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Name: Lee
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2014 – New Beginnings

January 2nd, 2014

I wonder how many people made resolutions over the New Year period? Strange that people see the New Year as the best time to make a change in their life – of course you can make resolutions or start diets at any time of the year.

So what does 2014 have in store for me, I don’t make resolutions but do try and have a think about what I would like to achieve over the next twelve months (I’m still annoyed at the length of time it took me to finally give up on the 101 things in 1001 days challenge).

I just hope that 2014 does not continue as it started out with me feeling quite ill with a cold and doing very little yesterday – something not helped by the dreadful weather in this part of the world at the moment.

So what do I hope to achieve within the next twelve months – be good to review this in a years time!

1. Renew my passport.
2. De-clutter my room.
3. Use my slow cooker to make a meal at least once a month.
4. Visit Beamish
5. Go see a show in a theatre.
6. Complete at least 10 years of transcriptions of Council records.

Well once I started it was difficult to stop but 6 items to attempt to do within the next twelve months is a start. I shall hopefully review these in a few months time!

Year End 2013

January 1st, 2014

For the last couple of years I’ve always written something at the end of the year – a sort of digest of the last twelve months in my life and why break with this tradition.

I’ve finalised my accounts for the last year and rather disappointed to see that total interest (earned from savings) has fallen to £80.10 for 2013, this is down from the £92.10 for 2012 and £88.97 from 2011. However the total amount of my savings continues to grow so most likely poor interest rates from the accounts the money is held in – I will need to take a look at moving money around to maximise interest.

Let’s see if I can get over £100 interest next year.

Car loan has now been repaid so I have more disposable income each month but unlike the last time my loan ended I want to make sure that the money that was being used to repay the loan is being ploughed into savings as I am sure that I will need to replace my car again and want to avoid/limit the amount of any new loan that I may have to take out.

I don’t do resolutions but I did want to set myself some goals for 2013 and all I came up with was the following -

# Make better use of the food stocks I have at home
# Reclaim the floor space in my living space.

Needless to say these were both soon forgotten about and not achieved, I really will need to make more of an effort to use my food stocks and not buy new food. I’m hoping at with food left over from Christmas I will be able to go a little while before having to go out for essentials. My living space is still an atrocious mess and it does seem rather pointless to say that I will clear it up and maintain it for yet another year.

Over the last twelve months things have generally been good, I’ve had a few opportunities to get involved with the community in Llangunnor with various activities that engage different sections of the community.

I helped to organised and carry out a community litter pick – something I have wanted to do since becoming a litter champion in 2012. The event was organised with outside assistance from the people who are promoting “Time Credit” in Carmarthenshire. I would have hoped that the community council would have realised what an advantage Time Credits could be to improving community engagement with the council.

2012 also saw the folks at Llangunnor Church get together to organise a working party to maintain the graveyard, with my ongoing research into the graveyard I though this would be an ideal opportunity to record some information while also doing something worthwhile. They even signed up to the Time Credit scheme so I get rewarded for my time spent.

Friendship Centre opened up at the local chapel and again I felt it was important to assist in anyway I could with this venture as it is another community resource with a great set of people who are actively trying to make things better.

Start of June saw me helping another community spirited individual with a Big Lunch – this should have been a great free event but it had such limited support from the community at large that I was disappointed and it goes to show how much work is needed to recreate a community in Llangunnor.

June was also my 35th birthday and I spent it up in Cardiff going to visit the Doctor Who Experience and spend the afternoon walking around the Bay.

An article appeared in the local newspaper during August regarding the litter picking activities that I have been doing had I hoped would spark up some more local interest but nothing, I still however speak to people when I am out and about clearing litter.

2013 saw me travel about a little, not overseas but went for a few day trips and something that I really should make more time to do, September I used some of my well earned Time Credits to go to a food fair at St Fagans – fantastic weather for this time of year and also travelled again with Time Credits to the Christmas Market in Birmingham – both trips effectively free of charge

I also went to visit old school friends, Nathan and Kate down in Ringwood and to celebrate the wedding of David and Nicola in Scotland, it was lovely to see Davids parents again after such a long time. My first visit to Scotland and to Edinburgh was great and somewhere I would love to go again but maybe not driving the 8 hours to get there in one day!

Not much work has been done on the old family tree during the last twelve months, I did visit Bath and find the final resting place of my Great Great Grandparents (with thanks to a chap from Bath for doing some research for me).

