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.

Friday 21 June 2024

Grey.

Well that was a nice summer's day we had yesterday. A shame that today has been mainly grey. Reasonably warm but grey nonetheless. It is only now at the very end of the afternoon that the sun has begun to break through.
I rode Margaret again today, what a surprise. She went really well and I think it's the best I've seen her 'on the bit' with a beautifully curved neck. I asked if someone had been working with her and it turns out that she is on 'part-loan' to an experienced rider who has been doing a lot of work with her. I knew it wasn't my brilliant riding that was the main factor though of course I still needed to be able to give the correct aids. Today we worked on 10m circles which are part of the dressage test some of the class will be doing. About half-way through the lesson it was suggested we ride in sitting trot and though it was optional I was determined to carry on with it right to the end of the lesson. I find sitting trot quite comfortable but it does mean absorbing the bounce of the trot through the weakest part of my back. I'd already pushed myself in aerobics last night so once I got home after the usual shopping I applied some Voltarol and took things easy.
The view at the side of the house is not very inspiring, just roofs and not even gardens to look at. (From the window over the kitchen sink I can see the Cambrian mountains through a gap between the houses which is better than nothing.) Recently the view has been made more interesting when some gulls built a nest on top of a small flat roof just behind the tall chimney. And now there are three chicks wandering about looking like dusty balls of grey fluff with very long legs.
At Morrison's I found another Festuca Glauca to add to the shingle garden. In my morning musings I worked out that I need two or possibly three Festuca right at the end of the shingle to soften the boundary between it and the  flower bed. I'll need to keep my eyes open when I go shopping at Morrison's as I don't want to pay £10 each at Charlie's.
I was going to place an on-line order with Curry's for the new freezer but then I found that I could save almost £70 if I buy from another firm. I just need to ring them tomorrow to check they will take the old freezer away. I thought their website said they did but when I was placing the order it wasn't an option.

 

Thursday 20 June 2024

Summer Solstice.

After the sun went down last night the sky was streaked orange and pink for several hours. I had another very late night due to a combination of a sore back and Peter snoring. Even though I was tired watching tv was a better option. Before finally turning in just before 2.00 I stood out on the terrace watching a couple of small bats flitting around hunting in the light of the cliff top lamp post and was amazed that I could still see some light sky away to the north. Well it's the Summer Solstice  today so I guess from now on the days will be getting shorter and the sun will set a little more to the west each night.
I still woke early this morning and found blue skies and a flat sea. Proper summer weather. It's been very hot and by the time I sat outside in the late afternoon the digital thermometer on the table beside me read 36C/96.8F. It would be really nice to have more days like this.
As the library is shut on Thursdays we met up at our friend's house in Pennal, a pretty village tucked under the foothills of Snowdonia. It's only on the other side of the Dyfi River but there are some small hills between here and there so we can't quite see across to each other. Getting there involves driving up to Mach, over the new bridge on the smart new road and then doubling down the other side of the river. We had a good session going through the work that we were set for the summer holiday. There might also have been cake, biscuits and a walk around the garden too. 
On the way back we stopped in Mach and I showed Peter the culinary delights in the Royal House Café. We weren't the only ones having a hard time trying to pick which of the delicious looking options to buy. In the end we choses two minced lamb pasties which we ate tonight and a portion of beef lasagne and a slice of vegetarian potato and onion pie. (Can't remember what the other ingredients are but I know it will taste nice.)
At home I filled another bag with honeysuckle prunings and weeds from the back garden before spending some time relaxing in the sun with Speedy with of course sunscreen on both of us to prevent getting burnt. I finished my day with disco aerobics. Even in shorts it was a hot session so the gentle breeze blowing from the sea was very welcome as I left the hall to walk home with a couple of friends. 
 

Wednesday 19 June 2024

Sunny.

