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.

Thursday 31 May 2018


It's been a warm and sticky day. The rain held off until later in the afternoon which gave us a chance to sit outside and enjoy the scent of the magnificently blooming rose Sweet Juliet in the afternoon. There were even some rumbles of thunder but I didn't see any lightning.
First thing this morning we drove over to Mullacot Cross  so I could have a look at the campervan. We're looking for something as small as possible while still being able to stand up in it plus the usual amenities; bed, cooker, fridge, etc. This one has all of those plus a toilet/shower and bike rack at the back as well as a side awning. (That's a wind turbine behind it, not a tv aerial.) I used my super sensitive nose to check for damp or any trace of cigarette smoke which would have been an instant no. Having passed my smell test the next thing is for our reliable garage to give it a thorough inspection and a price for any repairs. We're not in a rush so we'll just see what happens. 
We drove up to Mullacot Cross on the back road through Prixford. I do miss driving along the country roads with  wildflowers on either side. We stopped at Fullabrook amongst the wind turbines so that I could take some photos of the views across the estuary to Northam and Appledore.

Today when I looked at the stair wall it wasn't quite a uniform white so this afternoon I gave it a 6th! coat and that will have to do. 

Wednesday 30 May 2018


Another humid day with light showers on and off. I spent a lovely morning having coffee with a couple of friends at the garden centre. Before I set off I took some photos of the front and back gardens to show my friends.  
Apart from the old doors, which I believe are going to be collected next weekend, there is quite a nice view from the sitting room. 
Looking out to the back garden or as I like to call it our 'outdoor living space' there are plenty of flowers and foliage to soften the hard lines of the different levels. 
We has a lovely time catching up and remembering past pupils. My friend, who is the only one of us still teaching, is now teaching some sons and daughters of earlier pupils. My neighbour's grown up children were taught by us and my other friend's daughter and family also live in this road though they are moving soon to a house nearer the school. After a very pleasant morning we said our good-byes and I went to do some shopping and to take a couple of bags of garden waste to the dump. In Tesco's I bought a tray of 20 petunia plants at half price. These got planted in the tomato tub by the front door and in the adjacent pot of lilies and osteospermums.
And then it was time to paint. I'm hoping that will be enough for the walls but to be on the safe side the paint rollers went back into their plastic bags fastened with clothes pegs. I've been washing out the paint trays and kitchen ladle (for scooping out the paint into the tray) at the end of each session but it is much easier to keep brushes and rollers in bags until the whole job is done.
The men came to take away the Rav as I arrived back from shopping. I didn't have the heart to tell Peter that they'd got it started but maybe that was by letting it roll down the hill a bit. Now we are a one car family but we also have the bicycles and town (and the pub) is/are in walking distance.

Tuesday 29 May 2018


It's been an overcast and very humid day. By the time I got through all my jobs and was just about ready to sit outside the rain began so instead I began tidying away some of my DIY tools which have taken over the dinning table. 
The main job of the day was to paint another coat on the hall walls. Keeping my fingers crossed I think that just one more coat on the stair wall will be enough. I may work more slowly than the professionals but I get there in the end.
Once the hall is done it will be time to start with the next stage of our plan. That is to buy ourselves a modest camper van so that we can begin some gentle travelling and explore the UK. Peter set off to have a look at some possible campers only to find that his trusty Rav wouldn't start. It sounds like the starter motor has gone and with only a month to go until its next MOT it isn't worth repairing. He had planned to get rid of the Rav at that point anyway so tomorrow the scrap man is coming to take it away. As we make very few car journeys having one car will be more than enough.
On a brighter note, this afternoon I watched a house sparrow feeding on one of the feeders outside the sitting room window.

Monday 28 May 2018


Another lovely hot day, quite unusual for a Bank Holiday.  
It was quite interesting to see the solar panels being cleaned at the grand house behind us. 
While the cats sprawled around outside I painted yet another coat of white, this time the more expensive paint, onto the hall walls. I'm getting better each time but I'll be happy when it's done.  
As well as cutting the grass I finished off removing the dead wood from a couple of old fuchsias in the front garden. I cleared out some celandines that I had left there and dug up some  grass that had got into the plant bed. Peter sharpened up my garden shears then had a good go at trimming back a bush by the front door until his wrists became too painful. Later in the day when it wasn't so hot I planted some tall crocosmia (not sure if it's Lucifer or Mansorium), a hardy geranium and some red schizostylis in the plant bed by the garden wall. Still had some time to sit and read in the sun before my evening exercise routine.

