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.

Friday 30 April 2021


Another sunny day but not as cold as yesterday.
I went into town today to visit the bank and do some shopping. It was noticeably busy and the first time I'd been stuck in traffic, several times. That doesn't wind me up but what did annoy me later was using the pedestrian crossing as an older driver ignored the red traffic light and drove straight over the crossing in front of a lady about to walk across. I think I that had been me I may well have banged on his car to let him know that he was going through a red light.
After paying more builders' bills, ouch I had a quick spin around the charity shops and found myself this little glass swan for £2. I also got some men's walking shoes with springy soles but more importantly that were wide enough across the toes for my broad feet. Hopefully they'll still be comfy after a test walk but if not it's a donation to Barnardo's. Once again there were no baked beans in Lidl so I added in a visit to Tesco's. I guess that the baked bean shortage is due to students on a budget buying cheap food and also they're suitable for vegetarians and maybe even vegans. If it wasn't for the high sugar content which has been reduced over the years baked beans are a pretty healthy option. I have to admit to a liking for cold baked beans though currently it's Peter who eats them. While in Tesco's I checked out the small Polish section and found some favourites, 'cow fudge' and plum butter. Naughty but oh so tasty. Because the shop is new to me I still don't know where things are and I had a frustrating time wandering around looking for black bin bags. In the end I asked a member of staff who sent me to an aisle I'd already I'd been to. No wonder I'd missed the bags as it was just an empty space with a few rolls of bags at the back of a box and fortunately for me just one roll of the extra strong builders' bags I was looking for. Perhaps everyone is still busy spring cleaning their homes and gardens.
At home I played around with the curtain fabric trying to work out how to cut the strips of seagull fabric without chopping off too many heads. Haven't come to a decision yet. Instead I made a big pot of cabbage soup this time with bacon for the meaty flavour.

Thursday 29 April 2021


All day bitterly cold arctic winds have been blowing bringing a few light showers in the middle of the day. That didn't deter Peter from walking nay skipping merrily down to the Community Hall for his second vaccination and then to the pub garden for a restorative pint. Being a mere youngster I still have to wait for my second jab.

Speedy was in disgrace this morning. He'd gone outside when Peter noticed the adult blackbirds mobbing him and there he was with a fledgling in his mouth. I've rarely succeeded in rescuing anything from him but I gave it a try. A rattle of the box of cat biscuits distracted him momentarily and I was able to grab his tail giving it a sharp pull at the same time (it's the only way). For once he opened his mouth in protest and the fledgling flapped off into the hedge where its parents were waiting. Speedy was rewarded with a few cat biscuits and confinement indoors and hopefully the young bird has learnt an important lesson. 'Don't go near the four legged things.' 
My day has been spent sewing the curtain. It was all hand sewing which I enjoy even if I'm not vey skilled. Today it didn't match the sea colours, I would have needed fabric in turquoise and petrol blue for that.
Forgetting to give it a final iron but remembering to rub the curtain pole with a candle to make the rings run smoothly I hung up the curtain. Then because I'm impatient I pinned up the door fabric to see how it would look. With a lining the colour difference won't be so marked and I still think I'd rather not have the seagull fabric all the way across. Reminds me too much of the curtains between hospital beds. I'm playing around with putting a seagull border across the bottom, maybe a narrower one at the top or even some individual appliqued seagulls. I do like to make things difficult for myself. 

