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 28 August 2019


Lots of rain today. At least it looks as if my latest application of sealant on the conservatory roof has done the job. A little rain is coming through on the other side which I didn't do. I'll have to fight my way through the fuchsia to reach that side of the roof.
This morning I met up with two friends at the Lunchbox Café  in town. It's run by two friendly lads one of whom is a local councillor (as is my friend Janet) and the range of vegan dishes looked very tempting. However it was too early for lunch and the lemon drizzle cake went well with coffee. (They do have cows' milk for non-vegans.) We had a great catch up as usual, I'll miss my gang when we move but hopefully some will be tempted to come up to Borth.
It was only raining lightly when I set off this morning but then became much worse. It was the first time for a long time that I wore trousers instead of my shorts. I still wore my flip-flops which meant I had to be careful and not step on anything that might be slippery. I don't have any comfortable trainers, just a very old and scruffy pair which are up in Borth and my crocs are just as liable to slip. I need to make a trip to a shop that sells the Wider Fit shoes as I didn't do too well when I bought them through the post. Wide feet are not the same as swollen feet which is what they seem to cater for but maybe a good trying on session might establish which styles and sizes might fit me. Using stones from the beach I've managed to stretch my walking boots to a comfortable shape and I'm now working on the expensive pair of shoes I bought which turned out to be too narrow.

Tuesday 27 August 2019


The rest has done me good and today I did my full exercise routine as well as getting other things done. The radio this morning promised showers and even thunderstorms but so far there's only been one brief shower. 
Peter and I went shopping together today so that we could call in at Bensons for Beds, a local bed retailer to test their version of an 'open sprung' mattress. Very different to the shoddy mattresses I bought but also more expensive. When I spoke to the complaints person in John Lewis' furniture department she tried to say that I should have tried the mattress first(?) The nearest John Lewis store is 60 miles away and may not even stock those beds. We went to Bensons today to check out her statement that it was a standard 'open sprung' mattress so I should have known what to expect. Hmm! I've agreed to have somebody come and test the mattresses to see if they are 'faulty' whatever that means but in the meantime I've sent an email to the CEO of John Lewis. It was surprisingly easy to find the email. I emphasised how disappointed I was since John Lewis has always had the reputation of selling quality goods and pointed out the sections in the Consumer Rights Act which state that goods should be fit for purpose and of good quality. Maybe that will produce a result. If not I can go to the Ombudsman and Watchdog (a tv consumer programme that gets results). Especially galling was the on-line description that said 'your guests will have a comfortable night's sleep.' I think they might be relying on the fact that most British people would be far too polite to tell their host that the mattress was seriously uncomfortable.
I had yet another go at sealing the conservatory roof. I got the ladder from the garage and found one more join that may possibly be the way water is getting in. A thick line of sealant should stop any water getting in through there. 
Not a new cat but a very friendly tabby that lives three houses down. I believe she is called Myla.

Monday 26 August 2019


It's been another sunny day with just enough breeze making it perfect for outdoor Bank Holiday Monday events. I've been taking another rest day serenaded by woodworking in the front garden instead of enduring music radio in the back garden.  Hopefully my batteries will be recharged by tomorrow. I've been browsing through bathroom catalogues and working my way through the recorded programmes on the Sky box.
A lily from my bouquet before I cut off the anthers. Beautiful to look at but make an orange stain that's hard to remove. 

