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 30 September 2013


It's still warm but rather overcast today. It didn't make much difference to me as I was teaching all day. I worked with a Year 2 class and they spent the day working together to make posters about African animals. 
I was driving home by 4.30 and already the mist was rolling in. I slowed down at a couple of gateways where I generally get good views and couldn't see beyond the hedges at the far side of the nearest fields. 
At home a walk around the garden revealed only a couple of butterflies but something was going on in the cornus. 
A  merry gathering of shield bugs. Some of the leaves were looking shrivelled but not enough to worry about.

Sunday 29 September 2013


For a brief half hour  this morning it was hot. Then the sky grew overcast and the temperature dropped but it was still very pleasant for an autumn day.
The tops of the trees are beginning to look bare as they lose their leaves in the ever present wind. I got some work done in the garden, mainly partly cutting back the buddlias.  They'll get a proper trim in the spring otherwise they'll get right out of hand. Peter was out at the gig club, his first time as coach to the junior crew. He said once the girls stopped chattering they all did remarkably well. I spent the rest of the afternoon getting stuff ready for work tomorrow. 
By the evening I felt the need to stretch my legs so I took myself off for a walk up the hill. Despite the breeze it was warm enough in just shorts and t-shirt. 
It felt good to be striding along the road and I was able to take in both the detailed and far reaching sights that nature provides. Being Sunday evening there were very few cars to be heard across the hills. Just the song of solitary birds and the occasional yip of a puppy somewhere down the valley. I am so fortunate to be living in such beautiful surroundings.

Saturday 28 September 2013


It has rained on and off all day and I've done very little. But I don't feel bad because I got so much done yesterday. I had a go at making vegan chocolate (just because I  came across the recipe) but it wasn't that nice. It uses coconut oil and as there has been a lot recently about how coconut oil helps brain repair I thought it would be good to find a tasty way to include it in my diet. I don't think this is the way. Peter went out rowing, they don't take any notice of the rain and later we'll be watching a double bill of Strictly. This time of year we turn into dance experts bandying about technical terms as if it wasn't 40 years since we were dancers, and that was only folk dancing where all we worried about was remembering the steps. 

Friday 27 September 2013


The sun made a fairly early appearance this morning. Naturally I abandoned my indoor jobs and spent the rest of the day working outside. 
Once again the butterflies were out making the most of every patch of sun. I was able to get several major autumn jobs done, first cutting down and clearing the clumps of giant crocosmia that flank the driveway and then doing the same with the stand of 7ft tall purple loosestrife. I had planned to move some buddlia bushes that I had grown from cuttings but the grass cutting took priority. I left that until the end of the afternoon to take advantage of the sun and the breeze but it was all still pretty wet and I had to keep clearing the mower. But it has made the garden look a lot tidier and who knows if I'll get another chance to cut the grass this year. 
The breeze was enough to get one load of washing dry and I got that ironed and put away this evening. It is so nice to be walking around a warm house once more. 
In between each job I took a tea break outside and read my book. During one of these breaks the postman drove up and delivered some letters. One was a scam letter which made me smile. Not for one moment do I believe I had an unknown relative, suddenly deceased, who has deposited 14 million $US in a bank in China but it was fun to daydream about how I would spend the 50% some kind person would make available to me. I'll be giving the fraud office a ring in the morning. 
There was just time at the end of the day to catch the last of the sun. As I shifted into the last tiny patch of sunlight the butterflies had the same idea and kept sitting on me to soak up the sun's warmth.
It's dark now and raining once more so I am really glad I was able to enjoy a whole day in the sun.

Thursday 26 September 2013


It's been a day of mellow autumn mists. This was the view this evening but it was very similar as I drove in to work at lunch time. Not quite as warm as the last few days but not cold. School was much the same as usual though I had to give my Year 2s the "I am very disappointed with you....." talk about the way they lined up and walked back to the classroom. More like a rabble than an orderly line.
After work I had to go and get some petrol so I parked in a 1 hour-free space and walked up to the High Street. After a visit to the health food shop I was doing a little browsing when I made a totally indulgent purchase. I have enough hoodies already but not only was this in rich shades of purple but the inside was a beautifully soft plush. And there was only 1 in my size. Even in sale (though this is one of those shops where most things are less than the ticket price), it was at the top end of the amount I would consider paying. But I just couldn't resist. No more clothes buying for a while.

