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.

Sunday 31 January 2021


Cold with a dusting of snow up on the hills and a morning of sleety snow showers.
We woke this morning to find that on this coldest of days the central heating refused to turn on. At first we thought yesterday's frequent power cuts, sometimes every few minutes, had caused a valve to jam up but then Peter diagnosed a drop in water pressure. He added more water to the system which did the trick but then we had a flood from a pipe in the toilet. When the builders had taken off the radiator to work on the walls they hadn't capped off the pipe but simply turned off the TRV (the cap with numbers on) which was fine when the pressure was low but as soon as it went up - whoosh! Fortunately the water went into the corridor but instead of carrying on and getting under the laminate flooring it turned right and flowed into the utility room. The first I knew of this was hearing Peter shout while crouched down with his thumb over the pipe. We swapped over and Peter tried to find something to plug the pipe. Unfortunately he gave away all his plumbing equipment once his hands became affected by arthritis. He found something which we jammed into the pipe and I secured it with good old gaffer tape. That got it down to a drip while Peter phoned the plumber. After discussing the situation Peter remembered he had a nut which was the right size. With a 5p piece inside I replaced the temporary fix and tightened up the nut. Job done. Must get a set of emergency plumbing supplies.
Before settling down to breakfast and The Archers, I went down to the shop for some milk as I wasn't sure when they were open till. Found out the winter hours are 8 - 6pm seven days a week. This was while it was snowing so I didn't go for a walk on the beach.
An excited surfer posted that the first of the big winter swells were in. That brought the surfers, at one point I counted at least 18 surfers out in the water. Unlike North Devon which faces out to the Atlantic here Ireland is between us and the Atlantic so the surf isn't so good.
I spent time on my pc looking for suitable window film for my study. I've narrowed it down to two, one is rows of sparrows sitting on branches and the other is clear bamboo on a frosted background. So far I'm leaning towards the bamboo. That's for the street side window while I haven't made up my mind for the south facing window that overlooks the drive and then our neighbours' front garden. That might just get one way mirror film.
I finished the afternoon with another piano session. Sight reading (Farewell to Stromness) is good for the brain though I did squawk the first time I came across the section that has 5 sharps. Sight reading was never my strong point but it helps knowing the tune.

Saturday 30 January 2021


The day began with heavy rain, as promised clearing first to a dismal grey. The strong easterly winds flattened out the sea leaving a choppy surface with lines running at right angles to the beach.
It wasn't long before the icy winds had cleared the skies turning the rain to snow which was dusting the mountain tops. We had numerous brief power cuts later in the afternoon which as Peter found out when he rang the supplier were due to the wind blowing the electricity cables together causing them to short. About 1,000 households have been affected but fingers crossed the power is now back on.
I was planning on a litter picking beach walk but when I unpacked the litter picker that arrived the other day it had been bent and broken in the middle. Photos and a request for a replacement have been sent to the seller. Instead I just had a beach walk well wrapped up against the wind. I didn't take my camera with me, all today's photos were taken from the terrace.

Great sprays of water being blown off the waves while a group of beginners had a surf lesson.
Later on the angle of the sun created a prism effect in the spray at times clearer than in the photo above. I can see my next challenge will be to try to capture this natural phenomenon.
Every time I looked out of the window there was a picture waiting to be taken. Here the evening light is making the houses glow with a rainbow's end above and some sea horses rolling in. I resisted running out again to capture the gorgeous pink and purple sunset.

Friday 29 January 2021

Cloud Bow.

Grey and wild today.
Building work carried on today. The inside team unloaded the tiles for the utility room and put another self-levelling layer on the floor while the outside team took down the lean-to's and the back fence and took everything down to the dump. The concrete blocks from a couple of walls have been kept and stacked up in the back garden. These will be used to fill up the bottoms of the raised beds when they are eventually built. We're glad we decided to have the builder deal with the fence in the back garden because it turns out that the top rows of bricks are leaning and need to be taken off. Once they've done that they're going to form a concrete beam along the top to strengthen it before fixing the posts to the inside of the wall. The neighbours' garden is about 3 feet higher up than ours so it's not just a matter of concreting posts into the ground.
On my way to get some milk naturally I went down for a walk on the beach. The sea was wild and foamy which lead to a slight miscalculation on my part. Walking along the edge of the waves I wasn't concerned when a wave swept up, after all it only came up to my ankles. What I hadn't taken into account was the amount of energy in the wave which splashed right up to my knees and then down into my wellies. One boot only got a little water while the other was distinctly squelchy. No water came out when I tipped my boot up but the sheepskin insole and my sock were soaked. There was no point in abandoning my walk so I carried on. One good thing about lycra leggings is that they dry off quickly in the wind.
A sign of how powerful the sea is - this huge rock which must have come from one of the breakwaters has been washed onto the beach in the last few days. Looking at the beachfront properties behind I see that a couple of them are having work done on their chimneys. Not surprising with the strong winds that blow in from the sea. I always said we should get our chimneys removed and that was the advice from our new builder. Might as well avoid the possibility of the chimneys crashing down through the roof.

