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 31 December 2021


Mild again today, the highest temperature today at the Lifeboat Station was 13C/ 55F. A bonus has been that it didn't rain at all. The radio has just told me that it has been the warmest New Year's Eve on record with a high of 15.8C/ 61F in Somerset.
Last night I was up late, (just after 1.00am) went to see if Speedy was waiting to come back in and was surprised to see, or rather not see, that all the street lights were out leaving the world in darkness. Normally the lights on the road running along the cliff stay on all night presumably to prevent people driving off the cliff at the junctions. This included the lights running along the beach road. What was most amazing was the fact that the fronts of the incoming waves were glowing. Not blue, just white but with no moonlight or street lighting it must have been the bioluminescent plankton seen earlier in the year maybe due to the unusually high temperatures. It was definitely worth standing out in the rain to see the 'sea horses' lit up like that. There's a good chance we should be able to see it again tonight.
There were medicines to be collected from the pharmacy so after breakfast I did my usual walk along the beach. While I was at the pharmacy I also collected some more Lateral Flow tests in case we find ourselves mixing with other people and/or feeling unwell. There's talk (right now on the radio) of a shortage of tests especially for NHS workers but though yesterday there was a message on the NHS site saying you couldn't order the test kits by post I just asked at the pharmacy and they gave me a box.
On the beach the tide was out leaving a good sandy strip to stride along. There were a lot of people out exercising dogs and children and at the time just one surfer and one swimmer who wasn't even wearing a wetsuit. Later on as the waves increased in size there were at least a dozen surfers out on the water. (Is it on or in for surfers?) On the way back from the beach I had a conversation with my neighbours part of which was in Welsh. Ha! It was only a 'Good morning, how are you? I'm very well.' exchange but our neighbour is very keen to help us in our language endeavours.
My holiday task for the day was to remind myself how to crochet the dragon scale pattern I'd used some years back to make a pair of bootee slippers and a tea-cosy. The tea cosy is still in use on Vytas' teapot but he now uses a Japanese style metal teapot which is flatter than a standard teapot and the cosy doesn't fit very well. He sounded keen when I offered to crochet a new one for his birthday in February so that's what I shall do. I found the pattern, which I'd bought from Esty but not my small wooden box of crochet hooks. There were three hooks in the knitting needle box but they were too small and though I tried the biggest one it kept snagging on the wool when I began practising the stitches. So now it's a matter of continuing to look for the box of hooks or buy another hook next time I go to town.
Having come to a halt with the tea cosy instead I cut the pole for the hanging plants, painted it and ordered the rings and clips I think I need to hang the plants from the pole.
I checked the trail cam and thought there was nothing on it until I came across a close up of a sparrow looking right into the lens. That was all. In an attempt to see if I can try some manual settings on my camera to photograph any fireworks tonight and possibly the glowing waves I've been looking at the on-line manual for my camera. I never knew what my camera can do. There's even a setting for fireworks but so far I haven't been able to locate the correct icon. There's something to be said for actually reading a manual.


Thursday 30 December 2021


Mild and very wet today. This morning we had lost the view to the surrounding greyness. As we ate breakfast we had fun watching the surfers trying to catch the sizeable waves rolling in. Naturally we are surfing experts as we provide a running commentary on the real surfers' technique and ability to read the waves. A good thing we don't actually put our 'knowledge' to the test.
Feeling a lot better after a day of plain eating (though the old rib cartilage seems to have flared up) I planned a day of distracting shopping. Having been too tired to think clearly when we dropped in at Morrison's on our way home the other day there were a few things we needed and I wanted to have a good search around for something to complete my indoor hanging baskets idea. I've already bought fittings, which have just had their second coat of white Hammerite and a wooden pole but hadn't worked out the actual basket parts. Ideally I needed some mid-sized, white plastic tubs/pots that could be hung up. To that end today I searched Charlie's, pricey but you never know, where I found plastic hanging pots which were cheap but too large and black. From there I went to B&M, a very cheap shop that sometimes has random stuff. Looking through peg baskets, bathroom storage, kitchen storage and random tubs I found exactly what I needed, small white plastic tubs with handle slots at either end through which I can thread the white rope I also bought there. The only drawback was that there were just three in white while I really wanted four but I shall go back and hope for one more. While I was there I also found some large cork coasters big enough to put a vase or small dish on. Sometimes I think I'm being fussy but I would rather not find marks on our antique furniture which I polish with wax. We have some small cork coasters for mugs and I've been looking for the bigger ones for quite a while.
There wasn't much of the afternoon left once I got home, I had a rest and reviewed the trail cam only to find a couple of photos of my leg and one of a delivery lorry going past the garden hedge. I've set it for video clips and put down peanuts around the water dish.
Now that Christmas gifts have been opened I thought I'd show the things I bought at the craft fair. They were both made by a local wood turner who happens to be the owner of the B&B Peter stayed at when he came up to check on the work being done on the place. The little bird house is simply an ornament, he had a number in different kinds of wood and different shapes and it was very hard to choose just one. If I had put the top back correctly on the string pot you would be able to see that it is made from a single piece of wood. I find turned wood so tactile and even if the shape is the same the variation of the natural grain makes each object unique. 

