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.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Late Sun.

Yesterday the estate agents rang booking a viewing for this afternoon. You can guess what happened today - Peter got an email cancelling the viewing. He didn't check his emails till later on as the internet is so slow so we had already got the house extra tidy and I was just giving the already gleaming kitchen a final wipe when he came down and told me. We'd even put the heating on as it was quite chilly outside. Still it's nice to have the whole house tidy. But was there really a viewing? We're never too sure.
Not wishing to waste my enthusiasm for getting fit I took myself for a walk up the hill to watch the lambs. These ones haven't quite reached the adventurous age when they form little gangs away from their mothers chasing each other around or looking through the gates. It's still sweet to see them with their mothers and waggling their tails as they feed. When I walked through the tunnel of trees at Ashelford Corner my ears were filled with the sound of the wind whooshing through the trees sounding just like the gentle murmur of waves on a stony beach.
I'm going to try and walk up the hill every day whatever the weather. The first bit between the ponies' fields is very steep and although I didn't have to stop half-way I could feel my heart pounding once I got to the top. It's a matter of finding the right balance between exertion and not doing too much to my knee which was twinging a bit by the time I got home. We've decided to go ahead and buy an exercise bike which will be helpful for both of us. We'd thought about getting one last year but I wanted to wait until we were sure we had enough space for one when we moved. As we don't know when that is going to happen we'll take a chance.
 Wild flowers are blooming in all the hedgerows.
Once back home I did more exercises and had a longer guitar session. After such a cloudy morning out came the sun which is shining still almost tempting me out again but that would be overdoing things.
Only a few more branches to green up on this tree but not a single leaf yet on the big beech tree.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Chilly.

Today I had my first gym session at the hospital. It started at 8.10 which made for a lot earlier start than usual. (I'm still catching up on a year's worth of poor sleep.) Not only was it cold and grey outside but the kitchen wasn't that warm as the rayburn had gone out! While it was being serviced the other day Peter had mentioned the importance of checking that the box on legs which holds the oil and wicks was perfectly level. You'd think that a metal object wouldn't change shape but because the legs are steel while the box is cast iron things happen when it is burning. End result the wicks burn unevenly and char and the system grinds to a halt. (You can see why everyone hates having to work on this particular model.) By the time I came back home the engineer was here and we have a working rayburn once more. This is the same engineer that Peter encouraged to join the gig club. When he left he gave us 2 dozen free range eggs. A family member has 30 hens and at the moment is getting 30 eggs a day and giving them away to everyone they know. I feel a baking session coming on.
I enjoyed my gym session today, all 90 minutes of it. There were 6 of us patients there and 2 physiotherapists so it was all very much on an individual level. Everyone starts with a 10 min warm-up on the exercise bikes. For me it was more of a boil-up as I got redder and redder and the sweat began to drip. I did try and keep my pulse level down but at one point the physio came over to check which difficulty level the bike was on. Slight humiliation when she said it was on the easiest setting. I'm definitely going to walk up and down the hill every day to improve my fitness level. We were all working on strengthening and flexing our core muscles so we sat on big gym balls wobbling this way and that, writing our names or waving arms and legs in the air. I also worked on a wobble board and several of us practised standing up and sitting  down correctly while holding a ball and moving it at the same time. Hopefully the 5 more weekly sessions will see a great deal of improvement. Of course I wore my snazzy new gym leggings which made me feel all sporty.
From the hospital I went on into town and bought myself a new hat. Not only did it fit, a rarity in itself, it was also on sale. I'm not so sure about the green string hanging off the back but that's nothing that a pair of scissors won't cure.  I also called in at the carpet place and yes they are going to fit the carpet at no extra charge apart from £10 for the gripper strips which that room doesn't have.
Today's gardening was even more minimal than usual. Just a bit of hoeing as the cold dry weather will speed the demise of weeds sliced off at ground level.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Cold.

It's been grey and cold today. So cold in fact that this evening I've turned on the central heating. I'm not too bad with the cold but it isn't good for Peter's arthritis. This morning I couldn't find Squeaky when I went downstairs. Peter had been down earlier and fed her (the cooked turkey mince is going down a treat) but she wasn't curled up by the rayburn or snoozing on a chair. At that point I thought the worst and began looking in any little corner she could have got into. It was only when I went upstairs to check that I found her sleeping in the airing cupboard. She would go in there during the winter when it was cold so I guess the kitchen wasn't warm enough for her today.
The first of the roses are out, Mme Alfred Carrier- one of the roses climbing up the front of the house and over the porch.
I still went out and did some gardening well wrapped up in a coat for the first time in a while. My daily gardening keeps me sane and helps keep the garden in a reasonable condition. Today I did some weeding in the scree garden, mainly bracken and ivy leaved toad flax.  The bracken looks very sweet when it is only a couple of cms tall but if left will grow several feet and be more difficult to remove. The scree garden is weed free for the moment though there are always leaves and moss to pick off the stones. Incidentally the people who came to view the house the other day loved it but it is at the top of their budget and they haven't sold their house yet.
I had a little walk up towards the ponies' fields and spotted the goose family. All 7 goslings are still there being guarded by the adult geese.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Sunny.

