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 December 2020


While it wasn't frosty this morning the remains of a hail shower stayed glistening on the ground wherever it was still shady. Not too windy today with just a couple of light showers.
This morning brought more snow on the hills,
... which by the afternoon had mostly gone. 
I had my phone consultation with the local doctor, definitely a character. I'm seeing him on Monday for a steroid/ analgesic injection. Maybe that'll work. So for today I still took it easy, played with Speedy who like all cats will sit in any box and watched a well made documentary film The Biggest Little Farm. More than just an interesting subject it was so beautifully filmed. I would recommend it to anyone interested in sustainable farming.

As to the plasterer ........ he still didn't make it. But he did phone to say he'd gone round to collect his assistant but he still wasn't well. He was going to try to find alternative help but in the end he didn't and will be here on the 2nd (we hope). At least he kept in touch though we'd been so sure he'd be here. Peter's getting used to rolling out the dust sheets and then packing them away again. I am not getting used to waking at 7.00 and being up and dressed by 8.00

Wednesday 30 December 2020


Once the clouds had moved from the tops of the hills it was possible to see that there was more snow on the further mountains and a sprinkling of snow on the closer range. All these mountains and everything northwards make up Snowdonia though we're too far south to see Snowdon from here. We had a few showers including hail but on the whole it has been a dry day.
Yesterday's activities proved to be too much for my stupid ribs and I woke extra early this morning. Early enough to catch the moonlight shining across the sea. It's a very blurry photo, the best of a blurry bunch of hand-held shots taken on auto settings (lazy me). Just now now the full moon was looking dramatic behind wisps of cloud, until the clouds hid it completely. The hedge in the foreground is lit up by the streetlight.
One thing I did this morning was to ring the doctors' to ask for a phone consultation, how things have changed, about my ribs and I'll be getting a phone call tomorrow morning. That's a lot quicker than my previous surgery. I like to be prepared so part of the afternoon was spent fishing out my 'health' folder and writing up a clear set of notes for tomorrow's chat. 

Later in the afternoon we were surprised by a ring at the front door. It was one of the missing plasters to say they'd be here tomorrow morning. Apparently his assistant hadn't been well but will be back at work tomorrow. The chap has asthma (is plastering a good choice of work?) or maybe it was seasonally related. I made sure today's chap had Peter's phone number and pointed out that a phone call would be good if for some reason they can't make it. He brought in more bags of plaster so fingers crossed. If they let us down I swear I'm going to give all their lights and tools which they've left here, to anyone who can do the job. (I've not been silly enough to give in to the temptation to try out the plasterers' stilts.)

 Rain on the horizon.

Tuesday 29 December 2020


The snow is still there up on the distant mountains though gone, washed away by rain, from the nearer hills visible from the kitchen window. We even had a rainbow or at least both ends dipping into the sea at the same time as a glimpse of far off snow. It hasn't been too cold here, maybe due to the lack of wind.
And no, the plasterers DID NOT turn up. Up I got at 7.00, opened doors and we were so confident that they would be here that we even put down the dust sheets. So far Peter's had no response to his text. Grrrr!
My ribs continue to improve so I took myself off for a walk on the beach. I was careful to stick to a gentle stroll as unfortunately deeper breathing is not good for the ribs. With the recent storms there was a new collection of finds mixed in with the seaweed.
The remains of a large jellyfish, no idea which kind.
This was the first time I'd found a sea urchin test (above) and then I looked up and saw the remains of another 4.
Lots of the large whelk shells and every now and again dry clumps of their eggs.
A blurry shot of a clump of dog fish cases (cat sharks/ mermaid's purses).
Once I got home I couldn't resist doing a little weeding in the front garden. This was sitting down and a good chance to work out the best height for the raised beds. Then I made sure all my photo files were backed up on to an external hard drive. My pc is slowly giving up and at times wont open up all my photo files and I have to resort to restarting the whole thing. Peter bought me a new 'box'/ working gubbins (Peter tells me it's a desk top pc) but hasn't changed it over yet as he claims I may lose all my favourites. I've been instructed to write down all my favourites -really? so instead I've sent him a link to a page telling how to save your favourites. You'd think somebody who worked as a systems analyst would be able to do that. (I got a bit lost with the technical part of the instructions.)


