CMBA Cardiff 2013

Another fabulous weekend in Cardiff with M&K and the Classic Motor Boat Association:

“10th Cardiff Bay Classic Weekend and CMBA AGM August 8th – 11th, again hosted by our friends at the Cardiff Yacht Club. Fresh water event with no speed restrictions in the bay! We have something for everyone – picnic, BBQ, treasure hunt, genteel cruising and flat-out running in the bay, with the usual mix of eating, socialising and anecdote swapping – an event not to be missed! Camping, use of club facilities for toilets and showers, secure moorings, slipway launching.”

Friday is about getting boats into the water and catching up with people as members come from all over the UK and Ireland. I started reading “Minnow on the Say” by Philippa Pearce. A book I’ve wanted to get around to reading for a long time but was motivated to grab it from the shelf and take to Cardiff when my friend told me PP’s grandson was at her house. It is a beautifully crafted book evoking a 1950′s Cambridgeshire summer on a river in a boat searching for long lost treasure. I couldn’t put it down (well, I did for the barbecue in the evening) and stayed awake into the early hours of Saturday finishing it.

Whilst I was reading, Mum inflated the light up balloons C gave her for her birthday. C took some photos – they were fun!






But it was very sad when the yellow one burst as she set it in the grass.


Saturday was the Treasure Hunt – exploring the rivers and the bay for answers to some very cryptic questions. We then forgot to hand our answer sheet in but doubt we’d have won anyway. We did get rather distracted by finding our old catamaran on one of the rivers. Photos of her in a separate post.

There was also the Pimms picnic on the riverside. Weather perfect, not too hot nor too cold. M picked blackberries for me :-) .

The problem with boating is that you don’t manage to take photos of the boat you are on. So here are a few other boats from Saturday:

And a picture of this one because she is rather lovely:

M&K took their boat “Topsy Too”. They have another at home called “Topsy”. So called because she’s got a top, see? The roof makes getting in and out more difficult but has the advantage that there is a goodly amount of shade and that is good for a) no sunburn and b) photographs from the boat using my iphone are far better. Someone said you could also name the boat Rufus (roof us). :-)


Saturday is the sit down dinner, raffle and quiz. Good as usual :-) . C had three of her raffle tickets win!


Sunday is the public day down at Mermaid Quay. It starts with “Tosh the Splosh” a race through buoys around Tosh then fast out to the start, through the buoys again and collect Tosh, fast out to return for the third time through the buoys to put Tosh back and race out again. “Topsy Too” was playing up (engine stalls when changing gear which isn’t good for agility on the water) so C went in “Love Potion” (thankyou!). At one point Tosh bounced up on the wake of their boat and the wind caught him and he took off to the harbour wall, meaning one of the lads on the jetty with us had to race around, leaping over the wall and down to the water’s edge to retrieve him. It’s all the more entertaining when things don’t quite go to plan.




Parade. Only half of the boats photographed as M then joined us for lunch in Cadwaladers.

I believe this chap built the beautiful “Lady S” himself. He’s only 28!

This boat shouldn’t have had its bottom painted as the engine is now prone to overheating as the paint acts as an insulator.















The classic cars had been moved to the upper level outside the Wales Millennium Centre (coined The Armadillo) and the lower level given over to a funfair that had turned it into a beach and entertainment area.







I do love Cardiff.



Choir Camp 2013 – or “What I did whilst C was away at Choir Camp”

Dropped C off early at choir camp. She was meant to be there at 10am but my Pilates starts at 10am and I miss lots of session due to her activities so I asked if it would be possible to drop her off early. Tash said yes so that was great and I enjoyed that Pilates session. Weather a bit cooler so that was good too.

I came home and pottered I think. Can’t really remember. I know I read “Wonder“. C recommended it to me a while back. It would move around the house with me as I planned to start reading it and somehow never did. She’s observant and would say when the book had changed location, “Have you read it yet?”. I’d always have to say “No. I meant to. But didn’t get around to it”.

Well I got around to it whilst she is away at camp. I started reading and didn’t stop. It’s an incredible book and will preoccupy my thoughts for some time. However, I did have one part where I am a little confused in the chapter “The Punnett Square”:

Olivia says; “If I marry someone who has the same defective gene, there’s a one-in-two chance that our kids will carry the gene and look totally normal, a one-in-four chance that our kids will not carry the gene at all, and a one-in-four chance that our kids will look like August … If [August] marries someone who has the gene, their kids will have the same odds as my kids.”

