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.

Thursday 30 June 2022


Despite the yellow weather warning for heavy thunderstorms inland and showers in general it has been a lovely sunny day.
I woke before 6.00 this morning and thought "Hooray, I'll have an early start and get lots done before breakfast." But somehow once I'd let Speedy in and fed him, taken my morning tablets and gone back to bed for a quick lie-in I fell asleep and didn't wake until after 8.00. 
I still rode my bike to the community gardens though in case it did rain I made sure I had a waterproof bag to put my handbag and camera in. I felt a bit more confident on the bike today mainly because Peter lowered the seat so that if I have to stop suddenly I can put my feet on the road to steady myself. 
I got to the gardens in time to do some gardening, the oh-so strenuous task of picking diseased leaves from one of the apple trees, before we all gathered for chat and a buttered slice of bara brith (Welsh tea bread made with tea, dried fruits and spices). My offering of more lettuce went down well too. I'm so glad it's not going to waste. This week I brought along some coffee in a small flask to have with the cake.
The bike ride home was uneventful though I didn't make it any further up the steep slope on the corner of our garden. You have to slow down as you turn the carner in case there's a car coming and then it's hard to pedal uphill. I see a lot of people ride bikes around the corner without any apparent problem but either they're a lot fitter than me (which is not hard) or they're cheating with electric assist bikes.
I needed another coffee to recover before I went down to the front garden for yet more gardening. It might sound as if I'm obsessed with gardening which partly I am but more important to me is to be outside preferable doing something. I'd love to be out walking or taking photos but for now gardening is fine. Today I did a bit more on the steps into the front garden lifting another of the giant paving stones and removing all the plants and soil that had worked their way around it. The montbretia is a bit of a nuisance flopping over the paths especially when the leaves are wet so I tied back most of them with a rope and cut back those that were too close.  To finish I weeded most of the paving as the weeds were getting too big to ignore. That done I did some Duo Lingo and found that the new (computer generated) voices that everyone in the FB group has been complaining for a while about have arrived on my screen. Being faster and louder they are strange and some of the pronunciation is quite odd. 
There was still time to sit out for a while and watch the people enjoying the water. Also for the first time there was somebody in a powered hang glider slowly buzzing along the coast.

Wednesday 29 June 2022


Quite grey today with a number of heavy showers.
I delayed driving to the zoo until the first batch of showers were over but still spent five hours weeding my way over a muddy patch of gravel. Sometimes even I think I'm a bit odd choosing to spend so long on my hands and knees but I enjoy being outside with my thoughts and weeding isn't exactly hard. Plus there's the satisfaction of seeing the whole area clear of weeds. At times I worked in my big workman's coat while at others I shed both coat and jumper. One heavy shower had me sheltering under the roofed in outdoor cafe area but even there I found weeds to uproot. Usually I won't do that area because the gravel is sparse and the weeds rampant.
I was putting my tools back in the car and was about to pick up my camera for a walk around when along came another heavy shower. So I just got in the car and came home without taking any photos.
Once home I felt very weary and my mug of decaff coffee failed to wake me up. 
 Went out during a dry spell and took some photos in the back garden.

As promised here are more photos of The Knife Angel.


Tuesday 28 June 2022


Cooler and greyer today with rain arriving in the afternoon. Right now there is a large group of surfers on the water waiting for the big swells that have begun to roll in.
I spent a relaxed afternoon wandering around Aberystwyth. I don't go into town often so I had a whole list of things I wanted to do. My trip nearly came to a halt when I arrived in the car park and discovered that I had left my purse (wallet) at home. However I had cash on me, enough for shopping and when I went into the bank I was able to pay my bills and sort other stuff without any problems partly because the staff knew me. From there I strolled around town calling at most of the charity shops. I got a new battery put in one of my nice watches at the jewellers which was pricey but the girl there told me that if you pull out the winder it disconnects the battery which is good to know if you only wear the watch occasionally. Most of the time I don't bother with a watch but I need one in town to see how long I've been parked.
I wandered further than I normally do in search of The Knife Angel and ended up at the castle ruins overlooking the sea. Built at the end of the 13thC there isn't much left but it is still imposing. 
The castle began to fall apart quite soon after being built. It is thought that being so close to the sea didn't help. Apart from the strong winds I expect that the pounding of the waves on the cliffs causes small but constant movement of the ground which destabilises the stonework. Here every house on the cliff has cracks in the render or in the garden walls.

There were people about but I try not to get them in my photos.
(Below) Looking north Borth lies beyond the second headland.
I had a nice wander around the castle before heading back to the shopping streets. While some of the streets are very grubby and neglected I'm discovering some interesting shops tucked away in the side streets.
This was the last day that The Knife Angel made from over 100,000 knives taken by or surrendered to the police, would be on display in town. It is being taken around the country to highlight the problems of knife crime.  (More photos and information tomorrow.)
I did some shopping in Lidl by which time it was raining more heavily. I debated going to the last charity shop but I'm glad I did as I found yet another blue glass ornament. 
Coming home it was wet enough for windscreen wipers and the car lights to be on. Just time for a coffee and some blogging before fitting in an exercise bike session before supper.