Wednesday 25 September 2013


The sun burned off the early morning mist and by the time I left for work the garden thermometer was reading 33C. I found time to plant a few self-sown seedlings but most of my morning was spent in the kitchen; baking flapjacks, sieving cooked apples and putting more apple slices in the warmer oven to dry. The trouble with drying apple rings or pieces is that they get eaten faster than I can make them. Last night's rings got a bit too crispy so I've cut thicker slices for the current batch. 
The butterflies were out again in great numbers enjoying the sun and feeding on the sedum flowers.
Today was my first afternoon with the new Reception children (4 yrs). This is their first week of full days and they are quite hard work.  Every year we seem to get more children who have obviously never been told no but are very good at saying no to adults. Hmm. I went and asked 2 little boys to come and paint a picture and while one came amenably while the other one first said no and then when I took his hand threw himself on the ground and screamed. I tried explaining that he could bring his helmet and the weapon he had made along with him but to no avail. So I settled the other lad to his painting, went back and simply picked up the protester and before he knew it he was indoors. And then he painted a picture quite happily. 
After the children went home we had a staff meeting on the new curriculum the government has brought in. The curriculum gets changed every few years sometimes even before the last lot of changes are implemented. There was a lot to discuss so I didn't leave school until after 5.30. 
Coming home the sky was all grey with very little variation and it has now begun to rain gently.

Tuesday 24 September 2013


The wind last week blew just about every single red apple from the tree so I picked them up from the ground. Not many of them are full size and undamaged but I plan to cook the rest to a purée which I can freeze and then make up into apple leather a batch at a time. That way I'll have a tasty treat which is allowed on my diet.
It was a warm and hazy morning. I was running a bit behind schedule so I couldn't stop to try and capture the landscape which looked like a collage where each range of hills and trees made a silhouette in different shades of grey. 
The sun broke through during the afternoon and standing outside during afternoon play one of the children said to me "It's like Africa (the current topic), Miss." Coming home the clouds made the sky into a series of watercolours.
This evening I cleaned and sorted the apples. My largest saucepan is full of stewed apple and I'm trying a tray of rings drying in the warmer oven of the rayburn to see if they will be successful this year.

Monday 23 September 2013


This is our potato crop. From an 8ft row of 2 bags (given) of seed potatoes. There was one more large one but it had been hollowed out by a happy band of slugs. I wasn't expecting much after the slugs kept chomping on the leaves but this is rather paltry. I don't think I shall bother again.
The day started out overcast and humid but when I came out of Tesco;s after doing stuff I haven't mentioned yet, this is what I saw. Well not this view because I took these photos on the way home but the almost cloudless blue skies.
Getting back to reporting in a chronological order my morning was spent first digging and looking for non-existent potatoes and then weeding the rest of the veg/ propagation bed. I had my last hydrotherapy session today and perversely this morning was the first time I could lie on either hip without any pain. But after my gardening the right hip at least was sore once more. I reported all of this to the physiotherapist  who agreed to refer me back to the consultant who gave me the injections that worked and decreased the pain by 50%. I may have to wait some time but at least he seems able to hit the spot unlike my GP and the trainee doctor. I also came home with a sheet of exercises to help strengthen my spine. It has been lovely going to the hot pool though it's not my flexibility or strength that's a problem but sitting or lying down. That's why I'm chasing every avenue now because one day I will have to slow down and do more sitting and lying down and I would rather not be in pain.
I also waved my poorly thumb at the physios. The base is swollen and became impressively red in the warm pool. The consensus was that I had probably had a slight dislocation and that my first aid was spot on. 
After the hospital I went over to the studio where Gemma gave me the photo she took the other day, printed and mounted in a nice wooden frame. We had a coffee and a good chat and then I went and did some shopping in Tescos. I bought another sleeveless t-shirt top for work. Because I bought a size larger so that it is nice and loose I will have to alter the arm holes which I have done on several other tops. Seeing the lovely sunshine I raced home but by the time I threw the washing in the machine and washed my hair there was only the tiniest patch of sun left in the garden. Just enough for me to sit out and let my hair dry naturally.

Sunday 22 September 2013


After yesterday's rest I was ready to go out and tackle the rest of the branches while Peter went off to row and do his safety officer stuff at the gig club. Towards the end I was pulling a big branch when suddenly it broke free trapping my thumb as it twisted over. In that split second I thought "**** , my thumb is being broken or dislocated!" But when I pulled it free I was most relieved to see that I could still bend it. Fearing that I may done some damage to the tendons I went inside to administer first aid. (My boys always knew that in the case of burns, bangs or even blood the first thing that happened was the damaged area would be put under a cold tap. ) I gave myself a full 10 mins under the icy tap and then applied anti-inflammatory gel liberally. Luckily it hasn't swollen up but is a bit sore if I apply pressure against the thumb, well that's my career as a concert pianist down the drain.
It has been rather warm today but the low clouds have kept it quite humid. There were a few butterflies around taking advantage of the late flowers.  
I'm not sure who this spider was waiting for. I hope it was the flies rather than the butterflies.
I also took down 4 of the hanging baskets around the front door and replaced them with wind chimes. I left the lowest 2 baskets because even though the surfinias are just about over, the lobelia still adds a bit of cheerfulness. 

