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 April 2018


We've has a bright and breezy day unlike other parts of the country which had heavy rain and temperatures going down to 4C. Right now the sun is blazing in through the window with barely a cloud in sight.
Having woken up with all feelings of dizziness gone I was able to get lots of things done. I took all the bags of plant material plus some other stuff to the dump. Then I went on to Lidl's and Tesco's for some shopping. Once back home I had a good look to see what I could do with the trough and fountain. Pouring in some water revealed no leaks so I couldn't just fill it with compost to use as a planter. As all the outdoor electrics, switch and pump are there I've put the concrete components of the fountain in the space next to the trough. That way it will be possible to reinstate it in the future if somebody wants to. For now I've put in pots of different varieties of crocosmia and some old fashioned (white) English pinks.
I wasn't able to set up the plastic box as a planter yet because the stack of concrete blocks on which the wooden planter had been sitting is concreted together and I need to make a second stack to support the plastic box. 
I also did some tying in of the shrub growing by the fence and cut back more of the ivy. The decking there is so rotten I nearly went through them. Hopefully not too long before it is all replaced.

Sunday 29 April 2018


Today has been dry with quite a lot of sun. The wind is blowing from the  north-east and keeping the temperature down. A quick check of the weather forecast shows that the south-east is due heavy rain and even snow tomorrow.
I haven't done as much as I would have liked today because I've been feeling dizzy. This I'm sure is due to a chronic sinus infection which occasionally hits me this way. Instead I've got on with housework and caught up with some admin that needed doing. I also had a long session brushing out that throw. Even if only one side is on view my feeling is that the job should be done properly. Also brushing both sides keeps the throw nice and soft. 
It looks like things are moving again on the building works. Mr 'Dreckly' is arriving at 8.00 Tuesday morning to start on the garden work though that is dependent upon the weather and the following Saturday the hall wall will be plaster skimmed. Then will begin the painting of many coats of white upon the hall walls and ceilings.

Saturday 28 April 2018


The morning was a bit on the gloomy side followed by a much brighter afternoon. Right now there are black clouds overhead from which fell a heavy shower.
Today's garden job was to make a start on sorting out the defunct raised bed/planter near the kitchen window. The wooden box had rotted through in places and the first thing was to try and remove as much of the compost and stones before it all ended up on the concrete below. I was fairly successful in this but there was a still a lot of bending to clear up everything below the box. Needless to say there were more of those bindweed roots. The stone trough upon which sits the bonsai  tree is actually a fountain. As there's no rainwater in the trough I'm assuming there's enough drainage for me to use it as a planter.
At the moment that corner looks worse than before with all the bags of rubbish waiting to be taken to the dump. 
As I worked outside the town noises were drowned out by the sound of birds singing; woodpigeons, blackbirds and a flock of small birds chink-chinking. I could hear the sheep out on the hillside and occasionally cows lowing.  
Speedy has been reduced to watching ants. Right now he's sitting on my window sill watching the seagulls and jackdaws fly over. This morning I saw the great tit sitting in the buddleia bush near the feeders again.  

Friday 27 April 2018


Today has been cold and wet. The wind is blowing from the east bringing cold air from northern Europe. A good day to catch up on housework.
Great news, yesterday for the first time I spotted a bird visiting the bird feeders. A great tit landed on the peanut feeder but took fright when it looked through the window and retreated to the buddleia before flying off. A brief visit but a good sign.
As well as tidying and cleaning I baked some more chocolate & coconut cookies for Peter. Then I filled a few dents in the woodwork after which I retired to the sitting room and carried on brushing out the throw. One side is done and a good portion of the reverse. I've also made a start on learning the body percussion to Bring Me a Little Water. We began learning the song on Wednesday with the promise of learning the body percussion next week. A lot of chatting and fun goes on at our choir practices which I'm sure will make learning this interesting. In order to counteract the distraction of laughing I'd thought I'd get to grips with the actions in advance.

