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 September 2022


Whilst nothing like the horrendous weather that has been hitting other parts of the world here too we have had rain, all day. It's a shame my camera hasn't picked up the green hues of the sea which were rather pretty. The wind kept getting stronger and by the afternoon the keen surfers were out there trying to catch the big waves.
Peter still went off to town and the dump while I stayed home staring out at the wild weather through the windows. I planned to do lots of admin and general sorting of my study but by the time I'd scrubbed the oven and practised my Welsh and the piano my thoughts turned to our bathroom plans. Peter isn't exactly onboard with my vision of a walk-in shower, he seems to think I'm planning an expensive bespoke design even though I'm aiming to use standard shower trays and glass walls so I thought I'd draw up a scale plan of the bathroom with all the different options. Part of the problem is that it isn't immediately obvious which is the best lay-out. I think we need to look at all the options and make some decisions soon. Much more fun looking at photos of bathrooms than doing admin.


Thursday 29 September 2022


A warm, dry day with a lot of sunshine. 
I was able to fit in an hour's gardening before our Welsh zoom class. I was just setting up when somebody knocked on the door and rang the bell presumably for a delivery. I say presumably because by the time I opened the front door there was no one to be seen, not even a vehicle driving off. Most annoying. During the class the doorbell rang again so instead of rushing to the front door I just opened my study window and got the postman to hand me the parcel through the window.
After class I went straight out again. Peter said he'd go by the dump tomorrow so I neatened up the top of the hedge at the end of the garden, cut back a samll hydrangea I want to move and then cut down all the hypericum growing next to the neighbours' house. It had reached the top of the wall and though I didn't mind it as it was I know they plan to replace the gutter so I thought I'd be a good neighbour. I don't think planning regulations would allow you to build that close to a boundary wall these days but things were different back then.
After lots of time spent trawling through all the on-line options we finally decided on the bathroom sink. Though when it came down to it there weren't that many china sinks that sat flush with the top (no overhang) of a white gloss free-standing cupboard with doors rather than drawers and not overly ie designer, expensive in the size we needed. I hankered after a cupboard that had curving sides but the only one I found was almost double the price of the basic sink we chose. After all it's only a sink and cupboard. Then when I ordered it Microsoft Edge looked for discount vouchers and knocked off another £31. Don't know if that was real or just a gimmick but I'll take it.

Hardy geranium Roxanne.

Wednesday 28 September 2022


Lots of rain today.
I didn't sleep well last night so when I saw the morning deluge I decided not to go to the zoo today.
It became drier by lunchtime so I could have gone to the zoo but instead I did some work out in the garden. First I cleared the sugar-snap peas and the giant slightly slug nibbled radish from one of the vegetable beds and planted some of the sprouting seed potatoes. If they grow that will be great and if not it doesn't matter. Then I went to the front garden and cleaned off the last fourteen concrete bricks so now I can begin cementing the fancy blocks to the front of the raised beds. 
The black clouds had been looming for a while and eventually down came a lot more rain.
And then there was this spectacular double rainbow. I took the first photo from the terrace but then went out to the cliff to get a better view while still protecting my camera from the rain. 
I couldn't fit the whole thing in shot without moving further up the road but then I would have had the lamp post in the way.
This evening I went off for an evening of singing in Tal Y Bont. I like driving down the country road in the dark because it's easy to see if another car is coming but I wasn't so thrilled with the clumps of fog that were beginning to form in the road. But then ....... when I was right in the village I saw an otter running along the pavement trying to get through the fence into the holiday park. I stopped the car to watch it and also in case it got spooked and ran out in front of me but eventually it found a gap in the wire netting and disappeared from sight. That's the first time I've seen a live wild otter.

