reinforced concrete when completed in 1953 and became the first ever listed building following the second world war - it was said to have inspired the architects of the Sydney Opera House...... however it eventually became an eyesore, now the only remaining part of the factory is the Boiler-house. There was a project around 15 years ago to convert this building into an arts centre using Lottery funding, I do hope that something is done to make use of this building before it follows the rest of the factory!

Image: peter.brabham (taffytank)

Monday, February 8, 2010

08 02 2010

A little trumpet blowing as I announce a new blog that was started very late last night 'I want one.......!' it has grown from my obsession lately with beautiful horological gadgets - the first post is of the rather beautiful concept PhilcoPC yes a computer which I hope will eventually become a product.
My plan is post at least weekly on design or objects of desire they will be everything from cars to household objects and watches to toys with the only criterion that they are truly objects of desire.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

07 02 2010

Any other grandparents reading this post will realise the full import of the suitcases above..... indeed the arrival of grandchildren for a 'sleep over' . We love our grandchildren dearly however it still requires a check-over of the house to ensure that they will remain safe and in my case that there isn't too much 'tech stuff' lying around as there is usually!
I have also added a few pictures of our four year old's art work which has become controlled and recognisable over the past month since her fourth birthday.

It is fascinating watching the development in drawing, writing and speech of the little ones!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

06 02 2010

It has been quite a horological few days for me, on my main blog I posted on the fabulous 'Bulbdial Clock' yesterday having come across in current UK issue of WIRED magazine. On a visit to my parents house today I was talking to them about how this love of 'time pieces began for me way back in 1975 ( when I was 18) when my father bought the kit version of the Sinclair Black digital watch, I can still recall the care with which he put it together. It actually worked for a while before it became somewhat erratic and eventually became consigned to a draw...... Mum even believes that it still in a draw and I firmly believe that on my next visit it may yet emerge. It is possible that this Sinclair experience led to my first computer purchase of a ZX81 ( 8192-byte ROM, and either one 1024-byte RAM chip, or two 1024x4 bit RAM chips.) which went to college with me in 1981 - not quite up to even a modern day non smart phone!

Back to the clocks - above and below is a clock which is still at my parents house - I have been doing some research this evening and believe that it may be an example of a Charles Féry or perhaps a Brillié clock from the early 20th Century. It was acquired by my grandfather Robert Stanley Harrington during his time with the Post Office following the Second World War with a view to restoring it..... never quite achieved.
The clock is driven by a very large cylindrical battery ( missing) this power source drives the pendulum which is made of wound copper wire. The movement of the pendulum powers a ratchet mechanism which can be seen through the centre of the clock face above and this drives the hands of the clock.
If anyone out there knows any more about this type of clock please do get in touch Dad and I would be very interested to find out some more about it and others like it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

06 02 2010

Coming to the IB next Wednesday 10th February 'Salsa'........ for beginners! Looking at the requirements I believe that I will qualify, I certainly do have two left feet!!!! The event is another from the IB Social Committee (SOCCOM).

Today the IB in Cardiff held a 'Coffee Morning' in aid of the DEC Appeal for Haiti. These events have become legendary for their amazingly wonderful cakes and biscuits( all made by staff) the event today raised in excess of GBP £800 which was an amazing total well done to all who were involved in the organisation of the event. Coming soon 'Chinese New Year' lunch, where staff will again bring in their own dishes for the wider community to sample ( yum!!!!).

It is a busy time in Cardiff at the moment with many visiting teachers in over this weekend and coming weeks as curriculum development and examination paper setting gets into swing ahead of the May session examinations.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

04 02 2010

Back on form today, we have had a possible explanation for our headaches this week. Our next door neighbour's had the fire brigade around this morning following a carbon monoxide scare from their new woodburner! It might just be coincidence but you never know....must buy a carbon monoxide alarm.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

03 02 2010

I sincerely hope that there won't be too many days like today when a migraine hits.......normal service will be resumed tomorrow!