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.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Memories.

After a wet morning the day became bright and sunny. Perfect conditions for working outside but I'm not motivated to garden for somebody else and probably hurt my back at the same time.
I woke up very early, around 5.30 and because a solution to a problem was going through my head I ended up getting up and drinking coffee while checking things out on the internet. The particular problem was - What to do with our large but old chest freezer? It won't fit in the new house and our neighbours don't want it. Then I remembered that the bigger electrical stores have a 'take away' service when you buy large electrical items. I couldn't find anywhere that did it for free but a charge of £20 is not that much. As we will be in town and only a short bike or car ride away from the supermarket an upright fridge/freezer will be sufficient. First we have to eat our way through the freezer as it needs to be empty and dry before it can be removed.
The man from the removal company came around to give us a price for the removal. We may only use them for the house to house part of the move as hopefully Peter is organising taking the stuff to the storage place but the removal company will give us a price for that just in case. You can get them to do the whole job including packing stuff into boxes, taking down curtains etc. but I think we can manage that especially as we have time to do it. Today I continued packing away things for storage and putting more ceramic and glass ware in the charity shop pile.
I've now started on the contents of a large cupboard in the sitting room. Some things like my many photo albums which are so precious to me will not be going into storage just in case something dreadful happens. While I was going through the cupboard I came across some photos from the boys' primary school from 1994 and 1995. Note, they are not class photos but the whole school.  They come with all the names printed underneath and I spotted our surveyor's daughters in the photos. My other trip down memory lane was when I went through our record collection. (We do have a turntable to digitise them but most of them are a bit on the scratchy side.) My contribution to the collection included a lot of classical music, Dylan, Donovan, Leonard Cohen and The Incredible String Band, (Far Out!) to name a few while from Peter came Rock, Blues and Country and from both of us were bands like Led Zeppelin, The Who, Deep Purple, Elton John and Wings so we have a few doubles of their albums. 
Clearing out the kitchen cupboard I came across this photo of Squeaky when she first came, I think she was about 12 weeks old. Below is the spot where she is now sleeping. I gathered moss from around the garden to grow over the mound and today the sun was shining just on that spot.
On FB I get posts from a local 'For Sale' group and this morning up pops an electric piano. Not only was it around the same price as the keyboard pianos I'm looking at but the seller was someone I know personally. However because it stands on solid legs it takes up the same amount of space as a real piano. I need something I can put on the kitchen table to play as it's the same height as my piano, and then put away when I'm not using it.
I'm trying to be very organised and every box is numbered and the contents written in a notebook. Better not lose the notebook! 

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Wet.

The day was so bright and warm this morning I was planning to have some sitting out and reading in the sun time but quickly the sky became overcast. Then came the rain, lots of it making for a very wet day.
Packing seems to take so much longer than I imagined. Today I started on the contents of a large cupboard which held my 'good' china and glass. Some items only emerge once a year for Christmas and others have been sitting in the dark cupboard for 25 years. It was time to re-evaluate which things I really wanted to keep and which could be given away to the charity shop. A satisfying amount went in the 'to go' pile. My giant roll of bubble wrap came in handy for protecting the delicate glass and china. I've still got to go through the other side of that cupboard which mainly contains vases and candles. Only once, more than 20 years ago, did we have a power cut that lasted more than an hour but you know how I like to be prepared. (Oh the amount of food I put away when we were all scared the world would grind to a halt because of the millennium bug.)

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Sunny.

