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, 31 May 2017

Brief Showers.

It was quite overcast this morning with the threat of showers. We decided to take a chance and head out for a walk around Morte Point. It's been a few months since I've been able to walk along the coast. Not that I couldn't walk but my level of fitness was so low that doing things in the garden was my limit. Also having survived walking up the hill Peter wanted to test his knee on the rough ground. Hopefully he can now get to do some rowing once more.
No sooner had we set foot on the point when it started to rain. Out came our waterproof jackets but by the time we put them on the rain stopped. Apart from the rain it was quite muggy and I preferred to take off my hoody as well as my light jacket. The jackets went back on again when we were on the homeward stretch when there was a slightly longer shower. 
We stopped at our usual bench for coffee and cookies and to gaze at the calm sea. Even though it is the half-term holidays there weren't too many people out walking. Looking across to the beach at Woolacombe there were a lot of people on the sand.
I do like these oriental poppies outside one of the holiday cottages in Mortehoe. 
We drove home through a much heavier shower and I felt sorry for all the people on the beach. Once home I climbed up into the loft to do a bit more clearing. The things I brought down were some old heavy duty long curtains which I shall hang onto for the time being, a couple of fur stoles which I'll put on eBay and another box of glasses from my mother's treasure hunting days. There was a clear stoppered perfume bottle which I'm keeping but unless any of my youngsters want anything the rest will go to the charity shop.
You might think you can't teach an old cat new tricks but it's only been a couple of days and Squeaky already comes when we sign come or stays where she is when we sign stroking. Today she's been lying across the top of the stairs at the first landing and we have to pay a stroking toll to go past. Her food situation also seems to be sorted at least for the moment. She's back on her tinned food which she used to only like when the tin was first opened. Now I cover the tin and keep it in a cupboard at room temperature instead of putting it in the fridge. That seems to be acceptable so perhaps the increased smell makes it taste better. One tin lasts for about a day and a half so it doesn't have time to go off at least in terms of cat digestion.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017


Apart from an hour in the afternoon when the sun did its best to appear the day has been overcast and windy. It was quite cool in the morning and the air felt damp but the rain held off.
Today's gardening job was to weed this nursery bed. I had been doing emergency weeding of any weeds that looked as if they were about to flower but today I wanted to clear the small ground hugging weeds. I started by the path and was surprised at just how dry the soil was. It crumbled easily and I was able to pick out most of the tiny weeds and tall moss. By the time I reached the end I'd had enough and finished by simply breaking up the soil and removing the larger weeds. At least it looks more presentable now.
 A golden ringed dragonfly, the first I've seen this year.

Monday, 29 May 2017


The day has been overcast, cool outside and humid indoors. Once more it's time for our annual beer festival where Peter gets to spend the afternoon serving beer and does a little drinking himself. As I drove him in the clouds were sitting down on the road but had gone back up again when I returned home. One good thing - they've taken away the one way traffic lights at the hospital which were causing such long tail backs and now that it is a roundabout there is no hold up at all. The road is the only bit that's actually finished and they still have to put in the centre and reinstate the footpaths and verges.
I took these photos when I collected Peter at 5.00. Not too many people there at that time and although there were more earlier on Peter said it never got very crowded.  
I called in at the big Tesco's by the station to get more cottage cheese, an essential part of my current diet. They don't sell the value cottage cheese in either of the other 2 Tesco's in town or the Ilfracombe one and I prefer the value cottage cheese to the double the price ordinary one. Naturally I had to go and check out the clothes especially the seemingly never ending sale. I tried on a couple of pairs of lightweight loose trousers and bought a summery pair that are white with a large pastel floral pattern. Perfect for that holiday in the sun I might have some day. There was a lovely loose sleeveless flowy top in peach which  I would have bought if they had it in my size. Maybe you can order it like you can at M&S.
Back home I ventured out into the garden for some weeding in the nursery beds. I started by delicately removing the weeds singly but when I saw hundred of tiny leaves popping up it was time to get out the hoe for wholesale weed destruction. Then I turned my attention to the grass steps and gave them a trim with the scissors as short as I could go. While I did that 2 blackbirds were having a song battle. The winner was up by the scree garden and the other was in the big beech on the corner. I also heard and then saw the heron in one of the trees overhanging the stream. The heron's call is similar to the caw of the rooks but gruffer.
I've been testing Squeaky's hearing and found that she can hear some sounds; the clinking of 2 empty coffee mugs, a very loud clap and her name at full volume and a higher pitch than normal. I had a thought and just now tried our old high pitched dog whistle and she can hear that too. She can't tell where the sounds are coming from and looks in all directions. I've also started using a couple of hand signals to indicate 'follow me' (beckoning) and 'I'm going to stroke you' (wriggling fingers). She may be too old or confused to learn but it's worth a try. Both Patch and Speedy know that whistling means food time.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Mostly Dry.

