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.

Friday 31 May 2024


There was another dramatic sunset last night. That's Bardsey Island in silhouette, I had assumed the sun would continue to go down directly behind it but instead the sun appeared to slide off to the right. Then right at the end there was another green flash. Not a very bright one but there was a definite change of hue.
This morning the wind had lessened but came from the north bringing cold air. It was cloudy to begin with but there have been long sunny spells during the day tempered by the chill from the wind. 
At the stables I rode Margaret again. From the photo she could be a small pony standing next to a very low barn but in fact she is quite a tall horse (her back is about level with my nose). There were only four of us in the lesson (as it's half-term there was a four hour ride going out later on) but we still kept running into each other as two of the horses seemed to be going very slowly. All the work was in trot, we did some work on riding in a straight line and coming to a square halt. Margaret was very distracted to start with. She kept reacting to noises outside the school and whinnying back when she heard horses in the field. She's only a young horse and it took a while to get her to focus on what I was asking.
Afterwards I did the usual round of shopping amongst the hordes of people and managed to avoid buying any more plants. I did find some roller tape, so useful for sticking down pictures, and have stuck down both sets of photos. The black horse is Meg, my own horse that I bought from a riding school and then donated to the city farm and finally retired her to a sanctuary in Essex. She ended her days fostered to a lass who could only do light riding due to an injury. The other horses are a mix of riding school horses and the horses that I used to look after in the East End of London.
While our local MP judged the village scarecrows and awarded first prize to 'Alan Bates' the people's vote went to 'Donkey Doyle'. I hadn't known that Andy's dad (below) actually used to do the donkey rides on the beach.
Below is a postcard from the 1950s. I wonder if that is Andy's grandad?
The right angled screwdriver set came while I was out and while I haven't yet put the wardrobe doors back on I have sawn off a long section of the insulated plasterboard. I'm trying my best not to take off too much but to work in small increments. That's the plan anyway.

Thursday 30 May 2024


A gale has been blowing all day long, never mind that it's almost June. Not very much in the way of rain and a few sunny spells to brighten the day.
As I sat out on the terrace this morning, well wrapped up in extra layers of clothing I watched the hedge at the end of the garden undulating back and forth in the strong winds as it did its job of sheltering the rest of the garden. It's when it's windy, as it so often is, that the ornamental grasses come into their own as they swish around dramatically.
The uncertain weather put paid to my plan to take the bus into Aber and then walk back along the coast path. It's only 8 miles but there are a lot of very steep slopes to go up and down. Instead I made a start on working out how to put the wardrobe door back before the carpet gets laid. After the outer walls had to be taken back to brick we took the opportunity to install insulated plasterboard. This keeps the house warm but the increased thickness meant that the wood that the hinges of the end wardrobe door and the cupboard door above is now below the level of the plasterboard. Initially I thought I could add another piece of wood to the upright but that would mean trimming down the doors. No easy feat when the doors have a hollow construction. My latest thought is to cut back the plasterboard and create a sloping edge to allow the doors to open. I carefully hacked away a section to see how to screw the hinges back on but now I need a right angled screwdriver. That we don't have but Peter has ordered a set as the local places don't have them. This should arrive tomorrow and I can carry on. I don't like having the ladder and dustsheets in our bedroom but it's too much hassle to take them out only to set everything up again in a day or so.
DIY over for the day I had one little project to occupy myself with. I've a couple of A3 sized click frames in which I wanted to make some photo montages. I had a happy (and sometimes sad) time going through a shoebox of photos (remember having real photos printed?) to chose a selection of garden photos from Dingles and another set of me riding various horses. The best photos are already in big photo albums so they are only 'seconds' but it will be nice to have them up on my study wall. I ran out of the tape to stick them down on the backing sheets, will have to see if I can find some in town tomorrow. Above is a group of photos taken in our first house in London. On the left is the big mirror that is now on our bedroom wall and above the lovely Victorian marble fireplace is a green glass vase that is now on display in the living room and I think the small mirror is in the loft.
To finish off the afternoon and blow out the cobwebs I had a windy walk along the beach.


