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 January 2019


For us it's been a day of grey skies and sleety showers. Once darkness had fallen I could see that although nothing was settling there was plenty of snow swirling around in the light of the street light at the bottom of the garden. The advice was for anybody travelling on the rural roads to complete their journey by 3.00 with ice being the main issue. I well remember those days and some nerve wracking driving up or down the steep hills.
On-line photos taken this afternoon.
 The roads near Dingles.
 Blackmoor Gate.
Snow is infrequent (not even every year) enough in this part of the country to make it an event of note. I can understand why people from the estuary towns seek out the snow but I still wince when I hear of people going up into the hills so that children can go tobogganing. 
My day has been spent at home. After all my morning jobs were done I suddenly ran out of energy and took things quietly. My sinuses make me dizzy at times and yesterday I had to sit down a couple of times at choir. As there are others who sit down for part or the whole of the time it wasn't a big deal. The sooner I get to see the ENT people the better though I'm not expecting an appointment for at least 2 months.

Wednesday 30 January 2019

Very Cold.

We've had just about every kind of weather today starting with an early burst of thunder and lightning followed by rain, sun and a rainbow not to mention a later shower of sleet with a little snow. It has been bitterly cold all day with the sun shining brightly in the afternoon. Going to choir tonight, and coming home, we had to scrape ice from the car windows. One of the choir members posted that she was unable to get to choir as there was already 2 inches of snow on her car. Choir numbers were down with people unwell or having dodgy road conditions. Our yellow weather alert isn't until 1pm tomorrow but there are bound to be icy roads tomorrow morning. This morning there was ice on the Link Road and the Bideford Road and there were 20 car accidents reported in the space of an hour. The house is lovely and warm and the recycling is already out so there's no need to get up too early. One of the bonuses of not going to work.
The knee pads came in handy for washing the kitchen floor. The marble tiles are forgiving with their random patterning so I don't have to wash the floor too often. Sometimes I spend ages trying to shift a mark before I realise it's part of the marble. I think, if I really tried I could spend all my time keeping the place spotless but who wants to do that? Out in the garden I noticed a some places where water was sitting on the wooden decking so I got out the drill to make a few holes for the water to drain away. I wasn't best pleased when I found that both of the drill's batteries had run down. I had to wait until a battery was charged up. Peter said he noticed the same thing when he last used the drill and he thinks the batteries don't hold the charge any more. Hopefully replacement batteries can still be bought.  
I made a start on my next felting project, a small rabbit. I'm trying to see how small I can make it. I began with the head as I think it will be easier to adapt the size of the body. My desk looks a bit macabre at the moment with a rabbit's head and a reject pair of ears that were too big and bulky. One of the ladies at choir who made a standing fox at the workshop last Saturday had a sad photo of her dismembered fox, the culprit being one of her cats. Luckily neither of my two have shown any interest in the fat squirrel which sits by the monitor.
Apologies to anyone who saw yesterday's snowy photo before I removed it. The Gazette doesn't show the dates clearly and it was from last winter's snow.

Tuesday 29 January 2019


We had a morning of icy rain under a white 'snow 'sky. Later tiny patches of blue appeared with fluffy clouds that sometimes blazed with reflected sunshine. For about the second time this year we turned on the central heating in the afternoon but turned down the room temperature or it would have got too hot. This afternoon I went to the dentists again for my initial implant assessment. Although he talked about the costs of the different stages I won't get a final costing until after a CT scan (that's another £170) to see how much bone I've lost in the jaw just where the implant would go. I may need a bone implant there which of course is even more. Also they need to check out the rest of my teeth where some of the fillings and crowns are showing their age. I couldn't have the scan today because it was being serviced so I've got an appointment in three weeks' time.
More snow is predicted for the night and the rest of the week and with yellow weather warnings in place people are being advised not to drive on the country roads. Right now it is raining heavily here and I'm very grateful for our warm home.
Meanwhile this afternoon I got on with copying more photo files and using the new felt to continue patching my wrist weights. I'm determined to finish that before trying some more felting.

