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 January 2017


We had a damp morning which turned into a wet afternoon. 
At school it was handwriting again but I changed things around a little bit so that one group at a time were able to play outside. We have an adequate shelter which they were supposed to stay under but naturally, even with an adult outside with them, they returned back to the classroom rather wet. I also moved where my TA worked with children so that she could supervise another group in the role play area. This left fewer children with me in the classroom which kept the noise levels down.
Despite the rain I had to go into town after school to post back the latest shoes from the specialist shoe makers. (I can't just hand them to our regular postman because although they have a pre-paid sticker I have to get a 'proof of posting' as well.) I've tried 6 pairs and only found 1 pair of lace ups that fitted so I'm giving up for the moment. I also dropped in at the library much to the amusement of a child from our school who was there with her mother. I got some reduced blueberries and fresh pineapple in the Co-Op and Peter brought home some mangoes as well so I have plenty of nice fruit to eat this week.

Monday 30 January 2017

Still Wet.

More rain today, not as heavy as yesterday but wet enough.

I had my lesson observation this afternoon. The feedback from the PE co-ordinator was constructive. All I can say about anything else is that I hope the house sells soon. I'm unlucky enough to have reached 60, which was the retirement age for women, at the same time as the government moved the retirement age to 66. I'm tired of struggling with my back and stocking up on painkillers just so that I can go to work. Once we do downsize I can afford to stop working and look forward to the next stage in our lives.

Sunday 29 January 2017


It rained heavily last night and continued to rain steadily all through the day. I did go up to check the dams and made sure that all the water flowing down the road was diverted onto the field but that was my only venture outside. 
My other job today was to write up the plan for tomorrow's PE lesson when I will be observed by the Head teacher  and another teacher who hadn't been able to do his peer observation of my PE last term. 

Outside a small flock of pheasants, 1 cock and about 5 hens, have flapped their way up into one of the trees by the stream. They look too big to be sitting up there but I suppose it keeps them safe from foxes.

Saturday 28 January 2017

Some Sun.

Today we've had sunny spells and showers, both brief and cloudy for the rest of the time.  
When I went out to take some photos (during a sunny spell of course) I couldn't help getting down to ground level to clear a low growing plant of the moss growing through and over it. Not the best thing to do at the moment but I didn't want to see that poor plant smothered. I did do some gardening later on but clearing the leaves and occasional weed from the top of the stone wall by the scree garden could be done while standing.
My other jobs of the day were working on the journal and baking a cake. A simple chocolate pound cake - just because I had the ingredients.
I got very excited when the postman delivered yet another box of shoes which I'd only ordered a few days ago. Imagine my disappointment when the slip on ballet type shoes were too small (and they don't come in a bigger size) and while the short ankle boots were wide enough there was no grip at the back and my heels were going up and down in a way that would soon give me blisters. I tried different combinations of the removable insoles and my shaped inserts and even placed a spare insole around the heel but that pushed my foot forward and squished my toes so unfortunately both pairs of shoes will be going back. Crocs (and my cheap fake Crocs) are perfect for my feet but it would have been nice to have some proper shoes.
A shame this photo of Squeaky isn't sharp, I'll try again next time she sits in this patch of sunlight.

Friday 27 January 2017


The day started off  warm and sunny, almost spring-like but by lunchtime everything had gone grey and felt as if it might rain at any moment. So far it hasn't rained but it does feel a lot colder, I hope we're not in for another cold snap.
During the morning I couldn't resist doing a little leaf clearing from the front patio after which I retired indoors to do more work on my journal.
This afternoon I made a cheese quiche and some cheese straws using up some frozen short crust pastry. I did check out a proper recipe for a cheese quiche but it was much the same as I would do anyway. I used up the left over pastry to make the cheese straws making up the recipe myself. I also finally completed my crochet project but can't post any photos for a couple of weeks.

