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 31 March 2021


The day began bright and blue with the promise of another hot day. 
As we ate our breakfast we watched a small sailboat and then a motorboat make their way into the bay before heading off again.
I've been so happy to have the washing back in action. But I wouldn't have felt this joy if the washing machine had been up and running for the last six months, you have to go without for a while to truly appreciate the things you have. I wasn't sure if my washing line, a cheap plastic one, would be long enough to reach down the garden but in the end there was enough to have a second line back up to the hebe whose days I think are numbered.
I've also been much cheered up by the start of moving things into the back rooms. I began by washing the cupboard and floor in the toilet, then moved on to the utility room. First of all I found the bag of peg thingies for the cupboard shelves in one of the cupboards so I felt bad for thinking the builders had lost them but ........ when I tried to fit the shelf in the wall cupboard it proved impossible. The shelf had been left inside the cupboard and now it's jammed under the hinge fittings and can't be tilted to lift it out and up. Then when I tried to fit the shelves in the base cupboards I couldn't get them to sit on the pegs which seem to be on quite a slope. The builder has promised to send someone over asap to sort that lot out.
In the meantime Peter helped me move the trundle bed down to my study. The hall by the front door looks so spacious now. Even Speedy when he emerged from his daytime sleep in our room, took a second look as he walked through the hall. We're all used to squeezing through piles of boxes and stuff around the house. Each time I walk through I carry another box down to my study.
There were some lengths of wood outside which I moved into the garage after a de-nailing session. That's more my sort of activity, bashing away with a hammer out in the open.

In the afternoon we planned to spend some time sitting out on the terrace but no sooner had we got out the cushions the mist which we'd been observing from a distance began creeping ever closer,
and closer. Behind the sun was still shining but eventually I had to go and rescue my washing from the back garden. That was followed by much ironing and arranging of washing over the radiators. Refurbishing the ceiling clothes dryer in the utility room looks to be next on the list.
It looks as if we're at the end of this brief warm spell. On the radio they spoke of some places that would be 22C today and 10C tomorrow. What a plummet. Still I've got plenty of things to do inside. 


Tuesday 30 March 2021


I woke at 4.30 this morning, lay in bed listening to the blackbird leading the dawn chorus accompanied by a wood pigeon cooing in the background and got up at 6.00 as the dawn began to break. Out at sea a fog bank rolled in giving a bit of a gloomy start and then out came the sun and it's been a glorious and warm day.
The plumber turned up nice and early and found me muttering as I tried to remove pencil lines from the beech worktop in the utility room. (That was after I'd cleaned off the speckles of white paint.) I even went so far as to consult Google when my eraser wasn't doing the job. Dr G suggested acetone which I do have but can't remember where but surgical spirit and plenty of rubbing with cotton buds did the job. I haven't quite got the wood clean enough to give it a coat of oil to seal it.
Before looking at the almost finished toilet check out the photo below, namely the uneven border tiles and the sloping top of the cistern. Our builder just doesn't have a straight eye. Nothing to be done about the tiles but the plumber did manage to straighten up the cistern.
And here is the toilet all plumbed in. There was some muttering from the plumber too when he found that the tiles had been put so close to the cut off pipes he couldn't access them and one water pipe had to be laid over the tiles. He sorted it but it made the job harder and no doubt will cost us more. I saved all the offcuts from the kitchen so I can easily make a cover for the exposed pipes.
And here is the utility all plumbed in too. I can't start filling the cupboards because the builders didn't fix the shelves inside and now the little peg thingies are nowhere to be seen. I'll have to pick up some the next time I'm in town. The plumber ran a 'rinse' through the washing machine to check for leaks but having been unused since last September it still needed a good clean. That I did and then ran an empty wash with soap. Then when I was in the shop I found some household soda so I ran a hot wash with soda for a final clean. We are due another sunny day tomorrow so the machine will be working hard first thing.
While the plumber worked I cleaned the windows which took hardly any time and had a long chat with a neighbour over the hedge. Then off to the beach I went. With the easing of the lockdown and the sunny, warm weather the beach was full of happy visitors.
It was lovely to see so many people out enjoying themselves, children running in and out of the waves and kayakers and surfers out in the water. The lifeguard hut is back by the lifeboat station so I'm guessing the lifeguards will be on duty over Easter.
One of my jobs today was to order four more of the short trellis panels for the back garden. I initially went to the same site I bought the first lot from but was rather shocked when the delivery charge was £135. I found the same trellis at a number of other places but none would deliver here. Eventually I found one that would and although the delivery charge was £96, yikes, the cost of the panels was a bit less so I went ahead and ordered them.
With the sun shining on the terrace Peter and I sat out chatting and watching all the walkers going past and the people enjoying the beach. As usual we took out Kindles out with us and then didn't read a word.
Speedy went out yesterday evening and came back with a large (dead) wood mouse which he wanted to bring inside. It's now been put to rest in the dustbin, a shame but that's the nature of cats. 

