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, 19 January 2022

Cold.

Mixed weather today. It started with grey skies and light rain, cleared to give cloud dotted blue skies and then alternated between full cloud cover and patches of blue sky ending with a chilly afternoon.
It was bright and sunny while I worked at the zoo then turned gloomy when I wandered round with my camera. 
The photo above was taken in October and shows just how overgrown the woodchip area that I've been working on was. (The grass was a lot greener then too.) Below is how it looks after two weeks of weeding. The wood edging I found last week only goes half-way but I'm aiming to carry on to make a tidy corner. How far I go depends on how far the woodchip extends. The play area is popular with children and the neater it looks the better impression people will have of their visit. We had one family come round though with the birds shut away there's not a lot to see at the moment.
I got diverted half-way through my weeding to do some work in one of the enclosures with the animals still present. I went in with four fierce ..... wabbits! Earlier I had spotted one of the rabbits happily stripping the bark from the stem of one of the buddleia bushes. I will be cutting the bushes back in the spring but stripping the bark will kill them entirely. I'm only hoping that there hasn't been too much damage already. I asked one of the more regular volunteers about putting netting around the stems and was given access to the piles of netting and left to get on with it after he'd unlocked the gate to the enclosure. This had been the meerkats enclosure but while they dug lots of tunnels like the rabbits they eat small creatures and not bark.
Back home I had a break then did my piano, guitar, exercise bike, Duo Lingo and Welsh vocabulary before blogging.

 

Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Clouds.

We still had the blue skies but with an interesting selection of clouds being blown along by a warm southerly wind. 
There was enough wind to make it worthwhile hanging out the sheets on the line before I did the ironing later in the afternoon.
I woke and got up in good time this morning and got my Welsh practice and most of the housework done before breakfast. Which sounds very organised, until I reveal that breakfast was eaten quite late in the morning. While Peter went down to the dump I sorted out my list of internet 'favourites' saving the URLs of any that I think aren't already on the new pc onto an email to myself. Then when Peter swaps me back from the old pc, which he thinks was the cause of the malfunctioning headphones last week I'll have them to hand. I'm not convinced about the headphones so he has bought me a microphone for the monitor which would be better. But the old pc does have issues and even I admit it needs changing.
I had another try of the crocodile stitch this time using a smaller hook. The lady in the shop had advised me to use a no. 6 hook which is enormous I think because the wool is labelled as chunky but it feels not much thicker than double knit and in the end I bought a no. 5. That gave larger scales than I wanted so today I went back to a no. 3 which is all I had and though a bit fiddly the pattern has come out a better size so that's what I'll go with.
 

Monday, 17 January 2022

Sunny.

A crisp, clear day today beginning with a frosty morning. Almost no wind so the washing had to go on the airer in the utility room.
Today Peter put up the two shelves in his study and has already filled them with his collection of dvds. Meanwhile I went into the garage and screwed some flat coat hooks on to the bar Peter put up on the wall for me. On these I hung all four of my large garden tools. I will add more hooks and hang up the smaller tools which currently live in a bucket. That done I took the bow saw and cut half-way through the tree trunk in the back garden. I decided to wait for Peter to help me turn the trunk over so I can cut from the other side as last time moving it gave me a lot of muscle pain.
It was such a lovely day I couldn't resist going out for a beach walk. As I set off I got chatting to our neighbour, looked back at our garden wall and saw some suspicious cracks. At first I thought they were due to ground movement but as we looked closer it became clear something had hit or pushed the wall. The whole of that section is now wobbly and needs rebuilding. Our road is only just wide enough for two cars to pass each other and with no pavement on one side and a lamp post on the edge of the grass it is very difficult for large vehicles to turn into the road. There are only two other equally small roads giving access to the road that runs behind us along which there has been a lot of development. We've often watched lorries bringing building supplies, of which there are many, manoeuvring back and forth to get around the corner. Unfortunately as nobody saw what happened we shall have to pay for the repairs ourselves or even claim on our insurance.
Down on the beach the sun was shining and the tide fully out giving me nice clean sand to walk along.


Back home I worked through the crochet tutorial which was vey helpful. I had followed the written instructions correctly apart from one minor error. The nice lady said that the first row of scales would have larger holes in the middle of the scales and explained how to 'block' the finished piece to get a better finish. Having worked it out with the grey wool I then did a test piece with the brown and silver wool I intend to use. I'm quite happy with the result as in my mind the cosy should resemble a dragon's egg plus the brown colour will disguise any tea drips. Now to work out the pattern to fit Vytas' tea-pot.