Thursday 26 April 2018


This morning I was up and out of the house by 9.00 to walk up to the hospital for a dental appointment at 9.30. At least that's when I thought it was. It was only after I had sat for an hour and made further enquires at the desk that I found out my appointment was for 10.15. Completely my fault for misreading the letter they had sent when the last appointment was cancelled due to the snow. The cancelled appointment had been at 9.30 and the new one at 10.15. After all that when I got in to see the dental specialist there was no treatment for the pocket in my gum.  My regular dentist had suggested that the gum could be cut and stitched but not according to the hospital guy. He did check my previous x-rays to make sure there was nothing going on with my teeth and jaw but they were all clear. I just have to take extra care cleaning my teeth and continue to use the water-pick.
If nothing else it was a nice morning for a walk. The route to the hospital skirts the edge of town and it almost felt like walking in the country lanes again. 
A cold wind has been blowing all day with quite a lot of sun in the afternoon. I got out the mower to do the front lawn and my section of the communal grass after which my neighbour borrowed the mower to do her bit. I then went around the edges of my lawn with a pair of garden scissors (the shears have gone blunt again). At the same time I also dug up some of the many dandelions in the lawn.  The lawn is full of all sorts of different plants which I shan't attempt to remove but the dandelions leave big bare patches. Doing the lawn edges gave me the chance to remove any weeds in the flower beds. I feel that at last I'm getting somewhere with the millions of weed seedlings that popped up everywhere.
After all the gardening I needed to stop and as the sun was shining I found myself a fairly sheltered spot in the garden to read and have a cup of tea. Peter had been at a history society meeting but returned in time to join me outside for a while. He's been trying to ring to make a doctor's appointment as he'd sure that he's got a piece of cartilage floating around in his knee. He gave the hospital a call the other day to see how long he'd have to wait for the cataract clinic only to find that his name wasn't on the list at all despite being told it would be. Now he has to see his doctor (appointment in May) to get a referral and start the process all over again.

Wednesday 25 April 2018


This morning's forecast spoke of showers but we only had one which swept in at mid-day (above). The strong westerly wind blew everything else away. 
It is nice to see more trees greening up each day. 
I had a happy day working outside. I've finally got all my plants potted up though it wouldn't hurt to put the plants in bigger pots if I come across any in my trips to the dump. Then it was back down on to my hands and knees to finish off  digging over that patch of ground. Before settling down to read I squeezed myself into the 12" gap between the conservatory and the garden wall and began removing the ivy and bindweed. There was also a certain amount of rubbish to get rid of and I discovered the garden drain. Typically of this place it's just a hole broken into the underground pipe that takes gutter water from the house to the main drain somewhere far under the garden. There is a down drainpipe connected to the conservatory guttering which ends 6" above the paving slabs! So I need to get a drain grate and some pipework from the downpipe to the drain. By the time I sat down outside to read the clouds and the wind made it too cold to stay out long.

Tuesday 24 April 2018


The morning began grey with rain that got heavier as the day progressed. Right now it feels like a storm is blowing outside. I wonder how much of the cherry blossom will be left on a neighbour's tree after all this wind. 
Most of my day has been spent in the company of the choir, first singing at the funeral of one of the members at the local crematorium and then singing at the gathering afterwards. It is at times like these that the choir really does feel like a large supportive family. I think over 50 of us had been able to make it today.
The service/celebration of Sheila's life was held in the larger of the chapels which I hadn't been in before which helped to keep sad memories at bay. Music and singing especially with the choir had been an important part of Sheila's life so singing her choice of songs felt like a fitting way for her friends to say goodbye. It wasn't a religious service but encompassed all forms of belief in a very apt way. We sang again at the gathering afterwards and one of the songs Give Me Wings In the Morning (the recording is a bit harsh.) was perfect for the occasion but breaks most people's hearts.
After leaving the hotel it seemed so very strange to be moving back into the everyday world that I'm looking forward to singing with the choir again tomorrow evening. As it was I headed down to do some shopping at Tesco's and to off load the grass cuttings at the dump. There I struck lucky with plant pots. Somebody had carefully left a stack of large pots and a couple of hanging baskets by the garden waste skip so those went in the back of my car and a quick look in the large plastics skip yielded a few more. I also dropped in to BJ's and bought three surfinias to go in the hanging basket as I had decided that the osteospermums would be better off in the large ceramic planter with the lilies. Hopefully if the rain holds off tomorrow I can pot up the last of the plants from Dingles.

Monday 23 April 2018


It's been grey, cold and windy today and has just begun to rain. I got some washing out on the line and it was most satisfying to hear the sheet snapping in the wind. It dried quickly and has already been ironed. Today I got the second third of the soil (where the shed had been) dug over and every nasty bindweed root cleared. Using a fork or spade has not been an sensible option for years but I'm happy to garden on my knees using a very useful long handled towel and hand fork. Working on my knees does result in creaking knees but that's better than an aching back.
Patch has responded well to the pain relief for his arthritis, no more almost falling over when he gets up after lying down. He's almost finished the 5ml bottle so I walked down to the vets' to collect some more, a 15ml bottle this time. I did check the price on line because when our dog needed regular medicine it was half the price to buy it on line. However that was years ago and now with postage it was cheaper to buy from the vet.

