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.

Monday 31 August 2009

A Few Bargains.

It's been overcast today but with not too much rain and it has been quite warm. I took a chance on the car boot sale as the weather will probably get worse as we head into autumn. Before the sale I went to the local posh garden centre to spend some vouchers that I had been given. It is the type of garden centre that has fewer plants and more extras, (though they don't sell lawnmowers or parts as I once discovered). As we're not planning on staying here long term I wasn't looking for plants and instead I bought some solar powered garden lights. They have a glass globe on a stake and the light inside changes colour. I'm waiting until dark to get the full effect. More magical than tacky I hope. Once I got to the sale it was not as big as usual but not bad. My main objective was to find some kitchen ware for Romas to take to uni. (My Le Creuset is too good to be incinerated/lost). I found a set of 3 saucepans, almost new, for the princely sum of £1 which were ideal. Next to the saucepans was a stainless steel lid. Apparently someone had bought the saucepan but didn't want the lid. Later I found a medium sized stainless steel deep frying pan sans lid which I bargained down to £1. I then retraced my original saucepan ladies and asked them about the lid just in case it fitted. They'd actually put it in the back of their car but it was a perfect fit! They didn't even want any money for it, how good is that. Romas' campus accommodation is fully furnished (so I should think for £100 per week), he just has to bring his own bed linen and kitchen utensils. Last night we were watching tv in the kitchen and Patch decided to sneak along the mantelpiece. He did this once at Christmas and knocked down every single Christmas card that was up there.

Sunday 30 August 2009

A Boring Day.

It has rained all day, 15mm since yesterday evening. So no car boot sale. In fact it has been a very boring day. Peter has been studying and I've been transferring my negatives and doing general tidying up jobs.
So instead of pictures of the rain making everything gloomy here are a couple of photos taken yesterday evening.
The different varieties of sedum flowers are beginning to attract the butterflies up in the scree garden.

Saturday 29 August 2009

End Of Dragon Dreams.

It's been quite a good day today. First of all, well not too early, Peter and I took a load of stuff to sell to the antique shop man. This is the shop that still has the dragon roof tile I was lusting after and my plan was to get a good exchange deal. However, Peter persuaded me that buying the dragon wasn't such a good idea as spending £200 on a breakable object might be asking for trouble. As I had already done some research on the web and found out that this was only a repro item and as I wasn't so keen when I saw it close up I decided that I would pass up on the dragon. We were very pleased to get over £100 for some chairs and small bits of furniture that all needed fixing and had been moved from my mum's attic to our attic in London and then to our attic in Devon. Really I just wanted to get rid of them and make a little money at the same time. I want to buy something specific with the money and am thinking about some stainless steel saucepans as I find my Le Creuset cookware far too heavy. I was also chuffed to buy a summer top in the sales and when I took it to the checkout the reduction had been increased from 50% to 70%.
Back home I got Linas to help me load up the micra with more stuff for the dump. I also enlisted his help to take photographs while I was driving back from the Ilfracombe dump.
The road runs along the side of a steep valley, this is the only point where you get a view across the valley to the farms and hills beyond.
For most of the time the road is enclosed by trees as it winds its way up the side of the valley.

There are lots of sharp bends in this part of the road until it joins the main road.

This is the main road looking towards the hills of Exmoor.

And then onto our country road.

Looking down somebody's drive into our valley. Dingles is hidden in those bright green trees in the middle of the picture. The small white buildings are our neighbours' new house.

Friday 28 August 2009

I woke this morning to stormy weather. Rain lashing, wind howling through the trees. I love this type of weather especially when, as today, I can snuggle up under the duvet for a lie-in. Of course it would be different if the roof was leaking or the kitchen was cold and damp but luckily our home is warm and snug. I took Romas into town to start his journey for the last major muster of the season at York. First stage, 3 trains to get him to Newbury. There he is meeting Mike, Kate B's brother, and they are driving up to Leicester. There they will stay the night with Vytas and Kate and then drive up to York tomorrow. 3 days of battles, camping and drinking and then home on Tuesday probably bearing a few more bruises and lots of battle tales.
After dropping Romas off I drove to Mortehoe to see if I could fit in a walk in between the showers. I ended up walking for 3 hours with hardly a drop of rain though Linas tells me there was plenty at home. I decided to take the long walk starting by going down towards Bull Point Lighthouse. The first half mile is quite boring along a narrow lane bordered by 12ft hedges that screen the campsites on either side. But suddenly the view opens out and you get the first sight of the sea.
I headed off the main path down a very steep hillside into the combe.

It is a different world down in the combe. An Exmoor woodland with a stream running alongside. The sun was making dappled patterns on the path and it was very warm being sheltered from the wind down in the valley. At times I had to duck to avoid the overhanging trees.

There were some stretches of slippery mud which required careful negotiation so that I didn't twist an ankle or slide into the brambles and singing nettles that were waiting to attack my bare legs.

