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.

Monday 30 November 2020


Grey and much colder today. Poor Peter was woken in the night with knee pain which signalled the start of another arthritis flare-up. Keeping warm, taking plenty of medication and rest with gentle movement should hopefully see this over in a few days.
In the meantime I wrapped up and took myself outside to finish off those slabs. Next steps are to weed through the small raised bed, transfer the bulbs that are growing there and then move all the soil into a neat! pile so that the wall for the first raised bed can be built in time for the rubble from the demolition of the bay window to be put in the bottom. That's the plan anyway.
I hadn't been outside long when I heard a bang from the road. A vehicular type of bang, not loud enough for a collision (so I thought) more like a wing mirror thump. When I went out I could see that a fancy looking VW convertible coming from the opposite direction had hit this parked car causing a significant amount of damage. Can't see how this could of happened as there are no cars on the other side of the road and the parked car which belongs to one of the carers looking after my neighbour, was up on the pavement to keep it out of the way. The driver was a young(ish) lady and her car had some damage to the front corner.
I planned to post off the first of my Christmas cards today and buy stamps for the rest but when I got down to the Co-Op I found that the Post Office counter is only open in the mornings so I'll have to go back tomorrow. That doesn't detract from the convenience of having a Post Office a few minutes walk down the road and a post box literally across the road. 
Naturally any trip to the shop is an excuse for a walk on the beach. In front of the lifeboat slipway the beach had been levelled out and the stones moved presumably to make launching the lifeboat easier.
Hardly anybody on the beach today and nobody in or on the water. For me, being outside, so long as I'm protected from the elements, gives me such a mental boost. Who cares about lockdown when you can go down to the beach everyday? Peter was not so thrilled to hear the announcement that along with a lot of other venues pubs and restaurants will not be allowed to sell alcohol and have to close at 6pm. That surely spells closure for the pubs for who is going to go to the pub for a coffee or soft drink (apart from me)? This will be reviewed on the 17th of December. No wonder people are beginning to fall for conspiracy theories. 
I think this blurry photo looks a bit like a painting.

Sunday 29 November 2020


A pretty mackerel sky this morning. It was cold enough to see your breath but warmed up later. No wind and the sea was almost flat. This was a day for the paddle boarders and kayakers. A few swimmers too. When I went for my walk I saw a lady who'd been swimming in just a costume though I have to say she did have a generous amount of natural insulation.
After our Sunday morning listen to The Archers I had another session weeding between the paving slabs in the front garden. Straight away I was joined by the bold robin. He comes to within a few feet of me and I saw him rewarded for his courage with a couple of inch long worms. Once the outside tap is plumbed in I'll probably go over the slabs with the pressure washer just to make them look nicer.
Setting off for my walk I could see a cloud bank in the distance obscuring the mountains. (Christmas trees in two windows.) Plenty of people down on the beach, from family groups to single walkers and  many happy dogs. The low tide was quite far out so I began with a quick rock pooling session. I was careful not to walk over the honeycomb worm colonies but I got the chance to peer into a few pools. Touching the honeycomb worm tunnels they were surprisingly hard.
Walking up the beach the artificial reefs were sending the waves across each other making the box patterns you are warned to stay away from but here the water was only a few inches deep so I don't think there was much danger.
Today it was possible to walk around the bottom of the beach rock piles though one of them had a sneaky channel that I decided not to attempt. One couple went past me, the man only had walking boots and he climbed up over the rocks while the lady had wellies and managed to get through by going very carefully. I met some of our neighbours who were also out for a walk and we had a long chat out in the fresh air.

I have to smile when I go past the local 'boat park'. Exactly the same as a car park, there's one across the road, with a notice saying that the boats left there should be in reasonable condition.
There wasn't a lot of the afternoon left when I got home so all I did towards my Christmas crafting was research dragons. I need to work out how the wings go on. A lot of illustrators give dragons four limbs and then add the wings as extras which doesn't fit right with my scientific mind. Even fantasy animals should have four limbs not six. Instead I've been looking at birds and bats and this is how the dragons in GOT and LOTR are portrayed though Tolkien drew Smaug with four legs and separate wings. So far I've got a page of sketches of bone structure and rough body outlines. Maybe dragons will be for next year. 

