Welcome to family, friends and visitors. Here you will find interesting (hopefully) pictures of my part of the world, news of our household and probably, long ramblings about anything that catches my interest.

Thursday 30 November 2023

So Cold.

It's been bitterly cold today. But there was enough wind to make it worth hanging some washing out on the line.
There was a good frost in the front garden this morning and because the sun doesn't reach there at this time of year the frost lingered on for most of the day. This was mitigated by the sight of the bright sun shining out at sea and basically everywhere else.
Even the pond had a layer of ice. I was glad that the jasmine in the back garden was already protected with garden fleece. This was the jasmine that had started off as a house plant but needed to be outside when it got bigger. In general I avoid plants that need special protection preferring plants that look after themselves.
Peter took my defunct lawnmower to the dump this morning and got caught up in horrendous traffic. There are only a few ways into town and one of them had been partially closed which caused the whole town to become grid locked. When he saw the long lines of stationary cars he turned round and came home instead of going to Morrisons. People were posting on-line that they had been stuck in traffic for nearly an hour. Apparently it was because they were cleaning the railway track that crosses the road. The roads are supposed to be back to normal at 6.00am tomorrow so hopefully I won't have any problems when I go into town after riding.
Before Peter left I cut down the last of the giant lettuce stalks and the Michaelmas daisy stems to fill a bag for him to take as well. I just love getting rid of stuff.
At one point in the morning the air was filled with the sound of a couple fighter jets doing manoeuvres overhead.  Even though they were very high up at times the noise was horrendous. I can only imagine what it must be like in war torn regions when there is every possibility that they could be dropping bombs or missiles.

In our Welsh class today we finally got to use my. The reason it has taken so long to get to possessive pronouns is that ..... you've guessed it, they cause a mutation of the noun. But not the same mutation. Today we only did my which causes a nasal mutation for any noun beginning with T,C,P,B,D or G. And you put a short word after the noun as well. That's for formal language but when speaking people often skip the mutation or put my after the noun which doesn't cause a mutation. And then I've been looking ahead and your (singular) and his or her cause soft mutations to words beginning with the original 6 and another 3 letters. Your (plural) causes no mutation and our and their add an h if the noun begins with a vowel.
I did the ironing after class looking out at the sunny view. Later it was dark and very cold as I walked down to the hall for aerobics. My glowing necklace went down a treat, even got a clap from everybody else. With the charities Christmas fair on in the hall on Saturday Santa's Grotto is already being constructed on the stage behind the curtains and our teacher kept bumping into the decorations as she leapt about in the limited space. The village itself is beginning to show signs of Christmas too. The tree, which is nearly as tall as a lamp post was delivered yesterday evening and is now upright and there are lights in or on some of the houses. It's not surprising we have such a generous tree when you consider that there are forests of conifers less than 10 miles away.
(Taken from the web) Yr Wyddfa/ Snowdon today.

Wednesday 29 November 2023


A crisp, cold sunny day today.
It must have been raining in the night as the terrace was wet first thing. I still had my mug of tea in the fresh air sitting just inside the doorway with the door open. As the sky lightened there was a great flock of noisy gulls wheeling overhead then instead of their usual commute southwards along the coast they headed inland. Maybe a farmer was muck spreading, something that always attracts gulls.
The cold makes the air much clearer. Using the highly accurate method of builders' tape measure held up against Google Maps I calculate this sheep farm on the edge of Snowdonia to be around 8kms away.
After all the hustle and bustle of the last few weeks it seemed very quiet at home especially as I didn't need to go to the zoo today. Instead I concentrated on tidying up all those piles of items that had accumulated in various corners and then spent more time crocheting as I didn't get as much done over the year as I had hoped and need to get a wriggle on as they say.
Off to choir later on, that is after Peter brings the car home from its winter service.


