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, 31 May 2014

Mostly Sunny.

After 6 weeks and 9 phone conversations with 2 hospitals trying to find out if I am actually in the system for my next spinal surgery today I had a letter, offering me an appointment with the consultant next Thursday.  I think everything fell apart when the consultant tried to help by saying that a phone call to his secretary would be sufficient so that I didn't have to travel all the way to Exeter simply to be told that yes I am suitable for the operation and that the risks are the same as lat time. Hopefully I will be moved right up the waiting list to wherever I would have been if I had been put on the list 5 months ago. If not then I will have to make a big fuss and go ahead with making an official complaint. After all I did everything I was asked to do.
This morning was spent sorting through things both from the kitchen cupboards and from the sitting room. At last I have been given the all clear to take 2 printers to the dump. 1 does need a new part but the other is working and only needs new ink cartridges but the cost of those is nearly the same as a new laser jet printer if I wanted  a printer. At the moment either Peter prints b&w for me or I do colour prints at school. Almost all my printing is for school anyway.
The sun was out in the afternoon so I set to work with the strimmer. The garden looks a bit bedraggled now as the grass on the paths had grown a foot or more. Last time I tried to strim I found I needed a new part (which only took a couple of days to arrive) but then it rained and rained and the grass kept on growing. I also did some mowing though Peter says he will do the rest tomorrow.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Sunny Afternoon.

I looked out of the window this morning and saw both of the deer again. This time they were right by the fence so I could tell they were the same ones I have been watching for a while. It looked as if the hind was going to show the stag how to get out through the gap in the fence. It was me that originally pulled off the bar going across  to make it easier to get into the field for occasional forays, usually to look for interesting plants, so I thought that I ought to go and repair it. Especially as I don't want the deer munching their way through my garden. I carefully walked the plank that spans the stream, battled my way through the brambles and then attached loops of cord to the fence so that the top and middle bars are kept in place but can be swung aside to make it easier if I do want to go in the field.
The morning was cold and gloomy again, ideal to finish off the kitchen floor. I even tiled the space where the fridge slots in. 
The kitchen before ....
 and the kitchen now.
(Still stuff to put away as usual.)
The sun appeared at lunchtime and it has been the most glorious afternoon and evening. I did some work up in the new veg plot, shifting 3 large paving slabs to make a path and then planting french beans, peas and mangetout. Even though the packets say they don't need support I've put twigs in anyway. I think this is the best time in a veg garden, when the ground is clear, seeds and sticks are in and there is the hope of fresh vegetables. It sort of goes downhill from here on with weeds making an appearance and slugs munching their way through the new growth.
Later I finally got a chance to sit in the sun and read. It's 8.00 now and the sun is still shining up in the scree garden and in the fields. Cutting down those trees really has made a difference.

Thursday, 29 May 2014


It's been a cold wet day so there was no temptation to go outside. But at last the kitchen floor is done -almost. 1 or possibly 2 more coats of varnish this evening and then the only thing to do is to pull out the fridge and slot in the tiles that go underneath it. I have already cut and varnished them so hopefully that will be a simple job. At least the cork tiles are easy to cut either with a Stanley knife or a pair of scissors. It would be a horribly awkward job to cut ceramic or stone tiles to fit the kitchen. I was worried that I didn't have enough tiles but I've got 6 left over. I might use them to do the whole of the recess where the fridge is.
This morning I saw a deer out in the field but instead of the usual walking around and grazing it would eat for a moment and then bounce around for a bit, almost in circles before eating another mouthful. Eventually I saw the reason for this change in behaviour, another deer came out into the field. I don't know if they were the same 2 I've seen before.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014


