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 30 November 2018

Heavy Showers.

I was asleep before 11.30 last night and had a wonderful night's sleep. Perhaps that's the answer, only sleep every other night. Or maybe not. 
It's been another windy day with heavy showers. I put some washing out on the line and worked in the garden so that I could quickly take in the washing when it rained. After doing that several times I gave up and hung the partly dry washing in the conservatory. My garden work consisted of scrubbing decking with warm soapy water, picking up leaves and giving the ivy a trim. Thinking about my back I only did one section of the decking today. The scrubbing took off some of the stain from the decking so when I clean the decking in the Spring I'll have to give it all another coat. I was going to take down the sweet peas until I found a few late flowers.
The man from Sky came in the afternoon to fix the tv and it turned out that we needed a new Q box. That meant that all the recorded programmes stored on the old box would be lost so after the man left I had to go through the listings and set our favourite programmes to record again. We've downgraded our package and can no longer record boxed sets ie old seasons so I lost an episode of an early Blue Bloods that I was halfway through whilst pedalling on the exercise bike. Not a major problem and I've watched the later seasons already.

Thursday 29 November 2018

Running on Empty.

I don't always sleep too well and by 5.30 this morning I realised I wasn't going to get any sleep at all. It's the first time for a very long time that sleep has completely eluded me. I pass the time listening to the radio through headphones. That may not sound conducive to sleep but it does help block the sound of Peter's snoring. After the shipping forecast at 1.00, Lundy (here) gale force 8 to storm force 10, Radio 4 changes to the World Service which has some interesting programmes. The only down side is the news on the hour is the same each time and I really do not want to hear about the song of the Blue Whales any more. I got up at 6.00 to do my exercises, made tea and crept back into bed to do some Sudoku while listening to the radio and the sounds of the stormy weather outside. Several bins had been blown over and some recycling had been blown onto the grass. When I put our recycling out last night I'd made sure to tuck the bags into the top of the box with the food caddy on top holding everything down.
With the winds blowing from the south it wasn't too cold. I was able to watch the showers approaching from the sea. We also had moments of sun, often while it was still raining. I haven't bothered to have a nap, don't because I always feel dreadful when I wake, so I'm interested to see how long I can keep going. I've done all the usual stuff; exercises, housework and music practice and still don't feel tired. I even typed up my Christmas letter for Peter to print. I better read it through one more time to make sure it makes sense.
After choir yesterday some members brought in their arts and crafts for sale. I wish I'd taken my camera because it was all beautiful. There were origami tree decorations and cards, felted animals and decorations, jams & chutneys, earrings,  aprons and pot holders, photo cards, birdfeeders made from wrought iron and tea cups & saucers, painted glasses and stained glass decorations, mirrors and sun catchers. Think Etsy.
Somebody must have knitted scarves for Christmas presents because there were some balls and part balls of exciting textured yarn and a note saying 'help yourself'. I couldn't be greedy and only chose this sparkly ball of burgundies, aquas and gold. I don't have a specific plan but I'm sure I'll think of something.

Wednesday 28 November 2018


It has been a stormy day, which I love, with the bonus of being very warm. I could tell that the wind was wild when out of the bedroom window I saw leaves being blown upwards. It's been two weeks since Peter's eye op. and he's now allowed to exercise so he was disappointed when the strong winds put paid to this morning's rowing. During one of the less wet spells I gave the decking a scrub with the yard broom and the green does seem to be coming off. I suppose I really need to get down on my hands and knees and give it a proper scrub. 
This afternoon I finally got to grips with the pet feeder and following several attempts it is now moving round at the set times. It would be so much easier if these sort of things had a separate button for each function rather than using two buttons which have to held for a set amount of time in the correct sequence. I'm thinking, "oh dear what a Luddite I am." but actually I wish I could talk to it and set the times verbally. Not having a smart phone the only voice activated gadget I come across is the one on the Sky controller. That's a real nuisance because the button is on the side of the controller so that often when the controller is picked up a message comes up saying "I'm sorry I didn't get that, try again." On the couple of times I've tried it couldn't find the programmes which were there on the listings.  I think there needs to be some improvement to the technology.
Off now to choir for an evening of fun and singing.