Monday 29 March 2021


Another grey, warmish day.
It was a bit of a shock waking up to the alarm at 7.30 (or as my body thought 6.30) and being up by 8.00. The builders turned up later, three of them today to finish off all the small bits in the back rooms. That has been done including putting up the pulleys for the overhead clothes airer in the utility room. I did notice yet another problem with the actual toilet, the seat wasn't fitted square on to the cistern. I'd seen straight away that the joining section was at a distinct angle making the off centre toilet (unavoidable because of the way the original waste pipe had been installed) even more over to one side. Luckily this model of toilet isn't screwed to the floor, just siliconed down so apart from the stress of 'Oh no, now I've got to tell the builder it's not acceptable' it was easily fixed. But yes, I did stand over the builder as he did it. 
I was extra tired this morning due to being woken up at 3.45 this morning by what I was sure was another explosion. I got up and had a look out of the sitting room window but there was nothing to be seen. I even put out a query on the local FB page this morning but no one else heard anything. It must have been an extra loud snore from Peter or possibly noise from the waves hitting the cliffs. 
While the builders were working in the back rooms I couldn't begin moving anything into my study. Instead I took the last tub of orchids outside to spray and clean off the woolly aphids. They haven't liked being above the radiators in our bedroom and the sooner I can move them into my study the better. 
Bluebells in the front garden.
My other extra job was to wipe down the slats of the trundle bed with bleach. I'd already washed the beds down but the bare wood slats of one of the beds initially had some mould on after being stored here for a year and the bleach was to make doubly sure they were clean.
Speedy is very happy with the clocks going forward as he gets his dinner an hour earlier (I've just fed him.) Much joy on the radio as England eases lockdown too but the scientists are warning that we shouldn't get too excited as although the death rate has dropped dramatically infection rates are not dropping as much as was expected.

Sunday 28 March 2021


Grey and windy all day today but surprisingly warm. Listening to the weather forecast for the week  one minute there was talk of the highest ever March temperature, 25C/77F due to warm winds blowing up from Spain and in the next warnings about sleet and snow over high ground a day later. Gale warnings coming up on the shipping forecast as I type.
The clocks went forward this morning which doesn't make a lot of difference to us except that we'll need to be up an hour earlier when any builders come. It will be good to have an extra hour of light in the evening though I'll be sad not to watch the sun setting as we eat our dinner. No chance of that today with the whiteout conditions.
With the lifting of the lockdown restrictions allowing people to travel anywhere within Wales there have been more people around. You're not allowed to meet people indoors but six people can meet outside including in a garden which is fine as long as it isn't raining. I wonder if there's been an upsurge in the sales of gazebos?
Poor Peter is suffering with a heavy cold and my back isn't happy after yesterday's stretching over the hedge so we've had a quiet day. I put up some banqueting roll over my study windows to satisfy my need for privacy but the rest of the day has been spent researching stuff. First subject was the mirror film for the windows. Having measured up each pane of glass to be covered I went through the various on-line options looking for the most efficient size of roll to buy. That sorted I next scrolled down to the reviews, oh no, they weren't good. The same with a couple of different brands. So then I looked for a reliable review site which I didn't really find. What I did find was a report that mirror film shouldn't be used on external windows that have full sun as they can overheat, distort and even break. This was confirmed in a separate review which made me reconsider as both the windows in my study get a lot of sun (when it's shining). 
So now I plan to put up sheer white curtains over the glass, think luxury beach resort rather than net curtains. Perhaps this will be the best solution.
The rest of my tapping away has yielded a curtain pole to go across the dining table window and instead of extendable net rods for the sheer curtains I can buy wooden doweling of the right length at the local builders' merchants for a fraction of the cost. I think I've found the matching pain duck egg blue fabric for the door but they don't have any samples at the moment which I need to get first to check the colour match.

