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.

Monday, 29 February 2016


It has been grey today. Dry in the morning and raining gently in the afternoon. In the morning I had some work to do for school and then there was just time to put some silicone seal around the sink in the pink bedroom. I had tried to do the job quickly last week but it was a case of more haste less speed. My original effort looked rather messy so I had to carefully remove the rubbery seal with a scalpel. It's terrible stuff to get off but I found that acetone on a paper towel helped to remove the last traces. Then I took my time and carefully squirted the sealant around the edge of the sink. 
I left earlier than usual for school as I was holding a School Council meeting during the lunch break. There are 2 School council members from each class who represent the rest of their class. When I asked if they had any concerns they brought up the fact that 2 boys are frequently fighting during playtimes. It does get dealt with at the time but they felt that the teachers should "teach them a lesson". One boy had a few highly imaginative ideas including digging a trench across the playground with the "good" children on one side and the "naughty" children on the other but the rest of the SC members realised that was impractical. They settled on my option of  having the class teachers talk to their classes about school rules and behaviour and thought the rough boys should tell their teacher what kind of a playtime they had.
There's a lot of this strange grey lichen growing in the garden. It's a dog lichen which gets its blueish colour from the cyanobacteria  which allow it to get energy from nitrogen.

Sunday, 28 February 2016


It was such a lovely day that we headed out for a short walk along the beach. It's been a long time since we've been able to get out. It's either the weather, our health or just being too busy that stops us so it made a really nice change to relax and get some sea air. 
The recent storms have brought back a lot of the sand to Barricane Beach. 
The tide was only just going out so there wasn't much opportunity to search for creatures in the rock pools. Instead I  had fun attempting to skip stones across the water. It was lovely to sit in the sun drinking coffee looking out across an almost deserted beach.
At home I had a happy afternoon working in the garden. I finished off the new veg plot with more raking, making a central path as well as putting in a path on the side. I had time to weed over the area I planted last autumn as well as my rows of hardy geraniums which I propagated last year. Now all that is left is to dig up the weeds under the apple trees. And tidy up the other wood shed which is quite dilapidated. Once it warms up a bit I'll bring in more ornamental grasses to complete the planting across the bottom of that area.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

A New Vegetable Garden.

It's been a fairly bright day but the wind felt a lot colder. Before I escaped to the garden I worked on the inner window frame in Romas' old room. When he had painted his room somehow most of the window frame as well as the sill were painted with the wall paint. As it was only emulsion paint a combination of warm water and careful scraping with a plastering palette knife got all the paint off. Later on I gave the sill another coat of white gloss paint. 
For most of the day I have been working outside and at last the old hens' run looks more like a veg garden. Or at least an aspirational veg garden. In terms of prospective buyers it's a lot better to see something ready to be planted up than an area overgrown with nettles and other weeds. 
It still needs more raking but already I've been able to even out the slope and spread the rich black soil made by years of composting. 
The postman brought me a card from Vytas and a couple of photos from the wedding. I hadn't quite got round to printing out my photos at Tesco's but the photos that arrived today were two of my favourites. 
A wren seen from the kitchen window.

Friday, 26 February 2016


It has been a lot warmer today with quite a bit of cloud in the sky. In the morning I had a doctor's appointment after which I went to the dump. Peter has been clearing out all his spare IT cables etc which he he doesn't need as he no longer fixes peoples computers. The shredder has been busy too as he sorts out all his paperwork. 
Coming home I had to slow down to let some riders walk down the drive. You can ride down but it is so steep that Sarah prefers her riders to lead the horses down to prevent the horses slipping and damaging their knees. Once I had done some more painting I took myself outside for some garden work. The soil has dried out enough for me to get back to working on the new veg plot. Up came all the buttercups with their roots dangling like jellyfish tendrils. The docks which on the surface have only their first 2 leaves often had 12" of tap root. They were satisfying to pull up. I got lots done and now there is only a corner left to dig over and weed. It's a long job when you have to do it on your knees but the end is in sight. This evening I took some vegetable peelings up to the compost heap and couldn't resist making a start on raking the soil level.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

More Sun.

Another sunny but cold day. I did more painting, the second coat of gloss on some parts and a first coat on another door that could do with freshening up. I had a very long session on admin in the afternoon which left me both mentally and physically worn out. I would so love to be able to retire at 60 but there will be no state pension until I'm 66. Knowing my luck by that time they'll have pushed it forwards to 70.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016


We had a heavy frost this morning followed by a bright sunny day. At school lots of children didn't even bother with their jumpers it was so nice and warm. 
I painted a second coat of gloss on all the wood in the study this morning then went on to paint a first coat on another bedroom door and frame as well as another loft hatch.
At school I had an afternoon of phonics followed by observing and recording the children. During phonics I had to stop when one little girl sitting in the back row on the carpet began wailing almost hysterically. I wondered what on earth had happened. Was it perhaps a sudden Code Brown (they are only little) ? But no, she had pushed her pencil up the sleeve of her cardigan and couldn't get it out again. A great disaster! I think she was upset because she wouldn't be able to do her writing. Off came her cardigan and a therapeutic wet paper towel was put on her wrist where she had been scrabbling with her fingers. Normally the children write on small whiteboards with wipe-off pens but the class was issued 30 new pens a couple of weeks ago and now there are only 2. Mainly because the children leave the tops off so that they dry up. That's why they have to use paper and pencils. Makes it harder for me to see what the whole class is doing when they are sat in front of me.
The sun was out all day but as soon as it went down the temperature plummeted. Some bits of the garden still had their morning frost as the sun only reaches part of the garden this time of year.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016