Last night's sunset (made more dramatic by the camera).
I got my head down in good time last night and woke nice and early this morning to find the sun shining through the windows. I had set the alarm just in case as Speedy had an appointment at the vets at 9.30.
As I sat outside this morning I heard a cat calling out as it walked down the road. I knew it wasn't Speedy as he was tucked up in his cosy nest after a very small breakfast. A moment later the cat I call Little Ginge came sauntering up the garden path. He checked out the usual sniffing spots and then proceeded to have a good old munch on some catnip growing in a tub. Apart from occasionally sleeping in the middle of the catmint bush in the back garden Speedy isn't interested in either catmint or catnip but Little Ginge obviously likes it. So much so that I had to send him on his way before he ate the whole plant.
On the way to the vets and once we were in the waiting room Speedy did his 'I'm at death's door' croaking and I had to explain to the other people there that there was nothing at all the matter with him and he was only there for his yearly injection. He managed to stop croaking once I began giving him Dreamies which he only has on special occasions (a trip to the vet or medicines). One quick injection into the scruff of his neck - £50 and six month's worth of flea & tick drops another £50. It's never cheap when you go to the vet. 
Once we got home I headed out to the garden and gave the top and street side of the hedge a trim with the electric cutter. I took up to 12" off the top keeping it above the eye line of people walking past and giving us a better view out to sea. Our neighbour on that side came out and offered to take my bags of trimmings up to his farm as he was planning a bonfire this afternoon. That was very helpful as I've already got a load of bags to take to the dump on Friday. 
Later I dug up a lot of the montbretia that I had planted under the hedge. My plan had been to cover up a gap so that I wasn't looking through the pierced wall blocks at the street beyond but the montbretia had grown too well and the 4ft leaves were swamping a skimmia and the fuchsia at the front of the raised bed. I've left some of the montbretia that is right under the hedge but now will have to think of something I can plant in that dry spot which is full of bluebells in the spring. Perhaps I'll let the Welsh poppies spread with their cheery yellow colour.
I've been researching upright freezers and though a Beko freezer seems to be top of the reviews the one we're getting rid of is also a Beko and we don't want to repeat our mistake. Instead I think I'll pay more and go for a Bosch freezer as the reviews are also good and I trust the  brand more.


 

Tuesday 18 June 2024

Windy.

The first view of the day looked very much like yesterday but then instead of rain followed by sun it simply stayed grey with plenty of wind.
I was late starting the day, my own fault entirely for staying up late reading so had to miss my morning cuppa out on the terrace. But once I got going I decided I might as well go down to the zoo. I was almost tempted to cycle but then the thought that it might rain had me reaching for the car keys. It was a good thing I drove because it was very windy and also I spent nearly four hours weeding. I try not to overdo things but I just hate leaving a job unfinished. This morning after some tidying up around a planted area right by the reception/café I turned to the space by the entrance where there are tables for people to eat outside. The main part under a canopy is in my mind a lost cause with not a lot of stones and an awful lot of weeds. However there is a smaller bit that has some bistro tables on that I thought was doable and it was though by the time I finished pulling up all the weeds my back had had enough. But it does look a lot better. 
Haven't done much since I got home. Just general tidying up and a rest. Soon I'll be heading off to Pilates.

 

Monday 17 June 2024

Sunny Afternoon.

The weather has been quite strange today. It began with a cloudy grey morning that a few hours later brought a steady drizzle. It was very different later on.
Both of us were up early as Peter wanted to be down at the boat by 8.00 for an early morning row. A departure for him as he generally prefers a much later start to his day. 
After breakfast I went straight out to the garden where soon the drizzle began. It wasn't cold so I carried on, the drizzle eventually stopped and things just got hotter from then on. I planted out the hardy geranium my friend had given me yesterday and then got to work cutting back the inside of the tall hedge. I'm not a fan of highly manicured hedges but that one would soon grow out over the raised beds blocking the light from all the plants there. So up I climbed and hacked away at the hedge with my secateurs whilst balancing on the stone walls. Not the neatest of jobs but it serves its purpose. 
I got the pretty plant below at the Cae Hir plant fair and have forgotten its name. To me it looks like a fancy garden variety of chicory. I thought chicory had blue flowers though apparently it comes in purple too but nowhere can I find a picture of one with a dark centre and the leaves are narrower than wild chicory.
When my back had had enough of gardening I came inside and baked some peanut butter and chocolate cookies to take with us on a visit to a friend later in the week. The other job done today was to bring the orchids from the utility room to the sitting room windows. Being north facing is much better for orchids as they get burnt in direct sunlight. I had got fed up with the woolly aphid infestation but repeated treatments seem to have done the trick. To make sure, after wiping the dust off every leaf I gave each plant a good spray with insecticide before lining them up on the floor inside the windows.
Then, as hot sunny afternoons are few and far between I got out a sun lounger and simply enjoyed reading in the sun.

