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.

Monday 31 October 2022


Happy Birthday, Romas.
Our youngset, Romas is 33 today. He's had a good year for his music and last winter went on a two week tour of the country with the band CLKWK. They've played more gigs this year and their music has been played a number of times on the radio. All this is in addition to carrying on working full-time and he has also been promoted within the IT dept.
He's still living in Stoke with Laura and in September they came for a visit which cheered us up no end.

Here it has been mainly overcast and not quite as warm as last week. In the morning we drove over to Mach to meet our friends to practice Welsh in the library. We are allowed to bring coffee and bless them they presented us with a box of halloween fondant fancies which along with some cookies that I brought made for a veritable feast. We finished translating another novel written for learners and went over last week's zoom class. One of the features of Welsh is the changing of the initial letter, of certain words after feminine nouns or after many prepositions or in other cases. This is known as mutation and there are at least 3 different kinds. A lot to get your head around and we're only using one set so far. That led to a lot of laughter with much checking of our dictionaries to see if words were masculine or feminine (loaf is feminine but bread is masculine?) and me making a big M with my arms whenever somebody forgot to mutate a word. I find humour is a great way to remember things. This afternoon I've just pottered about while Peter was out on rowing club business.

And now for a few more photos from yesterday's walk.
These funnel mushrooms were growing in a ring (15-20ft) around an old oak tree.
An interesting house in Penrhyn-coch.
The friendly horse and the fence that we stepped over.
A touch of autumn colour.


Sunday 30 October 2022


Today has been mostly sunny and as can be seen from the photo below a few light showers though to begin with it looked and sounded as if we were going to have a day of rain.
Last night the clocks went back an hour which at least makes me feel less guilty about our less than early morning routine. 
The walk today was a valley walk around the village of Penrhyn-coch a few miles inland of Aberystwyth. I'd scouted out the route there using Google street view but hadn't gone quite far enough along the road and parked in a pull-in 100yds from the car park meeting place. However a member of the group spotted me and another lady who had also parked there and waved us on. 
Because of the risk of heavy showers we didn't go right to the top of the hills but walked along half-way up the slope towards our destination of an old lead mine.

Today it was the trees that were the star of the show. We walked beside what looked to be an old greenway (farm lane) the sides of which were lined by a variety of trees; ancient oaks, hawthorn, ash, hazel, rowan and blackthorn. The blackthorn we saw was smothered in fat sloe berries. Great for making sloe gin if you're that way inclined.
At one point we came to an untidy stop when the new small gate across the public footpath was found to be tied up with baler twine that was impossible to undo. The wire fence next to it looked to be new but unfinished and while I and a couple of others were quite happy to step over the fence there were others who seemed reluctant to the point of outright refusal. (It may be illegal to step over a fence but it's also illegal to tie up a gate across a public right of way so I don't see what their problem was.) Fortunately the farmer came out of his nearby house and invited the remainder of the group to use the gate at the top end of the field which had also been tied up with twine but was easier to undo. While all that was going on I was getting some welcoming sniffs of my hand from the shaggy horse whose field it was.
The chap who organises the walks is very interested in old mines so after stopping for lunch above the mine we made a diversion to view the culvert that had been constructed to run a water wheel to power the mine workings. One of the group pointed out that this was part of a less than glorious past when miners often died by 40 from the dangerous and toxic conditions and children also worked in the mines.
Then down the hill to see the ruined mine buildings with a scramble up over the steep spoil heap of small slate chippings followed by more scrambling down the other side of the heap. I followed a couple of fellow walkers who'd been that way before and skipped the final slide down the spoil heap by simply walking along the field above it.
Eventually we made our way up the other side of the valley. The black specks in the sky are red kites, a group of which were lazily circling in a thermal. One of them came low and close but never long enough for me to get a decent photo.
From there it was an easy walk back down along the road and through the village to the cars.
When I got home Peter was out, although it was too rough to go out for a row they had been trialing the new trolley they've had made for getting the boat down the beach to the water. The old one was falling apart and Peter was able to get the design for the type they used in Devon which is easier to use. A bonus when you have a steep slipway and soft sand to go across. By the time he got home it was time for a relaxing evening watching Strictly.