After an initial drop of rain it has been lovely and sunny today. Warm in the sun but very cold in the shade. I got home just as the sun dropped below the horizon and the garden thermometer was already below zero. 
The first job of the morning was to redo the silicone seal at the bottom of the tiles above one of the kitchen counters. The heat from the hotplate and age had left the old seal cracked and grubby. I never get a good finish  to these things but at least it is now bright white. I also put some sealant around the little sink in the study. My other morning job was gloss painting in the study. I did the door, skirting boards and the hatch into the loft. Before I could start I had to dry my paintbrush which was still wet from being washed after painting the walls. A quick rub with an old rag and then a blast of hot air from my hairdryer did the trick.
At school after the usual phonics I got to observe and question the children while they did the various activities set up in the classroom. These are now known as continuous provision activities. I also took photographs and wrote down what the children said. At the end of the day we had a staff meeting preparing us for a peer review next week, sort of a mini Ofsted inspection. It seems the main focus is now work in books and of course the levels the children are at.

Monday, 22 February 2016


We had heavy drizzle this morning which cleared up by the afternoon. My morning was spent painting walls in the study as well as climbing on the desk to give the window frame a much needed clean. 
At school I had my usual busy Monday afternoon. I've started a new theme - Belonging, for the RE lessons. Today we talked about belonging to a family and the children all drew their families. One little girl asked if she could draw a man in a dress. Not because her dad wears a dress but because she couldn't draw trousers. I'll have to tell her dad's mum who works in the school how he was going to be portrayed. I suggested trousers would be better.
After work I walked in to town as the library had phoned to say the next 2 Game of Thrones books had arrived. The reservations section is self-service with the books arranged alphabetically by the borrower's surname. At £1 for each reservation it's going to cost me a lot to read the whole series but it's cheaper than buying them.
When I got home I did a bit more painting so that I can start the gloss work tomorrow.

Sunday, 21 February 2016


Lots of howling wind and lashing rain this morning. By the afternoon and after I had painted a second coat of paint on the study wall the rain had died down. I wrapped up well and told Peter I was going out for an hour's moss and leaf clearing. In the end I spent the whole afternoon working up at the scree garden. It was one of those days when everything looked a lot brighter outside than through the windows. The sound of the wind roaring through the trees drowned out most other sounds except when the rooks returned home to their trees. I cleared moss and leaves from one section of the scree garden and then decided to cut back some of the ornamental grasses. They do give a lot of colour and movement to the garden in the winter but I remember last spring wishing that I had given them an early trim rather than having to pick out all the dead stems. If for some reason they die there are plenty more seedlings of that grass growing between the stones.
Before finishing up for the day I grouted the tiles of the small splashback above the study sink and brought up the painted boxing to go under the sink. Using half inch thick pine boards was a bit excessive but I'm glad the pipes are now hidden.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Gloomy Day.

It's been a wild, wet day today. I took these photos in the middle of the afternoon to show just how grey it was. I started my day's work by painting the study wall that I papered yesterday. Later I was going to gloss paint the skirting boards in that corner only to find I had used up all the white gloss paint earlier. Then I had a long session preparing the RE for next half term.  While I was doing that Peter had a sort out of his IT stash and cleared lots of cables and stuff to throw out and some other equipment which he will give to the local college. Now there's just his paperwork to file/bin.
After sorting out my school work I then wiped and went through all my clothes storage boxes. Now every box is labelled and I even found a few items to give away. Not that many, a couple of tops and t-shirts and I shall finally be giving away my horse Meg's numnah (saddle cloth). Perhaps it was a symbol of my dream to own horses for all the family! I'm not even sure why I hung onto it because as soon as I got Meg I bought a padded red numnah which was better for her and looked good against her black coat. (She had a red head collar and lead rope too.) 
Me on Meg back in 1982.

Friday, 19 February 2016


It has been a grey day with a choice of rain or drizzle. Right now (4.00) the clouds have come down so low that I can hardly see into the field.
I've been getting on with Peter's study all day. I've stuck on 3 tiles to make a splashback,  put up 2 strips of lining paper and painted 1 wall and the ceiling. I also painted an initial coat of white on the wooden box that will hide the pipes. The hardest part of painting has got to be moving the furniture around and positioning the dust sheets to protect everything from the tiny spatters from the paint roller. The room could really do with a new carpet but there is just too much heavy furniture and a rowing machine that would have to be moved. So the red carpet will stay. 
Signs of new growth in the garden.

