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.

Sunday 30 June 2024

A Walk Above the Stables.

Mostly grey today with occasional light drizzle. I was up early enough to see the rowing club going out for a row at 7.00. That would have been far too early for Peter but in any case he has just had another flare up with his knee which is now sporting a new bony lump and has kept him from rowing or doing a lot this week.
There was a small cat related drama last night. As it was raining lightly last night just before I turned in for the night I went to see if Speedy had returned from his evening stroll and wanted to came back in. Sure enough there he was waiting at the glass door .... with something small and furry in his mouth. Wanting to rescue said furry creature should it still be alive I got a towel, opened the door very carefully and grabbed Speedy by the scruff. It was then a matter of pulling his head back to make him release the field mouse while at the same time covering the mouse with the towel so that if it was alive it didn't run off into the room. Somehow I managed all that, with the mouse bundled up in the towel I found something to put on my feet and in my pjs walked down the garden and out onto the cliff where I released the shaken but alive mouse in the long grass.
Back to today - the meet up point for this afternoon's walk was at the start of the track that leads to the riding stables. I didn't even have to drive myself to this familiar spot as I had a lift with somebody who lives nearby. While we were sorting ourselves out there was the drawn out toot of the steam train that runs through the Vale of Rheidol to Devil's Bridge.
The first part of our walk was along the track that leads to the stables.
We crossed the railway line, walked past the stables
and began a gentle ascent of the side of the valley. The large barn with the green netting is the indoor school where I have my weekly lessons.
We then left the track that we ride on at the beginning of hacks and followed a steeper path to Ian's woods.

As we continued upwards gaps in the bushes and trees gave us great views of the vale and directly below where the fields belonging to the stables were with the horses having their Sunday rest. I think that most if not all of the horses, even the livery horses, spend all their time in the fields when they are not being ridden. A far more natural way to keep horses who are herd animals that form strong social bonds something they cannot do if they are kept in stables.

Ian keeps his woods pretty much as a wilderness. Over the years he has built himself a number of wooden shelters along the track. We stopped by one where he brewed up tea and we had our lunch along with some apple cake made by his partner (can't remember her name I'm afraid). From there we retraced our steps back to the cars. My camera spent most of the return journey covered up from the rain which  kept starting and stopping. (Why does it seem so odd to say it that way round?) 


Saturday 29 June 2024


A grey day today. It was a little brighter in the morning with light drizzle that became steady rain arriving later in the afternoon. 
Not knowing which way the weather would go I began my day by watering and tying in the tomato plants. The ones I grew from seed are a bush variety and don't need the side shoots taking out but Big Daddy which came from a village plant sale does and the two my friend gave me also will once they have grown on a bit. (You can see I'm taking the tomato growing seriously this year.)
I generally need to take things easy by Saturday and this week was no exception so I allocated myself the job of putting up a few more pictures. That meant going up in the loft and as I didn't find my notebook with all the picture details on until just now, making a guess at the pictures under all the bubble wrap. They are numbered and marked with the artist's initials or 'H' for the assortment of pictures ranging from posters and photos to original art works that hung on Dingle's walls. Bringing some of them out of storage is like welcoming old friends back into the house. There's a spot facing the front door that is crying out for a big picture but although I unwrapped two pictures they weren't quite right and have gone back up in the loft. The loft which for the moment is nice and dry.
My favourite of the day is this oriental painting on silk of a rooster and hen which is now on our bedroom wall. I'm not so sure about the landscape above the bookshelves, I'll probably get used to it. I also found out that photographing pictures behind glass is extremely difficult which is the reason I'm only showing these two.


Friday 28 June 2024

Who Would Have Thought?