Finally I made my way out into a grassy amphitheatre and the wind started picking up. A later shot of the combe with the stream totally hidden by the little trees.

And the best part was arriving at this little bay. The sun was glinting off the grey rocks and the wave tops. This was where I stopped to watch the waves and enjoy the beauty of the scene. The flapjack I ate might account for the grease marks on the camera lens after this point. Then it was up the steep cliff path to follow the cliff edge back round towards Morte Point.

There are so many lovely views from the cliff path. The wind was almost blowing me off my feet at times as I ambled my way around but that just made the walk more exhilarating.

I took the 'Never Ending Stairs' steadily so that I didn't strain my knee on the 92 steps. The next set of steps was only 56 steps so I fairly galloped up them, (not really).

I carried on round to Morte Point and had to go and see if there were any seals around. I saw a few heads bobbing in the water. The tide was in but 2 seals were positioned above the sunbathing rocks ready to take possession once the tide dropped. I'm so glad I made the effort to go out as I really enjoyed my walk .
Stop press- Some fisheries people caught a 12 " pirhana in the Torridge. They think it must have been a pet that was released due to its size as they certainly aren't native to these waters.

Thursday 27 August 2009

Back To Work.

The new term doesn't start till next week but I've been into school today to do a bit more preparation in my new classroom. Once the children are back in school life will be back to its usual hectic state and the summer holiday will be a thing of the dim and distant past. Right now its a matter of either pushing on and getting things done or chilling out and enjoying the last few days of the holiday. Chilling out sounds like the better option. It was bright and sunny first thing this morning and I was actually outside washing my micra at 7.30. We lost the sunshine soon after that and the rest of the day has been warm but overcast and it's raining once again this evening with the trees being lashed by strong winds. Out in the garden signs of autumn are already starting to appear. Berries and nuts including these elder berries and the first red tinges are showing in the greenery.
The silver foliage of the artichoke has suffered this year from the constant rain and the 'architectural shape' is a bit lacking but the giant thistle like flowers are still there to enjoy.

I was tempted into buying this geranium by its luscious flowers and it has lived up to its promise in the hanging baskets.
Right now I am being serenaded by guitar music from upstairs. Neither Linas or Romas ever had guitar lessons but I am amazed at how well they play. Sometimes it's very noisy 'heavy' music but at other times it's very melodious.

Wednesday 26 August 2009

Memories 1994.

As I've spent so much time transfering my negatives I thought I share a few memories from those days. (And it's been raining all day here so life's been pretty boring apart from a few mum-taxi runs into town.) It had been a wet summer, what a surprise, but when I ventured outside I found this lamb which had wandered into the garden. We'd had some trenches dug for electricity cables or water pipes and this lamb had been trapped down a trench for a day or more. It looked rather shaky which was why we brought it into the kitchen to warm up by the rayburn. When it finally stood up Big Cat took fright and apparently did a complete circuit of the room at cupboard height. We got in touch with the farmer that owned the lamb and he eventually came and collected it.
A very small Romas playing in front of what is now a bank covered with hardy geraniums. In those days we had a clear view right up the hill as there were no trees or bushes on the rough ground above our garden.

This was the bank 6 months after we moved in. I'd weeded it and persuaded some local road workers to come and dump ditch clearings at the top of the garden instead of the road verge and we barrowed it over the builders' dump in the hillside.

Tuesday 25 August 2009

Mixed Weather.

Funny old weather today. Boiling hot one moment, pouring with rain the next. Every time I went out to do a bit of weeding down would come the rain. So I'd head indoors to transfer more negatives, glance out of the window and see lovely blue skies.
Linas carried on with his patio cleaning work and I cleared more weeds. Later this afternoon I had a dental check up. I've got to have a small filling but I'll have to wait until October to have it done. Good old NHS.

The apples on the trees were shining richly in the sunshine. A lot of them are blown off before they are ripe but the hens don't mind finishing off the windfalls. Nothing much else done today. tomorrows forecast is dire so I'm glad I did get out into the garden.

Monday 24 August 2009

A walk At Morte Point.

This morning as I went off to my physio appointment the weather did not look good. Lots of rain and the roads already beginning to flood right across. There is some improvement with my shoulder but I wasn't impressed when the physio implied that I might have a low pain threshold, HAH ! I only went to the doctor when the pain was waking me up several times a night. Anyway he said that shoulders usually take 3 months to get sorted so it's going to be a long process. Back home I was all set to carry on copying my negatives when reading Sarah Lee's blog inspired to go on a cliff walk despite the rain. Romas wanted to come with me, that saves me carrying a backpack, and by the time we had made a flask of coffee and packed our waterproofs the rain had stopped. In fact once we got to my favourite place to walk, Morte Point, the rain had vanished and we had blue skies and sunshine.

