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.

Saturday 30 June 2018


We went out to the farm today for an official handover of the campervan keys. We shall continue to keep the camper at the farm, 6 months outside in the field and 6 months in one of the enormous barns. It's only 15 minutes from Barnstaple and close to the Link Road which is the main way out of Devon. We had a walk around the place with the farm owner while he explained how things work there. It's only a storage place but they don't mind if you just want to go and spend an afternoon or even a night there. The owner, Mike is also an engineer and worked at the same place as Peter and his friend Larry so there were a lot of acquaintances in common.
We'll probably go up there some time in the week so I can give the inside of the camper a thorough clean. The chap we bought the camper from has done a basic clean but the kitchen section in particular needs a proper scrub. I'll also be able to work out what we need to keep in the camper.
It was lovely to be out in the countryside again.
Back home I did a bit of housework before heading out to the garden. Today we were regaled with loud reggae music from town. It's festival season and there was a 'Diversity' Festival on Castle Green. The music was loud so goodness knows what it was like close to.

Friday 29 June 2018


It's been just as hot today. It's such un-British weather, our summers tend to be damp and grey, and is reminiscent of Mediterranean holidays. Days when time spent in the hot sun has to be carefully rationed and shade becomes your goal. Followed by the blessed cool of the evening when people venture out to enjoy a cooling breeze. We've just returned from watching 'Darkest Hour' at the Pilton Cinema aka the church hall and there were a number of people out walking their dogs. There have been enough articles on FB about how hot the pavement (sidewalk) can get and the danger of burning dogs' pads as well as reminders not to leave dogs in cars. Roads are melting and railway tracks bending too in this hot weather.
Somehow today I didn't manage to take any photos, not even of the fading sunset. The garden is full of flowers though I'm having to water thoroughly. The bought in compost I used in the planters and tubs doesn't hold water well so I have to water the tomatoes 2 or 3 times a day. There's already a hosepipe ban in Northern Ireland and many agricultural crops are nearing wilting point past which they won't recover. If we get a hosepipe ban here I'll just have to haul my watering can up and down the garden 'cos I'm not letting all my precious plants die.

Thursday 28 June 2018

Even Hotter.

The hot weather continues and everywhere the grass is turning brown. It was too hot to spend long outside though we did sit out later in the afternoon when there was a cooling breeze.

 Bindweed on a neighbour's fence.
I had a dentist appointment today for 'deep cleaning' and a small filling at the top of a tooth. I told the dentist that I was fine with injections but terrified of the drill due to too manty bad experiences. She injected all around a tooth that had been sensitive when prodded last time and then used the descaling tool to clean up the filling site. That was much better and most of the time my concern was getting too much water into the back of my throat and having to swallow. The injection area still feels a bit odd but it wasn't too bad an experience. At least I didn't have to pay any more as I'd paid last time and it was all included.
We had planned to go the beach for a curry and I was hoping to go earlier and spend time on the beach but Peter wasn't keen as his back is still sore. Another trip to the chiropractor? Possibly we'll get to the beach next week before the school holidays as Peter won't go if the beaches are crowded.

Wednesday 27 June 2018

32C/89.6F in the Shade !

Those were the conditions in the garden today, and in the sun it was too hot to stay out for any length of time. Elsewhere the rest of the country also continues to bake in this exceptional weather. I aired more clothes and did some washing too. The curtains were nearly too dry to iron when I brought them inside.
 The £1 lilies I bought last week.
Peter went and brought the car back from the garage. Hopefully no more big bills for a while. 
The pitcher plant is doing well. Today I put it in a big glass trough (some sort of scientific apparatus?) as its clear plastic pot doesn't have enough weight to stop the plant from over balancing. I find my house plants do better in clear containers as I can see if I'm over or under watering them.
I rounded off my evening with choir. As usual much fun and it was nice to find our leader thought we'd done well on Saturday. Due to the hot weather a lot more people came in shorts (inc. me) or skirts though I was the only one to kick off my footwear, flip-flops, to stand on the cool floor. Our group of altos were also in the fortunate position of being directly in the breeze flowing between two open doors.