Yet surely August and his partner would have a one-in-two chance of having a kid looking normal but carrying the gene and a one-in-two chance of having a kid with the same manifestation of the double gene inheritance? There is no possibility of the one-in-four chance they will not carry the gene at all.

I do also have concern with the communication between the boys on Facebook. Facebook is not meant to be accessed by under 13′s. I know some of C’s friends lied about their age to have an account but that is not something we said we are happy with. I don’t want her to think it is fine to lie to get something that you want or when applying for something. Even something as innocuous as Facebook.

Besides those niggles that others probably wouldn’t share, the book is fabulous. I enjoyed it tremendously. I did need a hug afterwards and she was at camp and M in London so felt slightly off kilter until he got home.

I had an extended lunch with a friend visiting from Dubai. That was great. I find it easier being with people face to face.

I was fascinated reading about Martin P Levin who decided to become a lawyer aged 61 so went to night school whilst still working as a publisher. Became a lawyer age 66 and retired from publishing. Joined a law firm where he still practices and started to lecture in law at a university which he did for over 25 years. In 2011 aged 92 he published two books.

M loaded the car on Wednesday evening as he had an early London start on the Thursday morning. He got home just in time for us to get to the choir camp on time. Enjoyed the shows (pirate theme this year), the food (yummy potatoes), the cakes (pirate ships) and the campfire singing. They’d done raft building and bell boating during the week and C had had as fabulous a time as always. This camp is moving dates next year and she will have to make a difficult decision as to do space school or choir camp.


Had the washing machine going for most of the day.

C read “Chanda’s Secret“. The entire book. She recommends it.



Clo and I both had a nap in the afternoon.

C had some questions about the Bury the Dead book as a pile of parcels for her proved themselves to contain Peter Carter’s other books. We then talked about the Cold War and the fall of the wall. About which my knowledge base was limited so googled. Love technology for information obtaining.

Packed her bag up again and then watched the first episode of the second series of “Death in Paradise” as C wanted to. But then she had disturbed sleep so it wasn’t such a great idea really. It’s a good programme though – crime with the reveal at the end. Funny too. She saw one at Dad’s a while ago and enjoyed it afterwards, even if not at the time of viewing!

“I am not dead. I am in Herne Bay”

I drove down on Thursday to pick C up from Cadet Camp. Her first one (she’s done Badger Camp before which is the same camp but shorter and less active) and she loved it. I am not going to be able to persuade her to go to Hesfes instead. I can see why – she’d know what she would be missing if she didn’t go to Cadet camp but never having attended Hesfes, doesn’t miss it. She gets a lot out of St John’s. She met up with the lady who heads up the DoE section of St John’s and so has clarified her interest in that as soon as she turns 14. She was fizzier than a shaken up bottle of cola :-) . It was hot though so before getting back in the car she treated us both to cornettos.


Over the bridge and the Dart Tag worked :-) . Got to my Aunt and Uncle’s house fine. Lovely evening. Wish we all lived nearer to each other so we could see them more.

Friday C and I went to Rochester and she tried on a buoyancy aid reserved for her but it was a bit on the snug side so went up a size. This way it should last longer than her two weeks in France.

Then, after some stress trying to find somewhere to park, we went to Rochester Cathedral. It’s free with friendly volunteers and they ENCOURAGE you to take photos. Such a contrast to Westminster Abbey. C did an i-spy type sheet and whilst doing that, online friends found us.











We had a super day with S&K. Went for lunch, mooched around some shops, lost C in Baggins Books, reputedly the largest second hand bookshop in England (am not convinced so need to go back to Alnwick to check Barter Books again! No sofas, tea, coffee or biscuits here in Rochester.). Only extracted C (much to K’s relief) by saying it was closing and she believed me :-) . Believed me for as long as it took to walk half the length of the store.

To the park and K kicked his ball around. S is very good too! C had sandals so didn’t join in. We then did a geocache that involved C sitting on my shoulders flailing the pump used to inflate the ball to bring down the cache. Was funny and am delighted to report my back did not hurt as a consequence later but boy my shoulders and neck did!


Threw the cache up and saw the film crew gradually pack up (they are filming submarine scenes for The Black Sea. Jude Law is starring though I don’t believe there were actors there, just film cameras/lighting/effects bods.

Back to the high street (admiring the impressive castle on the way-C wants to return to visit it, was too hot to contemplate that level of exertion today.). Ice creams and I bought quite an embarrassing amount of Scottish tablet too :-) Not as good as I used to buy at Comfort Foods in Rosemarkie but it is proper tablet :-) .

We liked Rochester, cheap parking once you find a space and a decent range of independent shops, great cathedral with its gardens and the castle too.