I regret not having taken more photos inside the pub in Whitchurch which is genuine Olde Worlde not fake timbers and mass produced décor. Perhaps I'll remember the next time we visit. This display of drawings done on the pages of a book was above the table that we were sat at.

Wednesday 29 December 2021


The day began grey, dry and windy with some blue spells in the afternoon. In the distance we could see the clouds sitting over the mountains indicating it was raining there. On our journey it was the same, ie cloudy and mostly wet as we crossed the mountains but we could see that it was brighter at the coast. Another bonus of living at the coast.
It was raining in the morning so for once I didn't go to the zoo. I had said I might take a break and I wasn't feeling that good anyway (too much rich food after 6 months of dieting and no gall bladder). Instead I took things easy today, drank mint tea and did some ironing.
We did lateral flow tests this morning as the motorway service station we had stopped at on the way home was worryingly crowded and not everybody was wearing a mask. (I know some people can't but when it's a couple, neither of whom is wearing a mask it's more likely they can't be bothered.) However both our tests showed negative which is good.
Some more photos of Whitchurch.
Plenty of ducks and swans waiting to be fed.

The town centre.
The King's Arms. built in 1575.


Tuesday 28 December 2021


I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas. As you may have guessed we've been away for a few days but returned home yesterday evening.
On Christmas Day we drove to Whitchurch to stay with Vytas and Sally in their new home. Sally's parents were there to share a very convivial Christmas dinner, turkey cooked in a slow cooker (very tasty and moist) with all the trimmings followed by a flaming Christmas pudding and home-made Christmas cakes. After that we were all too full to even attempt to sample the after dinner cheese selection. We then spent the evening playing a board game version of an escape room working together to solve some very obscure clues.
The next day we went for a stroll along the River Test, a chalk river which flows through and around the town. In the clear waters of the river we could see many rainbow trout some of which were nearly 2ft long. Plenty of signs around banning fishing though, even CCTV notices.

The route took us through the local park/common which is popular in the summer. Not so many people about when we walked there probably due to the threatening rain and muddy conditions underfoot. We finished our walk at a local pub for drinks, a bite to eat for some and coffee for me. The current restrictions, they keep changing from day to day and depending which country you're in, allowed us to take off our masks once we were sat at a table and it was table service only. 
The next day (yesterday) Sally and I went to a large garden centre where I was able to spend some gift garden vouchers on indoor hanging plants and a number of herbs from the reduced section. I resisted the temptation to buy any more Christmas decorations even though they were 50% off. Meanwhile Peter loaded up our car so that we could set off once Sally and I returned. The homeward journey was slower than the one up due to a considerable amount of traffic on the motorway but once we were over the bridge into Wales the roads were clear. We stopped at Morrisons in Aber to pick up milk and a few other things including some Chinese dishes for an easy supper. Our relaxing evening was interrupted by the loud bangs of display sized fireworks being let off near the Lifeboat Station. I love fireworks so rushed out to watch them but there were a number of complaints on the local FB page from people whose dogs and cats were terrified by the nose which was extremely loud. 
Today we had a leisurely start watching the wild grey seas and at times the rain lashing at the windows. I've been tidying away the last of the pre-Christmas mess as well as the usual housework. Peter gave me a trail-cam for Christmas and while the re-chargeable batteries are on charge I read through the instructions. Hopefully I'll be able to set it up tomorrow so I can see what wildlife comes to visit the water dish/ bird bath in the front garden. Probably just rats and mice. Once that's set up I'll read the instructions for the dash cam which we had running and see if I can pull off some good photos of the mountains. The only other thing I've done today apart from watch 'Call The Midwife' is plant out the herbs and put the other plants on the coffee table for the time being.