Saturday 29 October 2022


Today has been warm with frequent gentle rain. 
Despite the warmth it hasn't been a day for working outside. My only outside time has been spent standing in the kitchen doorway watching the wonderful clouds above the crowds of surfers.
Peter went off to town to do the shopping and called in at the builders merchants to order the white guttering and a bag of top soil. It's a funny place and because it was a sizeable order they gave him a discount. I know that if you're a 'trade' customer there's a hefty discount as I've put things through our builder's account before when they were for a job he was working on such as the paving slabs. 
I stayed home to do the housework and admin followed by baking a batch of peanut butter and chocolate cookies. Then I made some more felted balls and acorns using a wet felting technique and left them in the cooling oven to dry out. Just a bit of fun to see what happens.

Ta dah! I got yesterday's photos off the memory card. Peter has given me his card reader which at first wouldn't work (who knew there were different types of USB port on the front of a pc?) but then did. I've also found my small Nikon but it takes rechargeable AA batteries and we only have AAA rechargeables. Another thing to buy. For the time being I'll still be using the bigger camera and taking out the memory card to get them onto the pc.

No wonder everyone's render and garden walls eventually crack with the pounding the cliffs get.


Friday 28 October 2022


The day began with a couple of showers but then came sunshine and a warm wind.
Today has been a day of ups and downs. - 
First an up. The rain had just stopped when it was time for me to go to the surgery for my blood test so I was able to walk there. Much better than driving the very short distance. I don't have any problems with needles and my veins are nice easy ones. It was a bit painful during the second vial being taken but I didn't say anything. Instead I waved my bruised toe at the nurse hoping for some sympathy, which I got and confirmation that there wasn't anything else to be done. Walking home the sun was shining outlining the waves in the brightest white. Some of the waves hitting the cliffs were exploding dramatically almost to the height of the cliffs. That was too good a photo oportunity to miss so as soon as I got home, after chatting to the neighbours on the way, I changed into wellies and grabbed my camera. Back to the beach I went and took lots and lots of photos.
Now for one of today's downs - having looked through my photos and zoomed in on the best splashes I went to upload the photos onto my pc. Only to find the dodgy usb port had finally given up the ghost and I can no longer get the usb lead into it. I could take the photos straight off the memory card but this pc doesn't have a slot for memory cards and I'll need to buy a plug-in card reader. Annoyingly one of my jobs for this weekend was to get my smaller Nikon up and running so that I would have a lighter alternative to my main camera that was a bit better than my camera phone. The quality of the phone camera is fine but I have difficulty in composing the shots and if I zoom in fully the quality deteriorates. 
Now for the next down. Peter had back to back meetings from lunchtime (he's still out) but at last had found time for me to cut his hair. Out came the clippers but could I get them to work? No. The screws often need adjusting but it wasn't the case today. I've worked out that it needs some oil but there wasn't time to check out what kind to use. I do remember that a small tube of special oil came with the clippers when I bought them 30 years ago but as you may guess I haven't been doing anything to maintain the clippers in recent years. Then suddenly I find that Peter has begun cutting his hair with his beard trimmer and needed me to finish off what was looking like a very strange haircut. 
With bits of hair on the floor once Peter had gone I thought I might as well get out the hoover and carry on to hoover up those awkward places not reached by the daily going over with the swiffer. I pushed the sofa away from the wall and apart from discovering many dead woodlice (Peter sweeps up a fair number every day.) I could see that we definitely have damp creeping up the walls by the French doors. Not only are the walls marked and beginning to grow mildew but so also was the lining of one of the big curtains. That turned a little hoovering into a major cleaning job with mildew cleaner and a bucket of soapy water. Followed by bringing in the dehumdifier to do its job. I carried on with my cleaning and wiped down the frames of the French doors, washed the kitchen floor and then went outside to brush and wash the outside sills.
I was about to carry on hoovering when the day took an upturn. A ring on the doorbell and it was our builder to say he should be installing the bathroom window in a week or so. It all depends on the weather as the recent heavy rains after a hot and dry summer have caused a lot of problems which he's being called out to urgently. While he was here I showed him the damp, which he has been keeping an eye on and he agreed that we probably need a damp course injected into the solid walls. He'll pass on the phone number of a reliable firm and we'll have to get it done. There's no point in thinking because we can't see the damp behind the internally insulated house walls that it isn't there.
Before he left I took him outside to show him the blocks I'd stuck to the outside of the raised bed that he and Rob built. He said lots of nice things about it, he's a kind person, and seemed impressed that I'd been able to do it. That counts as an up.
Another up, sort of was realising the reason my feet and lower legs feel icy cold when we're watching tv in the evening (even with a throw over them) is that without skirting boards at the bottom of the walls on either side of the big window there are large gaps leading to the void under the floor which no doubt has the cold wind whistling through it. I'd convinced myself that I had a nerve condition linked to type 2 diabetes which causes the lower legs to feel cold even when they're not. I'm terrified of getting type 2 diabetes as I like to know that every now and again I can indulge in my love of sweet things. That is another reason that I do my best to keep to a healthy weight.
I ended up hoovering the corners of every room and all of the motley collection of rugs in our bedroom before hanging out the washing I'd thrown in the machine. (Best go and get that in now.) My last small job outside was to move around a couple of the big pots containing the acers. The redundant back door to thegarage keeps blowing open but now I've jammed one of the acers up against it. 
As I said a day of ups and downs.


