Cappuccino Girls, Storms, Brambles & Wasps!

After the rushing around over the past few weeks with the Swansea International Festival and the Swansea Fringe this week I decided I would try to breathe a little more and to breathe a little longer than I have done of late.  The trouble is, when you’ve been busy working on a massive project the rest of your life and commitments all start to stockpile.  Letters and emails which for the last month have been strategically filed as to be done sometime in October have now become ‘’urgent.’

It took me until Wednesday to get my email inbox back to single figures , and by that I mean the single hundreds not merely ones and twos.  I thought electronic communication was supposed to make life easier and less time consuming.  Some days I look back nostalgically to the days of the telegram.  At least you knew that really was an urgent message not just someone being a little too impatient for their own good.


The weather for the early part of the week was fantastic.  On Monday the bay at sunrise was awe inspiring.  When I get back from doing my early morning radio show I quite often just park up in Oystermouth to gaze at the way the sun makes our coastline look like a picture-perfect postcard.  By mid-week the tide was still high in the morning but the wind was starting to stir things up a bit.

That was my cue to get out into the garden.  As I got into my welly boots that line from the hymn ‘Harvest Home’ kept going through my head, ‘All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin’.  I had read somewhere that there was a storm headed our way and however unlikely that seemed I wanted to beat it. That’s the trouble with weather forecasts and maybe other types of forecast as well.  When the sun is shining it’s hard to believe Derek the Weatherman when he says that by the weekend Storm Callum will be with us and it might get ugly.


Anyway, suited and booted I made my way through the jungle that my garden had become since the last time I visited it sometime back in May.  Now I try to see the good in everything.  If I wasn’t Gospel Hall I’m pretty sure I would be part Buddhist given the chance.  Life and let live, is my motto.  Open the window for flies to escape.  Give spiders a free reign to spin their webs apologising, sometimes out loud, if I happen to walk through and destroy one of their webs.  I stop the car for cats, dogs and foxes.  But then come wasps and then come brambles.


If I’m honest I haven’t had too much bother from wasps this year.  In the past I’ve spent the months of July and August swinging copies of the Evening Post in all directions trying to keep the ‘nazi’s ‘of the insect world at bay. I even googled ‘What good are waps’ and found an article by The Really, Really Wild Show guy Chris Packham.  He says that just like spiders, wasps are predators that keep down the population of other insects like caterpillars etc which if left to their own devices would cause havoc in our cabbage patches.  Well, let me tell you Chris Packham, no caterpillar or butterfly ever attacked me!!


Ok, I’m willing to listen to the case for the defence for wasp but then there are brambles!.  Boy, I hate brambles.  I reckon somewhere in the back of my garden there is a brambles ‘central brain’ that goes into defence mode when it sees anyone approach with a pair of shears.  Firstly, they grow at so many odd angles that its hard to get anywhere near their roots.  Then once you start hacking at their outer defences they come at you, and usually they aim for your face.  I made the schoolboy error of no hat and gloves.  If it hadn’t been for my glasses they would have blinded me I’m sure.  Then you cut off one part and it attaches itself to your clothes, you don’t notice until all of a sudden there’s a pain somewhere quite unexpected.

In the end I think our fight resulted in a creditable draw.  I had taken them back to the edge of my fence and they had drawn blood and left me with a few pieces of ‘bramble shrapnel’ lodged in my fingers.  I’ve been applying TCP to areas affected by the splinters ever since.  I don’t trust brambles to fight fair.  I suspect they might try their best to poison me while I sleep.

By Thursday Derek the weatherman’s predictions were starting to come true.  In between massive downpours there was the odd hour of sunshine but by Thursday night the winds were rising and poeple all across Swansea Bay were having trouble getting to sleep.  I did get the odd hour or so but at 4am I woke to hear the wind was howling.  As I drove into Swansea City Centre I had to slalom my way around bin bags and bollards that had been tossed around for fun by Storm Callum.  By the time I left the studio at 7am it was like a scene from the film ‘Key Largo’.

All this took me back to the early days of summer that we all enjoyed this year.  Well, I say enjoyed, if I remember rightly the shops had run out of fans and everyone I knew was moaning about how hot it was and that they couldn’t sleep at night.  What I wouldn’t give for a few days of that right now.


Anyway, that’s enough gardening for the time being.  Next week its back to the day job.  Cappuccino Girls is back in rehearsal next week as we get set for an autumn run of shows at The Hyst supporting numerous local charities throughout the autumn.  We even take the show to the Wales Millennium Centre at the beginning of December. The last time we performed the show the temperatures were in the 90’s and when we left the theatre the sun was still shining.  What a difference 3 months make.  Hmmm, 3 months since we last did the show.  I’m sure I can remember all the words and the dance moves and the songs and the harmonies… but I’d better get the script out over the weekend just to make sure.