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.

Tuesday 31 May 2016

Weeding & Reading.

The day started with sun and plenty of wind, perfect for hanging out washing. So I was up early to get the sheets in the washing machine and then out on the line.  
You never know how long the fine weather is going to last so donning wellies and rubber gloves I braved the depths (okay it's only 2ft deep at the moment) of the pond and pulled out lots of grass that was growing happily in the water. I also took out a lot of the pond weed to give the water lilies a bit more space. By the time I had finished I had filled my big laundry weed basket 4 times. The weeds are dumped next to the stream so I don't feel guilty about making any pond life homeless. Then I hand clipped some lawn edges and tidied up the steps and path on the hillside. At the same time I weeded the flower beds on either side of the path. For the moment it looks nice and tidy.
By the time I stopped for a rest it was getting cooler but it was still so relaxing to sit outside and read. More weeding, then reading followed before I came inside to iron the bedding and prepare a salad for my supper.
On one of my forays into the loft I had brought down a collection of old kitchen tins, mainly biscuit cutters and pastry tins. I photographed them in sets thinking I might try them on eBay but I think I'll put them as a complete lot on Gumtree first.

Monday 30 May 2016

Peaceful Day.

Another lovely day with a gentle breeze to temper the heat of the sun. When I woke this morning unusually my hands were seized up which I took as a sign that I should ease up on the manual work for a while. Instead I spent most of the day working on my Top-Secret Project which I've now completed.
Whenever I sit down at the pc it's not long before a cat comes along wanting to sit on my lap. Most of my computer work is done in the evenings when Squeaky is the only cat indoors so she feels my lap is her domain. Sometimes during the day Patch turns up and asks very nicely, by putting one paw on my knee, if he can sit up on my lap where he turns into a blob. If I need to stand up he stays in position until I slide him gently onto the floor where he carries on sleeping. Squeaky on the other hand jumps down as soon as I lean forward and say something in a brisk voice.
It was such a nice day that although there were other things I could have done I spent the latter part of the afternoon relaxing outside. The breeze in the trees sounded like water tumbling over rocks or waves gently breaking on a pebbly shore. Being a Bank Holiday there was less traffic than usual and the occasional sound of a tractor was drowned out by bird song. Might as well enjoy it all while I can.

Sunday 29 May 2016


Yesterday evening we had an intense thunderstorm. It doesn't look as if it was linked to the lightning strikes in Europe. but when the rain finally arrived it was if the heavens had opened and for a while water poured down both sides of the drive. Luckily it was for too short a time to do much damage but that might be one thing I won't miss when we leave here.
Today has been another lovely summery day. Peter went off rowing in the morning while I climbed up into the loft and emptied out some more boxes. I also brought down the rocking horse, I mean everyone has to have a rocking horse in the attic. Ours is a modern one bought for Vytas by my mother and sports a rather shortened mane due to a young Vytas getting hold of some scissors. I've also been pressure washing and weeding but as it was so lovely today more time has been spent just relaxing. While we lived in London we would spend all year looking forward to our 3 weeks in June at the chalets down at Saunton Sands. Then when we moved here we could go to the beach at a moment's notice (ignore the time spent rounding up the children, making sandwiches and packing all the beach gear) so it didn't matter that we couldn't afford holidays. Now I can take micro-holidays where I enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside in exclusive near-isolation whenever the sun shines. I just pull out the sun lounger, grab a book and a mug of earl grey and enjoy the moment.
I've also been working on a little project but that's top secret for the moment.

Saturday 28 May 2016

Hare Today,

When I first opened my eyes to look at the world this morning it was distinctly wet, at my second look I could see nothing but blue and by the time I finally got up it was more on the cloudy side. It felt like rain a couple of times but so far nothing. I got on with pressure washing and then the usual hide-our-stuff-away for an afternoon viewing. As it might look a bit crowded with 4 cars in the yard I took mine up the hill and parked by the top field. Walking down the drive quietly I spotted 2 hares chasing each other on the far side of the field. We get hares up in the fields while the rabbits are generally on the gorse covered valley sides.
The May (Hawthorn) blossom has been a bit late this year seeing as it is nearly June. Elsewhere elder bushes are flowering but I shan't be attempting elderflower champagne this year. 
Once the viewing was over (no feedback yet) and I had walked up the hill to collect my car I decided to call it a day.  I feel I'm almost on top of the weeding as every time I walk through the garden I stop to clear another spot of weeds. 
All day long there has been a steady drift of summer snow from the willow trees. Not good for hayfever sufferers but very pretty and romantic.
The stag was back in the garden this morning so he got shouted at to send him on his way.