Sunday 22 April 2018


The day began grey, cold and windy. Luckily for Peter who was out rowing the forecast rain turned out to be no more than a few drops. While Peter was out I had a session learning the words to Shto mi e milo, one of the songs we will be singing at a member's funeral on Tuesday. (This was the nearest version to ours though the clapping section, which we all do, isn't as long and we only sing the first verse and chorus several times. Sheila requested it because she wanted something lively. 
Because the builder chap who hopefully will be doing the decking, said he would call round (Peter went to see him and he's coming round later in the week.) I had a 'domestic' morning first giving our oven a good clean. It wasn't that bad but as I had to slide out one of the two glass sheets that make up the door in order to tighten up one of the handle screws I thought I might as well give the glass a good scrub. I did the thing of putting a dish of vinegar and water in the hot oven for a while. I don't know how much it helped but the overall cleaning wasn't too hard. Then I moved to the sitting room and began the job of brushing out the pile of the big throw which I washed recently. Almost half of one side done as I watched David Attenborough's Flying Monsters. Amazing to think of a pterodactyl with a wingspan of 50ft that stood 20ft tall.
Later in the afternoon it began to warm up and right now it's back to being hot. I potted up some more of my hardy geraniums. One of them ended up being planted in an old paint tub that I drilled holes in the bottom of. I did more weeding digging out handfuls of bindweed roots from under the rhododendron and then moved to the front garden. There I carried on weeding and tidied up the lawn edges. It's nice to be able to get round the whole garden in one go. When I came inside out of the corner of my eye I noticed something crawling on my shoulder. While I'm not phobic about spiders I didn't want one crawling in my hair but a look in the mirror revealed this large moth which so far I haven't identified.

Saturday 21 April 2018


I don't know what the temperature was today but it must have been in the high 20s. At times it felt very close, not surprising with possible thunderstorms forecast. 
My first task was to paint the woodwork in the porch with a first coat of white paint, vinyl silk rather than gloss to avoid the paint yellowing. Next as it was so warm I used the Vax to wash some of the upstairs hall carpet to get rid of the cat smell which I hadn't been able to shift with pet shop odour remover. (Bad cats.) Then as we are due rain tomorrow it was on to mowing the grass. I felt a bit sorry to be mowing down all the cheery dandelions on the communal grass but it's surprising how many survive after my old mower has been over them and it doesn't take long for the rest to spring back into life. Now that the acer in the front lawn is in leaf I can see that it is made up of two varieties grafted together.
After putting away the mower in the garage I brought our sun loungers back up to the house. No sooner had I taken in the dry washing and made a cup of tea than it began to rain. Luckily it didn't last too long and I was able to sit and read outside after cleaning the sun loungers. Being in the damp garage has left the metal frames rusty and the seats mildewed. Luckily the seats cleaned up easily with some scrubbing. For the rust I tried a method I saw on line which surprisingly works though it'll need a long session to do the frames completely. And the method?  Scrubbing with a scrunched up ball of kitchen foil. Some sort of chemical reaction between the aluminium foil and the aluminium frame I suppose.
With only an 18" wall between our front gardens I'm able to enjoy my neighbour's flowering shrubs including this pretty pieris. 

Friday 20 April 2018

Sea Mist.

The day began with the view shrouded in sea mists. When the wind blew them our way they felt very chilly indeed.
I soon got on with painting the downstairs woodwork with undercoat. That is after I'd wiped it all down with a damp cloth. The downstairs is constantly dusty so we suspect that the oak flooring was never sealed. I suppose I might get round to doing it at some point. Having paintbrush in hand once I'd finished painting the door frames etc. I went on to give all the bannisters and the bathroom door frame a second coat.
During the afternoon the mist burnt off and in spite of the chill wind it was good to sit outside and read. My neighbour's son went down to Croyde beach and found it still blanketed in cold mist. Even now I can see the mist rolling in from the sea again.

Thursday 19 April 2018


Another lovely sunny day with a good breeze, perfect for drying the washing. And did I spend the day working outside? Nope, I spent my day painting the woodwork. I had very optimistically thought that I'd get all the wood undercoated and still have time for some garden work as well as doing the ironing. Simply sticking masking tape along all the carpet edges and putting down dustsheets took long enough. By the time I reached the bottom of the stairs not only were my fingers stuck together with paint and the paintbrush full of dust (obviously I hadn't wiped down sufficiently) but I was losing the will to live. I'll finish off the downstairs woodwork tomorrow. Even though it's just undercoat the woodwork already looks a lot better.
However if I had put off the painting and worked outside I might have not enjoyed it so much because of something I'd forgotten comes with living in close proximity to other people.  The unwelcome sound of music/radio being played loudly outside or from indoors with windows open. Surely everyone has a pair of headphones. By the time I did get to sit outside for a few moments before going back in to do the ironing the offending radio was off so I got to relax in peace.
Meet the prettiest member of our choir, Bailey. She made her first appearances when she was a tiny and oh so cute puppy. She's grown a lot but is still adorable. She loves meting people and her tail wags most enthusiastically. While her owner doesn't sing when Jackie counted us in for one song Bailey beat us all with a loud yip.

