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 October 2021

Happy Birthday Romas.

Happy Birthday
It's our youngest's birthday today and I hope he's having better weather in Stoke than we're having here. He and his partner Laura (below) are in good health and are both stayed working during this horrible pandemic. (It takes something like this to clarify priorities.) This year he has been working hard on a complete remodel of his back garden.

He's also been drumming with a new band, CLKWRK and will be going on tour with them at the end of November (using holiday time from his work). I'm not sure if this will work as it's to FB but here is a link to one of their music videos. Who knew that our toddler hitting saucepans would do so well?

Today it has been wild and stormy.
I was able to go out and do some more work in the back garden in between the morning showers. Soil and stones were moved and the last coping stone has been moved over though I'm not sure if I'll keep it in that position. My main objective was to remove the final meta post and my heart sank when I saw that it was sitting in a block of concrete. However after some bashing and a couple of corners removed I realised that the whole thing was moving. That's when I discovered that the concrete had been used to secure a broken meta post and there was no need to dig out a long spike, yay.
By the afternoon the storm had arrived in full force with enornous waves blowing across the bay. I settled down to watch lifeboat rescues on tv and make a couple more tassels.
I took the photos below half an hour before high tide when the waves were reaching up to the sea wall in places. A bit worrying for the people in the houses on the beach.
Then disaster, at 3.35 the power went out. Not just for us but for the whole of the village. It came back on two hours later but it was a reminder of how our lives run on electricity here. Even though our boiler runs on oil, electricity is needed for the system to work, thank goodness for all the extra insulation in the loft and house walls which keep the heat in though we'd only had it on for a bit in the morning. Radio, kettle, cooker, tv and computers all off too. No piano though I have my guitar. Peter's phone isn't set up for internet though I can get the basics on my Kindle. I could hear that a neighbour got his generator running and I agree with Peter that it would be sensible to look into getting one which we could keep in the garage. With the weather becomming more unpredictable due to climate change we may well get more frequent and longer power cuts. Once the power came back on we switched on the heating and I made myself the coffee I was about to have when the power went out. We also made sure our Kindles were charged up and I've checked my MP3 which has radio. While the power was out we sat in the sitting room testing each other on our Welsh vocabulary.
Fingers crossed that we don't lose power while we watch Strictly tonight.

Saturday 30 October 2021


Sunshine and showers today.
The day began bright and sunny so while Peter went into town to pick up some building supplies I painted the end of the garage. Peter assured me that it wouldn't rain, he goes by his knee which aches if rain is on the way, but just as I was finishing a few drops fell. 'Bother', I thought but then they stopped. It stayed dry until half-way through the afternoon when we had shower after shower. (I've just had a look and the rain hasn't affected the paint.)
After painting I returned to the mud and got another large coping stone moved over. Only one more to go but I'll need to dig out the last meta post first. I also moved a lot of soil along to clear some space at the end of the bed so that I can begin planning how to construct a small paved space.
More rainbows this afternoon. This one was reflected in the sea and if you look carefully at the photo below you might see the start of a double rainbow.


Friday 29 October 2021

Sun and Rain.

Today's photos give no hint of the morning's weather. We woke to driving rain, grey skies and grey sea. 
I was all set for a day of indoor jobs getting straight on with music practice followed by working through our Welsh vocabulary on-line for pronunciation when all of a sudden out came the sun.
The break in the weather gave us the chance to put up the last post and trellis panel on the long wall. My plan is to use the bit of trellis I cut off one of the big panels to fill in some of the space below the short panel. (Couldn't use a full panel because of the oil line.) That has become a bit more complicated than I anticipated. I thought I'd just have to find some long battens to go across the top and bottom but unfortunately the wind blew the piece over and it broke apart. Only where the tiny nails and staples were holding it together but it's not that easy to get all the slats in the right place. I was slowly getting there when down came the next lot of rain.
Bringing a lovely rainbow. 
Inbetween putting up the trellis and going out to repair the broken piece I baked more cookies and a cake. I used a Mary Berry recipe for lemon drizzle cake without the lemon instead adding plenty of sultanas, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Of course I tried a slice later in the afternoon, just to check that it turned out okay and I have to say it was delicious.
I also finished off the rope tassel I was working on, that's four so far.


