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 31 October 2020

Happy Birthday Romas.

Happy Birthday to our youngest who although he's 31 today is still one of 'the boys'. Distance and covid mean we haven't seen him for a very long time but we keep in touch, mainly through FB. The important things are that he's well and happy, still up in Stoke with Laura and now 2 French bulldogs, Rhubarb and Custard.
Here, after a wet and stormy morning the day brightened up with more than a patch of blue.
That had me togging up and dragging the steps outside to finish off the hedge. And now, if you don't look too closely, it's done. I bagged up the clippings as I went along but once I was leaning on the top of the hedge reaching for the furthest branches I simply threw them into the garden. 
There's just one hump that needs sorting out but the view is so much better. As we sat at breakfast we came up with some far fetched schemes to get rid of the lamp post at the end of the road, it so spoils the view, but I don't think the council would approve.
After my hedging session Peter and I went for a bracing walk along the beach. I should remember to take the small camera (phone) when I don't want to take my big camera. Today we were surprised by the sight of yellow crab apples mixed in with the stones scattered over the wet sand for a distance of about 200 yds. There must be a tree somewhere on the cliffs that is shedding apples into the sea. I have seen the occasional crab apple on the sand before but this was quite something.
Back home I decided to have a gentle chopping and bagging session sitting in the garden. This plan came to a halt when I discovered that the lovely fluorescent jacket I'd been wearing to work outside was covered with spots of mildew on the arms and back. With the coat being totally waterproof but not breathable I should have been turning the sleeves out and letting it dry off before putting the coat away after my work sessions. So instead of gardening I  hung up the coat outside and using a spray that's great for getting mildew off paintwork scrubbed off as much of the mildew as I could.
Whatever the conditions the sea creates an ever changing view to draw the eye.
There's no doubt that the second wave of covid is here and it sounds as if the Govt will be announcing more restrictions soon, maybe even tomorrow.

Friday 30 October 2020

Shopping, Again.

The day began wet and windy and ended up with a glorious sunset.
Although I had really wanted to stay away from Aber during the current lockdown I had to go to the bank so I called in at Lidl which was where I parked. This time when I shopped I bought enough staples to last for the next couple of weeks so I don't have to go in next week. While I was queueing up in Lidl another shopper walked past me and stood himself in front of me. I'm a typical non-confrontational Brit but I wasn't going to let that go. Being male, white and (once he opened his mouth) upper class did not entitle him to take precedence over others. Staying polite I asked him if he was in the queue and when he said he was I told him the back of the queue was behind me. He came up with the excuse that it had been much further back in the aisle when he passed me, untrue! and then when I said nothing he came up with the put down of 'if it bothered me that much' and stood behind me. Naturally I didn't think of a cutting response until I was driving home but I wish I'd told him that good manners were a matter of principle. Hah!
The new induction hob arrived while I was out and having transferred over some funds at the bank I had a fun time on-line choosing and then buying the new oven. I had a short list of 'best buys' from Which. These resolved into 3 models all much the same and bingo! I found one that was white rather than black or silver, a Bosch oven that scored highly in the Which tests. Funnily enough it's from Curry's as was the hob and will be arriving next Friday. One site I looked at had a 6-8 week delivery time. 
For relation I took myself outside to work on the hedge. I filled three bags with clippings but I need one more session to finish off the hedge.
The afternoon finished with a beautiful, more pink than the photos, sunset. It was hard to tear myself away from the window as the sky blazed first pink and then deep orange.