Monday 28 January 2019


Today has been bright and sunny with clouds being blown along by a bitterly cold northerly wind. In this evening's weather forecast for the west there was mention of sleet and hill snow both for tonight and tomorrow. In our country days that would have rung alarm bells; Should I take the car up to the road? Did we have all the essentials? Had we enough oil in the tank for the heating? While being isolated by snow or black ice is fun it's not so easy when you have work to go to and there's no sign of snow in town. Not only do we have much warmer conditions here but if the roads are bad everything is within walking distance.
We couldn't take advantage of the sun and go out for a walk as I had a dentist's appointment in the afternoon. Or rather I would have if today had been the 29th, I didn't realise my mistake until I got to the dentist's. My trip wasn't wasted as I did my planned shopping at the Lidl's which is just around the corner from the dentist's. There I treated myself to some new knee pads, very useful for gardening. My old ones had been peed in by the cats, not once but twice and had to be thrown away. Then I went on to Tesco's to get a few things. I did well in Tesco's, half price cooked chicken for Peter and I found that the fancy flavoured Ryvita was down to half price as well. I guess that the January dieters have given up. Good for me as I like to break up a Ryvita and eat it like crisps (chips) for a guilt free snack.
Lots of cheerful Spring flowers in the garden. One of the neighbours was out mowing his lawn but I shall wait for warmer weather before starting mowing again.

Sunday 27 January 2019


After a very windy night I was looking out of the window and chuckling at the wheelie bins that had been blown over, until I looked down and saw our bin store lying on its side. It wasn't hard to put right and once I've screwed the sides to the wooden beams (originally I only screwed down the front) it should be harder to blow over. The wind continued on into the day but a check of the surf cam showed the waves mostly blown out. The comment on surfing conditions simply said 'don't think about it'.

Today I put sealant along the inside of the shower enclosure. A bit of a bodge job as the nozzle of the sealant tube was clogged up with solid sealant so I applied it using my finger. Cleaning was time consuming so I should have either cleared the nozzle or found another one in the garage. Now we just have to see if any water collects under the lino next to the shower.
It wasn't much of a day for taking photos so here are a friend's photos of yesterday's creations. The afternoon group is above with the morning group's below. The little grey hare is at a poor angle but it was really sweet. 
Finishing off the sushi tonight and checking the ingredients again I saw that it wasn't the wasabi that lit a furnace in my mouth but the ingredient listed as 'spicy sauce' so chili was the culprit as I initially thought.

Saturday 26 January 2019


Today I spent a wonderful afternoon being taught how to make felted animals. It was being held at the home of one of my choir friends who was the Headteacher at one of the schools where I used to teach. (Not my last school.) Her house was at Loxhore, a hamlet not too far from Shirwell where our boys went to primary school. I would occasionally drive out to Loxhore either to the village hall for W.I. events or for the boys to visit friends who lived there, but hadn't been that way for at least 10 years. 
I wondered if being back out in the countryside would make me feel nostalgic for Dingles but surprisingly it didn't. Perhaps if we didn't have plans to move back to the country/coast I might have felt differently. The house was even nicer than I had guessed as it had been designed  my friend's brother-in-law to take advantage of the stunning views down the valley. 
One session had been held in the morning followed by lunch for all before six of us settled down to learn to make our little animals. It was a bring and share lunch and I enjoyed broccoli and stilton soup followed by focaccia bread and home-made pate  and the Rocky Road went down well. I think we all abandoned our post-Christmas diets for the day.
We began by being shown how to use our sharp felting needles to create basic shapes that might eventually look like the examples above. 
The actual process was quite therapeutic and at times the room drifted into silence as we stabbed away at the wool. Initially it was suggested that we might like to make a fox or a badger, either as a brooch or a stand up model but some of us went our merry way to make other animals. Lani made a fabulous purple spotted green dinosaur for her grandson and inspired by the picture on my coffee mug I tried to make a red squirrel. One of the morning group made a lovely hare. It was fun to do and each animal had its own character. As well as our models to take home and some extra wool we also kept the needles as from a H&S point of view (blood from the occasional stab wound) they couldn't be given to others to use. 
My squirrel got bigger and bigger as I worked so I'm going to try and go the other way and make a tiny rabbit or mouse with the wool I brought home. When I got home I added whiskers and sewed a mouth to Mr Tufty who has rather plump thighs.
I had planned to stop and take countryside photos on the way back but we spent so long chatting and stabbing that it was dark by the time I set off. I called in at the Co-Op to pick up some milk and got a few bargains as well including some blackberries to go on tomorrow morning's porridge.
I checked the packaging of yesterday's sushi and it was wasabi not chili that tasted so hot so I'll know to avoid that as well.