Thursday 28 October 2021


Still mild and grey today and often wet too. At least this morning although the sky was grey the sea was distinctly green, kind of a light avocado with a streak of dark denim below the horizon. As we ate our breakfast things turned gloomy returning the sea to greyness once more. However there were nice big waves to watch and from mid-day the sea was speckled with eager surfers.
I had planned to tog up and work in the back garden but by the time I'd finished the usual jobs and the washing machine beeped to say the washing was ready to hang out rain had set in. Peter had gone off to shop in town so I did my music practice until he returned. Then although the rain had stopped I didn't feel like gardening and went for a beach walk instead. If it rained while I was out I could carry on while there's a limit to how keen I am to dig in the wet.
Not many people on the beach, far fewer than were in the water. It wasn't long after high tide which meant walking or rather stumbling over the shingle for most of the walk. I would prefer to be gazing out to sea rather than keeping my eyes down to scan the uneven ground. The dead seal is still there and it has begun to stink, yuck. We saw on Tuesday that the birds have started feeding on it returning it back into the food chain so hopefully it will be gone soon.
On my way back I picked up a large stick to take home. It was a third longer than a walking stick and about the width of three walking sticks bound together so it came in handy as an oversized walking stick. That was until a small border terrier ran up to say hello and then decided he wanted the stick. Not wanting to give up my find I carried on walking towing small dog attached to stick along behind me. Its owner was on his phone and didn't notice even when we walked past him. In the end I found a smaller stick and gave that to the dog instead.
The first few drops of rain began falling as I passed the Lifeboat Station and continued falling lightly until I got home. By the time I'd changed out of my walking clothes and made a cup of coffee it had become a deluge and I could hardly see out across the bay. I ended the afternoon with some cycling on the exercise bike. That's never a chore when there's such a wonderful view and the tv to watch.

Time for the end house to touch up its light blue paint I think. I did wonder about choosing a dramatic colour for our bungalow but the red roof tiles rule out most colours so white it will be.

Wednesday 27 October 2021

Zoo Day.

Another grey overcast day but remarkably warm due to the southerly winds. No rain which was a bonus.
My mood was much better today due I'm sure to spending most of the day outside.
Zoo Day didn't start too well when I got in the car and found the battery was as dead as a dodo. That was the same battery that gave us trouble before and luckily we had a brand new battery sitting in the garage. It only took Peter ten minutes to swap the batteries over and I watched carefully to learn how to do it myself if needed.
When I got to the zoo the place was buzzing. I'd expected extra people because of half-term and holiday visitors but didn't know that today was a Hallowen themed VIP day. The zoo is allowed to run a limited number of VIP days when visitors can see some of our exotic animals. These included the reptile house, the silver foxes and the giant tortoises. I believe that visitors could also go to the off-site pens to see the animals kept there. Fortunately there were also a good number of volunteers to supervise things like fishing for rabbits, pieces of cabbage pegged to strings tied to wooden sticks and held over the wall of the rabbit run. Children were also going around with sheets to tick off pictures of numbered pumpkins and the names of bones which were hidden around the place. I spent my time finishing off weeding the larger of the children's play areas. Quite a few children played on the fort though one lad asked my permission first. With so many people around the animals were obligingly noisy, Mr Turkey was out and gobbled loudly every now and again, Pablo the pony kept whinnying becuase the other pony was out in a grassy field (Pablo has lamminitis and can't have too much grass) and the wolf-dogs barked when they spotted visiting dogs. Not sure if they wanted to play or eat, play I think.
Not the best shot of this skink? but I loved the way the little lad and the skink were watching each other.
I felt bad leaving the zoo when they were so busy but I know that I have to be careful with my back and not overdo things. At home I had a rest and then ended the afternoon sitting outside making another rope tassel and watching the surfers.
Walking around the zoo I looked up and saw a Red Kite circling overhead. The light levels were too low for a decent photo.