Tuesday 28 November 2023


The day began with a gloriously sunny morning followed by a cloudy afternoon and rain in the evening.
I started my day sitting outside with my tea watching the garden birds foraging in the cut grass of the meadow. First a blackbird followed by a bold robin and then a tiny wren and last of all a dunnock.
It's been a while since the weather was so good on a zoo day so out came the bike and I cycled there. With the weeds under control in the main areas I work on, the play areas and the gravel, I was able to turn my attention to some of the smaller spaces such as the flower bed by the wolf-dogs which had a few weeds popping up. But first I planted a selection of varieties of mint brought from home, in a damp shady bed by the guinea fowl. Perfect conditions for mint and hopefully the scent of the mint will help counteract any smells from the guinea fowl pen. By the time I had finished and was ready for my walk around the bright sun had changed to a flat grey light which doesn't make for good photos so I didn't take any.
As soon as I got home Peter borrowed my yellow coat again to go off coxing. He has two perfectly good  black coats but a bright coat is recommended for coxes in the unlikely event that they need to be rescued from the sea. He is safety officer after all. While he was out beasting his crew who were all experienced rowers I did some housework followed by crocheting before heading off to Pilates. There were 35 of us tonight which made it quite crowded even though it's a big sports hall. There will be a few weeks break over Christmas and the January class is already fully booked. All those New Year's resolutions. Our teacher knows that I come every week and I let her know last week that I'll be there in the New Year. There's a perfectly good on-line system for booking and paying but I find it easier to pay with cash (how old school) and only send an email when I can't make the lesson. She's fine with that.


Monday 27 November 2023


Not too cold today with frequent heavy showers.
My plan for today was to spend the morning doing DIY and then have a relaxing afternoon crocheting. What actually happened was DIY followed by lots of cleaning and sorting. 
My first job was to cut some wood to cover over the hole in the side of the bathroom cupboard that gives access to the boiler pipe controls. My habit of keeping useful bits of wood paid off there as I still have some of the white covered kitchen wood which matched the inside of the cupboard. I did one cut with the chop saw but on the second the blade (which needs changing for finer teeth) began ripping off the plastic coating so I changed to using a saw. Now the inside of the cupboard looks tidy and I was able to put most of our towels inside. I'm hoping they won't get damp as I haven't got an airing cupboard. Does anyone now seeing as hot water tanks are a thing of the past? 
Then I went off to make a start on the old shower in our bedroom. The builder put up two rails after taking out the shower and made a shelf high up but there were nails to take out and a lot of cleaning to do before I could think about putting clothes or even storage tubs in there. I cut a piece of lino, a bathroom offcut, to line the shelf at the top which was just rough wood and for now two of the spare blue and white tiles are in the bottom of the wardrobe covering the bare floorboards. Then followed an afternoon of wiping down and much cleaning including of all the storage tubs. After which some clothes were hung up (why on earth does Peter have one or even two hoodies from any organisation he has been a member of?)  and other tubs rearranged until there were a satisfying number of empty tubs. Mind you there's still a heap of Peter's clothes on his side of the room. I sorted it all once and now it's his responsibility. I still need to go through my tubs and see if any of my stash can be given away.


Sunday 26 November 2023

Bye-Bye Lawn.

Cold and grey today with rain arriving just before dark.
I felt a bit weary this morning and thought that I'd give the walk a miss. Of course later on I felt ready to walk (Pontrhydygroes again) but Peter had taken the car  down to the boat, that's him in my yellow jacket, and the only car going from Borth was already full.

I still felt the need to be outside so decided that today was the day the lawn/ mini meadow went. My plan was to strim first but as so often happens my plan went astray. Plugged in the strimmer and nothing happened, checked all the wires and jiggled the connections but still nothing. Not surprising as the strimmer is old and hasn't been used for years. On to Plan B, mowing. I was happily filling up bags of cuttings and thinking that the next step would be to rake the remaining vegetation upright before a final going over with the mower when the mower blades got caught on some long grass, the motor made a funny noise and then died. I checked all the connections but I suspect I may have blown up the motor. A shame I couldn't do that final mow but I had hoped to retire the mower after today anyway. I finished off in my tried and trusted way, by hand on my hands and knees. I have the whole winter to remove everything from what now looks like quite a large area. Oh well, bit by bit.

I took this photo of the moon in the early hours of the morning. Not quite the spectacular lunar halo that other people including Laura photographed last night. Maybe better luck tonight as the temperature is dropping again. (A lunar halo occurs when there are ice crystals in the clouds.)


Saturday 25 November 2023


It's turning quite cold. This morning there was frost to be seen on any roofs that the sun hadn't got to and some on the grass in the front garden.

