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.

Wednesday 31 May 2023

Grey Start.

It was much greyer this morning and even looked as if it was going to rain but then it brightened up to a hot afternoon.
Peter took the car this morning as it had equipment for the boat in so I cycled down to the zoo. Cycling is still hard going which goes to show just how unfit I am. 
Lots of people at the zoo this morning so I tucked myself behind a safety barrier to get on with some weeding. Mostly it was just tiny seedlings but in a few places my enemy the bindweed had returned. I think I've now managed to dig out all of the nasty white roots. I spent three hours weeding and then cycled home. I ran out of puff for both of the steep inclines near home though I was okay going up and over the railway line.

Back home I didn't do much. Just had an early shower and sat out on the terrace to let my hair dry in the sun. A bit of crocheting afterwards and I'm blogging early as I'm off to choir later. 
The latest new blooms in the back garden.
Nearly there with the big one.
Plenty of people on the beach but very few in the water. Peter says the algal bloom is quite smelly. 
Overheard a grandmother walking two little girls along the High St. " Mummy wants to know who drew on the table top." Oh dear, I hope it comes off if it's a rental property.

Tuesday 30 May 2023


Nice and sunny again this morning though there was a cold wind blowing from the north-east. It was still nice to sit out on the terrace in my dressing gown clutching a reviving mug of tea watching energetic holidaymakers hiking up to the War Memorial. Things warmed up later to Mediterranian levels and the sea turned brown. Not, thankfully from any pollution but Peter, (my resident sea expert), tells me the wind blowing across the waves was causing turbulence in the water which was churning up the sand. (Correction, while at Pilates I've found out that it is in fact an algal bloom but not a dangerous one. But it is slimy and smelly. Yuck.)
It would have been an ideal day to cycle down to the zoo but my back wasn't up to an extended weeding session. I guess I overdid it yesterday. Instead I did some easier jobs around the place. First up I washed the salt and the result of a seagull bombing raid off the windows. Then I oiled the outside table and chairs. This time I've only given them two coats of oil. Last year's too generous applications resulted in the final coat blistering. I have a suspicion that the oil isn't of the best quality as I never had that problem before no matter how many coats I painted on.
Then I finished off the next of the crochet squares. It was only when I got out the other squares that I realised I put three rows of black around the first square. Better put an extra row round the other two. 
As the garden chairs had been oiled there was nothing for it but to bring out the sunlounger for a bit of a rest. It was very relaxing listening to the distant sound of children on the beach. The water was nice and calm for kayaks and SUPs and I could hear three teenage girls on an SUP having a fun time spending more time falling off  than on their single shared board.
Off to Pilates in  minute and then maybe we'll have another pretty sunset.

Monday 29 May 2023


Another warm and mostly sunny day.
Late last night I went to see if Speedy was waiting to be let in which he was. In he came ...... with a young rat in his mouth. Fotunately it was dead so once I had got it from Speedy and shut him in the utility room I went out, in my pjs, to give it a sky burial. In other words I threw it over the cliff.  Speedy was rewarded with a few Dreamies but that is the reason I've never had a cat flap. Dead things or bits of dead things around the place - no thank you.
Peter went off to row straight after breakfast while I threw some washing in the machine and did a little housework. That done I took myself down to the hall for the Charities Fair. Many of the local charities had stalls with the usual mix of cakes, plants, old and new items and tombolas. The first stall was the Alzheimers group where I got a butternut squash plant, a pot of parsley, more vegetable seeds and a piece of chocolate cake. A few stalls further on I bought an unused pad of lined paper and a notebook both of which always come in useful. I chatted to a few people I knew before heading home to work in the garden.
I worked on through the afternoon and took down and cleaned nine more blocks. Now I have enough for the next row once I get some more cement. The day was so nice that I sat out on the terrace and did a bit more crochet before coming in to blog.
A few flowers from yesterday.
Wood Speedwell, a larger version of the common speedwell whose bright blue flowers brighten up my lawn wildflower meadow.
We were told the name of this white flower but I can't remember it. I do know it's rare which is why I can't identify it from my books or on-line either.
Yellow pimpernel, again a much larger cousin of the common scarlet pimpernel. Below is just one of many spectacular flowers in that amazing garden.