Thursday 29 October 2020


Another wild and windy day. Lots of rain in the morning and dry in the afternoon
We needed some milk so naturally I combined my shopping trip with a walk on the beach. It was great fun striding along the sand with the wind pushing me from behind though I did bear in mind that it wouldn't be so easy walking back the other way. And it wasn't with the wind trying to push me sideways up the beach. We'd seen a few brave surfers out in the water and as I walked a couple of chaps were setting up their kite surfing kit but I never saw them out on the water. 
At home Speedy was heating himself up on top of a warm radiator.
Not really feeling the urge to do any outside work I concentrated on some outstanding admin. First was to brave the cobweb strewn outside electricity meter box to read the meter and yes there was a spider in residence. Not very big but big enough if I was scared of spiders which I'm not. That done I was able to submit the meter reading, the first in 7 months for this account. Next was to move on with sourcing the kitchen splashback I chose so long ago. I have a sample in front of me and it's exactly what I want but could I find the company on the internet? It looked as if they still made bathroom/shower panels but not for the kitchen. I looked for alternatives but trying to find the colour I want (a very pale blue/green like sea glass) was a challenge. All the searching gets tiring especially when you get as far as the sample page, make a selection and go to check out. I don't mind paying a nominal amount for samples but when they charge a fiver for postage that's the point when I give up. A poor business strategy. I've even gone for some samples where you could chose custom colours from a panel with every colour on the spectrum.
The other job I thought I could do was to update the details on Speedy's microchip. Going on the site it turns out that you have to pay to change your address so I shan't bother with that. It's free to change your phone details but I waited on the line for so long that in the end I gave up. They have my email anyway. However while I was getting out the folder with the details I came across the brochure for the original kitchen splashback I'd set my heart on. On the off chance I rang the phone number on the back and was told that yes, they still do kitchen splashbacks and I was given the website where I could find a supplier. Much joy as I checked out the website but then alarm bells began to ring as I noticed several different company names with the same phone number. Then looking on the review sites there were no end of recent complaints including money taken and goods not arriving. So we shan't be using them.
Just been listening to 'You and Yours' (R4) with people talking about what they'll do for Christmas.  I'm pretty sure that we won't be able to visit the boys over Christmas. Peter I know would rather let it pass completely but I'm wondering if maybe we might meet the neighbours, outside of course, to exchange greetings and possibly have a drink together for a little time. There are only 10 houses in our road and one set of our neighbours were community marshals during the first lockdown so perhaps I'll chat to them.

Wednesday 28 October 2020


A wild and windy day. As we ate our breakfast we cheered on the handful of surfers attempting to catch the early morning waves. They eventually gave up as although the swell was pretty big the waves didn't break until the last moment leaving not long for actual surfing. The coastguard page is advising people not to go out in such wild weather.
First thing after breakfast I went down and posted off the parcel and then couldn't resist a walk along the beach. The wind was fierce but I was well protected with; moulded earplugs, head band, woolly hat, coat hood and wraparound sunglasses. I'm so glad I bought a pair of lightly silvered sunglasses to wear on days when it's not bright enough for black. I found a couple of white stones one of which fits nicely on my staff.
When I got home we attempted to put up the brackets for the curtain poles in our bedroom. I cleared the boxes away and fetched the tools I thought we might need and then left Peter to it. In theory it should be a simple job to screw directly into the wood batons on the wall and we do have a work progress photo but it wasn't so simple and after a couple of trial holes Peter stopped before messing up the nicely decorated wall. We'll have to ask the builder to do it as he knows exactly where the wood is.

Instead I wrapped up well and headed off to the front garden to bag up more hedge clippings. While I was doing that the builder turned up to make a start on removing the chimney pots. That's a more urgent job as we are getting some marks from rain coming down the chimneys which we no longer need. He took down the old tv aerial which had damaged some of the pointing as it wobbled in the wind.

Still messy but at least we can move around the garden.

Tuesday 27 October 2020


Bright and breezy today with the occasional squall.
(Do you see the albatross in this pebble?)
The electrician and his assistant came this morning to do the first fix, (putting in the wires and boxes for the lights and switches) in the utility room. While this was going on I made another batch of truffles, plain chocolate with chopped up soft dried apricots. I looked on-line and did my best to temper the chocolate to get a shiny coating but it didn't really work. Never mind, they still taste as good. I never found the sweet cases so I used small squares of bubble wrap instead. By the time I boxed up the two kinds of truffles in a fancy box I discovered that the nearby Post Office in the shop is only open until 1.00 so I'll have to post them off tomorrow morning. Looking on-line there seems to be another Post Office right at the other end of the village which I'll have to check out some time.
Once I'd hoovered up the plaster dust and foam shavings left by the electrician Peter and I went for a stroll along the beach.
The building with the round turret and funny sloping roof on the far left (above) is the café above the shop/Post Office. 

I had a bit of fun kicking up the spume and watching it blow in the wind, sort of an old person's foam party.
There's often a sparkle to the bubbles in the spume and today there was an iridescence which I was able to capture with my camera. Is that evidence of mermaids, some sort of oily pollution or just a different type of algae (the scientific cause of sea foam)?
Naturally we keep our eyes open for interesting things on the beach. Peter picked up some shells and as well as my albatross stone I found this twisted stem, surely Gandalf's staff ? I'm hoping it will dry to a bleached colour and I might even look for a stone to put in the top.