Saturday 28 November 2020


Not icy on the ground but the light wind was bitterly cold.
This morning we were surprised to see a heron perched by the rock pools though according to my book it's quite common for them to come to the coast in the winter. Didn't know that. After breakfast I went out and did some gardening. I don't dare dig any brambles yet so instead I began brushing the paving and digging out the weeds growing between the slabs. The best tool for this is an old table knife. If anything tries to grow later on I'll get the weed killer out.
Being the weekend there were a lot more people around and that included swimmers. I don't know how much went on in the past here but 'wild' or 'open water' swimming seems to be very much the in thing at the moment. Maybe because swimming pools are closed and also down to the reports that cold water swimming has beneficial health effects - " Cold water swimming may protect the brain from degenerative diseases like dementia, researchers from Cambridge university have discovered." (BBC) This group above were out in the morning while I spotted the chap below when I set off for my walk.
I think he was over ambitious as even the swimmers above had shortie wet suits. I kept an eye on him and he never got round to actual swimming before he left the water. I think the swimmers below may be on some sort of training schedule as we've seen them before as they swim towing floats behind them.

Yesterday my photos of the honeycomb worm colonies weren't too good so I had another try today. (I checked out a couple of videos but they aren't very exciting, just little thread type worms.) They can only be seen when the tide is low. I found a few sea anemones but so far the rock pools are quite sparsely occupied. Maybe because of the amount of stones that get dragged back and forth by the sea.
I had a pleasant walk along the beach. More groups out walking despite the cold. A medium sized dog came racing over to me and I braced myself for impact but he managed to skid to a halt by my knee. He tried to jump up but as soon as I said 'Down' he sat down so I could give him a stroke. I noticed that when he went back to his people they put him on the lead which wasn't necessary but I was too far away to say he hadn't been a nuisance.
I called in at the shop to get some apples as Peter was going to make coleslaw. He makes a large amount at the time and usually I find carrot gratings all over the kitchen so I don't look forward coleslaw days. He's now watching rugby so I took the chance to start putting more crockery in the corner cupboard that got its doors yesterday.


Friday 27 November 2020


A crisp cold day that gave us a clear view across to the Llyn Peninsula. 
My morning was spent collating all the information I've amassed on the various bits we need to complete the kitchen, utility room and toilet. I prefer to look at things rather than just buying on-line but we're limited here. No B&Q or Homebase (cheap and cheerful with a lot of choice) or Wickes which I use for on-line but we do have Screwfix and Jewson's and a local builders' merchant. Lots of flicking back and forth between websites to compare sizes and prices and I'll make the final choices the next time go into Aber.
With it being such a lovely sunny day Peter and I went out for a walk at low tide.

At the end of the walk I collected more sticks for the Christmas tree and brought home a stone to use as the base. That's if I'm successful drilling a hole in it for the metal rod. Rootling around in rockpools I came across this alien spacecraft/fishing weight. I left it perched on top of the bin at the top of the slope down to the beach. One of the fisherman might want it.
While we were on the beach Peter had a text from the kitchen fitter saying he had the replacement doors and would be round at 5.00 to fit them. This he did and fitted the last bits of board above the cupboards and below the oven housing. As an extra he's going to make some shelves out of the leftover worktop and an open cupboard for glasses. Looking forward to that. Since the kitchen was occupied Peter bought fish and chips for our supper.

I also finished the first of my Christmas craft projects, I used my felting skills and kind of doodled with colour.