I love having a whole day when I don't need to go out though I probably wouldn't feel that way if I never did things away from home. Today I have sorted through my store of Christmas cards, checked through the lists of who has already had which card (I tend to buy packs of cards in the January sales) and written them all out. It's good to keep in touch with friends and there's nothing like a card arriving in the post but I can well understand why people find the cost of posting cards too much.
I also made a start on the mirror frame. I say start because what I thought would be a simple job wasn't at all straightforward. First I discovered that I need one more strip of moulding as originally I had only planned to go round three sides. Then Peter wasn't sure how to adjust his chop saw and had me trying to saw a 45 degree cut by hand, something which is far beyond my capabilities. With some hints from me he worked out how to change the angle of the blade and I was given a lesson on how to use the chop saw. The next issue was that the saw would only turn to cut one way because there's a cupboard fixed to the wall in the way and I need to cut in both directions as cutting the wood from the front made it shatter. I'll buy another strip of wood next Friday and if the cupboard isn't off the wall by then I'll get it down, one way or another. With that project on hold I fitted the pipe covers I'd bought to the copper pipes going to the radiators from the floor. I thought the covers would be soft plastic that you could cut with scissors but they are hard plastic and had to be sawn to size. Three radiators needed doing and they look so much better now.

Friday 24 November 2023


There's been a northerly wind making it a lot colder today. It wouldn't be so bad if the sun was shining but with dark clouds covering the sky for most of the day it felt pretty miserable.
I was back to riding Cadno again this morning. I would have liked at least one more week riding Margaret to get used to her and to see what she is like in canter, not that we did any cantering today but the chap who usually rides her was back. I like Cadno too but I do have to keep on at him to keep the energy level up. One of our class had to change horses early on as her horse was lame, not a lot but enough not to be ridden. Instead she was given Bob a much larger quiet horse, who is often ridden by beginner adults and so has got a bit lazy in the school. E had to ride with a schooling whip in one hand and a crop in the other and eventually Bob woke up and realised that his rider expected him to work properly. From then on he was quite forward going. As I've already mentioned there was no cantering today just lots of trotting including sitting trot which I'm finding a much more comfortable now. A lot of the lesson was about keeping the horses on the bit and balanced and how each horse's conformation (proportions) affects how it moves.
Driving along the river after the lesson I spied a trio of swans feeding by the bank, a pair and their youngster who had not yet developed the orange beak that identified them as mute swans.
Before shopping at the supermarket I stopped at the industrial estate and bought some white plastic sleeving to go over the copper tail pipes of the radiators particularly the ones in the bathroom and wood and clear adhesive to make a frame for the triple mirror in the bathroom.
Then I called in at Charlie's where I bought a couple of Snow-in-Summer plants, which I'd been keeping an eye out for and a phlox in the half price 'sad' corner. I then gave in to temptation and bought this tiny ceramic Santa for the indoor driftwood tree. I also found a decoration made up of three very light sparkly baubles two of which I shall turn into silly earrings for when we sing in the old people's homes. That was only paid 49p. 
In town I indulged myself further and bought this light up (dog's) collar to wear to disco aerobics. (you can shorten the flexible tube.) Our teacher tends to wear sequinned tops and encourages us to be sparkly too. I think this will fit the bill though maybe more rave than disco. You can have two speeds of flashing but I'll just have it switched on. It will stay lit for two hours and comes with a cable to recharge the battery. That's one of the advantages of being older, you can be as silly as you like.
It was hard to not burst out laughing when I was in Screwfix when the customer next to me at the counter who when asked his address said Ty Bach. Yes that does literally mean little house but actually means a toilet. Much as if he had said the name of his house is The Outhouse. Traditionally in villages houses did not have numbers just names so your house name is important.

Thursday 23 November 2023


Dry and windy today.
For a lot of the day the sky was in two halves, clear blue if you looked out to sea but inland, oh dear, dark grey clouds no doubt dropping heavy rain on the hinterland.
This morning I did the very last bit of painting in the bathroom for the moment. A final coat on the loft hatch and some tiny touch ups of the blue. At last the ladders and paint could go back in the garage. But before I painted I went up in the loft where I brought down some stuff to give away to the charity shop. I have saved a large bag of silver tinsel. Not to decorate the house at Christmas though I do like tinsel but in case it could be used when we decorate the boat for the carnival.
Then it was time for our Zoom class which felt quite relaxed this week. Maybe because we didn't have builders working in the house.
Afterwards I needed to pick up our prescriptions which was a good excuse for a walk along the beach. I couldn't resist walking through some of the sea foam to let it fly up in the air though the salt makes it very sticky and sticks the foam to your boots.
The sun was already going down as I walked home at around 4.00. It will be dark by the time I go down to the Hall for disco aerobics. Maybe the stars will be out as I come home and there are always the reflections of the village lights on the water to look at.

