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.

Friday 31 August 2018

Last Day of Summer.

Summer went out in style today. As I hung up yesterday's washing for a final dry there was not a cloud in the sky. With a refreshing breeze blowing it was perfect for doing my exercises outside. I even managed to have my head shaded by a towel on the line. It got cloudier during the day so who knows what it will be like tomorrow. 
Having felt for a while that each day was much the same and things weren't getting done today I did a job that I've been meaning to do for years. This small round pine table originally came from my mother's house and then spent 25 years in our conservatory. There it was mainly used as a work bench by the boys who spent many happy hours building and painting 40K models not to mention scenery to create battle scenarios for said models.  While being happy that the boys were being creative I would have been happier if they had thought to protect the table with paper first. (Before they send me outraged messages yes they did so some times.)
Being in a damp conservatory at Dingles didn't help preserve the table though I did put the feet in plastic pots to protect them from drawing up damp through the concrete. However an afternoon of sanding done outside in the garden, mainly with an electric hand sander but also by hand on the legs took off the worst of the marks. I didn't want to remove all the character of the table by getting every last mark out which would have taken a lot longer. One of the top pieces was coming loose and needed repairing. Once the sanding was done I needed to get that done. Out came the electric drill, box of bits, box of screwdrivers, tub of small screws, box of even smaller screws and a tub of various mending plates none of which I needed. The top planks had originally been secured with small floorboard type nails. The loose section had pulled away from the underneath and the nail bent over to the side. When I carefully straightened up the nail, hammering with the end of a large screwdriver over a block of wood fixed the nail firmly back into the under structure.
After putting away all the things I hadn't needed I decided to carry on and wax the table while it was still outside. I put two generous coats of Brywax  on the wood which brought the pine back to a golden glow. I may give it another coat or just buff it over tomorrow. All in all I'm very pleased with the overall result and look forward to spending time working in the conservatory.

Thursday 30 August 2018


A much brighter and considerably warmer day tempted me to walk to town. That's the first time for over four weeks, partly due to the wet weather and partly due to not really needing anything. Today I had to pick up Patch's medicine from the vets' which is three quarters of the way to town anyway. I did have a few things on my list to get but mainly I ambled in and out of the shops keeping an eye open for more plain everyday vests. The ones I've been wearing at home are frayed, faded and stained and need to go into the textiles bin at the recycling centre. Didn't find any as the larger shops now have their autumn ranges on display. It looks as if mustard, olive and brown are this season's colours which are not my colours at all.
I had a good wander around the Pannier Market which today had craft/ decorative items stalls some of which were very interesting.

Pyrography and handmade soft toys caught my eye. The best fudge ever is made in front of you in the little shop just out of sight to the right of the entrance archway.
Heady incense perfumed the stall selling handmade goods from India. 
Quite a few stalls selling original art works and prints of varying qualities. 
I thought these oversized umbrellas  were fun. I was almost tempted to buy one for the camper (useful for running to the showers) but decided a golf umbrella would be a bit sturdier.
A lass dressed in a steampunk outfit runs this stall which had a lot of ornamental dragons and skulls.
 More art.
And finally some sweet felted children's slippers from India. There were other felted items including some mats for putting under hot dishes that looked like pom-poms all joined together.
It warmed up a lot while I was in town and once I got home we sat outside for a while. By sunset the sky was clear and the sun slipped behind the hill in a golden haze.
On my way home, walking up the alley by the church a man was sanding down the old paintwork on a door in the high stone wall there. As I walked along he said he'd wait until I'd gone past before carrying on with his sanding so I didn't get covered in dust. I mentioned that it was interesting to see what was on the other side of the wall and he very kindly invited me in to have a better look at his garden. It was stunning! Mature trees and shrubs around terraced lawns took the eye right across town to the hills beyond. No wonder he was proud of it but I felt it would be rude to ask to take a photo. I think it was originally part of the grounds of the very grand residence that has recently been bought for £600k and is being fully restored by the new owners including restoring the original cob walls along the alley and the high wrought iron gates across the curving drive. I've looked at these large old properties on google maps and wondered what they are like. 

Wednesday 29 August 2018


To start with it looked like we were in for a reasonably sunny day but all too soon the blue patches were replaced by unremitting grey. For most of the day it looked as if it might rain at any moment but then in the evening the blue reappeared. From the back of the house there wasn't a cloud to be seen while out over the sea there were a variety of cloud formations. (While not a stickler for correct grammar it really bugs me when people use 'was' when referring to a plural noun and I've been known to shout at the radio when supposedly educated people mix up was and were. I also get annoyed when I hear qualifiers used with words that does not have a quantity eg 'a little dead' or 'very excellent'. I must be turning into an old fogey.)
Once again I haven't done a lot today barring the usual exercises and house work. However I did spend a long time going through every advertised detached bungalow in west Wales. So many pages to scroll through. This far nothing apart from one I spotted the other day. In terms of size- 4 bedrooms and location - facing west looking over the sea and a short walk to the beach it is ideal but the one drawback is the small garden. I'll just keep on looking.
Out in the garden I noticed these two sprigs of green coming from the golden oat grass seeds I rescued from a town flower bed. Another plant that eventually grew from what looked like a dead twig is this perovskia (below) which was a cutting from a plant I had growing at Dingles. I can't resist any plant that has blue grey foliage and lavender flowers.
 Grasses also count amongst my favourites.
 The reason I don't shut the sitting room curtains in the evenings.

