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.

Tuesday 31 January 2023


Quite a lot of sun again today.
We had to be up promptly this morning because the damp course man was coming first thing. There's some damp around the front door but it's really bad in the bit of wall to the left of the French doors in the sitting room. There it's gone up at least 6ft making both the wall and the curtain damp. It's not nice to see the paint flaking off and mildew appearing on what was a pristine white wall. The side wall has insulated plasterboard (sheetrock) on the inside and my biggest worry was that the rest of the house walls might also be as damp. But no, the chap this morning said that because it faces straight out to sea the damp section should not have been plastered straight onto the blockwork. It should have been 'tanked' with a special sand and cement mix first. He also said that having heavy curtains stops the wall from drying out. I'll just have to not pull the curtains so far over. I'd been thinking he would say we needed a chemical damp course injected into the house wall from the outside but he says taking off the plaster and tanking will be sufficient. That may be cheaper but think of all the mess, and just after I've blitzed the whole room. 
Even with the prospect of all that mess (when we can get our builder to come and do it) I shall carry on with my house blitz. Today I began sorting out the sitting room desk drawers. They are not big drawers but were home to little bits left over from ongoing craft projects as well as the things that should be in there. One drawer is finished and the second almost done. However the good weather was calling me outside and I knew there were weed seedlings popping up in the front garden. Better to pull them out now before they become established or even produce seeds. I wrapped up against the cold wind and had a peaceful time weeding. 
More photos from yesterday.- There were a number of red kites, some circling in the thermals but most just drifting past. I should have enlarged the above photo as it was the best one I took but I hadn't worked out how to enlarge and save before I took the photos off the memory card. I saw a sparrowhawk too but it dropped down below the top of the cliff before I could take a photo.

Oystercatchers at Aberwennol.
As I passed by the Memorial it looked as if every seagull in the bay had decided to meet up for a cosy chat near our beach. They were back again today. To be accurate there is no specific bird as a seagull, they are all different types of gulls but I still think of them as seagulls. Ours are mainly herring gulls and black headed gulls. The herring gulls must have hatched their chicks early in the winter because already I can hear the plaintive and annoying cries, a sort of whistle, of the large mottled brown fledgelings sitting on the roofs and begging their parents for food.


Monday 30 January 2023

A Cliff Walk.

Looking inland this morning all I could see were clouds but out to sea the sun was shining around a few fluffy clouds. The wind was blowing from the north and very cold so I wrapped up well before heading out for the walk I'd promised myself. 
Before I walked out of the door I checked the mirror and realised that it looked like I'd overdone the co-ordination. Purple jacket, purple fleece neckwarmer and yes a light purple hoody too. Not to mention a pair of sparkly lilac earings. I'm only wearing those because they have the thickest and smoothest hooks which I need to re-establish the holes in my ears. The over abundance of purple is down to the fact that I tend to buy clothes in a limited colour palette, black, more black and for variety purple or grey. 
And now for the walk - above- looking back to the first section where I've climbed up to the Memorial, down to Aberwennol beach and up the next bit.
Looking back again, once you're on top of the cliff the path is fairly level and the views are fantastic but every now and again you have to drop down to a combe (I don't know what they call them in Wales) or a beach. The National Trust maintains the coast path repairing the steps or re-routing the path when bits fall into the sea.
Sometimes the dips are small but more often on this coast they are steep and long. 
As I climbed the long flight of steps (on the right of the fence) to the high point my thoughts turned to how in past times the Borth women, many of them widows would make their way along the same route to town. This was in the days when Borth was just a row of fishermens cottages on a shingle bank. The boats would bring in the herring catch to shore where the women would clean the fish and pack them or cockles harvested from the beach into large baskets that they carried on their backs and walk seven miles along the cliffs to Aberystwyth. Bent over with their black clothing flapping in the wind these women were known as the Black Crows of Borth and to this day crows are part of folk art in the village. How their backs must have suffered and remember there were no handy steps going up the slopes or wooden bridges across the streams in the combes. 
The same set of steps viewed from the top and yes it is a long way down. Not a route for those with a fear of heights.
Looking inland.
I planned to see where walking for an hour would get me which was this point. I walked on a little further but there was a very steep descent into the next bay and the equivalent upwards on the far side so I decided to make this my turn around point.
I stopped in this sheltered dip for a bit, watching a sailing boat and enjoying a couple of squares of chocolate from my emergency rations. I mangaed not to have to carry a backpack by stuffing the essentials into my pockets and slinging my camera across my back. As it is so much larger and heavier I left my new phone at home and took my tiny dumb phone. I rang Peter just to test it and it worked fine though if I was going for a really long walk or up into the hills I'd bring the new phone.
I was out on my walk for just over two hours, took lots of photos, saw red kites, a sparrowhawk and oystercatchers and had a stroll on a beach as well. Not a bad outing though my knee is grumbling tonight.

