Tuesday, 25 October 2005


Once again, haven't written for ages. Ironic really, since lots has been happening.

I always like to be on the ball, but was completely taken aback when the clients offered a new contract - for some reason I thought the current contract expired at the end of the year, but not so - it expires at the end of October. So, all of a sudden there was a mad rush to decide whether I wanted to stick with them etc. Of course, setting up a new contract in such a short time was improbable, to say the least, and as it has happened there is nothing firm on the table except for the offer with the current client.

Can't remember if I mentioned but a couple of months ago the clients announced that they wanted all direct contracts to start going through agencies. Not particularly a problem from my perspective, obviously subject to Ts and Cs remaining the same as they are currently. Unfortunately however at first glance there is some way to go. The IR35-aspect of the proposed contract is questionnable, although there are other consultants there (doing the same kind of thing but going through a different agency and hence having a different contract) where the role has "passed" the IR35 tests. As things stand, therefore, there is still lots of negotiation with the client's lawyer - they're obviously not switched on to this at all. So everything is still up in the air - there will be an extension, probably under the old Ts and Cs, for a short duration, before they swap things over.

Having said all this, nothing is signed yet and the current contract ends this week.

Anyway, on to more current news. This week is half term, and I was sufficiently convinced that the contract ended at the end of the year that I booked for us to come on holiday. So, I'm writing this from westest Wales! We've taken a cottage in the tiny village of Marloes, about 10 miles west of Haverfordwest. Obviously it being Ocoiber, the weather is, er......variable, but we're in a newly-refurbished stone cottage which has roaring central heating to keep us snug.

We arrived on Saturday, just in time to watch sunset at the nearby Marloes Sands. The fact that there was a sunset gives an indication of the weather. This continued on into Sunday, where we basically toured the area. Little Haven (possibly worth staying here if we come back to the area), then on to Broad Haven (glorious beach - Alice made friends with a ferret!), and further north to Nolton Haven. Little Haven and Nolton Haven were beautiful little coves - probably no more than fifty yards across - surrounded by rocky cliffs - indeed we're right by the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path here. Unfortunately at Nolton Haven dead seal had been washed up, and this seemed to really affect Alice, who has obsessed about it since.

Further northward, up through Newgale, Solva and on to St Davids for lunch. Very picturesque, St Davids is particularly charming. Found a restaurant for lunch but to my dismay roast lamb was not on the menu! So I settled for beef instead. After lunch, on up the coast (most of our driving being done on unclassified roads) for the beach at Abereiddy. Lots of dark sand, great for Alice, plus stunning rock formations (mostly slate).
I should say that all of these beaches were pretty much empty except for families of die-hard surfers clad in wet suits, and at Broad Haven many people walking dogs (we must have got there at dog-walking time!).
Onward, up to Fishguard, which was somewhat nondescript, then southward along the main road to Haverfordwest and back then to Marloes. The weather had closed in and we settled in for a stormy night. Both bedrooms ar in the roof, so when it rains or blows, we know about it. Still, I set the woodburner going and soon we were snug. (probably worth adding that we've all got slight colds at present).

Monday wasn't brilliant weather, so we headed into Haverfordwest. The plan was to go to the cinema until I realised that it was closed Mondays! Again, quite a nondescript town really, but had a sufficient supply of supermarkets to keep us going! Drove down to Dale, the next - and last - village on the road. Dale isn't actually on the sea, but at the mouth of a river, so that much calmer. Good view across Milford Sound to what looked like an oil refinery (Moonbase Alpha as Jacqueline says). I thought I'd read that they'd all closed down but this one seemed very much lit up!

Tuesday, we set off to a place called Picton Castle, which was in my atlas as a National Trust place. Unfortunately not only was it not NT, but the house actually closed on 30th September. So, faced with walking around the gardens only, we decided to head on to St Davids in time for lunch once again. This time a proper look around, including a visit to the cathedral. Back along the coast to Solva - went to a wonderful little gallery where the artist seemed to specialise in stunning blue seascapes. Obviously a very slow pace of life - reminded me of Totnes. Also, the gallery had several kittens running around the place, which Alice loved. Back home, essentially taking the reverse route to the route we took on Sunday, and back quite early.
We drove through Marloes to Martin's Haven, and despite the fact that it was extremely blowy took some excellent photographs when walking on the headland (very exposed!). The weather is quite stormy at the moment and many ships had laid to in St Bride's Bay. To top it all, we walked down to Martin's Haven itself and saw a (live) seal on the beach. Beautiful, good for Alice to hopefully drive the picture of the dead seal out of her mind.

Yesterday evening we went out in the evening to a bistro in Little Haven, which despite it being the end of October was doing a roaring trade (food was ok but nothing special).

I should add that Alice was terrible yesterday, her behaviour really can be uncontrollable at times, and she spend much of the day either crying/whining or shouting because she wasn't getting her own way. We both ended the day completely stressed out, and I really feel like going home right now.

Today the weather is grey but not wet, so we're going to walk down to Musslewick Sands. If Alice is good (yeah, right...) I'll take her into Haverfordwest this afternoon to see Wallace and Grommit.

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