It's been a bit of a gloomy day with occasional showers for good measure. But I didn't mind as I had given myself the day off. Highlight of the day was meeting up with my friends for coffee and a lot of chat at the garden centre cafe. Only 6 of us this time but we were still quite a rowdy crowd with all our laughter. 
I took the back roads to the garden centre as usual. I was enjoying the steep winding lane up from Muddiford and reflecting on the way the high hedges grew straight up from the edge of the road which is only a few feet wider than my car when a little rabbit ran out on to the road. I swerved over as much as possible and when I looked back in the rear view mirror the rabbit was still hopping along the road. One day, when it isn't raining I'll take some photos along that road. The villages are pretty too with lots of old houses some with thatched roofs. One house had most of its thatched roof recently replaced and up on the ridge the thatcher had made the figure of a galloping horse. I've seen doves made out of the thatch before but that was the first time I've seen a horse.
After a lovely time with my friends I drove to collect our prescriptions form the doctor's. As the pharmacy there closes at lunchtime! I dropped into town first to visit the library and the health food shop. I also went into Primark to get a pair of pj bottoms that I could cut down to make pj shorts. The shorts you can buy are a little too skimpy for my taste and my last year's shorts are a bit too big. I tried on the pjs for size and was thrilled to find that I needed to buy the size 10-12 ones (US 8 -10). I don't recall being that small around the hips even when I was a teenager and I felt like telling everyone in the shop what size I needed (I resisted that urge). I did follow my teacher's instincts a little later when I saw a young crying boy, about 5 years old, in the shopping centre. I watched him for a few minutes before going up to him and yes he had lost his mum and the rest of his family. A security man was walking by and he was just putting out a call on the tannoy system when the worried mum turned up.
The only 'work' I have done at home was to put the china I am keeping back into the pine cupboard. There is still a big pile of stuff on the kitchen table from the corner cupboard but I'm hoping that a good sort out will result in a much tidier kitchen. I had a quick walk around the garden and a chat with Boris who gave both my hands a thorough licking. 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014


It's been a dry day, mainly overcast but we did have some sun in the middle of the day and it's shining again right now. Last night I couldn't get to sleep so rather than listen to yet another programme about the EU election I went downstairs and slapped on a third coat of varnish on the tiles.
I've spent most of the day laying yet more tiles. It took a long time  because there was a lot of fiddly cutting to do. No right angles in this old Devon farmhouse. I took a break in the middle of the day to drive the rubbish up to the road. This part of the road looks even more like a garden as my neighbour has been doing some extra mowing.
There was enough time left at the end of the day to finish off the weeding in the new veg patch. All that is left to do is to move a couple of paving slabs and get on with the planting. 

Monday, 26 May 2014


No rain at all today and even a fair amount of sun. This morning I moved the pine cupboard back and treated the inside with woodworm killer to be on the safe side. I also glued the slightly falling apart door, a job which I have been meaning to do for a long time. Then we moved the table and chairs and I put the next section of tiles down. They've had 2 coats of varnish and I'll give them a third later tonight. I'm going to keep on varnishing until the tin is empty. Looking at the new honey coloured tiles remind me of our home in London where we had them from the front door right through to the back of the house. In contrast the ones we put down 20 years ago in the kitchen have aged to a dark mottled brown. The result of country family life I suppose.
This rose is high up above the front door so I didn't notice the moth until I enlarged the picture. My book says it is a mottled umber moth. 
I planted the new water lily in the pond where there were a number of red darters and a few bright blue darters. I squeezed the extra surfinias into the hanging baskets and also planted the nemophila that I had grown from seed. They weren't very big but already had a lot of roots so I hope they will survive. In between varnishing the floor I carried on with weeding the new veg patch. I'm nearly done but my knees had had enough. Incidentally last night I found that kneeling on the floor to do the tiling had given me a big blister on my knee. This I discovered when I was putting anti-inflammatory gel on my knees for my arthritis. That gel stings! I made sure to kneel on a cushion today. When I'm working outside I always kneel on several foam mats which also keep off the wet and muck. 

Sunday, 25 May 2014


It's been raining all day so here are a couple of my hanging basket surfinias taken yesterday. 
I don't like to go shopping on a Sunday but needs must so this morning I went into town. First stop Lidl's to buy fruit and veg, then Tesco's for their cheap cottage cheese and to use a couple of money off vouchers and finally to B&Q for varnish and more wood worm treatment. I also picked up another tray of reduced surfinias which I am sure I can squeeze into the baskets and a highly reduced waterlily, a double white one, which I hope will thrive.
Then it was back home to give the whole of the skirting board and the back of the cupboard another coat of woodworm killer and then get on with the floor. I discovered that the new metric tiles are slightly smaller than the old ones which must have been imperial. I hope I have enough tiles to complete the job. This is the first section of the floor tiled and with one coat of varnish. I shall give it another coat of varnish before we go to bed. (Yes lazy me, I painted the wall around the cupboard when I was decorating the room last year.)