Friday 25 January 2019


This morning I walked into town to get some butter and send off a passport form. The pannier market looked half empty but there were still the famers' stalls selling farm produce. I bought a steak and ale pie for Peter to have for his dinner. He likes pies but doesn't buy the commercially made pies because of all the unhealthy additives. I went into Iceland for the butter and also bought some special offer sushi. They were called doughnut sushi, a marketing ploy to justify making already small rice balls look bigger by putting a hole in the tops. At £1 for 16 they were good value and I wasn't expecting large pieces of fish so they didn't disappoint. However when I put one of the vegetable sushi in my mouth I was hit with a blast of chili, aargh! especially for me as I don't do chili under any circumstances. Peter can have the rest of those. 
I also called in at the haberdashers' which is closing down, hoping to get another square of the grey felt to finish off covering my old ankle weights. They didn't have any grey left so I bought some royal blue to use instead. Then I went into another shop, somewhere I'd been avoiding as I knew I might well be tempted to buy too much. This is a new scrapstore where you can either buy individual items or join and then pay £3 for as much as you can get into a carrier bag. Enticing but I'm trying to only buy materials for specific projects. They had some felt but no grey. 
The morning had begun grey and damp but by the time I returned home it was brightening up with a good wind. I hung some washing out on the line even though the sky had turned grey again. By the time I brought the washing in it was half dried which is better than nothing. 
At home I made a batch of Rocky Road to take with me tomorrow when I go to a felting workshop run by one of the choir for choir members. It is being run by the lady who made my lovely mouse and is being held at the home of another lady out in the country.
Peter is finding his second cataract surgery more uncomfortable than the first. He had a different anaesthetist  who administered the anaesthetic differently and unlike the first time it was uncomfortable. Last time the soreness went after the first night but this time it is still sore. He's going to bring this up when he goes for his post-op check. Not as a complaint (maybe a bit) but so that best practice is used by all the anaesthetists. 

Thursday 24 January 2019

Eye Surgery.

Peter had his second cataract operation today, something he's been looking forward to. It went without a hitch and having walked up to the hospital for 7.30 in the morning he was ready to be collected by 11.00. (A more complex eye surgery took priority.) 
I wasn't quite ready for a cup of tea at 6.30 but by the time Peter left at 7.15 I was up and ready to do my exercises before breakfast at 8.00. Getting everything done early made a difference to the day and left me with more time to get on with other things. It all depends on what kind of a night I've had. First extra job was sorting out my baby Nikon Coolpix 2100. I hadn't used it for a very long time and one of the rechargeable batteries had leaked. Luckily I was able to carefully clean off the orange gunk and it seems to be working again. It turned on with the ordinary batteries I tried but the low battery light was flashing so Peter is ordering the correct batteries. The baby camera is about the size of a packet of cigarettes and is useful when I don't feel like lugging my big camera around.
I also made a start on hopefully sorting out a small leak from the shower which is a job that had been on my to-do list for a long time. Some of the sealant down one side was not done too well and we are keeping our fingers crossed that that is where the water is leaking. I used a blade to take off the sealant and cleaned all the surfaces. While I was messing about in the shower I had a deep clean of all the difficult to reach parts of the shower screen and doors. An old toothbrush came in handy for getting between the glass doors. A final wipe over with bleach where there was some mildew and the shower is ready for new sealant.
Both these photos were taken at 4.45 when low clouds had rolled in making the drivers on the Braunton Road turn on their headlights. 
While I was waiting for the hospital to phone this morning I spotted two blue tits in the buddleia bush. They didn't stay long enough for me to take a photo but I put out some fresh peanuts in one of the feeders to tempt them back. And I heard the owl again last night.

Wednesday 23 January 2019


It's been a mainly cloudy day with occasional patches of blue sky.  Although recently I've waking quite early and have got my first exercises done before Peter made our morning tea, today wasn't one of those days. So not a lot of extra work done. While Peter was out I used his pc to fill-in an on-line passport renewal form and print off the declaration I have to sign. Maybe by the time my new passport arrives we'll be thinking about driving over to France or even take a more adventurous holiday somewhere.
I'll soon be off to choir without Peter this time. He needs to be at the hospital at 7.30 tomorrow morning for his second cataract operation so he's planning an early night. 
The front garden is looking quite cheerful with primroses and celandines adding a splash of sunshine.