 



Sunday, 16 January 2022

Grey.

The day began with continuous drizzle and general greyness. Later there was the occasional blue patch in the sky and less rain but in general it has been a gloomy day and fairly chilly. 
We started the day with our usual Sunday treat of croissants and fresh coffee while listening to The Archers and watching the Lifeboat crew out on exercise.
Then after the daily housework I spent time playing the piano and the guitar. Sadly I can't do more than an hour at a time because my back begins to ache. I gave myself a break doing some sewing, repairing the shapers from one of my soft bra tops. They're only cheap ones from Primark and the fabric of the shapers needed stitching back on to the foam. A nice relaxing bit of hand sewing. Once that was done I turned to my new crochet project. The first step was to get the hang of the crocodile stitch or as I like to think of it the dragon scale stitch. Last time I did the pattern I used a book of crochet stitches to help me understand the terminology and translate from US to UK terms. (Things like fphdc! - front post half double crochet.) Because my book is still buried in a box somewhere I found myself turning to YouTube as well as peering closely at the instructions and photos on my original pattern and ended up with something that was almost there but also had the look of a crochet fishing net. I knew the original stitch/pattern had been recently developed by the person I bought the pattern from but I thought I'd try searching for it on the web, and what do you know? Duh! There's a tutorial for the whole stitch on YouTube which I shall work through tomorrow.

 

Saturday, 15 January 2022

Grey.

Not so cold today with full cloud cover making it gloomy and grey.
When the garage roof, which was falling in when we moved in, was replaced the builder and Peter thought it would be a good idea to use up a sheet of insulation to fill in the gap between the walls and roof. However with the cold weather we're getting some condensation in the garage, mainly on the tins of paint and the tools which are hung up on the walls. So it's time to increase the ventilation. Today the plan was to prise out the blocks of 4" thick insulation but I found this was easier said than done. No chance of just pinging out the dense foam which was firmly wedged in place. I tried cutting away at it with an old kitchen knife but it was slow going and left me covered in tiny bits of foam. We'll try option 2 which is to drill large holes in the wooden doors. There are three wooden doors but two are currently covered with planks and other 'useful' bits of wood so it will take a bit of organising.
Instead I moved indoors and started with the small job of disguising the metal clips holding up the venetian blind in the sitting room. This was the first blind we put up and never having installed one before when it came with six fittings we used all of them (later discovering that we only needed three). Not only that but the silver colour made them stand out in a way that was catching my eyes in a bad way. (above) Painting the clips wasn't an option so I came up with the idea of using white Blutak which while still being visible is a lot less intrusive than the clips. (below)
My next small job was to drill into the wall, which was originally the outside of the place, to fit a screw to hang a lovely photo of the North Devon coast showing Lundy on the horizon. After that came the job I was not looking forward to, scraping the paint from the wall on one side of the French doors. The year that we waited for the render on the outside to be repaired had allowed the rain to come through in a couple of places and caused the paint to bubble and flake. I carefully scraped off the paint up to half-way up the wall and bleached some mould that had begun to grow. Once the plaster has fully dried out I can then paint the wall back to pristine white.
Finally, while Peter went off to row I went out to the back garden where first I measured the area I plan to pave over so that I can work out how to arrange the mix of slabs I've got saved. After that I did an emergency planting of about 300 bulbs I'd stored optimistically thinking I'd be able to plant them in the new raised beds in the front garden. Hah! Today I dug a couple of trenches in a bed in the back garden and planted the bulbs in those as they were already beginning to sprout. I think they're a mix of garden daffodils and Welsh daffodils with maybe a few other things mixed in but it would have been a shame to leave them after carefully rescuing them from planters and beds around the garden.
Then I had a break before coming to blog and I should have enough time to play the piano and do some Duo Lingo before supper. 
 

Friday, 14 January 2022

Chilly.