Thursday 26 January 2017


It's been a cold and windy day. I thought I'd take advantage of the wind and get some washing out on the line. What I didn't take into consideration was that that although the tops of the trees were swaying wildly in the south-easterly wind the woodshed and the hill behind were sheltering the washing line and my washing didn't get as dry as I'd hoped it would. However a short spell over the rayburn and then a hot iron did the trick.
For the rest of the day I've been working on my journal. I'm really enjoying looking at the blog and revisiting memories but I was a bit annoyed when I realised I'd spent about an hour making notes on a year that has already been done. All morning Patch and Squeaky were like little children following me around in the hope of being able to sit on my lap. Patch was literally under my feet as I did my morning housework following me from room to room. A couple of times I had both of them sitting on my lap but that didn't work as I kept needing to get up and look at stuff in the kitchen. I tried putting Squeaky on her blanket next to a radiator but as the radiator wasn't on she kept jumping up onto my chair. Eventually they gave up and sat together next to the rayburn. Now that the central heating is on Speedy is snoring as he leans against a radiator and Squeaky is sleeping underneath another. Patch and Speedy are not begging for food even though it is nearly their feeding time because earlier on I discovered that semolina goes off. I had a bag in the cupboard and thought I'd make some for later but once it was cooked it tasted nasty so the cats had it instead.
I've almost finished my latest crochet project, a bit of sewing and a couple of rows to do and it will be done. I'm already eyeing up a ball of multi-coloured wool and planning a simple ribbed hat for myself.

Wednesday 25 January 2017


We had a cold, frosty morning followed by lots of sun. 
When I went outside to find somethings to photograph I was intrigued by a small patch of sunlight at the back of one of the flower beds. As can be seen by the burnt out sky I was facing into the sun so that corner should have been in the shade. It was only as I moved my hand (below) that I worked out this was part of the house behind me, probably one of the windows reflecting the sun into the flowerbed.
 These frosted leaves were in the same flowerbed.
At school I had the reception class for phonics and PE. As the children were writing on their whiteboards in phonics I was pleased to see that nearly all of them were forming m, n & h correctly so yesterday's handwriting lesson must have sunk in. After school I went into town as I had 2 pairs of shoes and the slippers to send back. Maybe I'll have better luck with the next pair I buy. I think the wider fit shoes are designed more with people who have swollen feet in mind rather than just broad feet and toes like mine.

Tuesday 24 January 2017

New Monitor.

We had a frosty morning and cloudy day. While I was at work Peter replaced the tiny monitor (above) with an even bigger than the last one monitor (below). He only ordered it yesterday so that was a very quick delivery. We nearly missed the delivery, the delivery people are paid so little (about 60p per item I think) that if you don't answer the door immediately they drive off. On one occasion the chap drove off before Peter had the chance to stick his head out of the window to say he was on his way to the door. This morning I was sat at the kitchen table with a clear view of the front yard while Peter was upstairs in his study. Luckily he was keeping an eye out and saw the delivery van head down to our neighbours' where he must have knocked on the house door and got no answer, everybody being out in the barns or on the land. Peter quickly ran out onto the drive and stopped the driver as he was going off up the hill with a 'missed delivery'.
As I drove home this evening I saw smoke coming from the chimney and thought the oil man still hadn't come but he had, the central heating was on and Peter had lit the fire to make things extra cosy.
At school I had a pleasant afternoon teaching children how to write m correctly. This was followed by a staff meeting where we discussed ways of showing the parents how we teach reading and maths so that they can be a bit more involved. We already run afternoon and evening sessions every year to talk about reading especially and the video clips we made a while back are on the school website but parents may be invited to watch their child in guided reading sessions or to take part in maths games with the children and/or we'll make maths video clips so that parents can be directed to appropriate activities for their child.
After the meeting I popped into the Co-Op for fresh vegetables. In the clearance section I found some storage bags (made from a kind of synthetic fabric that zips up) at 75% off. In the optimistic hope that the house will sell this year I bought 6 as I thought they would be good for putting each room's curtains in. Peter had a serious word with the estate agents the other day and we have dropped the price to a more realistic level. We've got one viewing booked already and somebody drove down to the top of our drive to have a look today. Fingers crossed for this year.

