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 30 September 2020


Woke to pouring rain this morning which didn't let up until mid-afternoon.
It's such a pleasure to sit at the table staring out at the sea and the sky in myriad shades of blue and green. Often on the horizon we can see what looks to be a chain of islands but are actually the mountain tops of the Llyn peninsula over 30 miles away with Bardsey Island on the very far left. 
There's usually something going on whether it's surfers taking advantage of some decent waves, the chap below was a paddleboarder,
or the local lifeboat crew out training.
Today we drove into Aberystwyth or as it's generally known - Aber. Our main goal was to visit Magnet to book a visit for measuring up for the new kitchen before lockdown restrictions arrive as they inevitably will. This is now booked for Friday afternoon. With all my planning we didn't need to stay long, we just needed to decide between the matt and gloss white doors which handily are half-price at the moment and pick out handles which would be suitable for Peter's arthritic fingers. We've chosen the plain white doors with a gloss finish and quite chunky bar type handles. The really long handles looked nice but were a lot more expensive. Plain doors are easier to keep clean and in keeping with our simple beach style.

We also called in at Lidl to stock up on nicer foods and treats not available at our local shop. Every news update seems to bring yet more areas of Wales into lockdown which as far as I can make out means we can't cross over the county lines. That would mean we couldn't go to the bigger Co-Op in Machynllth 15 miles away and free of uni students. Last week it was South Wales and today it's some North Wales too. So far we've only heard that 2 students have tested positive but when we were at the bank last week we heard of 200 students partying on the beach the night before. We're staying away from Aber for now which is a shame as it's a charming Victorian town made lively by the presence of students during term time and tourists at other times. Lots of independent shops and the retail parks are a few minutes walk away. The Lidl is a bit smaller than the ones in Barnstaple and the layout is a mirror image due to the placement of the doors. There's also M&S, Morrisons, Tesco's and the usual other shops. We came a cropper with the bank. We both bank with Lloyds and though they used to be linked with TSB there isn't a branch now. The nearest branches are over an hour's drive away so we're changing banks. I'm wondering if I looked up Lloyds and didn't realise that I'd got the details for Lloyds the chemist. Still it's sorted now. One of the 4 members of staff has the same accent and speech mannerisms as Sally (Vytas' wife) and is about the same age so we call her Aber Sally even though her name is Charlotte.

When we got home I loaded up the car with washing and went down to the launderette just off the High Street. At the moment my washing machine sits unplumbed in the utility room which has neither outside door nor window and subsequently only block walls. We've had to store some stuff in there which is covered over and I've got plastic over a ladder to keep most of the rain out of the doorway now that the roof over the walkway has gone. I'd checked out the launderette last week and had a long chat with a lady doing her washing but today the single older chap and an elderly couple all remained quiet. I'd thought it would be warm in there but it wasn't and my wet coat made me feel cold. When the other people had left and my washing had moved from the 3 washing machines into dryers I stood with my back against a dryer door to warm up as I kept myself occupied playing Scrabble. I'd been advised that Thursday is a busy day (holiday makers getting ready to go home?) and also the weekends. There are a number of very big holiday parks in Borth tripling the population during the holiday season not counting holiday rentals and B&B places. I'm just glad I can get the washing done nearby. At home I set up the ironing board but then couldn't find the iron so the sheets have gone on the bed unironed. It must have been one of those last minute items that slipped through my listing system.

Yesterday Speedy was officially allowed out to explore the garden. I wanted to keep him in for a week and also wanted to wait until I'd cleared away all the glass in the back garden (from the giant shed). The glass all went in yesterday's skip so there was no reason to keep him in. Because all the wooden house doors swelled up from the damp we can't close any of the room doors so Speedy has access to our bedroom and keeps us company at night. A real treat for him though once the doors have been re-fitted he'll be kept out of the bedroom once more.



Tuesday 29 September 2020

On-Line at last.

We've been here 10 days and it's been a real roller coaster. Moving in with building works in progress and dust and mess everywhere was a bit of a shock but it gets better every day. Much shifting of boxes and plenty of cleaning but  each day it gets a little better. The BT men came this morning (should have been last week but there was a problem at the exchange) and we're now on line. Peter got my PC up and running though my lovely big monitor doesn't work after the move despite being in the original packing and box. Luckily there's a spare monitor which though tiny in comparison, works.
The front garden was completely overgrown again but I've been hacking back brambles and have finally cleared a way down to the gate at the bottom of the garden. Now I can take bags up the road to the skip (our second) by the garage instead of dragging them through the house.
We've already done far too much to put in one post. I'll just say we are working hard, things are improving and now I'm back on-line there'll be daily updates. Stay safe.
PS Not that keen on the new Blogger, why are there extra steps to change the size of photos and to justify text and publish? I would have thought fewer clicks was better.