Sunday 27 May 2018


This was yesterday's evening sky which with hot winds blowing from the south was the prelude to a severe thunderstorm. Before the arrival of the storm three out of the four acers in pots blew over. We heard some banging which made us think the cats were raiding the kitchen bin but it was the sound of the stones around the trees hitting the decking as the pots fell over. I wedged the trees in place with the garden chairs and tied one to the fence and still had to go out again to right one of the trees.
It wasn't until we had gone upstairs for the night that the thunderstorm kicked in. I love watching lightning and found the best view was from Peter's study. The thunder was crashing overhead but the lightning would come from the south (behind those tall trees), then in front (east) and also from the north. The storm lasted for an hour and the lightning flashes were coming every 2-5 seconds. Eventually the storm moved westwards out over the sea which meant I had a good show from my study at the front of the house where I have a 180 degree view. I later heard on the news today that there were over 15 thousand lightning strikes in the south of England last night. More thunderstorms are predicted tonight but further north though it has been hot and muggy here.
Today, while Peter went off to do his annual barman stint at the Beer Festival in the Pannier Market I carried on painting the hall. 
Before I could start I noticed yet another wallpaper edge coming away from the wall. As it was on the corner over the deepest drop of the stairs I was faced with a problem. While I could do part of it by leaning over the bannister a large section was out of reach. Should I pretend I hadn't seen it? Or go and get the ladder from the garage so I could somehow balance over the drop or....? It was only when Peter said it was a shame I didn't have stretchy arms (we watched the film The Fantastic Four last night) that the solution came to me. I taped my artist's paintbrush to a length of wood and applied the glue that way and then replaced the brush with some kitchen roll to smooth down the edges.
Although I find using a small radiator roller brush suits me I had to admit that a full sized roller would be quicker and give a better finish so today I used the long handled big roller that Peter had got me. That really needed two hands to wield and by the time I had finished painting all the upstairs walls and ceilings my sweat was literally dripping onto the floor. I was so happy to get changed and sit outside with a large cup of Earl Grey. Peter had come home by that time, not too merry on unlimited free beer, and joined me for a well earned break. 

Saturday 26 May 2018


Today has been a warm and humid day. A couple of heavy showers but when the sun did break through the temperature shot up.
This morning I moved some of the pots around in the garden. I like things to look good from all angles including through the kitchen window but I'm happy with the way everything looks for the moment. I like the way the big pot makes a focal point right at the top of the garden. Just need to use and then clear the last few pieces of wood. 
We found some time between showers to sit out and read/chat. The wind was singing through the group of about a dozen mature trees  four or five gardens along. They are situated so that we can see and hear the wind in them but they cast no shade on our garden. In fact they must also provide a barrier to sound from town. While we were out I spotted a small group of swallows flying high. 
I have also carried with painting, a second coat on the downstairs walls and ceilings. I also carefully glued down any of the edges of the dark grey wallpaper which were coming unglued. I been advised to paint the first coat before doing this.

Friday 25 May 2018


It has rained gently all day long giving us misty views. One thing I've noticed when it is like this is that car and other 'town' noises are muted while the birdsong has gone up to full volume especially the melodious local blackbird.
So today was a good day to start painting the hall walls and ceilings. While everything is looking rather blotchy under a single coat of white it is already noticeably brighter. I expect to have to paint at least three more coats, maybe more on the dark grey wallpaper but the end is in sight. 
I love having glass in the downstairs doors. From what used to be a dark hallway we can now see right out into the garden. 
Although the back garden is mostly decking and paving stones the view from the kitchen window is filled with foliage and flowers.

Thursday 24 May 2018


Today the sky has been white giving us a cooler but humid day. I did wonder if we going to get the forecast thunderstorms but so far we've only had light rain which began in the late afternoon. 
Speedy was out hunting this morning and jumped into the garden with a long slow worm (legless lizard) in his mouth. By the time I got hold of Speedy the slow worm was too damaged to rescue.
Today was cool enough for Peter to  paint the side garden wall. The original paint had been done while the shed was there (remember that awful old shed?) so was quite patchy. Later I painted the walls at the bottom facing the house as that job required too much bending for Peter to do.
Then I got on with nearly the last of the woodwork jobs. One was to cut a plank to cover up the sloping gap between the paving and the top decking. 
The other was to cut the last piece of bannister lengthways to make a couple of pieces to slot into the gaps under the lower plant box. 
This afternoon, as I pedalled away on the exercise bike a blue tit came down several times onto the  bird feeders. It didn't stop to feed but I'm sure it will eventually. 

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Mad dogs and Englishmen .......

……….. go out in the mid-day sun.
Once again it was as hot as the Sahara in our back garden. Taking plenty of breaks I sawed up and bagged most of the remaining old wood. It will go either to a friend who has a wood burner but is away on holiday or into the wood skip at the dump. I've kept back some wood for a couple of ideas which will be next on the agenda.
Once the paved area was clear I had the fun job of planting up the last planter. Mostly with hardy geraniums but also some sweet peas which I'd got at BJ's with a coupon and some garlic chives at the front.
Peter postponed his wall painting as the instructions on the tin gave 80F as the top limit for painting and it was 100F. I also need slightly cooler conditions to mix up more mortar to fix some loose paving slabs. For the time being I need lots of sitting and looking time to work out where to place the last of the big pots and garden ornaments.
This evening I was out singing, an extra practise of the songs we are singing at a member's daughter's wedding in July. Our choir leader won't be there so two of the more experienced members will take turns to conduct and keep us all together. Well done to them for doing it but it made me realise how much the input from our leader  makes a difference especially to newbies like me. As I had 10 spare tomato plants I took them along to give away as a couple of people had said they would like some when I put a message on the choir's FB page. That's the conservatory cleared of plants except for some chilli peppers of unknown strength which Peter was given by a friend.