C liked S&K lots so all in all a fab day.

Dinner in the garden at my aunt’s house. Delish. Then late getting C to bed, too much chat.

Saturday morning saw C up and in the shower and we packed up our belongings. Drove to the University of Canterbury for C to join their weekend Space School with the Dept of Physical Sciences. Had a cup of tea during the registration process (proper milk :-) )and she palled up with Ela, a Polish girl only been in UK for 2 days visiting her sister who is one of the leaders (being a physicist).

I found my friends in their static home they live in every school holiday during the warmer months. It’s in a field attached to a farm and I drove up and down the road several times before giving up and ringing for directions. Being only 10minutes from the University campus I’d asked if C&I could sleep there Saturday night. Accommodation for C was available at Space School but given I had to stay in the area anyway and C knew neither the building, the area, any of the staff or other attendees I thought she’d rather be with me.

Had tea and chat then we went to Herne Bay for a cartoonists festival at the band stand. One of the cartoonists was from The Beano. Bit odd as celebrating the urinal art of Marcel Duchamp.

“Where better to celebrate the legacy of Marcel Duchamp than in the loo?

The Surrealist who elevated the urinal into a work of art is being celebrated in Herne Bay, Kent, this weekend with an exhibition of cartoons in the town’s public lavs and pub toilets.

Duchamp spent the summer of 1913 at Herne Bay chaperoning his sister Yvonne as she studied English.

To mark the centenary of his visit, 40 Fleet Street cartoonists have contributed to a show inspired by the artist’s postcard message to a friend: “I am not dead. I am in Herne Bay”.

Some, including prints by the Independent’s Dave Brown will be displayed in the Odyssey Gallery, while others, including a series by Radar’s resident cartoonist Birch will be hung above urinals or “readymade Marcel Duchamp-style Fountains” around town.” [from The Independent].

Having had extracted as much culture on the band stand not being rammed by an older gentleman in his mobility scooter who just rams people to get them out of his way, (another lady was not so fortunate), watching a man smoking his cigarette with his head down the pan of a toilet bowl in an attempt to get the cigarette smoke to emerge from the back opening as possible (this was billed as a kid friendly event!), we returned to our cars and drove to Whitstable where we went on the aggregate transporter that was permitting the public on board as part of the Whistable festival. We stayed for the Carnival and then returned to Herne Bay’s “Mushy Peas” for some delicious fish and chips – I had mushy peas too :-) .

Herne Bay has a good play park next to the lighthouse with a solar powered sonx on one of teh swings that produces music only really audible to the person on the swing. We then sat on the front once our fish and chips were ready. A large number of rather obnoxious people walking past (not interacting with us but with each other verbally unpleasantly whether family, friend or stranger. Was uncomfortable and especially so as we had 4 kids with us aged from 7-13. Abs was a bit scared. There was a bang at one point and then loud arguing from the front of the pub behind us then a child screaming and highly distressed being driven away, the only explanation I can think is that the girl was in her father’s charge and the mum realised he had taken the daughter to the pub and so waded there to collect the daughter. Then couldn’t refrain from giving a few choice words to the dad and his friends. Which would explain the girl screaming get in the car. Disturbed us for a long time afterwards. There was a small blue car being driven at high speed along the sea front. Apparently races quite often happen.

Back to the van where tea was drunk and Jurassic Park watched before their children were hustled into bed and then N and I went to retrieve C at 11pm. She was crashed out on a bench. Absolutely exhausted. (she wasn’t the last child to be collected although most stayed overnight in student accommodation).

Sunday morning R rose early and sorted C out with breakfast (lovely Rx) and I got C back to the university only slightly late. Sigh. She wasn’t last back though :-) .

Having dropped madam off I returned to the van where R gave me breakfast and then a neighbour invited us round for coffee. Loved meeting them and hearing about their daughter’s new career in the Grenadier Guards. It all sounded tremendously exciting and wonderful unitl a friend later reminded me about the war aspect that hadn’t crossed my mind at all. Probably just as well the parents are focussed on the daughter’s happiness at living in central London, travelling to perform all over the world (she’s a musician) and the ceremonial London duties needed to be undertaken.