Tuesday 22 January 2019


It's been a day of wintry showers. The house feels snug and warm even though the heating isn't set to turn on until 5.00. Warm enough for me to still be wearing shorts and flip-flops though except for when I'm doing my exercises I've been wearing a fleece over my vest top.
This afternoon I finished copying photos from 2017 onto discs while at the same time sewing more felt patches on my old wrist weights.  That was after an admin session so today has been productive which makes me feel good.
I wrapped up well before setting out for Pilates though the worst of the downpour stopped before I set out. After last week's crowd we were down to 22 which was a much more sensible number. I was especially pleased today as I finally was able to do unassisted sit-ups once more. We don't often do them and for the last year I had struggled and rarely been successful. My physiotherapist had advised me not to do them for a while which was a relief but frustrating. Before my back surgeries I would do vast numbers of sit-ups but I'm not aiming to do that again.
Six of the sitting room orchids have new buds which are beginning to open revealing a variety of colours and patterns.

Monday 21 January 2019


Not too cold today, just miserably grey with the rain holding off until the evening. I walked into to town for an eye check. I haven't had my eyes tested since I had laser surgery in 2009 and as eye tests are free I thought I'd better get one done. Mainly to check out the other things that go wrong with the eyes as we get older. As I thought, my distance vision is fine and for close work the cheap over the counter glasses are sufficient. I already knew that 'floaters' are normal and untreatable but it was a relief to find that the optic nerves are healthy and there are no signs of glaucoma or macular degeneration. I made a point to ask about cataracts as Peter had a clear eye test only weeks before the hospital found advanced cataracts. I do have a little misting in line with my age but nothing to be concerned about. 
After being given the all clear I did some browsing and shopping in the High St. including this fish serving bowl for £1 from a charity shop. In the early days of our marriage we had two pasta? bowls and a larger serving bowl in the same design but with a blueish background which eventually got broken. We still have a saucer sized bowl from which Speedy eats and two enamel shallow bowls which are in the camper. When we downsized our kitchen stuff I only kept the white bone china which still leaves enough for 8 people so the white background fits in nicely.
The light was a bit flat but I walked by the church instead of going round by the road to take a few photos.

 The church was dedicated in 1259.
Today I began using the extra weights on my wrists and ankles during my exercises. The new weights are just about big enough to strap on over the old weights. For the time being I've cut down the number of times I repeat the arm and knee exercises and will work my way back up gradually.  

Sunday 20 January 2019

Mostly Dry.

Although it looked like we were going to have rain today we escaped with the merest hint of  drizzle. That made a nice change for Peter who was rowing this afternoon. Up till today it had rained every time he was rowing. Today instead of rowing in the River Taw they took two gigs over to Appledore so that they could launch directly into the sea which is more fun. It's 11 miles to Appledore and being in the last two crews out they were asked to turn up at the boatyard in Barnstaple to clean out and put away the gigs and all the equipment. Two crews equals 14 people but only 4 turned up to help in the boatyard so Peter got home after 7.00.  The 10 others just went home. A case of 'somebody else will do it'.
Meanwhile at home I felt the need to get out and stretch my legs so I walked down to the Co-Op. I thought it might get wet so I didn't take my camera. On the walk down I occupied myself by seeing what was flowering in the front gardens along the way. Plenty of camellia bushes with white, red or pink flowers. One was a spectacular double red and another had white flowers splashed with red. Lots of winter flowering heather in white, pink and purple along with nearly open snowdrops and a few daffodils. Also spotted Skimmia berries, flowering Viburnum and a solitary Vinca flower. Another thing that caught my eye was a major building job on one of the bungalows along the road. The whole place was surrounded by clear plastic around and over scaffolding that reached up over empty space. The whole roof had been removed as well as the ceilings of the ground (US -first) floor leaving just the walls. The bungalow is of typical block construction and they must be adding a whole new floor as well as extending out to the side.
At the Co-Op I got myself a few treats, not the sugary kind (shame) but baby sweetcorn, button mushrooms and Cox apples all of which I can eat without feeling guilty. On the way home I met a former work colleague who retired before I left work. We had a nice long chat before I carried on home to more exercises.

Saturday 19 January 2019


It's been a day of sunshine and showers. At one point this morning all we could see were blue skies yet rain was falling on the conservatory roof. Apart from the usual daily stuff I made some peanut and chocolate cookies for Peter as he's almost reached the end of the Christmas biscuits. I did weigh Patch, using my bathroom scales rather than the kitchen scales and he's reached 3.6 kg which is only a tiny gain and not enough to increase his medicine. 
I also spent some time filling in a form but I need to speak to someone regarding one thing and I'll have to get a friend to witness my signature. And I thought I'd just need to fill in and post off the form. If I get organised and sort the passport form there's another similar page I need to print off and get signed.  
Quite a nice golden sunset tonight.