Monday 28 December 2020


The promised snow arrived unlike the promised plasterers who did not. I woke up at 6.30, made tea and had the doors unlocked by 8.00 but no sign of our cheery plasterers. Eventually Peter sent the boss a text, not sure if he was aware of the no-show but they're supposed to be here tomorrow morning.
Despite the dark clouds, it was quite early in the morning, it didn't feel that cold at least to me. Mind you that's not what Peter thought. By mid-morning there were about 15 surfers out in the water and I spotted a group of 4 swimmers. They did have wet suit gloves and hoods but three of them only wore swimming costumes, brrrrr.
I spent most of the afternoon curled up on the sofa mending a pair of Peter's work trousers. It might be fashionable for youngsters to have trousers with large rips but not on a 70 year old. I struggled to find some scrap material as the box of material is well and truly buried so I used one of the fabric covered thin foam inserts that had been inside a bralette top. Well it was black. From the sofa I could see views of the snow topped hills which made it feel as if I was on holiday.
This was the view from the kitchen sink. I had to zoom in as most of the view is of neighbouring buildings but a glimpse is better than nothing.
Peter went round to talk to our neighbour about the collapsing fence. They're fine with it and we lent them a long rope so they could secure it to their house to prevent any further collapse until a new fence can be built.


Sunday 27 December 2020


Storm Bella raged through the night. It would have been great to watch but by daylight the winds had died down to just 'windy'. Listening to the wind in the night I could hear a few things clattering outside though when I looked in the morning the recycling bins were still there behind the wall. At one point there was a distinct tapping which had I been alone might have been scary. I haven't been able to locate the source of that particular noise. I didn't think to check the back garden until later in the afternoon when I found the fence leaning alarmingly into our garden. I found some wood to prop it up and stop it collapsing altogether but I guess that's the next thing to do. The  local builders' merchant isn't open until the New Year but we can measure up tomorrow and reassure the neighbours that we will get on asap. We don't actually know whose responsibility that fence is but best to just do it. We only need to go about 4ft up as the neighbours' garden is higher than ours. Fence panels are probably not a good idea as they are more vulnerable to strong winds so instead we'll put up planks with a gap between. 
The storm has affected many parts of Wales, the UK and Europe and the latest forecast is for snow and rain everywhere except for the coastal region so we may be seeing snow up on the mountains tomorrow.
I'm feeling a lot better today but have continued to take things easy as it takes very little to set the ribs off. Did more felting but not overwhelmed with my efforts so far.
It hasn't felt too cold at all so one thing I did do was to wander round the garden trying to work out the best way to begin the grand plan. Looking at the walls built from concrete blocks with a stonework finish on the fronts they do seem to have stood the test of time and while I would prefer to have the walls of the raised beds painted white maybe they would be better. I'm even trying to see if I could re-use the blocks that are already there but most of them make up walls that need to stay but will be buried at the back of the raised beds. (Does that make sense?)
A few splashes of colour around the garden and plenty of bulbs already appearing. It's going to be so hard to pace myself and not overdo things when I'm able to get back to working.


Saturday 26 December 2020


Again not that cold this morning but Storm Bella has been rolling in. The Met office report predicts heavy rain up in the mountains and winds of 40 ish mph overnight and gusts of 60+mph. Luckily the winds are south-westerly so are blowing from behind us where we are protected by the hills. It would have been different if the winds were northerly and blowing straight in from the sea.
For me it's been a day of as much rest as possible. While our bedroom is beautifully warm with a comfortable bed, radio and tv I don't find it very restful now that it's full of all the stuff that was in the utility and my study. How spoilt we are in this western affluence. Compare this comfort to a damp overcrowded room in emergency accommodation in this country or a tent in a freezing cold refugee camp anywhere in the world. Hopefully I'll remember this view once the room is cleared and the shower replaced with shelving.
Instead I sat at my pc listening to Cadfael on the radio and then later on the sofa watching His Dark Materials felting away. Made good progress too.
These are some of the felting projects made earlier for Christmas gifts. I made the star shape felting inside a cookie cutter and then on the one below I just free-styled with bright colours. I made more decorations but forgot to photograph them before I packed them.
Here is Speedy trying to bend the rules. He's allowed on 'his' towel on the window sill but not on the table but every now and again a paw slides over to the table. He stays on the window sill when we're eating and late at night he likes to look out watching the lights from the houses along the beach.


Friday 25 December 2020

Happy Christmas.