Thursday 26 November 2020


After all the excitement of finding the right window film for the kitchen windows last night I made one final check .......... only to discover that the one I'd chosen was the kind that sticks on the glass forever. I'd been planning on the type of film that sticks by static  and can be peeled off  easily. More searching and it looks like the choice is between horizontal straight or wavy lines with clear lines between. Nothing like as nice but much cheaper.
This morning I headed into Aber to do some shopping and go into the bank to pay for the last two skips. I have to smile at the skip company, a small local firm. They send us an email invoice but it comes without any bank details for paying the bill. I have to find those details from my folder.
When I got home the man from the windows company was here. This time it was to talk about the porch. I'm not filled with confidence as he wasn't sure about some of the details of my plan. First he said we couldn't have tiles because building reg's would stipulate a metal frame even though we have the tiles (bought plenty of extras to match the roof as they were hard to find) and they are really light. Especially compared to glass which is the alternative he proposed. Also he wasn't sure about having brick or block work around the bottom, something to do with needing a cavity wall. I guess that's because it's easier to make a unit with a plastic panel on the bottom. Not only do I not like the look of  plastic panels I think we need something sturdy to withstand gales force winds blowing in from the sea. While he was here I asked him to look at the front door lock which I felt was a bit tricky to lock at night. After all that door and lock were very expensive. He tried the door and yes there was a problem and he would arrange for someone to come and sort it. A chap who has been here before came round very quickly and now it locks easily. We had been beginning to wonder if we'd made a mistake using this firm despite the various recommendations we'd had. I won't go into details but chatting to the chap who sorted the door many of the problems seem to be due to a couple of individuals who had personal problems/ were inexperienced and are no longer working for the company. At least they've been very prompt in sorting out any problems.
Despite the vast number of herbs and spices we have Peter put three more on today's shopping list of which I was only able to find oregano in Lidl. But look how small an amount there is in the jar. Okay it was only 35p but what a waste of a glass jar. I'd much rather have paid more and got a full jar.
I spent the afternoon doing some Christmas gift crafting so can't show the results of my work. Instead here are a couple of photos from yesterday.


Wednesday 25 November 2020

Busy House.

It's been a busy day here, for most of the day there were four white vans parked outside the house. Three belonged to the window company and the fourth was our builder's. Peter and our builder had not been happy with a couple of the windows as even after some remedial work it looked as if water was getting in by the sides of the windows. Today the windows came out and it turned out that something had been missed out. (The chaps who did the original installation don't work for the firm any more.) Now, hopefully they've been put in properly but it was a long day with a window in our bedroom and one in my study being out for most of the afternoon. Not only that but early on I took them a cuppa and found there was water flowing across the utility floor - AGAIN! Not the same pipe this time but yesterday Peter and the builder had taken a radiator off the wall. No leaks last night or this morning but I guess one of the windows people must have knocked the pipe. I used up all our mopping up towels and had the kitchen timer set to remind me to empty the container I had under the dripping pipe. At the time Peter was out at Aberystwyth having his back crunched by the chiropractor. The builder wasn't here either because at 8.00 this morning he had a chimney fire. A hole had appeared in the back of the woodburner drawing in too much air causing the flue to get red hot and set fire to the inside of the chimney. Nobody hurt and no serious damage but it took three fire engines to get the fire under control. Understandably he turned up a bit later than expected. He's just gone home after getting the battening done in the utility room.
I've been thinking about the utility room floor and have gone back to the ceramic tile plan. It's only 9 square meters and lino or rather vinyl tiles are not that different in price plus we'd have to remove all the old lino tiles. 
Having spent yesterday researching window film for the front door I saw a lot of tempting designs. Some of the big photo scenes look absolutely wonderful not that I have any need for something like that and the shiny prism-like mosaic designs appealed to my magpie tendencies. One design that we are seriously thinking about is the one below to block out the uninspiring view of next-door's back yard from the kitchen. Because this idea only surfaced during the night today I hadn't got anything bookmarked. I first made a general search and then narrowed it down to Etsy. I then had to trawl through 75 pages of window films to find the best fit. Peter likes it too but before I go ahead and order I'm going to make a mock-up using the translucent tablecloth roll I bought for blocking out the windows. It's made by a German company so is quite expensive, at least in my eyes but still much less than blinds which I don't want anyway. As well as sorting this out I finished off writing up my daily notes. I had to read through all the blog posts since we moved and it's gratifying to see the improvement in the garden.
With Peter back home I was able to take myself off for a walk on the beach on the way to buy some milk. 
It was lovely walking with the sun on my back.
Not the best of photos as with the sun in eyes I couldn't actually see the screen of the phone camera. This is our local lifeboat going out on I presume was just an exercise as there was no hurry as I walked past the lifeboat station. 
It was a couple of hours after low tide so on my return I lost some of the flat sand to walk on and had to walk carefully over the stones. These were quite large, about the size of loaves of bread and larger so I had to keep my eyes down to watch where I put my feet.
I thought the sad seal pup had washed away but it was still there over on the sand.

