Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Seren and the New Mabinogion

Seren have commissioned a series of books from Welsh writers, the first two being White Ravens by Owen Sheers and The Ninth Wave by Russell Celyn Jones. I'm elated, obsessed with the Mabinogion as I am, but also frustrated.

Seren should have commissioned me to write my version of Blodeuwedd. It's contemporary, gay, urban; everything Welsh Publishing houses seem to like at the moment. I've got any amount of short stories, poems, experimental fiction and plays - all of which I've been told are too experimental, too urban to be published. No one wants to take risks. The one lead I have is an editor said he wanted to read a novel based on Geraint and Nathalie, after reading a few short stories about them. They are my favourite characters to write about; I've been writing about them for so long that they wrote their own stories now, it's like I just write down the exploits of two friends that I'm growing older with. Great though they are, and fun as they are to write - they are the stories most rooted in the real world. I wish it was the 50s and I was a beat writer. I wish the editor had asked to read about Nathalie and Geraint living in Antiville, my bleak near-future Welsh city. I wish I had more time to write the Geraint novel, or that someone would publish a collection of stories if I promised to write the Geraint novel afterwards. Get me and my angst. It's like being fifteen again.
I read contemporary fiction, and a lot of it frustrates and depresses me. How the hell did that get published? And conversely, why did no one buy this book?

I'm setting myself some deadlines. I want to write the Geraint novel by end of March 2010. Parthian are calling for submissions. I need a binding contract, something spiritual I can use. I will write my testament and seal it inside a beloved book and only open it when I have finished writing my novel. Which book to use?

Off at a tangent again. I love the idea of a New Mabinogion, I absolutely love it - but I am worried that the Blodeuwedd story will be ruined. It won't be as good as mine.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Nadolig Llawen

It's that time of year, my Christmas EP is being released today 6th December. I'm having a mediaeval yuletide this year - game pie, pheasant, cranberry and apple chutney, homemade presents (mostly knitted, sewn or carved from wood) and I have orange and clove pomanders drying on the radiator in my bedroom. It started off as being homemade out of neccessity, I'm skint this year, but it's grown and kind of consumed me since July! I'm all about the mediaeval Christmas this year, oranges, cinnamon and cloves all the way.

This mediaevality (no such word, I know) informed this year's EP. I make an EP as a Christmas card every year, and it usually has at least one 16th century melody on it, along with some Nintendo samples - but this time I just used tunes and words from the 1400s to the 1700s. I'm pleased with how it's turned out, but it's way more melancholy than typically Christmas songs are.

It's free to download, just click on the picture. Hope you like it.

Nadiolig Llawen x

The Adventures of Miss Flitt

I've just stumbled on an absolutely fantastic thing, The Adventures of Miss Flitt. It's an illustrated book of knitting patterns mixed with an amazing-sounding story.

From the website "The Adventures of Miss Flitt: The Strange Case of the Magician's Cabinet, an illustrated, 19th century mystery with knitting patterns by Beth Hahn, follows Emma Flitt into a Victorian New York filled with magicians, clairvoyants, charlatans, and pick pockets to unravel the mysterious disappearance of her sister Lucy. Told over the course of four installments, the debut issue features knitting patterns that emphasize the use of experimentation and creativity. While the intermediate knitter can follow clearly written instructions and charts, he or she is also encouraged to personalize each item by choosing from different yarns, edges, sleeve types, and sweater lengths."

It's such a fantastic idea, incorporating loads of things I love - knitting, magic and mystery, fiction, illustration... it's just such a lovely idea! I'd like to make my own one day, but finding the time is getting more an more difficult the more projects I start. I have it stored though, one day I'll make one. Maybe I could start off with an easy one: four patterns and a short story... hmm... braincogs whirring...

The pictures are just lovely as well.


Saturday, 7 November 2009

Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers

Has anyone seen the wankfest that is Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers (BBC One)? I used to love Nigel, and have admired his style of cooking (he's a cook, not a chef, after all). But this programme gets right on my tits. Why?

1. When he says 'leftovers', he means a whole roast chicken that's had two thin slices taken from the breast; or some leftover rhubarb (that's only leftover because he made a cheaters rhubarb tart a few minutes ago)!
2. He plates up REALLY slowly. He spoons food the way he thinks a chef on tv should, slowly and seductively. Sorry Nige, you're not Nigella!
3. Each episode has 27 songs on it. It gets annoying having the first few seconds of a Ting Tings song, only to be replaced with the first few seconds of another song.
4. The bloody allotment section. Nigel goes to a middle class family's allotment, picks their veg, fries it. That's it. Fried veg served up in an allotment for Mummy, Daddy, Tilly and Ollie: “Ooh I've never thought of fried tomatoes before, isn't this lovely Tilly?”
5. Nigel wanking about his garden. Yes, you have a garden; and no, not everybody can have one (the garden of my rented house is all patio slabs, and the nearest allotment has a 2 year wait).

