Tuesday, 23 May 2017

People . . .

On Sunday when we were at the Militaria Fair, on my way back from my walk I spotted that the Tenovus Charity Shop was open (one of the few which were open in Brecon on a Sunday, though surprisingly Greggs was).  I popped inside and scanned the books and my eye fell on "Our Hidden Lives" - the remarkable diaries of post-war Britain.  Based on a continuation of the Mass-Observation programme of the wartime years, these diaries recorded what life was like in a Britain where rationing became even more stringent and the British had to do without in order to feed Europe, where people were starving - and that included the Germans, which rubbed against the grain of its victors.  They felt they had suffered quite enough going without in the war years, but it seemed that the shops stocked nothing.  Not even a pencil could be had, let alone tissue paper, and the fat rations all but disappeared entirely.  Life in the countryside would have been easier, but there is no real record of that as these diaries were kept by town-dwellers in London, Sheffield, and Scotland.  I am finding it hard to put down and am only leaving it in my office whilst I go for a bath, as I fear I might drop it in the bath water should I relax in there with it! 

I will let you have a little taster, and then if you are smitten, you can go find a copy for a penny at Amazon or slightly more on Fleabay.

B Charles, a (gay) antique dealer from Scotland with an ascerbic tongue, especially where women are concerned!

"When I went for the milk today, I asked if it were possible to have an extra half pint, as I wanted to make a blancmange.  The man said he couldn't let me have it, as these days it is so impossible to let anyone have any more than they are entitled to.  He went on to say that the Government hope "next winter" to let everyone have two pints a week.  If anyone is still labouring under the delusion that rationing in Britain is going to finish soon, they will be rudely awakened from their fantasy.  What a curse this last war is proving."  18th December 1945.

Ooops - I didn't mean to publish this until tomorrow.

In the meantime, under the heading of "people" come the wonderful people of Manchester who rallied round in a time of great need and desperation last night.  I just cannot understand why anyone (I am assuming Daesh have claimed this "victory") should feel such hatred to someone of a different religion, and that we should be erased from the earth's surface just because we exist and don't share their faith.  From babies upwards we are deemed fair game and my heart goes out to the friends and families of those who were murdered.  I truly hope there is such a thing as hell and that such murderers have a particularly unpleasant corner reserved in it.

Aquilegia roundup

As you can see, my internet connection is better.  I have spent the afternoon watching (and bidding on a couple of things) on an online auction, and loading photos!  Enjoy.  Back later with words.

The Gentleman Gardener - Little Whale helping me, in a supervisory role.

The first rose of summer, Roserie de l'Hay.  Beautiful.

Monday, 22 May 2017

A busy weekend

We were standing at Brecon Militaria Fair yesterday.  I took a break and had a walk along the Brecon canal.  This beautiful garden (lots of Aquilegias) is by a little bridge over the canal.  This photo, btw, took FOURTEEN MINUTES to load.  Are you listening, BT?

Isn't this pretty?  There is a busy road the other side of it, which leads from the by-pass into Brecon, but I dare say the quiet canalside at the backmakes up for that.

A view of the allotments, which were all neat and tidy and folk busy working on them.

Isn't this a lovely spot?  The pink cottage is just the other side of that bridge.  A family had hired a little boat and a lad of about 9 or so was having his first chance to "drive" it!  Much hilarity.  I couldn't help thinking, this is how children should be brought up.

A couple of shots along the canal basin and just leaving it.  For some reason the photos got loaded last-first, so I have foolishly loaded them in the same way.

Water Wagtail on the tow path.  I've always loved Wagtails (Polly Dishwashers my mum used to call them).  We have these about the place sometimes, but I wish they wouldn't come near our ponds because of our cats.

A last one of the allotments - taken because those yellow Lupins looked splendid.

Friday, 19 May 2017

BT are laughing all the way to the bank . . .

Well, to say I am angry about the lack of broadband here is an understatement.  I couldn't sleep past 3.45 a.m. this morning so after an hour of tossing and turning I got up and thought, at least I should be able to load some photos this time of the night as no-one else will be sharing the line.  WRONG!  I cannot change the header photo - I gave up after an hour - and so I thought I would be clever and run a broadband speed checker, but that can't even load the page properly so I see the dials I am meant to be able to see to check the broadband, it's all a bit of a waste of time really.  According to the engineer on Thursday there is no fault on the line and a quick check of the broadband signal said there were no interruptions.  Oh really?  I am seriously thinking of ditching the broadband here and just going a couple of times a week to the internet cafĂ© in the next village to check my mail and update my blog etc.  This has affected my business as I can't sell anything on ebay, and neither can I bid on line at auction.  Last night (again) we couldn't get Netflix to hold, so it is not my computer or anything, it is the provider, as that travels down the phone line.

