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 January 2024


A day of cold greyness. There was a decent wind so I hung some washing on the line only to have to bring it in ten minutes later when it started raining. The washing could have gone back out again as the rain stopped fairly quickly but once it's on the airers in the utility room it stays there.
More cleaning in the kitchen today. It's not that I don't clean on a regular basis but a deep clean now gives me a clear conscience to spend most of my time outside when the weather allows. Turfing everything out from under the sink I came across the tin of oil to re-do the worktop. I'd forgotten that job needs doing too.
In between bouts of cleaning I did my Duo and the homework for class tomorrow and then ended the afternoon grubbing in the garden. I'm putting down paving stones as I go because we both go through the garden when we're walking down to the village rather than use the front door.
Off to choir later. Fingers crossed that we sing Pokarekare Ana again.

Tuesday 30 January 2024


The day began with light rain but soon turned bright and sunny with a cold wind blowing from the north.
Since we had a wet start there was no excuse not to be getting on with my annual cleaning blitz. As tomorrow is recycling day it was a good time to turn out the larder in the kitchen. I'm so glad I was able to fit in a floor to ceiling larder when we remodelled the kitchen. The three wall cupboards that we used are not so deep that things get lost at the back and the shelves are just the right size for the shoe box sized plastic tubs that keep things in categories. It all helps to keep things to hand. I could only do a few shelves at a time as their contents covered all the kitchen worktops. In between cleaning I got on with other things including working out in the garden filling more bags with plants from the lawn. The robins and blackbirds were soon there to collect worms and the female blackbird even had a bath while I worked on the other side of a bare hydrangea. Peter took a carful of bags down to the dump today and I'll take some more on Friday.
While cleaning I did say goodbye to most of the pickles and chutneys that had been accumulating over a number of Christmases. I know they last for a long time but not sure for how many years. A bit gets eaten at Christmas to go with the Christmas cheeses but for the rest of the year cheese sandwiches don't feature much in this house. Neither do things like pork pies or processed meats and when else would you eat that kind of pickle? (We both like pickled gherkins.)

 Off soon to Pilates.

Monday 29 January 2024


This was my morning view and although it cleared a little during the day it was much the same by the end of daylight. And it was raining for most of the time.
Not being able to work in the garden it was a good time to start the annual spring clean. Although I had hoped to start at this end of the house I've got plans for some shelves in my study first and the utility room is still a mess so I picked an easy job in the kitchen. Off came everything from the glassware shelves to be carefully washed and eventually replaced. Having put this photo up I realise I haven't yet replaced the assortment of feathers, most from the zoo, which add some colour to the shelves. We do use the wine glasses but only occasionally as we don't drink wine with our meals even though one glass a day is supposed to be good for you.
During a drier spell in the afternoon I walked down to the pharmacy to collect my prescription. I'm trying to sort it out as they gave me an extra month's worth a couple of times and also if Peter did the reordering he didn't know which ones to leave off. I'm almost sorted though it will be a few months before I need to reorder several of my medications. Naturally I had a quick walk along the beach too until it began to rain again. The tide was out so I was able to stride briskly along the sand, unlike on the cliff path where you have to watch every step.
At home I cleaned all the lids of the storage tubs before packing lids and tubs into clear plastic bags which I've stored in the loft for the time being. (Peter gave me a hand to get them up there which saved going up and down the ladder.) 

A few more photos from yesterday.

I love it when the sun shines a spotlight on the sea. That line of surf running across the sea marks the moraine spit at Wallog.
Wallog- the house is pre 1840's and there were stables and outbuildings behind the house which have since been demolished. Electricity to the property was supplied by a turbine in the stream in a dip between the field in the foreground and the house. Something people could do now I would have thought.

Sunday 28 January 2024

A Cliff Walk.

A dry day with a touch of blue in the sky.
As I wasn't going out for the group walk off I went on my own to walk along the cliff path. My plan was simply to walk for around an hour and a half before turning back. 
The first stage was up to the War Memorial which I managed without stopping or getting out of breath. That's progress for me. Then down the other side to Aberwennol. I quite often end up there when I only intended to go to the memorial. There's a track leading back from the beach to two of the caravan parks which must be handy for the holiday makers.
There are few flat sections along the coast path. It's either very steep up or very steep down which makes for hard going. In the photo below that small blue blob is a chap running up the 72 steep steps. I know because I counted each one as I climbed them slowly and carefully. The return journey was a lot easier as most of the steps were on the south side of each dip and going up the slopes on the way home was made even easier by the strong wind pushing at my back.
Eventually I passed the point I had got to on my previous longer cliff walk and cut 10 minutes from the time it took to get there. That's an 18% improvement which I'm very pleased with. Up and down I went until I reached Wallog, a grand house now standing empty and owned by the university. There are several interesting features about this site. The most noticeable is the gravel spit extending out to sea. Although it looks man made and is linked to the legend of the drowned kingdom of Cantre'r Gwaelod it is in fact moraine left by the last ice age. It stretches 11km out to sea and is a hazard to local ships.