I suppose the reason this programme annoys me so much is that it's such lazy television. Nigel makes four or five things in each episode – and some of them are as easy as chopping up leftover chicken, adding it to cous cous, then adding coriander leaves and orange juice. That's it, and it took about 10 minutes of screen time while Nigel camply explains why he likes using leftovers. Now I consider myself middle class, and I've fought my way here, but I find his manner smug, his middle class allotment owners smug and his food mediocre. Sorry Nigel, you had it once, but sadly no longer.

Monday, 2 November 2009


Finished my Christmas EP. Here's the tracklisting and more info:

1. Gaudete – 16th Century

2. Coventry Carol – 16th Century – such a sad song, story can be found here and here

3. In Dulci Jubilo – 15th Century

4. Un Flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle – 16th Century – done using a sample of a wine glass being hit by a pencil

5. Orientis Partibus – 12th Century – an ancient melody, now known for the song The Friendly Beasts

6. Boar’s Head Carol – 15th Century

7. Tempus Adest Floridum – 13th Century – which you may know as Good King Wenceslas

8. Here We Come a-Wassailing – 17th Century – and I had to finish with a bit of New Year's Eve paganism, what is Christmas after all? Nothing more than a pagan winter festival absorbed by Christianity. Remember: Father Christmas isn't Santa, and he wears a green robe.

Me x 34

To do this, copy this entire message, then go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, delete my answers, and type yours.

1.What was the last thing you put in your mouth?
Chocolate digestive

2.Where was your profile picture taken?
Upstairs in Pantyffynnon Social Club

3. Can you play Guitar Hero?
Yes but I'm not very good at it. I'm better on the drums one

4. Name someone who made you laugh today.

5. How late did you stay up last night and why?
Went to bed after 1am, stayed up drinking with Patrick

6. If you could move somewhere else, would you?
Yes, to Aberystwyth

7. Ever been kissed under fireworks?

8. Which of your Facebook friends lives closest to you?
Curig, same house!

9. Do you believe ex's can be friends?
It's rare, but it can happen

10. How do you feel about Dr Pepper?
I love it

11. When was the last time you cried really hard?
Last week at Llangrannog, looking after a deafblind little girl

12. Who took your profile picture?
No idea, someone using Vicki's camera

13. Who was the last person you took a picture of?
Patrick playing Viva Pinata on the DS

14. Was yesterday better than today?
Today was okay, off work!

15. Can you live a day without TV?
Yes easily

16. Are you upset about anything?
Yes, but I'm too busy to let it upset me

17. Are you a bad influence?

18. Night out or night in?
Dunno, is it raining?

19. What items could you not go without during the day?

20. Who was the last person you visited in the hospital?
Mamgu, on Sunday

21. What does the last text message in your inbox say?
Alison telling me that she missed me in work today, because there was nobody there to make her coffee

22. How do you feel about your life right now?
Time is moving too fast for me to do the things on my list that need doing

23. Do you hate any one?
Plenty of people

24. If we were to look in your Facebook inbox, what would we find?

25. Say you were given a drug test right now, would you pass?
Yes of course

26. Has anyone ever called you perfect before?
Yes, but he has appalling taste in men

27. What song is stuck in your head?
Kate Nash - Mouthwash

30. Someone knocks on your window at 2:00 a.m., who do you want it to be?
Ron in the flying Ford Anglia

31. Do you want to have grandkids before you’re 50?
Seeing as I'm 32 and have no children, it's not going to happen

32. Name something you have to do tomorrow?
Prepare stuff for two meetings I've got on Wednesday

33. Do you think too much or too little?
Too too much. My brain is always thinkin'

34. Do you smile a lot?
Thankfully, yes. I may be a miserable git sometimes, but I have a sunny disposition

Little Bee Cowl

New pattern! Little Bee stitch is my new fave stitch, it's so cute. I want to knit a swatch in yellow and black like a bee. I'm trying pdfs for my patterns from now on. Hope this works.

There, just click the arrow to download the pdf.

If that doesn't work, try clicking here to download the pdf directly.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Shout brochure controversy

Festival brochure cover causing controversy. on Twitpic

Friday, 11 September 2009

Ostrich Plume Cowl

You will need:
3 balls Sirdar Denim Ultra (or other mega chunky yarn)

10 mm knitting needles (US size 15)
7 mm knitting needles
This makes a medium to large size cowl, but it is easy to make smaller. It's basically 3 repeats of the ostrich plume stitch, with reverse stocking stitch in between - so if you want to make the cowl smaller (or larger), simply decrease (or increase) the amount of reverse stocking stitch between the pattern repeats. (This pattern states 3 sts between repeats, but the cowl in the picture has 4 sts).Gauge is not massively important, but about 3 sts per inch.

Ostrich plume pattern is easy to remember:
1st row: K.
2nd row: P.

3rd row: K4tog, (YF K1) 5 times, YF, K4tog.
4th row: P.

