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 July 2018


The very hot sunny spells have been much more in evidence today though the intervening dark grey clouds looked as if they could drop rain at any moment. The warm southerly wind blew two lots of washing dry as well as making the sitting room nice and cool while I did my half an hour on the exercise bike. It was warm enough for us to sit outside in the afternoon.
The orchids are doing well on their custom built shelf and most of them are happily flowering while outside the sedums are about to do the same. Hopefully they will attract more butterflies and bees to the garden.  
I didn't get round to altering the second pair of trousers but I did make some adjustments to the fitted under-blanket which goes on our bed to make it a better fit as I have got totally fed up with having to pull it straight every day.   
Getting my head down early last night worked in that I was asleep before 11.30. I woke up at 5.30 this morning though that might have been due to my knee which is getting worse each day. Still not heard anything from the physiotherapists. It's only been 10 weeks since the doctor referred me so I guess I'll just have to be patient as he did say it would take 2-3 months.

Monday 30 July 2018

British Summer Weather.

It seems like more typical British summer weather has returned, lots of clouds many of which were grey and released heavy showers with occasional brighter spells. Not good weather for outdoor activities.
I'm getting fed up of not getting to sleep at night and then finding it hard to wake up in the morning. I'm going to get my head down by 10.00 for the rest of the week and see if that helps. However it has always taken me several hours to get to sleep and even when I was young (under 10 years old) and at boarding school I would still be awake long after the other children had fallen asleep.
Today I've got on with house work and baked some chocolate and peanut butter cookies. 
I also got on with  something that has been on my to-do list for a while. I bought these trousers a long time ago because I love the wild pattern on the fabric. However I decided that I wasn't so keen on the wide leg cut and had never actually worn them. I used a pair of comfortable loose trousers as a pattern, pinned, tacked and cut before getting out my sewing machine. It's an old machine and can be temperamental when trying to adjust the tension. Today the machine played nice and having done a test seam I was able to get all four seams done without incident leaving me with a pair of trousers I am happy wear. I have another pair of wide leg trousers which also need doing but I decided not to push my luck today as they are made from a very different fabric.  

Sunday 29 July 2018

Lydford Castle.

We woke this morning to low clouds and steady rain. The rain cleared eventually with an occasional heavy shower. Saves having to water the garden. I did spend some time tying up the tomato plants which are doing well. Earlier in the afternoon I went for a walk with a friend and her dog discovering new routes around Manning's Pit. 
Thursday's walk around Lydford Castle. 
The earliest parts of the castle are 900 years old and while the stonework is well preserved all the internal wooden structure has long gone. As we explored the interior we, okay me, identified the different areas; great hall, kitchens, battlements, arrow slits etc. 
However looking at the information board outside it turned out that the 'castle' had never been an actual castle but had been, even in its original form, a prison and courthouse. 
The next time we visit Lydford we'll have a look at the  Saxon earthworks that surrounded the village and the remains of the Norman castle.

Saturday 28 July 2018

Murder Mystery Trail.

It was all change with the weather last night. I was so tired I slept through the thunderstorm in the early hours but the rain and thunder continued on through the morning. Not really the right weather for going out for a walk. 
But go on a walk we did. It was a murder mystery trail organised by and for the choir. We were put in randomly mixed teams of four which was a great way of getting to know fellow choir members. Peter wasn't the only partner who came as well and some people joined us later for the buffet and singing afterwards.
Each team was given a set of instructions to follow and clues which had us looking for names, dates, places and objects to cross off on our lists. Because some of my team needed to use the toilets first we then headed back against the flow of other teams to Poet's Corner (the small shelter above) to read the poems on wall mosaics to find one by Coleridge to give us our first date.

The clues lead us down the valley and round on to the cliff path back towards Lynton ...
 … and across the cliff funicular railway from where we had great views over Lynmouth.
Having to search for small details in the environment was a good way to really appreciate our surroundings. Hardest of all was trying to find a name on the gravestones from a possible number of names. At one point the cemetery was filled with people looking for names but as there are benches and picnic tables there as well it didn't feel disrespectful. We finally spotted one name halfway down a list of family members but a while later our clues led to the same name on a shop front along the street so we had no idea which name we should have found on the gravestones. We ended up crossing off one on our list at random but then it was more about exploring the area and getting to know each other than actually winning.
After a couple of hours we ended up  at a local hotel (not the one below) for sandwiches (filled rolls) and cake and of course a sing-song. It was a lot harder singing surrounded by mixed voices rather than being with all the altos (in my case). We sang one song that was quite simple that I'd never sung before and sitting between two bass singers I now know the bass part. I even spotted Peter joining in with some of the songs so my cunning plan to get him in the choir seems to be working.
All in all it was a very enjoyable afternoon and even the weather co-operated with just one small shower that had us all putting on our jackets.