Sunday 29 January 2023


Today has been grey but not too cold with some dampness in the air in the morning.
The group walk this afternoon was a memorial walk for a past member which was to include a visit to his newly erected headstone and tea in a village hall hosted by the family. As I didn't know this person I thought it wouldn't be appropriate to join the group today. Instead I planned to go for a long walk either along the cliff or out to Ynyslas.
But then I realised this would be a very good time to clear the section of the little lane that runs behind the back garden. There are a number of these small lanes or alleys that run between the gardens I'm guessing to provide access. They don't belong to the properties and are not rights-of-way but I've noticed that our neighbour across the road mows the one that runs beside his garden. In 'our' lane the house on the corner (two houses along from us) seems to have approriated the lane in that they have removed the fence next to their house and have planted a hedge next to the fence on the far side of the lane. ('Scuse the roughness of my plan. I can't make a document from scratch and I thought this would be quicker than drawing and then photographing my scribbles and the fill/flood tool doesn't work in my Paint programme.)
In the UK almost every garden or yard, however small has a fence, wall or hedge usually 4-6ft high around it as the Brits value privacy and this includes the boundary next to a house. The house in question along with most of the houses up here, was built in the days when there were no planning restrictions about how close you could build to your boundary so their light would be restricted if they did have a fence. On the plus side they are mowing the grass at least up to our back garden even though their back garden extends further. The bit behind us had some overgrown old chain link fencing and junk stopping anyone from using a mower there. I hacked at all the grass, dug up what I could of the stinging nettles, removed and bagged up the rubbish and fencing to take to the dump and moved branches and the remains of a very large garden pot so that either I can strim or hopefully the neighbours will mow. Further down the lane there are brambles and the hedges are growing inwards and I know that one house has the heating oil tank sitting in the lane as well but I can't be clearing behind other people's gardens and my ribs hurt enough as it is. The daft thing is that we and our immediate neighbours have no access from our gardens and can't even see into the lane but it would be a shame to let it become totally overgrown. 

A bit more fun with the camera. This is the Llyn Peninsula which I know is 31 miles away and I think the town is Pwllheli.
This morning our lifeboat crew were joined by the Aberdyfi crew in their Atlantic B class lifeboat for joint training. The Borth D class lifeboat looks tiny in comparison but comes into its own when rescuing people from the bottom of cliffs.


Saturday 28 January 2023

A Camera Day.

Sunny in the morning, clouding over in the afternoon.
It feels like the whole day has been taken up with the new camera. I charged the battery up yesterday but I needed to download the handbook and look at a number of videos on Youtube before I felt ready to start taking photos. I thought I had a major problem to start with when I couldn't find a dial to adjust the focus of the viewfinder. Turns out it's under the viewfinder rather than at the side as in most other cameras. The problem I do have is that I can't find the USB cable. It was there when we unpacked the camera at Currys and I'm sure I brought it home but maybe I didn't. I'll give them a ring tomorrow to check. In the meantime I've searched everywhere inculding under furniture as Speedy likes flicking pens and wires around but all to no avail. Peter has found me an alternative cable and I'm going to take the photos off the memory card anyway. When I managed to stop the tracking square from whizzing about in the viewfinder I went out and took some photos to compare with the final photos taken with the Nikon. 
Above - taken with the Nikon at maximum optical zoom and below the same view taken with the Canon. (A different light as it took a while to set up the Canon.)
Canon zoomed in even more,
and at maximum optical zoom.

Above - maximum zoom on the Nikon of the far end of the village and Aberdyfi beyond.
Same view taken with the Canon,
and below, maximum zoom. Aberdyfi, on the hillside is five and a half miles away.
This is a promotory right across the bay but as I'm still not sure which it is on the map I can't give at a distance.
Overall I'm very happy with the new camera. I've already lengthened the strap as I like to have the camera slung behind me on my hip. That does mean I have to pick it up before I sit down on the ground so that I don't knock the camera.

