Adventures of Frangipan

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Playlist of the Week

Tell us how your week went by putting together a playlist of songs that represent it.
Daily Prompt

My week has been one of forgetfulness, awkwardness and general rubbishness. I've been forgetting about doing basic things, a haircut appointment, and all the things people rely on me for. I used to be a reliable and responsible person, but I don't feel that way much now. I don't feel like a person who can help anyone with something they're going through, or a person who can do anyone a favour even. And the worse I get, the more I give myself a hard time, and then I get even worse, and so on.

I also had a couple of work events to go to this week. Networking has never been one of my strong points what with shyness issues and stuff, and in addition I don't really feel like I know enough about my industry to get into conversations with people, or know the questions to ask others about their work. So as I stand around alone while everyone else chats, I feel like even more of a failure, and massively dependent on the few people I do know, and like I'm clinging onto them.

And finally, it's been yet another week of thinking about Dad, tears and guilt. We're finally getting the ball rolling with sorting out the estate, but it still feels like a huge weight on my shoulders.

So the week is kinda depressing, butI'd rather post videos of songs that I need to help me out of it rather than remind me how crap it is.

So here goes:

Modest Mouse - Float On

Shit happens, but you'll cope, you'll get through it.

Jimmy Eat World - The Middle

For the lyrics: "Don't write yourself off yet, It's only in your head you feel left out or looked down on, Just try your best, Try everything you can, And don't you worry what they tell themselves when you're away"

I particularly like the end of this video, which is basically about standing your ground, being true to yourself and not conforming to something you don't believe in or want to do.


This was played at the end of Dad's funeral, and has probably been sung by every Welsh choir going, as well as quite a few Welsh bands and singers.

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Saturday, 30 March 2013

Silver Screen

Take a quote from your favorite movie — there’s the title of your post. Now, write!
Daily Prompt

My favourite quote used to be from Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight: You make your own luck. But personal circumstances that make me feel massively out of control of my own luck have made that quote feel less important. So I've moved onto this one:
I'm looking for someone to share in an adventure
Gandalf, The Hobbit

I really enjoyed The Hobbit, and I felt that the film really pulled out the theme about quiet, unsuspecting characters being capable of greatness and being important in the grand scheme of things (even if it's not common knowledge). I have enjoyed my adventures, and I think I felt a little like Bilbo before my first couple: determined to go but scared at the same time.

My big adventures have mostly been on my own, although I often meet people along the way, and this has definitely helped me overcome my shyness. My mini-adventures with my friends are also fun, whether it's surfing and kayaking in Rhosneigr, wakeboarding in Abersoch, possum-spotting in New Zealand, or activities in Amsterdam. And I loved the group of complete strangers I met on the West Coast of New Zealand.

I like the idea of sharing one of my big adventures at some point, whether that's with a group of friends or with one other person. If it was with my friends it would be full of outdoor activities, and probably a fair bit of drinking and dancing. But if it was with one other 'special' person, would it be a showcase of my favourite places, or would it be completely new places and experiences?

My favourite places would have to include:

Monterrico, Guatemala

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Sydney, Australia

Mission Beach, Australia

Northland, New Zealand

Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Wanaka, New Zealand

Monterey, California

Yosemite, California

Portland, Oregon

Boise, Idaho
(photo from

Bozeman, Montana

Yellowstone and Grand Teton, Wyoming

Nara, Japan

Osaka, Japan
(photo from

Kyoto, Japan

Completely new places might include most of South America or South East Asia. I planned a trip to South America in 2009 and never got there. Not sure if I ever will now. I did a bit of research on SE Asia for a university report on ecotourism, and that made me a bit yearnful.

I'm working in tourism at the moment and the big marketing push is about experiencing a destination; so marketers should be illustrating how people can experience a destination rather than just showing stunning scenery and vistas. I completely agree: many of my trips have involved hiking, kayaking or even sky-diving, and those experiences definitely shape how you experience and remember a destination.

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Monday, 25 March 2013

Bone of Contention

Pick a contentious issue about which you care deeply — it could be the same-sex marriage debate, or just a disagreement you’re having with a friend. Write a post defending the opposite position, and then reflect on what it was like to do that.
Daily Prompt (but I'm only doing the first part - complaining!)

Not really issues I care deeply about, but a couple of things that have really been getting to me.

The first is about the hard time Rhys Priestland got from the rugby fans, which led to him needing professional help; and the fact that the Welsh coaching squad asked the fans to give Dan Biggar a chance to keep the pressure off him.

Priestland did get quite a lot of stick, and some very nasty comments were made. I don't think I said anything majorly harsh about him personally, but I did question the choice of him over Hook when he had played badly in game after game.