Wednesday 28 April 2021


Cold and overcast today though the threatened rain held off. It rained yesterday evening and overnight which was sorely needed by farmers and gardeners alike.
This morning I went for the first time, to volunteer at the local zoo. When I saw the request on FB my initial thought was 'Yay, that's just for me.' swiftly followed by 'I'm too old and decrepit, they won't want me.' but I'm glad Peter persuaded me to respond to the post. I was very clear that I'm unable to do heavy work but they welcomed me anyway. When I got there everyone was friendly and the other volunteers ranged from college students (16/17?) doing practical work towards qualifications to others more my age. After coffee and filling out a form I was put to weeding some gravel along with another volunteer and the manager. It was quite surprising how many similarities there were in our life histories from careers, places we'd lived to horses. And of course it was just great to have people to chat to. I could, like the lady I was working with go there every day but for now I'll stick to one morning a week while there's so much to do at home.
Afterwards the manager took me on a tour of the zoo. It's been closed since last year due to the pandemic and recently changed hands with a change of some staff too. It needs lots of work but the animals look to be in good condition with decent enclosures so I'm happy to help out. Some of the animals are at other locations for now. There's a gorgeous family of silver foxes (top photo), parents and three youngsters. The albino wallaby has an albino joey, so cute and of course the meerkats are crowd pleasers.
Back home my afternoon was spent curtain making. First I joined up the curtain pole and cut it to length. It isn't terribly straight (the pole not my sawing) but at least the pieces are firmly fixed together. With the curtain I've got to the stage where all that needs doing is the hand sewing. Today was mostly pinning, pressing and hanging up a number of times to make sure I had the lengths of the curtain and lining correct. I have to say that hanging the curtain, even standing on some steps, was the most strenuous of all today's activities. We're both very pleased with the result where the colour matches the touches of colour in the room and this afternoon's sea too.
Just before we had our supper I saw a man in an official yellow coat walking down the road. I thought he was a policeman but when I checked the photo I took of him (as you do) I saw that he was part of the coastguard search and rescue team. A bit later a whole team of coastguards arrived to practise abseiling down the cliff. Funny how a number of our neighbours just happened to be out for a walk then. 

Tuesday 27 April 2021

Grey Then Sunny.

The day began with choppy grey seas and gloomy grey clouds but as can be seen from the photo below things improved by the end of the afternoon. 
Because it was windy I took a chance and did a load of washing after breakfast. I hung it all outside until the clouds got so dark I brought it back in, mostly dry. I should have known to leave it outside and waited until I actually saw any rain but there you go.
While Peter went off to Aber, with instructions to collect the replacement curtain rail from Argos in his travels, I set to work making the seagull curtain. It was absolutely wonderful to have so much room to work in even though I did have to use the floor as well. With the sewing machine set up on the table and surfaces to lay out all my equipment it was such a change from working on a small coffee table.

In the past all the curtains I've made have either been plain fabric and/or only one width wide so it was a challenge to pattern match the seagulls. The curtains will be gathered so I suppose it isn't crucial but I tend to be quite meticulous (at least at the start of a project) so I tried really hard. A shame that a few of the seagulls have three eyes or legs. I blame it on the printing as other examples of the same seagull came out normal. You would have thought that the pattern would match when sewn edge to edge but I had to lose at least six inches from one side before it would match. For the very top of the curtain I was able to make a fold above a row of gulls with just some legs dangling down from above. I used a double duvet cover with a small blue and green pattern for the lining. So far I've done the centre seam and sewn on the gathering tape attaching the lining at the same time. We've still got to put up the curtain rail before I can sort out the length and then I'll do the hem and sides by hand.

Monday 26 April 2021


Getting even colder with the wind whipping up whitecaps across the bay.
The electrician came in the morning and fitted a ceiling pendant and pull switch in the toilet. He has hens and brought us half a dozen fresh eggs. In return I gave him a bag of egg boxes which I'd saved for him. I'd remembered from our farm days that boxes came in useful when you have laying hens.
My ribs have been playing up, too much hauling of concrete blocks I guess acerbated by running out of one of my pain killers so I just pottered in the back garden today instead of doing some cementing. When Peter went down to the pharmacy to collect our prescriptions he called in at the scrap metal yard and arranged for the rusty railings to be collected from our drive. Pete the scrap metal man takes everything except fridges which is very handy. Once my Peter and I had carried out the railings which were awkward rather than heavy I was able to clear more weeds. I've left some of the old water butts turned upside down to drain before I work out where they can be placed to best effect, might even give some away as five is probably too many for me. I've also organised the curtains for my study. As well as combining two pairs of faded kitchen curtains for the very wide window I need to make another set for the other window. Hopefully there's enough fabric in the bolt from my stash.
Lockdown restrictions have been eased off again in Wales and Peter had a celebratory beer in the pub garden when he walked down to the village. Even more exciting he's about to meet the rowing club members for a boat cleaning session this evening.