Monday 27 June 2022

Mainly Sunny.

The day began quite cloudy with the weatherman saying that cloud in the west of the country would spread eastwards. What he didn't mention was that here the cloud would thin and then move on by mid-day giving us a hot afternoon. By evening we were back to cool and grey again.
This morning we drove to Machynllth to meet up with some of our classmates for a morning of working on our Welsh. Our usual cafe in the old parliament house was closed due to some work being done in the kitchen so we marched down the road looking for an alternative venue. Being a Monday morning most of the other cafes were also closed but we found one in a bakery. Being smaller it was a bit noisy but we were able to move to a bigger table away from the coffee machine where we could spread out our course folders. We had a productive session going through the last homework and sharing any points of confusion. (I am easily confused.) Although we have a long way to go before we can converse with fluent Welsh speakers we have made great progress since the first lesson's tentative "My name is ...." and " I come from ...." The bakery cafe was a good alternative. I had an excellent slice of carrot cake with my coffee and though they didn't have any bacon Peter had a satisfying ham and egg sandwich. Two fried eggs and a big slab of proper ham in freshly cut wholemeal bread.
Afterwards I went in a couple of charity shops, only found a children's book written in Welsh and English for 50p but it's fun to look. I also had a long browse in the fancy card shop and bought some cards for future use. I had a quick look in the Co-Op where I found some beer battered onion rings for Peter and some fruit tea-bags for cold tea for me to try, both in the reduced section. 
Peter stayed in the car while I did my shopping and then we went for a stroll on the path that runs behind the main street out towards the playing fields.
We came across a communal herb garden with some fruit bushes and apple trees being trained along wires.
Back home I built one more brick pillar by the street wall though I need to swap some stuff around before I can bring out the last plastic trough. After that I'll have to wait for the return of my troughs that were borrowed for the community hub. Then I went down to the front garden and worked on cleaning up the big facing blocks. If only whoever built the old raised beds had stuck to using mortar instead of cement to stick them together. Some comes off with a good whack but most of today's needed painstaking chipping off. A good thing that the neighbours on both sides weren't at home as even I was getting fed up with the noise.
I think the 'keys' on this sycamore look like a big cluster of moths.


Sunday 26 June 2022


Cool, windy, grey and wet today. Good for the surfers but rubbish for everyone else.
There was the tiniest patch of blue in the afternoon but barely was it there then it was gone again.
After our breakfast croissants and a double espisode of The Archers I got out the sewing machine and made some thermal curtains for one of the study windows. Or to put it more plainly I cut a clean old blanket in half and stitched gathering tape to each piece before hanging them up behind the unlined curtains. There was a little more to it than that though. First I discovered that I was almost out of white sewing thread. Dim problem, you can buy black and white sewing thread at both the food store and at the gifts and everything handy store. A quick walk down to the shop and I had my thread. I was happily sewing away and wondering why there were so many cat hairs on the blanket when all of a sudden the machine took on a life of its own and continued sewing even though I'd lifted my foot off the pedal. I had to hurridly turn off the machine to stop it from carrying on sewing all over the place. I thought that the old problem had returned and was wondering if it would be worth paying for another repair when I realised that the pedal had slid under the wood table supports which were keeping it pressed down on its own. I solved the cat hair problem by wrapping some masking tape around my hand and going over the back and front of both curtains.

I found this FB video of the Community Gardens to illustrate my Thursday mornings. I recognised most of the faces in the video including my next-door neighbour. Apart from the social aspect of the chat mornings it's a lovely place for a peaceful wander round.


Saturday 25 June 2022


It's been a day of bright sun and frequent very heavy showers. The strong winds brought enormous waves much to the joy of the surfers but the disappointment of Peter and his fellow rowers as their mid-day row was cancelled due to the sea conditions.
I put the blanket in to wash over breakfast but I couldn't put it out until the afternoon. Luckily the strong winds blew it dry before the showers returned. In the meantime I busied myself by making a big pot of cabbage and smoked sausage soup. Just the thing for our current weather.
Eventually the rains cleared and I was able to escape out to the garden. There I lifted a couple of the heavy slabs that make up the wide steps leading down to the front garden and cleared out the weeds and montbretia corms that made the steps unsafe. Eventually I will plant aubretia or other low plants in the gaps by the side of the steps. Most of the montbretia was replanted in the next street-side trough but I fear that I'm going to run out of places to put all the montbretia that needs to be moved from under the hydrangeas. I can't take it to the zoo as most plants with bulbs or corms are toxic to a lot of animals.
I also got a few more half-buckets of stones sifted, washed and transported up to the back garden.
I kept an eye out all day for rainbows but only saw one low and pallid rainbow later in the afternoon.

