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.

Sunday 31 May 2009

More Sun, More Flowers.

Yet another glorious sunny day but with a warm breeze, just perfect. At last I've finished the reports and tomorrow I'll proof read them to see that it all makes sense. It's a good thing we had this holiday or I would be working till late at night. It has been very pleasant sitting by the scree garden even if it was school work and not a book in front of me. I have given myself some reading time this holiday and have read and enjoyed 2 of the No1 Detective Agency books. The first of the iris is flowering. They are the only plants in the garden where I put slug pellets as the slugs and snails just love to munch their way through the leaves and flowers. Even so something has put a hole in one of the petals.
The wisteria is holding its own. I think the hot dry weather is making it harder for the snails to crawl up the wall to the flowers.

The pretty peach coloured azalea has started to open. Azaleas don't last for very long but they do put on a spectacular display.

The big alliums are starting to loose their colour but will keep their sculptural shapes until the wind bashes them to bits.
When I walked up the garden to collect my camera from my work table by the scree garden the sun tempted me further up the hill to talk to the ponies.

They both look very glossy, I expect many little hands have been busy with the grooming brushes.
I have been able to spend most of the day outside working, reading and going to the car boot sale and this evening Peter barbecued a selection of meat from the freezer. My men are such carnivores!

Saturday 30 May 2009

The Butterflies Return.

I just love it when the first job of the day is to go around the house opening all the windows to let the fresh air in. Today has been another summer's day with lots of sunshine and a warm breeze. That's 4 good days so far. I managed to move a table into the dappled shade where I could see the screen of my lap top and I worked on e-profiles until the battery ran down.
This was where I spent most of the day being distracted by the numerous butterflies visiting the flowers in the scree garden.
The osteospermums love all this sunshine.

The aliums are attracting bees as well as butterflies.

Of course no sunny day can go by without one of Peter's barbecues- steak, new potatoes and salad today. Afterwards I held the bottom of the ladder while Romas painted the 2 upstairs windows above the porch. Just a couple of windows on the other side of the house left to do. It would be really good if the next 2 days are sunny before I have to go back to work again.

Friday 29 May 2009

A Trip To Bristol.

I finally decided to have laser surgery on my eyes and today I went up to Bristol for the preliminary consultation which involves 2 hours of eye drops, eye tests and all sorts of machinery. It's still very expensive but some time ago I had a legacy from an aunt which will pay for one eye and if you spread the balance over the 30 years that I haven't been to the hairdresser it works out to £40 per year (1 visit?), at least that's the way I'm justifying it. I feel I've worked hard working full time for almost last 2 years and this is my reward to myself. Now it's a matter of co-ordinating dates as you have to be accompanied for the treatment, return the next day and then a week later. They only do the surgery on Saturdays so its a matter of fitting it into all the events happening in the summer holidays, so it will probably be August. It was very hot today, high 20s, and I got to see a much more pleasant, leafier and grander side of Bristol. I only had 10 mins to wander around before heading back to the train station and my eyes were totally blurry so it's a wonder I got any photos at all.
I was up near the university and there were lots of young people around enjoying the sunshine.

I think this is part of Bristol Museum.

These are the very grandiose council offices on one side of College Green,

With the Cathedral on another side.

A sort of interesting fountain.

And back at the station I was amused by the numbers of bikes, commuters who cycle from the station to their work places ? or students catching the train home for the weekend ?
The Bristol train was 20 mins late so I missed my connection at Exeter by about 3 mins, you'd think it would wait, and so I had to hang around on the station for another hour. At least I had seats on the mainline trains because I had booked on line and got seat resrvations. Quite a few people had to stand on the return train. As I was sitting in my window seat I felt something nudging my leg, looked down and there was a hairy little dog, belonging to the lady in front of me. I think it was hoovering up the crumbs from my sandwich brought from home, (BR charges £5 for a sandwich on the train!). The dog then settled down leaning on my and my neighbour's feet for the rest of the journey. My neighbour didn't look very amused but I thought it was sweet.

Thursday 28 May 2009

Constrasting Vegitation.

After a couple of hours bent over my lap top my brains were turning to mush so I decided to go for a walk up the hill. The air was wet as I walked into the cloud layer but it can't have been too thick as the light was still very bright. The cloud had lifted when I got up to the road so at least I wasn't getting wet. Everything is looking lush and green.
I heard the thunder of hooves on the other side of the hedge and met up with my neighbour taking a group of youngsters out for a ride. She told me that some fox cubs had been playing over at their place and if they saw them again she'd give me a ring so that I could try for some photos. That would be good.