Tuesday 27 November 2018


We woke to steady rain which later on progressed to heavy downpours. One of my favourite parts of the day is the morning when there is no pressure to wake up and once I am awake there's a cup of tea brought by Peter. For most of my life I slept well and woke early ready to start the day but part of getting older is adapting to new physical limitations. 
My earlier attempt to kill the algae on the decking with fungicide didn't work so today I mixed up some oxy- granules (for pre-soaking washing) in an empty milk bottle. Stabbing the top of the bottle with a corkscrew turned it into a handy dispenser and I  sprayed the mixture over the old decking and some of the slabs. It frothed up white in a most satisfying way and I have high hopes of it loosening up the green. 
Now that Speedy can go back outside it is time for the cats to be using the cat flap. To stop the wind blowing in through the flap I brought down a cupboard door from the loft and placed it in front of the barbeque. Now all I have to do is to show the cats that they can use the cat flap again.

(Something weird is happening to this post and it won't show some of the text so having a third try.)
I finished the afternoon off with some sewing, mending my scruffy house shorts which had another tear due to them being so old. They should really go in the textile recycling bin but while I can change to wearing some light joggers around the house I still need shorts for my daily exercises. I also shortened the elastic strap for my Pilates mat. Over the year the elastic has stretched and the mat tended to slip out while hung over my shoulder. All that done and it was time to do my exercises prior to heading off for my Pilates class.

Monday 26 November 2018


It was a bit warmer today with a romantic haze blurring out the distant views. I hadn't driven to the shops for a while so today I called in at Tesco's, Asda where I found their clean plastic wrapping recycling box and Lidl's. On my way I called in at the Hospice furniture shop to donate them this Lloyd Loom chair. The lady who came out when I rang the bell turned her nose up at the chair and said they couldn't take it as it didn't have fire safety label, (I hadn't included the foam cushion). The last time I took them two similar chairs the chap recognised them straight away and was only too happy to accept them. Instead I brought the chair back home and have offered it on the 'Just-don't-bin-it' FB group I belong to.
Back home after unloading the shopping I decided to give the grass a cut, the last time I hope. The weather is set to become warmer but with lots of rain so it was now or never. I ended up with very green hands because the damp grass clogged up the mower and needed scraping out. Mowing also had the result of clearing the blanket of acer leaves on the front lawn. My neighbour was working today so she didn't get the chance to cut her share of the communal grass. It's bin day tomorrow so I put out our wheelie bin. With so much going into the different recycling sections our main bin only gets about a quarter full even in two weeks. That might also be because we buy very few ready made items which along with a ton of additives, salt and sugar come in a lot of unrecyclable packaging. 
We had a golden end to the day with reds, oranges and pinks diffusing across the sky.

Sunday 25 November 2018


A bright and cold morning. A sea mist was sitting over the bay and though it crept inland during the day we had patchy sun until early evening. Felt much better today with my rib muscles not aching so much.
My task for today was to try and set the timed pet feeder which I had bought from eBay. I want to make sure it works or I'll be claiming my money back.  I thought I had set it for this evening using the manual Peter printed off for me but so far it hasn't spun round apart from the initial spin it is supposed to do when you turn it on. I'll leave it until tomorrow in case I messed up the am/pm or day settings.
Speedy likes to sit on my tummy or back when I'm doing my floor exercises but today I noticed that one foot was dirty and very smelly. I got away with only a few tiny scratches along with a lot of splashes when I dunked his foot into a sink of warm soapy water and gave it a wash. Worth it to get rid of the smell.

Saturday 24 November 2018


Another gloomy grey day. I'd washed some tea towels (had them soaking ) but 10 minutes after hanging them on the line down came the rain. I got them in and of course it didn't rain again all day but I left them on the radiator rack.
After a slow start to the day, I may be coming down with a cold or simply overdid things at Pilates, I spent the afternoon finishing off my project. That's one thing ticked off my Christmas to do list. Both cats were curled up together in the armchair but neither of the photos I took came out. 
This white orchid seems to have been flowering for ages. A check through my records and files shows that it had 3 flowers on the 11th of July, over 4 months ago. 