Tuesday 26 June 2018


Still hot, I walked into town this morning suitably clad in shorts with flip-flops, sunglasses and straw hat. The reason for my walk was to go to the bank because we are now the proud owners of a campervan. The one we went to see the other day. The chap got a bit more than he would have got from a dealer and we paid less than we would have had to from a dealer. Also it's got lots of extras and has been impeccably maintained. Now all we have to do is to decide where to go. We'll start with a day or two at a time to get used to being on the road. The cats will have to start visiting the cattery up the road.
I hung up another box load of clothes to air,  my long sleeveless tops this time. When I got home I sat outside and made some alterations to a rust coloured top which I'd bought in sale in M&S. Surprisingly for Per Una there was a problem with the trim around the V-neck. It was floppy and didn't sit properly but I found that turning it over and stitching it behind cured the fault. As shown by the thermometer it was incredibly hot outside in the sun. I didn't stay out too long and walking on the marble kitchen floor was very refreshing to my bare feet. When Peter got back from dropping the car off at the garage (a small petrol leak) we sat outside again for a while.
Pilates tonight took place outside in shade on the tennis court with a welcome breeze. There was a problem with our teacher's mike so that at times we couldn't hear her over the music but being in the drama hall would have been like being in an oven.

Monday 25 June 2018


More hot sun today. This time it was Peter's t-shirts hung out to air in the blazing sun.
I had an appointment with the doctor this afternoon. I saw the same one as before as I wanted to report new and worsening symptoms in my knee but still no budging, physio first and according to the doctor the steroid injection wouldn't help. Hah, I'm not sure if I believe that. I'd even done my cycling and spent time chipping away at the paving stones on my knees but they were still working without pain when I saw the doctor.
I did some shopping on my way back from the doctor and got home in time (5.00) to spend some time outside joined by Peter. Our peace was somewhat disturbed by loud music coming from our neighbours' garden. I can understand the radio being played when our neighbours are relaxing outside but I find it irritating when they go inside and leave the radio playing - loudly. But as Peter said, it's not worth falling out with the neighbours over their radio.
Patch and Speedy like to come out and join us but soon found themselves a shady spot. The thermometer read 27C/80.6F in the shade and there wasn't a lot of breeze. This evening the sky sported a lot of streaky clouds in shades of pink and grey and the forecast is for the hot weather to continue. 

Sunday 24 June 2018


Another hot day, perfect for airing out all my stored joggers (for garden and DIY jobs) and tracksuit bottoms. One pair of  joggers made it to the 'throw out' pile but the others, nearly all black, are back in storage for the future. Who knows, our next home may be (hopefully) away from clothes shops in which case I'll be visiting my own store instead.
This morning there was a terrible yowling coming from the back garden. When I went to check sure enough it was Fluffy Cat whose first line of defence seems to be yelling but this time he was face to face with Patch, only a few inches separating them. When the intruder turned and ran in response to my clap, Patch did his best to chase him though he has to scramble up the back wall instead of leaping straight up. Rather than have the noise continue I took Patch back inside. We're trying to work out if he can hear. He sometimes seems to respond  to sound but other times he either takes no notice or looks in the opposite direction. He's got a check up at the vet in July so I'll mention it then.
This evening the sky was streaked with pink turning to red but I didn't get a decent colour match. We're not sure if this is an exceptionally good summer or if this is just the difference that not being up in the hills and in a steep valley makes.  

Saturday 23 June 2018


It's still hot and sunny but with more clouds. I've just about run out of things to wash and it was only was when I was searching  through one of my clothes boxes that I realised my stored clothes could do with being hung out in the sun to air. You never know I might even decide to get rid of some at the same time.
I spent some time outside chip chipping away at the paving stones and then when I (and probably the neighbours) had had enough I went inside and carefully scraped off any tiny spots of paint left on the wood floor of the dinning area. I also glued down the wooden strip over the join with the marble tiles of the kitchen. That's a job I've been meaning to do for ages so at last it is done.
This evening we, the choir, gave a concert in aid of the RNLI (lifeboats) at Christ Church in Barnstaple. It is a very pretty church inside and the only picture I could find is the one below of a wedding where coincidentally the choir is also singing. Tonight we were down where the bride and groom are, facing an audience which I think we outnumbered. It wasn't very well publicised and apart from the World Cup football match the Military Wives were also giving a concert locally. Still it was nice to be supporting a good cause and we'll take any opportunity to sing.  

Friday 22 June 2018


It's been another very hot day tempered by the wind. Perfect drying conditions and the washing that I hung out on the line was dry by the time I had sorted out the porch cupboard. That was mainly a matter of gathering together all the small containers of screws and other small bits and putting the contents back in the larger containers. I do have a tendency to put all the things I need together in a tub when I'm doing something and then just putting the tub away at the end of the job. 
Being such a sunny day I thought I'd try and even up my tan which as ever  is a range of shades with the backs of my legs very pale. I brought out my Pilates mat and some cushions and arranged myself face down. Half an hour was enough though later I sat out on the sun lounger with a cup of tea. 
I did a bit more cleaning off of the paving slabs, three done today while my assistant snoozed in the sun. 
As it was so nice outside I did my afternoon exercises out in the garden and enjoyed the refreshing breeze. 

