Welcome to family, friends and visitors. Here you will find interesting (hopefully) pictures of my part of the world, news of our household and probably, long ramblings about anything that catches my interest.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018


I've just driven home from choir under a pink sky which has become more intense as the sun disappeared behind the hills. Hopefully that heralds a fine day tomorrow. Today has been quite grey with rain in the afternoon, the kind of fine rain you get when the clouds drift in from the sea.
I went out shopping today and bought myself a bike helmet and a chain to lock up my bike. The helmet is all black but has reflector strips which didn't show up that well with the flash. Peter is struggling with his back at the moment but hopefully we will soon be able to head down the Tarka Trail towards the sea.
It was a good shopping trip starting with a couple of freebies; some cutlery with chunky plastic handles which are easier for Peter from a FB recycling group and some Golden Oat Grass seeds. I was passing the ornamental beds in The Square when I noticed a seed stalk lying beneath the plants so I rescued it and have planted the seeds hoping that some will germinate. I did have a plant but it reached the end of its life before I thought to save some seeds. When I went into B&Q to buy a small bag of mortar to do the last pointing between the paving slabs from the reduced plant section I got a pot with 3 tall lilies and a Dicentra (Bleeding Heart) for £1 each. There was just enough room to put the lilies in the planter with the other ones and the Dicentra went into a flower bed. 
Having run the washing machine last night and it being too wet to hang things outside I realised that I could put up a couple of washing lines between the window handles in the conservatory. (Later I moved some of the heavier items outside.) The indoor lines do mean you have to duck to get outside but when they are not in use they can be rolled up and stored out of the way on one set of handles.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018


We've had less rain and more wind today, a southerly wind which brought welcome warmth.
It's been 7 months and at last all the work on the house is done. Still a bit of tidying up to do but on the whole we can now relax and think about fun things to do. I don't have early pictures of the inside of the house but here are the before and after pictures of the garden which of course is my favourite part of the property.

 Oh the slippery decking and the looming shed, now just a memory.

I haven't done much today just some painting of a few spots (under a radiator and behind a curtain rail) that somehow got missed out in the general redecorating. In the afternoon I sat reading outside ready to rescue the washing on the line if the black clouds overhead delivered rain.  Then early exercises to warm up ready for Pilates. Found out that although our classes in the boys' old school come to a halt at the end of the term our teacher will be teaching a class on Thursday evenings up at the college all through the summer. It's a turn up and pay for the class so I plan to do that rather than get out of practice over the summer holidays. Years ago I did a computing course at the college, the boys did their A levels there and Peter did a plumbing and electrical course before being employed in the college IT department.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Wet and Windy.

It's been wild, wet and windy today so we thought we'd take a chance and have a stroll on Barricane Beach. It was drizzling when we got there but the wind blew the rain away by the time we got down to the beach. 
We'd taken a flask of coffee and some chocolate chunk cookies  which we had sitting on one of the clifftop benches but it was good to see that the beach café has returned for the season. We'll probably head down there for a Sri Lankan curry before the school holidays begin. Building work has started on the white house which was sold for £1.2 million in its derelict state. No doubt it's going to be turned into a number of very expensive flats. Way out of our range.
No rock pooling as the tide was in but it was lovely simply to watch the waves and breathe in the sea air. I tried skimming a couple of stones but due to lack of practise they mostly went plonk in the water.
When we got home I painted the wall behind the ivy, the last of my garden jobs. After I took the photo I went back with an artist's paintbrush and tidied up the bottom edge. Lumpy concrete blocks are not the easiest things to paint.
Inside I cleared the last of the stuff from the dinning table, some went to the garage and the rest to the porch cupboard.

Sunday, 17 June 2018


Today has been grey, cold, windy and at times wet.
Having done the tedious prep work yesterday today I painted all the woodwork in the kitchen. Only the door frame needed two coats as the rest had been white before. I had an early start as Peter went off rowing first thing. Today's other job was to make a start on sorting and tidying the cupboard by the front door. Before I got round to that I built another shelf, four legs and a top, as there was some wasted space at the bottom. A couple of trips to the garage cleared even more space. 
The tomato plants are doing well with the first flower trusses appearing. Time to start with the tomato food.  