Cowl pattern:
With 7mm needles CO 51 sts, K2 P2 rib for 3 rows, then switch to 10mm needles.
K to end of row.
P to end of row.
K3, *K4tog, (YF K1) 5 times, YF, K4tog; repeat from * to last 3 sts, K3.
P to end of row.
Repeat last 4 rows until cowl reaches desired length, then switch to 7mm needles and K2 P2 for 3 rows.
BO in pattern (using a 10 mm needle to keep the BO sts loose).
Weave in ends, sew together.

There, easy!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Betws Mountain, overlooking Ammanford

Distant, dumb hills silently green their faces and smile down the valley. A sentence of silence punctuated by rosy sheep and the call of black birds. I have followed these roads more than a hundred times since I was tiny, wrapped in blankets and the worn leather of old cars. Sunday afternoons accumulate on these slopes, drift gently upwards to slowly choke the swirl of clouds. Early mornings too; Sarah driving home and shooing the sheep out of her path. Mamgu still remembers the walk back up to Blaencardunen with bread.

It all changes in the night. You can see the ‘elephant’ and ‘bell’ constellations of streetlights, orange stars set into the gentle hills of Carmel. These are teenage nights.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Feeling Christmassy

Goodness me, how quick the year comes round to this most joyous of times - me preparing my annual Christmas EP. I've decided to go mediaeval this year, and I've chosen some really old Christmas tunes. Here's the tracklisting so far:

The Coventry Carol
In Dulci Jubilo
Un flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle
Orientis Partibus
The Holly and the Ivy
The Boar’s Head
Tempus Adest Floridum
Here we come a-Wassailing

You can always have a listen to my other Christmassy stuff here, I've merged both EPs into one big one - and all free download too.


Merry End Of August everyone, and to all a good September... x

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Podcast 8.0

A piece of soundart/music in which the listener is asked to imagine a large wind-up machine, like a big musicbox being wound up and played in an open space like a church or cathedral.

This player might not work with all browsers. Sorry.
Download here.

Fucking full moon

She's upset my plans yet again. I've been having a busy week, granted, but on top of this I've had to contend with black thoughts; things seemingly ending; para-fucking-noia; stress, crying... oh blah blah blah, poor me.

I can see the end of the tunnel though, it's not too far - then I'll be back to happy old me (not Andrew-trist-Williams, as Alison calls it).

Keeping busy is key (though not work-busy, which is detrimental). I'm making some remixes at the moment: Scott Walker, Belinda Carlisle, not sure who else to do yet though. I want to finish these ones first.

Even getting ID'd in the supermarket just now isn't enough to cheer me up (I had no ID on me either, so the boy behind the till had to call a supervisor. My argument consisted of showing her my white hairs and telling her I was born in the same year as Star Wars. She seemed satified with that.)

Maybe a lazy day reading the paper will help. Maybe some unexpected emails from faraway friends will arrive today, maybe I'll get texted some unexpected loveliness. Who knows. The world (as far as the living room, study and garden) is my mollusc.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Podcast 7.0

A piece of soundart I have made to commemorate and celebrate the joining together of two fantastic organisations: RNIB Cymru (Royal National Institute of Blind People) and CIB (Cardiff Institute for the Blind).
I have again used braille as the focus of the work, but this time I have used the bilingual strapline of both organisations: RNIB Cymru and CIB working together to support blind and partially sighted people / RNIB Cymru a CIB yn gweithio gyda'n gilydd i gefnogi pobl ddall ac â golwg rhannol.
I allocated each dot of the Braille cell a different note of a version of the pentatonic scale, and used the above strapline as the base. I then transcribed it into Braille, and carefully placed each note according to itâs braille counterpart. So one letter in my transcribed version can be up to five notes played together.
The percussion is made up entirely of sounds I sampled from a Perkins brailler. The kick drum is the sound of a Perkins being put down on a desk, and the snare and other percussion noises are made from the various keys and knobs being pressed and turned.

Download here.

This player might not work with all browsers. Sorry

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Film meme

1.Name a film that you have seen more than 10 times.
Star Wars – all of them

2.Name a film that you’ve seen multiple times in the cinema.
Revenge of the Sith, but it was only twice. Honest!

3.Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a film.
Scarlett Johansson

4.Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a film.
Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Will Ferrell; also Sarah Michelle Gellar, Lyndsey Lohan

5.Name a film that you can and do quote from.
Withnail and I

6.Name a film musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs.
Little Mermaid

7.Name a film that you have been known to sing along with.
See above

8.Name a film that you would recommend everyone see.
Princess Mononoke

9.Name a film that you own.

