A lot has happened in the past ten days. For starters I had a great time on a writer’s course by Ullswater. There was plenty of laughter, thought-provoking insight into the craft of writing, and excellent food. The only downside was having to bomb it back down the M6/M5/M50 on Wednesday in time for a big event at church.
Thursday Mum and Dad came down to stay for a few days, which meant a bit of a squeeze what with Abs already here too. Friday night I went with Dad to see Cardiff lose 1-0 to a late QPR goal in what their boss called the “worst display of the season”. Typical ‘me and Dad’ timing really. It was a good game overall though, and an enjoyable night out.
On Saturday we took the olds for their first show at ‘the Armadillo’ (also known as The Wales Millennium Centre, or “that building what’s in the background on Torchwood”). We saw Amazing Grace, a musical written by Mal Pope about Evan Roberts and the Welsh revival of 1904. Not being a huge fan of musical theatre, I wasn’t really expecting it to be quite so good, but I was pleasantly surprised at just how engaging it was.
The opposition to the revival from the professional preacher Peter Price gave the story an antagonistic edge. It’s the height of irony of course, that the churches which most revere the memories of the revival would probably be the modern-day Peter Prices if anything as chaotic and popular broke out today. Or am I just being a slightly bitter anti-evangelical saying that?
Sunday was Cath’s birthday. We had a day out looking at fancy ducks in Slimbridge and bizarrely bumped into Nick Page, one of the authors who had been contributing to the writer’s course. A real ‘Gosh, hello’ moment!
By Monday we breathed a sigh of relief as everyone left. By now I was feeling incredibly tired – so knackered in fact that when I got home from work I crashed on the sofa. An hour later when Cath woke me I had no idea where I was, what time it was and why I hadn’t changed into my pajamas before going to bed. Then Cath gently explained that it was only 6.30pm and I hadn’t actually gone to bed…
Fortunately I could have a bit of a lie in yesterday because I’d booked the day off to spend with Cath. It was the 12-year anniversary of our very first hot date back in 1994. I’d arranged for us to visit the Severnwye llama flock out by Chepstow and we had a great time meeting the animals, including the three camels. They seemed to be especially fond of coats. I got away with a nibbled sleeve, but Cath ended up with lots of gooey camel slobber down her front.
After making friends with some real animals out in the cold, we watched some of the cartoon kind in the warmth of the cinema and enjoyed Open Season. Then, armed with pizza, we sat down to watch the DVD of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe that Viv gave Cathy for her birthday.
Like Lord of the Rings, this was one of those movie adaptations that I was really scared about. I love the Narnia books, and have done ever since I was a very young child. Fortunately they didn’t monkey around with it too much. The extra scenes worked very well and the effects were nothing short of magnificent.
And I think I’ll always see Ray Winstone as a beaver from now on. (Now that’s a sentence I never thought I’d type.)