In front of the house at Wallog is a lime kiln where lime was produced by the landowner to spread on the acid soil of his fields. This video shows the internal structure of the kiln.
I carried on a little way past Wallog to the next high point hoping to catch a glimpse of Clarach beach but as one of the people I met today said 'it's a coastline that keeps on giving' and I had to admit defeat. Time was getting on and I needed to think about turning back.

To give an idea of scale if you look closely (or click ) at the top of the path, the tiny dark mark is indeed a figure.

At last the memorial and Borth were in sight.

I had been walking without a break for nearly three and a half hours so it was a bit disheartening to work out from this new signpost at the start of the path, that I had probably only walked three miles each way. But on the good side if it's just five miles to Aber I can now plan that walk. One way only. I'll catch the bus into town and walk home, possibly with the wind pushing me along.


Saturday 27 January 2024


Dry with some hazy sunshine today.
The sun is gradually returning to the front garden and fortunately for me just where I was going to be working. I began back on my knees again, trying not to flex my toes as that aggravates the cyst, to bag up some of the weeds/turves? to go to the dump. That involved some therapeutic bashing with the prongs of my hand hoe to loosen up the attached soil. Less weight to take to the dump and less soil lost from the garden. If I take a load each time I go riding and Peter does the same whenever he goes into town it shouldn't take long to get rid of it all.
After filling six bags and a break I finished the section at the end of the garden with the fork and nibbled a bit more from the path. 
According to our neighbour its going to be a warm day tomorrow. But I won't be joining the group for a walk as they'll be remembering a member who died three years ago this week, drinking a toast at his grave and then after the walk going to the family's home for tea. As I never met him I feel it would be intrusive to go so I shall take myself off for a walk along the cliffs instead.

Friday 26 January 2024

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

Very few clouds in the sky today and the morning wind eventually faded away.
I was up early enough to get my fix of fresh air before my usual busy Friday.
At the stables I was back to riding Cadno again. Before I even put his bridle on I had to go and find some brushes to do something about the mud crusted on his neck and mane. I expect the girls had already got the worst of it off but the fields are very muddy at the moment. Instead of the owner teaching us today we had Katy, one of the other instructors. A bit less of the formal dressage teaching and today we got to canter plenty of half circles after quite of lot of sitting trot. Cadno was in a bit of a lazy mood to start with but eventually came nicely onto the bit after trying to go round poking his nose in the air. A few times he fell back into trot before I asked but for the most part he went well. I've lost my position as the oldest member of the class as today we were joined by a lady who is 73 (or 74). No excuse now for me to be puffing and panting.
Afterwards it was down to Morrison's for a bit of shopping and then straight into town. There I picked up more flea drops for Speedy at vast expense and dropped off two large bags of clothes at the charity shop. And it was in the charity shop that I found just the right mirror for the bathroom. Although there is a mirror above the sink and the 3 in 1 mirror on the opposite wall there is a space on the wall facing the window for one more. My plan was to use the plain bevelled frameless mirror from the blue loo and replace that one with one in a frame. But this new one which matches the one over the sink will be fine for the bathroom and only cost £3.
I did a couple of hours gardening in the afternoon carrying on with digging up the lawn. I've gone back to using the fork as kneeling on the ground aggravated the cyst on my toe increasing the pain and making me lose sleep. I rang the hospital to see roughly how long the wait will be until I get it removed only to be told that the waiting list is two years. They aren't even doing any minor orthopaedic surgery as they try to catch up with the patients waiting for major surgery where the current waiting list is four years. So minor surgeries are going to be farmed out to other hospitals. I need to see if I can find out what the waiting times are like elsewhere and then ask my GP to refer me. Or maybe they can aspirate the cyst to relieve the pressure on the nerves. I may even have to look at going private though goodness knows how much that would cost. Yikes, just looked it up and the average cost is £2,500. 