We had some blue skies in the afternoon which yet again changed the colours of the sea. Strong winds brought out the kite surfers, haven't seen them for a while.
I know I get excited by rainbows but below is a rare cloud bow, something I've never seen before. I had to look it up to check that it is a real thing.
Instead of walking through the utility room where the floor was drying to get to the back garden to check on progress and to take cups of strong tea to the builders (I use a separate set of mugs and t-towel for the builders) I've been going out of the front door and along the street to the garage. On one of these trips I was surprised to see a small grey box containing stamped and addressed letters and packages on our street wall. I looked but there was no one around, how strange. A little while later the air began to get damp so I went out with a clear plastic bag to put over the box. It was then I saw that the grey box was marked Royal Mail which led me to believe that the box held the contents of the post box across the road. The postman comes in his van in the morning, empties the box and delivers letters to the houses in our road. Maybe our builders' trucks had distracted him and he forgot to put the grey box in his van. Not wanting to get him in trouble I waited until late in the afternoon when it began raining and then put all the post back into the post box leaving the grey box with a note explaining what I'd done next to the post box.

Thursday 28 January 2021


Grey again today with no interesting extra low clouds but an occasional patch of blue in the middle of the day. Definitely more wind possibly heralding some stormy weather. I had a very early start to my day after walking at 4.00 and getting up at 6.30. My first cup of tea was drunk while I caught up on blogs but I savoured my next hot drink, my only non-decaff coffee of the day standing out on the terrace watching the breakers rolling in and the occasional seagull looking for worms on the cliff (sometimes they do that foot stomping to bring the worms to the surface). The gang of sparrows swooped in and out of the garden and the blackbirds sat on top of a bush. 
It has been a busy, busy day. Lots of deliveries; a litter picker for me, two venetian blinds for our bedroom, taps for the utility and toilet, beer for Peter and the sheet music for Farewell to Stromness for me (I've only had the first page to try). The builders have been here too. The team boss and two workers came early and boarded out the toilet and hall and put the self-levelling stuff on the floors of the utility and my study. The team boss brought me two 12" square tiles to see if either would do, one grey and one a sand colour. The sand coloured one had actually been my second choice from Wickes and as he can get them straight away those are what we're having. After Wickes' epic fail I tried buying the cupboards  and worktop from B&Q and hey presto got a delivery date of 16th Feb which the builder says fits with his schedule. Then we had a visit from the boss boss (I don't know exactly how they would refer to themselves) who is bringing a team tomorrow to start on the outside work. How exciting. Peter took him outside to show him the falling down fence and the builders are going to deal with that too using the materials Peter bought. Not only does it mean that the old fence and vast amounts of ivy will be disposed of but despite our good intentions I feel that it might be too heavy for us to deal with or at least would be a long job. Just one blip today, the builders asked if we could move the car from the drive so they could get their truck in tomorrow but when I went out to do so the battery had gone flat again. I understand this is a common problem these days. It's been 16 days since I drove the car and that was only to the launderette. Peter has got the battery on charge and we'll move the car in the morning.
I did go for a walk along the beach today but decided to show my 'reflection' photos from yesterday.
I must have looked rather odd as I shifted about crouching down every now and again to position myself to catch the reflections of the houses up on the cliff.
Naturally I had to find the reflection of our little home (below).

Even funnier was the result when I turned the photos upside down but strangely, or not if I could remember optical rules, the reflections are a mirror image but the slope of the road is also reversed. So in the photo above in reality the small white houses are higher up the hill and on the right of the three storey houses.
These two photos show the red roof our our home sitting between our elderly neighbour's blue house and the grass cutting neighbour's white house.


