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.

Saturday 29 February 2020

Wintry Showers.

Very mixed weather today. One minute the sun was shinning in a blue sky, the next the skies would have darkened and we had rain, hail and even thunder.
Not tempted to do anything outside I did some extra sorting out in the kitchen. First was the cutlery drawer. Out came the plastic tray for a good scrub and I went through the cutlery putting spares aside for when we have visitors. When the family were at home there would be a number of occasions throughout the year when there would be ten or more people around the table so I kept sufficient cutlery and crockery for those numbers. Now we are more than adequately covered with four or five of each item and there are only four china mugs in the cupboard instead of the twenty we had at Dingles. That many only encouraged the leaving of empty mugs around the place so I reduced the number down to ten to make things more manageable. 
Cutlery drawer sorted my attention turned to the 'everything' drawer which contains small diy bits. 
After putting odd tools, screws and bolts back into the proper boxes in the big tool cupboard by the front door the drawer looks marginally better but it wasn't the transformation I'd been hoping for. I wonder what Marie Kondo would have made of it? Probably thrown everything away.
This morning the postman brought me my very own pulse meter. This is to record my real pulse rate during some very odd palpitations while I wait, another four weeks, for the 14 day run on the ECG from the hospital. Taking my pulse from my wrist showed a very normal heart rate but my doctor explained that might vary from what is actually happening. I found a paper published by nhs.gov which listed two affordable models which had less than 3% error rates and bought one of them. I had to laugh when I read 'Meanwhile, human body is not recommended in movement status.' in the instruction leaflet. I think that means 'keep still'.

Friday 28 February 2020


Grey and very wet today. Not as cold as yesterday due to the south-westerly wind being warmed by the ocean. Even the little red dragon who spent so many years in our warm kitchen acting as a doorstop looks cold.
I haven't felt very energetic today but while Peter was out I baked a batch of chocolate and peanut butter cookies as the biscuit box was empty.  
I haven't forgotten about this sleeping dragon for our new porch but looking at the photo I think our porch roof won't be so steeply angled. However I've looked at the maker's site and they do the same dragon on a half-round base which might work. Fun details which I know are a long way off yet.
I also emailed the door company asking for some colour samples because looking at colours in their on-line brochure isn't quite the same. They do three shades of grey so I've asked for the two lighter ones as well as the red. I showed Peter more door options and we're now thinking it would be better to have the frame in the same colour rather than white though the inner side  remains white. After settling on the colour there's still the glass options. I'm not overwhelmed with the choices but now I'm thinking about having one-way mirror film on all the door glass. That way we'll get plenty of light in while I can see who's outside. There'll be long curtains to draw in the evenings when having the light on would let people see in. A lady I know has an amazing house with mirror film over her large bathroom windows wasn't too fazed when somebody told her they could see in at night. But then she lives in a country lane with very few people around.
This might be it, but in lighter grey or even red.

Thursday 27 February 2020


It's been sunny again today with a very cold north wind blowing the clouds briskly across the sky.
I've spent a lot of time out in the garden. Initially I intended just to move the acers back up on to the decking but it was a good opportunity to have a thorough tidy. Well wrapped up with padded knee protectors I worked my way around all the corners picking up the soggy leaves that had accumulated over the winter. I also combed through the ornamental grass with my fingers to remove the dead stalks and any overhanging ivy stems were cut back too. I finished off by squeezing into the gap down by the side of the conservatory to clear the leaves there. That was not too bad until the handle of the mini yard broom broke off where the wood had rotted away. 
I know that people don't consciously look to see how tidy your garden is but I hope it works on a subconscious level making it easier to imagine using the garden as an outdoor living space. 
Having planned our new front door I wasn't completely convinced. The choices seemed too traditional or should I say old fashioned. Today I went back to the sites and tried out some more contemporary designs even adding colour. I like the grey but cheery red isn't bad either and would tone with the roof tiles. Peter prefers these ones as well and as we don't have to decide for a little while we can mull them over before choosing.