I will check in when I can (I am assuming this will post of course!) but in the meantime, bear with me and watch this space.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

A wander round Newcastle Emlyn

I will write my post now and add some more photos later as the line/broadband is SO bad here it is taking half an hour to load each photo.  I have complained to BT again and they ran a check on the line, but said it was ok, yet are sending an engineer out on Thursday.  It is desperately bad - last time I tried to bid online at an auction, I had to have two windows up for the sale - one with the item list and sound, and then the live auction with no sound.  When I finally tried to bid, I couldn't and missed the item I REALLY wanted.  Fortunately no-one else wanted it (two books of Georgian poetry - connected with Edward Thomas and the Dymock Poets) and I was able to phone the auction and buy it then.  I CANNOT trade like this though - had we been bidding on furniture someone else WOULD have bought it.  As this auction is in Gloucestershire, and a two day one, we can't go both days.

Anyway, this is the one and only photo I took of the castle - Keith wasn't feeling too chipper and had gone back to the car with some plants I bought and had extracted a promise from me that I wouldn't be long . . .  The plants were two Pericallis Senetti like the ones below, but mine are the brightest of bright Magenta and Purple!  Anyway, back later when - or if, as it really IS dire today - I can load some more photos.

BUT - the quilt shop was shut as they were at Malvern Quilt Festival . . .  I had been hoping to get my crafting mojo going again too.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Recent reading

Morning all.  Ref. the photo - I loaded nearly 100 yesterday but only three appear to have been saved.  I have got son Danny coming for the night tomorrow, and hopefully he will help me sort out the sticky bits on Windows 10.  This is my current screen saver too . . .

I will load a photo when I've written this.  Photos take about ten minutes to load still but I have to gear myself up to phone BT again and I thought I'd give an update on recent books read.  In bed I am reading a light-hearted series a friend loaned me - The Chronicles of St Mary's by Jodi Taylor.  I'm at the end of book two, A Second Chance.  Time travelling back to intriguing bits of history.  Good fun.

I downloaded a few books to my Kindle in recent weeks.  I've just read Skendleby by Nick Brown, which was a sort of lightly-written Gothic Horror with special appeal for anyone who has an interest in archaeology.  He's top banana with the archaeology but the actual story wasn't as scary as it could have been.  I can't see him getting commended for the Booker Prize, but a goodish read.

I am currently reading Parliament of Rooks by Karen Perkins.  It's sub-title is Haunting Bronte Country and yes dear reader, it is set in Haworth and lots of Bronte facts and hauntings, and popping back in time to that of the Brontes.   Oh, and Rooks.  Lots of those too.  Had I looked through it in a bookshop I probably wouldn't have bought it, but as a read it isn't too bad, but on a par with Skendleby.  I paid for it, so I will read it!

Waiting in the wings are Val McDermid's The Distant Echo.  I like her work and have lots of her novels to catch up on.  Then there is L J Ross's Holy Island, a DCI Ryan Mystery.  Not read anything of hers before, but they come up regularly on my Amazon feed.  Finally The Man in the Lighthouse by Erik Valeur.  An unknown quantity but probably good.

Yesterday I bought Keith a hardback book I knew he (and afterwards I) would enjoy.  Dunstan by Conn Iggulden.  I loved the intro, which I read in the car coming home from town yesterday.  Apparently he is a masterful writer and people love his historical novels, so we shall look out for more now.

I had my 6 monthly visit to the Respiratory Nurse yesterday, and my tests weren't very good.  As a result, we had a chat and I am now on a new (stronger) inhaler, totally different from the Fostair I was on, which if I am truthful, wasn't working too wonderfully for me.  This new one comes with a whole raft of possible side-effects, but we won't go there!  This new inhaler is just taken once a day and should shut down some of my immune responses so there is less inflammation and mucous production.  I have always tried to avoid going on to stronger and ever stronger medication, trying to struggle on with a lesser amount for as long as I can, but I have to say the Fostair really wasn't doing the trick any more.  This new one is a powder inhaler again (but SO different to the capsules you had to puncture and inhale 50 years ago) and I am hoping it works without any of the side effects.  Fingers crossed.  Since my maternal grandmother died of a heart-attack probably the result of her asthma for which there was no real treatment in those days, so it would have put a strain on her heart, I am lucky to have passed the age she died at and am still keeping the asthma more or less under control.

It is still raining here, but set to clear up later.  I have a hankering to go to Newcastle Emlyn again - it's been a year since we were last over that way.  I'll take my camera if we do, as we will pop down to Cenarth and I'll take some views of the river there, which is so beautiful - and one of the last places, like Carmarthen, where they still fish for Salmon in coracles.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Bluebell walk at Dinefwr Castle Woods

This is a walk we did recently.  Here is Paxton's Tower in the distance, whilst we are at the edge of Dinefwr Castle Woods.  I must do a walk up at Paxton's Tower again and then do a proper post on it.  It's quite a landmark in the Towy Valley.

The bluebell photos don't really need much in the way of words, and I have awarded myself a couple of hours off to sit and read a book on my Kindle, so enjoy.

The castle as viewed across the Park.

I think the flowers look a bit sparse this year, but perhaps it is my memory leading me astray - mind you, we had a dryish winter which is unusual here, and then almost draught conditions in the last month.