Tuesday 28 August 2018

A Little Brighter

Still mostly grey today but a little brighter with the occasional patch of blue. It didn't feel too cool and we even managed to spend some time sitting out in the garden. I took a chance and did some washing which dried enough to be ironed. I got into the habit of ironing sheets because I've never had a drier and needed to iron out the last bit of dampness. Not to mention how nice freshly ironed sheets are. I was with a group of people recently who said they never ironed sheets but I guess they must have driers.
The conservatory is looking even tidier now. I had a plastic crate filled with my every day gardening tools in there. It which looked a bit messy so I brought an old tall swing bin box from the garage, washed it out and put my gardening stuff in there. The cats are now using the outside litter box which was my long term plan so I can now work at the table in the conservatory.
I knew the difficult neighbour was back when I saw him driving over the grass to get to his parking spot. The council came and mowed the grass this morning but leaving the cut grass does make it look messy (apart from my bit).

Monday 27 August 2018


A cool grey day with some light showers. Typical Bank Holiday weather but even so when I went out to get something from the garage there was hardly a car parked outside. All the vehicles (truck, 4x4 & several cars) belonging to our difficult neighbour were conspicuous by their absence and his garage door was left open with much less than is usually there, inside. Has he perhaps finally sold his house? No doubt my next door neighbour will soon tell me what's going on.
I went to the garage to get some lino, saved from the bathroom to put over the cats' litter box. I've moved it outside and the recent heavy rain had got in at the front and back. The lino, which is a speckled grey colour, should keep the rain out.   
Jobs today have included baking more chocolate and peanut butter cookies for Peter and altering a sports vest that I bought the other day. And I've been trawling through the property ads on-line. Every once in a while I find something that is almost right which keeps me optimistic.
The hanging basket by the front door is just about coming to an end, most of the surfinias have finished and the lobelia is also struggling. Annoyingly (because who isn't competitive) my neighbour's hanging baskets filled with hanging begonias and diascia still look superb. mind you she did get them done professionally. Perhaps I'll go for begonias next year.

Sunday 26 August 2018

Mostly Wet.

It rained heavily all morning and through into the afternoon. Didn't take any photos so here are some from the last few days. 
I drove down to the Co-Op later in the afternoon. It had stopped raining and normally I would have enjoyed the 15 min walk there but we needed milk and while it is a lot cheaper to buy two they're quite heavy even in a back-pack. Shops close at 4.00 on Sundays so I picked up a few bargains at 75% off; black pudding, proper ham from the deli counter not the pre-packed stuff full of chemicals, sushi which I had for supper and two smokey black bean burgers. When I was out I noticed how warm it felt, the winds must have swung right round to the south again.
I gave my study a good tidy today. With one box (of curtains) going up into the loft and a large box of modelling paints into another cupboard the study looks much roomier. I also wiped down most of the surfaces and went through the various pots of pens, pencils etc throwing out any nonworking pens. Later I filled my test profiteroles with cream leaving out some for Peter as he's not into cream and they were pretty good  so I may well make some if we have guests.
Update on Patch - he's had a large cyst on his head for about a year which I think was where I took a tick off his head (not an uncommon occurrence at Dingles). After yesterday's cat fight I checked him over especially his head and ears but found no traces of blood. However today I notice that his cyst has deflated so I guess that it got punctured in the fight. I'll have to keep an eye on it for infection as cat claws are dirty. I may even try and trim or shave the fur there for a better view but Patch doesn't really like his head being checked.

Saturday 25 August 2018


A cold bright day today. With all the recent rain the grass has grown well so this afternoon I mowed the lawn and the communal grass. It all looks a lot neater now.
Recently Fluffy Cat has been coming back into the garden, sometimes he's right down by the side of the conservatory as he has an escape route through the fence there. Today I went out to investigate the cause of a terrific amount of yowling. Speedy was skulking back into the house but up on the big deck Patch was nose to nose with Fluffy Cat. Before I could intervene the pair of them were rolling over and over with fur flying everywhere. I didn't want to risk getting scratched or bitten or even break FC's tail by grabbing it. Instead I aimed a few kicks at his rear (I was wearing flip-flops) and FC made a break up and over the back wall. I grabbed Patch who was trying to follow him and sat with him on my lap trying to calm him down as his weak heart was beating far too fast. Eventually I gave him some food which he ate and then went to sleep.
I did some baking today. It all stemmed from my meringue attempt. Somehow, well it has been over 20 years since I made choux pastry, I thought choux pastry only needed egg yolks and by the time I realised it needs whole eggs I'd already bought some cream for profiteroles. Peter used up the yolks in an omelette and I made a stack of profiteroles. The first ones could have done with a little longer in the oven but on the whole they're alright. I remembered to let the steam out to allow them dry to off and I'll fill them with cream tomorrow. When I thought about it I like profiteroles because of the cream and chocolate so I'm not sure if I'll bother with them again.
The boys sent me two lovely bouquets yesterday and I had fun filling vases with flowers and putting them around the house. 