Wednesday 26 February 2020


It's been a sunny but very cold day. Tempting as it was to stay hunkered down in this lovely warm home I pushed myself to walk into town. I needed to buy a new waterpik as my old one was hardly charging up and my gums really need something that cleans right down into the pockets behind a couple of my teeth. Toothpicks and brushing aren't quite enough. With so many on-line sites selling fake goods I'd looked for the best price in the main shops. Superdrug had the best price but when I went in the price had gone up by about £10. Annoyed I decided to look in Boots and once I'd located the waterpiks which were not in the dental section I found the model I wanted at the lower price. That done I did my usual walk all the way down the High Street and then walked back checking out the charity shops. All I bought was an old fashioned cream wool blanket which is ideal for backing the winter curtains I'll be making for Red Roofs.
On the way home I admired the signs of Spring in people's gardens. I don't like to photograph things right in people's gardens but feel it's fine to snap flowers right next to the pavement. The two magnolia trees that always caught my eye on my journey home from work are about to bloom once more. 
As Peter doesn't like arched windows in doors these are the two options I've chosen from the two companies. The glass down the sides will be narrower but will still help to bring more light into the hall.

Tuesday 25 February 2020

Choosing a New Front Door.

Today has been a mix of brief sunny spells and longer wet ones with a very chill wind blowing at all times. Temperatures are due to fall below freezing tonight, brrr.
It's time to decide on the design of our new front door and I've spent a lot of time working my way through the sites of the two companies our window people use. So far nothing has really sprung out at me despite the vast number of combinations possible. The first consideration is getting as much light as possible into a not very well lit hallway. Combined with the fact that I'm uncomfortable if I can't see who's outside means a half glass door either square or arched. There's also the fact that the current door has a glass panel down the side. However if I understand the latest update from the builder correctly the internal floor level will be higher due to the insulated boards that will be going under the new wood flooring which means the top of the door frame will have to be raised. Luckily Peter agrees with me that if we're doing that we might as well increase the size of the opening and have a matching panel on the other side of the door.
The old dog leg porch has to go and having a symmetrical inner door will fit better with the new porch which will be similar to the one below but in white.
 This is probably how the inner front door will look (in white). 
But if money was no object either of these doors below would be my choice. I tried to find a price but I guess if you have to ask then you can't afford it. 
We had a visit today from our friendly electrician as three out of four of the spotlights in the bathroom have failed. I looked on line to find out how to change the bulbs but the covers wouldn't turn to remove the bulbs. When the electrician came it turned out that the whole units have to be changed and he's sorting it out. They may even be under warranty but even if not it will be good to get them sorted. He's another of Peter's friends and we all had a long chat while he had a cup of tea. I always offer a cuppa and biscuits and find it shocking that some people don't as we've been told a number of times by people working in our homes.

Monday 24 February 2020


Very stormy this morning and not quite so wet in the afternoon. A day for wearing wellies to go shopping. Before I went out I used 'Paint' to add details to a floor plan of Red Roofs so Peter could email it to the plumber who needs to know some details of the utility room layout and also for the builder who wants a few details. He's going to have to take down all the kitchen units to put up a new ceiling and finish insulating the outer wall. Some of those units will have to go back temporarily until we buy the new kitchen.
My first stop was BJ's mainly to see if they had any suitable boxes. I found some larger boxes and was excited to find some that were long enough for my rolls of wrapping paper. In all I've got a dozen rolls which should be enough for a good few years. I then went on to Tesco's, Lidl and Asda. At Tesco's I finally put an unused large thing? of baby talc in the food bank bin. I'd bought it last year to temporarily freshen up the carpet in Red Roofs but then found some Shake'n vac. The carpet was thrown out on our next visit anyway. That must have been in early summer last year and I've been meaning to give the talc away for a while. I even got as far as bringing it along on one of my shopping trips but left it in the car and didn't have the energy to go back into the supermarket. Today I forgot to go straight to the donation place so I hoped that I wouldn't be accused of taking it without paying but I wasn't so finally that's done. As usual I checked out the Sale clothing in Tesco's and was stopped by a pink fluffy dressing gown but as hard as I tried I couldn't come up with any excuse to buy another dressing gown. 
Before I went out I got out the superglue to fix a split at the tip of my thumb. I underestimated how much glue came out and having been careful to not stick my finger tips together I discovered I'd stuck 3 of my fingers together along their length. Fortunately hot water and soap got my fingers apart without tearing the skin. Silly me.