The children sent one of their crew (I think it was S the youngest) who politely pointed out we’d been gone a long time – I think lunch was calling them. So we took our leave, R made lunch and we headed back out to Whitstable for a picnic lunch. Whitstable has a completely different feel to Herne Bay. There is no seafront road for racers to drive their cars around corners on two wheels. There are lots of people to weave around but no foul language or unhappy people. Just smiles and happy souls. Abs tells me there is a group of people in Whitstable who do nothing but drink from morning til night (she is scared by them) but I guess that one group is easier to avoid than many small groups. Spent the afternoon there, returning to the van for tea and then the alarm went and it was time for me to leave to collect C. Has to be said I was reluctant to do so. The weekend had been a fantastic break for me, both with my aunt and uncle, meeting S&K and then the two days with R&N,Abs, T, F and S. They are a truly lovely family and all made me feel welcome. Spontaneous hugs from F&S too :-) .


C had thoroughly enjoyed her time at Space School and wants to return next year. She even suggested ideas for the next camp. She will have a difficult choice to make though as Choir Camp will clash with this weekend next year. She recognised one of the boys so that was nice (he didn’t recognise her!). Chatted to his mum before heading off again and we will see them again at the Cosford event next term.


Back to my aunt and uncle’s house to collect a pair of trousers we’d managed to leave behind but also to have supper as C didn’t finish until 6pm and that meant dinner at home was not going to be possible – especially as she declared herself to be starving when I picked her up (she hasn’t liked any of the food at the Uni as catering sarnies for the lunches and Dominoes pizza for dinner which is not good pizza).


Home and she was up for a while enthusiastically telling M all about her 9 days away from home.


I took a quantity of linens from my mother’s house. I am determined to try and use them as figure better they get used and potentially damaged than sat in a bag in a cupboard for decades.

Unfortunately they are not unmarked. There are rust stains – where do rust spots come from? There was just one pin in there holding a tablecloth and napkin set together but it wasn’t at all rusty.

I laundered them and ironed them. One set is Chinese style so that went in my Chinese New Year box to be brought out with other items when we celebrate CNY.



Other napkins are going in the cupboard and will be used. I love a linen (or cotton) napkin with a packed lunch. Makes it feel more luxurious. I don’t think M or C are bothered but I like doing it. So put into the fabric recycling bag some of the old holey ones I have had and used as my Grandmother didn’t want them any more about 20 years ago. Also put all the polyester ones in the recycling

One tablecloth is the perfect size for my square garden table.



Two pieces of upholstery/suiting fabric that I will never use and too small for furniture have gone in the Kentwell fabric stash as they may be useful for kirtle interlining.


The following three pictures show a piece of beautifully printed heavy linen fabric with rust stains and some other stain that has also not come out in the wash.  I have spent today hand hemming all four sides and it will either be a small curtain for the shower area (it is unfortunately not quite big enough for the full length but will cover 3/4 of the window height up to the opening, which would give the necessary privacy).  If that doesn’t work out I will use it in the bathroom as a drying sheet for either body or hair.



I’m hoping the stains won’t mar overall effect.  I will keep the width so it will hang in folds rather than the panel I’d first envisioned.  This should help make the stains less conspicuous.


This may be an antimacassar?  Not yet sure what to do with it.


Then I have these two fabulous pieces of fabric.  Unfortunately too small for any window.  I then thought they could both be used in the kitchen but they are about a foot too short, though the two pieces side by side would be wide enough to cover the opening.  I’ve toyed with putting cream panels top and bottom but think it may look odd, especially as would be the red next to the blue, so yet another visual change and the eye may not find it comfortable.



Got no idea what I can use this for.  Cute though.



Chocolate always necessary.  ”Just one square” sometimes means more chocolate :-) .  Lovely big squares on this bar.


These would appear to be cut down pillowcases.  There are poppers on the open edge.  I’d started by putting them in the recycling bag but then thought it didn’t matter about the stains from rust spots and fold marks as they’d make good bags for smalls/underwear that need to be washed when on holiday or for putting shoes in in the bag with the clothes so the used soles of the shoes don’t touch the clean clothes.  So I have reclaimed them.


Editing to add the instructions from the excellent link katy put into the comment box (as links get broken):

“What I used per medium sized tablecloth :-
1 bucket of hot water
Juice of one large lemon (I used lemons that were on the turn)
2 tsp of soap flakes
A dry sunny day

What I did :-
I filled a bucket with v hot water and the juice of a lemon plus 1 tsp of soap flakes and plunged the tablecloth in. I then swirled the tablecloth around to distribute the lemon juice and soap over the fabric evenly. Then allowed the tablecloth to soak for 30 – 45 mins.

After soaking it I spot cleaned any stains that are very obvious with the leftover lemon flesh.

I then added a further tsp of soap flakes and handwashed in the lemon juiced water as you normally would your handwashing.
Rinsed thoroughly under cold water and hung in an obviously sunny place until sunset. Ah the sun and it’s magic bleaching properties!”


I will try this on the next sunny day.