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.

Wednesday 27 February 2019


The hot spell is all set to change from tomorrow so I found some time to sit out and enjoy the sun. I had one load of washing out on the line and I took the opportunity to wipe down and air several pairs of over trousers. I'd rescued them from the garage which is a bit damp. If only we could get that roof fixed. Three pairs of tatty old style over trousers ended up in the bin. It was useful to have them when we lived out in the country but we're not going to be working outside in wet conditions any more and the two pairs of Gortex over trousers will be enough.
The first wallflower.
Before going out to enjoy the sun I took the time to do my choir 'homework' - learn the words to 'When the Snows of Winter fall'. Then it turned out that we didn't sing it tonight. We've a concert coming up in a few weeks and there are parts of songs that we still don't get right. 'Bring me Water Sylvie' was one of tonight's songs and it took a while before our leader realised that expecting all of us to do the complicated body percussion was too optimistic. Instead we compromised by having the 6 people who had mastered the movements standing at the front and the rest of us concentrated on singing. Best of all we didn't sing the seaweed song and the rumour is that it's being taken off the concert list. A large part of being in the choir is the social side and tonight we sang Happy Birthday to 3 members and congratulated one of them on her engagement. More craft workshops, this time on stained glass objects, tea-light holders and window decorations are again being held at the beautiful home of another member. I've signed up for Saturday afternoon as the felting workshop was a really nice afternoon. I don't expect to continue with the stained glass work but it will be interesting to have a go.

 Goodnight Sun.

Tuesday 26 February 2019


It's been another sunny day with an official UK temperature of over 21C/70F. I ran out of things to wash apart from a knitted cosy for my one cup cafetiere which I hand washed and is still out on the line.
I didn't want to waste the lovely weather so this morning I sat out in the sun trimming away at the ornamental grasses. It was lovely to feel the sun on my back but the general peace was broken by loud machine noises coming from the garden of the big house behind us. At first I thought he was using a rotovator but then the smell and the presence of a big tip-up lorry made me realise that they must be re-doing the tarmac on their drive. I had to guess because the hedge along the bottom boundary has grown and I can't see into their garden from the upstairs window anymore.
Then I had (at least for me) a busy afternoon. First stop to the dentist where I was scheduled to have a CT scan as the first step to having an implant. However having thought about the conversation at the last appointment ie. there isn't enough room for two implants so I would be still left with a visible gap, not good when my reason for having implants was purely cosmetic, and unlike my usual dentist's estimate of around £2,000 for each implant this one implant would cost me around £3,500. The dentist confirmed that if I wait until the molar on the other side of the gap, which is an ancient crown and has fallen off several times, needs to come out I could then have 3 teeth placed on 2 implant pegs which would fill the gap and more. You never know, by that time maybe the cost of implants will have dropped to a more reasonable price. I have made an appointment with my regular dentist to have my denture ground down to make it less uncomfortable. They offered me an appointment at 8.10 tomorrow morning but I opted for a later time in a couple of weeks. 
After the dentists' I did some shopping at Lidl, dropped off a bag of plant prunings at the dump and called in at Tesco's for the things I couldn't get at Lidl. 
Back home I just had time for my exercises before going out to my Pilates class. Walking there the setting sun was an incandescent red globe turning the cloudless sky red which looked extra dramatic seen through the black silhouettes of a couple of trees. It was a vigorous session and I fear I may have overdone things and twinged my back. Our teacher always gives us options so that we do whatever suits each of us but it was funny when she said 'Hmm, very individual, I think you are all being quite unique.' In other words we were all happily doing something different.

Monday 25 February 2019


Goats in the Valley of the Rocks.
Today has been the warmest winter day on record in the UK. The official high was 20.3C but here on my sunny front doorstep it was a lot higher. The porch was so warm that the coats had that 'ironed clothes' smell and a warm breeze danced through the house. I washed my hair before I began mowing and left my hair to dry naturally in the sun. Dried that way it ends up curly at least until I run a brush through it. My neighbour arrived home just as I finished the mowing so she borrowed the mower to do the bit in front of her house. She gave me the news that the unsociable neighbour has sold his house at last. No more driving over the grass and adios to his trucks and other vehicles that fill the parking area.
 Daffodils in a neighbour's garden.
After the mowing there was still enough sun in the back garden to continue tidying up the ornamental grasses. I think you're supposed to cut them right back in the winter but I enjoy the structural shape of the old leaves that fade to a parchment colour. So now  I'm taking them out one at a time. 

Sunday 24 February 2019

Valley of the Rocks.