Sunday 28 May 2023

A Walk in the Woods.

Today there were more clouds and stronger winds whipping up the waves and blowing a passing flock of jackdaws around. The visiting yacht spent the night moored up by the beach and left, using their motor, this morning.
Peter wasn't rowing this morning but was keen to see how other members of the club coped with conditions that could only be described as bibbly bobbly (genuine rowing term).
Despite my usual friend, Google Street View, stopping at the main road I thought I'd take a chance at finding the location of today's walk from the information I had. My guess proved correct and after half a mile the road I'd taken led me to this stony track at the end of which was an ample parking space. One other car was there so I knew I'd found the right place which was a relief. Better than trying to explain why I was parked in an unknown farmer's yard.
Until recently our host had run a saw mill and general woodworking yard there as well as educational activities. All the outbuildings were beautifully crafted and meticulously tidy. However I don't feel comfortable taking photographs of someone's home or putting them on a public blog. Instead I stuck to photos of the woods which were wonderful too.
Gentle streams flowed through the woods. Even this early in the year there are concerns everywhere about the lack of water both in private wells and in the reservoirs such as Nant Y Moch that supply water to towns and villages. Only yesterday a house burned down in the neighbouring village and though the fire brigade came they soon ran out of water and more water had to be brought in in bowsers from Aber. Something to think about as we bask in the current spell of warm weather.
The woods are managed as a natural mixed woodland and there are parts which are wild-life only with well worn badger paths.
There are a few stands of pine trees grown for timber but instead of cutting the whole lot down when they reach 60-70ft and replanting to start again our host explained about halo pruning. This is where the trees are thinned to allow light to the forest floor which then leads to self sown seedlings and eventaully a sustainable mixed age plantation. We were asked to avoid treading on the tiny pine and oak seedlings coming up through the leaf litter.

We walked in a loop around the woods and returned to this bonfire space to eat our lunch.
Nearby were two structures housing pole-lathes, a method of wood turning using a rope, foot pedal and long pole that has been used at least as far back as Viking times. (I did ask and got the okay to show these photos.)   
After a longer than usual lunch break we left the woods and climbed up the hill for some far reaching views.

The May blossom (hawthorn) is out giving some hedgerows a strangely formal look. From there we made our way back to the woods and our hosts' home where we had tea in the garden. They have lived there for decades and the garden was just lovely. The sort of garden and behind the house veg plots where self-sown plants have been left to flourish creating an informal and colourful garden. But that wasn't all, beyond was a woodland garden. With towering trees on the hillside above and verdant grasslands below the garden paths were bordered by every flowering shrub imaginable from azaleas and weigelias to kiwi fruit (enormous plants that never produced fruit) and acers. In the cottage garden by the house were a number of fig trees already covered in large green fruit. It was obvious that many years of loving care had gone into both the the garden and woodland. To top it off I and several others came away with clumps of Blue Eyed Grass (sisyrinchium angustifolium) and a white form which should survive in my garden. Another excellent walk and tea in good company.
Sunset last night. It was much hazier tonight with the sun going down in a brief blur of pink. 

Saturday 27 May 2023


Borthbados from start to finish today.
There was a little wind making for good sailing conditions but not so good for paddleboarders. The chap who rents out SUPs had quite a few customers who in the main were sensible and stayed close to shore. Peter was out rowing by 9.30 and came back tired, blistered and happy as they had been race training.
I had just enough cement left to finish off the first row of blocks. After that I took down and cleaned 4 more blocks and cleared more compost and roots from the centre of the walled bed that is coming down. In a way you could say that I'm moving the wall from one part of the garden to another. My final garden task was to cut back even more the two golden privet bushes that I hope to move. I cut them back earlier by about 50% and now there are shoots coming out of the old wood which is a good sign. It all depends on how much of their roots I can dig out once the wall is down.

Not only is it half-term next week but it's another bank holiday week-end so the place is filled with holidaymakers.
See the flowers growing on the cliff-top? I'm so glad I took photos yesterday because below is all that remains. Everything cut down, such a shame. It's not our neighbours but the next house along.


Friday 26 May 2023

A Window!