Friday 24 December 2021

Christmas Day.

Wishing you a peaceful and happy Christmas. 

 Back Soon.


Today has been mild, grey and mostly wet with a strong swell coming in across the bay.
This morning I had to go to the pharmacy to collect my prescriptions. They sent a text a few days ago but somebody forgot to tell me. It was still dry in the morning so naturally I planned a beach walk too.
Walking along I saw a young couple, students as it turned out who were carrying buckets and digging in the sand. On my way back my curiosity got the better of me and I went and asked what they had been doing. They were digging for sand hoppers, those tiny crustaceans that jump up all over the place when you turn over a pile of seaweed. Except not today. They couldn't find any under the seaweed of which there was plenty strewn along the beach and all their digging and sieving of the sand had resulted in only six hoppers. I expect it is too cold for the hoppers at the moment.

There were lots of birds on the beach foraging in the piles of seaweed. I saw black headed gulls, rooks,  jackdaws, a grey wagtail, a sandpiper .... 
and a little flock of sanderlings running along the edge of the waves.
After a pleasant walk I arrived at the pharmacy only to find a notice on the door which said that the pharmacist had been called out on a medical emergency so anyone wanting prescriptions would need to come back after 2.00. They do sell over the counter medicines and supplies as well and when I returned I saw that at the moment they have a number of gift items including chocolates. Home I went, via the beach of course where I saw that the rain had started to make polka dot like marks on the light grey stones. Luckily it eased off quite quickly before raining heavily once I'd got home. In the afternoon I waited until there was a break in the rain and marched directly to the pharmacy this time not diverting on to the beach.
For the rest of the day I did housework and carried on backing up my photos. Just two weeks worth to do and I'll be up to date.
Usually I make a scaled down version of Kucios, the traditional Lithuanian Christmas Eve meal but this year instead I cooked a simple but very tasty meal of salmon fillets. These I baked in foil with mushrooms and onions in butter seasoned with herbs and a little garlic. Because they were in separate parcels we could each season the salmon to our own taste before cooking. I used only a tiny bit of garlic with pepper, oregano and dill in mine and it tasted wonderful.  Plain boiled baby new potatoes were full of flavour and we had peas as well.
We're still wondering what Speedy found to eat yesterday. He was so full he didn't even ask for any supper, went out for part of the night and only ate a tiny bit of his breakfast. He had a full tum and slept all day after which he ate his supper plus the salmon skins and now he's gone back out again.

Thursday 23 December 2021


A mostly grey day with light rain/ sea mist but very mild.
This morning Speedy went out for a wander after breakfast and came back bulging. If we were still living in the country I would say he'd eaten a rabbit but here I'm thinking theft rather than hunting. He's either raided somebody's food caddy or else has found a way to steal from a cat or dog that gets unlimited food (that shouldn't be happening anyway). All I hope is that it wasn't somebody's turkey defrosting. And this is how he spent the rest of the morning. He's only going to get a small dinner tonight which I'm sure he won't be pleased about.
I've spent my day doing the usual routine and generally tidying up. I'm getting through my list of jobs including those on the extra list. One job has been to back up my photos onto an external hard drive which I haven't done for months. I know I keep on saying it but I really should get into a routine of weekly photo back-ups. 
I've found when playing the guitar that I'm having problems focussing on the book I use. The music is written nice and large but by the time I have one foot on a tiny chair I'm too far away to focus. Changing to stronger glasses doesn't help so today I propped the book up on my desk keeping it in place with a beach stone. Not the best solution but I've had an idea. As I do. One of those recipe book stands should do the job and I often see them in the charity shops. Something to look for after Christmas.

This morning we tested ourselves for Covid and thankfully neither of us has the virus. It's good to be sure before we meet up with people over Christmas. 

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Zoo Day.