Wednesday 22 November 2023

Christmas Preparations Begin.

Grey and gloomy today.
This morning our roles were reversed. Peter was up early as he was due to go out in the boat (that got cancelled as one rower missed his train) while I had fallen asleep after after initially waking at 5.30. Not surprising as I hadn't got to sleep until after 2.00. He brought me a mug of tea which went cold as I carried on sleeping so he heated it up in the microwave when I woke at 8.00.
My plan for the day was to write my Christmas letter while Peter was out in the boat as my pc doesn't have Word. As he was going out again in the afternoon I wrote it then instead. It seems to have taken all afternoon as first I checked through my daily notes and then had to fit it all on one sheet of paper. The recipients grow fewer each year and some may even read this blog but I enjoy remembering and writing about the year's events. At least this year we've made significant progress on the house.
As I was scanning my notes I saw that I had put the spare duvets up in the loft. In the very damp loft? No !! Off I went to investigate, the first thing I noted was that the loft hatch which is in the bathroom, could do with another coat of paint. Up in the loft I found the spare duvets, brand new ones from the camper but I had aired them thoroughly before sealing them in plastic bags and then into a big storage bag. Next I was pleased to find that although cold the loft felt much drier than before. The cardboard boxes feel damp and could do with replacing at some point. Mostly it's paintings up there and they are securely wrapped in many layers of bubble wrap. Everything was all over the place after the builders had taken down the two glass doors which the paintings were leaning against so I thought I'd have a sort out. With only part of the floor boarded out it was hard to find somewhere to lean the pictures against but I created bays between the stacked boxes and though not sorted everything is at least accessible. Next step will be to re-home as much of the rest as possible. Things like wall lights that I had been keeping in case we wanted to use them here. I foresee more donations to Craft, a charity in town that resells furniture and household goods. A thought - when people talk about the decline of the traditional High Street they usually mention the increase in the number of charity shops as if it's a bad thing. So ordinary shops bring money into the community, but how much really filters down into the wider community? Surely in these days of encouraging reduce/reuse/recycle charity shops should be seen as one method of doing that. The donors benefit by clearing stuff form their cluttered homes (and feel good about it), shoppers can buy stuff at reasonable prices (and feel good about supporting a charity) and the charity benefits and funnels money to those that need it. Hmm, I think we should be happy to see charity shops in our towns. 
After that little musing I'll be off soon to choir. It might even be time for us to start practising Christmas carols.

The evening primrose in the mini meadow seems determined to keep on flowering.

Tuesday 21 November 2023

Zoo Day.

No rain today and there's even been some sun which shone like a spotlight through the clouds lighting up tiny portions of the landscape.
I was up in good time today and started the day with a mug of tea sitting outside. It's getting colder so I had to put on an extra layer over my fluffy dressing gown. Not a glamourous look but it kept me warm.
I even painted the last coat on the bathroom door before breakfast. I'll scrutinise the walls to see if I need to do any touching up with the blue paint before putting the ladder away. Which I shall do with a great sigh of relief.
With everything on schedule and the weather dry I took myself off to the zoo. There I went round all the planted up areas pulling out stray weeds. I did three hours, chatted to one of the other volunteers and then came home
A spider plant and, at his suggestion, Peter's oystercatcher went on the bathroom window sill softening up the décor. I have since added one of my glass paperweights, a large one with bubbles that isn't quite the cobalt blue of the others but I haven't decided if it's going to stay there. I've also added two hooks to the bathroom door. That sounds a simple job but by the time I'd found the drill and a small bit for the guide holes, then a slightly bigger one (my diy style is sort of trial and error) then found a small enough screwdriver, then some different screws because the first ones burred (twice) it took me a while.
Off soon to Pilates and then for supper afterwards Peter has made a sauerkraut, cabbage, potato, and sausage casserole. Just the thing for a winter's evening.

Monday 20 November 2023

We Have a Bathroom.