Saturday, 16 June 2018


Lots of wind today and quite a bit of rain too. I took the photos during one of the brief  sunny and hot spells. I'm thrilled that the sweet peas are flowering. I've tried both seeds and plants before but they always got eaten by slugs. I am using slug pellets in the back garden as I doubt any hedgehogs could scale the 5-6ft walls.
Today I began work on the kitchen door frame and the skirting boards. First I scraped off any of the very thick cracked paint before wiping everything down. Then realised that as it was old gloss paint I needed to give it a key with some sandpaper and then wipe it down again. Later on I filled all the cracks and gaps with filler or builders' caulk reading for painting tomorrow. I've had to pull most of the furniture in the dinning area into the middle so that space looks like a bomb has hit it.
The wind has blown all the loose rose petal off so I had a dead heading session and also pruned back the rhododendron. 

Friday, 15 June 2018


I've had a busy day and got another two decorating jobs done. I needed to get the ladder  from the garage for both of them so it made sense to push on. One job was to tidy up the bathroom ceiling. When the last owners put in downlighters they didn't make a good job of cutting holes in the ceiling and each light had an untidy gap at one side. I was just about able to manoeuvre the ladder in our tiny bathroom and use filler to fill in the holes.
The other job was to tidy up and paint the kitchen ceiling. Not only was there some flaking of the paint along one edge but a close up view showed many bits (sawdust?) in the painted surface as well as a few brush strands. I removed most of these by going over the surface gently with my paint  scraper. Then it was simply a matter of shrouding the kitchen with a vast number of dust sheets before using the roller to freshen up the white ceiling, oh and cutting in the edges took almost as long.
Meanwhile Peter spent the day putting up new shelves in the tool cupboard by the front door. 
These red and white snapdragons are the descendants of some plants I bought at the last day sell off at the Chelsea Flower Show back in the late 70's. At that time our outdoor space was a 5ft x 5ft balcony. The snapdragons came with us to our house in London and then on to Devon where they self seeded in the scree garden.

Thursday, 14 June 2018


No blog yesterday due to technical problems. I'd pressed the 'update and shut down' option before I went off to choir. Three hours later I returned home to find that my PC wouldn't turn on. Not being an IT expert instead I began the duffers version of fixing an IT problem. Step One - ask somebody else to fix it, Peter wasn't too pleased about being woken up to hear my problem so I waited until the morning. Next came the ever so useful Step Two - switch off the plug, wait and switch it back on but no joy or lights in the PC box thingy. Then came Step Three - jiggle any connections at the back of the box and hey presto the PC turned on. The back of the box is inaccessible to the cats so it must have been gravity messing up the connection.
Now for yesterday's news - In the morning I chipped away the cement blobs under the loose paving slabs on the steps. While Peter went off to get me some ready mix mortar I took myself out for a walk down to Manning's Pit.
After shimmying my way round the chained gate I found myself in a sloping meadow along with a herd of Jersey cross heifers. The path led down to a right of way gate and then to a bridge across the stream. 
While watching the flowing water my eye was caught by a flash of brilliant blue, a dragonfly that goes by the name of Beautiful Demoiselle.  

Emerging from the trees bordering the stream I found myself in another meadow. This time the flowering grasses were shoulder high. Looking northwards I could see the gap between the hills that used to be my way home.
I retraced my steps, back across the stream and into the heifers' meadow. My path led between the heifers some of whom were brave to put their noses on my outstretched hand.
Clambering through a tied back barbed wire fence I found myself back by the stream. I could see how this had been an ideal playground for generations of youngsters and continues to be so. There were a few spots where the water was 2 1/2 to 3 ft. deep but for most of the stream it was less than a foot.
I walked all the way along the stream to a ford where I crossed over and walked part way back along the grassy banks of the stream. It was so peaceful there. 
When I got home I found that Peter had gone out again leaving me a bag of cement by the front door. This I duly attempted to mix and use to fix all the slabs I taken up. I know I'm not an experienced cement mixer but I couldn't understand why the cement seemed to be almost setting before I could use it. It was only when I looked at the bag that I saw it wasn't mortar but something called Postcrete. This is for setting in posts and all you have to do is fill the post hole with one third water, hold the post in place and pour in the cement to the top of the water at which point it sets in 5-10 mins. (Peter says he got this because it would be stronger and it was a lot cheaper!) So as I attempted to mix it with water in a bucket it was setting almost before I could get through the house to the steps. I got the job done in the end but with much muttering.
We had some rain in the night and strong winds have been blowing all day. Today's job was to squeeze into the 14 inch gap between the conservatory and the garden wall, remove all the weeds and debris and then paint the grim looking concrete blocks. Keeping the spiders in mind I covered up before venturing into that space. I have to admit that it does look a lot better now.