Tuesday 27 September 2022


Grey, wet and wild today here in Borth.
Today has been a town day. 
I had a long list of places to go and things to buy. First stop was the garden centre where I was almost enticed to buy Christmas decorations from their amazing selection. We, or at least I, must be hard wired to covet shiny things as I felt like taking the whole lot home to turn our house into a 'winter wonderland' despite the fact that nobody except the pair of us would see it. Apart from buying one small cute and not shiny decoration as a present for somebody I resisted but it was hard. What I did buy was a silver thyme for the herb garden and the hardy geranium Roxanne as somehow over two house moves I mislaid that variety.
After the garden centre I off loaded lots more garden waste at the dump, bought a couple of things at the builders' merchants and then went to look at bathrooms in the one and only place in town that has bathrooms on display. I found exactly the right sink and cupboard, if only it wasn't £600. I guess I'll just have to go back to looking on-line or drive to a bigger town. Then it was time to do the food shopping at Morrisons where I got a ceonothus for £2. Next to B&M where I bought some purple crocus corms and then I bought more at Charlie's and took a chance on a couple of packs of sprouting potatoes. They were reduced to 50p and the instructions said plant July to September. I've got space in the veg plots so I thought I'd try them. But I certainly wasn't tempted by these awful sprayed heathers. What a terrible thing to do to growing plants.
My travels didn't stop there though, back into the centre of town I went to; try and book an eye test - they were currently fully booked so I'll have to try in a few weeks, drop more clothes and stuff off at one of the charity shops, buy more cheap reading glasses as I've mislaid yet another pair and then finally to Lidl.
I couldn't resist this pasta naturally coloured and flavoured with tomatoes, spinach, beetroot, carrots and basil. It would make a great pasta salad. The nougat is to put away as Lidl only do the speciality foods for a limited time.
It was dry all the time I was in town but as soon as I got home the wind returned and it's been raining on and off all evening.

Monday 26 September 2022


Really wild stormy weather this morning with the occasional rainbow. Peter has just been out (6pm) with his anemometer which read 40mph winds.
In the morning we drove to Mach to meet up with our friends to practice our Welsh. There it was sunny and relatively warm. Off came the bodywarmer I had on under my jacket and the fingerless gloves weren't needed either. Caffi Alys in the lovely 600 year old building was closed even though that wasn't supposed to happen for a few more weeks. Instead we tried a vegetarian cafe mainly because it had reasonably sized tables for all our books and most importantly, toilets. The toilets were clean and quite smart (these things are important) but the cafe began to get full around mid-day. Good for business but we felt we couldn't stay longer taking up a table for six. With many places shut on Mondays and more for the winter finding a suitable future venue was looking difficult. But our friends had the great idea of checking out the library which is also on the main road and yes we would be welcome there. The library is going to be a designated 'warm space' (how bad is it when the fifth richest country in the world has a significant proportion of the population that won't be able to afford heating this winter? ) so will be open for people to come in, relax and be warm. They are quite happy for us to come to practice our Welsh. They have Welsh books we can use and there will be plenty of Welsh speakers both staff and other library usesrs and yes they do have toilets. We can bring coffee in lidded cups too. Maybe we could call in at the bakery cafe (no toilets) for refreshments first, they did an excellent fried ham and egg sandwich and the carrot cake was delicious when we went there before. Today I had a slice of coffee cake which was dry with too sweet butter icing, a bit of a disappointment.

In the car park was a beech tree festooned with small plastic juice bottles. We thought it might be some kind of art project, Mach is that sort of place but looking closer at the photos I wonder if it is some kind of science project sampling insects/ pollution? We were too busy chatting to go and see if there was a sign on the other side of the tree.
Afterwards I popped into the hardware store to buy some tiny hinges for something Peter is working on and a toilet roll holder for the blue loo. I also got a couple of nice cards in the card shop and had a look around some of the charity shops.
There's always something new in the antique shop windows.

There were too many showers in the afternoon for me to work outside. Instead I cleaned the tops of the plastic storage tubs in one side of the wardrobe and was able to take out some clothes, some for the winter and some to give to the charity shop. 

Sunday 25 September 2022


Early morning mist coming down the estuary. Later I spotted a dolphin lazily surfacing near the cliffs and then it was gone.
More clouds today with a change in wind direction making the temperature drop and threatening rain though in the end only a few drops fell. 
I've been off again with the walking group wandering around the hills above the village of Cwmerfyn [kum-err-vin]. Not having been there before I was very nervous about finding my way to the meet-up point. Sat-navs are never very good for rural locations and I didn't have a post code anyway. Instead I checked out a route using both an OS map and Google maps. Eventually I located what I hoped was the meet-up point "down the road from the up turned caravan" and worked out the sinplest route. Then to reassure myself I used street view to look at six or seven miles of unfamiliar single track road and then to be extra sure I wrote a set of directions as well. I said I was nervous. I've rarely needed to drive to new places on my own and this just shows how easy it is to become dependant on somebody else. Before I left home I said to myself what was the worst thing that could happen? I could miss the rest of the group and have to drive home after seeing more of the countryside. So not a disaster. It all went smoothly and it felt odd driving along a road I'd already 'travelled' on my computer screen. Another boost to my confidence.