Thursday, 18 February 2016


We had bright sunshine and heavy showers today. I love the colour contrast in these pictures which I took on my way into town this morning. Having finished off the ceiling with the stain stop paint before breakfast I made a list of all the materials I needed to complete the study. I spent ages in B&Q searching the shelves for the different things I wanted before giving up and searched for an assistant instead. The reason I didn't find the stain stop was that they had sold out but I got the tile adhesive, white paint and wall filler I needed. I'll give the ceiling a coat of normal white paint tomorrow, after I put up 2 strips of lining paper on the wall, and see how it looks. At the moment I can't see the stains when the light is on but I can just make out some yellowing in natural light.
Today I soaked off the last bits of wallpaper that were in the corner and filled all the holes in the wall. I plan to use 3 tiles instead of 2 for the splashback so that the biggest hole will be covered by a tile. There was also a long crack in the ceiling artex which I covered over with decorator's caulk. At least the textured ceiling made it easy for me to blend in the caulk creating the random swirls with my fingers.
Finally I made a 3 sided box to put under the sink to hide all the pipework. I took the measurements to B&Q to see if they had some boards/panels that would make the job easier but in the end I used a pine plank and a solid pine shelf that I had at home. When I had finished I worried that the plank might have woodworm as I could see a few round marks. To be on the safe side I wiped it all down with woodworm killer.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016


It was a grey wet start to the day remaining grey in the afternoon without the rain.
It's not been a good day for me. After a recent very stressful meeting (work) I had an email the same day from somebody who had been at the meeting. I responded to the email and then didn't look at the email again as I wanted to put it all from my mind. Today I looked at the email to discover that I had missed a vital point making the situation worse and raising my stress levels sky high. I have made an appointment to speak to my doctor later in the week. Meanwhile I kept myself busy doing lots of work in Peter's study and tomorrow I can start repairing the holes in the wall. There is a small hand basin that needs tiling and some boxing in of the pipes underneath. That I should be able to do this week.
After a break with the last of the Christmas marzipan bars I wrapped up to do a little more moss clearing up in the scree garden. Yesterday while I worked I could hear wood pigeons cooing and a blackbird singing sweetly. Today it was just the raucous cawing of the rooks in the trees. 
Yesterday while I was in town I took some pictures of the River Yeo which leads into the River Taw. 

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Happy Birthday Vytas.

It's Vytas' 30th birthday today so I thought I'd share a selection of the photos I've collected from FB. 
As can be seen he's still a keen member of the Sealed Knott which involves fighting, eating and possibly some drinking. All in the guise of keeping English history alive. 
In August he and Sally went to Rome and ended up in gladiator school as well as the usual sightseeing. 

He and Sally are very much outdoors adventurous types and when not going to heavy metal gigs (hopefully I've got the right genre) they are out and about exploring the British countryside. 
He and Sally celebrated their wedding along with family and friends at the end of November,
followed by their (first) honeymoon in Prague. The second part of the honeymoon will be to the Mediterranean probably Greece, in the summer. 
He's still working in his physics research field and every now and again I hear that he's flying off to Europe or The States for work. 
As for my day - I met up with friends for coffee in town when we had a wonderful time catching up with each other's news, commiserating over work and laughing about families and life in general. Housework, gardening and Peter's study took up the rest of the day.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Plenty of Work Done.

It's been bright and sunny today but bitterly cold in the wind. I got quite a few things done today both indoors and out. As well as the usual painting I worked in the conservatory. It wasn't too bad, just some tidying up and while it was a nice breezy day I moved all the trays that normally catch the drips, to let the floor underneath dry out.  The cats' fleece blankets that cover the chair seats in the conservatory were washed and hung up on the line to dry. It's been a long time since I was able to hang anything up outside.  
I took this week's rubbish up to the top of the drive and also re-bagged the damaged bags that were in the wheelie bin. The wind up there was so cold yet if I stood in a sheltered spot it felt warm in the sun. 
I took advantage of the dry day to clean out one of the sheds shifting the dry wood shavings to the compost heap and  having a bonfire to burn the really rotten and unusable wood. 
After a shower to get rid of the smell of woodsmoke I finished the day with an ironing session.

Sunday, 14 February 2016


Happy Valentine's Day to those of you who celebrate it. Peter gave me another beautiful orchid to add to my collection. (Not all my orchids have survived but some produce flowers each year.) Peter also gave me a box of Lindt d'Or chocolates. No dieting today.
It was a bright sunny and cold morning. By the time I went out in the afternoon the clouds had rolled in but apart from one brief hail shower it stayed dry. I did lots of weeding, mostly on the big bank. It feels good to know that all the couch grass is gone and the spring plants can bloom unhindered. 
I also did a little weeding around the winter flowering heathers. They are just coming into their own and in a week or two that section of the bank should be a mass of pink, purple and white. 
Eventually I came back inside and played around with the earrings. With the dragonflies being different I just tried to keep the quantities of beads on each side the same. I didn't use everything that had been on the necklace and added a few small blue glass beads for a splash of colour. I'm quite pleased with my fun earrings.