Friday 27 July 2018

Lydford Gorge.

Back home after a one night trip to Lydford on Dartmoor. At just 60 miles away it only took us an hour and a half to get there from the farm (2 hours from home). It was a really nice campsite with views out over the moor. (Correction to last post, the fee was £20 per vehicle not per person as 'somebody' had told me. Peter actually negotiated the fee down to £14.) The field we were in was less than half full and people seemed to keep themselves to themselves. Each pitch had plenty of grass for outdoor living and I enjoyed doing my exercises in the fresh air. It was a real treat to plug in the electrics and have lights, radio and fridge at the flick of a switch.
In the afternoon we walked down to Lydford Gorge, first crossing over the road bridge which gave us a bird's eye view of the gorge below. Our National Trust cards haven't arrived yet and the man at the way in was a bit sniffy about letting us in with just a print out of our temporary membership and made out it was a big favour to let us in.
After coming down a well maintained stepped path we reached the river Lyn which flows through the bottom of the gorge. We decided to take the shorter 1 1/2 mile walk to Devil's Cauldron and do the 3 mile circuit today. Unfortunately overnight rain which continued into the morning put us off the walk today as the visitor information stresses that the path can be very slippery. We'll save that for another time.
It was a very pretty and gentle walk along the river spotting trout swimming in the crystal clear waters. By the time we had crossed to the other side approaching the Devil's Cauldron the path clung to the side of the gorge with a metal handrail along the rocks and a sturdy wire fence above the drop. Then we came to a tall metal gate with horizontal spikes to the side and above, very Jurassic Park, and a warning notice - no small children and babies in front slings only. From there the path clung even more precariously (at least to me) to the rocky wall with no fence over the drop. I will admit to tackling this sideways with two hands on the handrail. This brought us to a metal platform giving a great view of the Devil's Cauldron, a circular pool fed by a small but fierce waterfall. 
Below - standing on the metal platform looking back towards the gate and the unfenced, short section of path.

From there we continued upstream under the road bridge..... 
….. along the river,  
…….. 'til we got to Tucker's Pool. The path took us down to the water's edge and ended there. I was so tempted to take off my boots and socks to wade across the cold water to get a better view but didn't fancy trying to dry my feet before putting my boots back on.  
To give an idea of the height of the gorge, in the photo below there are some people by the river in the centre of the picture. 
 Lydford village.
After walking around Lydford Castle we stopped at the 16thC pub for a drink before walking back to the campsite on the other side of the village. 
We returned to the Castle Inn later on for a meal. As I'm more a dessert person I planned to have a starter followed by a dessert but my smoked trout with potato salad and home made bread filled me right up. Peter had the beef and ale pie which he said was delicious. It was a proper pie with pastry top, bottom and side rather than, as the landlord said 'beef stew with a pastry lid' that you often get. When we returned to the camp-site I was very surprised at how quiet it all was. All our previous camping has been at Sealed Knott musters where the tents, caravans and campers were packed closely together with people chatting and singing and much merriment form the beer tent.
Imagine our disappointment to wake up to rain and the view of Dartmoor obscured by clouds. A whole month of hot dry weather and it has to rain when we go away. After a breakfast of porridge made on the camper's cooker we set off to see if we could spot a parking space that would give us access to the moor. The campsite manager had already warned us that the two pubs with car parks by the moor did not let walkers park there. The only spot we found only gave access to a military camp and had two trucks full of soldiers parked in it so we gave Dartmoor a miss for this visit. I did find it very hard to be so close to the moorland wilderness but not able to get out and walk. Next time we'll have a bigger map and have the Sat-Nav set up though most of the camp sites warn not to use Sat-Nav, like Dingles the Sat-Nav doesn't get you there. Peter is not as adventurous as I am (he'll say foolhardy) and likes things to be planned in advance.
Bye-bye Dartmoor until next time.