Friday 23 November 2018


It's been a day of prolonged showers and some sunshine. I popped out to post a card during one of the sunny spells and took some photos along the way. I don't think the figs on the tree below will be ripening, such a shame.

There is little character in the houses of our estate though some gardens aren't bad. Nicer is the view of the hills seen between the houses.
I was working on my project in the sitting room when a visitor put his face up at the window. I've seen this friendly cat a couple of times and with his white paws and bib I've named him Pretty Boy. He's still got a kitten like squeak and he's so friendly that when I bent down to stroke him he bopped my hand and then turned a somersault as he threw himself to the floor so I could tickle his tummy. Our two were fast asleep in the sitting room. Pretty Boy wanted to come in but I drew the line at that.
The boiler man came this morning but after making him a cup of coffee I left him to Peter.

Thursday 22 November 2018


It's been a mainly grey gloomy day with a little sun in the morning. There was a good wind blowing so I washed my heavy towelling dressing gown, great for after a shower, and got it out on the line.
After the relief of having his bucket taken off yesterday Speedy was out of the door like a shot when I allowed him out today. One of the neighbhood cats was meowing and Speedy went off to investigate. 
The recent warm weather confused this primrose in the garden which along with the cyclamens is brightening up the garden. 
Looking across the fields I could see smoke billowing from the solitary farmhouse on the hill. It took a closer look with the binoculars to see that the smoke was coming from behind the house, presumably a garden bonfire and nothing to worry about. There were also plumes of smoke coming from the trees, it must be bonfire time. I haven't done much out of the ordinary today though I did settle on some designs to finish off my project. Peter went out to collect a 5L bottle of extra virgin olive oil which a friend had brought over from a family olive grove in Spain. I've just finished the last bottle using it to make a lovely honey and mustard salad dressing for my daily salad.

Wednesday 21 November 2018


A cold bright day today. I put some big towels out to dry on the line and later when I was in the middle of pressing buttons for the remote repair of our Sky box it began to rain. I had the phone on speaker and had to ask Peter quietly to bring in the washing. Peter can't kneel and as they usually ask you to pull out cables or press buttons at the back that was going to be my job. This time however it was mainly done remotely and I only had to press buttons on the controller. We can now download programmes once more and hopefully our Sunday Archers won't be breaking up.
I was pleased to see a robin hopping about in the front garden possibly attracted by the bird seed I've been throwing on the ground. Today he was joined by a house sparrow who chirped merrily but hid when I tried to take photos.
Speedy has finally been released from his 'bucket' though I'm keeping a close eye on his leg. He's spent most of the day grooming all the parts he couldn't reach with the bucket on. 

Tuesday 20 November 2018


A very grey cold day today. The photo above was taken at 3.00. It felt chilly in the house this morning due to the central heating boiler cutting out yet again. No concerns as the gas man was coming to service the boiler. He arrived on time and got to work on the boiler. As he and Peter chatted it turned out that as well as working on boilers he also teaches gas plumbing at the college. He then proceeded to lecture us on the correct way to run our heating system. He was adamant that all the radiators should be turned on to stay ticking over all day, no turning off radiators in unused rooms or where a cooler room is more comfortable ie for me and under no circumstances should a window ever be opened. By this point Peter could see that I was getting more and more annoyed. I discretely mentioned the fact that bedrooms needed ventilation to allow naturally occurring gases to escape. Absolutely not was the answer, such gases rise to the ceiling where they cannot be detected. This was when I decided not to continue the conversation or mention the build up of CO2 or water vapour exhaled as part of respiration. This was not the end of the lecture though, apparently most people turn on their water taps incorrectly. Water taps should be turned on at full flow and never turned down while in use. This man obviously doesn't spend any time at a kitchen sink. He still has to come back with a small part for the boiler, I shall make sure to be busy elsewhere.  
I wrapped up to go out and do a little more work on the car. I spent the whole time scraping off the excess paint and wondering why I bothered to start the job at all. Eventually my fingers got too cold so I came back in and worked on my project before doing my exercises and then going out to Pilates. 
PS. Just seen that the current freezing rain is coming down as snow at Blackmoor Gate.