Wednesday 18 April 2018


Wow!, we've had a real scorcher of a day, probably the hottest day since August last year. A day for flip-flops, shorts, hat and sunscreen. My first task of the day was to fill in the cracks in the woodwork. Yesterday Peter hadn't been able to find decorator's caulk and the filler in a squeezy tube that he brought home wasn't what I needed. Off I went first to BJ's to collect one more free bag of tomato compost as well as buying some osteospermums for a totally different hanging basket. Then I dropped into Lidl's for a few things. At the checkout the cheery checkout girl invited myself and another customer to help ourselves to the last of the Easter chocolates for free as they were just trying to get rid of them. That's never happened before. I brought home 2 white chocolate lambs and a milk chocolate hen, no calories in free food.
It didn't take long to wipe down the woodwork and run caulk along any gaps. Once that was done I escaped to the garden where in between sitting in the sun and reading I began clearing the soil where the shed had been. The floor of the now removed shed had rotted to earth over which I had stored the decking planks. There are now some bindweed plants appearing so I thought it best to dig out all the roots. That involved shifting planks, digging down and removing every root. There was also some partially rotten bits of plastic and roofing felt. These I find quite disgusting so although the ground will be covered by decking I removed every last scrap to take to the dump.
Out of the 2 bags of bulbs I planted these 4 daffodils were the only ones that flowered. Every flower of the smaller narcissi was eaten by snails/slugs at the bud stage.
I made it to being a poster girl at least on FaceBook. In all the other photos/videos I've been hiding at the back. This must have been taken on a rehearsal night and look we're all smiling. Our choir leader is constantly reminding us to smile as we sing. Not so easy when you're trying to remember the words.  I've just returned home after choir practice under a clear starry sky and crescent moon. We open our bedroom curtains at night and I get a lovely view of the moon and stars.

Tuesday 17 April 2018


It has been raining for most of the day. Not much temptation to do any outside work. Looking at the holes and cracks in the woodwork I realised I would be much better off using builders' caulk from one of those tubes you put in a plunger mechanism instead of mixing up some filler and trying to push it in with an old knife. As Peter was already going into town I asked him to get me some and put the filling on hold until tomorrow.
Instead I had a very domestic day, tidying up around the place and doing some extra cleaning.  I also made a batch of chocolate and coconut cookies. Peter only eats one a day but had run out of the last lot I baked. They're just my usual chocolate chunk cookies with cocoa and a handful of desiccated coconut added.
This evening my Pilates exercise class started up for the summer term. We had a number of new people bringing us up to 20. I didn't arrive early enough to get a space in the back row where I like to hide and had to settle for the next row down. The only disadvantage in being so far back is that when our tutor comes down off the stage and walks along checking to see how well we are holding a position is that it can be a struggle to look as if we are still doing the exercise correctly by the time she reaches the back. At one point two older ladies behind me got a long fit of the giggles something it's hard not to do. Being ever the individualist a couple of times when we had to lie down flat I ended up facing the opposite way to everyone else. However it did mean that I had a good view of the tutor and it was quite amusing being able to see everyone else. Our tutor does keep reminding us that we know how far to push our bodies though she does encourage us to join back in once we've had a rest. I've been consoling myself that apart from my personal disabilities and general lack of fitness at the age of nearly 62 I can't expect to be totally flexible. However tonight we were told that there won't be a class next week as our ultra fit and flexible tutor will be celebrating her 60th birthday. I would have said she was in her 40s. That's my excuse gone. And I found out that she's only been teaching Pilates for 2 or 3 years, I think she was a fitness instructor before. We do our exercises to a varied selection of music and we often are relaxing in some sort of stretch to Albatross by Fleetwood Mac which certainly stands the test of time. It takes me back to the first year of our marriage(1976) when it was often played in our local pub, The Crabtree.
With all the rain and recent warm weather the trees are beginning to green up. A few more weeks and all the beech hedgerows should turn green as well. I shall miss watching for the first patches of vivid green along the country lanes. Still once the last main jobs are done in the house and garden we'll have the time for our beach and country walks again.