Saturday 27 March 2021


Today has been windy and fairly cold. Quite bright in the morning but then the clouds covered the sky bringing the occasional shower. Yesterday evening we had some sharp showers including one that left hail lying on the terrace.
I was up and washing my study floor before breakfast when we were surprised by the arrival of the builder. He'd turned up with one of his lads to finish off the garage which is now officially done.
Being aware we might have rain later in the day, after breakfast I headed out for some more hedge trimming. Levelling out the 'hump' turned out to be hard work as it was over the trunk of one of the spikey bushes which meant that I had to use my falling apart loppers to cut through thick stems. Then halfway through that I had to go inside to help clear up a beer flood in Peter's study. His beer deliveries come in large plastic containers and he discovered that the latest delivery had been leaking through a small split in the plastic. This he was clearing up but with his study being jam packed with boxes ( I've refrained from pointing out how haphazardly everything is piled up because like many men people he knows best) the damaged container hit the floor and more beer got spilt. He threw down the mopping up towels but by the time I got to it the beer was already soaking into the bottom of a couple of the cardboard boxes stacked in the room. I mopped up and did my best to dry the boxes even spooning salt along the bases but I suspect there may be some damage to the contents. Unfortunately I don't know what is in those boxes as they came from the loft at Dingles and there are too many boxes stacked on top to have a look. Once the floor was dried I gave the old towels a rinse through in the bathroom sink and hung them out to dry in the back garden. 
Back out for some restorative hedge chopping and then it was time to work in my study. The first downer there was to glance up from the floor where I was cutting the film to size and see a shaft of light all down the side of the left-hand opening window. Closer inspection revealed a gap about 2mm wide through which the wind was gaily blowing. I'm so fed up with those window fitters and would never recommend that firm. I'm sure it's just a matter of a small adjustment but we've had so many problems with the whole window/door installation.
Then, after putting up the first piece of window film came the icing on the cake - I don't like it. I had been expecting it to be more of a frosted effect like the film in the kitchen but this is solid white and I can't really see through the clear bits either. I wasn't 100% sure when I chose it but didn't find anything I liked better. Funnily enough the piece on the drive side where I'd planned to put mirror film doesn't look so bad but overall it's too closed off. Next option is to try some mirror film. I don't want to move into study until the windows are sorted or even put much in there as I don't want passers-by seeing my personal belongings. Maybe I'll put some of the plastic tablecloth back up. 

We had a grey evening but this was yesterday's sunset which I could see from the dining table. Not too bad.


Friday 26 March 2021


Sunny for most of the day, blue skies, whitecaps out to sea and a chilly north wind. At one point there were three kite surfers and about 20 surfers out on the water. There was talk on the forecast that this might lead to sleet and snow over the mountains but no sign of it so far. Right now a squall has blown in with lashing rain and whistling gusts of wind.
Last night I looked in the utility room I had another 'Oh no,' moment when I saw the cupboards that hide the pipes coming through from the bathroom. All I had asked for was a couple of doors over the first two spaces and an easily removable panel over the third space behind which is the gully (drain). Somehow with all the faffing about the removable panel was now a permanent feature, aargh. We had one lad in today. He's good but not very experienced but he cut out the panel and put in screws that can be easily undone.
My morning was spent trimming the hedge at the side of the terrace. There's still a hump to the right of the lamp post which I need to flatten out  but we now have an improved view of the sea and in particular should have a better view of the sun setting over the sea. It's been a matter of getting a balance between privacy and the view. Working from the street side first I made sure that it is still above passers' by head height though with the terrace being higher we could, if we wanted chat from our side.
The postman brought me some fabric samples today. This company- Terry's, lets you have up to 10 samples for free which I think is a good policy. I was really looking for something for my study curtains but when I saw the blue seagull design it made me smile and I thought it would be perfect for the window by the dinning table. My initial thoughts are that it is a 'trendy' design which may well go out of fashion but I still like it a lot. For now it's propped up by the window to help me make up my mind. I chose a couple of the other samples simply because I thought I might make tiny gift bags or something. So far Terry's have been the only company I've come across that offer free fabric samples. I was going to order some samples from another company but they charged £1 per sample. No thank you.
Later in the afternoon Peter and I put up the third short trellis panel. There is a fourth panel but it had been damaged when the wind blew it over a while back. We repaired it as best as we could but when we offered it up to the posts we realised that we hadn't got it properly square. I've decided to order some more of the short panels as I hadn't planned on having so many raised beds until I saw the state of the wall and the repaired panel can be used in an awkward space which may need some adjustment to the panel.
The plumber popped in to see if there had been anything more about the kerosene smell which does seem to have gone. We haven't been visited by anyone from Environmental Health but yesterday I noticed a van from a boiler/oil company parked outside one of the houses up the road, maybe the house where they are doing a lot of work.
Apart from needing a radiator (pipes are in) my study is DONE! The temptation is to rush in and start getting organised but I'm saving that for tomorrow. The plumber won't be here until Tuesday at the earliest so I can't do anything yet in the utility room. Ah well.