It was a lovely sunny day so we headed out for a stroll around the Valley of the Rocks. It was so warm that I wished I'd worn my shorts though the temperature dropped when we walked behind the ridge along the coast. 
Not surprisingly there were plenty of people around with the usual smattering of hardy souls climbing along the highest points. There were even a couple of people climbing Castle Rock with ropes, (maybe they didn't notice the path.) We didn't go up Castle Rock as the scrambling over uneven rocks would have been too much for Peter's knee. 
We walked in the opposite direction to our usual route cutting through to the cliff side and then back to the valley. 

The car journey was a little surreal as we travelled over what would have been part of our daily journey to work from Dingles. It's strange to think that we will probably never go down to Dingles again.
At home I did some tidying up of the ornamental grasses in pots in the back garden. One lot had no new growth yet so could just be chopped back but the other pot had old and new stems so I carefully pulled or cut each dry stem one by one.

Saturday 23 February 2019


Although both daffs and narcissi have been out in neighbouring gardens for a while this is our first narcissus flower of the year. It's been a hazy and not too cold day so along with getting washing out on the line I gave the Old English rose bush a Spring pruning. I took off a third of the stems which seemed a little drastic but necessary for our small garden and I also removed all last year's leaves.
More photos from yesterday.
Peter brought me a cup of tea at 6.30 this morning as he needed to be at the boat shed by 7.00. I was grateful but slept for a couple of hours after the tea.
Speedy had me worried for a while this evening. When he joined me in the sitting room I noticed that his white ear was bright pink and when I felt his ears they were roasting. Was he running a fever? If I needed to take him to the vet tomorrow that would be an out of hours consultation and even more expensive. I checked his feet but they didn't seem to be worse than usual. He wasn't acting as if he was ill and when I called him into the kitchen and gave him some cat biscuits he ate them with his usual enthusiasm. Only then did the penny drop. He'd been sleeping on the glass lid of the cooker after Peter had used the oven to cook his supper. No wonder he was nice and toasty.

 Exmoor ponies to keep the furze and bracken down.

Friday 22 February 2019

Bull Point.

With the good weather continuing we decided to head off for a walk on the beach. What we didn't factor in was that it's the half-term holiday which meant we couldn't find a single parking space along the road. Instead we carried on up to Mortehoe where there were spaces in the 'free' spots along the road, for a cliff top walk.  Thinking that we would be down on the beach I wasn't wearing walking boots but wellies, not the best footwear for narrow rocky paths so we headed along the track that leads to Bull Point lighthouse.
One bonus was the presence of wool tufts caught in the brambles and hawthorn along the way. I collected up a good amount to use for making the base structures of felted animals.
It was a bit hazy over the sea but even from that distance we could see large waves rolling in.
It won't be long before the bluebells appear making the wooded slope down to the stream at the bottom of this deep valley that leads down to Bennet's Mouth. 
The track took us to Bull Point where the lighthouse keepers' cottages are now holiday accommodation. From there we turned back along the cliff finding a rocky spot to sit and watch the waves while we had some coffee.
From there we cut back up the steep hill to join the lighthouse track. 
When we got home the washing out on the line was dry enough to iron. Then I modified the coat carrying straps that I made some time ago to make it easier to carry our coats when out walking. My first versions had a long strap to go over the shoulder and two smaller straps joined by Velcro to secure a rolled up coat. I took off the small straps and replaced them with wide elastic which should be less fiddly to put round the coats. Our weather is so changeable that it is handy to be able to bring a coat along without having to wear it all the time.
Every sunset is different.

Thursday 21 February 2019


I'm not sure what the temperature was locally but it certainly felt warm corresponding with Scotland's high of 18.3C/65F, the highest ever recorded Scottish February temperature. There was also a drying breeze so I threw the front doormat into the washing machine and got it almost dry on the line. 
On sunny afternoons my windowsill is a favourite sleeping spot for the cats. While Speedy dozed I tried to fit a new zip head on to Peter's coat but though I had two that were the same size as the broken one they differed on the inside and didn't fit. One sewing job that I completed late last night was to the ankle weights I bought not so long ago. The Velcro straps were constantly coming undone which I put down to buying on line. It was only recently that I realised that due to the way I was wearing them, over the 1kg ones on my wrists or above the 1kg ones on my ankles, meant that the hooked parts of the Velcro straps didn't reach the fuzzy parts and I was trying to attach them back on to the hooked parts. Duh - (remember I'm getting on a bit.) My solution was to sew on some fuzzy tape from my bag of Velcro oddments, and hey presto - no more falling off weights. Now I need to use some gaffa tape on the small split in one of the dumbbells which is currently allowing a trickle of metal? grains to fall out when I lift it over my head. 
The flowerbed in the front garden is sparkling with yellow flowers and close scrutiny reveals the yellow hint of a daffodil about to burst forth. 