Just a few extra photos from yesterday.


We had gone to a spot where beautiful demoiselles (large dragonflies with black bodies and dark green wings) have been seen. I soon saw a couple but wasn't able to take a photo. I thought I saw a hornet sitting on a bush but when I took a photo it turned out to be a female or immature libellula (broad bodied chaser). 

Sunday 16 June 2024

Rheidol Waterfalls.

Unlike yesterday evening's torrential rains it has been a bright and sunny day.
This week's walk was along and above the River Rheidol. The instructions were to follow the road (which for the last few miles was a single lane track) right up to the end. One of the group lives nearby and she had invited us to walk up to her place for a cup of tea. But first we went down to the river to look at the waterfalls.
When we got there two families were there taking photos on the large rock just left of centre. We don't usually see other people when we are out so I had to be patient and wait for them to finish before taking my photos, sans groups of people. What did surprise and shock us was seeing one of the fathers carrying his small child across the slippery rocks to stand on a rock in the middle of the fast flowing water just to take a photo.
Leaving the river we walked along the verdant river valley, past a small flock of alpacas and the occasional building.
This chapel, built in the late 1800s is now an artists' studio.

The majority of the houses here are either second homes or holiday rental cottages.
Turning off the road we made the long steep climb through native oak forest almost to the top of the valley side from where we caught our first glimpses of Suzanna's home. (above)
After walking down through the fields to look at a pond we made our way up to the cottage. Suzanna has lived there for over twenty years having restored the derelict cottage and outbuildings herself. The oak lintel above the room sized inglenook which accommodates several armchairs around the wood burning stove has the date 1738 carved into it. We enjoyed chatting while sitting outside in the sun admiring the views right across the valley. And as if on cue along came the steam train making its way up to Devil's Bridge.
After much tea (or in my case coffee), cake and biscuits and a wander round the vegetable garden we took a different route back down to the valley floor through the forest passing yet more waterfalls.

Driving back along the valley road I couldn't resist stopping to take more photos.
Including where the river runs into a reservoir which powers a hydro power station. 

 

Saturday 15 June 2024

Windy.

The day began by looking as if we were going to get the forecast heavy showers and thunderstorms but the wind blew them all inland. It stayed windy with quite a lot of warm sunshine to cheer things up and then some rain to end the afternoon.
I may have felt that I had a relaxed ride yesterday but my body didn't feel that way. I had a lot of pain from the cartilage between my ribs which kept me up late last night. I was forced to binge-watch Bridgeton, I know - mindless fantasy, loosely set in Georgian times but it helps while away the hours. On a positive note I must have been using my muscles properly to sit up straight and get those shoulders back. It's hard work to correct a lifetime of slouching but I'm trying my best. This morning's cuppa was made by Peter and drunk in bed as I slowly returned to wakefulness. 
It's rather nice not to be faced with a big project, indoors or out, and be able to simply potter round the garden. 
Jobs done included; sorting some plants for one of my fellow walkers, potting on some nerine bulbs into a large container, taking cuttings, moving some ground cover plants into the shingle and planting out these succulents grown from cuttings. They're in a plastic container to make it easy to bring them indoors for the winter. I originally got them for the windowsill by the table but as it was north facing they just didn't get enough light. 
This is the second flower produced by the California poppy and it too has succumbed to the weather.