Monday, 2 May 2016

Book roundup


Apologies for absence, but I was very busy with gardening and housework last week, and we have been busy hurtling around the countryside for the past few days, trying to make a living -   which was a bit of a laugh really as not much has been selling at all!  Ah well, this was one morning when we were still here when the dawn rose.


Anyway, I have been sleeping badly, on top of everything, and fighting a chest infection - worst time to get one.  We were due a viewing next week, but fortunately (in some ways) this has had to be rescheduled (still waiting to hear when).  So I was able to rest up for two days before having to do the hurtling round the countryside.  This wonderful book, Meadowland, was one I treated myself to a couple of weeks ago when I found it for just £1 in one of the Llandeilo charity shops.  It is so beautifully written, and the farm is situated on the Herefordshire border, just behind the Black Mountains.  I can't recommend it highly enough.


Here's another Charity Shop find, and also unputdownable.  I've wanted it since reading a review of it in the weekend Telegraph.   I love it because there are lots of horses in it too and it evokes a time that seems familiar to me (though I was born 10 years after the author).


I just couldn't resist this addition to my Bronte collection.  A different perspective on Charlotte Bronte in this book, and worth reading if you are a Bronte fan.


As I have been sitting down (all day yesterday near Bristol), I have had time to finally read big chunks of this wonderful book, which evokes happy Wiltshire memories (I used to live near Salisbury) and a time now long forgotten, with customs and stories which have otherwise been lost.  A modern print of this would make a wonderful present for a country-lover.


OK, I couldn't resist this book on Wessex for £2 - I didn't NEED it, but I do have several others in this series and am a Wessex lass.  This still had all the colour illustrations in it - many didn't survive intact and had the plates taken out and framed up to sell as pictures.  I have Dorchester in my hallway, taken from a copy of this book (but not done by me).



This was just a pound, and is to be read and then passed on.  Honest injun.



Ahem, this wasn't anything like as cheap as it's just been published, but I had a sod it moment.  It was worth buying and I would truly have regretted leaving it in the shop . . .

What have you all been reading?

Monday, 25 April 2016

Old sayings


Near Crickhowell.

I am laid up with a cold (and a very poor night's sleep), so don't expect intelligent thought today!  (Yet again).

This topic came about because I was discussing it with my husband earlier on.   I am sure many old sayings are dieing out from lack of use.  My mum had a wealth of them at her fingertips, many of which I still use, but I don't hear my offspring using them.  Perhaps it is mobile phones and emails which have stopped their use.

These are some of the ones I grew up with:

I'm not Keyhole Kate you know (about getting through a narrow space, or shutting the door too soon).

He (or she) looked like the Wild Man of Borneo (dishevelled)
or He looked like Shock Headed Peter (from a book of her childhood).

A fool and his money are soon parted.

Not for all the tea in China.

Every cloud has a silver lining.

The early bird catches the worm.

One swallow doesn't make a summer.


Places might be "a stone's throw away", you might buy "a pig in a poke", know something because "a little bird told me", "an ill wind blew nobody any good", people might run "as fast as greased lightening, be "as bald as a coot", "as happy as Larry", or "as fit as a fiddle", and great satisfaction was had when someone was "taken down a peg or two".  There was often "a storm in a teacup",  "beggars can't be choosers" and I went "up the wooden stairs to bedfordshire"(or the land of nod) and when I was tucked in, I was "snug as a bug in a rug".  People kept on the "straight and narrow" or perhaps, "went Widdershins", there might be "jiggery pokery" or "stuff and nonsense" and people were known to talk "until the cows came home" or they "talked the hind leg off a donkey."  When we played card games, in Beat Jack Out Of Doors, the Jack often "saved my bacon".

Before the pop group, "a rolling stone gathered no moss".  Weather had lots of descriptions, it might be "as black as Jack's hatband" over there", or "coming down in stair-rods", or "raining cats and dogs" "blowing a hooley", and everyone knew that red sky at night was shepherds' (or sailors') delight, but red sky in the morning was shepherds' warning.

What family sayings did you grow up with?


Sunday, 24 April 2016

Catch up post

Theo in the apple bowl, peeved at having his photo taken!




I am barely awake here as we were up early again today (it's the car boot season) and since we got back, have both been working very hard.  I've been cracking on with the garden again, despite having a bug which leaves me rather croaky.  Today I was continuing in the yard, which was looking very messy with leaves and ash keys, either caught up in overgrown bits at the edge or strewn across the concrete.  I've got the worst sorted, and we have a Tip Trip tomorrow with completely useless bits of plastic and metal (e.g., my flying polytunnel!) and we've also had a bonfire of boxes and dead branches which were no good for kindling.


Not a very good picture of my cleared and newly-planted rockery, but it shows it looking MUCH better than it did when it was covered in a mass of broken off dead rose branches . . .  I took away 3 barrowloads of twigs and weeds from this area.