10.Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting ability.
Björk – Dancer in the Dark

11.Have you ever seen a film in a drive-in?
No, but I would love to

12. Name a film that you keep meaning to see but just haven’t got around to yet.
The House of Flying Daggers

13.Ever walked out of a film?
Yes, Diary of the Dead. What a waste of time

14.Name a film that made you cry in the cinema.
A Very Long Engagement

15.What’s the last film you saw in the cinema?
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

16.What’s your favourite/preferred genre of film?
Magical realism

17.What’s the first film you remember seeing in the cinema?
The Fox and the Hound

18.What film do you wish you had never seen?
No Country for Old Men

19.What is the weirdest film you enjoyed?

20.What is the scariest film you’ve seen?
My Little Eye, Ringu, 28 Days Later

21.What is the funniest film you’ve seen?

Tuesday, 14 July 2009


I'm full of ideas at the moment, literally buzzing. I'm working on a new piece of soundart, but this one needs somewhere expansive to exhibit it - and I'm at a loss, frankly! If you know somewhere/someone who would exhibit my piece, please pass on my details.

I'm interested in vinyl recordings at the moment. Everything from the hiss and crackle of old vinyl, to the effects you can get by slowing something down from 45 to 33.

I'll put it up here when I'm done.

Edit: I think I'll release a downloadable album of all my soundart. Here's the tracklisting so far:

She Machine
Blodeuwedd's Song
A Tree is a Poem Too

and I'll make (at least) one exclusively for the LP. Should keep me out of trouble for a while.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Podcast 6.0

A piece of soundart I have made to highlight problems faced by deaf people. If a deaf person was to receive a CD through the post, or listen to an advert, they would not be able to hear it - or hear very little of it. I am deaf in one ear, and last year started a British Sign Language course; I am now a level one signer having completed my Foundation Course.

Download here.

This piece of soundart is a conversation recorded today at RNIB Cymru's studios between myself and Nerys Probert, South Wales Group Co-ordinator for Deafblind Cymru. If a hearing person listens to this recording, they will not understand what the conversation was about - also, it is not accessible for deaf people either. I want to question, and raise the question of, accessibility; something I am passionate about.

This player might not work with all browsers. Sorry.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Tootsie - Sandy apologises

"I don't want to make trouble.

I shouldn't have people over. They never show up."

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Soundart update

My Blodeuwedd soundart is now exhibiting in RNIB Cymru's Cardiff office foyer, and its twinkling, chirruping loveliness makes people smile as they come into the office. I'm very happy that I found a place to exhibit it this year, being Louis Braille's bicentenary and all.

RNIB Cymru have also asked me to write another piece of soundart based on their new strapline, as they have now joined forces with CIB (Cardiff Institute for the Blind) - a fantastic local society that helps blind and partially sighted people in Cardiff and the Vale. It will be exhibited during a VIP launch to promote the joining together of two brilliant organisations.

RNIB Cymru and CIB working together to support blind and partially sighted people.
RNIB Cymru a CIB yn gweithio gyda'n gilydd i gefnogi pobl ddall ac â golwg rhannol.

I've made a start on it, and it's come out totally different from Blodeuwedd. I sampled a Perkins Brailler, and transcribed the notes as I did for Blodeuwedd - but it's ended up as this minimalist techno thing. Quite reminiscent of Matmos - which I'm rather happy with.

Already making plans for my next piece, but not sure where/how I can get it exhibited. Answers on a postcard please.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Birthday angst

In five days I'll be 32 years old. How on Earth did this happen? I remember being 21; partying, being creative, writing ALL the time, as if it was yesterday. Now I have a real job that I love and want to continue working my way up in, and things do seem to be going right... but everything is in a state of flux. My job is not secure, I don't have enough time to be creative - whether that's knitting, making my film, writing (don't get me started on how little time I have for that), finishing off all the projects I start. I'm trying very hard to shape my life, but every time I think I've figured something out something happens to throw it all off balance again. I dunno.

I'm happy. But I am also confused. Every year I get a year older and think I should have understood more by now. Does that even make sense? I remember thinking that when I was in my thirties I'd have a lot more sorted: living in a house with a mortgage for one, having a book published by now, possibly being married by now. I have none of those things, not that I'm worse off for not having them, don't get me wrong - but my plans are not going exactly as I planned!

By the time I'm 40 maybe...

Wednesday, 10 June 2009


Mae’r statws yn dweud ‘segur’,
dwi di bod yn checio
am hanner awr.
Mae ei glebran wedi sychu lan,
di diflannu fel y gwin gwyn
yn fy ngwydryn;
a nawr mae’r lleuad yn sibrwd ei
diffyg amynedd, eisiau mynd i’r gwely.
Ar fin y nos, dyma fi
dal yn aros i’r neges, aros
i’r bîp neu’r bing.
Yn oer heb fy ngŵn llofft,
yn ymwybyddu galwadau fy nghorff.
Mae o wedi dianc.
Mae’r haul yn synnu, roedd o wedi
rhoi sioe anghrediniol.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Podcast 5.0

I've been making more soundart experiments, using tree and woodland noises.

Download A Tree is a Poem Too.