Monday 23 January 2017


I looked out of one bedroom window this morning to see blue sky and sunshine but when I looked out of the other window everything was gloomy under grey clouds.  Luckily the cloudbank drifted away inland and the whole day has been filled with sunshine. While not as warm as yesterday neither was it as cold as previous days.
I went to check my emails (okay actually Facebook first) to find my monitor darkened and flicking itself on and off. After checking all the connections the verdict from Peter was that my great big monitor screen was 'no more' and needs to go in the re-cycling box. While I was at work he found me a spare monitor for the time being and has ordered me a new large screen. This one is teeny tiny, almost as small as one of those notebooks people have. The individual items/photos are the same size or a little bigger than I'm used to but I have to do a lot of scrolling to see the whole page.
At school I had my Year 2 class for SPaG and PE, both of which went well and after a bit of marking I was away quite early. 
Driving home the countryside was bathed in a lovely golden light. 
Now that the Lewis' no longer have so many dairy cows some sheep have appeared in one of their fields.
At home the oil man still hadn't come (they've promised to come first thing tomorrow after an irate phone call from Peter) and the house is scented with wood smoke from the log fire burning in the sitting room.

Sunday 22 January 2017


Much warmer today, somewhat grey and damp with occasional hints of blue in the sky. Peter went off rowing this afternoon. Just a social row as he has decided that the training rows are too much at the moment.  
It was tempting but would have been foolish to work outside so I settled down to do more on my journal. I'm determined that this time I will get the job done. I've never had a very good memory so the journal is a good way to pinpoint when things happened. Going through my notes I realise that Patch is around 13 years old and Speedy a mere 6 years old. No surprise then that Patch finds it hard to jump up while Speedy still dashes around. Mind you, Patch has been jumping up on the counter and raiding the cupboard for our Omega oil capsules. They're in packets but if one of us is down early we pop out capsules for both of us and leave the capsules just inside the cupboard. Now I have to make sure I take my capsules before I let Patch into the kitchen.
I went out to fetch in some wood for the fire to discover that the sky had turned golden and by the time I had laid the fire (which is now burning merrily) the sky had turned pink.

Saturday 21 January 2017

Hoar Frost.

It was more hoar frost than twinkly frost on the ground this morning. The air was still cold with the sun trying valiantly to shine through the frequent clouds. I brought in more big logs from the 2 wood stores and have kept a fire going in the sitting room from the early afternoon to warm the house up. The oil company said they would deliver as soon as they could but they didn't turn up today so it will be Monday at the earliest.
Apart from bringing in wood and keeping an eye on the fire I've been making more notes for my journal. First I skim through all my posts jotting down key events, visits, weather etc. for each season. Then I go through my notes grouping them into categories and finally I write them into the journal using an italic pen and a fancy attempt at a LOTR font with a few extra flourishes. As I go through my posts I see so many lovely sunny days (naturally I try and take photos when the sun is out), gorgeous plants and, though I say it myself some good wildlife shots. Also many accounts of storms and flooding. I hope this winter won't have too much of those. 
Today's parcel from the postman contained some sheepskin slippers. Unfortunately although they are more than long enough the width isn't quite enough. So back these go and I shall carry on looking for a pair to replace my trusty old slippers. Such a shame that both the shops selling sheepskin goods in Barnstaple closed down.

Friday 20 January 2017


A lighter frost this morning still with a nip in the air but the sun was out to brighten things up. I woke with a nasty sore throat which I guess is why I've been under the weather and more affected by stress. I sensibly followed Peter's advice and didn't try to do any work outside. As soon as the sun moved around to the other side of the house the temperature dropped rapidly. I could tell it had dropped below freezing this afternoon because when I opened the back of the car to wipe off the moisture on the inside of the window it immediately froze. Instead of my usual salad supper I've made some warming soup. It's one of my random recipes again, a tin of tomatoes, a tin of bean salad and an onion seasoned with turmeric (for health), pepper and smoked paprika because I like the taste. Topped with some Stilton it will do for me but Peter said he'll pass and put some fish in the oven instead.
I found myself going outside quite often just to take things to the recycling box or bring in logs from the bottom shed etc. Last year the remaining wood in there was very wet and covered with moss/algae but it's nice and dry now. We might as well get the benefit from burning the wood and right now I've got a lovely fire going. A good thing too as our frequent turning on of the central heating has brought the oil level in the tank quite low. We better ring for an oil delivery asap before the rayburn gets affected.
For the most part my day has been spent working on my blog notes for the journal. I've only got a couple of years left to do and then I can start writing into the actual journal and then hopefully I will keep it up to date.