The day began beautifully sunny with a flat sea and not a drop of wind. Gradually the wind picked up bringing clouds which on the landward side are looking suspiciously dark right now.
The builder turned up this morning with the window fitters. By 10.00 the window was in and they were gone. I did get them to squirt some of that foam stuff above the outside of the kitchen window which had been left uncompleted by the company that put in our other windows. It's amazing what a difference even that small window makes, now you can see the derelict state of the bathroom lit up by sunlight. There's no chance the builder will do the bathroom while there's good weather for outdoor jobs. Ho Hum. 
In the meantime I've been getting on with facing the raised bed. There was still a lot of sand to dig out before I could begin mixing up mortar and laying blocks. There's only a small bit of the first course left to do but it will be fiddly as I will have to work around the drainage holes the builder left in the block wall.
As I was having a coffee break up on the terrace I looked down and saw a flash of colour in the hedge. I'd planted a clematis (Carnaby) in there as an experiment to see if it could survive the sea winds and sure enough it did. Hopefully it will establish itself in the rather boring hedge.
Not planted by me are the many aquilegias popping up all over the place. Most are dramatic dark purple ones with just a few variations including this pretty double growing in the back garden.
Also self-seeded is this pansy growing at the edge of one of the veg plots. I didn't have the heart to pull it up and look at it now.
The council comes occasionally to mow a roadside strip on the cliff-top but it is down to the home owners to maintain the rest. We pay a nominal amount to our neighbour to include our small section when mows and other people do their own. I'm not sure if the grass here has been left as part of no-mow May or simply because the house is a holiday home but in either case the wild flowers are stunning.
It's like a beautiful quilt with all the pinks, yellows and white in the lush green of the grass. 

More thrift and other flowers tumbling down the cliff.


Thursday 25 May 2023

Vale of Rheidol Railway.

A sunny morning progressed to an even sunnier and very windy afternoon and evening.
I had a good start to the day getting both Duo Lingo and homework done before breakfast and washing on the line soon after. The zoom lesson wasn't too hard as we have begun to learn to tell the time. Of course numbers aren't straight forward, apart from the usual mutations caused by whatever comes before the number there are also feminine versions and ....... an additional completely different number system. This is mostly interchangeable with the logical 1, 2, 3 etc and no odd words for teens or tens eg 25 is 2, 10, 5. but for time and money the different system is always used. We are only learning the numbers we need and not the whole lot in one go. More complexity to get my poor head around. Though we still have remnants of alternative number names in English; a dozen, half-dozen, score, four score and ten, pair, trio and a more modern one double top (40). And maybe some Northern hill farmers still use the old sheep counting system yan, tan tethera which acording to Wiki was also used for counting knitting stitches and derives from Brythonic Celtic languages.

Not much else to say about today, after Welsh class I began clearing the footings of the raised bed wall ready for the first course of blocks and then went off to Disco Aerobics. In her memory we danced to a number of Tina Turner's tracks. 
So as promised here are the train photos from yesterday.
The immaculate steam engine is one of several that runs on the Vale of Rheidol Railway which brings tourists from Aberystwyth to Devil's Bridge. The line terminates in the station yard alongside the popular cafe where we had our coffee and a bite to eat.

There's a loop of line that lets the engine turn round before hitching up to the passenger carriges, some closed and others open.
Ticket office on the left, cafe on the right. 

As we walked from the car park to the bridge we kept being passed by farm vehicles many of them towing sheep trailers. At first I thought it was just because we were in a rural area but when I looked further along the track I could see what had to be a livestock market. I've looked on-line and it is indeed a major sheep auction for the area. These were the average prices for sheep yesterday, cull (mutton?) ewes -£60, rams-£142 and Spring lambs-£103. I'm finding it harder and harder to justify eating much meat these days both for sentimental reasons and for ecological reasons. 
Living a wonderful life was this flock of chickens, and two roosters, clucking and digging around in a garden right next to the track.
Just as we were returning we were passed, not by a farm vehicle but what I call a squashed car or to be more specific a posh, squashed sports car. (Can you tell I'm not bothered about cars?) Then another and another  until ten cars had gone by. Peter tells me they were Lamborghinis and Aston Martins each costing around a million pounds. What an utter waste of money and you have to be small and flexible to get into them. Not for me then. (Correction, Peter now tells me the cars only cost around £300k. What do I know? Still far too much of a waste.)
Beautiful sea colours today.