Wild, windy and only a touch of blue in the sky first thing this morning. It wasn't until later in the afternoon that we had truly sunny skies.
When I got to the stables this morning I found that for a change I was riding Cadno. He's bigger than Margaret and more experienced but he does have a tendency to slow down. While we are warming up we are encouraged to ride circles or turn across the school coming to a halt on the centre line. This is to get the horse listening to the rider. Unfortunately as soon as I turned inwards towards the centre line Cadno would slow down to a walk before I asked him. Instead I had to reverse the process and keep him trotting without a stop and try again later so that he listened to me instead of anticipating the exercise. There were only four of us in the lesson which was good. We worked on riding a straight line, leg yielding towards the wall and leg yielding away from the wall which is harder. No cantering again today which is a bit boring.
Afterwards I had some bags of garden waste to leave at the dump. As I left the industrial estate I could see the traffic was solid all the way into town so I headed away from town taking the longer but clear route in. By the time I got to the roundabout which is the junction between the only east/west main road and the main north/south road (there is only one) the traffic on the other side of the road was stationary as far as I could see in both directions but not on my side of the road. There were cars backed up round the roundabout, the slip road from Morrisons and even in Morrison's car park. I've seen heavy traffic before on a Friday but never like that. Apparently there were temporary traffic lights adding to the chaos. But by the time I had done my shopping in Morrisons it was clear again. Today's shopping included four more plants one of which was yet another lavender. As can be seen from the photos there's plenty of lavender in the herb garden but it's the one with lavender coloured flowers. The one I bought today has the dark purple flowers and having seen one in a neighbour's garden I've been hankering after it all week. So how could I not buy it when I saw it at the supermarket?
This morning while sitting outside I got to thinking about all the things we take for granted in our daily lives that were only in the realms of science fiction when I was young- being able to access information and people world wide from a phone in our pocket (or in my case a pc at home), electric cars, being able to search for and play music with just the spoken word, robots running factories, automatic gadgets to hoover your floors unsupervised (I'd be wary having seen the damage to a laminate floor caused by grit caught under a Roomba), ditto an automatic mower, paying for goods by tapping a card on a box, self service checkouts, the list goes on and on. I use the self service checkout in Lidl but always head for the one that has lost its ability to speak. No annoying voice telling me to 'Place item in bagging area.' etc while I'm taking my time. Some things like driverless cars and the use of biometrics are only just appearing. I wonder what will emerge in the next 10 or 20 years? 


Thursday 27 June 2024

Cake & Cultivate.

A brief moment of drama in last night's sunset with the low cloudbank sending streaks of light up under the closer clouds.
Today it has been very windy. A good drying day but I could only rustle up one machine load. Unless I wanted to start on the curtains there's nothing left to wash. At least for a couple of days.
It's now summer holidays for the university so no Zoom classes for the next 10 weeks. Instead I am free to go down to the community gardens for Cake & Cultivate.
I cycled down. It's the first time this year I've had the bike out and apart from the last steep slope I was fine on the way there. Coming home I was fighting against the wind and having stopped to talk to a friend near the RNLI I gave up the battle against the wind and pushed my bike the rest of the way home. Even that was hard work.
It was great to meet up with old friends and some new people though of course I see some of the group at the other things I do or around the village.
Plenty growing in the communal polytunnel.
A fox recently killed the gardens' three hens. Hopefully the new hens will be safe.
A new art work, or a worn out gardener taking a rest on the compost heap?
At home I went out in the garden and filled up another bag with clippings. In general I like to let flowering plants go to seed, seeds heads have their own beauty and it's fun to find self sown seedlings but with limited space some plants had to be cut back.
Disco aerobics was fun as usual. Numbers were down a bit as covid is doing the rounds again. It is our instructor's birthday (and she is retiring from her job at the uni) so she brought in prosecco and nozecco (alcohol free) and mini meringues for everyone to celebrate.  


Wednesday 26 June 2024

Sea Mist.

It's been a day of very hot sun and a sea mist which rolled in and out and didn't clear until mid-afternoon. 
I was up early but by the time I'd done the usual morning jobs and put out the bins and the recycling the sky had turned hazy.. The sun reappeared soon after but then the sea mist began to rise and roll in and out. One moment we had a view, then next we didn't.
6.40 am.
9.46 am.
10.02 am.
10.32 am.
11.09 am.
And this is how it stayed for the next few hours. I was so concerned that the mist was creeping up the cliff that I took the rugs off their drying racks and back indoors.
3.00 pm. 
The digital thermometer in the sun read 38.7C/101.6F ! 

When I got up this morning and saw that it looked as if it would be a sunny day I decided to give myself a day off. Or at least a day when I took things easy. 
Since it was bin day I began by clearing a few dubious items from the dodgy freezer. Then in order to empty the bleach container I cleaned the windowsill in the utility room which up till now had been used as a plant propagating area and from there went on to do the outside of the window. Sorting out the utility room is my next project and I hope to have it all done before the new freezer arrives which hopefully will be next week. Being a good day for drying (in the back garden) the washing machine has worked overtime. All the dust sheets are done and clothes washed as well. Whilst I was in a cleaning frenzy the dustbins were scrubbed out too. Because all our food waste is collected separately they don't get nasty but a yearly clean doesn't hurt.
Having applied sunscreen to myself and Speedy I eventually sat outside to read but the heat and hardly any breeze drove us inside after a while. The waves are only breaking at ankle depth so it isn't worth taking a bodyboard down to the sea which is what I would really like to do.