Friday 27 May 2016

Rainy Day.

Before heading off to bed yesterday evening I went up for one last swoosh with the pressure washer. It was half past nine and still light as I cleaned a few more slabs while a few fields away I could hear somebody working in the fields cutting hay. Job done I put away my tools and went off to bed. Not until later did I remember that I had left the extension lead still plugged in and outside. Out I went in my pjs into the now dark garden where I found that it had indeed started to rain. I hadn't bothered with a torch so had to stumble about in the dark trying not to fall over all the hoses attached to the pressure washer while trying to locate a bucket by touch. Once found the bucket went over the extension lead reel which was just long enough to move under the overhang. By then it was raining quite heavily so I was very glad that I had remembered albeit a bit late.
We had quite a lot of rain this morning, bad news for the farmers and it has just started up again. During the dry part of the day I got more pressure washing done and weeded the whole of the path around the little pond.  
I also made a start on bringing down and sorting stuff from the loft. Very little has gone in the bin but most of the rest will go on eBay and/or the charity shops. Having failed to bake cakes yesterday I baked some chocolate cup-cakes and will freeze some ready for next Friday.
Guess who was back 15 minutes ago?

Thursday 26 May 2016

Outdoor Day.

Although it was a bit cold in the morning today turned out rather nice in the end. I got lots of outside work done and had a good break during a hot spell reading, drinking tea and eating Greek (Turkish) delight. 
I had forgotten just how much better the paving looks after being cleaned. I also carried on weeding between the slabs with my trusty (old) steak knife. Once I've got all the existing weeds out I shall turn to the Dark Side and spray in between the slabs with weed killer. There are so many seeds blowing about at the moment  that I need to take extreme measures.
I also cut all the grass as we have people coming to look at the house on Saturday. I had planned to do some baking for Peter's work which I forgot about until I came back inside at 6.00. They'll have to wait until next week. 

Wednesday 25 May 2016

Lots of Wildlife.

It was still sunny this morning but much colder with a sharp wind. Good weather for the farmers who are cutting grass for hay and silage. That does mean more tractors on the roads hauling extra large trailers of grass. I thought I was going to get stuck behind one this morning but for once the driver pulled over to let me pass. Sometimes they are so intent on getting their job done that you end up driving behind them for miles going at 25 mph.
As I drove up the hill to work I saw a new goose family, 4 goslings this time. Both families were still in the field when I came home 5 hours later. 
Today's staff meeting had been cancelled so instead of just going down to the Co-Op I went over the bridge to Lidl's to stock up. Next week is half-term so I wont be going into town quite so often. 
When I got back into my car I noticed a duck sitting down in the car park which I thought rather strange.  I thought it so odd I drove over to check if it was alright. Then as I got out of the car not only did the duck get up but there were 2 drakes also sitting down on the walkway. I suppose they were enjoying the warmth of the tarmac. 
On my way home I stopped on the back road because there were 2 big lambs running about on the road. They ran off back into their field but instead of going through the gap by the gate into the field they turned to the side and were trapped between the netting fence and the hedge. I risked life and limb climbing over the gate which was only held up with a rope at one end and a chain at the other but that only frightened the lambs into running further along the hedge. There wasn't anything I could do so I left them.
Then when I came home there was a moorhen happily  paddling about in the stream. Not a good idea with our cats around. I made sure the cats stayed in for a while to give the moorhen time to wander off.

Tuesday 24 May 2016


Perfect weather today- lots of sun with a cooling breeze. In the morning I began the task of pressure washing the paving around the scree garden. I can only do a bit at a time so in between I scraped out the weeds from between the slabs as it was looking rather scruffy up there. 
At school I took my class out for PE on the field. It was just about dry enough for the floor based work we were supposed to be doing according to the new PE scheme and I let them finish off with some throwing of beanbags to each other. After school I went into town to change my library books. I went into a few clothes shops but I must be getting set in my ways because I saw nothing at all that I liked. I even thought about what I would pick if everything in each shop was free and I can honestly say I wouldn't have picked anything. Now if our Monsoon hadn't shut down I would have been spoilt for choice but none of today's fashion appealed to me. I still scour the rails for sleeveless, low neck, flowy tunic style tops which aren't around at the moment. That said I have more than enough clothes for work and at home I'm just a happy scruff. 
I did a bit more washing & weeding when I got home coming in only reluctantly because time is getting on and Peter does have to get up early for work in the morning.  