See how much moss there is growing on the concrete.

Thursday 19 January 2017


Woke up this morning to see the sun twinkling on the frosted garden. I'm a sucker for shiny things but it's very hard to capture those sparkles. It was also quite cold but warmed up later in the day. I ran the hoe over the weeds in the plants beds hoping the next frost will finish them off as that's something I can do without bending down. It's a reflection of our local climate that the most prolific weed was the moss. The concrete under the washing lines is almost covered with emerald green cushiony moss.  
I spent the day collating notes for my journal, 2016 is now all done, and reading about the storms and flooding at the beginning of last year had me back outside to replace the dams across the road. I'd taken them away for the last viewing but you never know when storms will strike.
The postman came in the afternoon bringing me a tiny dragon to sit on my ear. Can't really call it an earring more ear jewellery. It's only a very cheap bit of costume jewellery but it makes me happy even if it isn't suitable for a 60 year old. Although it feels heavy in the hand I'm wearing it at the moment and can hardly feel it. Somehow I don't think I'll be wearing it into work.

Wednesday 18 January 2017


Apologies for yesterday's moaning. It was just one of those days. It was still grey and damp today and maybe a little colder but I started the day in a much better frame of mind. I still didn't get much done in the morning apart from the usual chores though I did fit in some guitar practice. I feel guilty when I don't do at least a little, and often that's all it is, every day. Especially as my shiny guitar now sits proudly in a proper stand in full view as I walk into the sitting room.
At school it was phonics and PE with my reception class. Afterwards we had a staff meeting. The first thing was the arrangement of another round of observations for all (by the Head teacher and another member of staff)  and for me a meeting with the Head teacher. Although observations and meetings are part of the normal routine of school these days I cannot help my rising anxiety levels. I'll be observed teaching a PE lesson and I've arranged for the feedback and meeting to be at the same time so a bit less to stress about.
One good thing coming home was that I missed driving the car over a new pot hole that has appeared in the road up to Hartland View Farm. The last 2 evenings I clonked into it before I remembered to drive on the other side of the road but on the way in today I made a point of noting exactly where it was.
 Spot the squirrel.

Tuesday 17 January 2017

New Email.

A damp, generally grey day today. Too many aches and pains and I haven't felt my usual cheery self. Maybe because I woke at the wrong point in my sleep cycle after a stressful dream. I never have a daytime/power nap as  whenever I've tried I wake up feeling dreadful. On the other hand the day itself hasn't been too bad though I could have done without trying to access my new email account. The school IT dept. (we don't really have an IT dept. a man comes from an outside company every now and again to sort out problems, for the rest we rely on each other or ask our lovely school administrator nicely as she's got a knack of getting things to work especially printers) has set up new email accounts for all of us. This happened on a day I wasn't in school so I've just some notes on how to get into it. So far without any success. I did manage to get to a point where it showed my new email address but each time I put in the password it directed me to set up a new password. After 2 changed passwords I gave up, somebody will have to show me at school. Hooray! After puzzling over the various screens Peter came up with the correct icon to press (not the one on my 'how to' sheet.) and now I can get into my school emails.
My journey to school wasn't straightforward either. At the last turning before the school the way was closed and the road full of large work vehicles. I'm not sure what they were doing but I had to turn and take a long detour. At school I had a calm afternoon doing handwriting with the reception children and then it was over the bridge to do some shopping at Lidl's and Tesco's.
The second daffodil of the year has made an appearance on the far side of the stream.