The day started warm and overcast  but as rain was possible later on we decided to take a walk up the hill and to Ashelford Corner to see how our knees would cope. So far so good.
Walking up the hill we suddenly saw a weasel running down towards us. When it noticed us it stopped and shot off to the hedge so the only photo I got was of the end of its tail, possibly. Last night as we had been watching tv I looked up to see a red deer stag in the garden. It was only passing through and quickly ran over the plank bridge and off into the woods.
It didn't rain last night and from the look of the fields the farmers have managed to get their silage in on time.

Coming back down the hill we could see both goose families keeping cool in the shade. 
A heron was hanging round the lake, no doubt waiting for a tasty trout.  
Once we got home I took advantage of the still dry weather and did some weeding in the scree garden. I stayed out until it began to rain around 4.30. So far we seem to have missed the heavy rain but I'm still glad my flood defences are up. At the moment the rain is steady but not very heavy. 

Saturday, 27 May 2017

All Change.

Last night was one of  dramatic thunderstorms. I slept through the first one which woke Peter up at about 1am (thanks to some of my tablets) but was woken up at 3am by the next one and this time Peter slept through the storm. I couldn't see the lightning but the clouds were lit up with only 1 second between each flash. This continued for over half an hour along with background rumbling and brief but heavy rain. It was rather as if somebody was switching a fluorescent light on and off.
Today has been cool with some heavy rain showers. The Met Office report says that we may have more thunderstorms today and tomorrow and gives a yellow flood warning for localised heavy rain. Once the postman had been down I went and out and reinforced the dam across the road just in case. 
As it's grey and gloomy I'm posting photos of some of the hardy geraniums taken yesterday.
We were both tired this morning but Peter had to get up as we had an electrician coming. The electrician has put in a double wall socket and light up by the water pressure tank ready for the water filter and UV thingy to be installed. He also took down the fuse board and  switches for the swimming pool pump system as they were old and unsafe.
I haven't done much outside today but I did fill up the bird feeder with peanuts. There's a woodpecker that comes and scoffs the peanuts so we do bang on the window to scare him off or all the little birds miss out. I also did my usual guitar practise as I'm determined to gain a modicum of skill. There's a saying that it takes 10,000 hours to play an instrument properly. Mmm if I played for an hour a day (which I don't) that would be nearly 30 years!

Friday, 26 May 2017

Still Sunny.