Last night's beautiful sunset.


Sunday 25 April 2021


Bright and sunny today with a cooler wind.
I was up early, looked across the bay and saw three swans. The famous seagoing swans.
When I first saw them they were over by the rock islands then gradually they made their way over to us.
Eventually they flew off back towards the wetlands.
Before breakfast I shifted the old concrete blocks and built some sturdy stands for the plant troughs. For some reason there were four unused hollow concrete blocks there as well and I've used those to make a stand for a water butt which can be fed by the downpipe from the gutter. (Around the corner in the photo below.)
Then after breakfast and The Archers I emptied out a couple more troughs, dug out lots of montbretia from around the garden steps and planted them in the troughs. It's a very windy position and I think it would take a lot of work to grow 'window box' annuals so my plan is for montbretia all the way. I used soil rather than compost because I find compost dries out too easily.
As usual we spent the end of the afternoon sitting out on the terrace reading and then watching this wing surfer. His surfboard had a very long keel and for most of the time the board was in the air with just the keel in the water.
My final job of the day was to find the brush draught excluder, cut it to size and screw it to the bottom of the utility door. I tend to keep the back door open to air out the smell from the drains (they need a good blast through,) and the wind whistles through the gap under the utility door. Not any more.

Saturday 24 April 2021


Another perfect drying day, warm and windy. I have to admit to choosing to sit out on the terrace rather than ironing and we put the duvet cover back on unironed.
Before getting out the sun loungers we'd both been working hard. Peter used his jack-hammer to take apart a small raised bed in the front garden while I had a good old clear up along the front/side? of the house. (Depends if the front is where the front door is or the side facing the sea.) I've begun dismantling the rotten wood that supported plant troughs inside the low street wall. At the same time weeding and clearing up the small amount of general building rubbish left behind by the various builders. I moved some of the reclaimed blocks to make supports for the larger troughs I'm going to put up there though that came to a halt when a small block fell on my toe. It was brick sized but made of concrete and my foot was only protected by my old trainers so it was a bit of an ouch. My toes are forever getting damaged so I sat with an ice pack on them to limit today's injury. Looking at them now there's a new blister on that toe from wearing trainers but nowt else.
I put the thermometer out at 5.30 to see hot it is on the terrace, lovely. Yesterday it was officially 21C/70F at Porthmadog which is not that far away. 
While we sat on the terrace we were surprised to see two SUV's parked up on the cliff grass as some people had a picnic in the sun. I asked about this on the FB page and no, it's not normal especially as the cliff grass is maintained by the house owners. (Peter's just spoken to a passing neighbour and she confirmed they shouldn't have parked there.) Luckily they haven't damaged the grass. We are quite interested to find out what the legal position is regarding the cliff top. I expect we have an obligation to look after it and if it collapses - who knows? 

Friday 23 April 2021

Warm and Sunny.

A wonderful sunny day with a warm southerly wind perfect for drying. So nice that I donned shorts and got out the sun-lounger for my afternoon rest collapse on the terrace.
Our main job of the day was to fill the second raised bed with soil. That was after I'd made a batch of peanut butter and chocolate cookies. They are a bit on the brown side as I was putting washing in the machine when the timer went off and Peter didn't let me know. 
We've used about a third of the bag of gravel and there's a third of the soil left. I'm going to make a few smaller raised beds myself in the back garden so most of the soil and gravel will get used up for those. Below is our transport system. Once loaded up Peter pulled it to the back garden and I followed behind carrying a bucket of soil/gravel and using my foot to lift the end of the trolley over the steps. We might lose our strength as we get older but compensate by getting more inventive.
Then came the fun of planting up the bed. This corner of the garden gets the most wind so for the climbers I put in a honeysuckle and a more vigorous white clematis. I split some pots of garlic chives and planted them along the front of the bed and then the rest of the bed has been used to propagate the Tulbaghia violacea (society garlic) which is destined for the front garden and some sedums which will probably stay in the back garden. 