Wednesday 16 September 2020

Not Long Now.

With only two sleeps to go, as children say, this will be my last post from Devon as I'll be packing up my pc later on this evening. It will be a week before we get connected to Broadband so I'll be quiet for a while unless I can connect my Kindle to the free WiFi at the local café.
We've been in a sea mist white out all day long ending in a burning red sunset. The sun was a glowing scarlet, nothing like the pale version in the photo. 
This morning I had to take Speedy off to the vet for his annual vaccination. He's such a baby and began yowling as soon as we left the house. I used the pheromone spray which he noticed but that didn't stop his 'I'm at death's door' wail. At the vets because of covid I had to wait in one room while they vet took him off to the treatment room. I think they had to chase him around the room because she mentioned he was rather lively. She also said he has a heart murmur which a third of cats his age have and his teeth have some tartar. However as removing the tartar would need a general anaesthetic that's not really an option. I'll have to keep an eye on his teeth and I bought some crunchy cat treats which are supposed to help clean his teeth. 
Safely home from the vets we then went up to the farm to collect the camper. While Peter changed the battery, not an easy job, I washed off most of the green muck that had grown on the white camper. On the way back I dropped the old battery off at the dump, did a small amount of shopping, left a set of keys with the estate agent and called in at the bank. Since then I've been packing, and packing and even more packing. I'm off to take a break and watch a tv programme and then I'll pack up my study.
Borth here we come.

Tuesday 15 September 2020


While the rest of the country, or at least part of it, was said to be hotter than Hawaii here it's been raining lightly on and off and now a cold sea mist has blown in. Not a day for hanging out washing but at least the plants are getting watered.
Most of the small pots waiting to be put in boxes.  

Today I've been trying to work my way through the kitchen. Not that easy when Peter's busy cooking up the last of the stuff in the freezer and plans more cooking tomorrow. However at least half of the cupboards have been completely emptied and washed out and the rest are nearly empty. 
I've also been up in the loft again. I brought down the boxed up wall lights, my beloved torchieres which I'm hoping will work in the sitting room.
The latest progress photos from Borth. Above is the Google Earth photo from years ago showing the flat roof at the back of the house. It carried on over the passageway between the garage and the house which we decided wasn't a good idea. Yes it kept out the rain but it reduced air flow and light at the back of the house.
With the flat roof beyond repair it all had to come off and be replaced with a fibreglass roof. The corner room will be my study/ guest room and as well as the new roof it's now got a decent sized window looking over the neighbours' front garden. 
Hopefully the plasterer will be in to skim the walls but at least I can be assured that stuff can be put in the room and the utility room even if the new floor hasn't been done.
All I can see out of the window is white but last night the sunset  blazed across the sky.

Monday 14 September 2020


They were right, it's been absolutely roasting today. I put the thermometer outside for a while in the afternoon and it shot straight up to 38C/100F. Good weather for working on the roof in Borth and good for drying the towels I put out on the line. Luckily it's not due to be so hot on Friday. 
I did more packing in the kitchen then gave up because Peter planned to do some cooking, a chilli, later on and needed a variety of spices. Out in the garden I brought the pots that we're moving, closer to the house.
The bin men are due tomorrow morning so I brought a big bag of rubbish up from the garage to put in the wheelie bin. Literally at the last moment as I swung it round to leave at the bottom of the garden path, the edge of something scraped over my foot and skinned the tops of my little toe and the one next to it. That added to two more scrapes and a blister from kneeling in the loft leaves my foot in a sorry state. (The other foot only has two plasters on at the moment.) But that's not the end of the story. A closer look at my toes may reveal red marks mainly on the side of my big toe and the middle toe. At first I thought they were just because I'd got so hot but then I noticed tiny blisters in the middle of the marks. A check on line confirmed that they are ant bites. Not fire ants which we don't have, thank goodness, but ordinary ants. Earlier I'd put my foot into a flower bed in the front garden as I dug up some crocosmia for the move. A slathering with Anthisan and the redness has died down.
I think the packing is under control with a full day to finish off the house tomorrow plus Wednesday for a visit to the vet, collecting the camper, a little shopping and a last trip to the bank.

Sunday 13 September 2020


This morning the weatherman was talking about high temperatures, 26C/79F or even 30C/86F and I was a tad sceptical but we have had a very hot afternoon. I'd planned to do some sorting out of my plants as my last job of the day but after cleaning and packing a bronze head (me) and a pewter lady in flowing robes and minus one arm (accidental not intentional) I decided that sitting out and chatting was a much better use of my time. Must make sure I take my rest breaks.
As usual I woke after 4.00 and again as often happens I didn't get back to sleep and got up at 7.00. While I made myself a cup of tea, fed the cat etc I got on with my first packing session of the day. I've found that you can buy clear bin bag sized bags which are great for packing. I was able to put each of two slightly wobbly plastic storage units on wheels inside a bag along with their contents of cleaning materials, tie the drawstring and then wrap some tape around for extra security. The main packing job today has been the sitting room, making sure boxes are stuck down and everything labelled. Later on I went up in the loft and threw down all the boxes for our pc's and other stuff. There's the most enormous box for the sound bar which isn't big at all but only the protective bag type cover for the tv. I seem to remember that it was so difficult to get the tv into the box last time we chucked the box out.
Found this speckled bush cricket on the rhododendron bush when I was pulling off a couple of strands of the dreaded bindweed.

