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 28 February 2024

Wet.

I was up early enough to have my tea outside before the rain began. Light rain at first and much heavier by the afternoon.
This morning both the sea and sky were grey, almost dismal so my attention moved to the sounds around me. In the garden next door there was much chattering from the resident flock of sparrows. The chirping of sparrows always takes me back to my childhood years in central London when sparrows and pigeons were the only birdsong to be heard. In the same garden a wood pigeon was cooing his courtship song and once he had successfully enticed his mate to his side they flew up to the roof beside me and then off to gardens new.  
As it was far to wet to work outside I carried on sorting things in our bedroom. That included cutting and nailing two bits of wood together to make a ledge to stop things falling down the back of Peter's bedside chest of drawers. That's the trouble with skirting boards, nothing fits flush to the wall. Having made more space in our bedroom I then swapped over the small table that I had been using as a bedside table with a pine chest from the living room. The rest of the time I've been doing admin or relaxing.
The female blackbird came onto the terrace for seeds while I was sitting out there but for the rest of the day she has had to find her own worms in the garden.
Off to choir tonight.
 

Tuesday 27 February 2024

Wet.

It was dry when I went out for my morning cup of tea but then rained for the rest of the day.
When I sat outside apart from some interesting shading on the horizon the sea was flat and uninspiring. Instead I turned my attention to the sky. Above me fluffy clouds, grey and full of rain were being blown inland by a westerly wind and higher still wispy and bumpy clouds were bright white features on a clear blue sea, or so it looked to me. A dunnock sat on a stem above the hedge and had a singing competition  with a rival in the next garden. Soon after the female blackbird had a drink from the birdbath and then changed her mind about having a bath after dipping her toes in the cold water. Instead she began to make her way up to the terrace. First stop was the edge of the pond, then she came closer, disappeared from view reappearing at the edge of the terrace. A quick shimmy under the glass and there she was ready for her breakfast of seeds. A male blackbird came to join her but was not as brave, or as hungry and only snatched a few seeds before flying onto my neighbours' roof.
I had just stepped outside the back door ready to collect my tools from the garage when down came the first big drops of rain. As I was already togged up I decided to pretend it wasn't raining and keep on gardening until I got too wet. Luckily my workman's coat kept me dry from the stop start kind of rain. The rain had truly set in by the time I stopped but that's another phase of the work done. All the top layer of weeds and roots is up and Peter has been taking most of it in bags to the dump. I've taken some too and the builder took one load to his field as well. 
My final job of the day was to go through my box of curtain fittings, sorting which to keep, which to give away and which to throw. Before we moved I amassed a collection of all the things you might need for putting up curtain poles and making curtains. Now that all the windows are sorted (it's hard to remember the miserable time when all we had was translucent plastic stuck over the windows along the street side of the house) I can clear out the extras. I would buy things like curtain rings and finials (the knobs to go on the ends of curtain poles) at a fraction of the cost in one particular charity shop in Barnstaple and they have proved very handy. The left over metal finials can be put on top of garden stakes as part ornament and part safety feature. 
Later I went off down to the hall for my weekly Pilates session which helps sort out the aging muscles.
 

Monday 26 February 2024

Sunny.