It was a morning of more rain and yet more painting.
By the afternoon the rain had stopped though apart from the tiniest of blue patches we were covered by ominous grey clouds. I went on to paint another coat of white on the bathroom woodwork. I think the door could do with more more coat but apart from that the bathroom is done. But ....... I might construct a simple frame around the three mirrors which vary slightly in height. 

The bathroom has gone from this, in 2018 (estate agent's photos),
to looking like this last year after we had got fed up with waiting for the builder and done what we could,
and now to this. It's looking a bit stark at the moment, a plant on the windowsill should help. Also I know it's nit-picking but I wish that the builder hadn't put two tiles with the same pattern next to each other. But apart from that I'm pretty pleased with how it's turned out, after all it's not that big a room though a lot bigger than the bathrooms in most UK homes. The three mirrors take up most of the wall above the tiles facing the sink and there's a large heated towel rail to the right of the door. 


Sunday 19 November 2023


The pillow of cloud that had been sitting on top of the mountains yesterday arrived here overnight giving a very wet and grey outlook to the morning. Eventually the cloud lifted a little but not enough to let much light through.
With the weather being quite dreary I decided that it would be better to spend the day painting rather than going to Pontrhydygroes (the place with the waterwheel and the diy tea room) to walk through the woods with the walking group. So the painting continued. Today I was braver and painted with the edging brush plus a damp cloth to wipe off the inevitable incursions onto the blue walls. That went a lot faster than yesterday but anyway yesterday's primer was oil based so I couldn't have used the edging brush. I've found that you need such a lot of white spirits to clean brushes after using oil based paints that it's cheaper to throw them away and buy new ones. The door and loft hatch also got painted today. I know that you're supposed to take doors off their hinges and paint them flat after removing handles and things but I've gone for the easy option and painted in situ. As I was painting I reflected on how my decorating concerns are such first world problems. Does the colour of the wall or a few blobs even matter when we have a bathroom with running hot and cold water and a toilet, things that so many of the world's population can only dream of?
I finished painting for the day by mid afternoon and took myself off for a walk along the beach. (I took photos with the phone camera but can't work out how to upload them. I could before but now even with the help of the internet and Peter it's all gone very odd.) There wasn't much to photograph apart from a tiny patch of blue in the sky. I was keeping my eyes open for Portuguese Man of War as following an official warning from the environmental agency or some such body a week ago saying they had been found all along the coast including Ynyslas several people had posted photos of them on the beach here. I didn't see any but sadly there were a dead seal and a dead sheep washed up on shore. I watched a chap, the same one who had been doing his tractor driving test, set up his bright orange kite surfer and zip about on the water providing a spot of colour to the seascape. Wrapped up in waterproofs it was fun battling against the wind.
Now for a quiet evening watching Strictly.

Saturday 18 November 2023

More Painting.

Grey and wet all day long.
Not that I've seen much of the outside having spent today painting in the bathroom. I could have joined an all day extra zoom Welsh class (not with our usual tutor,) but my brain is fried after our usual two hour session and anyway I just don't have the time. Up and down the ladder I went and by lunchtime the walls had a second coat of blue. But it was a close call. Seeing that yesterday's coat looked a bit patchy I aimed to be generous with the paint and then realised I might not have enough. I did but only just and put the remaining tablespoon of paint in a spare jar. A good thing too as when worked resumed, after lunch and Duo Lingo, it turned out that peeling off the decorators tape was not that simple. It was only on the edges of the tiles and the mirrors but the vinyl paint had formed a layer that peeled away from the wall as the tape came off. I had to use a scalpel to cut along the join before I carefully peeled off the tape. Then more up and down the ladder as I used a small paintbrush to carefully touch up the blue wall paint and then more white on the ceiling to try and even out the join line. It's not brilliant but it will do. 
But I still wasn't done. After rearranging the dust sheets I gave the wooden dado rail and the trim on the cupboard a coat of wood primer. That sounds easy and I'm sure to an experienced decorator it would just be a matter of swiping along to get a nice neat line but I know my limits. Instead I found the tiniest of brushes from my art supplies and painstakingly painted along the edges of the wood before filling in with a slightly bigger brush. Oh and there was the fun of painting behind the heated towel rail. All that took until 6.30 so I feel I've done a good day's work.
 And here ends the minutiae of today's painting exploits.