Wednesday 27 January 2021


More white than grey today, no wind or rain and distinctly warm. Sea mist closed off the distant views and muffled sounds creating a very peaceful atmosphere.
I spent the morning working on the pc trying to order stuff for the utility room and toilet. Last night I stayed up to make a final attempt to get a Wickes delivery only to find the website closed 'for maintenance'. Grrrrrrr. Our builders didn't arrive today but said they'll be here tomorrow when they should be bringing the tile samples for me to look at. In the meantime I began sorting orders with other suppliers naturally checking reviews before making any decisions. Who knew so many things could go wrong with taps? From drips to leaks and exploding taps it seemed that each time I found a tap that was more or less suitable there were reviews saying 'don't buy'. I ended up choosing a very basic style as it looks as if new designs haven't been tested/ engineered properly. More frustration when it came to choosing a tap for the hand basin as most of the models on the website (Screwfix) were buy in store only, not only that but they weren't available in any Welsh store. That was before I weeded out those that had poor reviews. I found one eventually and both sets of taps are being delivered tomorrow. I've given up trying to find a cabinet for the small hand basin I rescued from a renovation and settled for a new sink/cabinet combo. I chose one from B&Q but then Peter found a couple of plumbing suppliers in Aber and I found a suitable sink and cabinet for half the price. That's due to be delivered next week.
After my frustrating morning I needed to get down on to the beach to clear my head. With no wind it felt almost balmy which made a nice change. There were at least a dozen people out on the beach, mostly exercising children and dogs plus about eight surfers trying to catch the tiny waves.
With the tide right out I headed to the rock pools where I found some of the honeycomb worms that build those sandy structures looking like bits of spaghetti (below), yuk. 
I searched long and hard but only found a few closed up green sea anemones so I couldn't tell what kind they were.

I enjoyed my peaceful walk along the edge of the water listening to the waves gently swishing in.
In the distance a heavy mist bank over the river sat below the level of the hill tops while in the giant rocks I found a large cat watching life on the beach. It was a bit nervous and hid in the rocks when a dog on a lead came past and wasn't going to come out and say hello to me.
On my homeward walk I played around with taking photos of reflections on the wet sand which I'll show tomorrow.


Tuesday 26 January 2021


Warmer, wetter and grey today.
Still no luck in getting a Wickes delivery slot. Only two more nights to go and I will have run through the whole week at which point I shall give up. The builder messaged today asking about the floor tiles and what sort we want if he can get some. My response was cheap and cheerful, beige to light brown and non-slip. Beyond that I don't really care.  Yesterday's chaps didn't make it today. We got a message saying one of them wasn't well. I wouldn't be surprised considering the amount of dust they were working in or maybe it's the standard builders' excuse when they're off somewhere else. This morning I had another tile related concern, this time about the patterned floor tiles for the toilet that I bought. When I ordered them I didn't buy any extras as at 45cms x 45cms each they were quite expensive. Fine if you don't have to cut them but what about around the actual toilet? But when I looked on-line the advice is that you should if possible fit the toilet over the tiles rather than cut the tiles which allayed my worries.
This morning I was all set to walk down to the pharmacy to collect Peter's prescription but changed my mind when I saw the rain. I don't mind walking in the rain but hanging around in the rain outside the pharmacy isn't fun. By the afternoon the rain had eased off and I was able to stride along the beach in the company of seagulls before calling in at the pharmacy where for once I didn't have to wait.