Monday 26 October 2020


Wild and stormy seas this morning, scattered showers during the day. The clocks may have gone back yesterday but my body clock doesn't know about that and woke me at 5.30. Up I got and the day began.
This morning I had my appointment at the doctors. The receptionist who scanned my temperature prior to letting me in was surprised to see that it was only 32C. I think the cold wind on my face had something to do with that. I was first seen by a third year medical student which was great fun as he had extra time to take lots of notes. Funnily enough he was from Bideford (about 10 miles from Barnstaple). I'd gone armed with letters from the cardio consultant as they don't have any of my notes yet plus a list of the things I wanted to talk about with specific questions. When we'd finished our long chat he then went to talk to the doctor who came in to supervise the printing out of the prescriptions for the missing medication and extra heart tablets. She looked at the dog bite and once I'd explained that the dog's teeth didn't come in contact with my skin said I didn't need antibiotics unless my hand got worse. I was impressed that my Friday blood test results were already in and everything is fine. And I got my flu jab. I am supposed to get one if I live with a vulnerable person which Peter is because of his age and compromised immune system but there's a current shortage and they're being done in order of need. Explaining that Peter is too stubborn to have a flu jab may have helped.
Yesterday's hedge trimming didn't do my ribs any good so I had to take things a bit more easy today. I realised this during and after my pedalling session. I guess I'll I have to wait a while before getting back into the old routine. Instead I has a happy afternoon making fancy chocolate truffles for an upcoming birthday. I've cut one open to show the white chocolate truffle inside with cranberries soaked in whiskey. Now all I have to do is to try and think where my foil sweet cases are. I've checked and checked the famous notebook lists with no luck and even gone through most of the unpacked boxes in the kitchen. For most of the time I was looking for a storage box with an orange lid but I seem to remember clearing out all the very out of date colours etc and possibly also the box as the lid was cracked. But what did I do with the rest of the cake decorating items? The truffles need to go in the post tomorrow. If I sleep on it maybe inspiration will occur.


Sunday 25 October 2020

Snappy Dog.

It's been a day of much rain plus some bright spells giving a constantly changing seascape.
9.00 this morning a few keen surfers were out hoping for some good waves. We sit at the table and cheer them on if they do manage to catch a wave. 
I tried fixing the bedroom curtain pole joining fitting with some resin glue, the sort where you have to mix two gels together but having checked it just now I can say it didn't work. On the other hand I measured up our old bedroom curtains and they will fit. I had another look at the curtain poles on FB but realised they were too thin. More suitable for net curtains.
As Peter didn't do too well with the hedge trimmer and now the arthritis has flared up in his wrists I decided to tackle the hedge by myself. The trimmer is too heavy for me so I made do with secateurs and loppers to hack the Eleagnus into shape. 

Very few people out walking along the coast path. Not sure how much was due to the lockdown and how much was because of the wet weather. I did have a long chat with a lady from up the road who had her Scottie dog with her. As she came a bit closer this dog began yapping and jumping on the end of its long lead. I foolishly thought it was simply excited and put my hand out for it to sniff. Big mistake, it lunged forward and gave my hand a fierce bite. Luckily I was wearing the hide work gloves and it didn't get its teeth through the tough leather but it still broke the skin. The owner was apologetic and to be fair I should have had more sense. I'm just not used to snappy dogs. I did go in and wash the scrape with soap and water before applying disinfectant and a plaster. It has since swollen up and a bruise has appeared. 
Now the top of the hedge is lower we get even more sea to look at and will have a clear view to the sunset. Since I took the photo I used the loppers to prune back more of the holly bush behind the red hydrangea before more rain set in.
Which brought more rainbows.
Sun and clouds on the mountains of Snowdonia.


Saturday 24 October 2020


The morning's wind blew in plenty of rain today.
Speedy woke me up this morning butting my face and purring loudly at 6.00. I thought he'd learned not to do this after only one morning of getting pushed away when he tried walking me but maybe he thought I might have changed my mind. I did get up, wandered into the kitchen, turned on the central heating (we've not attempted to set the timer yet) and then shock horror! went back to bed. No early breakfast for Speedy. I actually fell asleep for another hour so he had to wait until 7.00 for his breakfast which is when I took the above photo.
I did the first of two sessions on the exercise bike before breakfast after which I got on  with more sorting out. First job on the list was to make a start on the curtain poles. Before we moved I amassed a collection of poles, brackets and rings from charity shops and sales. Measuring the windows here I was disappointed to find that my long pole from Laura Ashley reduced from £215 to £20 is 20 cms too short for the French doors in the sitting room but I can use it in my study where one of the windows needs a 3m pole. Coincidentally I've just come across and advert on the local FB page for 6 curtain poles for sale not too far away. I have to check if the length given is for each pole or if you put them all together. I also cleaned the wooden poles and rings that the builder had saved from the bedroom windows. One of them needs the screw that joins two sections fixing back into place but that shouldn't be a problem. I have the right sized brackets to put these poles up. Yay, curtains in the bedroom! (We do have the windows covered.)
Curtain poles sorted for the time being my afternoon job was to sort through and collate the stuff in plastic storage boxes stacked in the kitchen. I've been taking things out as I needed them and it wasn't hard to reduce the boxes to three. The other three boxes went to the bedroom where I tidied up Peter's semi-tidied piles of clothing. All in all a productive day.