Thursday 25 March 2021


Some sun today with a hint of warmth.
I took these two photos looking in two directions this morning, bright blue skies to the southwest with clouds gathering over the mountains to the northeast.
Meanwhile in the front garden the female blackbird was busy collecting dry grass for her nest.
We've had one builder here today fitting the new door to the utility. It's never easy fitting a new door and frame and it's taken all day. There's still more painting to be done on the frame so yet again it's 'one more day'. 
I try and time my beach walks with the low tide and today that meant being out in the middle of the day. 

Things seemed to come in two's during today's walk. I saw two dog walkers, two stranded barrel jellyfish, a lady filling two plastic sacks with churned up seaweed (for her garden I guess), two lads sitting on the shingle and chatting and I found a stone with two holes. Oh, and I saw two cormorants sitting on the rock island. (You can just see the head of the second one over on the right.)
To continue with the theme of 'two' in the afternoon Peter and I put up the first two sections of trellis in the back garden. Initially it was only going to be one to get the level and see what we would need but a second one wasn't much extra work. The panels only came in two sizes so now I'm thinking about how to fill in the gap underneath, use that expanding trellis or make some to match maybe? I suppose the raised beds could have gone up one block but that would have closed in the garden visually. It was nice and warm so I stayed out in the back garden chopping up and bagging the ivy stems that had been on a bit of old fence that I'd taken down. No stopping me now that I can take stuff to the dump. 


Wednesday 24 March 2021


Contrary to the gloomy forecast for most of the day we've had bright blue skies and it's only now that it has begun to cloud over. Driving home from Aber the celandines in the verges shone like little suns as the sunlight bounced off their reflective petals.
With no builders due in today we had a more relaxed morning, no early morning leaping out of bed to unlock the back doors in case they turn up at 8.00 which occasionally happens but more often it's 8.30 or even 9.30 if they've had to go and pick up materials first.
After breakfast I loaded up the car with six bags of garden waste and drove to the dump. I had a longer wait today and the whole visit took over half an hour. It gets a bit frustrating when you're behind the barrier watching somebody unload their car one item at a time but once in it was great to get rid of those trimmings that had been sitting around in the garden for a few weeks. Just round the corner is Screwfix where I collected a tap I'd had on order and then a short drive to Morrisons. A spin round the reduced sections yielded some breaded mozzarella sticks, samosas and bahjis and I picked up some sauerkraut which I haven't found anywhere else. Then into Aber first to Tescos where I had the excitement of being able to browse the clothing section and bought myself black and white lycra leggings and matching top and a black light hoody with a fleecy lining, all half price of course. My final stop was Lidl's though I rushed off first to catch the bank before it closed (at 2.00 these days) to pay the scaffolders. I also called in at M&S to see if they had any curtains (nope) and check out one of their bedding range to see if I could use the fabric to make the curtains for my study. Possible but expensive. I've been trawling eBay for curtains and nearly found some suitable striped Laura Ashley curtains but they weren't wide enough for the big window which is 90" across. There are a number of options for the curtains for my study; I could use some of my saved curtains but most of them are very old and nothing is the right size though and none really hit the spot, or I could buy fabric to make new curtains but so far I haven't found anything exciting on-line and the final option would be to find some on eBay but finding the right width is proving almost impossible. 
By the time I got home and unloaded the shopping for Peter to unpack the afternoon was nearly over. A break relaxing at the pc with a cup of tea and then time for the evening routine of blogging, supper while watching the sun setting and then some tv before we head off to sleep.

