14 September 2014


Autumn is probably my favourite time of year.  Or at least early autumn (or the time summer moves into autumn), with its subtle changes: cooler, nippier mornings and clearer evenings.  It makes me think of conkers, early morning coffee in town, shared restaurant meals and stepping out into the night after a few beers, my breath misting up in front of my face.  Different parts of my (very limited) wardrobe get to make an occasional showing, with bobble-hats and fingerless gloves to the fore.  That'll be a little later on, as at the moment it's still pretty warm for September, and I'm knocking about in shorts and flip-flops.  I even got a little bit of sunburn down at the caravan last week, which was a huge surprise.  We sometimes go away this time of year as well, so I tend to get a bit twitchy for the The Balearics, but even a trip to warmer climes to prolong summer can't take the sparkle off of a good September in Wales.  

I think the word 'wistful' is the best way to sum up my feelings at this time of year.  There's something about it that makes me indulge in nostalgia and reminiscences.  

Something happened yesterday: we moved my wife's son (my stepson) down to Exeter where he'll be studying Mechanical Engineering for 4yrs.  It's been one hell of a wrench, surreal really, but it's done now.  The day was spent doing all the practical stuff, so the goodbye was a bit 'blink and you'll miss it,' but the drive home was exactly the sort of 'wistful' that I associate with this time of year.  Exeter to Cardiff ain't a bad drive, and the sun was setting over on our left for most of the trip.  The way we were feeling and the stuff we talked about just made it a day I'll never forget.  Interesting times ahead...

It's our anniversary next weekend as well.  2yrs married.  That's another reason for my love of autumn: we met on Mar 21st, spring equinox, and married on 21st Sept, autumn equinox.  There's a nice balance about that.  We'll be heading out west for the weekend, down at our getaway.  If the weather holds it's going to be magical.  

Anyway, chicken dinner time now.  I want this feeling to run and run.  In the meantime, here's another shot of my ongoing battle with a RT-era space marine.  Progress has been sluggish to say the least.  Still, Rome wasn't built in a day.

1 September 2014

NATO Madness

NATO is having a summit round these parts.  I'm not sure why as it has an HQ somewhere.  But we've got all sorts of stuff going on.  It starts properly 4th Sept, but it's been ages in the making.  We've got a ring of steel in Cardiff town, with fencing all around the castle route and stuff.  There are scanning points for people on foot.  There are helicopters doing the rounds.  Proper gunships.  It's like we're in the middle of a military operation.  That's probably because we're in the middle of a military operation.  There are police carrying machine guns in town.  MACHINE GUNS.  This is Wales, man: machine guns happen in films and all that.  There are police from over 40 forces down here.  The roads are chockful of police wagons, cars, 4x4 vehicles, the lot.  And it's going to get worse (or more exciting, whichever).  This is truly historic stuff.  And that means we're probably in the most dangerous place in the UK at present, especially given the terrorist threat indicator being cranked up to its second highest possible level.  Shit is imminent supposedly.  Or at least the 'chance' of some shit is imminent.  Big difference there.  The flipside is that the place is so well armed that we're most probably in the safest place in the UK.  Sweet irony.

Here's hoping that we survive this one.  Could get a bit hairy.  Obama, Merkel, Hollande... they're all turning up.  We've got a massive (metaphorical) target painted on this city.  And poor Newport!  They're hosting the actual summit at the ghastly Celtic Manor hotel.  I say ghastly, it's just pretty vulgar.  It's also 5-star, and built for business.  Whatever, I'm just waiting for the massive riot that's bound to kick off at some point.  As long as they put everything back tidy, I can handle that (just about).  Something to tell the kids and all that (disclaimer - I don't have kids).

Oh, and there are six warships in Cardiff Bay.  This is seriously serious.  Seriously.