Thursday 25 January 2024


Dry first thing but then steady rain for the rest of the day.
This morning we had to go to the hospital for Peter's long awaited appointment at the 'injection' clinic for local anaesthetic and a guided (ultra sound) injection into the ligament in his knee. 
We got there in good time but there were no parking spaces in the residential streets around the hospital. There is a hospital car park but there is no point trying there during the day. Instead we went to Plan B. Peter went into the hospital and I drove down to town to await a phone call. And I waited and waited. I went into Lidl and did the usual shopping after which I drove round to the car park by Matalan as you can only stay for 90 minutes in Lidl's car park. I had a look around Matalan and Home Bargains after which I carried on waiting. Thinking that maybe because of the mix up over his appointment he might have been squeezed onto the end of the list I wasn't too concerned. The time passed when we would have been able to make it home in time for our Zoom class but still no phone call. Eventually I sent Peter a text to see what was happening and immediately got a reply to say he was ready to be collected. In fact he had been ready for two hours. So why hadn't I heard anything? We checked my phone and there were no missed calls or messages which was strange. It turns out he still had my old as well as my new phone number in his contacts and had been ringing the old phone. So nothing to do with my inability to use a phone.
The rest of the afternoon has been damp and grey but I'll be off soon for a good old dance around in disco aerobics.
Last night at choir we were in the room under the stage which is much warmer than out in the hall. I got very excited when our choir leader put up the words of Pokarekareana as this was always a favourite of mine in the last choir. I thought I might be joining the altos as I sang alto in Devon but when we ran through the parts the tenors had the tune. Great, but when we came to the chorus the altos sang the part I knew. That was easily solved, I moved so that I was standing next to the altos, sang the verse with the tenors and then went up an octave and sang the chorus with the altos.


Wednesday 24 January 2024


It has been dry and relatively warm today with a hint of sun above the mist.
There isn't very much for me to do at the zoo at the moment so for a change I spent time working in the garden here. I'm still not sure about digging up the grass with a fork, too much soil staying on the roots and bad for my back so I worked on my knees instead. Slower but safer.
I had my supervisor the robin, with me as I worked. As he watched from the shelter of the hedge he was constantly singing. So quietly that at first I didn't notice him and then it reminded me of a skylark's song floating down from above as I walked on the moors. He kept up his gentle burble until a second robin arrived when whatever he was saying was very rude as he saw the intruder off. Whenever I found a worm I threw it back onto the cleared ground. Most made it back into the soil but the robin and later the blackbirds  had a good meal too.
Snowdrops have begun to appear under the severely cut back hypericum. Hopefully this little clump will increase in time. I've been trying to think which low growing or trailing summer flowering plants would be good in the front of the bed. It's the colour that's the issue. The vibrant gold of the hypericum flowers  is tricky. Dandelions or buttercups would be perfect for colour but spread too easily though I'm not adverse to mixing in wildflowers with the more traditional garden flowers. Can't think of anything that's orange either so I've decided to go with purple - trailing campanula which I can move from elsewhere in the garden and maybe aubretia which is easy to buy. The new raised below is already destined to have plants with silver foliage and blue or purple flowers so the colours would be the same going down the steps.
I also baked Peter a bara brith. He really like my Christmas version with nuts in and asked for the same again. Last week Lidl didn't have their bags of mixed nuts so I used pecans instead. I tried a small slice which went really well with some stilton. 
Off soon to choir.


Tuesday 23 January 2024

Storm Jocelyn.

And the next storm rolls in. This one, Storm Jocelyn is the 10th named storm in 5 months but it's only triggered a yellow warning for rain which does not really cause too many problems here. 
I've had a peaceful day. I did the ironing in the morning and sort of pottered around for the rest of the day. I attempted to hang a picture which has family photos in the bedroom but couldn't because there are electrical wires in the wall just where I was going to nail the picture hook. We've so little wall space here in comparison to Dingles where we had a total of 33 pictures of varying sizes up on the walls. 
There's not much else to say about today and after featuring lighthouses last week I thought I'd delve into my archives for some more lighthouses.
These were all taken on Lundy on our last holiday there almost eight years ago.
My favourite of the three lighthouses is the Old Lighthouse built in 1797 on the highest point of the island. That was a major mistake as it was so high up that its light was hidden by the clouds in bad weather and so was useless. 
On each of our three holidays on Lundy I made a point of every day climbing to the top of the spiral steps for the amazing views across the island including Crofty, the cottage we stayed in on our first holiday on the island (below).
The other two lighthouses were built a hundred years later and are still active, though automatic now.
From the North lighthouse there is a path and some very steep steps that take you down to sea level where there are always seals to be seen. 
The South lighthouse sits below the ruins of the castle overlooking the jetty and landing bay.