Wednesday 29 May 2024


A mild but cloudy day today. The sun kept trying to break through in the afternoon and each time it did the temperature shot up but those pesky clouds kept on returning.
I was up reasonably early but not as early as the lone surfer who was chasing the waves by 7.00.
In the morning I carried on with tidying my study. Now that the shelves are sorted it was mostly a matter of going through the inevitable piles of 'random stuff' and some general cleaning.
In the afternoon we were off to the pictures again, or rather the Arts Centre. Only six people in the cinema so it felt like a private showing. And what was the film you wonder? I have to admit it was the latest Mad Max film. While I would never normally watch something that was so full of violence and so sparse in plot I do like being transported to an alternative reality. I really enjoyed the combination of CGI and Australian deserts with wildly imaginative vehicles, costuming and action. We had our usual front row seats though the usher informed us we were welcome to choose any of the other seats if we wished. I even had some free chocolates. When I paid for parking (£3) out of the machine came a £1 voucher for the café so I went and chose some Minstrels to have with the small tub of tropical fruit and nuts I had brought along for a cinema treat. 
After we got home somebody came and collected two bags of all the tiny balls of wool that were left over after I had unravelled the crochet squares for Vytas' throw. I couldn't see myself using them so thought that somebody make like them for some kind of craft work. And sure enough a ?  - what do you call a female in her 30s or 40s? Because of my age I would say girl/maid (in Devon) or lass but that could be any age and woman or lady sound terribly formal. Anyway she was happy to have them for some sort of weaving project. At least the wool isn't going to waste.
I went out to choir but when I arrived nobody was there. I should have known as Susie often has grandmother duties in the school holidays but either I missed or didn't hear an announcement. It's only a 15 minute drive each way so not a big problem.


Tuesday 28 May 2024


Another dramatic sunset last night when the sun shone through a gap between two cloud banks.
Then it rained all night and for most of the day only clearing up at the very end.
As it was far too wet to do anything outside I carried on sorting out all my craft materials.
Having got almost everything into the white boxes it was amazing to see how the chaos across the floor fitted onto the shelves. Mind you this was at the second attempt. The first time round I couldn't understand why I still had a number of boxes left over as I was sure I had been careful to buy just the right amount. It was only after I moved one set of uprights along the shelves that  everything slotted into place.
Since I failed to find any home made cakes to buy yesterday I thought a rainy day would be a good time to have another attempt at making a meringue roulade. My previous attempts when I had used a silicone mat instead of baking parchment had failed and I wondered if the silicone didn't allow enough heat through. That may have been the case as today's try worked and tasted very nice too with the tartness of raspberries cutting through the sweetness of the meringue. The next time we have visitors, a rare occurrence, a roulade might well be on the menu.
The first of the pond irises has flowered. Fingers crossed that it doesn't get snapped by the wind.
The waves built up through the afternoon and it wasn't long before the bay was dotted with surfers and kite surfers. The rain stopped in time for my walk down to the hall for Pilates and there was some sun on my return walk home.

Monday 27 May 2024


We had a bright start to the day then all of a sudden the clouds darkened and we had heavy rain. After which the weather got better and we're having a sunny end to the day.
It stopped raining in time for me to walk down to the Charities Fair in the Hall. I try to support all the charities but as I'm at the stage of trying to de-clutter our home it was mostly by buying raffle tickets. I was hoping to get some tomato plants as a replacement and extra for the one that the snails or slugs ate. Even though I was at the fair early somebody had already bought most of the tomato plants leaving two Tumbling Toms. Those I bought and have planted them in a trough up on the wall. I also got a pink tall sedum to put in the tub where the purple leaved variety was (lost it in the winter) and another verbena bonariensis. At 50p each they were a bargain. I also bought a set of cheap paintbrushes and some hand made birthday cards. I had hoped to get some home made cakes but as I didn't fancy Rice Krispy treats or a whole chocolate cake just bought a couple of spinach and feta pastries. It was nice to chat with people I knew and others whom I didn't.
The nice weather meant that I was able to get a wash out on the line and everything apart from the towels was dry by the end of the afternoon.
The coastguards who are based in the RNLI station spent the morning doing their cliff abseiling training in front of the house.
I did more painting of the shelf supports and then escaped to the garden to tidy up the inside of the hedge. As it involved quite a bit of stretching (which my body doesn't like) I left the top with its waving honeysuckle strands for another day.

The female blackbird was not impressed by the fact that the woodpigeon had eaten all the seeds, again.
On the other hand the white tailed bumblebees were finding plenty of nectar in the garden flowers.
Here you see the bumblebee drinking the nectar from the 'horn' at the back of the flower and below a carder bee is feeding on the linaria flower in a more conventional manner.


Sunday 26 May 2024

A Wet Walk.