Saturday, 24 May 2014


It was lovely to be woken up by the sun streaming through the windows. The sunshine put me in a good mood even if the  sun didn't last. It's back to rain once more so I've been working indoors.
My plan for the day was to make a start on putting down new cork tiles in the kitchen. I knew that emptying out the big pine cupboard would take a while and I wasn't wrong. I had kept a lot of china that my mother had collected over the years but I can see there are a many items that I neither need nor want so after washing everything I have sorted out at least a third which can go to a charity shop.  Once I had emptied the cupboard Peter gave me a hand to move it away from the wall. I had anticipated the many  years worth of dust and spiders but I wasn't expecting to see woodworm damage. The woodworm had originated from the cupboard and eaten quite a bit of the wooden skirting board behind the cupboard. Luckily I had the right chemicals to spray on the wall and the cupboard and once the cupboard goes back it will look alright.
After that minor setback I gave the cleared floor area a thorough washing before opening up the box of cork tiles. The first thing I read on the packaging was that the packets should be opened and left for 48 hours to allow the tiles to adjust to the room conditions. I had also naively assumed that 'ready sealed' meant that they had a coat of varnish on but this does not seem to be the case. In the aftercare instructions it says not to wash the flooring, hmm. I'll be off to buy some varnish tomorrow as my kitchen floor needs to be washable. I'm not too upset as it has been hard enough to find the tiles at all and they don't do any in the big DIY places near us. It just means the job will take a little bit longer.
It's funny how one of the yellow azalea bushes put on a lot of leaf growth and has fewer flowers while the other is covered with flowers. 

Friday, 23 May 2014


We had even more heavy rain this morning and I drove to work along very wet roads. Luckily it eased off during the day though we didn't get much in the way of sunshine.
I had a better day at work, felt more in control of what I was doing and got through most of the day's planned activities. I had a 'serious talk' with the children about how sad all the adults were with the mess in the classroom and with some prompting they did a much better job of tidying up. In the afternoon we did our PE in the hall and we had an active but quiet time which was a good end to the day.
I didn't feel like going into town after work and came straight home after the parent who had blocked me in in the staff car park finally came back to her car.  Parents are not supposed to bring their cars into the school grounds so that was a bit annoying. 
I stopped on the lane home to take a few more pictures of my 'country garden'. A neighbour came along in her car so we had a bit of a chat. We heard a couple of days ago that the wind turbine planning application appeal was turned down which was good news for all of us. I'm all for green energy but this was just an attempt to cash in on the high subsidies being given out by the govt (and none of them have any links to wind turbine companies, ha-ha). 
When I got home the rayburn engineer was finishing up after having spent 3 hours trying to work out why the rayburn had suddenly gone out yesterday. Peter was with him all the time and said that he tested everything thoroughly and eventually concluded that the sudden drop in pressure and change of wind direction was enough to blow out the flame. Another bill to pay.
At least I can relax for a while as we are now on a week's half-term holiday. Hopefully I will get lots done at home.

Thursday, 22 May 2014


The promised rain arrived today. At first, this morning it was just a gentle drizzle and I drove to work wondering why there had been an amber weather alert. We had a couple of heavy showers during the day but now the heavens have opened and I can hear the rain drumming on the conservatory roof.
After being in such a good mood yesterday I find that today I feel tired, disorganised and out of control. With my part-time hours I can hardly blame my mood on end of half-term tiredness and it's only been a 5 week half-term. I have been given detailed planning for all the activities the children will be doing but the problems start when I try to set things up. It's been a while since I was regularly in that class so to start with I'm not sure where things are meant to be. It is nice that the children have access to a large variety of equipment and most of the class are good at putting away things they have been using but there are several children with specific behavioral difficulties who take things and post them everywhere. Every tray you pull out has got such a jumble of things in it. On top of that, recently we had some building work done which resulted in the loss of the main storage alcove and nobody is too sure where all the things stored there are. I'm not the only one feeling like this which is a small consolation but I wish that none of us felt like this. I'm more organised for tomorrow so we should have a better day. 
The teacher who is getting married this weekend had a another surprise today, this time organised by her teaching assistants and the children's mums. They set up a wedding party in the classroom. (She's not coming in to work tomorrow.) A table was set up with a proper 2 tier wedding cake baked and iced by one of the mums and a second iced dairy-free cake as there is a child in the class who can't eat dairy products as well as fruit, waffles and other party food. Not only was the classroom decorated but the railings on either side of the ramp up to the classroom were decorated with greenery, arum lilies, other flowers and purple ribbons just like a church and the children came dressed up, many in bridesmaids' dresses or pageboy suits. They had a real party day. Her wedding isn't until Sunday in a hotel overlooking the beach so hopefully the weather will be lovely for her.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014