My bone of contention is why the fans are being blamed for this. We weren't giving him a hard time for no good reason: he made many mistakes again and again. And if it wasn't for the coaches selecting him again and again, we wouldn't have had any reason for complaining.We just couldn't understand why the coaches apparently couldn't see what we could.

And my second bone of contention is the volume of anti-rugby posts on Facebook during the 6 Nations. Yes, lots of people support rugby just for those 6 weeks and post statuses about the scores. Yes, they only support the national team and don't support a domestic team.

But let's take a deeper look at this. First of all, I and most of the people I know are in North Wales. Our regional team is the Scarlets, who are based in Llanelli. Which is in South Wales. Go figure. So there aren't really any local teams for us to support for the rest of the year.

And secondly, rugby doesn't get much media coverage, except during the national games such as the 6 Nations. So excuse us for getting a bit excited for a few weeks of the year.

What really gets to me is that most of these comments come from football fans who hate rugby. What do they really have to complain about?! Football is everywhere from August to May, and even longer if there are international games on.

Why can't they just leave our time alone?

Maybe I'm completely in the wrong and I'm the only friend of theirs who doesn't give them a hard time about posting football statuses, or tell them they should support Welsh rugby because it's patriotic. I doubt it. I think I'll just need to remember to shift them all to my 'acquaintances' list before next year, so I don't have to put up with their comments.

I'm trying to get into regional rugby, but it's difficult when you don't have a real reason to support a team, and just want to choose one. We have a relatively new team up north - RGC 1404 - who are looking pretty good and are (I believe) supposed to be our regional team and regional development base. But I'm unclear as to whether they would be able to get into the Pro12, or just be able to get promoted to the Premiership. And they're still a bit away from that.

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Sunday, 24 March 2013


You’re stranded in a foreign city for a day with no money and no friends. Where do you go; what do you do?
Daily Prompt

This is a tough one. I've been in plenty of foreign cities without friends, but never without any money. That makes it a bit more difficult.

But... the question says that you're only stranded for a day, so the implication is that you don't have to worry about getting home. In which case I would chill out in a park or on a beach, enjoying the great outdoors. Maybe go for a wander around the city. Find tourist information and see what I can do for free.

Something a bit like one of my days in Portland, where I chilled out down by the river in Waterfront Park, and messing around in the fountain. Or this day in Washington Park, which I remember fondly despite apparently not being in too good a mental state at the time.

Now if I had to also consider getting home... I guess I would see if I could get some work somewhere or else find a police station to phone home! I know it's a bit of a dull answer, but I am a bit of a practical, sensible person.

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Saturday, 23 March 2013


Do you have animals in your life? If yes, what do they mean to you? If no, why have you opted not to?
Daily Prompt

In short, yes. I have 15 horses. I had a cat which my grandparents looked after for a while before he died in 2011, and they now have a new cat. My mother has 2 dogs and 3 chickens. My ex-housemate had a dog and a cat, and the cat came back to live with me for a few days.

I tend to prefer the idea of cats to dogs as they're more independent and less needy, but I love our dogs to bits (scroll down to the two Bichon Frises). They have such great characters and are so different, despite being the same breed and being related. Jack is a real mummy's boy, always making out he's ever-so-delicate and vulnerable. He can only drink and eat out of plastic bowls because he doesn't like it when his collar clinks on metal or ceramic. Eddie has become a bit like a cat in his old age, looking at everyone and everything like they're dirt. He has a great vocal range as well, making all manner of trilling sounds.

My cat, Lister, was awesome. Most of the time he would look at you with such disdain. Every week he would change his mind about what type of food he liked, and when you served the one that had gone out of taste, he would look at you as though you were trying to feed him his own crap. Other times he would be very playful, but his idea of playful was to scratch the hell out of you! You could see it coming too, because he'd wait for you at the top of the stairs with his tail swishing in that 'about-to-pounce' way. And other times he would be affectionate. He would sit on my chest when I was in bed, pawing away and basically ripping through my skin, and purring so loudly I wouldn't be able to get to sleep. I loved him lots.

The new cat, Shambles, is similar. He'll take your hand off if you try stroking him when he doesn't want you to. But my favourite thing about him is how he'll just sit anywhere. He tends to follow people around, so he'll greet you at the door. Then if you get chatting in the hall, he'll just plonk himself down on the floor, in everyone's way.

I grew up with horses and wouldn't have it any other way. If I had disposable income, I would probably fill my fields with horses and ponies rescued from all over the place. They are beautiful creatures and I cannot understand anyone who doesn't like horses. And unlike wet dogs, wet horses is one of the best smells in the world. I frequently wander around them in the rain, taking deep breaths usually just behind their ear. I wish I could bottle that smell!