Last night's sunset.


Thursday 22 April 2021


Lovely and sunny today with a light but cold wind raising a few whitecaps out at sea.
Peter and I set to work fairly early first putting up the last of the short trellis over the raised beds. We had started off putting one up using a spirit level to get it level. Once the first one was up it should have been a matter simply butting them against each which was fine until one side was out of true causing a slight upward slope of the panels. However even with the line of the fence behind it doesn't look too noticeable to me and once the plants have grown it will be fine.
Trellis up we then began bringing in the gravel and soil from the dumpy bags in the drive. Having given away the old wheelbarrow before we moved (and I don't think emptying one into the raised beds would be easy) we came up with an alternative method of transport, using our flat bed trolley, boxes and buckets. (Will post a photo tomorrow.) It didn't take too long before there was sufficient gravel in each raised bed. Next step was to lay down some weed membrane to stop the soil working its way down between the gravel and blocks. I'd paid for a 1m x 15m roll but because they didn't have any in stock they substituted a 2m x 25m. After a coffee break spent sitting in the hot back garden we moved on to the soil and filled the first raised bed. That's when we called a halt to the manual labour for the day. Then came the most exciting part - planting up the first bed. I put in three clematis; pinkish white, purple and purple & white and some old English pinks as the permanent planting and then popped in the hardy geraniums which will eventually be split and moved to the raised bed in the front garden when it gets built.
After all that work what else was there to do but retire to the terrace to enjoy the sun? Speedy found an old plant trough in which to take a nap.
The moon seen through the blossom on the tree in our neighbours' garden (it can be seen above the far end of the trellis in the photo above). This morning, at 4.30 to be precise it was bright orange. This I know because I had woken at 4.00, taken a tablet and was attempting to doze off again when my attention was caught by a radio program about the Lyrid meteor shower which they said could be seen at that time. Faithful readers will know I can't resist a meteor shower so up I got and headed out to the terrace. Ice-cream in hand and clad in my warm dressing gown I settled down to watch for meteors. I limited myself to the time it would take me to eat the ice-cream and sadly not a meteor did I see. I could see the main constellations clearly but there was a high haze blocking out the less visible stars and as the predicted rate was about 18 per hour that wasn't surprising. Looking on-line it seems that tonight just after sunset and before sunrise should be better so maybe I'll give it another go.