Friday 23 October 2020


A windy day with some rain in the morning and more sun in the afternoon.
We both had appointments at the surgery today. Mine was just for a blood test, a follow-up to the one I had done in Devon so naturally they had no idea why I needed one. Having moved countries even our electronic records have fallen into a black hole of nothingness and may take weeks to reappear. As well as the blood test I was weighed and measured, my height is now down to below 5'8" when once upon a time I was 5'10.5". I didn't want to know my weight as at the moment I feel I need some reward for all the hard work I'm doing. Time to lose the weight again later. I'm sure this is another initiative from the government to 'tackle the obesity crisis'. All well and good and important to educate people but how about making sure that people in deprived areas have shops or markets where they can buy fresh vegetables and fruit rather than a plethora of fried chicken and kebab shops? My blood pressure was good, a surprise as it usually goes up at the doctors. My visit was very covid secure. Nobody else in the waiting room and afterwards I left by a different door. 
After a blood test last week Peter's visit was a general health check which he passed with flying colours. He is most impressed with the new doctor.
Back home I did some rearranging of boxes. Now that we are using the shower in the bedroom I could fit a surprising amount of boxes in the bath. With the builder starting on the utility room soon, maybe, I tried to clear out as much as I could from there including shifting boxes into the garage. That's the garage with a hole in the roof, the old kitchen cupboards which may get re-used in the utility room, our stuff and builder's stuff. Moving boxes is not good for my back.

After a break reading at the table I carried on chopping back the big escallonia overhanging our neighbour's garden. I spoke to the chief carer offering to cut it back on that side and he said he would do it, but hasn't. I wouldn't like to upset the neighbour who spends his days sitting by the window watching tv or the sea. If I cut it back to the right level it will be nothing but bare twigs so I'll just do what I can from our garden for now.
Some kite surfers catching the wind.

A Welsh poppy in the back garden. There are seedlings all over both gardens and I'll try to keep some once the garden is restored.
PS It takes 13 minutes to walk to the surgery.

Thursday 22 October 2020


The day began grey and looking as if it might rain but then it brightened up.
I took myself of to Aber to do a final, I hope, shop before the 2 week lockdown starts on Friday evening. First stop was Lidl and then I ventured to a new destination - Tesco's. It's only a minute's drive from Lidl and I had seen where the turn-off to the carpark was so it wasn't that much of an achievement. It was nice to find a decent sized Tesco's with M&S in the same building over the spacious carpark. Not quite a shopping mall but sufficient for me. I carried on with my shopping spree by driving across the road, literally, and buying some cheap household stuff in B&M; another doormat, paper lampshades and some bars to put over the cupboards door for the kitchen towel and t-towel.
When I got home I had a phone call from the kitchen people. The kitchen is now ordered and should arrive at the beginning of November. We ended up choosing factory assembled units which are made with thicker materials. Luckily they will keep the units at the local depot until we have the fitter organised. I was worried how we were going to fit all the units in considering how cluttered we are at the moment. With that all in hand I got out my notes and bought one of the induction hobs recommended by Which. It's a Zanussi one and it has separate controls for each ring rather than having to program which ring you want to use first. No more burnt spills on the hob.
With the kitchen dealt with for today we went for a walk further up the cliff to the war memorial. It's a short but steep climb and showed how much my fitness has declined since I stopped exercising. My ribs seem to be improving so I've begun introducing some of my daily exercises. Walking up that cliff would be good too. From there we had a great view of the whole of Borth and the mountains beyond. Zoom in to the photo and you might be able to spot our home. (Hint - it's the only one with a red roof.) Or try the photo below. 
I did take a photo looking south along the coast but the sun was so bright the camera over compensated and the photo turned out too dark.
At home the sea is a constant presence, even when our eyes aren't drawn to the varied colours and form of the water we can generally hear the crash and boom of the waves as they smash into the cliff or roll stones along the beach. So although there's no view from our bedroom we can make a guess at the state of the sea even before we take in the view from the living area.