This player might not work with all browsers. Sorry.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

My knitting obsession - update

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibres)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?
Recently, I've started knitting with a higher % of wool mix, but I will knit anything.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
I'd like to, but can't.

3. Do you have any allergies? (Smoke, pets, fibres, perfume, etc.)
Only hayfever.

4. How long have you been knitting?
Since about 2006

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yes of course.

6. What’s your favourite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
Vanilla, ylang ylang, dragon’s blood, lemon, cinnamon, clove. In that order.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?
Yes I do, unfortunately.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
I love making anything: writing, music, sewing, painting, drawing, cooking...

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s?
I love all music, but I'm an indie kid at heart.

10. What’s your favourite colour? Or–do you have a colour family/season/palette you prefer? Any colours you just can’t stand?
Lately, purple.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Houseshare, no pets.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)
Goodness me! To get a book published, to carry on working in my current job, to get more of my art exhibited, to get married (someday).

13. What is/are your favourite yarn/s to knit with?
Wendy fusion, and Sirdar escape; I also love anything chunky/bulky.

14. What fibres do you absolutely *not* like?
Eyelash sucks.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?

16. What is/are your favourite item/s to knit?
Toys on dpns. Love it.

17. What are you knitting right now?
Blankets for a den under my computer table. I'm such a kid.

18. What do you think about ponchos?
They're a bit last Tuesday.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
Circular or dpns for me.

20. Bamboo, aluminium, plastic?
Metal is my fave, but I've just bought my first set of bamboos but not had a chance to try them out yet.

21. Are you a sock knitter?
Life is too short to knit socks!

22. How did you learn to knit?
Inherited the knitting gene from my Mam, and taught myself (with help from my Mam).

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
Months and months old!

24. What is your favourite animated character?
Spongebob Squarepants.

25. What is your favourite holiday?

26. Is there anything that you collect?
Too many things!

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Knitty.com, and I browse Ravelry daily.

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?
None at the moment.

29. Any patterns you have been coveting, but haven’t bought for one reason or another?
I get all mine from off of the internets. I am cheap.

30. What are your foot measurements, and what kind of socks do you like? Size 8. Cabled socks please.

Test post

This is a test, to see if I can post to my blog from my google homepage.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Beautiful knitted nests

Just saw these lovely nests on Ravelry:

Free pattern available here, from After I finish this row...

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

If I had a gun

A few weeks ago Patrick and I went to the big Sainbury's to do some food shopping, and as we were walking back through Splott along a road with a bit of a traffic jam on it. We were busy chatting away, and as we walked past a pickup truck a little chav leaned out and shouted,
"Ow!" so I looked round. He continued, "Which one's the bitch?" I carried on talking to Patrick and heard him shout back at us, "Fucking queers."
Normally this kind of thing doesn't bother me, and I usually don't even notice - but this time I got really fucking angry and a upset. Who the hell does he think he is? An ugly little chav (he was probably about 17) shouting at me in the street! With his bumfluff moustache, fat pregnant girlfriend at home on benefits, illiteracy, ugliness... hmm, I went all Daily Mail then.
How dare he think that anyone cares about his opinion, he is nothing: a little cowboy builder with no qualifications, social skills, prospects or aspirations. It's very rare that I hate real people (I hate a lot of celebrities, but they don't count) but he really fucked me off. Patrick didn't seem bothered, perhaps because he didn't hear him (bless him, he was listening to me) but partly because he says he wouldn't let a non-entity like that upset him. As the night wore on, I got more and more angry with the little runt. If he'd been walking past Patrick and I on his own, I doubt he would even have looked at us; but because he was in a van with two fat builders he thought it would be funny to shout at two people walking on the street. I know the best way to deal with little cunts like that is to ignore them, which I did, but oh my god... if I had a gun.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Andy’s low fat apple and blueberry muffins

Makes 12

You will need:
100g low fat margarine
75g sugar
1 large free range egg (lightly beaten)
225g self raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
A good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
150-175 ml skimmed milk
1 large organic cooking apple
1 small tub organic blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 220 Celsius (gas mark 7), and put paper cases in a 12 cup muffin tin.

2. Peel, core and chop the apple; wash and drain the blueberries removing any stalks.

3. Cream the margarine and sugar until fluffy.

4. Mix in the egg.

5. Sift flour, salt and spices, and stir in lightly – do not overmix.

6. Add apple, blueberries and 150 ml of milk, stir lightly adding the remaining milk if needed. Batter should be fluffy and spongy but quite thick. Don’t worry if it looks too stodgy, the apple will add moisture while cooking.

7. Spoon evenly into the paper cases.

8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until muffins are just starting to go golden on top. Test for doneness with a skewer, if ready the skewer will come out clean. If not, bake for a further 2 or 3 minutes.