Sunday 25 August 2019


The day began overcast and cooler than yesterday with the sun and high temperatures not returning until late afternoon. 
I've had to give myself another rest day as a few aches and pains made themselves felt in the night. My fault for overdoing the evening gardening in Borth. Probably when trimming the hedge that runs inside the garden wall. One neighbour would be happy to take over the cutting of the hedge with a flail on his tractor but that's such a brutal way to cut a hedge. He suggested taking the hedge down to the wall height instead of the current 7ft. But if we did that all the way along we'd lose privacy on the terrace with passers by only a couple of feet away. Not so good if we want to sit out in our pjs. However keeping a 7ft hedge is hardly future proofing. The garden and road slope down away from the house and I'm thinking the end section of the hedge could be lowered to wall height making it easy to trim with electric clippers and the section by the terrace can be reached from the terrace and then perhaps a solution to the middle section will appear.
While I was out trimming the hedge I had several long chats with different neighbours. I now know that the architect designed house at the end of the cliff road belongs to a millionaire footballer and another millionaire (property rental) lives two houses down. I've also been shown where I can unofficially throw garden waste over the cliff but I don't feel comfortable doing that.
Through his pub networking Peter got a chap to remove all the very heavy radiators that the plumber has put in the garage. Afterwards I said to Peter that I hoped he hadn't overdone the lifting trying to keep up with the scrap man only to be told the scrap man was 75. A very sprightly 75, it must be the sea air.

Saturday 24 August 2019


Yesterday was hot and sunny and today even hotter. Tiredness has caught up with both of us and apart from hanging out some washing out and a bit of admin I've been resting. Although it might have been nice to sit outside I'm afraid being in Borth has made me even less tolerant of town noises in particular the neighbour's radio sharing the love all day long. It was more peaceful to be inside.
A few photos from our journey home -  We had just started up into the mountains when we came to a halt as the police (heddlu) cleared an accident. The road bends sharply around to the right with a drop beyond the road barrier. The passenger front wing was smashed so somehow the car had spun around and ended up sideways. It didn't look as if there had  been any serious injuries and no emergency ambulance had passed us on the way. It didn't take too long for the car to be loaded and the glass swept up. 
The clouds sat low over the mountains with occasional mini clouds floating free below. On the road is the first welsh word everybody going to Wales learns - araf (pronounced arav) /slow. (I'm now adding welsh vocabulary to my spellchecker.) 

Friday 23 August 2019

Happy Birthday to me.

Two beautiful birthday bouquets from the boys were delivered today. Peter presented me with a bag of goodies, lots of yummy calories, as well as a card. We both need more than a few days recovery time so we didn't plan anything for today but I had to walk into town to collect our prescriptions.
We've changed pharmacy but when I eventually got to the counter in Boots it was to be told that some paperwork hadn't gone through in time and although they would be doing the prescriptions from next month I needed to go to Lloyds to collect this month's. Luckily there was no queue at Lloyds so after checking the contents of the bags I filled in the repeat forms and handed them in at Boots after yet another queue. I checked out the charity shops and found two plain glass vases, one a large cylinder and the other more of an hourglass shape. I've now got enough vases for any number of bouquets.

Red Roof's terrace is ideal for watching the world from kite surfers to the local coastguard. The helicopter flew in close then turned and followed the shore line before hovering at the far end of the beach. I watched for quite a while before loosing sight but didn't see any signs of a rescue. I found out from the neighbours that this hadn't been an active rescue, just a training flight.
My main job this time, gardening was for relaxation, was to remove wallpaper from the walls. The new removing tool with a sharp blade was useless so I worked with a flexible palette knife. I began with the hall which took me a day and a half to remove three layers of textured wallpaper most of which had been painted with impermeable shiny paint and in one place there was a thin layer of plaster on top of one layer.
There is a well built cupboard with solid sliding doors on the right which we will keep and we plan to have bookshelves covering the wall on the left, almost like a library. It would be nice to have a small upholstered chair to sit on when putting on outdoor shoes. Behind me is the doorway to the kitchen which may be closed up as the living room doorway is on the right. 
Tackling the wall paper in our bedroom was so much easier. There was only one layer of textured wallpaper though under it there was a layer of lining paper laid horizontally. The top of the textured paper peeled off quite easily and  the backing and then lining paper came off in large strips once I'd sprayed them with warm water. From the marks on the floor it can be seen where this was once two rooms making it a very generously sized room. The plaster on the window wall is in a poor state but at least there isn't any of that fake wood panelling. We're going to keep the built in wardrobes but remove the wonderful shower and make more cupboard space.
This afternoon I rang John Lewis about the terrible mattresses and all the girl kept saying was that as we had slept on them the mattresses couldn't be returned. She ignored my mention of the consumer rights act which state that good must be of a reasonable quality and fit for purpose. So far she'll pass the details on to the company who do the product inspections so they can come and check the mattresses but I'm not leaving it there. I think an email to the company chairman is in order to move things along.