We parked up in the valley, walked up one side, turned at the head of the valley and stopped for lunch before returning along the other side of the valley.
If you enlarge the next two photos you may see yellow lines marking our route. Above is the first part where we walked from right to left.
The second part of our route also runs from right to left. The darker bit was where we had force our way along a path overgrown with head high furze (gorse) and some brambles for good measure. We also had some steep downhill bits over very rough ground so although it was not a long walk it ended up being quite taxing. So much so that instead of walking across the fields and back along the small river we just strode down the road. 
One of the early views looking back along the valley and to the sea.
Above is the view from our lunch/snack spot. The chap who plans the walks always tries to pick a spot with a good view for our short rest break.

Above - our cars were parked in the road junction right in the centre of the photo. The curving line of trees going straight up marks the road I came down. Before turning down the hill the road ran along the crest of the hill for a few miles with yet more fantastic views.
On my way home I swung by the garden centre to see if they were open but they weren't. I got home to find a worn out Peter just back from a hard row. The wind had changed direction while they were out and they had to battle some very choppy waves, which of course they loved.

A photo from last night, taken I think when they were setting up after a break. Note the two oldies happily sitting down.

Saturday 24 September 2022

Sun and Rain.

Blue, grey, blue. That's my best description of today's weather. We began with bright blue skies and the clouds reflecting in the sea which was followed by rain and grim grey skies and for the evening we're back to fluffy white clouds in a blue sky.
This morning I was out in the front garden again weeding away more of the old lawn with the sun sizzling on my bare arms. I timed my work well and had just got to the end of the section I was working on when the first drops of rain began to fall.
My gardening would have stopped anyway as in the afternoon we went to the community hall for a defibrillator training session. This had been advertised on FB and I'm surprised that only ten people (including us) had taken up the opportunity to become familiar with the defibrillators. I know they tell you what to do but I think it helps to have had some practice beforehand in what would no doubt be a stressful situation. I'm also surprised at the haphazard distribution of these life saving pieces of equipment. For a start there is no street signage telling people where the defibs are. We have four in the village two of which need a code to open. Yes, you get the code and location from the 999 phone operator but what if you are in one of the many areas of no reception in the village or if the power goes down? This happened some years ago and the phone masts only have power for 30 minutes before they shut down
We've been out again this evening. This time to see a band called Old Baby Mackerel play Bluegrass at The Star of the Sea, our local arts venue. They were a lively band and had a lot of people up and dancing, at one point there must have been around forty people bouncing, bobbing and generally doing their own thing on the dance floor. Not us though, Peter never does because of his knees and though secretly I would have liked to I don't have the confidence. Perhaps if I'd known some of the people but that should come in time. Instead I contented myself with tapping my feet and clapping. It was good to hear live music and I enjoyed people watching too.
Good news on the FB situation. This morning after four tries I finally got a code from FB to verify yet another new password and when I typed it in my FB page came up straight away. No messing about with extra verifications thankfully.


Friday 23 September 2022


A lovely day for the autumn equinox. 
Yesterday's mist and rain had left the windows very mucky so before breakfast I was out there giving them a wash. At least the squeegee on a pole makes the job quick and easy and then we were able to enjoy the view.
The first thing we saw was this partial rainbow? over the sea. (Can be see on the left of the photo if you squint.) I've had a look to see if it was another meterological phenomenum but all I could find were sun dogs and they appear beside the sun which was behind me so rainbow it must have been.
The next thing of note was this chap collecting up the large buoys that mark the 8 knot speed limit for the inner part of the bay. A sign that winter is coming and that the holiday season is over. (I could have borrowed a better photo from FB but I'm having major problems with FB today.)

And then it was time to go do some more gardening (is it any wonder I can confidently say - I was gardening yesterday/I like gardening/ I was working in the garden/ I garden at the zoo - in Welsh?). It was so warm and sunny in the front garden I was working with bare arms and wondering if I should go and get a sunhat but it soon got cloudier. I've begun digging up the turf outsde the path that goes around the lawned circle. While my plans may well change it will define the circle and give me something to focus on as I contemplate the garden and allow ideas to develop. Whatever happens that ground will need to be dug over and all the grass and wildplants removed so clearing it now isn't a wasted effort. I cleared one corner completely then realised that it will be easier to fork over the turf and leave it to dry before shaking out the plants. Of course if money (and hired workers) was unlimited I could just dispose of the turf and buy in new soil as needed but that also goes against my nature so grubbing about it is.