I thought the weather men had got it wrong again when they forecast a sunny day and out of the window were dark clouds but it turned out they were right and the day brightened up as the hours went by.
This morning the Hospice shop people came in their large van which took a lot of manoeuvring to turn around in the yard. Disappointingly they didn't take all the chests of drawers, the wardrobe or the cupboard as they said that people coming into the shop preferred more modern items.  They did take a couple of chairs, the coffee table and the stripped pine dresser. I'd rather they made money out of them and not an antique dealer. However they gave me the phone number of another charity who also take furniture and they will be coming next week. Later a nice chap came round to look at the piano which he is going to have. He's a self taught guitarist who is now learning the violin and the piano. I'm only thankful that I'm not faced with having to break up the piano.
During the day I got on with a project that turned out well. Because Squeaky had been indoors at night she had her own extra large litter tray made from the blue storage box. While I was thinking what to do with the box and not wanting to use it for anything else I came up with making a litter box for the other cats. At the moment they have free access to the outside so haven't needed a tray but when we move I will need to keep them inside for a time. Also as the gardens are small and many are paved or have decking I thought it would be better if they used a litter box which I can keep outside by the cat flap in the kitchen wall. I had been looking on line for a large litter box when I thought 'Why not make my own?' I used a jig-saw to cut out the clip-on section of the blue lid and then used Gripfill to stick it to the upturned clear box. That way the top can be taken off for cleaning. I cut a piece out of the clear box to make a doorway and then cut down the waste piece, drilled some holes and used split rings to fix that as a swinging flap.
Here Patch has gone into the box after a piece of cheese. He was soon joined by Speedy proving that should they want both cats fit in the box together. Total cost of this litter box was £6.
With the sun came the butterflies. Today there were a lot of comma butterflies, usually I only see one alongside the red admirals and small tortoiseshells. 
The comma butterfly gets its name from the white mark on the underside of the wings. They are also called angle-wings because of the jagged shape of the wings. 
I've been trying to get some photos of this male southern hawker dragonfly for a few days and finally I found him sitting on the hydrangea bush.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Dry.

It was sunny all morning, then turned overcast with one extremely heavy shower in the afternoon. 
The oil man came this afternoon. As usual he reversed down but he misjudged the turn at the top and ended up stuck with his wheels jammed against the blocks that run along the drive. With a full load of oil he didn't have enough power to go forwards and so was thoroughly stuck. He had to walk over to our neighbour and ask him to pull him out with his tractor. I didn't go outside with my camera because the oil man was probably embarrassed enough. Afterwards I was able to see how the ornamental grasses on that side of the drive had been rather squashed. I'll give them a tidy and they'll soon grow back. 
While all that was going on I carried on with my task of emptying out the contents of this pedestal desk and sorting them into some storage boxes. One is full of cards; Christmas cards I bought in the January sales, birthday and  other cards, envelopes and materials for making cards. The middle box is full of art materials; inks, pens, pencils, crayons etc. The final box is full of drawing materials; sketch pads, paper, pencils etc. I sorted through all the pens and pencils checking that they still worked and -gulp, even threw out worn down colouring pencils. When we move to town I may well have more time for creative work so all this lot is coming to the new house rather than into storage.
Earlier in the day I had been down at the stream scrubbing out some grubby plastic trays and boxes. It will be strange not to be able to do that especially as the new house has such a tiny sink.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Mostly Sunny.

Gazing out of the window this morning, admiring the green of the trees against the bright blue sky I could see a solitary swallow flying overhead. Surely it hasn't been left behind? There are still some swallows flying above the dairy farm so maybe it will join up with them. A cold wind was blowing in from the north-east so I was able to get more washing out on the line. When the wind died down later in the afternoon it felt quite warm in the sun.
Yesterday I had cleared some silt which had been left when the stream rose, off the bottom steps leading down to the stream. While I was there I also shovelled the silt off part of the path and very foolishly decided to dig more gravel out of the stream to raise the level of the path there. You'd think I would know better than to be shovelling but it seemed alright at the time. Not so when it came to the night when my back let me know what a fool I had been and stopped me from getting much sleep. Now that the sale is going ahead I shall refrain from doing anything that is not directly part of packing up to go. Well, I did cut back the alchemilla but that was the job I'd been about to do when I saw how bad Squeaky was.
In the mornings the other cats always wait outside the front door waiting for the moment I let them in to finish off Squeaky's food. This morning as I opened the door they skidded round the corner as usual and if cats can look disappointed that was them. There were a few looks at the empty space where the food bowls should have been and a quick check in case I'd moved them before they gave up their hunt for tasty snacks.
This squirrel was chittering so loudly up in his tree just now that I could hear him through the double-glazed window and across the garden.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Bye Bye Squeaky.