Thursday 22 August 2019

A Working Break.

We're back again from another trip up to Borth. One reason why we tried to have a few restful days beforehand. We drove up on Monday or rather Peter drove and I cowered as I worried about every possible collision. I'm not confident on motorways preferring to set off in the early hours of the morning to avoid the constant congestion. It took 4 1/2 hours to get up there, a good time especially considering the horrendous conditions we encountered around Bristol while still on the M5. The light rain suddenly became torrential and we were trapped in the fast lane by lorries which threw up even more spray. The visibility was so poor that the traffic slowed though not as much as I would have liked or I suspect road safety experts would recommend. The rain eased up before we crossed over into Wales and from there on the miles seemed to fly by. There are a lot of very well maintained roads in Wales compared to the pothole ridden Devon roads. As usual the clouds thinned out as we got to the coast and having unpacked the car we relaxed outside with cups of tea and the wonderful view.
After the drive Peter went down to the pub for some networking and off the cuff Welsh lessons. Once you get into Wales all the road signs are in both languages so we have fun practising the Welsh versions. Peter is a natural linguist and has already been asked if he knew Welsh when he was younger as he can manage a basic conversation. I'm content with one or two new words each visit and working on those awkward ll and dd sounds. 

My gardening goal this trip was to make a start on the middle section of the front garden. There were a couple of elder bushes trees one of which I cut right down but the other, full of elder berries I left for the birds until next time. You can tell the birds are eating the dark purple berries by the purple splats in the garden.
I also cleared the steps and tied back the montbretia that had sprawled across them. One of the first things I did when we arrived was to go down the steps and knock a chunk out of a toe on one of the concrete corners. Ouch!
Peter's first job was to break up the heavy concrete of the fireplace with a sturdy hammer drill and dump it into the skip, our fourth so far.  
Although we could stay longer as Speedy's feeders would cover six days, we find several days of heavy work about as much as we can manage. The return journey costs us £50 in petrol which is only a fraction of the money we're saving by doing the prep work ourselves. We wouldn't have minded having it done for us but it's been a matter of fitting in with the builder's schedule. 
This time we took more food with us including some very indulgent (meat and cheese sauce!) cannelloni from M&S and a tasty chorizo frittata all off which could be heated in the microwave and went well with our usual salads. We also had fish (& chips for Peter) from the chip shop. Naturally I had to test a variety of the locally made cakes available at the corner supermarket.
We leave a lot of stuff in Borth so unpacking back here gets easier each time. Everything has been put away, Speedy given lots of cuddles (home is the better option as he hates the cattery) and our work clothes have already been washed and nearly dried out on the line. It's been a sunny day but grey clouds are looming so I've hung the washing in the conservatory. The last thing to do is to have a welcome shower and then sleeeeeep.

Sunday 18 August 2019


There was more sun today with a couple of showers. The wind was blowing in the perfect direction to catch the corners of the buildings and whistle eerily. Lovely, though I imagine not so welcome if you're outside with insufficient clothing. While I was walking along the High Street which was busy with shoppers I noticed the homeless sitting in doorways, always a sad sight. On my return a woman, 20s/30s? who was wrapped up in a sleeping bag had leaned forwards presumably sleeping. There are places for the homeless to go even during the day but I guess the need for money keeps some of them out in the street. A sad world.
I had driven in to town to do some shopping and maybe get some bargains too. In M&S I picked up some reduced sushi for supper and elsewhere got bread rolls for 20p (6 wholemeal) as well as prawn toasts and black pudding. That would have made for an extreme fusion meal if we had eaten them all in one go. Nowt else to report except that as I was putting out some recycling my neighbour asked if I had a spare tin of custard. She'd made a pie, fruit I imagine but the shops shut at 4.00 on Sundays. I wasn't able to help so she said they'd have to have ice-cream with the pie instead. As Peter doesn't have a sweet tooth I don't make puddings unless we have company so no stand-by custard and cream is nicer anyway.