Tuesday 23 March 2021


A little more colour in the sea today but generally grey and cold as we head towards another cold wet spell. I went for a beach walk in the middle of the day, the bottom photo is nearer to the actual colours though it did get dark and gloomy at times. I thought it was going to rain while I was out but so far it has stayed dry.
The builder has been here all day and still it's 'one more day'. That wasn't helped by Speedy leaving dirty footprints over the windowsill again. The door is back on and closed so he can't repeat that particular trick.
This morning the 'chief' carer from the team that looks after our neighbour came round to ask if we'd had a leak from our oil tank as they could smell kerosene inside the neighbour's house. I'd noticed the smell when I'd been working in the front garden over the last few days and had even gone up to where our tank is at the back of the house and had a good sniff. I do have a nose like a bloodhound but I couldn't smell anything around the oil tank or the boiler. The worst of the smell actually seems to be coming from next door's building though they don't use oil. Now comes the convoluted explanation- back along there was a drive next to that house, then it got built over and made into a garage and finally it was converted into a sunroom. On that original driveway and still there now is a manhole cover over a drain that takes groundwater out to the cliff. This water, which can be heard running nearly all the time, originates from an underground spring in a garden three houses up. That property has recently been sold and the garden at the side cleared as they hope to build another house on it. It is very probable that the smell is due to contamination of the ground water which could be a pretty serious matter. To be extra sure it's nothing to do with us Peter called the plumber who installed our oil tank. He came round, checked everything and said it was all fine. He returned a while later and to reassure himself that there really wasn't any fault with our system dug up the one section of the feed line that he'd cemented in which was still fine. He's left it all exposed so that should Environmental Heath want to inspect it they can, (the chap from next door was talking about calling them in and I don't blame him if the house is full of the smell).
This morning Peter carried on filling up the second raised bed with the blocks and I brought up the last of the rubble from the front garden. I'll still need to add gravel and a membrane before filling up with soil and then planting!
Later in the afternoon I looked out of the window and saw a kestrel fly past, followed by a seagull, followed by a red kite.

Monday 22 March 2021


It has been grey all day with not enough sun to call either the sea or the sky silver. The damp air had quite a chill which remained for the whole day. 
We looked out of the window this morning and saw Speedy on the roof of the house two doors away. I wasn't keen on him being up so high so I whistled him home. To reinforce his homing response I rewarded him with a few cat treats. Later in the day he walked across a windowsill before the paint had dried , oops.
I had some cards to post and a prescription to collect so after breakfast I headed off for a beach walk calling in at the Post Office and the pharmacy on the way.

There was a lot of seaweed washed up on the shore, the piles of shredded seaweed an indicator of the strength of the waves over the sea bed. I came across more shark egg cases and another of the barrel jellyfish but nothing too exciting..

We've had two builders in today painting away in the back rooms. I got very excited when the colour started going on the toilet walls but then it began to strike me as being more blue than I was expecting. With the first coat on and the builder taking a break I checked their colour chart I had chosen the colour from. Sure enough the shade I'd chosen was much greyer than the paint going on the walls. After a consultation with the builder it looked as if the store had messed up mixing the colour which looked suspiciously like the colour immediately below on the colour card. Back the builder went to the store, got the right paint and now it looks much better.
I didn't insist on repainting the walls in my study so now it's done barring a radiator and the door handles being put back on. Thankfully we have the original solid wood doors which are fine freshened up with a coat of white paint and the old silver bar-type handles are perfectly acceptable.
That wall you can see through the window is on the other side of the road which doesn't have any pavement meaning everyone has to walk on the pavement on our side which is less than 3ft away which is why putting window film up will be my first job.
In the afternoon I went out in the front garden for some gentle weeding. It feels quite private tucked away behind the hedge though I do hear snippets of conversations from outside. One lady was very excited to see the children returning from school after such a long time of the schools being closed for most children. Let's hope that things return to normal soon.