Lots of sun today still with a cold wind. It's a good thing that the apple blossom hadn't opened when the weather took such a turn for the worse.  
I spoke to the carpet place this morning and first they tried to tell me there was so much left over because sometimes if there is only a small amount left on the roll the suppliers send the extra anyway. However I knew the amount that had been ordered ie the amount I've paid for and there would still have been 3m x 3m left over. A second phone call from them had an offer of free underlay but I would have to pay for the fitters - duh, no way. I said I'll call in on Friday after my back class and talk to the boss. I'm sure that they won't want to risk their reputation over the fitting of one carpet.
While I did a little weeding around the pond the cats were busy sleeping in the sun.  Later Peter and I worked together to cut a strip off the bottom of his study door using the jigsaw. We took it in turns as it was hard on the hands to keep the jigsaw  moving. The circular saw would have been over kill and it is only on a small stand which is fine for bits of wood but not for a whole door. We even got the door upstairs and screwed back into place. 2 old codgers + experience = job done, eventually.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

New Carpet.

Who would have thought that I would be woken this morning by the sound of hail on the conservatory roof and open my eyes to see hail and sleet descending past the window? That brief shower gave way to bright sun for the rest of the morning. Only the bitterly cold north-easterly winds gave any hint to the series of wintry showers we were treated to in the late afternoon.
Those black clouds rumbled with the sounds of a thunderstorm. I didn't see any lightning but that was probably due to the fact that I was in the middle of my exercises. I only stopped to check Peter was unplugging the internet and to take a few photos. 
Fortunately it had been dry earlier when the carpet fitters came. Unlike the last time when there hadn't been enough carpet to do the stairs this time they brought along an enormous piece plus another smaller piece. As well as a few small pieces there is a piece measuring 3.10m x 3.95m left over. More than enough to do another bedroom. I rang the showroom to ask why I hadn't been made aware of this but the manager wasn't there and will ring back tomorrow. As free fitting and underlay were included in the price we might as well have another bedroom done even if it is all a bit beige. 
The hall and Peter's study look so much more civilised now without the fake rock effect on the walls and the grubby red carpet in the study. We still have to take off a small amount from the bottom of Peter's door, the red carpet was the kind with a thin layer of underlay stuck on making it so much thinner than the new carpet and underlay. It's not a 10 minute job and after hovering up all the bits from the new carpets and the stairs (I'm sure the men that did the sitting room cleaned up after themselves) we decided to wait until tomorrow.
Considering the amount of hail we've just had it's hard to believe that I spent most of the afternoon sitting outside with a book.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Goslings.

Grey and chilly today with a little sunshine in the afternoon. This morning I took the remaining carpet and underlay down to the dump. This time I went to the Ilfracombe dump, partly because it's countryside all the way and partly to avoid being caught at the hospital traffic lights/roadworks. There was a temporary one-way light just before I got to Ifracombe which was due to the side of the road having fallen down into the valley. I was the only car on the road and the light changed as I approached. About a mile further back on the road a stag had appeared in the hedge and run across the road as I slowed down. That's not a very usual sight in these parts.
I called in at the Tesco's there and got some minced turkey (cheaper than chicken) to tempt Squeaky with. She does like her sardines but they are too rich for her on their own and she wasn't so keen on them mixed with her tinned food. Then on my way back I stopped at a local farm to buy some fresh eggs. The farm is at the head of our valley and on a good day I can hear the cockerel crowing.
A chaffinch in our yard.
I was writing up my journal in the conservatory when Peter came to say we had some visitors in the garden. He distracted the cats with some milk while the parent geese decided our garden wasn't the best place to visit. Now that my journal is up to date AT LAST! I've started a system of making notes each time I blog so that I don't get behind. I find I function much better when I have a routine or system for those things which need doing as I am so easily distracted especially by outdoor activities.
Exploring by proxy- Vytas and Sally at Machu Picchu.  

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Weeding.

It's been another very pleasant day, not quite as sunny as yesterday but still a good day to be outside. Today I did some weeding in the golden marjoram bed. It was a bigger job than I originally thought as I kept finding strands of speedwell winding their way through the marjoram. It was very satisfying when I was able to prise out the long roots of the yarrow. It's one of those plants with a long tap root (up to 6") which have a fat bit at the end. Failure to get the whole thing out means it will grow back again but I wasn't going to dig up the whole bed. Hopefully it will take a long time for all the ones that broke when I pulled them to appear back at the surface. While I worked I got to thinking about the interesting common names of some of the weeds that grow in and around the garden; speedwell, ivy leaved toadflax, pineapple weed, scarlet pimpernel, cat's ears, dog violets, ramsons aka stinking lily and many others. They sound so very bucolic to me or maybe that was just because with not a sound from out neighbours it felt like a very sleepy Sunday afternoon.
Spring leaves are slowly creeping their way up the smaller of the beech trees and have reached about a third of the way up. No leaves yet on the big beech tree.