Wednesday 20 February 2019


I'm not sure where the warm weather they've been talking about is, not here that's for certain. It's been an overcast day with some light showers. Peter was getting low on biscuits so I baked peanut and chocolate cookies for him. I also got round to mending his all weather coat. Sewing new poppers on wasn't a problem but tackling the zip was. Having first cut off the end stops (I did the wrong one first) and put the zip head on plus some extra stitching I then found that the problem was with the zip head itself, something is broken inside.  Tomorrow I'll sort through my sewing kit to see if I have a zip head of the right size and if not I'll buy another whole zip and stitch it over the old zip.
 The first inkling of colour on a wallflower.

Tuesday 19 February 2019


This morning the sheep were being gathered up by the farmer so that the air was filled with the sound of bleating sheep as well as the ever present seagulls.
Today's appointment at the dentist got rescheduled for next week but I did the shopping I'd planned to do anyway. For the rest of the day I went through the individual websites of estate agents in West Wales without any luck. I also researched Borth, the seaside village where our one possible house is. So far I haven't turned up any negative points. With any likely looking property I've enjoyed thinking about how we could improve the house and garden. I should have been an architect or garden designer. 
A short post today as I've left it rather late.

Monday 18 February 2019


A grey morning of scattered showers that brightened up in the afternoon with a chilly breeze. It's the half-term holiday and Speedy was interested in the boys playing football out on the grass. 
We did our best to organise a house viewing trip later in the week but failed in our task. Having settled on two 'possibles' and one 'maybe' Peter then had the task of finding a camp site where we could stay one night. I thought there wouldn't be any problem as the coastal area is full of camp sites but none of them would be opening for a couple of weeks, too early in the year and many waterlogged fields. The next plan was to go up in the car and stay in a B&B but those that were open were full for the half term. One place was going to ring back later and confirm but before that could happen Peter found that one of the properties we wanted to see had had an offer made and accepted three weeks ago. I was a bit cross because nothing had been said when I'd spoken to the estate agent last week about the construction of the house and the on-line advert is still there. Usually the adverts are taken off or labelled 'Under Offer' or Sale Agreed'. Also the advert says the place went on the market on the 3rd of February which is less than three weeks ago. For the 'maybe' place I found an govt. environmental report for flooding all along the coast. The low clay cliff 200m away from the house is predicted to erode at 0.3m/year or 30-70m in 100 years but there is a high risk of flooding if a once in 200 years storm occurs. That might sound hopeful but with climate warming leading to an increased incidence of severe weather as has been seen in the last few years that once in 200 years might happen much more frequently. So sadly the 'maybe' has become a 'no'. A shame because it would have been lovely to have a 180 degree view of the sea and sunsets. With only one house left with a 500 mile round trip I'll see what else I can find. I didn't think the house search was going to be easy.
New flowers appearing on the hanging basket violas.

Sunday 17 February 2019

Mainly Overcast.

The morning was overcast with a few light showers. It cleared up in the afternoon and the day ended up with a pretty sunset. 
I looked out of the window this morning to see that the inconsiderate neighbour had driven his truck over the grass leaving muddy ruts in front of our garden. Later on I went out and stomped on the ruts to level them out while the ground was wet. At first I thought "hooray, he's moving out", but he was just getting rid of the furniture from the garden room where his father, now deceased, had stayed.
In the afternoon Peter went out to play pool while I continued the on-line search for our next home. We went through the short list earlier and only two places remained worth looking at. We've added one more for now but it's hard to find somewhere that meets all our requirements.  

Saturday 16 February 2019

Happy Birthday Vytas.

 Vytas is 33 today, how time flies. 
Vytas and Sally are still living in Basingstoke and working at the same jobs. Their main holiday this year was to Israel and Jordan taking in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Petra, driving across desserts and visiting archaeological sites.
As well as outdoor activities they are heavy metal fans going to festivals and gigs both here and abroad. 
Vytas also had a few days in Canada on a work trip where as usual he found a mountain to hike up. 
 Cheers, Vytas. 
Today here in Devon it has been grey, looking like it might rain at any moment but didn't. I got out the drill and put up the two bits of trellis which hopefully Speedy will use to get over the wall. Then I decided to wash the stones steps near the house with bleach. Trying to be efficient I covered the slabs with bleach and left them to soak for an hour. That was fine until I came to rinse off the bleach. Because of the poor layout of the paving there is no way to get water to run into a drain and any surplus water would end up underneath the conservatory. My plan was to wipe down the steps with a large sponge. Unfortunately I had used too much thick bleach and it took much wiping to remove the foaming bleach. My main concern was that the cats might end up with bleach on their paws so they won't be let out until tomorrow. I think I'll stick to using less of the thin bleach when I tackle the rest of the paving.