While it has not been the best of years let us all count our blessings and look forward to better times.
This was last night's Kucios. If you count the prawn party items as three things and the breads as two I managed to get it up to eleven of the twelve dishes. But how much can two people eat? I couldn't even get to my nice serving dishes as the cupboard they're in is blocked by the second fridge which is waiting to go in the utility room whenever that is ready.
We've had a pleasant Christmas Day though my ribs, head and back (don't do anything by halves), worsened through the evening and night. They were back down to 'simmering' for most of the day and have decided to kick off again this evening. My fault for overdoing things the other week and then not taking a proper rest to recover. That did put an end to our plan to go out to the sand dunes for a walk but we can always do that another day. On the plus side we didn't have to cancel any arrangements and the dinner, apart from some potatoes was all done. The beef was delicious too.
After a simple breakfast of coffee and a giant pretzel (me) and tea and oatcakes with ham & cheese (Peter) we opened our presents helped by Speedy. Chocolates and Roly's fudge from Peter and plenty of lovely goodies including home-made truffles and marshmallows from the boys. We had long phone conversations with the boys, Romas and Laura can only make outdoor visits with her family while Vytas and Sally were able to have lunch with Sally's sister and family. I'm not even sure what the regulations are here for visiting as our family is too far away for any type of visit. It's so worrying with the new strains of covid. Better not to take any chances.
This morning it was very mild and calm but by the afternoon the temperature had dropped considerably and I hear another storm is on the way. Apart from occasional forays on to the terrace I've been happy to stay warm and snug indoors watching Calendar Girls. All Creatures Great and Small and Bake Off this evening made for light Christmas viewing. This morning I managed to get a clear view into the far distance, usually hidden by clouds, and there is a mountain behind the mountains behind our mountains that has a pointed summit so I probably did see snow in Snowdonia. 


Thursday 24 December 2020


Happy Christmas Eve.
In our Lithuanian heritage Christmas Eve is the more important part of Christmas, (you can read about it here.) and the meatless evening meal is a time to get together. The link says no alcohol but I've never celebrated Kucios or indeed been to any Lithuanian gathering without a generous amount of drink being present. I don't think presents, apart for children feature or at least they didn't but pre Christianity Lithuanians worshiped nature and trees so that is a link to the past. Tree decorations were made from straw and some beautiful designs are still being made. 
We shall celebrate with a scaled down Kucios, only 9 dishes instead of 12. I've tried to not make too much and the potato salad and the beetroot and bean salad will also do for Boxing Day. Being super organised, (not) I made the beef Bourguignon today. In the end I did the frying in the wok anxiously watching the temperature after the last time, and then used my old aluminium pot in the oven. I should have done it last week because after a whole day of cooking my ribs are really bad. I'm just hoping the pain killers kick in soon.
It was a crisp sunny morning with plenty of blue skies, should have taken a photo then, and I think but am not sure that there was snow on the top of a mountain behind the hills behind our local hills/mountains in other words Snowdonia. Or it might just have been an odd shaped cloud sitting on top of a mountain.

The windsurfer was out again. Sometimes he was above the water, sometimes below. There were a couple of swimmers as well but no surfers today.


Wednesday 23 December 2020


Mostly grey today and turning cold.
Today has been a real roller coaster of emotions. Recently I've been waking at about 6.30 which is a lot better than waking and getting up at 5am or even 4am which does happen, but today I was startled out of my sleep by the alarm clock set for 7.15. Up I leapt, got dressed, opened up the back doors for the plasterers, moved the litter tray, made tea and spread dust sheets all the way to the sitting room French doors and moved furniture around in the sitting room. No sign of the plasters until 9.15, Ho hum. Work is about to start - much joy. Then I hear they'll only be doing one room - slight disappointment. Rush out to talk nicely to the boss and ask if it would be possible to do the sitting room work today. Answer was 'Yes' - much joy again. Boss goes off and men begin - increased joy. Men come to look at the sitting room. Find the gap on one side of the doors is too wide, needs bonding (filler) which they don't have - severe gloom. They could go into Aber to get the stuff but that means an hour away and less work done in the end rooms so we said leave it till next time, which is next Monday - continuing gloom. I know it's not a serious matter but it would have made Christmas so much nicer if I could have taken off the dust sheets and found the throws. Yes I could still do that but then reversing the process would feel like a step backwards. Okay, that's my moan over, it is what it is.

With the plasterers working and singing loudly to their radio I was quite happy to take myself off to Aber for a final shop. I was in and out of Lidl in half an hour. Bought the big stock pot, the last one on the shelf. However while it's fine for induction hobs the glass lid can't go in the oven. I'd spotted this before I bought it but I'd hoped that the lid from the big aluminium pot would fit. Unfortunately it's too small so that defeats the object of buying the stock pot and back it will have to go. Another 15 minutes to go to the bank and pay another bill and then off to Morrisons I went. 
This was the queue at Morrisons, after I'd queued a bit then realised my shopping bag with my handbag in was still in the car and had to go and get it. Nearer the entrance we were told that the reason for the hold up was that the council had said they must ensure there wasn't a crowd milling around in the fresh fruit and veg section near the doors but that the rest of the shop was not crowded and there were no queues at the tills. That was true, I was able to walk straight up to a till and load my shopping without any delay. I couldn't find a single jar of mincemeat, just a space on the shelf so I gave in and bought some ready made ones. Got the beef for Christmas dinner and most of the rest of the things on my shopping list. Decided not to go in B&M for a mooch in view of the increased risks. Came home to find the workmen gone and Peter had cleared up all the dustsheets from the floor but still found it hard to snap out of my gloomy mood.