Monday 23 May 2016


It's been sunny again today, warm in the sun and cool in the breeze. We had more people coming to view today so I spent most of the morning tidying up. I did manage to do a little weeding and planted out some Perovskia  plantlets. I wasn't here for the viewing but Peter was home to answer questions after the agent had shown them around. Apparently the wife loved the place but the husband possibly not as much.
At school we are coming to the end of our theme of Special Places and as this is the last week I showed them a powerpoint and a video about visiting a mosque. Barnstaple is still not very multi-cultural so it's important for the children to learn about other people's faiths.
It was so nice this evening that I sat outside with a book to enjoy the sunshine and birdsong.

Sunday 22 May 2016

Splashing Geese.

All this optimistic house viewing is not good for my head. Last night I couldn't get to sleep thinking about the different options, what we need to do next and where our furniture would go. Peter was snoring rather loudly so around midnight I took myself down to surf the net. When I did go back to bed my head was still buzzing and by 4.00 I got up and went downstairs to make notes on the estate agents' leaflets. Usually when I can't sleep it's because some bit of me is aching and taking more painkillers helps me to sleep. But last night there was no reason to justify taking more pills, until I changed position very slightly/ took an extra deep breath when my back began to ache. Took some pills then and got to sleep just after 5.00. I didn't sleep in for long because I didn't want to upset my body clock so hopefully I'll sleep normally tonight.
We  had some intense showers in the morning with sunny spells in between which gradually lengthened into a sunny afternoon and evening. I caught up with backing up all my photos and did some school work before deciding that I could do a little work outside. 
I split some of the smaller hardy geraniums and planted them out in the veg plot and did some weeding up there as well. I got distracted for a while by the goose family splashing and swimming in the lake. I finished off my gardening by clearing the gravel path in the bog garden. During the winter a lot of silt gets deposited on the path so today's weeding was more a matter of scraping off the inch or so of silt and the weeds growing in it. Having a defined path makes it look like a bit of garden rather than a wild patch by the stream. 

Saturday 21 May 2016

House Viewing.

Rather wet today, not the best sort of weather for showing off our house. However the people that came seemed very taken with the place and spent an hour looking around. There's no point in getting our hopes up but at least they said lots of nice things.

We also had a successful viewing (across the road from this morning's couple's house). This was another bungalow 4 doors down from the last one we looked at. This bungalow is smaller but in better condition, and a lot cheaper than the first one. One thing I like is that the main bedroom window looks over the garden where in the other one the high window looked at the end of the next house. The views from the garden show why we are quite taken with this location though the field is one of the ones possibly up for development should the council give planning permission. 
Looking the other way you can see across the estuary to the Saunton sand dunes. 
It has rained all day so no chance of going out and doing any gardening.

Friday 20 May 2016

Nature Pictures.

This morning I spent some time pulling out the worst of the weeds, mainly bracken, from the scree garden. I must find time to go over the whole of the scree garden properly as it is looking a bit wild at the moment. I was teaching in the afternoon and on the way I left my car at the garage. After the noisy exhaust incident the other day there was still a worrying rattle coming from underneath the car so I had booked it in for this afternoon. It turned out there was only a bit of adjustment needed for which there was no charge. I like my local garage. I was teaching my usual reception class and being Friday the children have a more relaxed afternoon. I gathered up a bag of PE equipment and took them out for 15 mins active play to burn off some of their energy. As the teaching assistant was needed in the other class I couldn't hear readers but got to read the class a story at the end of the day.
When I got home there was just enough time for me to cut all the grass before the rain began. It turns out that the people coming to view our house tomorrow do live in the road we are looking at but not in the grand house. Also Peter knows the chap, small world.
 Spot the squirrel.
The FB nature picture challenge has got me looking for interesting nature photo opportunities. The squirrel and I saw each other through the sitting room window and the poor squirrel froze hoping I hadn't seen him. 
Earlier these 2 blackbirds were fighting over a female and I found the newt (about 5 cms long) under a stone in the scree garden.