Sunday 23 February 2020

Morning Sun.

It was beautifully bright and sunny this morning but by the afternoon the clouds had rolled in. Right now there's a subtle texture to the grey sky. As I'd missed the sun by the time I got round to taking some photos I played around taking close-ups instead.
There wasn't much to do today so I went up into the loft to sort a few things out. There's one box marked fragile that got wet when there was a tiny leak in the roof but it's too far back to reach. There are a satisfying number of empty boxes but also far too many framed pictures. I know there aren't any really valuable ones or they would have gone to the art auctions so I may reuse some of the very nice wood frames for family photos.

Saturday 22 February 2020


A grey and windy day today with a smattering of rain in the afternoon.
This morning's viewing went very well. But then they usually do. After the viewing I had a look an line to check out our current rivals. The good thing is that there aren't any houses at all in this immediate area but there were two nearby. Both a bit cheaper and maybe not as nice as ours but then I'm biased. One of them is even closer to the hospital where today's viewer works and as long as you don't mind overlooking a graveyard it's quite nice. Check out the details of this mansion that's also up for sale. It's more like a stately home inside and is only a few minutes walk away on the way to the boys' school.  
For the rest of the day I went through my folders (real ones) and found a few more things to throw out.
The lady this morning asked about the bird feeders and I was glad to tell her about the visiting blackbirds, hedge sparrows and robins. 

Friday 21 February 2020


Cold and grey today with rain in the morning and cold winds in the afternoon.
The day began with a call from the estate agents booking in another viewing for tomorrow morning. After the usual housework I cleaned the glass in the halls doors and wiped the smudge marks from Speedy's nose off my study windows. A little bit of sparkle to make the place look inviting. I also moved the hanging basket back up to its hook. That's about all we can do until tomorrow's hiding of clutter. I also got out the superglue to stick down all the new pulls, done by Speedy, on the stair carpet. I had to cut the top of the bottle and ended up with glue over several fingers. It took longer to remove most of the glue from my fingers than to sort the carpet. We've decided that although most of Red Roofs will have wood floors we'll have a thick carpet in our bedroom where pets are not allowed. Cosier to walk on and perhaps a little softer should either of us have a fall in our dotage. With the walls being cream, the same as here and in Dingles, we haven't decided on the colour. Maybe a gold/sand colour to go with our pine furniture and light wood bed.

Thursday 20 February 2020


After a very wet start the day brightened up with plenty of sunshine. Right now I can see 3 showers out over the sea and Hartland and another over Braunton. The strong winds were bitterly cold so I didn't envy Peter walking into town. I've only got a few daffodils out but a neighbour has a bank of them dancing in the wind. I took the opportunity to put Speedy's bedding in the machine and then out on the line. (The very tall trees in the background sway alarmingly in the high winds.) With his cone on Speedy can't fit into his proper cat igloo so he has two beds, one under a radiator with a pillow case over an old pillow and a tipped up box on the table with a folded fleece inside. 
I brought home 5 boxes yesterday and three of them have now been packed and labelled. There's a surprising amount of bending involved in packing boxes. Even with so many boxes packed neither of the big cupboards are quite empty.
My doctor changed one of my medicines and I had to laugh when I opened the bag the chemist gave me. The new tablets come in a tiny box and the tablets are teeny tiny, only 8mm long. 
(From Yesterday.) The garden centre displays its decorative 'stuff' in room settings. There were quite a few things that would fit into my beachy theme for Red Roofs but not at those prices. Nice to look at though. Further thought has led me to decide that I will only buy 'stuff' from charity shops where the money will go to a good cause or from local craftsmen or artists.
Celandines and primroses are popping up all over the front garden.