Tuesday 22 December 2020


A mostly grey day with lots of rain.
We had a call from the plasterer this afternoon saying they'll be here tomorrow morning. Hooray! 
One of the little jobs I did today was to thread sewing cotton through the little orange peel stars and hang them on the Christmas tree. I'm not quite sure if it isn't too cluttered now. Still it's only a few days to Christmas so I'll leave them on. 
One thing we did together was to put up my trusty whiteboard bought many years ago in a car boot sale. We used a spirit level before marking up the holes but after I drilled the holes and screwed the board to the wall it was no longer level. Luckily just before I took it down to start again Peter remembered a tip to loosen the screws and then tap with a hammer which got it acceptably level. Then followed a long cleaning session getting rid of the old phone numbers; local farmers, vet, doctor etc which had been on the board for many years. Family phone numbers (hidden for the photo under a couple of cards) remain. It took a lot of rubbing with a wet cloth to remove all the little specks of black that became visible once I put on my close work glasses (the highest magnification ones from the pound shop). I didn't want to scratch the surface of the board so couldn't resort to my usual green 'scrubby'. Now I can write up the weekly chart which should keep us a bit more organised.
My last job of the day was to remove the old security alarm system box from inside the hall coat cupboard where it was taking up too much space. The electrician had assured me that it wasn't connected up anymore so I was able to cut through the wires confident I wasn't going to electrocute myself. Now the coats can hang properly at that end of the cupboard.

Monday 21 December 2020


Happy Solstice.
The shortest day of the year turned out to be unremittingly grey with frequent spells of steady drizzle but hey we can look forward to the days getting longer.
Much disappointment as the plasterers failed to appear. Half-way through the morning Peter got a text saying the plasterer's boys (assistants) were worried they might be breaking the lockdown rules and get in trouble with an officious neighbour. I found the relevant section in the Wales Gov guidelines that stated workmen could still come to your home to work so long as they took precautions. I copied and sent it to Peter who forwarded it to the plasterer. Maybe that'll put their minds at rest. In the grand scheme of things a few days/weeks of delay isn't a disaster but I was so looking forward to finally removing the dustsheets from the sofa and armchair and getting out the soft throws and being a couple of steps nearer moving stuff into the utility room and my study. Also it wasn't easy jumping out of bed at 7.00 to unlock the back doors and make ourselves presentable.
While I'm still in cooking mode I cooked up the two red cabbages. They filled my biggest saucepan to the brim before simmering for a couple of hours reduced the volume slightly. I now have 24 portions bagged and in the freezer. Somehow it didn't taste as good as usual even though I did check the recipe. Maybe I should have put more of the cooking bacon in or maybe it was because I tasted it after eating a bar of milk chocolate. (Not something I usually do but my sinuses and ribs were so bad I'd had to hit the painkillers in the middle of the day.) Being aware of the staining power of red cabbage I was quite paranoid about wiping up any bits that missed the chopping board. Can't see any nasty red marks thank goodness. Talking of 'red' I tried filling in a Lidl's form to complain about the orange/red food colouring but hit a wall when it came to putting in my phone number. It didn't like the land line number then when I put in my mobile number it didn't like that. I did the usual thing of making sure there were no spaces but it wanted a + and some other numbers at the start. I tried the + and the 4 they suggested but still no joy. Most of that was yesterday night and at 8.00 this morning I rang their help line to complain about the food colour and the form. A chap took all the details and their complaints dept. should send me an email. 
While the cabbage was cooking I tried a couple of things I'd seen on-line. It doesn't really show in the photo but the top half of the orange peel has a soft stalk inside. What you're supposed to do is pour in some olive oil and then light the stalk which acts as a wick and place the perforated half on top. I'll see if that works when we have our traditional Christmas Eve meal. I tried with a second orange but didn't get a stalk so I used a tiny cutter to make stars which I dried by putting them on the lid of the cabbage saucepan. The blog I saw them on had strung them up to go on a tree which I might try or have them simply scattered across the Christmas dinner table. I'm determined to make things special even if it is only the two of us.