Friday, 29 June 2012

Foxgloves . . .

You will have to forgive the delay in the Pictish post, but I am feeling rather rough from this chest infection, which is proving stubborn and I obviously need different anti-biotics to cure it.  Anyway, hopefully these photos will hit the spot.  I should have taken my camera with me in the morning when we drove up our valley to Brechfa to go to the shop.  The light was much better than when I drove up again yesterday afternoon, and it came on to rain just as I was getting out of the car!  I will try again when the sun is out so you can see better all the purple-pink masses of Foxgloves - acres of them - growing where woodland was cleared a couple of years ago.

Here is Mary Webb's beautiful poem: Foxglove:

The foxglove bells, with lolling tongue,
Will not reveal what peals were rung
In Faery, in Faery,
A thousand ages gone.
All the golden clappers hang
As if but now the changes rang;
Only from the mottled throat
Never any echoes float.
Quite forgotten, in the wood,
Pale, crowded steeples rise;
All the time that they have stood
None has heard their melodies.
Deep, deep in wizardry
All the foxglove belfries stand.
Should they startle over the land,
None would know what bells they be.
Never any wind can ring them,
Nor the great black bees that swing them–
Every crimson bell, down-slanted,
Is so utterly enchanted.

When my children were small I used to read them (the girls anyway!)  Cicily Mary Baker's Flower Fairy books and I can still remember the Foxglove Fairy off by heart:

Foxglove, foxglove, what do you see?
The cool green woodland, the fat velvet bee.
Hey, Mr Bumble
There's honey here for thee.

Foxglove, foxglove, what see you now?
The soft summer moonlight
On bracken, grass and bough,
And all the fairies dancing, as only they know how . . .

Foxgloves and Gooseberries

Over the weekend I shall be composing a post about the Pictish Symbol Stones, as Kath over at Hillside pricked up her ears when I mentioned them the other day and would like to learn more.

Anyway, today I am up to the gunnels in ripe gooseberries and have come on line to track down some interesting recipes.  I used to make a lovely hot-water pastry raised gooseberry and orange pie once upon a year, but it is rather a special occasion beasty, so I want some more down to earth recipes which turn a huge amount of gooseberries into something useful - jam springs to mind, as I used last year's for wine-making and am still waiting to drink it!

I have also got some oatmeal steeping in milk for a nice oatmeal plait, and that will be my first job of the day.  Everyone in our house loves home-made bread (especially my son) and now I am on the last day of my anti-biotics (though still struggling a bit) I am feeling bright enough to bake again.

In fact, the little booklet of bread recipes which was purchased in the early 70s (Woman's Realm book of 101 ways with Bread) for 60p is still the one I reach for first, over and above all the more expensive and upmarket bread books I have.  Every time I open it, I am taken back to my early bread-making experiments and the feeling of having discovered myself.  Apple Yeastcake.  Granny's Cinnamon Cake.  Orange Buckwheat Bread.  Orange Sunbread.  Savoury Herb Bread.  Sunflower Loaf.  Crumpets and Chelsea Buns. 

Oh, and the Foxgloves?  You'll have to wait until I drive back up the valley again, camera in hand, but where they have cleared woodland a couple of years back and opened up the steep hillside to the sun, there are absolutely ACRES of Foxgloves.  I have never seen them in such quantity and they are stunning, especially beside the little waterfall. 

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


Not the best start to a Tuesday morning.  It is pouring with rain outside.  I am sat here feeling like a pile of doo-dah from lack of sleep which is being opposed by the drug regime for this latest chest infection.  Ah well. Think positive.  I will just have to take things easy with a) the current book I'm reading*, and b) my crochet lap-throw I'm working on.

This is a book to recommend to you: P D James & T A Critchley - The Maul and the Pear Tree: The Ratcliffe Highway Murders 1811.  I bought it for 50p at the car boot sale on Sunday and can't put it down.

Anyway, when I was awake and dressed at stupid o'clock this morning, I had a little foray around blogland, and went blog-hopping, starting with a link on Pat's lovely blog, The Weaver of Grass, where there is always something interesting to read about. 

On her sidebar, are lots of lovely links.  I am in a crafty mood right now - being stapled to the sofa! - so next I  went to check out Ragged Old Blogger where there are some ideas which I find very inspiring - I especially love the Celtic interlace work, as that figured large when I was researching the Pictish Symbol Stones many years ago.  This is my "starter for ten" but I don't blog about them for fear of boring everyone - I would get carried away with my enthusiasm.  I loved her post about visiting Uley Barrow (Hetty Pegler's Tump) as I have been there too, with my archaeologist's hat on!