Bright and breezy again today and not too cold so long as you were in the sun and out of the wind. A good day for drying the washing on the line and of course for more grubbing about in the dirt. The blackbird and robin have come to a truce with the blackbird waiting for the big worms and the robin taking the small worms. 
I had to stop gardening in the afternoon and go down to the surgery for some blood to be taken. When I saw him the doctor didn't think there was anything wrong but I insisted that suddenly having ice cold and painful feet wasn't normal so he grudgingly said I should have some blood tests. While I was there I thought I'd ask about the shingles vaccine since there has been a publicity campaign on the radio to encourage people to get vaccinated. Now this I cannot work out, if you are 70 or over you can have the vaccine and if you are 65 you also can have it but if you are 66, 67, 68 or 69 which includes me you can't and have to wait until you are 70. What is so special about 65 year olds?
Back home I baked a Bara Brith and did the ironing and that was the day about done.
Now for Part 2 of yesterday's walk - This was through the sand dune reserve at Ynyslas. There is much consternation locally at the moment because the body that runs the information centre wants to close it down. They tried to do this quietly but an employee spread the word on social media and now there is a lot of anger that this excellent facility might be lost. There's information about the wildlife, plants and the unexploded ordnance that is sometimes found on the beach and you can get a hot drink, biscuits and good quality gifts. Plus there is a well maintained toilet block. Can you imagine what would happen if that was closed?
Walking through the dunes two things were noticeable, a great deal of water in all the hollows and at times over the boardwalk and the presence of dead rabbits due to myxomatosis. 
One of my fellow walkers had been part of the team that made these art works. She operated the cement mixer while artists created the mosaics. We took advantage to the shelter and had our lunch stop inside with tables and chairs. How civilised.
The paths near the visitor centre are topped with a layer of crushed shells giving them a white appearance. Visitors are encouraged to follow the paths to avoid damage to the surrounding sand dunes.
The shell path came from the centre of the bottom of the photo above, behind the bush to the right, over to the centre of the right hand edge and then dipped into what was now a sizeable pond. We followed the path to the water and then diverted up onto the grass. Eventually we had to join the path which was now a wooden boardwalk part of which was still 6 inches under water. The boardwalk is enclosed on either side but mostly with wire so it wasn't possible to keep out of the water that way. I ended up with a little bit of water down the back of one boot. Some of the group chose to stay on the grass but were then faced with climbing over the high wooden fence which was done with much hilarity.
Finally we were in sight of the beach,
and in the distance 4 miles away, Borth and of course our house in the middle of the photo.
Past the stumps of the drowned forest and eventually home once more. There was an invitation for tea and cake at Liz's house but I was keen to get home and take in the washing some of which would need ironing. It was an easy flat walk which would have been nicer without the wind. This is one to do on my own.

 

Sunday 25 February 2024

Sunday Walk. Part One.

We had a fairly bright start to the day which then settled into a darker more cloudy kind of day. There was a good strong wind so never one to miss a chance I got some washing out on the line before I left to meet up with the group for our Sunday walk. No need to drive today as the rendezvous was at a house at the far end of the village.
Today I walked a good eight miles in total. This I know from the nearby coastal path signpost that says it's 4 miles to Ynyslas. It was very much a walk of three parts. The first part was along the sea wall path from Liz's house up to the golf course. As soon as we had left the shelter of the village we were hit by extremely strong and icily cold wind from the east which buffeted us all the way to Ynyslas. I was very glad that I had taken a last minute decision to wear a neck tube, one with a fleecy top that I was able to pull right up to the clear safety glasses that I wear to keep the wind out of my eyes.
Once we had turned away from the beach, through the golf course and over the railway line we reached the next section of our walk.
I always find it sad to see the Leri which once would have flowed into the sea through the golf course, diverted parallel to the coast in a unnaturally straight line out to the Dyfi. 
The fierce wind made it hard to see the few waders, mostly geese and ducks that were around. I expect most of the birds had sensibly found more sheltered spots.

Eventually we got to Ynyslas and the group of cottages that had been locations in the tv series Hinterland and crossed the river using the footbridge on the railway bridge.

Up to the road and back across the railway line. Perhaps one day I'll do a walk and take photos of all the local railway crossings. There are at least six that I can think of.
Standing on the road bridge over the river looking back at the railway bridge.
And in the other direction the boatyard.
Passing the boatyard we could see the Leri where it joined the much larger Dyfi, the mountains of Snowdonia on one side and the flat marshland which eventually leads up to Mach.
This was the outward section of our walk. Part 2 tomorrow.

 

Saturday 24 February 2024

Sunshine.

A damp start to the day but the light drizzle cleared quickly and I was still able to have my morning cuppa out on the terrace. And then the sun came out giving us a lovely sunny day. Incidentally the reason the washing dried yesterday was that while I was being rained and hailed on in my travels it stayed dry at home right until the late afternoon.
With the sun lighting up the front garden it was an easy decision to chose gardening as the first job of the day. I was able to bag up the rest of the heap of turf and then begin pulling up the last of the grass and wild plants from the centre of the garden. Eventually I was joined by the birds. The female blackbird got cross and chased off the robin when it dared to come down onto the soil at the same time. There were plenty of worms for both of them but they can't work that out. Yesterday I bought three small lavender plants at Lidl and these have now been re-potted as it will be a while before they can be planted out. Down the road there's some lavender growing in a flower bed facing the cliff so I know it can cope with the wind and salt spray.
Gardening done for the day I needed to pop to the shop which of course meant a walk on the beach. 
Not too many people on the beach though with good surf conditions I've seen plenty of surfers, one paddle boarder cutting through the large waves and a few people swimming or just jumping the waves without wetsuits.