Saturday 12 September 2020


Bright and sunny today with a good breeze. Perfect for another load of washing which dried and has already been ironed.
My first job today was to  remake a couple of yesterday's boxes to fit the chainsaws and two stag antlers. This was quite a fun job to do down in the garage. Now the awkwardly shaped and oily chainsaws are together in a standard shaped box along with the chainsaw boots (steel toecaps) and a helmet. I began to loose enthusiasm when it came to the antlers and instead of a nice stackable cuboid box it's more like a giant Toblerone box festooned with 'fragile' tape. Something that I know is stressing me out is the fact that although lots of packing has been done apart from the garage not one single room is fully packed. I tried to finish off my study but foolishly decided that before collating two tubes of LOTR posters I should see what I've got and write down the sizes with a view to framing some of them in Borth. Not the most sensible plan. It took too long and the measuring didn't go well as the posters kept rolling back up even though I'd weighed down the corners. In the end I gave up. I'm sure I can give many some of them away. My favourite images are those showing the scenery and design aspects of the films rather than individual characters and these were much harder to find.
All was quiet from the end house. Obviously it's only a Mon-Fri job. It looks like they are ready to put up the new cladding. I wonder what colour they've chosen? 

Friday 11 September 2020

Box Hunting.

A dry and sort of sunny day.
I spent most of the day out. In the morning I met up with three friends at the garden centre for coffee, cake and chat. A lovely break in the current packing frenzy. That'll be the last time for me though of course we'll keep in touch on FB and maybe even some visits. 
I arrived early to the garden centre after taking in the view out to sea on the way. That gave me time for a quick look around the plants, didn't find anything special, and then to check out the cardboard box bin at the exit. There I found a number of sturdy boxes and then on my way out after our morning coffee I found two very large boxes that I should be able to remake into a box suitable for the chainsaws. That'll make life easier for the removal men. Next stop was the dump where I got rid of the stuff from the garage. Then on to BJ's where I bought some birthday cards and collected three smaller very sturdy boxes which will be just right for those last tins of paint. Next after a basic food shop at Lidl I stopped at the pet store for some calming spray for Speedy. The main brand which they use at the vets' was £30 for a small bottle. Yikes. There were other options but instead of a chemical based on a pheromone they had valerian and other herbs. Then I found a small bottle of another brand which had the same pheromone ingredient at the same concentration for £10 which was much better. I only need it for the journey and when the removal men are shifting stuff in the house as I have noticed that Speedy does get nervous with strangers around and it is a very long journey, at least 5 hours.
That wasn't the end of my day's tasks. I left the car in Lidl's car park and walked over the bridge to pay a bill at the bank. 
Next I had to go to Tesco's to pick up Peter's prescription and just happened to buy this zip-up top. I simply can't resist fluffiness. Finally my last stop was the carpet place that sells off-cuts. With bare wooden floor boards in our bedroom and the bathroom (in Borth) I wanted some carpet to put down by the bed and a bit of lino for the bathroom to stop us getting splinters in our feet. I was successful in my quest and even haggled down the price by 20%. At home I slipped the cardboard tube from the middle of the lino as it will be perfect for packing two tubes of rolled up posters that I'd been unable to find a box for. And that was my very busy day.

Thursday 10 September 2020


A dry and fairly sunny morning  leading to a much warmer end to the day with barely a cloud in the sky.
My day has been spent sorting out the contents of the garage. I'd been worried that the boxes in the garage would have gone soggy and unusable over the last two years as there have been a few leaks from the roof. I had covered over the stuff in the garage  as much as I could and it was only a few tops of boxes that had crumpled. I threw out three boxes and put them out with the recycling. They'd  only been half full so I was able to empty the contents of the wooden cupboard into new boxes. I did my best to collate the loose stuff into boxes, swept up the leaves and put some wood etc in the back of the car ready to take to the dump tomorrow. That included a large rusty bench grinder which I finally persuaded Peter wasn't worth keeping. It was quite hard work and I don't know how many times I moved the bikes from one side of the garage to the other. My collection of plastic trays and tubs is now in the conservatory ready for the packing of the garden plants which I shall do at the last moment.
After grubbing about in the garage  it was lovely to have an early shower, down some pain killers and sit out in the garden with a book and a cup of tea.  