From here, I went to Dog-Daisy Chains, which I have visited before (probably along the same route!) and had a drool over the beautiful fabric brooches and I absolutely love her Newgrange-inspired felted design from 17th May.  I will try and get back to felting, something I promised myself I would get stuck into years ago.  Life got in the way, I fear.

I pop in at Marmalade Rose's blog from time to time, and have been inspired by her beautiful and imaginative creations.  My favourites are the flower-felted meadows.

Finally, Lucy at Attic24, whose colourful blog never fails to cheer me up.  As you will see in her most recent post, she's in the current issue of Simply Crochet, which I treated myself to yesterday.

Right, the sofa calls.  It has taken my brain several hours to wake up sufficiently to put this pitiful post together.  Enjoy the links.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Monday, Monday . . .

Sadly I tempted fate recently when I announced I was feeling WELL again.  I have come down with a bonzer of a chest infection again, one bad enough to scare me as I felt like I was suffocating.  Anti-biotics have helped and stopped my cough, but my breathing's still not right, so this morning I have started on a course of steroids which I was given to take if I felt I needed to.

 Anyway, on Saturday we had to take advantage of a dry day to get in a car boot sale, and as there was one on our little local showground, as part of the Vintage Rally.  I sat and crocheted in between selling things.  I also had a little wander round, camera in hand, and got completely and totally distracted by one stand with a display of fascinating old objects.  I was there about 15 minutes chatting to the owner, and being shown no end of fascinating things which I attempted (and largely failed!)  I took just a couple of pathetic photos, and all I can tell you of the things below is that the wheel with a handle on a wooden base is for crimping corks before they are put into a bottle.  oh, and I know that the copper mug with a "foot" above it is for putting in the fire ashes to warm ale.  Behind that are some rare (and very valuable) wood planes.

This lady has such lovely vintage clothes, and we often have a little chat when we see one another.   She gets her clothes from a variety of sources, and I told her she would love the Fleamarket at Chesterfield, where my eldest daughter goes for Vintage clothing.

BTW, the blog title today comes from the Mamas and Papas song released in 1966.  I remember it well and can still sing along and remember most of the words.  I have it blaring away on Youtube as I type.  I can see I will have to do a whole post on 1960s music because I am having such FUN playing track after track!!!  (Currently on Scott McKenzie - San Francisco).

Friday, 22 June 2012

Why Tesco lose customers

Despite it being in the most convenient spot in town, with the biggest free car parking area enabling you to walk up into town for other shopping, we have finally forsaken Tesco for grocery shopping for 99% of what we need.  OH still gets his lottery ticket there, and occasionally a paper or something we've run out of, but that's it.  We made this decision a few months back, when the final straw landed on this camel's back.  (I am aware that ethically, we should probably have never shopped there, but convenience does count for something.)

 We had divided our shopping needs between Lidl, specific shops in the town and market, and our fruit and veg from the cut-price warehouse at Abergwili for several years now.  We had long been aware of the poor quality of the fruit and vegetables in Tesco and stopped buying from there - we could get the same close-to-use-by quality for pence at Abergwili.  I recall looking for a cucumber in Tesco once, and the entire stock were soft and bendy, which I pointed out to Customer Service . . .  I tried never to buy beanshoots there because they were guaranteed to expire as the clock struck 12 on the use-by day which we always just a couple of days ahead of when you purchased them . . .  (I'm the only one who eats them, so a bit pointless sprouting them at home).  Broccoli was generally more stalk than head, so weighed heavy.  

We tended to try and buy stuff on a sound offer, and didn't have the wool pulled over our eyes by the "special offers" and "reduced from" deals (especially the "half price" wines).  Latterly, when given come-on vouchers for "spend £30 and get £4 off" or "spend £40 and get £5 off" we would spend pretty well exactly that amount, buy only what we couldn't get elsewhere or was on offer so we could stock up (tins etc) and that was it. 

When I was too busy or unwell to make my own bread last year, we fell into the habit of buying their Spelt and Sunflower loaf at £1.40.  I noticed recently that the price has now shot up to £1.80 and the loaf is 2/3 if not HALF of its former size.  Do they really think customers are that stupid they don't notice? Mind you that works with reduced Christmas cards.  I bought some with cats on, allegedly 40p or something, in January.  Got to the counter and they were 70p - "someone" had moved the stock of those beneath the cheaper price as the cheaper cat ones had already sold . . .  A wee bit cute that. 