Tuesday 25 June 2024

Rug Washing.

The day began grey and muggy and then later in the morning the hazy clouds cleared and it's been hot sun all the way.
I had intended to cycle down to the zoo but something I did yesterday set my knee off and I was in no state to cycle let alone spend several hours (or more) kneeling and weeding. Instead I washed the two rugs that had been covering bare floorboards in our bedroom. I hoovered them thoroughly first then a quick change of the Vax's basic parts and I was ready to wash the rugs. I briefly contemplated using the washing machine but decided against as the weight of the sodden wool rugs would probably have destroyed the washing machine, that was if I could even fit the larger rug in. Instead I laid the rugs on the swept drive and used the Vax to take out as much dirt as possible. I love the simple design of the Vax which is ideal for both dry and wet suction. Very handy too for tackling minor household floods.
Once washed the rugs were hung out and I think are already dry. I'm not sure yet what I will do with the rugs, Peter might have the bigger one in his study.
I did a few other things including sorting the sagging washing line and baking a Bara Brith before getting out the sun lounger and spending the rest of the afternoon reading in the sun. Might as well enjoy it while it's here.
The buddleia that I moved to the bottom of the garden is doing well and the bright purple flowers should soon be attracting butterflies. Growing up between the buddleia and the hedge is a verbena bonariensis which is at least 7ft tall. It came as an tiny accidental seedling in a pot containing a rockery hardy geranium given to me by my neighbour. I thought it might be a verbena bonariensis, planted it in one flower bed and then moved it when I put the buddleia in. I wasn't expecting it to be so spectacular.
Off soon to Pilates.


Monday 24 June 2024

Midsummer's Day.

I was up early this morning for a change and though it looked as if we were going to have a sunny day I could see cloud over the river being blown towards me. It was only a a layer because behind me the sun was beaming over the cloud/mist? keeping the terrace nice and warm. But eventually the cloud covered the sky and we had an overcast though warm-ish day.
The first thing I did this morning was to go round to the neighbours' garden and cut back the escallonia hedge from their side. That poor bush gets almost no chance to flower as it needs regular trimming so that it doesn't spread too much. 
My other outdoor jobs were not so much fun. Starting with tidying round the bins which are kept on the path that runs down the side of the house. It was just sweeping all the odd corners and sorting out the plastic plant pots which seem to grow more quickly than the plants themselves. Some I'll keep and the rest can go in the 'hard plastics' section at the dump. Then there were the storm drains at the bottom of the drive to clear. Again not that much to do but all the leaves that had blown in there had composted and weeds were beginning to grow. I did a little pottering about in the back garden as well.
As promised here are more photos from around St Michael's Church, Lledrod.
I've been researching yew trees in churchyards and found some interesting facts. The average lifespan of a yew tree is 400-600 years and there are 407 yew trees in Wales that are over 500 years old. There is  yew tree at Defynnog which is possibly 5,000 years old though some experts think it is more likely to be around 1,500 years old. Another tree at Llongernyw is said to be 4,000 years old. The oldest yew tree in the UK is the Fortingal Yew in Scotland which is thought to be 2,000 - 9,000 years old. Ancient yew trees have girths of over 5m so the ones in the churchyard yesterday are probably only hundreds of years old.
It was a shame that there were no paths mown between the graves and the slate gravestones were worn and covered with lichen so we couldn't read the inscriptions on most of them.

This stone tells a tragic story of a family devastated maybe by the last word-wide pandemic. The headstone tells us that in the Jones family Mary, the wife died in 1887 aged 54, a year later son John aged 24 died and the following year another son Daniel aged 38 died. Two years later the daughter Anne aged 32 died and Morgan the father died in 1894 aged 68. The stone doesn't give the cause of death but the Russian Flu pandemic ran from 1889 to 1890 plus there was an unexplained disease circulating in cattle 1870-1890 which may have spread to humans. The Asiatic or Russian Flu, possibly a coronavirus was one of the deadliest pandemics in history killing over 1 million people at a time when the world population was around 1.5 billion.
This imposing granite monument was for a church elder who died in 1890 and his wife who died 32 years later.
I just heard on the radio that it's Midsummer's Day, err what summer? and that it has been the hottest day of the year. Not here it hasn't.