A single bracken plant looks good under the trees.

Cow parsley has to be one of my favourite wild flowers with its frothy white flowers.

The wild garlic has now almost finished flowering.
Now in contrast some of the cliff plants from yesterday's walk.

Grasses blowing in the wind.

Not sure of the name of this flower, (my book is at school), but it's very sculptural.

And of course no cliff would be complete without thrift.

Wednesday 27 May 2009

Wind and Rain.

Yesterday I caught a whiff of an unpleasant smell in the kitchen. Not an unusual occurrence in a house with 3 sons but this definitely had the pong of dead animal. The reason we don't have a cat flap is to prevent the cats bringing in their small (or large) victims. I couldn't bear the thought of a corpse rotting away in my kitchen so we sniffed high and low, in cupboards, behind drawers, down the plug holes and I even climbed up and looked on top of the cupboards but we couldn't pin point the smell. It seemed to be located about 5ft up near the sink. Very strange. A few hours later I found the source of the whiff - my pitcher plant which hangs in the kitchen window. After being fairly dormant all winter it has produced 3 big pitchers and I do remember that insectivorous plant produce the smell of rotting flesh to attract flies. The smell is not too strong and now that I know there isn't something nasty behind the cupboard I'll leave the plant to do its job of getting rid of the flies. Unless the smell gets stronger in which case it may have to go and live in the conservatory.
It has been very wet today, typical holiday weather. I had to take Peter into town to catch a train to Exeter for a work meeting and in the hour I was away the drive started to wash away once more. I ran up in the rain and cleared the gutter and rebuilt the wood and mud dams that divert the water flowing down the road, into the fields.
The tops of the hills were right in the clouds.

Peter got some good news this morning. He spoke to the consultant this morning and FINALLY he has got a diagnosis. As he thought all along it's psoriatic arthritis which when it flares up is treatable with targeted injections. I'm so cross that he has spent 3 months in a lot of pain in his joints waiting for this diagnosis and it will be another 2 -4 weeks before he gets the injections. I'm even crosser about the fact that p-arthritis was mentioned but not followed up when he had an emergency hospital admission several years ago. It was 'We don't know what was wrong with you but you seem better now so go home.'

I didn't think the weather conditions would give me any good photos down at Velator this afternoon so I drove right out to the cliffs at Saunton to enjoy the wild waves.

This house stands all alone out on the headland. I'd love to live there but in the long term I'd worry about cliff erosion.

I took the path down to the cliff edge to watch the waves.

Looking back towards Saunton Sands. It wasn't cold but there was a strong wind.

The waves were racing into Croyde Bay. I don't think anyone was out surfing today.

I suggest you turn the sound of for this very noisy (it was windy) video of the waves panning round from Croyde bay to Saunton Sands. I did put my finger over one set of the sound pick up hole but couldn't cover the other set. Perhaps I can get some foam tabs to put over the holes to cut out the dreadful wind noise. (No pun intended.)

Tuesday 26 May 2009

My Boys in Armour.

Bright blue skies again this morning but there were clouds and a chill wind. Anyway apart from a brief foray to hang up the washing and a fast run to fetch it back in when there was a sudden downpour, I've had my nose stuck to the pc screen as I work my way through the e-profiles which are the foundation stage equivalent of end of year reports. 13 sections each of which gets at least one comment, for 31 children. This is going to take all of the half term holiday. I did have plans to repaint our bedroom this week but there is not a chance of that.

(Thanks to Captured Times and yes we have purchased the dvd as well. nb No animals were hurt in the making of this video)

Romas, Sam and Vytas.

Kate B kindly sent me some photos from last weekend's muster and Romas just found this video from a previous muster. That's Vytas in the black doublet leaping into the attack, (with a big grin on his face). It was always good fun to ham it up when you knew the public were close or even better, someone was filming. ( This was an off the cuff scene though everyone had been asked to be extra dramatic.)

A musket block, standard bearers with pike men behind, (Rivers regt ?) and some frilly big wigs.

Monday 25 May 2009

Braunton Fair.

I happened to be in Braunton today and came across the Braunton Carnival and Fair. Of course being a Bank Holiday it was raining but it was too good a photo opportunity to miss. You never know what you might find at these events. Lots of people walking in the rain. Being half term, holidaymakers swell the population of this large village and it certainly wasn't beach weather.