Saturday 21 September 2013


We woke up to another wet day. Hoping it wasn't too wet to rebuild the chimney Peter went and collected the Matbro from Bowden Farm. Unfortunately the Matbro could only be placed side on to the end of the house and after some consideration the builder said it didn't give him safe access to the whole chimney. As he has to remove what could be an unstable structure it is best to go with his judgement and unfortunately we will have to hire scaffolding. 
We were enveloped in wet cloud for the rest of the day. Even before yesterday's tree cutting I had felt really tired and was even more tired today so I gave up and took things easy. 
But that didn't stop me driving in to town to see the fireworks. I picked up my friend first and she was sensibly dressed in waterproofs. People in Devon don't let a bit of drizzle keep them at home and there were plenty of townsfolk out to enjoy the fireworks and the annual fair
After the fireworks we joined the crowds making their way to the fairground. As usual there were many stalls selling candy-floss, popcorn, sweets, toffee apples, doughnuts, hot dogs, burgers and noodles. All very tempting but absolutely not allowed on my diet.  
There did not seem to be quite so many rides this year and worst of all no carousel. Lots of kiddies versions but not full size gallopers. We had been looking forward to riding those gaily painted horses sedately above the crowd but not this year. My friend has been going to the fair all her life and she remembers a few years when there has been no carousel so hopefully it will be back next year. 
There were still lots of people there but it was noticeable that there were fewer people on the rides. No large crowds waiting for their turn to be spun upside down or round and round at great speed. The recession is leaving everyone with less money to spend.

Friday 20 September 2013


Who needs to go to the gym when you have a saw and trees to cut down? The picture doesn't really show the amount of branches I cut down but it took me the whole day. I got a big branch cut and cleared away in the morning but it took nearly 4 hours just to cut through the other offending branch. It took so long partly because I am just a weak and feeble woman but it was also because I was standing at the top of a ladder, one foot up in the tree and my right arm wrapped around a branch leaving my left hand to cut the branch which was higher still. By the time I finally got it down, and unfortunately ripped another branch off my energy ran out and I'll cut it up another day. I guess I might have a few aches tomorrow and my thumb has gone dead.
We've got a builder coming tomorrow to tear down and rebuild the wonky chimney. Peter will be fetching down the Matbro tomorrow morning so I took my micra up the hill and parked it in a field gateway. It looked like a pleasant evening as I walked back down the hill. 

Thursday 19 September 2013

Sunny Afternoon.

Weather-wise it's been a day of contrasts. This morning was grey, windy and wet but in the afternoon it turned into glorious sunshine. I spent the morning in town first meeting my friend for a chat, coffee and an indulgent slice of cheese cake. I'd parked my car at school so I was able to have a wander around the shops before walking back to work. I found myself a tunic top in a lightweight soft fabric which will be ideal for work when it gets colder.
I taught one of the Year 2 classes in the afternoon and then I spent over an hour sticking work in books and sticking in captions for the next few weeks as well. I still have to do the same for the other year 2 class but then all their DT/geography work for this  half term will be together. 
I made a quick trip to the supermarket and then it was home through the lovely sunshine to our shaded valley.  
These blackberries are growing by our shed. I should go out around the lanes and see if I can find some more.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

The Sun Returns.

The sun made a welcome appearance for a few hours this afternoon. I was teaching for the whole day and it was a real pleasure to take the children out for a sunny playtime.
After school we had a chap come in to lead a session on autism/aspergers which was very interesting. As the govt reduces the specialist help and schools for children with these diagnoses we find that we have more children in each class with these very distinct needs so it was useful to learn a bit more about how these children think and react. 
Staying late at school saved me from more grouchiness on my way home. That's the grouchiness that over comes me when I see the hunt followers. There was an open  horse box parked on the lane but there wasn't anyone for me to glare at. I do wish I could learn not to get so worked up about the hunt, I mean I was shooting at the rooks again this morning before leaving for work but they are only getting pinged with pellets from an airsoft rifle which are deigned not to harm.