Tuesday 26 October 2021


A very grey day today with a smattering of rain. 
Today's dismal weather was reflected in my mood making it one of those days when I start wondering what is the point of my life. On such days I can't focus on the positive and can't seem to find anything to do that works towards 'getting things done'. But I know this is due to a combination of the dismal weather and a temporary struggle with my diet. With the diet I'm never hungry but on a day like today my response would be to declare the day a duvet day and slump on the sofa eating. Yes, I'll admit that my go to 'cheer up' is food, generally of the sweet variety. But I'm determined to avoid snacking and stick to my diet and instead employed a few different strategies. First was to get outside which I did for going for a beach walk with Peter. I could also have cheered up spending the afternoon grubbing about in the garden but I didn't want to put any strain on my back before tomorrow's session at the zoo.
My other strategy when feeling down is to plow through my daily routines, first the small amount of regular housework and then piano and guitar practice. I'm only just getting back to playing the guitar and I haven't lost as much ground as I thought I might. 
My final strategy is to finish any small projects that are ongoing so the felted chicken now has wings and eyes plus a loop to hang it from a Christmas tree. Now to decide which lucky family member gets the chicken. And a very small 'house' job was sorting out curtain rings for the door curtain in the kitchen. I got the rings and pole from Argos and they must be very poor quality as already two of the rings have split but I have plenty of spares.
 Somebody had fun on the beach.

Monday 25 October 2021


Sunshine, showers and the occasional rainbow today.
This morning I thought we were done with the showers and went out to post the truffles and have a walk on the beach. There are more people about because of the half-term holiday, I suppose once you're here you might as well tog up and go for a walk.
The tide was in so most of my walk was on the shingle which is not my favourite. I collected one piece of rope for my project and hauled a bundle of rope which had too much green growing on it for my use, over to the bins. 

I called in again at the shop on my way back to pick up some milk as neither of us has plans to go shopping in the next few days.
Back home I decided to paint the wall where the last trellis panel will go as the rest of the wall will eventually be painted white along with the rest of the house and garage. Otherwise it would look a bit odd to see a section of wall in the original cream colour especially as it will take a long time for plants to cover that bit of trellis. We will be buying a good quality paint when we get round to the big painting job but for today I just used some left over masonary paint we have in the garage. The first tin I opened was too old, it had gone dark brown and stayed that way even after stirring. That tin will be off to the dump to join the thousands of tins already there. Luckily there was another better tub of paint to use. However I had only just started when down came the rain. By the time the rain stopped some of the paint had washed down into the gutter but I just painted over the bare bits and carried on. I had to rush to finish off as the next shower began but fortunately that was a short shower and the wall is good enough for us to put up the final trellis on that wall.
After a break I was back to felting and have nearly finished a small brown chicken as yet more rain fell.

Sunday 24 October 2021


A grey start to the day with a sea mist rising where the mountains meet the water. We had some showers and I thought I would be spending my day making rope tassels but it dried up, rained again and then turned sunny to end the day.
After our leisurely Sunday breakfast I boxed up the truffles. I know I showed them yesterday but they look even nicer in the paper cases. I think presentation adds a lot to a gift and try my best though I'm way below the standard of Japanese gift wrapping. Mind you I dislike how manufacturers try to include the maximum amount of packaging to make you think you're getting more than you actually are and that's very much the case with boxes of chocolates.
By the time I'd wrapped up the chocolates ready to post tomorrow it had stopped raining so I went out to do more grubbing about in the back garden. Two more of the coping stones moved to their new positions and plenty of digging through soil to remove weeds and stones. I was just gathering my tools together when down came the next heavy shower.
After the rain the skies cleared and I was tempted to sit outside while I made another tassel but the outside chairs were soaking wet so I took the easy option and stayed inside. Just enough time left in the afternoon to make one more tassel before checking how to say numbers above 10 in Welsh so that we can call out the total scores as we watch Strictly.