Saturday 17 August 2019


We woke this morning to blue skies and warm winds, perfect for washing. The second load was in the machine when suddenly a squall blew in, wild winds and torrential rain, that sort of thing. Luckily I was able to rush out and rescue the sheets off the line. The rain had stopped by the time the second machine load was ready but I decided to play it safe and hang the washing up in the conservatory. Then I changed my mind, hung it all up on the line where it was nearly dry at the point I noticed more grey clouds and brought it in. And to add to this very domestic theme of washing clothes I noticed that the washing machine's little drawer for soap and conditioner was kind of mouldy. I never use the drawer as instead I put the soap liquid in a container and in with the clothes and I don't use conditioner. That's because I dislike the artificial smells, it makes clothing feel tacky and you're not supposed to use it with towels as it trades absorbency for softness so why waste money? Today I wiped out the drawer with bleach using cotton buds to get into every nook and cranny. What will I do when cotton buds are banned?
I had hoped to mow the lawn but that plan was scuppered by the rain. Our machine struggles as it is and trying to cut wet grass would just make things worse. All I could do outside was a bit more cutting back of the buddleia. Overall the bush is far too big at the moment but I can't bring myself to deprive the butterflies and bees of the flowers. Once all the flowers are over I'll cut it back by about a half to keep the privacy it currently gives. 

Friday 16 August 2019


It has been wet all day starting with a gentle drizzle which intensified into deluge levels by late afternoon. Today was one of those days when I got up very early to do my exercises to stretch out the muscles trapping a few key nerves. Muscles eased it is lovely to sit in bed with a mug of tea knowing that a chunk of the morning's routine has already been done. 
In view of the weather I thought I might as well do some extra cleaning in the kitchen. Nearly everything gets wiped down on a daily basis but the oven and grill hadn't been done for some time. It's mainly Peter who uses both of those so the grease had begun to build up. Not especially bad but I like the interiors as well as the glass doors to be spotless. After a morning of scrubbing, thank goodness for Brillo (wire) pads, the whole cooker is sparkling.
After my usual music practice I ambitiously attempted to play Farewell to Stromness on the guitar. The first hurdle was that in my guitar book everything is written on the treble clef and sight reading at the same time transposing from the bass clef was challenging. Then by picking out the notes on the piano with one hand and trying to copy them on the guitar I finally worked out that the first note of the piece is one note below my lowest string. Giving up on the bass clef I painfully picked out two bars which repeat several times before making a slight variation. This might have been quite an over-estimation of my guitar skills. I think I'll just buy the piano score.

Thursday 15 August 2019


Another of those days when looking out of the window first thing I decide not to do any washing only to be kicking myself later on as the sun shone and the wind blew. I ended up putting on a wash in the afternoon which luckily dried just the right amount to make ironing easy.
One reason I didn't do the washing earlier was that the car needed to go in for its MOT at lunchtime which meant I would be out for most of the afternoon so unable to rescue the washing if it rained. I drove the car down to our usual garage and then walked in to town. I had at least an hour to kill so I wandered round the shops buying one or two items including some new pillows to take to Borth. I called in at the garage on my way back from town but the car was out getting some new tyres so Peter collected it later. The tyres and a windscreen wiper were the only things that needed doing to get the car through the MOT. 
So far I've only had an automated response from John Lewis regarding my complaint about the mattresses. I'll give them until next week before escalating the complaint. Perhaps a very frank  but honest review will do the trick or contacting the company CEO.