Monday 19 November 2018


It's been a day of sunny spells along with a freezing easterly wind blowing straight from Siberia. Although the cat flap has the watering can in front of it to stop Speedy from getting out the wind was blowing into the kitchen. I found a piece of wood in the loft, a side table top I think, that was the right size to block off the cat flap. 
Peter went out with the car so I couldn't see how my scratch repair was doing and apply the final clear coat but I found a very good second use for the varnish. It was just the thing to repair a very deep scratch across one on the marble floor tiles in the hall. I'd looked on line but the only solutions seemed to involve a marble polisher which not surprisingly I don't have. A fine line of varnish worked perfectly. 
For the rest of the afternoon I carried on with my project which today involved some embroidery and some sewing.  

Sunday 18 November 2018


Cold, bright and breezy today. As I hung some towels out on the line I could hear the sheep  out on the hillside while the church bells rang out. A nice counterbalance to the sound of traffic and the sirens of emergency vehicles.
Speedy again, I just had to take this picture of him fast asleep in the warm sun.  I went outside working on the car again in the chilly shade. This time painting on the silver paint with the finest of brushes. I'm not sure if it is much of an improvement but at least it will keep the rust at bay. There's still a coat of clear varnish to do tomorrow. 
For the rest of the afternoon I worked on my project dredging up my embroidery skills. I don't think I've done any since I was at school. I came across this cushion cover the other day which I can remember making when I was 9 or 10. (Must give it a soak to see if I can get the stains out.)

Saturday 17 November 2018


The day started off rather grey but soon the sky cleared and it was sunshine all the way. Warm in the sun and bitterly cold in the shade. I know because I was outside in shorts using the scratch repair kit on the car which happened to be in the shade. Today I applied the primer to the worst of the scratches and to some bare spots along the edges of the doors. I'm not that bothered about the scratches but as I got the kit for free I might as well tidy the car up a bit. Also I wouldn't like to see rust appearing though the scratches weren't down to the metal. 
With the afternoon sun shining in through the windows the rooms at the front of the house were lovely and warm. Speedy, with his nearly healed foot, was relaxing on my study window sill. The setting sun was an incandescent sphere of molten metal that was so intense it was hard to look at as it sunk below Hartland. 
With December nearly here the season of Christmas Fayres has begun. This morning I went to one at the Pilton Hall on my way into town. Lots of lovely handmade stuff; cards, decorations, jewellery, photos, truffles and so on but I didn't buy anything. We certainly don't need any more decorations however lovely and this year I'll mainly be giving my own home-made/ baked items. I thought about going to a bigger fayre tomorrow being held in the Pannier Market (above) but probably won't. 
Being Saturday the Pannier Market was filled with craft and antique stalls of a more commercial nature. Lots of lovely things to look at. 
The main reason for going into town was to collect my prescription. The first time I looked through the doors of Boots I could see a long queue so I went off and got a red cabbage for Peter's coleslaw and some button mushrooms to add to my evening salad. When I returned there were just two people in the queue in front of me. Both of those had problems with their prescriptions but eventually I got to the counter. Yes, there was my bags of medicines ready for me …….. lacking any Naproxen which had been the main hold up on Wednesday. Off went the harassed serving lady to find the paperwork from my GP's surgery which was eventually found. She took the Naproxen from the shelf (where they had both 250s and 500s) but had to have them checked by one of the pharmacy staff sitting out of my sight but no more than 10 ft. away.  She repeatedly asked for my medicines to be checked but I ended up waiting 15 minutes. To add insult to injury on the counter was a box of small cards inviting people to take part in an on-line customer satisfaction survey. I got a certain amount of pleasure in recording exactly how poor the service is due to a lack of staff both serving and in the pharmacy. We've had enough and on Monday we shall arrange for our prescriptions to be collected from a different chemist.

It was hard but I refrained from buying any of the home made cakes at the fayre or from this stall on the market. It took me a long time to get back to my healthy eating diet which I intend to stay on until I lose the weight gained since moving. Christmas will be the exception that I look forward to but I'm glad to be back to recording my weight daily and seeing going it down, slowly but steadily. 
Back home I carried on with my project and got the second Rohan horse done.