I think this is such a beautiful place to walk. The sea was several shades of blue, fluffy white clouds dotted the sky and Lundy could be seen on the horizon. The sun had brought out the holiday makers but there is enough space for everyone to spread out and it didn't seem too crowded.

As usual I was on the look out for grey seals. Normally I can count on seeing one or two on this stretch of the coast. First we saw one head bobbing in the water, then another and another.

The tide was quite low and the first seal pulled itself out of the water onto an exposed rock. That started a trend as one by one the other seals found themselves a spot on the seaweed strewn island. There was a bit of bickering going on and for the first time I heard the seals using a 'groaning' noise when another seal tried to get into their space.
Eventually as the tide dropped there was enough room for 5 of them on this rock. There is a 6th seal in the water trying to find its way on as well. There were plenty of other suitable rocky outcrops but this was obviously the only one that would do.

As more walkers came by they also stopped to look at and photograph the seals. (Their rock was just off the bottom right hand side of the picture.) Some of the walkers ventured lower down the cliff to get a better view.

When we stopped for a coffee break Romas was up to his usual trick of frightening me by going close to the cliff edge.

All in all it was a glorious walk and I'm so glad that I decided to be a bit more energetic.

Sunday 23 August 2009

A Garden Day.

Today has been dry but overcast. There was a bit of rain in the middle of the day which was enough to put me off going to the car boot sale. I'd like to fit in one more car boot sale before the end of summer. Peter had lots of OU work to do so once I got myself organised I was outside again clearing more weeds. Here are some of the steps Romas sorted yesterday, that go half way up the steep clay bank that dominates the garden.

And the steps he worked on in the middle of the bank. I keep them as grass steps but over the years they develop a slope which can be treacherous in wet weather. Originally this was a jumble of rocks and builders' rubbish and the whole bank has virtually no top soil at all so I am quite pleased at the way it has turned out.There is a second path higher up the bank which is where I have been working on clearing weeds. The bit on the left hand side has some horrible grass growing in it with thick runners deep in the soil so I'm going to have to dig the whole lot up and then replace the London Pride which carpeted that whole section. The scree garden, once the pool, is on the terrace above the bank.

This afternoon Linas down loaded the software to get my negative scanner working and I've started scanning in my 35mm negatives. It is quite time consuming and today's films were from the year we moved here when there was no garden at all and there were no trees on our neighbour's piece of rough land below his fields. We used to have a clear view up the hill but now we are totally screened by the full grown trees.

It is my birthday today so I have been indulging in some nice chocolates but the planned beach barbecue has been postponed until Peter is not so busy with his studies. The boys cooked a lovely supper but forgot about such sissy things as cards. That's boys for you. I don't even get upset any more. This card from a friend says it all.
Well, it made me laugh out loud.

Saturday 22 August 2009

A Gardening day.

Today has been dry but overcast down here in the south west. I understand that the sun was shining in other parts of the country but I'm getting used to the rubbish weather we're having this summer. Peter and I went into town this morning to look at some art work being exhibited by some one he knows but I wasn't all that keen on it. I had a wander round the shops and bought an extra soft fleece bed throw for Romas to take with him to uni. The rest of the day has been spent out in the garden. The boys have finally realised that if they want to earn some money they do actually need to do some work. Linas has been weeding the paved areas and Romas did a grand job repairing the steps cut into the clay bank. I got on with more weeding. It's very annoying that bits of the garden that I cleared at the beginning of the summer are now quite overgrown. All this rain has encouraged growth and stopped me from being motivated to go out and do lots of weeding. I did have to keep stopping to take pictures of the wildlife that rustles, flaps and creeps all over the garden. There were lots of these blue tailed damsel flies flitting about above the grass.
While the grasshoppers enjoyed a spot of sunbathing on the warm stones.

And this tiny, 2cms, toad watched me weeding for a while before disappearing back under the stones.

Friday 21 August 2009

Sunshine And Showers.

'Blustery showers', said the nice weather lady on the tv and that is just what we had all morning. The chickens had to wait for their breakfast until there was a break in the weather. Later in one of the sunny spells I went outside to do some deadheading of the buddleias. I had to be careful as bumble bees often sit on the flowers during the rain and then wait for the sunshine to dry them off. This one did wave his legs at me when I accidentally moved his branch but he was too soggy to fly for some time.
Things dried up very quickly once the sun came out again and in no time the bush was covered in butterflies and bees.

I even spotted a newcomer, a Comma butterfly, so called because it has a little white comma mark on the underside of its wings.
This afternoon I went to the hospital to see the orthopedic consultant, or at least one of her minions. I got sent down for x-rays and the good news is that there are no signs of arthritis in my hips at all. There are signs of bursitis which should be treatable but most of my problems are in my spine. (That all dates back to having children.) So now I have been referred for some vigorous physiotherapy (like at the chiropractors ?) to try and sort out those vertebrae.
When I finally got home this afternoon I had a lovely stroll around the garden just looking at colour combinations and interesting shapes.