Two sunny days in a row, I could get used to this. I was up bright and early and was so enthused by the lovely weather that I left the house for my gym session 15 minutes before I needed to. I quickly realised my mistake and pulled in to a gateway from where I could see for at least 20 miles across the countryside, 50 if you count the hazy plateau of Dartmoor looming in the distance. I just listened to the radio and enjoyed the view for a while. As usual I enjoyed the back class in the gym at the hospital. They've finally fixed the air conditioning  and I was able to pick an exercise bike that was in line with one of the vents and then moved to a mat which was also in line with a cool breeze. Afterwards opening the door into the corridor was like walking into a wall of heat. Outside things were better as a warm breeze was blowing. Then it was a quick drive back home past fields in which contractors are working away to cut and bale the grass. Most of the fields round here are pasture but for those farmers who make silage it is a gamble and a race against the weather to get the grass cut and dried. No doubt the tractors I can hear now will work on into the night to get the job done.
With the thought that we might be due for some heavy rain I trimmed some of the branches I cut off the hedge the other day and used them to support some of the hardy geraniums which tend to flop over when they get wet.
Then I was off to town again, this time for a doctor's appointment. That was mainly for a report in about the progress my back is making and the effect of the change of spray for my sinuses. As I guessed there isn't much else on offer apart from the stuff I'm already using and the more specialised antibiotics are too precious to be using on a fairly minor sinus infection. When I say precious that is in terms of not overusing them and making them ineffective for serious things such as operations. While I was there I did throw in a 'funny' feeling in one ear, it often feels like there is liquid trickling in there but there was nothing to seen apart from too much wax in the other ear. I took some home made chocolate chunk biscuits in for my doctor (we don't often do things like that here) as she has been so helpful and supportive and why not say Thank you.
The roadworks continue at the hospital traffic lights which are now a roundabout. Yesterday as I drove in the stationary traffic trying to get up the hill trailed right back to Rotary Gardens not that far from the next set of traffic lights. Today as I sailed past I hastily counted the cars whilst keeping an eye on where I was going, and there were 75 vehicles stuck there. Needless to say I diverted up Pilton Street on my way home and only had 6 or 7 cars in front of me while we waited for the lights to change. 
While I'd been out Peter had been showing some people around the house. It certainly was a perfect day to show off the garden. When I got back home I reinstated my dams across the road and then cleared the gully that runs down the middle of our drive. Peter had cut the central grass strip with the strimmer but there were leaves and even plants growing in gully. Now I can relax knowing that if the water does come down past the dams it should be channelled into the gully and not wash the gravel away.
We've finally come to the conclusion the Squeaky is almost or totally deaf. She doesn't respond to any noise even close to her ears. Poor old thing, she's doddery enough as it is. She likes to sleep in the sun and often I check to see if she is still breathing. She still seems to be alright for the moment.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Summer !

All over the country it's been the hottest day of the year with the good weather continuing on to tomorrow. After that we're back to thunderstorms, well it is a Bank holiday weekend. 
This morning there was the usual running around putting things away for a mid-day viewing. I had a dentist's appointment and left early to leave more parking space for the viewers and the estate agent's cars. Peter said they loved the place but were viewing another 5 places today so who knows? As I had a bit of time before my appointment I went right into town to change my library books and do a few other things. In celebration of the early appearance of summer I wore a light flowy skirt, vest top and flip-flops. To complete my ensemble I wore the straw hat I bought recently. I was glad that I'd added a cord and toggle to secure the hat as every now and again a gust of wind tried to blow the hat away.
The dentist's appointment was just a check up and all was fine. I did enquire about the cost of an implant for the visible gap that I cover up with my standard dentures. I never wear them at home but am self conscious when I'm amongst people. Sharp intake of breath when I was told the cost of an implant would be £2,500. However the dentist showed me 2 alternatives, a denture fitted on a slim metal bar which would fill all the gaps for £1,500 or a nifty small denture that clips to the teeth on either side of the gap for about £750. I shall mull over the options and talk again with the dentist at my next check up in 6 months time.
Today I finally solved the puzzle of the small brown seeds that are all over the place. The closest I came to an identification on line was ash keys but they weren't quite right and there are only a few ash trees in the area. Determined to track them down I inspected the trees around the garden and duh..... they aren't seeds at all but the discarded cases to the new beech tree leaves. I've lived here for 23 years and never thought about it before. Did I mention I have a degree in Plant Sciences?
For once I couldn't resist the marketing and bought these Dragon Egg Potatoes in Lidl's.
 Raw, they were a rich purple colour,
which faded a little on cooking (the camera flash has lightened them and they were more purple than the photo). They tasted delicious. Imagine serving purple mashed potatoes perhaps with bright orange swede and carrot mash.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Finally Some Sun.