Friday 27 January 2023


Sort of a wintry grey day today.
For me it was a town day which began with a visit to the dentist. This was only for a check up but as I had spotted already a small filling on the side of a tooth had fallen out and needs replacing. I tried to persuade the dentist to do it there and then but there wasn't enough time. So that's booked for next week, paid for in advance as is an appointment with the hygienist in May. That all came to nearly £300, ouch!
After that there was no option to head to Pwdin which is only a few doors along from the dentist. To further my Welsh language skills I had no choice but to buy two chocolate brownies. I'm so proud of my converstion which went like this (in Welsh of course.) "Good morning. May I have two cakes please? ......... May I have one with white chocolate and one with brown chocolate? ......... May I pay by card. ....... Thank-you." You might notice the similar word pattern there but I was on a roll. It had to be two brownies because then I got to use the feminine version of 2 and 3 mutations . Well worth all the calories. I'm not too sure what all the other half of the conversation was but at least it was a conversation in Welsh something I'm usually far too shy to initiate. 
I checked out a few of the charity shops and came across this Babar book with an inscription dated 1982. These books take me right back to my childhood. The cover was in French and I thought I might see how far I could get with my limited French skills but inside it was in Welsh which will be just as useful.
I did a little food shopping and saving the best till last went into Currys where my camera was waiting for me. After hearing from Jessops (why do the shops' names not have an apostrophe when clearly there should be?) I was still doubtful if they would have it but there it was. I haven't taken any photos yet as by the time the battery was charged up the sun was almost gone. Can't wait until tomorrow.
We can't quite see the sunset from here yet but this evening the setting sun bathed the village and the mountains behind in a beautiful golden light.


Thursday 26 January 2023


We had a bright and sunny start to the day with just a few clouds appearing later. There was enough of a breeze to tempt me into hanging some washing out on the line. The wind picked up later bringing colder temperatures but it helped get the washing half dry.
In the end I decided to keep the phone. Peter helped me to change the close down time to 30 minutes rather than 30 seconds and eventually we found a way to get to my emails. So now I'll be carrying 3 phones around with me until I give the new number to the places that need it.
Today's job was to re-oil the kitchen worktop. I gave it a light sanding first and sanded out a long scratch that had appeared a while back. I think I used a bit too much of the oil which then had to be wiped off. I'll know better next year. The worktop looks so nice completely clear but there are always a few things that need to be to hand.
And it was Zoom day again. I did my Duo Lingo beforehand and just by chance I got to practise 'to have' which we carried on with in our lesson. Then we moved onto numbers, oh boy! When we first tackled numbers I soon learnt them by shouting out the scores in Strictly and the bigger numbers were very logical eg 49 is four ten nine. But now not only is there another number name system which we haven't come to yet but if the noun the number refers to is feminine 1,2,3,4 are different again. For 1 or 2 the following feminine noun gets a soft mutation and for 2 the following masculine noun also gets a soft mutation. And for further confusion when you're using the verb 'to have' the numbers themselves get a soft mutation. A good thing we also learnt the useful phrase - 'sgen i ddim syniad.' which means 'I have no idea.'
My day finished off with disco aerobics which was fun though I wish I'd remembered to wear my trainers. Instead I walked down in my sheepskin short boots and had to do the session wearing those. There's too much spinning around to dance in bare feet. I know because I tried bare feet the first time I went. My poor feet were very hot by the time I got home.