Not a cloud in the sky today making for a crisp, cold day.
Late afternoon sun.
Today, I went into town for an afternoon of shopping. For a change I went to Tesco's. It's a bit more expensive than Morrison's and more again than Lidl but they sometimes have some good special offers and reductions. I picked up a couple of packs of Christmas cards at give-away prices but the main prize was this dressing gown. Not a reduction but I'd seen it in store last year and been unable to buy it because Tesco's had closed off the clothing aisles to comply with the lockdown rules. I'd looked for it on my subsequent forays into Tesco's but today was the first time I found it. And ...... there was only one and it was in my size. I had no hesitation in treating myself even though I do have the same one in pink at home. I'm such a sucker for all things fluffy and it's a great way to keep warm in the evenings especially now that heating costs are about to increase by 50%. Another find in Tesco's was a replacement for one of the green and blue mugs I bought last year. It was reduced and the last one on the shelf. Peter's arthritic hands result in the occasional chip out of the china during washing up and while he doesn't mind chipped mugs I do. I did quite a lot of walking around town looking for various things. A search for some basic jogging trousers for Peter (he's lost so much weight by exercising that one of the pairs he wears around the house won't stay up,) had me going into Matalan twice. The first time I only found super skinny ones and some that looked like patchwork. Very trendy I'm sure but not not for Peter. Having decided M&S was too expensive I went back into Matalan and found the basic style joggers tucked away at the back of the men's section for half the price at M&S. I also paid a trip to the knitting shop where I bought a crochet hook and picked up some silvery brown wool in the bargain bin which I think will be perfect for Vytas' tea cosy.
By the time I got home my back was twinging so I gave myself a break with a coffee in front of the tv while I multi-tasked by emptying a couple of boxes of plasters and removing the outer wrappings. That saves me time on zoo days when I need to protect my toes from blisters and my fingers from splitting. Then there was just time to give the two shelves another coat of paint and blog before supper.
Dusk photos takes with the fancy setting on my camera.

 

Thursday, 13 January 2022

Chilly.

Mostly crisp, bright and sunny today here on the coast though it looked to be cloudy further inland. 
Our Welsh class started up again after a break for the Christmas holiday. I'm still not sure how I feel about the class. The actual class is fine but I struggle with the amount of time I feel I need to spend each day in order to make progress. In fact I'm struggling with my daily time management in general. I just don't seem to be able to fit in all the things I want to do. There are the daily tasks such as housework, laundry and shopping that have to be done plus the things I do to maintain my physical and mental  health such as piano, guitar, Welsh and building back up to my exercise routine. (And uploading my photos and blogging.) Then there is the ongoing work to sort this place out and most important for my mental health is spending as much time as possible outside either working in the garden or out on my gentle walks. All that has to be squeezed into the time between breakfast and supper (don't do lunch). Plus age and the various failing bits of me need proper rest breaks if I'm not to seize up. No wonder we haven't found time to explore the local area. We do allow ourselves to sleep as long as our bodies require, sleep is important for health and after a lifetime of waking early for work and/or family it's something we should be able to enjoy in our retirement. So I'm reluctant to set the alarm clock in order to find time at the start of the day and after our meal we watch tv for an hour or so before heading off to sleep, or not in my case. Maybe I could do some stuff then but I'm not sure how well I'd do in my usual tired state. I shall have to think of a solution or I shall end up getting crosser and crosser.
The Zoom class was a bit of a trial for me today because something happened to my microphone. Being a language class being able to speak is vital but for some reason the mike on my headset wouldn't work in the class. I'd used it for some Duo Lingo beforehand and then tested the sound on the Zoom page where it all worked perfectly. However as soon as the class began the headset stopped working. I had the picture and could hear our tutor through my monitor speakers but try as I could to set it to the headphones, even getting Peter out of his study, they wouldn't work and I had to content myself with listening and signing which isn't that helpful for pronunciation. Then during the tea break I fiddled some more and suddenly our tutor could hear me. Hooray I thought, it's back to normal but as soon as the class started up the same problem occurred. Very strange. It must be something to do with having the new pc though Peter connected the old one back this morning so that I could back up some photos and have a connection through to the Zoom class. Don't you just love technology?
After class I painted a second coat of white on Peter's shelf boards and while I was doing that Peter got a text to say both our prescriptions were ready to be collected from the pharmacy. Glad for the chance to stretch my legs and walk in the sun, once out of the chilly shade, I took myself off to the pharmacy. Fingers crossed our monthly prescriptions are back in sync which will halve the trips to the pharmacy to collect our free medicines. (They're free for everyone in Wales.) 


And was rewarded with a wonderful sunset.