It has been an eventful day. The saddest event was the loss of Squeaky our 17 year old ginger cat. After sleeping in the conservatory for most of the day she came round to the front of the house where I saw straight away something was very wrong. She's been a bit tottery for a while but today her back legs were hardly holding her up. Thinking she might have had a stroke I quickly checked out the vets' hours to find that the nearest branches closed at 3.00 and it was already 3.30 but the veterinary hospital was open until 4.00. Peter was sorting out another emergency with the rayburn so as I left I asked him to ring the vet as I hadn't been able to get through, and let them know I was on my way. I got there at 4.00 only to find the sign on the door said they were open until 3.30. They were expecting me but of course I had to pay the out of hours fee. On looking at Squeaky the vet said her sight had gone completely as a result of her poor kidneys. At that point, although the vet talked about options I knew it was kindest to have her put to sleep. I warned the vet that I'm a weeper but I stayed and stroked her as she slipped easily away. We've had her since she was about 3 months old so naturally it was very sad to lose her but that is the price you pay for having pets. I didn't want to bury her in the garden so she's now buried in the corner of the plantation across the stream but still under the branches of the big beech tree. 
Rain was forecast for today but didn't arrive until 4.30 so I was able to get washing out and dried on the line. Standing in the garden I could smell the scent of the sedums. No wonder they were covered with butterflies, mainly red admirals and small peacocks with the occasional speckled wood also honey bees, white tailed bumble bees and assorted other flies and bees. 

I was hanging around in the garden trying to catch sight of a southern hawker dragonfly which has been patrolling the garden when instead I saw this newly emerged red admiral butterfly. I stood there watching for a while as its wings slowly unfurled. It seemed to be taking a long time so I went inside for a moment and when I came out again it was just flying off. 
One of the other things that happened today was that we came down to find the rayburn cooling down. Upon investigation it turned out that we were almost out of oil. That shouldn't happen as we are supposed to get regular top ups from the oil company. They're not open until Monday but Peter was able to get 25 L from our neighbour to keep the rayburn going. He gets his oil from the same company and they had been down 3 days ago and filled his tank so they should have come to us as well.
Finally - the house sale. We had given the buyers a deadline and at the very last moment they contacted our estate agent and will be paying the agreed price after all. I suppose they thought it was worth trying to get us to drop the price but it did make us cross. Now it's full speed ahead again.

Friday, 15 September 2017

More Sun and Rain.

I woke up quite early this morning and after doing my exercises I went downstairs to have my morning coffee at the pc. Although it was light outside I could barely see the garden because the rain was coming down in sheets. I was 'not amused' to hear the weather person on the radio exclaiming how lovely the morning was ....... for most of the country, just not here. 
The showers continued on all day though their intensity decreased so that by the afternoon it was more of a light sprinkling rather than the morning's deluge. In between the showers the sun shone and the air was warm. 
The first job I got on with today was to photograph and catalogue my mother's sculptures, some of which can be seen here (not the small bronze figure on the left). Continuing with the photographic theme I also backed up my photos on to an external hard drive. I haven't got into a regular routine with that but would hate to lose my photos either through an IT malfunction or the dreaded ransomware.  
Squeaky spends the night in the kitchen so that she can eat her food away from the other greedy cats but she waits to be let out so that she can snooze in the sun in the garden if there is any or else in the conservatory which still gets nice and warm. 
I also emptied out the last of the cupboards hopefully going to the Hospice shop and gave them a good clean and polish. It would be a bit embarrassing if they were rejected for being too scruffy.