Wednesday 25 January 2023


It has been raining for most of the day, sometimes lightly, sometimes more heavily with things brightening up later in the day.
The monotonal grey sky is a pretty good reflection of how things have been today. Nothing serious in comparison to the woes of the world but I will admit to having been reduced to tears. And all by my phone, the new 5G phone to be exact. I'd planned to work through the set-up yesterday when the builders were here but did other stuff instead. As there are only a few days until the return period runs out I decided to calmly go through the instructions which the chap had told me were on the phone. Sure enough I got the phone up and running but was driven to utter distraction by the ***** thing turning off if I looked away or at the pc for help for 30 seconds. And unlike the pc it didn't need a simple shake or touch to bring it back to life but as I'm sure everyone else knows it was a matter of pressing a button, then swiping and finally typing in the password. How does everyone cope with such irritating inefficiency? Nobody would buy a pc that worked like that. I'm quite happy navigating around my pc and using everything on it but smart phones are totally new to me. All Peter could hear coming out of my study were yells of frustration and some extremly bad language. To be fair he did come when I couldn't understand the technical language though half the time he (an ex-IT systems manager,) didn't know what they were talking about either. What is a beta programme and why is it full? So far I've; found out what my phone number is, can make phone calls, downloaded WhatsApp possibly several times but have got no further in joining the walking group's one, picked a ring tone but don't know why it is talking about sim1 and sim2 (Dr Seus?) and changed the background. So it looks like all I would be using the phone for is the very occasional phone call. Hardly worth Peter paying £60 a year. I did think about keeping the phone for a year to see how much I did use it and maybe by then I might see one of our sons who could help me but apparently once you agree to the contract it's for years. So at the moment it looks as if the phone is going back. I can make phone calls and get texts on Peter's old phone though the signal isn't very good. But on the plus side there's no password.
The latest phase of the 'house blitz' did not go too well either. I only had one task to do, remove the silicone sealant along the back of the kitchen sink, clean off the black mould/rot developing under it and apply more sealant. Taking off the old sealant was easy, scraping out the black not so easy. there was only a thin line but at Dingles the old beech kitchen worktop lost a noticable amount of wood next to the sink because of water damage. Admitedly that was over 25 years and I didn't keep oiling the wood but I'd like to keep this worktop in as good condition as possible. Then came applying the sealant and I always forget just how bad I am at that particular job. First, although I cleared the top of the part-used tube of sealant I forgot about cleaning out the long nozzle which had old sealant stuck in it. Lucikly I found a spare nozzle but I don't think I did a very good job of getting it into the join between the sink and the worktop or cleaning up afterwards. 
On a cheerier note yet more tile samples arrived today. There is a new tile centre on the industrial estate that I will go and check out but that's about the only place in town where you can go to look at tiles. Instead I've been searching on-line for the bathroom tiles. I know exactly what I want, white gloss with a little faint grey marbling to stop the bathroom from looking like a laboratory from a horror film. And we would prefer to have large 60cms square tiles though 60 x 30 cms might do. So far all the samples have either had a grey backgound, too dark for a large area with just a small window or a cream background that doesn't look good against the white sink and cupboards. We've chosen the grey speckled non-slip lino for safety and will have the upper halves of the walls in a pale blue (probably). Today a possible contender for the tiles arrived with the latest batch of samples. The one next to the blue below. It has the nearest to white background and faint grey streaks. Next step is to pay for a full size tile as looking on-line some of the room photos show more marbling. Better to buy one tile than find out too late they're not quite what we want.
Off soon for some peaceful singing with the choir. We sing a lot of meditative songs and they are very calming. Our teacher also runs a Taize music group which I may join one day. Taize music 'often takes the structure of a simple repeated melody and is meant to serve as a music centering prayer.' My mother went to Taize several times and I know she got a lot from being there. Often in Latin because of the catholic and multi national congreagations there are prayers in English too. O, Lord hear my prayer. is utterly beautiful.
Better go and dress warmly for the chilly village hall.

Tuesday 24 January 2023

Window Woes.