It has been announced with a great fanfare that lockdown restrictions will be eased over Christmas. Three families will be allowed to get together for five days to celebrate the holiday. So suddenly the virus won't be infectious for those five days? Surely this is more about our government not wanting the bad press for 'cancelling Christmas'. My view is strengthened by the scientists saying this will lead to more deaths and a third wave before vaccination can start. Much as we miss our family we don't intend to put them or us at risk by planning a family get together at the moment.

Tuesday 24 November 2020


Contrary to the photo below it was grey for most of the day but here the sea and sky are constantly changing so why not show the best moment?
Peter was working early this morning and had hacked most of the tiles off one of the walls in the utility before the builder turned up to begin nailing up battens. He's still here chatting with Peter (they've got masks on and the door open). I'm trying not to get excited but I think we may have those two rooms done soon.
Meanwhile I escaped to the front garden as I can't get to the back garden with the work going on. The photo doesn't look that bad but in reality the lawn looks like the aftermath of a music festival with trampled grass and a heap of rubbish (grass and brambles) in the middle. I used the garden fork to dig up some of the bramble roots and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the soil. A bit sandy but after Dingles where there was almost no soil I get excited by any kind of topsoil. If I was 20 or even 10 years younger I'd be planning a vegetable garden or at least potatoes and carrots which would grow but digging is definitely not on the agenda for my back. After digging up or rather levering up a number of brambles I then sank to my knees and began cutting the grass ...... with secateurs. That's not as random as it seems because there was about 18 inches of growth mostly laying flat along the ground so the mower or even the strimmer wouldn't really do the job. Also I want to leave the cut off bramble stems until I dig them up. Kneeling on the ground on my knee pads was quite comfortable while I lifted and cut the grass. Once the brambles are gone and it's all cut/hacked I can leave it to regrow as a wild meadow until I'm ready to start the major redesign of the front garden.
Then it was time for a walk along the beach. It was low tide so I began by venturing back under the cliff. I didn't dare go too far because there wasn't a lot of dry shore to walk on and I didn't want to get trapped by the incoming tide. 
Then back along the sand to my usual turn around point, the first of the big rock piles. 
There I was met with the sad sight of a dead seal pup washed up on the shingle. (Centre of the above photo.) All part of nature I suppose. Also saddening was the amount of plastic rubbish scattered through the natural accumulation of seaweed, sticks and shells. As I walked along I thought about getting a litter picker and at least on some of my walks collecting plastic rubbish. If everybody all around the world that uses beaches for leisure did that occasionally I'm sure it would make some difference to the plastic pollution. While these thoughts were running through my head what should I see but an older lady doing just that. I stopped and chatted to her for a while.
Back home I had success with an idea that I've been working on. This is the solution to the problem of what to do about the window in the front door. I deliberately had it made with clear glass because I don't like not being able to see who is on the other side of the door before I open it. But with the door being so close to the pavement I've left the translucent plastic in place while I looked for something that let the light through, allowed me to see who's outside but stopped passers by looking in. One way mirror film nearly filled the criteria but I often have the light on during the day which would let people see in. My thoughts turned to some sort of frosted window film with a design that had clear bits. Not so easy to find though there were lots of stained glass type patterns that tempted me. Then I came across an Etsy seller who made custom designs, how about the house name? but didn't do the length I needed. More searching and eventually on about the fourth Google page I found another place that did custom window film and had an easy to use website where I could put in any size and then had an excellent choice of fonts, colours and sizes. I made my choices, checked, double checked and double checked again before finally ordering a window film for the door window. Hopefully I've got it all right.

Monday 23 November 2020


Mostly grey today. It looked as if it would rain in the afternoon but in the end didn't.
Speedy warming up after his morning jaunt outside.