This pastel arrangement now sits on the coffee table in the sitting room.
The kitchen is filled with the scent of these lilies and the morning sun lit up the sunflowers and gazanias.

A pretty sunset last night.

Friday 24 August 2018

Wet and Cold.

The winds have changed to north-easterlies bringing cold air and plenty of rain. Don't think there's much chance of hot sunny days returning this year. (Trying to bring good fortune by expecting the worst.) The weather didn't matter though it was the first time the shorts were rejected in preference to light trousers, as I met up with two friends for coffee and a long chat at St. John's Garden Centre on the other side of town. Friendships are so important.
I had one drama before leaving this morning when I went to open the kitchen drawer to get my purse (US -wallet) and found that something was causing it to stick. Try as I did to slide a ruler and a cooking tool in to shift the stuck item it wouldn't budge. Luckily I was able to prise out my small plastic purse through the gap. It would have been different if I wanted my chunky leather wallet which was also in there. When I returned home I found I could remove the front panel of the drawer by undoing two screws which were accessible from the side. That way I could reach in and remove the offending item, an old fashioned meat fork which is now residing elsewhere.
I did a few jobs around the place, washing floors etc. and now that I have the correct thread I restrung an anklet whose original elastic had stretched beyond its function. I plan to do those little jobs and then get annoyed with myself when I haven't done them the solution being just to get on with it. I also sewed some felt on to the back of one of my wrist/ankle weights that I use when exercising. For some reason on just one of them the fabric had become very thin and despite sewing up a couple of holes every time I lifted up my arm I'd hear the plink of another tiny metal ball hitting the mat. I may do the other one before it too wears thin so that they match.

Lynmouth, from yesterday's visit.

Typical British summer weather, looking northwards towards Countisbury. 
Looking across the Bristol Channel to Swansea and Port Talbot with the Welsh hills behind. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)
Lynmouth is a very pretty village where the main industry is tourism.

Peter in his red and black gig club hoody sitting where we ate our delicious fish and chips overlooking the small harbour. There were a couple of fishing boats, crabbers but the majority were pleasure craft. Peter would love one but I'm far too aware of the dangers of the sea. (I'm listening to Jaws as I type.) No dangerous sharks in these waters and ironically I would love to see one of the basking sharks that do live here and can sometimes be seen around Lundy. They're the second largest fish in the world and are gentle plankton feeders.
PS This is the guy that came round yesterday playing the handpans.

Thursday 23 August 2018

A Walk Along the River Lyn.

I woke at a sensible time this morning which might have had something to do with it being my birthday and the rustle of presents being placed on my bedside table. As well as an orchid Peter gave me a gift bag overflowing with sweet treats. I'm really going to have to practise self restraint as apart from today I'm back on my diet. 
Being a dry day we drove out to Lynmouth for a walk inland along the River Lyn. Usually we continue along the right hand bank but it had been closed off due to land slips and an enormous tree trunk poised ready to slide into the path. Instead we walked along the left hand bank and in doing so discovered a small free parking area, handy for future walks. 
After passing the houses clinging to the side of the gorge we had a an easy path which would have taken us to Watersmeet if I hadn't been taking photos.
Some of the boulders in the river were bigger than cars, it's hard to imagine the power of the water that carried them downstream. In winter times the river rises dramatically  and in 1952 destroyed houses down at Lynmouth.

 Lynton sitting high above the cliffs.
Eventually we turned back and made our way to Lynmouth where we bought fish and chips to eat out on the mole. I only had fish and some of Peter's chips because the portions are large. It's the best chippy we know with the crispest most succulent batter on the fish, delicious with a squeeze of fresh lemon. Peter had a surprise, an 'event' planned for me at home which had me guessing all the way back. The surprise turned out to be a lesson on the hand pans. I'd come across them on YouTube a while back and thought it would be great to play one. Then I heard that one of Peter's friends had one and I jokingly said if she ever gets fed up with it I'd love to buy it from her. BTW they cost well over £1,000. She's not likely to lose interest but Peter organised for the guy who teaches her to come to the house and give me an introductory lesson. However I'm not going to jump right in but wait until I master the guitar before starting a new instrument. I just have the thought of an ancient me in an old people's home tapping and thrumming away.
Now that we have a proper oven I thought it time for trying new recipes. I told Peter that instead of cake today I'd have a practice go at a meringue roulade which is my favourite shop bought dessert. It's a good thing I had a try today because the tray needs to face the other way in the oven, today's meringue burnt at the end, and it needs a lower setting as the underneath of the meringue was quite sticky or maybe that's because I used a silicone sheet instead of baking parchment. Peter took the precaution of buying a small roulade and putting it in the freezer in case my attempt turned out disastrously but with cream, raspberries and blueberries I'm sure mine will taste fine.