Thursday 27 October 2022


It's been another warm day, 20C/68F according to my PC though that might be the temperature in London which is where my antivirus tells the world I am. All day long the clouds have been racing across the sky blown by a warm southerly wind. That gave a chance for my washed zoo work trousers to dry on the line. 
Straight after breakfast I headed out for the long walk to the other end of the village to post some cards to Canada. When I quizzed the postmaster about the length of time for the post to get there it turns out not quite to be the case. That date was for surface mail ie by boat while the last posting date for airmail is 10th December. I ended up getting the cards stamped for airmail but taking them back home to put in the post box nearer the time. (I didn't feel like trusting the boat, you never know what might happen.) When I checked the Post Office web site for the third time I could see that the dates for the airmail service were buried in with 'International Tracking and Signature Service' and called International Standard. No sign of the word Airmail anywhere. No wonder I got confused.
If I had to go to the other end of the village then of course that made it a beach walk. Just a shame it was nearly high tide and I was forced to walk on the uneven shingle. Not the best for my poorly toe.
I admitted defeat on the return journey and walked home along the pavement stopping at the pharmacy to collect my prescription and at the shop for some milk. 
Then it was time for Welsh class. Today's class was all about had; I had, you had and Did you have? Looking at those simple phrases highlights the strange ways we ask questions in both English and Welsh. In Welsh (or at least as far we have got) there is no difference in the wording of a statement and a question. The only way you know it's a question is by the tone of the voice or a question mark at the end of the sentence. While we can indicate a question by changing emphasis and intonation (try I am happy./I am happy?) it gets more confusing to an English speaker used to either changing the order of words to indicate a question. I am eating/ Am I eating? or adding did and using the present tense I had a cake/ Did I have a cake
After the class I was out again. this time to collect a piece of kitchen worktop I'd seen advertised on the local FB page for £5. It is a grey speckled pattern which will fit in with the planned blue, white and grey bathroom colour scheme and exactly the right size to make the top for the spare cupboard. Peter did suggest taking the car but as it was only a short distance I thought I'd walk. A bit of a mistake as my arms were not quite long enougth to carry the worktop comfortably. At least the walk home was all downhill.
The last row of dwarf french beans didn't grow very tall but are cropping well. I'll be having beans with my supper tonight while Peter is out at a Borth 2030 meeting looking into the feasability of future projects for the village.

 Hopeful surfers.

Wednesday 26 October 2022


The morning brought warmth and a mix of sunshine and showers plus a double rainbow or at least part of one. At the zoo I'd been working without a coat when we had a real downpour. I tried to work on in my coat but had to give up and go and shelter in the animal food prep kitchen until the sun came out again.
A quick update on yesterday - no phone call from the doctor, she must have spotted that I'm having bloods taken on Friday and no delivery of a second vanity unit. Guess that was just an admin mix up. Pilates last night seemed more useful at least until I bent my toe backwards on my mat. It was painful at the time but I didn't say anything, you don't do you? but it was blue when I got home and deep purple by bedtime. Dramatically purple and red today, painful and a bit swollen but I'm sure it's not broken.