9. Remove from muffin tin carefully (don’t burn your fingers), and leave to cool on a wire stand.

10. Enjoy with a drizzle of double cream, or without if counting calories. They make a lovely breakfast.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

CD-base Handbag

You will need:
Five 6mm dpns
Two 6mm straight needles (optional)
Two balls of King Cole Waves (MC)
Two balls Sirdar Curly Wurly (CC)
One button with a shaft (easier to sew than a button with holes)
Stitch marker
3mm crotchet hook
Tapestry needle
Sewing needle
Small amount of sewing thread in MC
One CD (music on it is entirely up to you!)

Gauge is pretty important with this bag = 3 sts per inch

The bag is made by knitting a tube, then decreasing sts to make a flat, circular bottom. A CD is then knitted into the base for support; then handles and a flap are added.

With both yarns held together CO 38 sts, join to knit in the round (1st needle 10 sts, 2nd needle 9 sts, 3rd needle 10 sts, 4th needle 9sts) being careful not to twist (place marker at start of round), then work k1, p1 for 3 rounds.
K until tube is about 6 inches long.

P 1 round, then drop the Curly Wurly (CC) and cut it leaving a tail long enough to weave in later.
K 1 round.Make two decreases per needle for this round by k3, k2tog, k2 k2tog, k to end of round.
K 1 round...
Continue in this way until there are 4 sts left on each needle; then k1, k2tog k1; next round k1, k2tog; cut a long tail and pull through all sts and pull tight; sew to secure; weave in all ends.

Using the crotchet hook, pull all the curly bits through to the outside of the bag.

Using MC, CO 40 sts (10 on each needle), join to knit in the round being careful not to twist, then k 2 rounds.
Decrease as above, until you have 4 sts left on each needle; then k1, k2tog k1; next round k1, k2tog; cut a long tail and pull through all sts and pull tight; sew to secure; weave in ends. You will now have a floppy sort of circle.
Turn bag inside out and sew half of the floppy circle to the inside of the bottom.

Insert the CD, then continue sewing until CD is totally encased.
The turn back the right way out.


Using both yarns held together, CO 7 sts and knit (stocking stitch) for about 12 inches.
Sew ends inside opposite sides of the opening. As stocking stitch naturally curls, there is no need to sew this tube shut (but you could if you wanted to).

In the centre of the back of the bag opening, pick up 8 sts.
K1, p1 to end of row.
P1, k1 to end of row; keep doing this for about 3 inches, ending on a p1, k1 row.
K1, p1, k1, BO 2 sts, p1, k1, p1.
P1, k1, p1, CO 2 sts, k1, p1.
Work another two rows, keeping in pattern and BO.
Using sewing needle and thread, sew button in correct place according to buttonhole.

Presto, a pretty little bag that knits up fast and is superglam.
I added pearls to the front of mine to zhoosh it up a little. You could decorate it, or not, as you like.

I made this as a present for someone, and I burned songs the recipient would like, even though she can never listen to the CD. I felt so guilty that I then burned another CD with the songs on that she could enjoy!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Quick update

Shit Easter not made better by loads of chocolate. Done some gardening, still have to dispose of Christmas tree from year before last (I said I didn't want a bloody tree), at least the weeds are dying after I sprayed them, might even keep the pooping cats away from the garden.
Beers last night, watched random mish-mash of jumbled up films: Lord of the Rings (new and cartoon), Derek Jarman's Glitterbug (again) and bits of Blue, and episode of Moonlighting, some Moomins, and flicking through channels.
No texts or calls except from my Mam who's on holiday, decided to go to Ammanford in the day, but was too short notice to drop in on people and checked bank balance = not going anywhere.
Stayed in instead waiting for weeds to die and stop choking my garden.
Man coming to see Simon's room next week, he is a playwright - he's the coolest sounding person to have answered any of my adverts. Hope he likes the house and me.
Been drawing my crafty presents for John, Zann and Sarah. I don't want to give too much away, but John's is green, Zann's has some green, and Sarah's doesn't. I'm so cryptic.

Not sure what Jesus did at this time. Did he ride somewhere on a donkey, or get up after being dead? Of course Easter / Eostara is a pagan festival anyway, so let's go with that. I'm happier being a moon-staring hare anyway (though I do love chocolate).

Thursday, 9 April 2009

New LP - Jettisoned

New LP Jettisoned available for free download. The soundtrack to a non-existent film.

Just click here.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Pink elephants on parade

Look at this from the BBC website

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Podcast 4.0

Blodeuwedd's Song

A piece of soundart that I'm trying to get exhibited/played somewhere this year, as it's partly to celebrate Louis Braille's bicentenary and his brilliant invention of Braille (which makes such a difference to blind and partially sighted people’s lives) – and partly to, well, experiment I suppose. I make all kinds of art, material to abstract - and it’s kind of an artist’s duty to experiment. I got all inspired about soundart after my recent trip to New Zealand – Christchurch Art Gallery’s Subsonic exhibition especially.