It was only light rain so everyone simply put on their coats and made the best of it.

This was my favourite stall, a human fruit machine. If you were lucky you got 3 lemons ......

.... or some other fruit. The prize was also hand delivered. A very good idea whoever thought of it.

The carnival obviously had a Wild West theme as there were a lot of cowboys and Indians wandering around as well as a bit of living history.

There was live music playing listened to by a group of stalwart followers under their umbrellas.

Other attractions included a youngsters' football tournament with a witty commentator, a karate display and a fun Dog Show, not one of those terribly serious pedigree affairs.

I managed to resist buying any more jewellery but I couldn't help sorting through a big basket of bags of interesting beads and eventually bought 4 big paua shell pendants, 2 of which I'll make into earrings. I have so many beads to make jewellery with in those (nonexistent) free moments.It all began when I started when I started converting jewellery into my own style. Lots of ideas but no time at the moment.

There were lots of plants for sale but I'm just sticking to taking photographs. I thought this was a really pretty double aquilegia.

This post is going out late because I had to pick up Romas after his weekend away. I was expecting to collect him from Barnstaple at 10.13 but at 8.00 I had a phone call. 'Mum, I fell asleep on the train and now I'm at Bristol and I won't get to Exeter in time to catch the last train to Barnstaple.' Aaargh ! Luckily the train he was about to catch stopped at Tiverton Parkway which is much easier , still an hour's drive, than going into Exeter. I drove Peter's car but it still wasn't fun on the way back in the dark and the heavy rain. Still I did get a blow by blow account of each of the 4 battles. It was a big Major with 2,500 out on the battle field. It must have been an impressive sight for the spectators.There were also 2 medieval era battles though extremely hot weather is not the best when wearing full armour. Romas' description was 'shiny,shiny, clank, clank melt, melt.' Hot weather is very enervating and Romas said they were all shattered. There is always a lot of noise on the battlefield, cannon and muskets firing, drums beating instructions and officers shouting orders and general yelling from the pikemen over which the commentator is trying to explain to the spectators what is going on. Suddenly over the tannoy came the Helm's Deep music and Romas and some others tried to respond by thumping their pikes on the ground but pikes are very heavy and they were too exhausted. I'll see if I can find some footage to post.

Sunday 24 May 2009

Blue Skies.

There is nothing so lovely as opening your eyes in the morning to see bright blue skies behind the shimmering green trees. One of the things that I love about our bedroom is that it has windows facing east and west so that we get the sunrise and the sunset, repeated a few times in the big mirrors on the walls just for good measure. To me the views and the light are so important. It's probably something to do with my desire to spend as much time out of doors as possible.
I got up early, loaded the washing machine and spent the morning doing schoolwork outside. My attention was diverted by the different sounds I could hear - crows cawing, blackbirds calling out their chuck chuck alarm call, swallows chittering, a song thrush trilling and burbling, the faint call of seagulls high up, wood pigeons cooing, jackdaws going jack? and other birds twittering in the trees. It was fairly quiet from next door as they had gone to a local horse show at Mullacott Cross. I haven't found a way to see the screen of my laptop clearly when I'm outside so inputting data onto the e-profiles is an indoor job. In the afternoon I went to the car boot as tomorrow there may be thunderstorms. I kept mentally tut-tutting at the people walking round with no hats and already pink skin not covered up, I thought this was a sign of my age but Pete says it's my bossy teacher mode. Having sat outside all morning I covered up with a big t-shirt as well as my hat but I did wear my shorts as it was so hot. I didn't get much at the car boot and was rather cross to find they have doubled the entry charge to £1 ! Back home to more school work and then Pete barbecued a couple of steaks along with potatoes and courgettes (great barbecued) and a salad. I'm so glad that they are having lovely weather for the muster. I remember too many wet and windy weekends camping with the Knot.
The farmers are busy cutting silage till late at night, I think this contraption turns the grass as it dries in the field.

The red beech tree looks magnificent with the sun shinning through its leaves. This was one of the few plants in the garden when we first came which I uprooted and moved to this prime spot overlooking the yard.

All the plants around the pond are shooting up and looking very lush.

Even the golden marjoram is forming pretty little hummocks.

And the snow-in-summer is covered with white flowers. Some speedwell has crept in amongst the snow-in-summer but it does look pretty.