The morning began with red skies as the sun made its way up over the hills. Sure enough after a chilly morning raindrops began to fall at midday and soon settled into heavy rain.
I did spend my morning at the zoo, pulling up bramble roots and snipping away at the surrounding clumps of grass. Instead of weeding out everything I'm getting that strip to a point where it can be strimmed to keep it tidy. Today's cutting with secateurs was to reveal the brambles hiding in there as well as to rest my back as hauling out the brambles is taxing. The strip I was working in is next to the wolf-dogs and eventually Zeus (the male dog) came over to see what I was doing and to sniff my hand through the wire fence. Later on both of the wolf-dogs had a howling session set off by a dog barking outside the zoo. This is the first time I've heard them howling (they can bark too) and boy were the pair of them loud. With icy rain falling and miserable grey light as I finished weeding I didn't bother taking any photos today. Before I left I was given a card and a big tin of chocolates as a Christmas thank-you which was a really lovely gesture.
During this season I love checking for post with beautiful cards and messages from friends arriving each day. 
In the afternoon I wrapped up a couple of presents and then as Peter had completed his wrapping too I thought I'd tidy away the wrapping paper. I started with all the extras and found that I've probably got enough to last for years even if I don't add to my supplies in the January sales. Because I couldn't resist when Tesco's in particular reduced tags and bags to pennies when I put them all together I found I have nearly 100 gift tags.  Then I thought I'd check the box the rolls of paper were in and oh dear ........ the bottom of the box felt damp and condensation had been trapped on the wall behind allowing the dreaded black mould to grow. Saddest of all was the state of a framed poster looking out of the front door of Bag End (similar to but not the same as the picture below). I'd planned to hang it in my study but put it aside when I needed the drill to fix a screw in the block walls. I used the anti-mould spray the builders left me on the frame and wall but I think I'll need to look for a replacement print as it is damaged. I have checked behind the stack of storage tubs against the other wall but fortunately there were no more signs of damp.


Tuesday 21 December 2021

Winter Solstice.

At last we can look forward to lengthening days. That's definitely something to celebrate even if we are only at the start of winter.
Today the sun returned but with a lot of hazy, high cirrus clouds the sky has been  more pastel than bright blue.
This morning I went to town for a final quick supermarket shop at Lidl. Tempted as I was I didn't go to any of the other shops, better to be on the safe side. The only event of note was going to the car and finding it ...... not there. Though not a Smart car even by UK standards it's quite a small car and disappears when parked between normal cars so initially I thought I was simply looking too far along the line of cars. Sure enough there it was but when I parked my shopping trolley by the boot and pressed the button on the key fob there was no opening click from the car. My next thought was maybe I needed to use the key in the door? but then I realised that it wasn't actually my car. Same make and colour but different number plate. Silly me, but then as I looked along the line of cars mine was nowhere to be seen. Who on earth would steal a scratched little old car? but that seemed the only explanation. Until I remembered I'd parked in the overflow car park. Same corner but a little further along. How daft am I?
Back home I treated the car to a wash. To me a car is just a means of getting from A to B, not a status symbol like the £80K car we watched parking at one of the houses along our road the other day. It is nice to have a shiny car but today's washing was firstly to  ensure that the windows were clean and that getting in and out didn't result in mud on our clothes. The essentials done I did carry on and wash the rest of the car.
Cleaning inside the house is another matter, I have a daily routine and it's nice to have the place clean for Christmas so I'm doing extra this week. I was looking inside some of the remaining unpacked boxes for something I still haven't found when I discovered some clothes I'd overlooked. These included a pair of new black jeans which now fit me (apart from some wobbly bits above the waist) now I've lost weight. I was swanning around in those when I pulled a large cream fleece throw out of a box. Somehow, maybe because I'd washed and brushed it before packing, it shed bits of cream fluff everywhere including over the black jeans. The throw went in a bag until I can give it a proper brush out and the fluff removed from the floor and my jeans. I was able to carry on sorting through the boxes and three large boxes have now been reduced to one and a few extras which was a result.
During the afternoon the builder's lads came round with the fittings for the loft ventilation which they fitted. They'd been working outside all morning and were very grateful for coffee and some of my Christmas biscuits.