The day began with overcast skies and a humid feel to the air but by mid-afternoon the clouds disappeared and it truly felt like summer. (Though in my mind summer doesn't begin until June.) 
During the morning I cleared away the dam on the road as we have viewers tomorrow and Friday. Then it was time to scramble over the hillside digging out the grass and bracken that I missed the last time I was up there weeding.
Now that Peter has got over his latest arthritis flare-up he's back to doing the mowing which is one less job for me to do. The back lawn is too wet to cut but he did the rest while I sunned myself and dried my hair sitting out on a sun lounger.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

A Sad Day.

We woke this morning to hear the dreadful news of the suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena last night. To deliberately target teenagers and children makes what was already a despicable act  utterly evil. My heart goes out to the families affected. To lose a loved one unexpectedly is heart breaking but I can only imagine the devastation of knowing that the loss was the result of a deliberate action.
In a way it seemed appropriate that for the whole day light rain has been falling from low clouds.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Windy With Lots of Sun.

The day started in the most glorious fashion with lots of sun and a good drying wind. By the time the machine had finished the second wash the sheets on the line were dry enough for ironing. 
Today's outside jobs were to hand cut the grass along the bottom of the far heather bank followed by sweeping the front patio. Doing this with a hand brush gave me the opportunity to pull up any weeds growing between the paving slabs. Most of my sweeping up was of small brown ash? seeds with a scattering of rose petals and wisteria flowers. The fluffy wisps of the willow tree seeds have been falling for a while now. Usually they remind me of ethereal snow flakes as they drift down but being blown sideways in the strong wind didn't have quite the same effect.
Once I'd done my self-allocated jobs I settled down to read in the sun. As the wind and the sun were coming from the same direction it was a bit of a challenge to find a sheltered sunny spot but eventually I settled by the side of the conservatory. For once Peter came out to join me so it really did feel like we were on holiday. All too soon the clouds came rolling in and once the sun went it felt cold driving us both indoors. I got the ironing done and the second lot of washing is finishing off its drying over the rayburn. 

Sunday, 21 May 2017


It's been a lovely sunny day with a warm wind. A good day for getting things done outside. My first task was to cut back the beech hedge along the side of the garden. Judging by the size of some of the branches it didn't get done last year but my loppers came in useful. 
After a break round 2 was to climb down into the stream behind the hedge to do some cutting back from that side. There was no real need to do that apart from making it possible to walk up the little stream which I occasionally like to do. I also cut back the brambles on the far side and pulled up any that had established themselves under the hedge. Then I cut back the brambles leading from the plank bridge (now creaking ominously so not in use) to the corner of the fencing around the fields and woods.
After yet another break to cool down (I got rather hot wearing my bramble proof gardening coat), I climbed into the field for an explore. I haven't been in there for years though we do have permission from the owner. The open areas are very squelchy so it was more of a slow walk to look at the plants and creatures. I mainly kept to the higher ground near the trees as I didn't want to lose a boot in the mud.
I was able to follow the deer paths just visible with hoof prints in the soft ground. 
The picture doesn't show it too well but the speedwell in the foreground was prettily dotted with bright blue flowers.
This is where I climbed into the field contorting myself through the gap in the middle.
Then once I was through I swung the crossbar back into the loop of cord that I put there for that purpose. The lower bar is nailed at that angle and I'm pretty sure from the tracks that it's where the deer get through.
My last job of the day was to unpack and photograph the box of glasses brought down from the loft yesterday. I've put the green glasses aside as a quick search revealed that they were made in 1820/30s and quite valuable.