Wednesday 19 February 2020


Very windy today but no rain.
When Peter attempted to put the new battery into the car he found one awkwardly positioned nut rusted tight. Which wouldn't have been a problem if we hadn't given away all of the socket sets and other car tools. It happened when the only neighbour around didn't have any car tools. Peter's only option was to walk down to our friendly garage to ask to borrow the required tool. At the garage he found that the owner was away on holiday but one of the mechanics loaned him the tool. Once he got back to the car it only took 5 minutes to change the battery over. In the meantime I'd worked out a plan for my doctor's appointment. I was going to walk there and then afterwards nip over to Tesco's, do my shopping and get a cab home. I'm glad I didn't have to do that long walk because it was rather cold. Because my appointment wasn't until ten to five I planned to shop at Lidl's first then drop in at the garden centre where I could mooch around before collecting more cardboard boxes. While at the garden centre I took photos with the phone camera. A lot of them came out blurry not sure why, maybe due to the low light levels in the shop area. Here are some of the rest.
I don't think this giant orchid is for sale but I would love any of these specialist but very expensive orchids below. The glass containers were tempting too.
The doctor was helpful though the response from the hospital to her request for me to be seen urgently was that I should have another 7 day heart monitor. I've already been given a time for that, at the end of March! So I doubt if I'll be seen by the consultant for at least 2 months. You never know, we might even be in Wales by then. So for now I've some new tablets to try.
While Peter was dealing with the car he met the first couple that came to view our house recently. They are buying the house 4 doors down which is bigger and has a drive. While it would have been great if they had wanted our house at least the neighbouring property is now off the market.

Tuesday 18 February 2020


It's been a wild and wet day. However there were enough dry spells to convince me it would be a good idea to run a load in the washing machine. Luckily the winds were strong enough to make a difference to the washing out on the line and I had a happy afternoon ironing. Peter's friend called round before 8.00 to drive him to the car parts place to get a new battery. The car parts place is owned by another friend's family and the young girl who served him used to run across the playground to give me a big hug every time I walked in to school. That's what I shall miss when we move, all those local connections and memories.
With nothing much to do in the house I wrote up autumn's notes into the Hobbit Diary. Before practicing the font with a green italic pen I read through some of the old entries. I've never had a brilliant memory but even those brief notes help me place which events happened in each year and bring back clear memories.
Good news on Red Roofs, the latest plumber has begun work and the builder is beginning on the roof starting I hope with the flat roof above the sitting room bay window soon to become French doors.

Monday 17 February 2020


The storm seems to have passed and today has been a mixture of rain and sun always with a bitterly cold wind. The first of my daffodils to flower survived the strong winds tucked in behind a fuchsia. The osteospermums which have started to flower are once again wrapped in garden fleece to keep out the frost.
This morning I hadn't anything specific to do so carrying on with the daily cleaning I thought I'd try and remove some sticky marks on the back of Peter's pc chair while he was out. Even after I did all that cleaning of his walls to me the room still smelled musty. Going to open the window to let some fresh air in I glanced down behind the row of dvds on the window sill and saw this ………… yuck! No wonder I could still smell mould. Down came all the dvds which got a quick wipe and were then placed on the floor. After which paper towels, bleach spray, rubber gloves and a lot of hard work got the job done. Now the room smell nice and fresh. No guessing who has the better sense of smell in this family. 
Peter had had to walk in to town for a meeting because when he got to the car he found the battery was dead. It's the same battery that was in the car when we bought it so it's time for a new one anyway. He's phoning a friend to see if he can bring one over from his work.
As predicted many places in the country have been flooded. One of them was Crickhowell (below) in Wales. This is on our route to Borth and we've driven over the 18th C stone bridge a number of times. The bridge is still above the flood, not bad for a 300 year old bridge, but some drone footage shows that the approach road on the left is also flooded. Terrible for anyone whose home has been flooded.