Veganism and domestic animals is an interesting conundrum. On the one hand, pets are really there for our benefit, are not in their natural environment, and it is wrong according to veganism. But on the other hand, if the alternative is for those animals to die, then I know which I prefer. I definitely think we need to change how we think about animals: get rid of puppy mills and limit any sort of breeding. I think this is particularly important in hard economic times. I've lost count of the number of pet rescue posts I've seen where owners simply can't afford to keep their animals anymore. And horse breeders who are selling or giving away youngsters due to overstock. We need to think about the animals that are already in the world before bringing new ones in.

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Friday, 22 March 2013

Bedtime Stories

Continuing with the idea of responding to Wordpress Daily Prompts on Blogger, I move to this one:
What was your favorite book as a child? Did it influence the person you are now?
I loved reading and being read to as a child. Everything from Smot the Dog, Sali Mali, Wil Cwac Cwac, and Bill the Burglar; right up to the Famous Five and the Point Crime and Point Horror books.

I loved Roald Dahl and re-read his books over and over. I had Mathilda and James and the Giant Peach audiobooks. But my all-time favourite was Fantastic Mr Fox. I re-read it before the film was released a few years ago and was surprised by how small a book it is, and how quickly I read it. But i still loved it.

Roald Dahl was a great writer, and the illustrations really added to it. I still have an image in my mind of all the stuff in Mr Twit's beard, and Fantastic Mr Fox's tail being shot off.

I'm not sure if Fantastic Mr Fox influenced the person I am today. I disagree with fox hunting, hate animal abuse and am vegan, so maybe it did. But I also loved The Fox & the Hound, the Animals of Farthing Wood, and many other books and programmes about cute animals; so it would be difficult to pin it down to one.

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Monday, 4 March 2013

Happy Birthday Dad

It was Dad's birthday a couple of weeks ago. I spent the day at a mounted games competition with the riders he trained previously. He would've been very proud of them all and it's a real shame he can't be there to see them this year.

I took the following day off and went to see him and give him his birthday card:
Happy Birthday Dad. I miss you so much. Yesterday didn't feel right without you, but you would've been really proud of them. And Lielie gave Jacob a bit of a surprise when she went into competition mode!!
I really want to make you proud by doing a good job with the games kids and our own horses, and looking after the land well. I'm finding it so hard to find the energy to do more than the bare minimum though. And I've got such a short temper now - I think you left yours behind in me! I really want to fix that. I need to.
I want all the rubbish stuff to be over so I can concentrate on the important stuff. I want you to have a legacy, so people know of all the things that wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for you.
And I want to give James a break. I know it's crap for me dealing with all this rubbish but I forget that he is basically in the dark and has no idea, and at the same time is trying to help me, either by letting me deal with it or helping me where he can.
I feel so alone. I never realised how alike we were until now. I know I've got plenty of people around who want to help, but there's only so much they can do. They can't stop me missing you.

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Saturday, 2 March 2013


So I'm feeling a bit better than I was when I write this post: my car did have more damage but it didn't cost as much as I thought it might do. I got electrical contact spray which managed to get my Dad's car started, and so I could start the tractor and use it to feed the horses.

Which is good news because when I don't have the tractor, this is how I have to feed:

And considering the horses need at least 1 bin each, twice a day, and I have 13 to feed, it's a lot of physically hard work - I'm not wearing short sleeves because of the weather!

My friend came to help me one day in December when I was moving the bales and was really impressed with my tractor driving skills, so she took some photos. All I'm doing here is re-stacking them to try to get the bales with ripped wrapping to the front so I can use them first.

It's not perfect but I get the job done. When I'm feeding, I drive two bales to two round feeders, and one each to two other paddocks. Over the winter when I was feeding concentrates to some of the ponies, I fed hay at the same time rather than give them a bale. I did that twice a day using the bins, but I think the most impressive part of that job was that I used the tractor to get a bale into the horse trailer, which is only just wide enough.

I was also happy that I managed to find the key to open the diesel tank so I could finally put some fuel in the tractor. And my field shelter has now been put upright again. Still some work to do inside, but at least it's at the right angle now.

Unfortunately there is always rough with smooth: my water troughs are self-filling, and connect via a series of above ground water pipes. There is also a hose-end to one of the pipes. A couple of weeks ago I found a leak in the connector of the hose so had to shut off the stop-tap to that and also one of my water troughs. Today I found a split in a pipe to another trough and so had to shut off the stop tap to the rest of my troughs. And the really annoying part? I have loads of spare pipe, but it appears the split pipe is a different thickness to the rest of the pipes!

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