I drove down to the zoo and spent most of four hours weeding this 'moat'. There were a lot of weeds on top which unfortunately had already seeded but the majority of my work was carefully rolling back the pieces of carpet and digging out the dreaded bindweed roots. I had a go at digging out the bindweed nearer to the path in the spring and today I dug right down by the fence unearthing great handfuls of the spaghetti like roots. I pulled out a particularily tenacious root from under the fencing with a triumphant "Yes!" just as a man walked past which gave him a bit of a surprise. Being half-term there were a lot of visitors in the zoo with most children clutching treasure hunt sheets. As well as looking for different animals they had to find signs with pictures of bones or pumpkins. As one family walked past me the little boy shouted excitedly "Look, a lady!" That made me smile. I had a couple of nice conversations with visitors about the zoo and what I was doing. Once the weeding was done I planted some knautia seedlings, quite a few on the premise that at least some might survive. Because of the carpet under the thin layer of woodchip I had to plant along the edges which isn't ideal but might still work. I planted the phytostegia in the flowerbed by the wolf-dogs where it can fight with the mint at one end and with the vinca in the damp at the other end.
Seeing Mr Pea walking free always excites the children. One mum asked if we had cut his tail feathers to stop him flying off but I explained that it was just the normal moulting process.
Back home it was warm enough to sit outside to do some paperwork and enjoy the view. No choir tonight as our teacher looking after her grandchildren for half-term.


Tuesday 25 October 2022


The day began with bright blue skies which began clouding over from the morning. At least there was no rain and there was enough of a breeze to make it worthwhile hanging washing on the line. 
For some reason I'd woken in a grouchy mood, maybe because I didn't have a plan of work for the day at least not one that involved being outside. I'd checked that they had all the guttering bits I needed at Screwfix only to find that they don't deliver the actual gutters. At 3m long no way could we fit them in the car and we were even contemplating taking the camper down to collect them. However Peter did a bit more searching and another local builders merchants has what we need and will deliver. First he's going there to check that they have the right items as they can be a bit careless over the phone.
Then I decided to carry on tidying up the back garden. Lots of weeding of tiny stuff before I was able to dig up the two sage plants which had become too large for the herb garden. Now they're up in the raised bed next to the herb garden and once they've got over the shock of being dug up I'm sure they'll be fine. That gives the thymes room to spread. To finish off I spread some very fine gravel on top of the soil. This gravel had been on top of the concrete base of the greenhouse that once stood in the same spot.
I'm currently waiting for a phone call from the GP to review my medications. That seems a bit back to front as I'm going to the surgery for a blood test for my medication review on Friday morning. You'd think they'd want to see the results of the blood tests first. But if they don't ring within the next half an hour I'll be gone to pilates anyway. This morning's text said after 10.00 so it could have been anytime today.
The replacement sink cupboard arrived at 12.00 today and this time there's no damage. They're very good at letting us know by text when the delivery van is arriving. However Peter has just had another text saying they will be delivering at 6.00. That's strange unless the emails I sent complaining I hadn't heard anything have triggered a second replacement. But I only arranged the delivery date once and though it was originally for yesterday they let us know in good time that it would be today.
While the Post Office was on my mind yesterday I thought I'd be organised and check the last posting date for Christmas cards to Canada. A good thing I did because shock horror, the last posting date is Monday October 31st. That's almost eight weeks! What are they doing, tying the mail bags to the feet of passing pigeons? I'm shocked that it takes that long for a card to get to Canada or The States. And if you were planning on sending a card to other countries it's already too late. The postal service has gone downhill since they made it an independant company. And they treat the workers dreadfully. No wonder the postal workers keep going on strike.