For a while they did excellent cooking bacon with ordinary rashers included.  They must have sold too well, at the expense of the normal bacon, because one week we turned up to buy some and it had been put through the mincer.  Well, that WAS the final straw and we have spent very little in there since, dividing our allegience between Morrisons and Lidl.

Our middle daughter has been staying for a few days this week, and we bought some stuff in there and got given a spent X and get Y off ticket, so we spent that today - the exact amount with just tuppence over, then £5 off as we had a £1 voucher for washing powder.  On our way round, I noticed some Sweet Williams for £3.  I love them, but I think that was a lot of money for a smallish bunch of flowers.  Then I noticed smaller bunches, "going over" for £1.50.  They were half the size of the bigger bunches - in other words, exactly the same price for flowers a day away from binning . . .  No reduction at all.  A lovely big bunch of fresh Sweet Williams was on offer in Morrisons for . . . £1.50, so I bought mine there.

When we used to shop at Morrisons (until a couple of years back), the car park always used to be half empty.  Now it is nearly always pretty full . . . 

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Redstarts' nest FOUND!

The view is looking across the Towy Valley towards Grongar Hill, made famous in a poem by Dyer.

No photo of the Redstarts' nest, but I DO know where they are nesting, and it was where I had suspected that they would be because they were always by the junk room window and windowsill.  By creeping in close enough to see what they were doing, when I heard the male calling weet-weet this morning, I got a photo of him with a large pale coloured something - caterpillar? -  in his beak.  After a minute of so he flew up to the top right of the window and then came back seconds later with an empty bill.  Our house has thick stone walls - well over 2 feet thick in places - the oldest parts of the house.  Above this window is a big gap with no stone in, from when the window aperture was first put in, around the 1970s I think.  Everything is supported above it, but there is a brick-width gap nonetheless in the stonework.  It is on a ledge on the right where the nest must be.  So . . .  hopefully I can get some better photos.

When we had them nesting here years ago, they set up home in the top of the Cart-shed walls, just under the eaves, in a nook, so obviously they like to feel safe with a roof over their nest.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Spot the Redstart . . .

Here he is.  The annoying thing - the REALLY REALLY annoying thing - was I could hear him Weep-Weeping - or Weet-Weeting - this morning, so I crept in the junk room with my camera, only to find him on the outer windowsill.  Sadly, just as I got the camera in focus, he gave an extra big "Weet" and flew off . . .

And here he is again, only further away . . .

I shall keep trying.

The Frustrated Gardener

I am sure many of you will sympathize with that title.  Gardening here seems to be one long BATTLE.  The unusual weather patterns this spring have caused initial problems. I'd just got started digging and hoiking the grass out of the veg. plot when we had that sunny  - indeed, HOT - week  in March, when it came on to rain and grew cooler.  The odd day of warmer weather soon retarded to cold Easterly or Northerly winds.  The seeds I had optimistically started in March rotted in their trays, despite being in my little plastic greenhouse.  I started them again - and they still didn't appear, but the seed trays grew a good crop of Algae on the surface.  It was late May before I got to start my third lot of runner beans, and they finally grew in June and got planted.  It took two tries for the Courgettes to germinate.  I have planted them out in the past 10 days, and am now down to ONE plant -the others have been slugged.  So the spare plants I had grown (to sell - HAH!) are now being planted in buckets at the front of the house in the hope that the concrete paths and lack of hiding places will deter predators.

My friend Ann sent me a packet of Tomato seeds which were supposed to be blight-proof.  They didn't germinate.  I bought another packet, and neither did they.  I just put the trays on the side and left them, although they did get watered as I moved the watering can to the germinated trays of seeds either side.  FINALLY IN JUNE, with the hot spell of weather, they began to germinate . . .  So now I have a dozen or so plants which are potted on but way behind in the growing stakes.  I am going to keep them inside the greenhouse and hope that they will reward me.

The cool weather has done for the Blackurrants this year and we have a poor crop.  It was just too cool and wet when they had flowers out and not enough insects about to pollinate them.  However, the Gooseberries have done really well, and I have a brilliant crop to pick soon.  Ditto the Raspberries, Loganberries and young Boysenberry, and for once I have a decent showing on my one lonely Blueberry.  The Rhubarb has been sulking though, and I have had just two pickings from 5 plants.