Saturday 23 October 2021


Gloomy and grey today with some rain in the morning. It's cold enough now for the heating to go on, at least for part of the day.
After breakfast I had a chocolate session, coating and decorating all the truffles I made yesterday. I think with the small amounts I make it's not worth trying to temper the chocolate to get a shine on it. 
L to R, nutty, apricot, chocolate, boozy. There wasn't a lot of chocolate left over, just enough to pour out and sprinkle with the remaining apricots and some sprinkles. A little treat for today including some for Peter's evening snack. Then, rather than have the remaining cream sitting in the fridge tempting me to pour a generous helping on my morning porridge, oh so decadent, I froze it in small portions. My book said to whip lightly and add a little sugar and then it will keep for up to six months. I used silicone cup cake cases to freeze small helpings which I can enjoy once my weight has come down. Doing this I discovered that some of the cases have small holes which let the cream out into the tray so Speedy had a bit more than the cream pot to lick out. He was happy.
Once all the washing up was done I escaped to the outdoors. I emptied out a big concrete trough ready for it to go up on the terrace when it's done and did some tidying and weeding around the front garden. Mostly ivy and bramble shoots. To end the afternoon I sat on the terrace and made a start on my next project which is to make my version of decorations for an outdoor Christmas tree using the random bits of plastic rope I've found on the beach.  

This is my idea so far, tassels/pom-poms made by wiring loops of string and then teasing open the strands. They can either hang from the tree branches or maybe be wired upwards like flowers. I didn't want to do anything too elaborate so I think these'll do.

Friday 22 October 2021


The day began with driving rain and a bitterly cold wind. The wind stayed throughout the day while the rain eased off from late morning and we even got to see some sun.
Once Peter had done his morning session on the exercise bike I cut his hair with the clippers (he'd better not get on my bad side or I might accidentally put the wrong guard on the clippers) before going out for a beach walk. In view of the bad weather I togged up with waterproof trousers and long gortex jacket which with the hood up kept me nice and warm as I marched along the beach. Naturally it didn't rain and I even saw two men wearing shorts, one walking a dog and one with a child. Their legs were very red though.
There was plenty of debris on the beach and I brought home a pocketful of coloured rope as well as leaving a load more in and by the bins at the top of the slipway. I left one long tangle of rope next to the bin in case somebody could find a use for it. Back home I rinsed out the bits of rope I brought home as I have an idea I want to try out.
There was also a dead seal pup on the beach, almost full grown but still with its white fur. Sad.
On my way back from the beach I called in at the shop for some double cream. While I was paying I overcame my natural reticence and asked the girl (in her twenties which makes her young by my standards) at the till if she was a Welsh speaker. She said she wasn't but knew some, at the last check about 40% of the village are Welsh speakers, so I was able to ask her if she used hoffi (hoffee) or licio (lick ee on) for like. Our teacher had told us that both words are used but she uses licio. She also told us that many people use hoffi thinking think licio is derived from the English and not as authentic which isn't the case so I thought I'd ask people around here. When I'm out I try to greet people in Welsh but until today only get Hello back. But a chap from up the road responded with p'nwan da (pnoun dah) to my p'nwan da, result! 
Back home I got on with making a batch of truffles which is why I'd needed the cream. I'm only making one box to send as a gift (I'm sure the recepient doesn't read this blog) so really I should have stuck to one kind but being me I went for four kinds; plain, nut, apricot and boozy. Lots of stirring of small dishes of ganache which have now been rolled into small balls and are sitting in the fridge. Tomorrow I'll be melting chocolate to dip the middles into and decorating them.