I knew it was too good to be true. This is both the before and the after photo of our bathroom. Because as you may have surmised, the window did not get installed today.
Anticipating the messy job of making a hole in the house wall yesterday I took down all the pictures and banners from the hall. I got up in good time this morning and it was only as I was pinning up the last sheet of plastic over the bathroom door that Peter asked me if I had taken into consideration the flue from our outside boiler which is on the other side of the wall. Well I hadn't but thought that Peter could have mentioned it when I was first drawing up plans for the bathroom all those months ago. We made some quick measurements and decided that in the interest of getting the window in it could be turned 90 degrees so that we would have a tall thin window instead of a long thin window. However when the builder turned up he wasn't too sure about that and then when he made the measurements the flue would still be in the way. What tipped me over the edge as far as my mood was concerned was hearing the builder say that he'd talked about the flue with Peter months ago and said we needed to get the plumber to move the flue over. So now no window and we have to wait for the plumber to come and move the flue and then wait for however long until the builder can come and fit the window.
After all that I cycled down to the zoo for a relaxing few hours of weeding. I finished weeding the gravel area I'd started last week which included digging up about a third of it with a hand hoe to loosen the pebbles from the packed mud. By the time I'd done that I'd cooled down mentally while at the same time warming up enough to take my coat off. Next I weeded out one of the moats by the hens and guinea fowl. Although guinea fowl make a raucous alarm call once they calm down they can produce quite melodious cooing and bubbling sounds. Before leaving the zoo I went and chatted to another volunteer who was working with the wolf-dogs. They are both very timid and rarely let anyone touch them so my friend has been training them. Right now she is getting them to touch their noses to a tennis ball on the end of a stick. Not only will that help them to get used to people but it will also help if a vet needs to look at them without sedating them.
As I cycled home I noticed my front tyre was a bit soft so that will have to be pumped up before I venture out again. Once home all I wanted to do was to flop on the sofa but first I emptied out the last section of the larder and washed out all 15 of the plastic tubs. Only then did I make a coffee and have a restful hour watching Call the Midwife. There was just time to put all the food and tubs back in the cupboard before getting ready for Pilates. We did some press ups tonight which normally I can't do at all but tonight we did the easier versions first and then I had a reasonable attempt (sort of). It was pitch black as I walked home as the street lights along the High St. were out. There are some road works going on and they've dug up a lot of the pavement which must have affected the lights. 

Monday 23 January 2023

Possible Good News.

Bright with enough of a breeze today to make it worth hanging washing out on the line.
Today's extra job was to blitz the bottom section of the food cupboard. I washed out the plastic tubs and generally sorted and rearranged all the tins, jars and packets. A small number of items have been thrown out but in general it was a matter of organising things and thinking about ways to use up some of the stuff that has been there for a while. We stock up on some items because every now and again they disappear from the supermarket shelves and also the local shop is a lot more expensive than going into town. 
A couple of good things happened today, firstly I've had an email from Curry's saying my order ie the new camera, is in store ready to collect. There's still a faint doubt in my mind but I'll see when I go to the store. Secondly, and this is a biggie - the builder came round this evening and dropped in the bathroom window frame with the promise that they will be here tomorrow to fit it. Once it gets to this stage he's generally reliable so maybe by tomorrow evening we'll have a window. I chose the window dimensions to allow for the shower but I have to say I'm a bit surprised at quite how small the actual glass is. But that is how it is.

A few more photos from yesterday.
The ruined house where we stopped for lunch.
Barns still being used for storage.
It's hard to imagine 17 of us had just been sitting inside eating our lunch.
At the start of our walk we passed a field of rare breed Balwen Welsh Mountain sheep. The breed originated in the Tywi valley on the border of Ceredigion. All of the current Balwen sheep are descended from a single ram and a number of ewes that were the few survivors of the harsh winter of '46/'47. Numbers had been declining proir to that due to the change from sheep farming to forestry plantations. Balwen means white blaze though according to Google translate, not the most reliable source, the whole word translates as mud. My dictionary says mud is mwd.


Sunday 22 January 2023

A Walk in the Woods.

Dry, grey and not too cold today.
At last I made it out for a Sunday afternoon walk. 17 of us met up at Tal y Bont for an 'easy' walk through the surrounding woods and fields. We ended up walking 5 miles and I suspect it may have been a little hard going for a few of us with various health conditions but we slowed down when needed and we all made it in the end. Not that there is much alternative once you've set out. 
The beginning and end of the walk took us through the woods which had been planted up with an experimental mix of native and non-native species. I don't know if a follow up had come to any conclusions about this method of planting.
From the woods we walked across the fields to the ruins of an old cottage next to which were some farm buildings that are still in use. We sat inside the shell of the cottage to eat lunch though after a substantial breakfast of porridge followed by a croisssant I just had a small peanut butter sandwich and a cup of coffee. 
Then back across more fields, through some wet and muddy patches, past a farm and out onto a lane.
That took us to a viewpoint where we could see right across the bog to Ynyslas and Aberdyfi across the river. Borth (not in the picture) is off to the left-hand side.

Down the lane, past a well maintained farm after which we went across more muddy fields and back into the woods before arriving back at Tal y Bont.
As ever it was great to be out in the countryside chatting to interesting people and discovering more of the local area. 
By the time I got home there wasn't time to do much more than feed the cat, relax for a bit, do my Duo Lingo and write this. Next will be supper and for light entertainment Dancing on Ice which has started up again. It's not as interesting as Strictly but okay for a bit of light hearted fun.