Monday 20 December 2021


The day began with sun over the coast but before I could think to take a photo the clouds which had been sitting on the hills rolled down to put us in the grey gloom. There was a light frost first thing but the day itself hasn't been too cold. I switched off the central heating during the day but as soon as Peter came home he switched it back on again.
While Peter went up to check the camper van's batteries or run the engine or something and then on to town to do some shopping I wrapped the last few presents, did housework and had an extra clean of the utility room floor. I leave my muddy gloves and knee pads drying under the radiator and keep my wellies there too so the floor gets covered with dried flakes of mud. Now, in an attempt to keep the floor clear I've put out a plastic tub lid for the gloves and an old towel to keep the boots on.
In lieu of a proper Sellotape dispenser I've found a way to keep the Sellotape under control. It's not perfect but at least the tape doesn't flick back on itself any more.
Yesterday's car cleaning didn't do my back any good so I've had to take things easy today. Piano and guitar practice have been done and I'm about to hit the Duolingo again. That is once I've investigated why it's pronouncing si with a sibilant s rather than sh as we've been taught. I thought it might be a South Wales thing but listening to the course resources that doesn't seem to be the case. I need to find the same words in the course vocabularies to check as our class has finished until January so I can't ask our tutor. It's hard enough translating from one language to another and then using the North Wales version mentally without factoring in a computer oddity too.
Beach art from the other day.

Sunday 19 December 2021


We're currently under a high pressure system which is giving us the bluest of days sandwiched between pink mornings and evenings.

This morning I watched the moon slowly dropping down behind the Llyn peninsula which was  clearer than usual due to the low temperature.

Today there was a mini craft fair at Uncle Albert's Emporium, a café that specialised in home-made cakes and ice-cream but not usually open at the moment so after breakfast I walked there hoping for one last present that I needed. I found a suitable present and also had a nice chat with the lady who does felting and printing.
This is the current state of the house that was destroyed by fire in the summer. Fortunately they did have insurance and for the short term the village rallied round and raised over £5k for the family.
Naturally on such a lovely day my trip out included a walk along the beach. I walked along the sea wall up to the golf course at the end of the village and then went down on to the beach where there was plenty of sand to walk on. There I saw the first (for me) group of oyster catchers.
A bit further along I saw these floats in the water. I guessed that there would be a net attached to the floats and decided to do my bit for the environment and remove the net from the water. I had to leave my jacket and camera up on the dry shingle in case I fell over in the water and wait for the floats to wash up closer. Eventually I was able to reach the float with a long stick I'd found and began pulling the net towards me. There was an awful lot of it and then I saw that the float was attached to a rope which in turn was attached to a chain sunk into the sank. Oops, it was somebody's net set up to catch fish. I let it all go again and marched back out of the water. Just then a chap came down the shingle and confirmed that it was in fact his net. He wasn't at all unpleasant but I did feel silly. Just never expected to find a net so close inshore. 
There were lots of people out on the beach today most of them with dogs. One couple had a small terrier type of dog on a lead accompanied by an even smaller (would fit in a shoe box) puppy which came running up to me. 
Back home I thought that while it was dry I would hoover out the car. I don't bother much about cleaning cars but this poor thing has been used as a workhorse taking bags of garden waste and rubbish to the dump not to mention me driving in muddy wellies and transporting my gardening tools resulting in a rather messy floor. Out came all the carpet mats and I hoovered everywhere. The rubber mats have been scrubbed and are currently drying outside. So far so good but then I thought I might as well do the boot too. That got the same treatment as the front of the car and for good measure I thought I'd check the spare tyre. Unlike our last car which had the spare tyre in a cradle underneath the car this one has the spare tyre in a dip in the floor of the boot. I'm not sure what I was going to check as my car knowledge is limited (I have changed tyres and batteries but that's it) but what caught my attention was some water under the tyre. When I mopped it up I discovered it was more a nasty brown sludge !!! Yuck, though it didn't smell. We lifted up the spare and I've given the space underneath a thorough clean including a final wipe over with bleach just to be on the safe side. Imagine having to change the tyre on a dark wet night, as it always is and finding your hands covered in sludge. Well that's another job ticked off my list though it was on the 'good to do' side rather than the 'must do' side. Who doesn't love a list?