November I did what you might call my first photo session at a wedding, certainly something which was not planned and was as a favour to a fellow councillor but what a stressful situation to be in – made all the worse when it appeared that the official photographer did not turn up at the church. I handed the disk of photos that I felt were acceptable to them yesterday. As I see it I charged them nothing so they cannot complain about the photos taken.

I suppose I should mention work even if only in passing been pretty much the same as always – working for the Government is certainly not the guaranteed job many people seem to think it is and things will only get worse with cutbacks and the eroding of employee rights. Personally I plod along do my job and go home.

I have spoken about Christmas previously and as I sit in on New Years Eve watching television and the firework display in London with a glass of port and a bunged up nose to toast in 2014.

We shall certainly find out what it has in store for each and everyone of us…

Christmas 2013

December 25th, 2013

Christmas came around again at an alarming rate and again this year  I did consider going out for dinner but in the end decided to cook my own food.

I had attended a midnight service on Christmas Eve at the local chapel and was up for an 8am service at the local church, which helps to remind us about the true meaning of celebrating Christmas.

With more careful planning this year I was able to sit down and eat my food at 3pm after deciding to have pate as a starter (not something I would have again and it was only used this year to keep things simple) I once again had the turkey crown from Aldi and did my own veg, stuffing and gravy.

Utilising my slow cooker and halogen oven I was able to cook everything but still need to work on my timings. I washing up as I went ensuring that I was not left with a mountain of dishes to do later.

I was unable to eat any pudding so will keep that back and eat it at a later date.

Called up my mothers early evening and happened to catch my brother and nephew there so we all exchanged gifts. I will readily admit I don’t like the whole gift opening experience but not many surprises for me as I had given suggestions as to what to get me – again I have way too much junk. So mainly got deodorant sets and DVD’s. I did get a few shocks my mother had gotten me a toaster, my fault as I mentioned that I was looking for one and not to sound ungrateful but I would have much rather have been able to go out and get what I wanted.

My grandparents are a nightmare to get for, they never give ideas they just give one item each and I was not asked what I wanted (not that I would have had any ideas) so was a little surprised when an annual membership to the National Botanical Garden of Wales and at £8 a visit I will be wanting to make sure that I get full value from this gift over the next twelve months and hopefully it will provide an excellent opportunity to take photos. When I was looking through the pack I noticed that they had also paid for me to go on a photography course at the gardens in March.

I will of course add the customary photo of my gifts when I get around to it.

Council Website

October 12th, 2013

Again life has been keeping me busy and most recently I’ve been working on the community council website. I say working on it I’ve for the last few months been trying to slowly develop the existing site that the council has it can be found here, as you can see the site is outdated and in fact very little of it still works and the organisation behind it plans to withdraw the site at the end of 2013.

So it was rather fortunate that the Welsh Government have a grant of £500 available for councils to use to help promote themselves and a website fits this requirement. I will not bore you with the details but a deal was struck with a company to utilise this grant to produce a site. Ever keen to take the current site and develop it further I began looking at example sites of what we could expect to get for our money and found an example that I liked the look of so began building a mock version of the site so that I had something to show to the council who have themselves admitted they have very limited skills with websites.

The problem however came with a new member of the council who sold himself as having experience with web design, this came at the best time for the council but not for me as this person is very difficult for me to work with.

Trying to get an opinion on anything has proved extremely difficult and would have forced the council to pick one of us to take the lead on the development and in all honesty that is a vote that I could struggle to win going up against someone who has come on to the council with an application letter mentioning his web design skills – something I have yet to see. I decided to withdraw my rather limited skills and leave it up to the resident expert!

Anyway enough of the rant.

Domain 10 Year Anniversary

September 16th, 2013

Wow, was taking a look through some of the old pages on the site and noticed that the domain turned 10 last month. I find it hard to believe that in August 2003 I registered the domain and launched my own “proper” site. It would be nice to say that I have developed the site over the years but don’t think that has actually happened as the layout has remained the same over the last ten years with over very little tweaks being actioned – in fact the last change was back in 2005.

I do however feel that I have developed in some way and have many other web based projects that I have created over the years and have learnt many new skills. It is really interesting to look back at this old stuff and see what I felt was important, gosh looking at the sub section about myself is fun and really does need to be updated but I loathe deleting anything – maybe the historian in me does not want to see this time of my life vanish.

The Internet certainly has changed over the last ten years and how people are using the internet has changed, I have noticed the move from personal sites to social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Will Nightmare-relm be here in another ten years – I would hope so.

Thanks to Matt, for their comment.