Friday 24 June 2022


We were back to shades of grey today. It was still warm but as soon as I put some washing in the machine down came the first of many brief showers.
With the change in the weather I had to abandon my plans to paint the front of the house with sealant. Instead I planned to make some thermal curtains for one of the windows in my study. I got as far as measuring up and selecting a blanket but then I decided that it would be best to wash the blanket first which will have to wait for a good drying day. Having come to a halt on that job I did some baking, peanut butter and chocolate cookies and a large apple and sultana cake. That should keep Peter going for a few weeks. 
This morning Peter spotted a seal swimming nearby and then as I stood out on the terrace watching the seal he called out that he had seen a dolphin as well. In fact it was two dolphins hunting in the shallow water. Some time later we were back out on the terrace with the nephew of the gentleman who lived here before us, when another dolphin came into view. The nephew was on his way back from his annual holiday camping in Snowdonia and he brought a rooted pyracantha cutting. This cutting comes from a plant his mother (sister of the last owner) had given him 25 years ago so it links to the history of this place. I've planted it in the gap in the hedge in the front garden where hopefully it will do well.
Inbetween showers I did some pottering about in the back garden. I planted out a variegated apple mint in the space between two of the raised beds from where it shouldn't be able to escape. A couple of ornamental grasses went into the space left by the removal of some of the foxgloves which means I've almost homed all the plants brought here in pots. 

We had a pretty good sunset last night.


Thursday 23 June 2022

Hot Then Not.

Right up until it began raining at about 4.30 I would have said it was our hottest day of the year.
It was a lovely morning, perfect for cycling down to the community gardens. There I did a little gardening, cutting back some of the tall undergrowth around the fruit trees before the main business of the day, meeting to chat with of course cake. Chocolate cake this week. I took along some of the red and green lettuces from the back garden to share. 
Peter took the mirror off my bike and I made do with the wrist mirror. Cars are still giving me a wide berth which is a good thing. Coming home I made it all the way to halfway up the slope to the front door which is a big improvement.
After a short break for a drink and to recover from the bike ride I mixed up some mortar and repaired a couple of small holes in the render at the front of the house. Once that has dried I can make a start on painting the front. There are some bigger areas of render on the other walls that need repairing properly by the builder before I can paint those walls.  I also cleared the base of one of the fence posts in the back garden which for some reason the builder sat right on the soil. Even though the post is treated wood I don't really want it soaking up moisture. Now it has a gap between the end of the post and the soil and I used some mortar to make a block to keep the soil away. I finished off by cutting more of the neighbours' elder bush until the garden bag was filled right up.
By the time I had finished all my jobs the inland sky had turned very dark and as is often the case no sooner had I had a sip of my coffee than the first rain drops fell. I compromised by sitting just inside the open door. We had some very heavy rain which has now stopped but it's still looking gloomy outside.
Two bits of not so good news. First our next door neighbour had a garden statue/ornament stolen from her front garden on Sunday night. It wasn't a small easily transportable item either but a 3ft high concrete Buddha. You'd think that a village like ours wouldn't have random thefts like that, I've seen local builders leaving all sorts of equipment and supplies in front gardens not to mention the ornaments and benches people have. That said we get an awful lot of vans and trucks going up our road either to the many places having building work done or simply making deliveries.
The second thing is that the Post Office counter that also offers banking services in the local shop will be closing in a couple of weeks. There is another Post Office further down the village but it is only open two and a half days a week and I don't think it offers any banking services.

Wednesday 22 June 2022


Sunshine all the way.
I cycled down to the zoo today, still quite wobbly. Peter bought me a rear view mirror but it wasn't a success. Firstly it blocks access to the gear lever and more annoyingly although I angled it to give a good view of any approaching cars the mirror soon sagged giving me no view at all. I may have to go back to using the wrist mirror tomorrow.
I took my hat, a cold drink and most importantly insect repellant spray so I was all organised for a morning of weeding at the zoo. Four hours of weeding gravel was enough for me. I only got half-way along the section but pulling up the bigger weeds gives a satisfying result. Although I was quite near the bantams I didn't have the cockerel crowing in my ear. I did however get my ears blasted by Mr Pea who snuck up behind me before letting out an almighty squawk. That's what happens when you garden in a zoo.
Back home I threw my gardening clothes in the washing machine (they've almost dried out on the line) before sitting on the terrace and doing my Welsh homework.
Talk on the news about another rail strike tomorrow. The government keeps on saying 'We can't afford to pay people more.' but what are people to do? Most people getting income support (welfare) are working full-time but not making enough to provide the basics even by the government's parsimonious calculations. So the tax payers are having to pay to provide the basics for these people while employers continue to pay low wages and make bigger and bigger profits. Is it so radical to expect the management (of the big companies) to pay a decent wage and reduce their profits? Can't you just hear them all claim abject poverty? That is until you look at the actual figures. And don't get me started on the obscene profits being made by companies providing essential services such as fuel and water. Here in Wales the water is owned by the nation but I listened to a radio programme last night about how in England the water companies are cutting the money spent on reducing pollution and infractructure by something like 40-50% while continuing to empty raw sewage into rivers on a regular basis. Better stop ranting now or I'll give myself a headache.