This dog was having the most wonderful time playing with a stone which it was able to throw for itself and then chase. I could see from the marks in the sand that it had been doing this for a while. It was with a family but they were much further up the beach.
The rest of the afternoon was spent tidying up the cupboard I bought yesterday.
As the varnish was badly scratched I sanded it off mainly using my electric palm sander and then waxed the bare pine with Brywax to give it a nice finish. I tried to remove the drawer knobs but they wouldn't come off even after I took out the bolts holding them in. Because it's only a modern piece of furniture and I know where it will be going I didn't bother doing the sides. Very lazy I know but who will ever see the sides? I will raise the shelf  to fit storage tubs underneath and shallow trays above. Hopefully I've got my measurements right. The cupboard is in the garage for the time being to clear the smell of the wax.

 

Friday 23 February 2024

Showers.

It's been a day of frequent heavy showers with bright spells between. Walking down to aerobics last night the wind had swung round and was blowing icy air down from the arctic. 
There was a good drying wind this morning so I got some washing out on the line. Before I left I asked Peter to bring it in if it started to rain. I'd only been driving for 10 minutes when down came a heavy shower so I didn't hold out much hope for the washing. However when I got home later in the afternoon I found a pile of neatly folded nearly dry washing in the utility room. Peter is out at the moment but I can only assume that the showers missed Borth. The showers carried on all day around me, I saw a lovely rainbow in town and earlier when I left the stables I was caught in a heavy hail storm.
I was back to riding Cadno again. I found an even shorter crop that was only about 12 inches long to use but I only had to tap my leg with it once. (Fellow riders will know just how silly that is.) After we had worked in trot for a while including coming down the centre line as straight as possible which isn't too hard with Cadno we then had the chance to canter half circles whenever we could find a space. It may be a bit childish but I do like a bit of speed even if it is hard work to stop Cadno falling back into trot too early.
I have realised that my riding boots which I bought in my twenties are a size smaller than the shoes I was wearing then which makes them far too tight for my now flattened out feet. I only ever wore them for lessons or shows so I suppose I didn't do much walking around in them. When I was riding the horses I was looking after I wore wellies and had my own safety stirrups. So now I really need to get some new boots. But that is easier said than done. There are three places in town that sell equestrian wear but two only have long black boots in children's sizes and while I found a pair at the third place even though they were size 8 they felt tighter than my current size 7s. The frustrating thing is that I tried on a pair of 8s at the stables, they have long and short boots in all sizes to borrow, and they felt fine. If only I could persuade the owner to sell me those. I have been told that they have a good selection at the Charlie's in Carmarthen so I might try there. It's a 55 mile journey so I will ring first. I could make it into a day out as I haven't been there before.
As well as searching for riding boots I did my usual shopping, took some stuff to a charity shop and went to the bank. There's a big fuss going on since one of the other banks decided to close its branch. Hopefully more people will move to my bank thus making it even more viable. Not everyone is able to or wants to bank on line. I certainly don't. 
Last week I spotted a pine cupboard in Craft that I thought might do on my side of the bed. I took all my measurements in, measured the cupboard and bought it for the princely sun of £18. It is actually a tv unit but if I move the adjustable shelf up I can fit a row of my favourite white storage boxes in above the drawer. The top does need sanding and polishing so I put it straight in the garage where I will be able to work on it. 
 

Thursday 22 February 2024

Mostly Wet.

A very wet morning followed by a brighter afternoon.
My house blitzing has now moved to the sitting room though as it's all open plan I'm not even sure if that is the right term. Living space sounds like something an architect might say while 'great room' which I've heard on American  home shows sounds far too grandiose. So I think I'll stick with living room, kitchen and 'the bit where the table is'. Anyway today I cleaned, waxed and polished the antique desk under the big mirror.  That I did both before and after our Welsh class. We had a minor event during class when our tutor lost her signal and one of the class was host for a while. We chatted for a bit, in English, naughty us until the message came through to have our tea break early after which our tutor was back on line. That's the problem with technology, it only takes a minor blip for everything to go wrong. When I was teaching I got the feeling that I was thought to be too stuck in my ways when I made sure I had a physical whiteboard by my side that I could write on rather than relying on the interactive whiteboards in every classroom. I would be teaching in different classrooms where the boards seemed to have slightly different set ups and it was very easy for a glitch to develop. I did use the IWBs but would have any pictures printed out so that when things didn't work I could keep on going. I also think it was better to do so for maths where children might come up with all sorts of ways of tackling a problem or need a number of explanations. Plus we encouraged the children to 'show their working out' in many different ways and it was good for them to see how I recorded their methods. I may have hated the target setting and victimisation in my last job but I so miss working with enquiring minds.
Off soon for a fun hour of leaping about to disco music.