Monday 24 October 2022


Another day of heavy showers and getting colder. Didn't see any rainbows either. It feels so miserable when I'm stuck indoors, especially when it doesn't feel warm. Not cold but not cosy either.
In the morning I went to post off the chocolates. Now that the nearby shop has closed its Post Office counter I had to find the Borth Post Office. According to the map it was in the turning leading to the station but when I drove down there I couldn't see anything. Luckily the postman was there delivering letters from his van and directed me to further along the High Street. It's an ordinary bungalow with a post box on the garden wall and a couple of the small oval logo signs on the house wall. I walked through the garden to the front door. Not sure of the accepted procedure I rang the doorbell before seeing another sign inside pointing to a door off the hallway. What you are supposed to do is go through the front door and then into what must have been the dining room. Opening that door rings a bell and the postmaster then arrives from whatever he was doing in the house. The room has the usual high counter with glass partition but on the customer side there are shelves of secondhand books and dvds. I guess they come in useful for the people in the caravan parks when it's raining. A real village Post Office. I asked and yes, he offers the same banking services as any other Post Office which is useful to know. 
Although it didn't rain when I was out, which was why I'd driven down, we've had some very heavy showers during the day. There was enough of a dry spell in the afternoon for me to weed the back garden and to move a couple of plants. I also pulled up the nasturiums which had self sown in the pebbles and sprawled all over the place. One had even gone half-way up the wall trellis with leaves as big as side plates.
This is Speedy's cosy spot during the day. I bought it for him when we were still in Devon so that he would have a familiar bed when we moved but he never slept in it. Until recently it's been ignored on the living room floor as the sofa and armchair are much more comfortable. But as he also likes to sleep on the bed in my study I thought I'd bring the fluffy nest in here. I tempted him into it with a few cheese and onion crisp crumbs (he likes cheese and onion but I'm sure the salt isn't good for him) and that did the trick. He sleeps all day in the nest, wakes and fusses for his supper after which he moves to my lap where he is now. Night times are for being outside.

Sunday 23 October 2022


Despite the grey skies today stayed dry, right up until the evening when eventually the rain fell. It has also been incredibly warm again. Walking on the beach I saw children and some adults in shorts and t-shirts and our neighbours and their children were in the water without wetsuits.
I chose not to go on the walk today. Yesterday, when the details came through I saw that though not far away the way there was quite complicated with many turns down small lanes. I coudn't spot the meeting point on Google maps and unfortunately street view didn't cover the area so I couldn't have a virtual recce. Added to that was that it was only a woodland walk. I say only because my true passion is for being high up in rocky landscapes. Instead I went out for a stroll along the beach.
It was so warm down on the beach that although I was wearing a jacket in case it rained, I ended up having to carry my jacket before I melted.
I began my walk by checking out the rock pools as was a toddler and his mum. Having enthusiastically waved his net at a shoal of tiny fish and then fallen over as he stepped into a deeper pool I distracted away the tears by showing him some sea anemones. It's at times like those that I think how nice it would be to have grandchildren to introduce to the wonders of the natural world. 
Lots of families with children and dogs out on the beach today, next week is half-term so I expect the village to be relatively busy all week.

When I got home I removed the brown guttering and brackets but unfortunately the wall is too lumpy to move the brackets right up to the top so white guttering it will have to be. At least I tried. That done I did a bit of hedge trimming and then some weeding of the planted up beds. One plant that got the chop was the phytostegia I'd bought in Morrisons as a 'cottage garden' flower. I wasn't impressed with the flowers which turned out to be quite small and was thinking about taking it out anyway. When I poked around it what I at first thought were self-sown seedlings turned out to be new shoots growing from underground stems. No surprise when it turns out to be a member of the mint family (the shape of the flowers should have been a clue). So I removed the parent plant, dug out all the rhizomes and will weed out anything that grows back. Now I'm wondering if I should rescue it and take it to fill up one of the flower beds at the zoo.
The sun was shining on the terrace late in the afternoon which tempted me to do some felting sitting outside. During last week's walk I'd quickly collected some acorns in their cups thinking I might paint the acorns, something I'd seen on FB. However by the time I got home the acorns had fallen out of their cups and although I could glue tham back in some of them were a bit rotten. Instead I thought I could make felted acorns. (I probably got the idea from FB as well.) I haven't stuck them in yet but I quite like the red acorns and will do some in other colours too. Just for fun.