Yesterday evening it felt as if we were in the Med looking out at a small yacht moored in the bay. They stayed all night and it was lovely to see the reflection of the light on top of the mast reflected across the water. This apparently is the type of sailing vessel of Peter's dreams. Thankfully we don't have the sort of money for that dream, (I get sea-sick very easily).
I had a late start to my day today but managed to paint the shelf supports, one side in the morning and the other when I returned from my walk. Unfortunately I couldn't find any white gloss paint in the garage and have used Vinyl silk instead. If it looks horrible I'll have to buy some gloss paint but I'm hoping not as paint is expensive. I also started sorting out the last of my craft boxes and discovered this fabric, possibly a shawl of some sort. I'm pretty sure it's raw silk and almost certain the embroidery is real gold. I've no use for it myself so might end up donating it to Oxfam as they have experts who assess specialist items. 
We had heavy rain in the night which had cleared up by the morning. In fact it looked like we were going to have another hot day. But when I arrived at Coed Tamsin for our walk it began to rain and we had heavy rain on and off for most of the walk. Some fellow walkers who live in and around Borth had also thought it was going to be hot and dry and turned up in shorts and light tops. Luckily I had thrown my jacket into the car 'just in case' and had some waterproof over trousers that I was planning to hand on to a friend if she came on the walk (she didn't).
My camera spent most of the time in its plastic bag tucked inside my jacket or in my bag. Nevertheless we had a nice walk round the woods stopping for lunch inside Bob's wood workshop. It was filled with beautifully hand made wooden items, some decorative and some like the chairs with semi-natural features were more functional. I would have loved to take photos but it wasn't appropriate.

Afterwards we went up to their cottage and had a walk around the gardens admiring all the wonderful plants. Something different to see every time. (Not the photo below, that's nature's wild beauty on a woodland track.)
Something that I was very disappointed by was finding out that the Craft Fair was on today. Unlike tomorrow's Charities Fair it hadn't been advertised on the local FB page and I wasn't the only one who hadn't known about it. There went my chance to support local artists and buy something special for the house and presents for friends and also to take photos to give Peter some ideas for my birthday present.


Saturday 25 May 2024

Rowing Taster Day.

It was an almost cloudless sky when I sat outside first thing this morning but later the clouds appeared again. But no rain!
Straight after breakfast I sanded and painted the upright shelf pieces and then did a couple of small jobs that had been on the to-do list for a few weeks. I sanded and cut slots in two pieces of wood for the beach sign which hides two plugs. I then hung the three photos I took when we last visited St Ives. I'm quite obsessive about positioning pictures on walls and had to make sure they were central on the wall and exactly level. I also rejected two different sets of frames before deciding on click frames.
The photos are all of the same bit of slipway. I couldn't decide which one I likes the best, printed all three and then discovered they made a pleasing triptych. At least I think so. 
Then it was off to the beach. The rowing club were running taster sessions for people who might be interested in joining the club. For once I said I would have a go too. You never know, I might like it or at least if I learnt how to row I could be an emergency extra rower when as sometimes happens one person drops out at the last moment and then nobody gets to row. The were a number of people wanting to try rowing so it was a while before I had my turn in the boat. There were two experienced rowers (including Peter) in the boat as well as the cox. The sea was reasonably calm and we rowed right out to the buoys before stopping to enjoy the view. But I'm sad to say I didn't enjoy the experience. I found it quite frightening to be out on the water, I'm sure the fact that I'm a poor swimmer had a lot to do with it even though we had lifejackets on and in twenty years of sea rowing Dave (the guy who runs the club) said there has never been an incident. Although I've enjoyed being in slightly bigger boats, with engines, on rough water it just didn't feel safe sitting there so close to the water. That said I would like to go out once or maybe twice more on beginner level rows to see if I can get over this silly fear. 
Update- Peter has just come home, sixteen people came to try rowing and apparently I rowed well.
Another event was also being held on the beach, a synchronised swim (comedy style) to raise money for the local schoolchildren's swimming lessons.
Photo by Lynne Dickens. 
(I didn't bring my camera as I didn't want to leave it unattended while I was by the water.)
You can see a video filmed by Dianne Richards here though it misses out the part at the beginning where they run to the sea, decide it's too cold and run out again. I too appear in the video right at the beginning (purple top, white legs) standing with some of the others come to row.
After all that standing around and marching in the water I was glad to get home and jump under a hot shower. Afterwards I made a big pot of soup using up all the limp veg from the fridge with cabbage, tomatoes and lentils which will be nice and warming for our supper.
Above - I bought this lamium maculata for the shape and colour of the leaves, the bright purple flowers are a bonus though I'm not overly keen on the purple spots on the leaves.
You can see more of the scarecrow festival here in this video by Dave Bird.