Sunrise on the road to Malvern last Sunday.



We went to Malvern Fleamarket  whilst Tam was staying with us.  It took us 6 1/2 hours to walk round.  I was just giving up the will to live when I found this "me" present, a lovely old Victorian jelly mould.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it inside one of the sheds, sensibly priced.  I shall enjoy it for a while.


Also in the sheds - something I have been looking for all my life!  Truly.  A Victorian field worker's bonnet, just like the one worn by Tess of the D'Urbervilles.  A connection with my own agricultural roots in Devon.  It was £11.  I love it.


Either side of the green Udder vase, a lovely Torquay pair of vases that my dearly beloved bought me in lieu of a birthday card!  A card would have been FAR cheaper . . .


I found the black spotty Torquay vase (pale blue interior) at Malvern too.  Cheap (£2) as it had a small chip on the foot rim, but it's situated too high up to see that!  I have cleared out several other pieces of lesser Torquay to make way for these new ones.



Meanwhile, much tidying in the garden has been happening.  Here is the first half of the herbaceous border weeded and with a good covering of compost to mulch it a little and stop more weed growth.


Above and below: still to be worked on, plus all the edging needs to be done.


Sorry this is such a feebly-worded post, but my brain has gone walk-about.  I am fit for nothing tonight.  Hopefully joined up words will be used again soon!


Thursday, 21 April 2016

Down by the sea - another day, another hill to climb!


Our eldest daughter has now gone home, but we managed another lovely - challenging! - walk a week ago, the day after climbing up the Skirrid.  My apologies for the sea-mist effect left of every photo - I obviously touched the lens with a grubby mit.


This is Pendine, a beach we regularly visited when our three were children.  If you look to the left of the houses you will see the steep pathway up to the top of the cliffs, which is where we headed.


From the beach, the view across to the Gower Peninsula.


Looking towards Tenby - I think this was Caldy Island.



From half way up the climb up the cliffs - unfortunately the grubby finger mark has spoilt the view considerably.


The last flight of steep steps . . . with violets beside them.


The beach from the top.  You can see the river going up to Laugharne, and on the opposite shore, Pembrey.


The view ahead.  Unfortunately the Neolithic burial chambers we had been looking for were on that far side and we had run out of energy by then!


So we sat and enjoyed the Violets instead.  Will try and find time for a round-up of news soon, but it's busy, busy, busy here and another viewing the first week of May.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Climbing The Skirrid


First-off - the weather on my birthday!  Just as well we didn't go out for the day as we normally do!





5 minutes later . . . pouring rain, hailstones, sleet . . . it was like that on and off all day!

Anyway, we now have our eldest daughter home for a week.  Yesterday we went to Abergavenny Fleamarket and after that drove a little bit further so we could climb up the Skirrid, all 486 metres of it!  We've driven past many times but never been in a position to stop and explore it.


We had the option of amble or scramble.  However, if you wanted the views, at some point you had a steep climb and so we opted for scramble.  Here are Windflowers and Celendines which carpeted the woodland.


The first Bluebells.


A long-abandoned wall was verdant with moss.


A huge boulder nuzzles against the wall.  One of the ones (there were many) which had broken off the crags and rolled downhill at some time in the past.


Looking S-E, above and below.



Almost due South, where the Severn runs into the Bristol channel.


Looking West towards the Sugarloaf.


Looking North along the slope.


Looking back along the ridge, Southwards again.


I  traced the line of this lane heading NN-W.  It leads (out of sight) to Llanvihangel Crucorney.


I loved the Celendine meadow at the bottom of the slope, especially the little S-shaped squiggle of colour at the bottom.


Looking east towards the Brecon Beacons.


Eastwards, towards Herefordshire and on the horizon, the Malvern Hills.


Finally, heading homewards - T and K.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Corners and backstreets


Morning all.  We had a day in Hay-on-Wye yesterday (no surprise there then!)  I wandered round with my camera taking photos of the backstreets I never normally photograph.  Here they are.  Enjoy.  Sorry for lack of words but it's my birthday today and I have a list of "fings to do" . . .  I shall also remember poet Edward Thomas who died on this day a century ago, and also my mother-in-law AND her brother, who also both died on my birthday.


Here I was trying to show how Hay sits in the landscape.



A lovely old house.  This would suit us . . .


A puss-cat watching the world go by.


It was SO hard to get a photo without a car in it somewhere . . . or a bollard, in this case!


Addyman books on the right hand corner.  One of my favourite shops for old horsey books.


Above and below.  The overflow store room for The End.  I think this bull's head is being saved for Hay Festival Week in May.




Below: the owner's cat, on guard duty!



I will take T here when she is down with us next week.  All sorts of goodies in there.  (I liked the sign which says "Best Quality Old Tat" . . .




A tea shop, showcasing its "equipment".



It was lovely wandering through this little cobbled pathway to the cottages beyond.





Finally, some colour on a largely grey day.