Monday 25 January 2021


Still some snow to be seen in the distance and the air itself was very cold. The day began quite cloudy with the occasional brief shower but by the afternoon we were back to blue skies.
I know, it's another rainbow with its end in the sea very close to the cliff. It didn't take long for the shower in the distance to arrive before moving on.
The builders/decorators arrived before nine this morning which was a nice surprise. They painted another coat of white in the two rooms and then got on with taking the tiles down from the separate toilet. They kept themselves to themselves though of course I made them cups of tea through the day. They said they were happy to be working inside because usually they are given the outdoor jobs. I however felt the opposite and took myself out on to the terrace. I bundled myself up with a throw over my knees, the big yellow workman's coat and woolly hat. Camera to hand, ginger biscuits and my Kindle and I was perfectly happy. That was until my Kindle needed charging up and I couldn't use Peter's (I share his account so our books are on both Kindles) because his was low on charge too. Instead I listened to the radio on my MP3 player, watched the sea and made plans for the garden. Although I already have an ideal plan it may be too expensive to be practical so I'm thinking about how to utilise the existing structures in a similar way. 
Military planes had been out leaving interestingly shaped contrails in the sky. It is a shame that we're north facing so don't get much sun in the front garden in the winter. A couple of miles up the coast is the town of Aberdyfi which can be seen basking in the sun across the bay and has better sunset views. But because of the river it is about 30 miles by road to the nearest hospital at Aber which I why I didn't even look at properties in that area. Head trumped heart in that case
Eventually coming back indoors I was horrified to find that as well as bashing the tiles off the toilet walls they had been hammering away at the concrete block walls and the dust had got everywhere. Floors, walls and furniture were covered in enough dust to write your name in. If they had told me when they began I could have fixed a dust sheet across the doorway to the corridor to keep the worst of the dust at bay. I did put up a dust sheet but I wasn't happy and did say so to the builders. I kept it light and they apologised profusely but I just hope they might remember in the future to let people know about the dust or take better precautions. While they were here I washed the floors on this side of the dust sheet and put down large sheets of paper to protect the floor and after they left I did the same to the corridor.
A surprise find of snowdrops in the front garden.
Having bought the wall tiles for the toilet from B&Q back in Devon I began to worry that I might not have bought enough. I knew that I'd aimed for three rows of tiles and now thinking that each tile was 20 cms high thought that they weren't going be high enough on the wall. I went out to see how many tiles I'd bought but no matter how many times I counted the boxes there was only enough  for three rows and some spare. Then I thought to check the size of the tiles and lo and behold they were 30cms not 20 which made the height perfect. Phew! Now all I need to do is keep on staying up till midnight to try and get a delivery slot from Wickes. Once I've tried for a week I'll admit defeat and look elsewhere.


Sunday 24 January 2021

More Snow.

Woke this morning to find even more snow on the mountains, creeping almost down to sea level. A post on the FB page mentioned it had been snowing in Borth at 4.00 am and before long there were big fat snowflakes falling past the window but they melted away as soon as they touched the ground.
Cold weather wasn't going to deter some hardy souls from getting out into the water. The two on the right were swimmers but they didn't stay long. Later on I saw a paddleboarder wearing an anorak over his wetsuit, very sensible.
I hummed and hawed and eventually decided that I would go out for a beach walk.
Somebody had been having fun building a shelter from driftwood. I wonder if it was the same person who built the reindeer in their garden?
I had an invigorating walk right up to the first pile of rocks. Then as I turned back the looming snow cloud (on the left) arrived and the rest of my walk was through a substantial snow shower.
I wouldn't normally include a photo with such a sloping horizon but look at those amazing colours.
The lifeboat crew were out on a training session this morning. I watched them for a while with binoculars and it seemed that they were practising ...... shouting.
More lovely sea and sky colours. The sea turned shades of silver when the sun made an appearance in the afternoon. Later the setting sun turned some of the clouds and the snow covered tops pink. The showers later in the day were more sleet than snow and the snow line retreated up the closer hills. The forecast is for more low temperatures and the advice is not to drive tomorrow if possible so I'm guessing we won't be seeing any builders tomorrow. 
As Peter is making us a Chinese style supper; scampi tails, stir fry veg in sweet and sour sauce and noodles, I did some baking in the afternoon. I made an apple cake which was based on pound cake. Feeling adventurous I aimed for an upside-down type of cake putting carefully arranged slices of apple on butter and brown sugar as well as chopped apple into the cake itself. It tastes very sweet so I think it will go well with some of the set plain yoghurt that I bought yesterday. Next time I'll just put the apple slices on the top of the cake.

Saturday 23 January 2021


Bright and very cold today. Already a fair sprinkling of snow up on the mountains before tomorrow's predicted snowfall. Last night somebody posted a photo of snow on the icy road out of Aber over the mountains. Not safe driving conditions. All day the wind has been blowing from the north and you can feel the arctic chill when you go outside.

I decided to do a little hand washing and fixed up a mini washing line out on the terrace to take advantage of the wind.
The bright day drew me back down to the beach for a gentle stroll well wrapped up with an extra fleece and my thicker leggings rather than my usual thin lycra leggings. It was lovely in the sun but when the occasional cloud put me in the shade it was quite cold. On the way back along the beach the fronts of my legs were comfortably warm while the backs were ..... not. After litter picking the other day my eyes kept being drawn to bits of plastic on the beach but I didn't have a bag or gloves so I simply ignored them. Instead I had fun walking through the ridge of foam at the edge of the waves letting it blow up the beach. At one point I had a quick look back along the beach to check there was nobody around to see the crazy old woman and then I thought 'so what'. Why should I care what anybody thinks?