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Very Hot.

Wow, it has been incredibly hot today. Although the official temperature was a lot lower this was how hot it was this afternoon without the cooling effect of the breeze. The same as out in the Sahara Desert. No wonder I kept having to go inside to cool down. Even so by the time I finished my garden carpentry I did the first half of my exercises lying on the blissfully cool marble tiles in the kitchen.
I've almost come to the end of my garden projects. The wooden enclosure for the pot plants is done and the planter, which took all 6 bags of compost, is also finished with just the final planting to do. 
In the morning I had an appointment at the doctors. I was hoping for a steroid injection into my knee as it has been getting worse but no such luck. I don't think my knee was painful enough to convince the doctor and instead he is sending me for physiotherapy. As I also wanted to see the physio to talk about my shoulder, see which exercises I should do and which I should avoid for the time being, that sounded good. That is until I was told there would be a 2 -3 months wait. Oh well I shall just have to soldier on. We had the gentle Pilates guy this evening, some people prefer his style and are considering moving to his classes in Braunton but I do also like the fast paced Pilates exercise we do with Sandra. 

Monday 21 May 2018


Still sunny so most of my day was spent outside. While Peter went out to take stuff to the dump and buy yet more bags of compost I was painting, sawing and drilling.  
I had some white masonry paint left over from Dingles so I used that to paint a couple of base coats on the bare concrete blocks before giving them a coat with the correct colour which is Gardenia. I got all the wood measured and cut for the last box which will hold more pots. The planter along the side wall is almost finished too.
I got diverted from building the planters by having to deal with cat problems. The main problem is that they had been using my neighbours' newly cleared plant bed as a toilet. Previously I had given my neighbour lots of holly sprigs to put on any bare earth in her front garden to deter the cats and offered as much more as she needed. She had forgotten about this and laid compost in a small circular bed with only 2 flowers in. I took away the offending mess and handed over more holly. I had noticed that the cats weren't using their litter box recently so for the moment the cats have had their evening strolls curtailed. Their litter tray is now outside but in the dog crate with the door closed. Because the cat flap wouldn't open with the crate right up against the wall I had to made a wooden tunnel from the cat flap to the crate. I'm not intending this to be a permanent feature but at least they won't be a nuisance next door for a while.
It was such a lovely evening that I didn't realise how late it was until Peter came out to tell me it was long after 6.00. My plants will have to wait until tomorrow to be planted out. I'm looking forward to having a good sort out and then getting rid of the last of the old decking. 

Sunday 20 May 2018

Still Sunny.

I can't believe how lovely the weather still is. However the clouds are no longer fluffy little cumulus puffs but wispy cirrus. Does this mean a change is on its way? 
I walked into town this morning hoping to catch sight of Peter out on the water as today they were trying dragon boat racing. Paddles instead of oars and twice the number in each boat. Unfortunately I didn't catch sight of them, I think they had gone too far down the river by the time I got there. Apparently it was very tiring as they were using different muscles but Peter enjoyed himself. My other reason for going into town was to buy some screws for my planter project. Up till now I've been looking in our tub of medium to large mixed screws but had run out of the sizes I needed. I do like the idea of Wilko's pick and mix screw selection. You can buy sealed packs of 10 or maybe 12 screws for £1.75 but for £1.99 you can fill a small bag with whichever screws you need. I think I had over 60 assorted screws in my bag.

On the way home through Pilton the alley I walk up was filled with scaffolding as the walls and roof of the adjoining house are repaired. It must be a very old property as the wall is a cob wall (I has chatted to the builders there before). Cob is an historical method of building where clayey mud is mixed with straw to make walls at least 2 ft. thick which are generally coated with a lime render.
Further along the alley some lovely dark aquilegias were growing amongst the weeds. Whereas at Dingles most of the self-seeded aquilegias were pink here I've been noticing these purple ones popping up in a number of gardens. 
When I got home, not too hot as I'd been brave and gone into town in shorts, I got to work on the garden planter. Yesterday I'd very carefully measured and levelled the wood I needed but that was before I decided to go with  the shallower version. Somewhere along the line things went awry and when I put the whole thing together the top had a tilt in the opposite direction. Rather than trim down the higher end I gave up and just put some odd bits of wood under the shallow end to level things up.