Ah well.  Perhaps next year will be a better year . . .  Meanwhile, at least my French Beans have just broken through the soil.  Hope they don't make a lunch for the slugs when I plant them. . .

So, how does your garden grow this year?

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Redstart update

It would appear I have been looking out of the wrong window, for when I took some ironing into the music Junk room just now, I startled the female Redstart, who had been on the outside windowsill . . .  Then the male flew onto a branch nearby and was calling "Weet, weet, weet".  She flew off left, towards the yard.  I crouched down and was able to watch the male, who had two favourite perches in the oak tree which is in our top field, by the stream.  She flew back a little later and was hovering outside the window - long enough for me to see she had a beak full of tiny grubs (like the one in the photos on the previous post) so she has obviously a nest of youngsters, not just eggs. (Well, I suppose she'd still be sat brooding them if they were eggs . . .)

So tomorrow I shall creep in there again with my camera.  Fingers crossed.

RRedstarts - and the annoying bits you can't reach . . .

 File:Phoenicurus phoenicurus - feeding poster(js).jpg

The above wonderful photos are from Wikimedia Commons (which I didn't even know existed until about 2 minutes ago!!!)  Many thanks to the photographer Jerzy Strzelecki.

Surprisingly, these topics ARE related.  In the past week I have noticed a female Common Redstart in our paddock.  Today I saw the male, and was lurking by our (grubby) bedroom window, camera in hand, this morning.  Of course, the moment I grabbed the camera was the moment the wretched bird decided it would look for food on the far side of the paddock and then zoom back past me so quickly I couldn't photograph him.  They are obviously nesting somewhere in the vicinity of the paddock - a pair used to nest in a cranny in the top of our old cart shed, years back now.

Anyway, I realized it wouldn't have been much of a photo as the windows were disgusting, inside and out, so I have just been trying to clean them.  Trying is the operative word here, as they are big old sash windows, and there is a bit in the middle (top half of the bottom sash), which no way can you reach from inside.  The bottom half of the top sash requires me to hang out over the window, standing on the inside sill, and hanging on grimly with one hand . . .

So, windows are done, and hopefully I may get to take a suitable photo when the male is lurking again - he was on the Hawthorn bush earlier, right by the stream bank.  Watch this space . . .

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Richard Jefferies and the flowers of the field

Greetings from a wet and windy West Wales.  The gales woke us in the night, but aren't as bad as predicted and it isn't raining . . . yet . . . but it will again this morning, that's for sure.

I am sat here watching the tops of the trees hurling themselves about, and I can hear the two boys, Alfie and Jarvis (otherwise known as - and generally called -  Wild Thing and Little Whale) having fun on the landing.  Hurtling up and down with heavy paws and stalking one another and then pouncing and having a scrap.  Sometimes this ends in a righteous squawk, as someone bites too hard, and then one will gallop off and it will start all over again.

Not at all like the serene hay meadow above at Haddon Hall, rich in Umbellifers and other wild flowers.  Which leads me to the subject of today's post.

Recently, I have been dipping into "Jefferies' Countryside" - nature essays by Richard Jefferies.  He was born in 1848 in Wiltshire, at Coate Farm on the Marlborough to Swindon road (now probably the A346).  An extract from the Introduction tells us: "The hamlet of Coate lies on the north slope of the Marlborough Downs.  Savernake Forest, which Jefferies loved so well, lies a few miles to the South. Wayland's Smith's cave and the Vale of the White Horse are eight miles to the East.  This open and memorable countryside has sarsen-stones and tumuli, a wide expanse of grass-land, oak, beech and ash, as well as fir, "bramble thickets and hazel copses, while its lanes are white with chalk."

The writings of Richard Jefferies were much-loved by poet Edward Thomas in his formative years, and I believe greatly influenced his own writing, and note-taking as he walked.  Thomas's book "South Country" could have been named from a heading in this particular book of Jefferies.

The countryside of Jefferies was surprisingly lacking in what we take for granted in today's countryside.  At the moment, masses of Foxgloves bedeck the hedgerows, purple-pink flowers heavy with bees.  Yet in his time, Jefferies writes:  "For instance, most of the cottage gardens have foxgloves in them, but I had not observed any wild, till one afternoon near some woods, I found a tall and beautiful foxglove,  richer in colour than the garden specimens, and with bells more thickly crowded, lifting its spike of purple above the low cropped hawthorn.  In districts where the soil is favourable to the foxglove it would not have been noticed, but here, alone and unexpected, it was welcomed."

