June Notes

June began with the wedding of Alison and Tim and what a glorious day this was. It had everything a dream wedding should have: a smiling bride, a smiling groom, pretty colours, blue skies and sunshine, organist playing the organ for all it was worth, singers bringing tears of emotion to our eyes as their voices rang out across the quiet cathedral, bells ringing out for joy, feelings of sadness at those who were not there, feelings of gladness at those who were there, strolling in the spring-flower bedecked gardens, mouth-watering food, clotted cream and bunnies. A kaleidoscope of faces and names. Cups of tea and conversation. Garden games and much laughter. Cake admired…then cut and eaten. The day was rounded off by Jupiter rising to the East and everyone waving a sparkler as the bride and groom departed for a welcome few days’ relaxation in the countryside.

Thankfully I had a week for the house and me to settle down again before starting a new job. Another new job. This time I checked whether the job was as it was purported to be and I was assured it was. It was disappointing the previous one did not work out but, I have to admit, the hours were a tad longer than I was used to.
Indeed, the new job is fun. It is in a superb location in this heatwave (nearly as hot as the famed summer of 1976!). I am based in an office overlooking the lovely tree-filled grounds of the local council with views towards and of the sparkling sea. The work involves much time spent in subterranean passages as I and a colleague catalogue files ready for archiving. I have written a ghost story inspired by the location and submitted it to a magazine…
On Roy’s weekend off, we had a change of scene in Wales. We booked a cheap Airbnb place which was delightful. It was extremely good value as we were given a delicious cooked breakfast and a pack of Welsh cakes in addition to the tea and coffee in the comfortable room. The people were teachers so we enjoyed much discussion about the education system. Judy the Dog barked when we arrived and, seeming to approve of us, ceased barking and let us stroke her.
It had been rather a journey to reach our destination as the M4 was at a standstill with cars headed towards Cardiff for multiple Ed Sheeran concerts. My feet were struggling with constant clutch changes so I turned off towards Monmouth. However, this is Roy and Me navigating. We found ourselves in the pretty location of Usk somewhat to our surprise! Thinking we would stop awhile and have a stroll around, I drove towards the village centre. Oh dear. It was full. There was some sort of garden event taking place and all the car parks were full…I drove on through and came across a village hall serving teas at the end of the village where there was one car park space remaining. It proved to be a fortuitous move as the cakes being served looked sublime. The iced one we chose was as tasty as it looked; it was positively oozing lemon and orange juice.
After a stroll around to the river, with just glimpses of the castle walls, we continued on our way.
The next day we had coffee with Kath and John before going on to collect Roy’s Mum for lunch at Llanwonno. Llanwonno is famous for being the site of a runner beating the kettle to run up and down the hill. Or some such story. It was also an old monastery. The views from the top are stupendous – 7 counties and the Severn Estuary can be seen.
The pub food is worth toiling up the hill for. Yes, we drove and the car did indeed toil up the hill. Tender local roast lamb with plenty of veg. I did not have a pudding as I had indulged in one on a previous visit and found the drive home rather difficult, feeling sleepy and full.
Sunshine has been on the news every day as it has been ‘wall-to-wall’ sunshine day after day. The temperatures have been consistently high and I have not ventured out at lunchtimes. The heat of the sun is fierce. While the evenings have been warm and sunny, we took the opportunity for an evening stroll followed by fish and chips. At 7pm, it was as hot as midday by the seaside of Sidmouth. And just as busy.
Observing on Fridays is not practical now although we were fortunate enough to look through members’ telescopes at the sun (through special filters of course!) and see some sun spots and flares. The Moon was rising and we had a look at some of the craters. It was too light and bright to really make proper observations though.

Karen Hedges
1 July 2018

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