The builder will be starting, or rather continuing work on the utility room tomorrow. (He's here now doing some measuring up.) We still haven't made a decision about the floor yet. To be honest if there hadn't been a hole in the current lino tiles I would have been content to keep them after a good clean. So I'm not putting up too much resistance to Peter's idea of just having lino on the floor. Yes I would prefer ceramic tiles but when it comes down to it my main consideration is that the floor should stand up to being flooded if we have a washing machine mishap so maybe new lino tiles will do.
Something I'm not happy about is the positioning of the switch and socket both of which were put in by the electrician's assistant. Building regulations say there should be no diagonal wires, they should either be vertical or horizontal. Imagine the scenario, some time in the future we decide to put up shelves or cupboards. Before drilling into the wall we look at the socket, avoid the vertical line above it , drill to the side and electrocute ourselves. Guess what? It's going to be sorted. I've made sure to take plenty of photos for when we want to add any shelves or hang the old fashioned clothes airer from the ceiling. Having muttered and moaned about the wiring I needed some fresh air to clear my head and went out to spend time gardening. Ivy again but this time in the front garden behind a couple of hydrangeas. Bramble roots were also under attack and it was a hard job. Down on my knees I dug following the roots deep into the ground. I'd dig a fist sized tunnel following the route of the root (haha ) until there was sufficient length of root to get hold of, give it a pull only to have it break. Examining the broken end it would become obvious that more root needed to be removed so on with more tunnelling. After several repetitions the root might shoot sideways and I'd opt to collapse the earth above the tunnel followed by much digging out. Then would come the identification of the root, bramble and ivy roots both look much like hydrangea roots so in my enthusiasm to dispose of the unwanted roots some of the hydrangeas' may also have gone. Let's hope they don't suddenly keel over in a strong wind. 

For years I've jotted down a few notes for each day at the same time as I write my blog. I then use these notes for writing up each season in my Hobbit Journal which helps me keep track of events in my life me not having a good memory at the best of times. With the chaos of the move and then using a corner of the hall as my admin space I postponed the daily notes until I was 'more organised'. So today it was time to get back on track and I spent the later part of the afternoon going through my blog posts. I've done all bar ten days which is not bad going. This at least showed that quite a lot has been done even though it sometimes feels that things are going very slowly.

Sunday 22 November 2020


Not too much wind today and plenty of sun.
This morning our neighbour told me his dog had gone through our rickety fence into the back garden and from there out into the road. Luckily he was able to get the dog back without too much trouble. It didn't take me too long to make some rough repairs to the fence using a door sized board, an old kitchen cupboard door and an old metal grill from the garden. Even if the dog does make it through into our garden it won't be able to get out to the road. Being out in the back garden encouraged me to get on with removing more ivy from the wall. It was awkward work sawing away at the fat stems close to the wall especially as they ranged from ankle to calf sized in diameter (those are my sturdy limbs being used as a size guide). I cleared another few feet of wall which was enough for one day. 'Bit by bit' is my work motto.
With the sun shining and some work achieved what else could I do but head out for a walk along the beach? 
I carried on to the end of the village where these Victorian? houses looked cheerful in the sun. At this point I was up on the sea defence wall/path which is about 10 feet above the level of the road. It blocks the sea view from the ground floor of the houses but that's a small price to pay for not getting flooded by the spring tides.
Out of the village I walked past the first section of the golf course. From there I would have had to drop back onto the shingle to get to the sand dune nature reserve of Ynyslas up ahead but time was running out.
Nothing for it but to turn round and head back. When I got to the end of the sea wall instead of going down to the beach and walking back over the stones which is wearing on the feet I walked down the High Street for a bit. At least I now know where Uncle Albert's Ice Cream Emporium is. When they are open again I'll be popping in to try their home made ice creams.
After striding along the pavement I slipped through one of the many passageways back onto the sand to catch the sunset. (It wasn't really as dark as this.)
The local coastguard have put out a warning on FB that Portuguese Man of War (or should that be men of war?) have been washed up on local beaches including the far end of Borth. The 10 metre long tentacles still sting even if the creature/colony is out of the water/dead and can be fatal. Better keep an eye out for those.