Wednesday 9 September 2020

Wet Then Hot.

It's been a day of contrasts weather-wise. The morning was grey and wet and then mid-afternoon the cloud disappeared and the temperature soared. I indulged in ten minutes of toasting myself outside as I waited for the washing machine to finish and I expect the washing will dry nicely out on the line..
More packing today and I've now reached box number 50.  Today I packed up the bedroom shelves. If it just involved taking things down and putting them in a box I don't expect it would take too long. However I don't like the idea of packing things that are dusty or generally grubby so I had a clean up as I went along. I also took the opportunity to sort through stuff and was able to chuck some things out. As I won't be teaching again I didn't need to keep the half bottle of nit lotion. I never really needed it but had it as a precaution and used it once when a couple of children I taught had nits. When the shelves were finally clear I gave them a wash and as I had a bucket of hot soapy went on to wash the dust from the tops of the plastic storage boxes that live under the bed. I'm constantly amazed at the amount of dust in this place and certainly don't want to be taking any along with us. At least this time it's not the panic packing that happened last time when we had less than a week's notice.
 The last of the birthday flowers.

These four photos were taken at the same time. It remained cool in the shade and there were a number of sparkling cobwebs around the place.
Just listening to our PM announcing a tightening of the restrictions country wide as well as locally. Not a surprise really especially considering that some communities still believe that the health risks are 'fake news'. Now the PM is boasting about the testing which sadly is a lot of bluster. Most of these tests are not the ones which say if you are infectious but rather the ones that tell if you have had the virus. Also there has been a major cutback in testing centres. People are being told to go to test centres up to 100 miles away. Some people in Devon were told to go to Swansea which admittedly is only 20 miles away, so long as you don't mind crossing one of the most dangerous stretches of sea. I had a quick check and currently in Devon we have three test centres; Exeter which is 45 miles away, Taunton 68 miles or Plymouth 96 miles. If you don't own a car and on a low income how are you supposed to afford the £11 train ticket to Exeter? 
That plant emerging between the garden walls looks to be a Japanese Anemone, a double one at that. 

Tuesday 8 September 2020

A Heatwave?

This morning's view was an almost total whiteout with a sea mist bringing a steady fall of soft rain. Perfect for creating sparkling crystals on the many cobwebs I could see from the kitchen window.
All of a sudden at 4.30 the sun broke through and the temperature has shot up. It's not the best photo below but a close look will reveal a cloud bank (level with the tops of the tallest trees) that is covering all of the sea from Bideford on the left to Braunton over to the right. Checking the weather reports I see that we are due for a September heatwave with a 600 mile 'subtropical swell' of warmer air sweeping in  across the Atlantic and temperatures set to hit the mid 20s/70s. At least now I don't have to worry about the roof replacement happening in a spell of wet weather.
Busy 'work' noises started up before 8.00 this morning. As well as what sounded like drilling on the other side of the kitchen wall work continued on the outside of the end house where they are replacing the cladding on the upper floor. But something else was happening too. Yesterday I'd seen that most of the many small metal covers in the pavement, water meters and telephone boxes, had been covered with wide silver gaffer tape. This morning a chap was blow torching the covers and putting on more tape. This he was doing in the rain with his gas cannister in a customised wheelie bin. The reason for this became clear when another chap came and spread a thin layer of asphalt over the path. He only did two sides of the grass leaving our path taped over but not resurfaced. This may have been because the men working on the end house were having to go back and forth to a stack of paving slabs and a dumpy bag of sand that had been left on the grass just out of sight to the left. I had to go to get something from the car and they've done all the rest of the pavements on both sides of the close. Right now there are groups of neighbours standing by their gates and having a discussion about this work. 
Meanwhile during this mostly wet day I've been getting on with the packing. The challenge comes when you find things such as new curtain poles that are too long for the boxes. I washed out a tall plastic bin that I had my garden things in and am using that for all the too long items. 
Speaking of gardening, earlier when the rain had eased but the sun hadn't appeared I did some gardening in the front garden. I needed to dig up my favourite hardy geranium, Mrs Kendall Clarke which has lavender petals veined with white. I tried to bring two plants of each of the different hardy geraniums from Dingles but somehow I only brought one Mrs K. Clarke.  That one I decided to plant out in the flower bed in front of the sitting room window and hoped I wouldn't forget to dig it up when we moved. I swapped it over with eight orange primulas from a large plastic tub by the front door. I've seen hardy geraniums growing in the neighbours' front garden in Borth so mine should be all right. I plan to have a bed of geraniums at the far end of the front garden where they'll be sheltered by the hedges. I did tell the house buyers that I would be digging up a few plants because otherwise you are not allowed to dig up garden plants.
As Peter had run out of cookies I baked a batch of the usual peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies for him. Now the scales, trays and silicone sheets can be packed away.