Wednesday 21 April 2021


After a fairly bland day yesterday we had the most spectacular orange and red sunset. As I stood on the terrace taking photos I could see other people walking down the road to do the same.
I wasn't up very early this morning but I still caught a red sun appearing from behind the mountains. For the rest of the day the chill mist blown in by the easterly wind has been fighting with the sun to give the appearance if not the feel of spring.
The plumber came in the morning and fitted the radiator in my study. That's all the plumbing done for now as we're going to have a break before going ahead with the bathroom. That done we both went into Aber. Peter shopped while I went to the bank. On my way back I cut through a second hand furniture shop in the now closed in platform (on the left hand side of the photo) of the railway station. The shop looks like a charity shop but from their website I see it's a 'not for profit organisation' dedicated to recycling and providing goods for people in need through Social Services. It may be set up like that to avoid the paperwork involved in being a charity.
Then off we went to the builder's merchants. I wanted to add a few items to our order only to find that the gravel and soil were already on the lorry. 'But we're not home, we're here.' I said in a minor panic and suggested they phone the driver to tell him to leave everything in the drive but they reassured me that's what would happen anyway. They weren't sure if they had the two fence posts I wanted and sent me to go and ask out in the yard before they printed out a bill. Off I trotted out to the yard only to meet up with the builder who is going to do the terrace. He offered to put the posts in his truck and drop them off at our place rather than wait for the next delivery. Back I went to the counter to tell them of the new arrangements and the lad suggested the three bags of mortar and a wooden pole also went in Andy's truck. Back out I went to ask if this was okay and then inside again to report on the latest plan. That's the first time we've gone somewhere and met up with somebody we knew, not surprising with the restrictions keeping everyone at home. The last thing was to chose the paving slabs. We need fifty and I didn't want any red ones. When the yard man balked and said that they came in packs my response was that they also came in singles and I wanted fifty singles. In the end it wasn't even an issue as there was a sealed pack of thirty five which didn't have a single red slab and it was easy to reject a couple of reds when picking the extra fifteen. These slabs have now been put to one side until our builder starts the job. The sandy grey colour matches the concrete 'stone' walling around the garden.
At home we ended the afternoon sitting outside. My only other activity was to put up some curtains in my study. White ones at one window and the white with blue and yellow flowers from the kitchen at Dingles at the second window. Now they're up I think I'll go with the kitchen curtains as the white ones look too stark. Buying fabric, even from the reasonable on-line places would cost at least £100 for that room.
Last night's sunset again.

Tuesday 20 April 2021


A hazy day with high white clouds cutting us off from the warmth of the sun. It has begun to rain lightly now at nearly 6.00.

I wasn't up so early this morning but still walked up the cliff to The Monument. It's only a short walk but if I did it every day it would be good for my general fitness. I didn't quite make it to the top without having to stop to catch my breath. On my way up as I passed the last house a black and white cat appeared on the path. It was so similar to Speedy who I knew was outside that I even called out to it. When it turned and looked at me I saw that it had more black on its legs. On the way down there was a lot of baaing from the field behind and when I looked I saw a farmer feeding his sheep and lambs. I've put both photos up to show the white froth of the blackthorn and possibly hawthorn (May Blossom) in the hedges along with the yellow gorse which flowers all year round. (The neatly mown field in the foreground is part of the holiday park.)

Also on my way down I heard some beautiful birdsong from the bushes which I think was from a linnet which hadn't yet developed its pink breeding season plumage.
A bill had arrived from the builder so I thought I might as well go to the dump and then go to the bank and Lidl. I had my usual half an hour of singing while waiting at the dump. That was after I'd got out and informed the lady in the car in front that she was there on the wrong day as her number plate was odd. She was grateful to have been saved a fruitless wait and left me waiting behind an Alfa Romeo with an incongruous load of scrap in the back.  This was my last load for the dump for the time being now the garden is clear of rubbish. Next stop Morrisons where having spotted some clematis in another shopper's trolley I found they had a very good selection of small clematis for £2 each. I thought that this would be a good use of the money from the chimney pots and bought nine clematis and a ceanothus to supplement the climbers I bought in Asda last year.
Then I headed to the centre of town and having remembered the 2.00 closing time went to the bank first. It was only as I got there I remembered that they are closed all day on Tuesdays. Oh well, I tried. A quick spin round the charity shops and then Lidl where I bought a cordless iron for £15. That will be very useful as at the moment I have to use an extension lead to be able to do the ironing in front of the tv. Last stop was Argos to return the faulty curtain rail. They didn't have one in stock and I have to collect the replacement next week.
When I got home we put up the next two sections of short trellis which are a slightly different colour to the original ones. They are all made by the same manufacturer so I think it's just an aging thing. I then took the clematis out of their plastic bags and as unlike the ones from Asda the labels are card rather than plastic I wrote out the variety and colour on some proper plant labels. That done I sat on a pile of paving slabs to ponder on my next steps in the back garden. I often find that simply mulling over ideas as I do a mundane task or sit leads to the best solutions to garden design.