As I worked I could hear the sound of Peter breaking up the cast iron bath with the sledge hammer. I didn't think he would manage it but the next thing I knew he'd phoned Pete the scrap man who had come and they were loading up the broken pieces on to his truck. All was well in my world until I realised that there is a problem with my plan for a cupboard in the bathroom. I don't see how I can have a cupboard (apart from a small one for the pipes and stuff) while at the same time having a large easy access shower without a door should either of us have to use a walking frame or wheelchair at some point in the future. I think I'll have to abandon my plans for a cupboard.
My biggest problem this afternoon, and in the scale of world problems or other people's problems it's not much at all but it has sent me into a real plughole of despair. FB!! It's too complicated to go into but due to me not accepting cookies and putting the highest settings on my on-line security I ended up with something I didn't understand. Called Peter and on his advice decided to change my FB password. That was a mistake as instead of just getting a code by email, three times out of four nothing arrived!, you have to go through extra levels of verification. Either phone three friends to get them to verify me - no thank you or identify some of my past comments. After a very long wait I did so only to have them denied. Trying again but if that fails I'll leave it until tomorrow. It's silly but FB is my link to family, friends and the wider world. Few and far between phone calls are just not the same.
Peaceful evening clouds.


Thursday 22 September 2022


We had a grey start to the day but this time instead of brightening up it rained culminating in some very heavy showers later in the afternoon.
Back to the grindstone today as our Zoom classes start up once more. There was just time before class to bake a couple of chocolate marble cakes. I chose to make more of the chocolate cake but I'm not sure if that was a good idea. Half of the loaf will stay out for Peter, the other half and the ring will go in the freezer. I'n thinking to pour chocolate ganache over the ring cake when we have visitors to make it a bit more fancy.
The Zoom class today was a gentle easing back with quite a lot of admin to start. The whole class barring one person who left before the end of last year have returned and we've been joined by two new people. I had to run and answer the door halfway through class. It was our builder bringing round a sledgehammer for Peter to use to smash up the bath as so far he has only managed to knock a hole in the panel with his round head clubhammer.
I had hoped to go out for some gardening in the afternoon but the rain put paid to that. Instead I remade this sea glass hanging. I'd come to realise that the piece of driftwood that I'd chosen because it looked 'chunky' did in fact resemble dog poop. Not the best look to have hanging in your window. Today I carefully sawed and dug out the strands of fishing line from the original wood, stuck a plaster over the scrape I'd given my finger and stuck the strands back on a thinner bit of driftwood. I still need to make a better job of attaching the string.
Peter went out on rowing club business and returned with fish and chips. I had some of the fish and a few chips with the usual vegetables for my supper.

Wednesday 21 September 2022


Still dry but with less sunny spells than yesterday.
I'm just glad that the weather was good enough for me to cycle down to the zoo. Coming home I didn't quite make it up the slope but I'm sure I'm getting fitter or at least stronger legs.
I spent five hours weeding this patch of gravel and both sides of the paths. I started by the ferret's cage because for once the ferret, a pale ginger one, was out in his run. He was quite inquisitive and came right up to the wire fence to watch me weeding a few inches away. Usually the ferrets spend the day asleep in their house so that was a little bit of excitement for me. I finished my session by hopping over the barrier to weed the space there. It was easy pulling the weeds from the thin layer of woodchip on top of old carpet but when I got up to the chickens it was the dreaded bindweed again. The last time I cleared that area I had lifted the carpet and dug out a lot of bindweed roots but I must have run out of steam by the time I got up to the chickens. As usual the chickens came up to the fence for the dandelions and other weeds that I pushed through the wire but they don't like bindweed leaves or roots. In the far pen were a group of young guinea fowl given to the zoo by the chap whose house burnt down last year. The original group of guinea fowl had become rather depleted due to their complete lack of self preservation. Along with the peacocks they had always been free roaming and after their lockdown due to avain 'flu in the country they were given their freedom once more. However in the interim the wolf-dogs had had their space extended into what had once been the wallabies' enclosure. Though it has very high fences complete with overhangs it isn't roofed in like the original wolf-dog encloure. The oldest of the guinea fowl flapped and fluttered his way up over the fence and into the run with the wolf-dogs and you can guess what happened. The other guinea fowl watched the sad event and the next day another guinea fowl repeated the fatal leap ..... to the same end. These escapades could have been stopped by clipping their wings but another of the silly birds decided to have a sleep in the middle of the goats' field (that only has a low fence) and got trampled when the goats ran over it on their way for their feed. Now the guniea fowl are locked up for their own safety.
The flowerbed I made by the play area has survived the very dry summer and today the sedums were full of bees.
When I got home it was too late to start the baking I'd planned to do but after a restful coffee I went down to the lawn and began cutting through the grass to outine a path going round the wild patch before any rain washes away the flour circle. I have a horrible feeling my back is going to be aching tonight.