I've had a really lovely day today. First of all there was no being woken up at the crack of dawn as Peter has taken the rest of the week off to tie in with the Bank Holiday weekend, just a shame I am working all day tomorrow and Friday.
When I did get up this morning not only was the sun shining but I didn't need to do my exercises as I had done them late last night (11.15). Peter had dropped off to sleep immediately as usual but his intermittent snoring was so loud that I couldn't get to sleep and I thought I could put my time to better use than just listening to the radio through my headphones. Eventually I get so tired that I fall asleep even with the snoring.
Having had a nice relaxed start to the morning I did my usual housework and then it was time to go into town to meet a friend for a chat accompanied by raspberry & white chocolate cheesecake and coffee. I was turning into the school car park when I saw my friend walking down the road so I called out to her in an un-ladylike fashion and we walked into town together.
Then I went back to school for a surprise lunchtime celebration for one of the teachers who is getting married this weekend. Needless to say I  broke my diet again and had some Camembert with my healthy raw vegetables and hummus and it would have been rude not to have eaten a scone with clotted cream and jam. There was the usual debate about jam or cream first. As I'm Cornish born I am entitled to go for jam first then cream while the true Devon way is cream first then jam. Either way it is delicious.
Then when everyone went back to work for the afternoon I drove over to BJ's to buy lots of surfinias for my hanging baskets. I've gone for the same as last year, 2 baskets each of hot pink, purple and burgundy. I've grown lobelia from seed and out of lots of seed sown 6 nemophila have germinated but I'll wait until they are a bit bigger before putting them in the baskets. I was very tempted by a petunia with deep, true black flowers but it wasn't trailing, was expensive and wouldn't really have gone with my colour scheme. I also dropped into B&Q to check out their plants and came out with a couple of packs of petunias in burgundy and purple which were reduced as they hadn't been watered properly and some of the plants had dried up. Then it was time to go back to school for a staff meeting on literacy before coming home to plant up all my hanging baskets. At the moment the hedgerows are so lush and colourful it feels like I am driving on a wide path through somebody's garden. 

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Mostly Sunny.

I drove to work in a light drizzle this morning but it got sunnier later on. The ponies are all out in the fields overnight now so as I drove up the hill Coral and Boris were on one side of me and 3 more ponies in the field on the other side. The goose family were there too. Only 5 goslings now but they are becoming goose shaped rather than balls of fluff. There were even some pheasants including 1 kamikaze hen standing on the road. So many creatures and I hadn't even left the valley. 
Coming home after a morning of teaching the reception children and then PE with a Year 2 class in the afternoon it felt a lot warmer. I opened the windows in my car before I set off which wasn't the best idea as it was very cold whenever I drove under the clouds. My car does not have electric windows so I was stuck with a cold draft until I stopped to take some photos. Looking across the countryside I could see pale yellow fields where the farmers had made their first cut of silage last weekend when it was hot and dry. 
Ever since Peter adjusted the sight on the airsoft rifle the rooks have been very quick to leave the trees by the house when they see us coming. They obviously did not like getting pinged by the pellets.

Monday, 19 May 2014


There I was happily weeding in the bright sun and enjoying a cooling breeze when down came the rain. Luckily I was already up in the hens' run so I quickly took down the washing and ran for shelter. For the rest of the day we've had heavy rain, light showers and brief spells of muggy sun. I kept an ear open for thunder as it had been forecast but not a rumble did I hear. 
Instead I occupied myself with housework. I had planned to clear all the crockery from the old pine cupboard in the kitchen so that Peter could help me move it. I was going to start laying the new cork tiles tomorrow afternoon when I got home from work but then I had a phone call asking me to work the afternoon as well. My only other free time this week is Wednesday afternoon and I'm not too sure about that so I shall wait until the weekend. I don't really want to have all the crockery from the cupboard out until then.

Sunday, 18 May 2014


We've had another sunny day. The kind of day which could lull you into thinking we are at the start of a long hot summer. But the reality is that our reliably unreliable  weather changes in an instant and the forecast is for possible rain tonight. Bearing that in mind I had a couple of jobs that I wanted to get done before the weather breaks so I've had a busy day. My joints tend to seize up when I'm working so I alternated between digging and weeding the new vegetable plot and bringing in the cut wood and stacking it in the fireplace. I didn't stop until the wood was all stacked and a fair bit of the weeding has been done. While I did that Peter finished off the mowing.
As it was a good drying day I got bedding washed, dried and ironed. I also aired a lot of tops and some dresses. These were from one of my many storage boxes. There are 2 reasons why I have a lot of clothes. Firstly my weight tends to go up and down every 5 or 6 years so I have clothes in a variety of sizes and secondly I don't like to  get rid of things, maybe because I have always had to be careful with money. This morning I went through a box that was filled with clothing that I can now wear. 
The only thing that I ran out of time for was sitting out in the sun and reading my book but jobs come first.