While not a lighthouse the signal station with its two cannon served the same purpose to warn ships of danger when it was foggy. It was installed in 1862 when it became obvious the lighthouse was failing to be seen by ships at sea. The stone buildings sit far down the cliffs on the west facing side of the island and were another of my favourite places to visit on my daily walks around the island.

Now I'm going to have a happy browse through the many photos from that holiday before going off to Pilates.

Monday 22 January 2024


Storm Isha arrived at around 9.00 last night with plenty of rain but we escaped the full force of the wind as it continued to blow from a south westerly direction. It's the north or north westerly winds that blow directly towards us and cause the most damage. It did look as if part of the village lost their electricity for a while in the evening but we were unaffected. This  article and video shows some of the effects of the storm country wide. Sadly two people lost their lives, both due to fallen trees. Just to be sure we pulled the sofa across the French doors and a blanket box up against the kitchen door. That stopped me from worrying in the night.
We had to be up in good time this morning as we were meeting our friends a bit earlier at the library. Today we went through the homework and began to look at the next unit before ending with translating another book. This one seemed a lot easier than the one about Wynne Evans which was good for our confidence. 
Before leaving Mach I had my usual look around the charity shops and found another paperweight for my collection. 
By the time we drove home the sun had appeared and as it was still very windy I thought it would be worth getting some washing done so it could go out on the line. However that was not to be as by the time the machine had finished the black clouds which had been looming overhead dropped a veritable deluge of rain. Thank goodness we have the utility room to hang the washing up in.
But that was after I had had a lovely breezy walk on the beach. Across the bay there were roaring breakers as far as the eye could see.
In the rock pools a lone oystercatcher was searching for cockles (that's what the RSPB says they eat). I sometimes see them up on the grassy cliff presumably looking for worms and insects. Seagulls often stamp on the grass to bring the worms to the surface.
Once again I had the wind in my back as I walked up the beach and it was harder walking back against the wind. Not stinging rain at least though I had taken the precaution of having a neck warmer pulled up to my nose. 


Sunday 21 January 2024

Storm Isha.

Here's an early post in case we lose power later on though the worst of the storm isn't due until around 6.00 with gusts of 50mph+ from now onwards.
First thing this morning it felt quite warm as the high ground behind sheltered us from the southerly winds. I saw one walker who must already have done a few miles up from the south, walking along with his jacket tied around his waist. I of course wasn't doing anything so energetic. Simply sitting on the terrace enjoying my tea. Once again my musings were about birds. No sooner had I sat down than a dunnock landed on the edge of the terrace looking for seeds which of course had all blown away in the night. Back in I went and fetched another handful which the dunnock, who had been sitting under the table soon noticed and hopped its way cautiously along the terrace to fill up on the seeds. Not stopping but making their presence felt was the gang of sparrows, there are at least twenty in our local flock, who kept zooming past in the same direction. I assume they were circling around behind the houses each time.
Out at sea the whole flock of seagulls were up above the bay. They weren't flying in close formation like a murmuration of starlings but were more like the milling around of ants from a disturbed nest. If I focused on a single bird I could see it flap a couple of times then get picked up by the wind, zoom vertically, over the hump and then plummet down. I wonder why they did this? Were they watching for fish? Unlikely as the sea was filled with churning sand. Or was it a way of showing off their prowess and superior strength to attract females? A possibility. Or were they just enjoying themselves? I imagine that for a bird being buoyed up in the air is much like being in the sea for us with the turbulence of the air being similar to though more random than the rolling of the waves. 
The surfers soon made an appearance though the waves were pretty high and fast making surfing quite challenging.

Out came the lifeboat crew too for their usual Sunday morning training. Good conditions for them to practice in though it must have been hard on their knees as they don't have seats in the rib.

Instead of editing my photos in the camera where it only enlarges in proportion (but you can change the orientation to correct a sloping horizon) I've been experimenting with changing the proportions editing the photos on the pc. 

In preparation for possible power cuts we've made sure everything is charged including a power pack which will charge our phones and Kindles. I walked down to the shop to buy a new battery for a spare radio but it turns out the battery is only to maintain the internal clock and doesn't power the radio itself. Naturally going to the shop included a walk along the beach. Fine when the wind was at my back but when I turned round the wind had picked up and the rain hitting my face was really painful.
It's only 2.30 but the squalls have begun. I've put the dustbins in the passage between the house and garage and hopefully everything else is secure.