Wednesday 14 August 2019


Sadly we haven't been transported to Orkney but on this very wet day I was only to happy to spend more time at the piano. A mental recharging of the batteries so to speak. The other day I heard Farewell to Stromness, a beautiful piano piece by Peter Maxwell Davies and thought it might be within my scope to play it. I was able to print off the first page of the piano score and enjoyed playing the slow lilting lament. I think I'll buy the whole score but I see that there is a guitar version too. I expect that'll be a lot more challenging for my limited guitar skills so I'll see how I get on with playing it on the piano and maybe trying playing from the piano score. The classical guitar book I'm learning from scores an octave higher to make sight reading easier so that might work. 
The morning was warm with not so much rain but a general wetness due to the clouds dropping down to ground level. Later the clouds rose releasing lots of rain. I did a small washing load and hung it all to dry in the conservatory. Music, exercise and a blitz of the bathroom filled my day. Fingers crossed for not so much rain tomorrow.
I had a nice surprise this morning when I finally steeled myself and stood on the scales. While we were in Borth I'd indulged in all kinds of treats including ice cream, croissants and a Chinese meal and I'd found it very hard to return to a more healthy diet. Tiredness and my cough/cold made good excuses and it has only been in the last few days that I've cut out all the 'naughties'. So I was pleasantly surprised to find my weight had gone down one pound. That keeps me motivated to maintain the diet and eventually reach my target to be well within the healthy weight range for my age and height. (It would have been better if I hadn't shrunk 3 1/2 inches!)

Tuesday 13 August 2019

A Friendly Heifer.

It's been sunny but cool today. As the camper needed some more work done on it, a new tap I believe, we drove up to the farm to get the camper. I sincerely hope we use the camper more once the house move is sorted because so far it hasn't proved very useful.
The entrance to the farm yard has a cattle grid across it but we were asked to keep the plank closed as well. Presumably some of the young heifers in the field can get across the grid. On our return visit bringing the camper back to the farm  while I waited for Peter a very friendly heifer turned up.
She must have been hand reared maybe even bottle fed because she didn't mind me scratching her head and was constantly trying to lick my hand or even my foot. She must also have been an escape artist as she kept nudging the wood and chewing on the metal latch. Once Peter drove through I pulled the wood across and locked it with a very slobbery metal latch. Thankfully I keep a packet of wet wipes in the car and was able to clean my hand.
Coming back we passed an amazing wild flower verge at the entrance to the golf course. 
Once we had dropped the camper off at the garage we did some shopping at Lidl. Then on to B&Q where we bought a serious wallpaper scraper. So far I've used a standard flat bladed palette knife tool on some easy sections of wallpaper but this tool should work on even the most stubborn paper. We'll probably be heading to Borth quite soon when hopefully the builder will set a date to start on the roofs.
At B&Q we also looked at kitchens seeing how easy it is to open different styles of doors then as it wasn't worth going home we did the same at Homebase. I'd love to have solid resin worktops but the cost runs in thousands while solid wood worktops are in hundreds.

Monday 12 August 2019


It's been windy with occasional hot moments. Perfect for drying washing if I'd thought to do any. We went down to the saw mill in Muddiford but although there was one chap there working it isn't open on Mondays. We left the details of the wood I need and our phone number so hopefully they'll get back to us. There certainly was wood of the right dimensions there. Despite Peter wondering if one inch thick wood would do it has to be two inches thick or the proportions will be wrong.
With the sunny weather it was the perfect day for outdoor activities but once I'd weeded and cut back some of the buddleia there was nothing else to do. In fact I got into a grumpy mood because although we live in a lovely part of the country it seems I'm mostly stuck indoors. I suppose I should go off by myself but that does feel a little drastic.
The first flower on my Black-eyed-Susan (both rudebeckia and thunbergia get called Black-eyed-Susan). I grew the plants from seed  and was wondering if there would ever be any flowers.