Presently, he lists 60 wild flowers which grew along a stretch of road he called Nightingale Road:

"Yellow agrimony,  amphibious persicariaarum, avens,  bindweed,  bird's foot lotus,  bittersweet,  blackberry,  black and white bryony,  brooklime, burdock,  buttercups,  wild camomile,  wild carrot, celandine - the great and lesser -   cinquefoil,  cleavers,  corn buttercup,  corn mint,  corn sowthistle, and  spurrey,  cowslip,  cow-parsnip,  wild parsley,  daisy,  dandelion,  dead nettle, and white  dog  rose, and trailing  roseviolets - the sweet and the scentless,  figwort,  veronica,  ground ivy,  willowherb - the two sorts,  herb Robert,  honeysuckle,  lady's smock,  purple loosestrife,  mallow,  meadow orchis,  meadow-sweet,  yarrow,  moon daisy,  St John's wort,  pimpernel, water plaintain, poppy,  rattles,  scabious,  self-heal,  silverweed,  sow thistle,  stitchwort,  teazles,  tormentil,  vetches and  yellow vetch."

I have underlined those which grow hereabouts in Wales (although there are many more I could add to that list). 

More from this lovely book later.

Friday, 15 June 2012

June is the month for roses

A brief line to say that the new header photo was taken in the gardens of Haddon Hall at Bakewell, Derbyshire.  It is a beautiful place (house and gardens) but this arrangement of roses, poppies etc takes some beating.  I needed something colourful to cheer me up now we are back into Autumnal weather again.

ANOTHER wet summer . . .

I knew that hot sunny weather was too much of a good thing, as now we are back to heavy rain and autumnal temperatures.  I am relieved I don't still have horses as I should imagine hay will be at a premium once again as the end of June is prime hay-making time . . .  Local farmers will be glad to have had the fine weather in which to make silage and haylage recently.

The rain and a bit of a breeze, arrived yesterday afternoon and it has precipitated ever since.  Our son is down at a Festival near the beach at Pembrey, and is doubtless more than a little disgruntled about the weather, as it really isn't much fun camping in weather like this and you cant be outside to listen to the music . . .

As you will see, I have been hard at work on my  "Sweetpeas"  crochet lap quilt.  Ive done 30 plus rows.  It should perhaps be titled "Escape from the Country to the Country" as I have been watching endless recordings of EtotheC whilst working on it.  I far prefer crochet to knitting as it is more automatic and I can unpick it far easier!

The old cast iron candle holder by the way, started of its life in a Belgian monastery and will come in useful for the next power outage.

I hope that your summer is better than ours . . .

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Totally hooked . . .

Isn't this pretty?  Sweet Peas from the garden and the start of a crochet lap warmer for next winter (in similar colours).  My eldest daughter was doing some crochet when she was here and I wanted to start on a granny squares throw.  I was tired though, and kept losing track of the pattern so I threw up my hands in disgust and unravelled it.

Then two nights ago, I was looking through a crochet book and thought I would try just a simple stripey pattern, each row a different colour. Well, that was it - I made a looooooooooooong foundation chain and got cracking.  First night, 3 rows, and I picked it up after breakfast yesterday and hooked for 2 hours!  And again at every spare moment in the day and am now about a dozen rows to the good. 

This was progress as at teatime last night. I know there are some errors but it's just for me, and I can live with them and learn from my mistakes.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Wildlife Observations

Firstly the wildlife pond.  I had two of the three frogs out sunbathing earlier this afternoon.  This is the prettiest of the three, being a beautiful bronze colour.

I have just removed several photos as when I published them, you can no longer double-click and enlarge them and you couldn't really see what was meant to be in the photo . . .

Whilst out in the deeper part of the pond, two newts prepare to have a fight.  The one with the straighter tail is holding his ground.  The one in front of him - they are nose to nose - has lashed his tail along his flank and is presumably the aggressor.  He barges forward to try and win the territory (I assume) but the other newt isn't bothered.  I'm not sure (as I can't see their hind feet) if one is a Smooth Newt and the other a Palmate, as I have both sorts in my pond.

You may just be able to see, in the centre of this picture, a curious creature in the weeds.  It is dark grey-black, with slightly spotted flanks, a bluntish tail-end and black feathery outside gills.  The nearest I can come to an ID is that it may be a young newt before it becomes old enough to leave the pond at around 3 months?  But this is relatively large and my newts appear to be mating at the moment (they mate April/May). (Sorry, this is probably too vague to see too, but it is literally in the centre of the pic just above the green tipped leaf touching the snail shell.)