Wednesday 25 July 2018


From the pretty pink evening sky it looks like tomorrow is going to be another hot day. I was staring at yesterday's evening sky which was even prettier with assorted clouds when my attention was drawn to four black dots moving above the sea in formation. A closer look with binoculars revealed them to be four helicopters, a small one at the front followed by two medium sized helicopters with a chinook bringing up the rear. Being less than a mile from the hospital and the marine base at Chivenor not yet closed down (I think) plus the coastguards, helicopters are fairly common but four together was an unusual sight. Later on when it got dark the air was filled with the sound of helicopters until one in the morning. At times it was so loud I couldn't help sitting up to look out of the window, not an easy thing to do when you've still got earphones in attached to the bedside radio. A lot of the time the helicopters were out of sight but I did watch one zig-zagging back and forth over the sea. Must have been some sort of major military exercise.
While the 'summer' remains we've been busy planning trips with the campervan though I hadn't expected campsites to be so expensive, £40 per night. Being the age we are it is impossible not to compare current prices for anything with the equivalent prices when we were much younger. (I was horrified a while back to see people paying £30 for a bottle of prosecco at a dinner.) We've decided that for the time being we'll go 'off line' when we are away apart from the back up of Peter's i-phone. We have a small analogue tv which will probably work with the van's aerial but who wants to watch tv when you're in the middle of beautiful countryside? And for the moment we don't need a lap-top or tablet though that might change when we are in serious house-hunting mode.
As advised by the weather people I stayed out of the sun between 11.00 & 4.00 though I did sneak in half an hour lying flat to try and even up the backs of my legs with the fronts. Currently my tan is every shade from pale white to deep tan. It's so ingrained in our psyche that a tan = an outdoor/heathy life or expensive holidays whereas in previous generations a tan = being a poor person who had to work out of doors. 
Plenty of bees and the occasional butterfly visiting the garden.

Tuesday 24 July 2018

Sea Mist.

While much of the country bakes in the current heatwave we had a much cooler morning due to the sea mist that rolled in and then out again. We spent the afternoon under the edge of a weather front with clear blue skies not returning until later on. Thankfully it's nothing like the heatwave being experienced in other parts of the world nor do we have to worry about wildfires.
Today I gave the inside of the conservatory a thorough clean, wiping down everything and washing the floor. I told myself I wouldn't go on to do the windows but ended up washing one pane to use up my last bucket of hot soapy water. Later I sat outside finishing off my mending in the warm breeze. As I sat there I heard an unfamiliar bird cry and looking up saw a pair of herons flying high over town and later heard a buzzard's call. When Peter got home there was still time for us to get out the sun loungers and read in the sun though as usual we did more talking than reading.

Monday 23 July 2018


We had cloud cover for most of the day so didn't really feel the 'hottest day of the year' that the weather people have been talking about.
I wasn't really looking forward to today's appointments. The first was to see the practice nurse for a smear test which wasn't bad at all. The embarrassment factor is easily outweighed by being reassured you don't have cervical cancer. There was a gap before I needed to be at the dentists' so I headed to St John's Garden Centre for a wander. They are a bit expensive but have a very good range of plants and the other gift type things that you get in posh garden centres. 
I certainly don't need more plants but it was nice to look at the new varieties now available. 
If I was going to plant a hydrangea this one would be at the top of my list. 
I wanted to see which carnivorous plants they had as now that my pitcher plant is doing so well I've got a hankering for  the kind that has vase-like pitchers. However they only had some Venus Fly-traps but my wandering in the glasshouse took me past the reduced section. They had some interesting orchids and I eventually settled on this small pink one for £4 instead of £9. 
In the outside area I found some pots of tiny pinks reduced to 50p so I bought four which I've squeezed into one of the planters.
My visit to the dentist wasn't as bad as feared. As it was an emergency appointment I didn't know which dentist I'd be seeing but thankfully it was my regular lady dentist. She reminded me that the fallen out crown was the one she'd done a side filling on as suggested by the hospital. She also said that crown was near to the point of failing which would mean pulling out the remaining root but she'd have a go at fixing the crown back in first. I reminded her that I'm terrified by the drill and she offered to numb the area first. I jumped at her offer and had a stress-free drilling out of the bad bits of the stump before she fixed the crown in. Earlier she handed me a mirror to see the decay on the root and I noticed some red areas on the roof of my mouth which must be where the sore parts are. The dentist hadn't come across anything like that before but I think it is related to the very old crown and whatever was originally used to fix it in place. I'll go to the doctor if it isn't improving in a few days. Ice cream has proven very soothing and I've got some benzocaine spray which I'll use before I go to sleep. An extra bonus at the dentists' was that there was nothing to pay as it counted as part of the last visit.