Thursday 21 June 2018


The day began grey but by late afternoon there was a cloudless sky worthy of the summer solstice bathing the front of the house in a beautiful golden light. Now the days begin to shorten once more and the setting sun will start moving from behind the hills to over the sea. Strong north winds have been blowing all day making things rather chilly.
Today was mostly spent on housework which up till now I've been fitting around all the home improvements. As I'm not too keen on housework I've worked out a simple schedule which should keep the place clean but not take too long to do each day. That I'll begin next week and for now it's more a matter of catching up. Peter's back is still not good so I got the mower out and cut the grass. While I was doing that a lady I knew from work who lives down the road came by with her dog and we had a nice long chat. When her boys were young they used to come up and play football on the communal grass.
Having bought a small bag of mortar yesterday I mixed it up making a workable mortar which I used to finish off pointing the slabs on the steps. From there I moved on to some chipping away plaster/cement on the paved area at the top of the garden. I was sheltered from the wind and it was very pleasant but I have to be careful not to spend too long which results in aching knees and back.
The hydrangea bushes in the front garden are looking very pretty at the moment.

Wednesday 20 June 2018


I've just driven home from choir under a pink sky which has become more intense as the sun disappeared behind the hills. Hopefully that heralds a fine day tomorrow. Today has been quite grey with rain in the afternoon, the kind of fine rain you get when the clouds drift in from the sea.
I went out shopping today and bought myself a bike helmet and a chain to lock up my bike. The helmet is all black but has reflector strips which didn't show up that well with the flash. Peter is struggling with his back at the moment but hopefully we will soon be able to head down the Tarka Trail towards the sea.
It was a good shopping trip starting with a couple of freebies; some cutlery with chunky plastic handles which are easier for Peter from a FB recycling group and some Golden Oat Grass seeds. I was passing the ornamental beds in The Square when I noticed a seed stalk lying beneath the plants so I rescued it and have planted the seeds hoping that some will germinate. I did have a plant but it reached the end of its life before I thought to save some seeds. When I went into B&Q to buy a small bag of mortar to do the last pointing between the paving slabs from the reduced plant section I got a pot with 3 tall lilies and a Dicentra (Bleeding Heart) for £1 each. There was just enough room to put the lilies in the planter with the other ones and the Dicentra went into a flower bed. 
Having run the washing machine last night and it being too wet to hang things outside I realised that I could put up a couple of washing lines between the window handles in the conservatory. (Later I moved some of the heavier items outside.) The indoor lines do mean you have to duck to get outside but when they are not in use they can be rolled up and stored out of the way on one set of handles.

Tuesday 19 June 2018


We've had less rain and more wind today, a southerly wind which brought welcome warmth.
It's been 7 months and at last all the work on the house is done. Still a bit of tidying up to do but on the whole we can now relax and think about fun things to do. I don't have early pictures of the inside of the house but here are the before and after pictures of the garden which of course is my favourite part of the property.

 Oh the slippery decking and the looming shed, now just a memory.

I haven't done much today just some painting of a few spots (under a radiator and behind a curtain rail) that somehow got missed out in the general redecorating. In the afternoon I sat reading outside ready to rescue the washing on the line if the black clouds overhead delivered rain.  Then early exercises to warm up ready for Pilates. Found out that although our classes in the boys' old school come to a halt at the end of the term our teacher will be teaching a class on Thursday evenings up at the college all through the summer. It's a turn up and pay for the class so I plan to do that rather than get out of practice over the summer holidays. Years ago I did a computing course at the college, the boys did their A levels there and Peter did a plumbing and electrical course before being employed in the college IT department.

Monday 18 June 2018

Wet and Windy.

It's been wild, wet and windy today so we thought we'd take a chance and have a stroll on Barricane Beach. It was drizzling when we got there but the wind blew the rain away by the time we got down to the beach. 
We'd taken a flask of coffee and some chocolate chunk cookies  which we had sitting on one of the clifftop benches but it was good to see that the beach café has returned for the season. We'll probably head down there for a Sri Lankan curry before the school holidays begin. Building work has started on the white house which was sold for £1.2 million in its derelict state. No doubt it's going to be turned into a number of very expensive flats. Way out of our range.
No rock pooling as the tide was in but it was lovely simply to watch the waves and breathe in the sea air. I tried skimming a couple of stones but due to lack of practise they mostly went plonk in the water.
When we got home I painted the wall behind the ivy, the last of my garden jobs. After I took the photo I went back with an artist's paintbrush and tidied up the bottom edge. Lumpy concrete blocks are not the easiest things to paint.
Inside I cleared the last of the stuff from the dinning table, some went to the garage and the rest to the porch cupboard.