Blodeuwedd’s Song is my response to how to turn Braille into music. I allocated each dot of the Braille cell a different note of the pentatonic scale, and used a poem I had written about Blodeuwedd as the base. I then transcribed the poem into Braille, and spent about three days placing each note. So one letter in my transcribed version can be up to five notes played together: for variation I spaced them out a little, and lowered the octave of a few, when I felt the poem intensified emotion – so this is a mixture of aleatoric and chosen notes. The soundart is set against a backdrop of a busy woodland and a lone owl.

If you know of anyone/anywhere interested in exhibiting/playing this piece, please pass on my details – the stories of The Mabinogion are a passion of mine, and lots of my art is based on the tales. I’m currently knitting a human skin for Blodeuwedd’s brother Blodeuben, and am also currently making a film called The Birth of Blodeuben.

More information on Blodeuwedd here and here, some on Blodeuben here.
More on Christchurch gallery's subsonic exhibtion here.
More on Louis Braille bicentenary and RNIB's celebrations here.

An end to buzzword bingo?

I just saw this BBC article. I hope to god it'll mean an end to ridiculous office buzzwords that confuse more than explain.

Although this is focusing on County Councils , hopefully the private sector will take note (are you listening, Lloyds TSB?)

Monday, 9 March 2009


Look at this:

This lady makes beautiful things, go and look at her shop.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


1.) What was I doing 10 years ago?
Working in a bakery
2.) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order)
a. Pack goody bags for the Children's Eye Health project
b. Print Teacher's guides for the same thing
c. Go and have Cantonese food with Nina to celebrate her birthday
d. Pester Sioned for volunteers from Cymdeithas
e. Drink a lot of beer
3.) Snacks I enjoy
Jelly sweets
4.) Things I would do if I were a billionaire
Give loads to charity, buy my friends all houses, build Simon a studio, make sure my family were all okay, get teeth implants to enable me to bite through hulls of ships
5.) Three of my bad habits
I'm argumentative; I don't do enough excersise; I don't write enough any more
6.) 3 places I have lived:
Llanedi, Penybanc, Cardiff
7.) 5 Jobs I have had:
Finance monkey
Youth Volunteering Officer
Shop assistant in a crystal shop

Books books books

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed.
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list on your blog so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 and force books upon them.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare - well, not complete, but a lot of them!
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
- I'm sure everyone intends to read this at some point in their life
25 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown - I agree with Stephen Fry when he said (of The Da Vinci Code) "Complete loose stool water. Arse-gravy of the very worst kind."
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert - I bought the books in a charity shop, but haven't got round to them yet
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White - makes me cry like a girl
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Tuesday, 3 March 2009


This man is fantastic. Go and read his blog, but look at this first:

Thursday, 19 February 2009

I ♥ Splott

On my way to work this morning I stopped to get some money out of the Co-op ATM, and had to wait while an older chav and his even older chav dad tried to take money out. They used every card they had, which were all refused, then called the machine a cunt. Now that isn't what annoyed me, what annoyed me was they asked for a receipt every time and then threw them on the floor without even looking at them.

Further down Habershon Street I stumbled upon an extinguished bonfire on the pavement. It looked like a few black bags full of someone's belongings had been set on fire. There were VHS cassettes, clothes, shoes; all charred, and burnt to the pavement and road. This was right outside someone's front door too.

Fair play, what a bunch of horrible bastards live round here. I'm so lucky to live here.

Happy walkman

My walkman was happier this morning; as I came into sight of work it started playing The's Bomb the Twist.
Rock 'n' roll!


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Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Psychic walkman

As I turned the corner and saw my office, my clever walkman started playing Portishead's Sour Times.
Oh how I laughed!


Monday, 16 February 2009

Same meme

As I'm having such a fucking horrible day, I thought I'd post another favourite poem (in a vain attempt to cheer myself up).

Harold Monro - Overheard on a Saltmarsh

Nymph, nymph, what are your beads?

Green glass, goblin. Why do you stare at them?

Give them me.

Give them me. Give them me.

Then I will howl all night in the reeds,
Lie in the mud and howl for them.

Goblin, why do you love them so?

They are better than stars or water,
Better than voices of winds that sing,
Better than any man's fair daughter,
Your green glass beads on a silver ring.

Hush, I stole them out of the moon.

Give me your beads, I desire them.

I will howl in the deep lagoon
For your green glass beads, I love them so.
Give them me. Give them me.

Another meme...

...when you see this, post your favourite poem.

I nicked this from Sheenagh Pugh's blog.

My favourite poem changes daily, and my tastes oscillate wildly between dead poets and contemporary writers, but h
ere's two I can more or less recite by heart.

Philip Larkin - Home is so Sad

Home is so sad. It stays as it was left,
Shaped to the comfort of the last to go
As if to win them back. Instead, bereft
Of anyone to please, it withers so,
Having no heart to put aside the theft

And turn again to what it started as,
A joyous shot at how things ought to be,
Long fallen wide. You can see how it was:
Look at the pictures and the cutlery.
The music in the piano stool. That vase.


Sylvia Plath - Mushrooms

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot's in the door.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Last day

I won't pretend I'm not super happy to be going home, I can't wait to see Patrick, my friends, my house, my job and all that again, but I have to say goodbye to James and T again - and this is a big one. It will be years before I see them again.
I've had a wicked time, and seen some amazing places, and been to a fantastic wedding. I have loved it - but it's time to go home now, all inspired, creative and flowy of juices!

New Zealand is raining today, like it's sad we're going.

Last full day in NZ

Well here it is, the end of the holiday. We're going into Wellington tomorrow and dropping off the car by 5, then flying at about 8pm. It will take about 24 hours to fly home (via LA) and then I'll be back in Cardiff around 4pm on Friday. I am SO excited to see Patrick that I can hardly stop myself from crying. I've missed him so much, and that teary phone call on his bithday was horrible. He made me promise to never go anywhere, ever again. So I promised.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

South Island

Well, today is our last full day on the South Island, and marks the end of the busy part of the holiday. We're sailing back up north tomorrow, and the wedding is on Saturday the 7th. After the wedding we're just going to bum around looking at Lord of the Rings locations before flying home on the 12th.
I'm having a great time, but I'm really homesick now. This is the longest and furthest I've ever been away from home and the ones I love, and it's quite difficult, I don't mind admitting.
It's Waitangi day on the 6th, but more importantly for me - it's Patrick's birthday on the 6th. I'm so gutted I'm not there to be celebrating it with him, I'm counting on his friends and family to make sure he has a good time, and I've made sure that I'm back in Wales for Valentine's day!
He wrote in an email to me that this time apart has been good, as his feelings have grown even stronger. So, yes, I ended up crying over another email!

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Pines Beach - Kaiapoi

Spending a few days with T's Auntie Julie and Uncle Matt at Kaiapoi. I've never been so relaxed, or so bloody hot! At least I'm getting a tan.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

South Island

Here we come. We're going to bungee jump, do some glacier walking, swim in the sea... can't wait. I burnt my shoulders yesterday.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Missing Patrick...

...something chronic today.

Hiraeth has a lot to answer for.


Well bugger me, I'm here in New Zealand! The flights (all four of them) weren't as bad as I imagined they would be. The up-in-the-air bits were okay, but the takeoffs and landings were pretty hairy. I was stuck in Tokyo airport for 8 and half hours, but I enjoyed looking at the Pikachu toys and kokeshi dolls. I'm at James and T's house now and the views are gorgeous, all blue mountain hills and massive alien plants - eep! I'm in Middle Earth.
I'm going to have a shower now, my skin is dry and itchy and I smell like a rancid dog.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Last day

In work for three weeks. Whoop! New Zealand here I come.

I'm so nervous about the flight that I've had to go and get valium. I'm also taking my Nintendo DS, 6 books, magazines, sudoku and a notebook. Should keep me entertained for 23 hours!

I'm planning to update my blog, my flickr, my twitter, my facebook and all my other geeky online versions of me, so this isn't the last post yet... unless I die, but I'm not planning to.

Hwyl fawr am y tro

Monday, 12 January 2009

Rali Calan Hen / Old New Year Rally

Llun / photo: © Rhys Llwyd

Dyma fi, Nina a Patrick yn ymdeithio lawr Stryd y Frenhines yng Nghaerdydd Dydd Sadwrn diwethaf - yn rhan o rali Cymdeithas i ddangos y maint o gefnogaeth i siopau ar y stryd fawr i ddefnyddio mwy o Gymraeg. Cliciwch yma i fynd i wefan Cymdeithas.

This is me, Nina and Patrick marching down Queen Street in Cardiff last Saturday - as part of a rally organised by Cymdeithas to show the magnitude of support for shops on the high street to use more of the Welsh language. Click here to go to Cymdeithas' site.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Podcast 3.0

She Machine

This is a 1979 Fisher Price radio that used to play Teddy Bears Picnic; I had one when I was a little boy. I bought this one second hand and messed about with it. I removed some of the tines on the music box mechanism, filed down some of the points on the cylinder, then I added another music box mechanism (with tines and points removed, bent and stuff). When you play them both together you get weird, scary, tinkly, discordant music. It also still has elements of Teddy Bears Picnic, mixed with recognisable notes from When You Wish Upon a Star - the other music box mechanism.

It's also for sale in my folksy shop, for a mere £15. Click here to go to the She Machine page in the shop.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

New shop

I had to get rid of my etsy shop when I got quite ill last year. But I'm tentatively trying out a new shop on the Folsky site. It's a British site, which means it's easier for me.

Have a look at it by clicking here.

Not much in it at the moment - I'm busy knitting for an art exhibition (deadline February 14th, so I'm a bit pushed for time!) and super busy in work (they've just extended my contract again - I'm officially safe until the end of June. Hooray!) here's hoping I don't have another meltdown.
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