By the lump of quartz, free-swimming newts (Olympic candidates!!)

Lastly, a newt hunting his tadpole supper . . .

Now onto birds.  Today I spotted 2 Goldfinches amongst the Aquilegias in the garden; then a female Redstart in the rose arbour, and down by the bridge two days ago I saw a Pied Flycatcher.  Whilst we were parked at the Railway Station yesterday, waiting for our daughters train, two male Blackbirds had a fight over territory.  They went at it hammer and tongs for 3 or 4 minutes.  Each bird would batter the other with its wings and peck whichever bit it could reach.  The bird underneath was literally trampled into the ground.  Neither bird seemed the stronger, but finally one threw in the towel and staggered off, looking pretty groggy after a particularly vicious series of pecks to the head.  It had one wing drooping and took itself off around the corner of a wall to recover.  The victor stood and watched it retreat for a good minute, to make sure it wasn't going to have one last try for supremacy.  I knew they were territorial birds (until there is a foot of snow on the ground and then they visited my garden 25 at a time) but I had never witnessed a battle like this before.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Seaside stroll

So simple yet so beautiful.  These Ox-Eye daisies were growing on the headland at Pendine on Tuesday, when we decided some sea air was called for.  I've known it warmer, and known it sunnier, but everyone was determined - in true British fashion - to enjoy their day there, so we pulled our warm tops closely round us and walked over the headland, and then back along the beach, so T could dip her toes in the briney.

A yellow glow of Lady's Fingers and Kidney Vetch took my mind off grey skies and a chill wind . . .

In the grim grey distance is Caldey Island.

It was just as grey in the opposite direction, looking across to the Gower Peninsula.  Note a few brave hardy souls were at the water's edge.

You can now park on the beach again, after a period where this was banned after someone stupidly left their car around the headland, went for a walk or something, and returned to find it had been carried off by the rising tide . . .  Compare this with Bournemouth Beach in the summer . . .

Image attributed to - many thanks.  Here 
is the link to their very interesting article - the day 100,000 people hit the beach!

On the cliffs at Pendine, these Valerian were flowering happily.

We always climb over this headland when we go to Pendine.  One of our family rituals.  Like going inside those wonderful water-worn caves.

Up here, and a little way further along, they buried their dead in the Neolithic.  You have to look carefully to see the remains of the burial chambers


Our beautiful daughter paddling . . . rather her than me as it was very brisk!

"Babs" in the Museum of Speed.  I always go an pay my respects, and always pick up a different "atmosphere" each visit.  This time there were a dozen or so people in there and I got an instant terrific headache - like my head was in a vice - so I quickly left.  Strange. . .  That car has so much - you would call it "presence" in a show horse - and you have the feeling you are NOT alone there.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Day out in Hay-on-Wye

Yesterday we had a day out in Hay-on-Wye.  We got there just before the Literary Festival was due to kick off (today).  This cracking horse had obviously been made especially for it - and by someone who knows their horses as it has beautiful conformation! - and looks very Welsh too.  I couldn't work out how many grey horses had donated their winter coats to make this one, or what the alternative might have been if it wasn't horse hair.  Paper mache from pulped redundent books would be apt!

He had a very fierce glare, with his ears back!

I was just thinking, this zebra leg lamp would have a long wait for a buyer, but I've just noticed it had a Sold sticker on it . . .  You'd go a long way to find another one.

Thursday is market day in Hay, and this was one of several stalls selling some gorgeous plants.  I was saving my money for books though . . .

But not how to keep your vintage tractor going . . .

And we had our usual wander around the antique shops . . .  Some things had some very embroidered prices . . .  £55 for a green mincer anyone?

I love little display cabinets like this one.  As does Eldest Daughter.

Who also has a penchant for vintage clothes.  (She was horrified by this picture with her baggy top and begs me tell you she is only a size 10 under that!)

I couldn't agree more.  I have always wanted to make a rag rug.  I have so many plans, and they just get put on the back burner when life gets in the way  . . .  Family always come first.  Aren't the colours in this cushion just gorgeous though?

And of course, there was patriotic fervour right through the town, celebrating the Jubilee Weekend.  there was bunting everywhere, and Royal books in some windows.

And these came home with me . . .  I have the partner to the Dartmoor book, entitled Exeter, with the same beautiful illustrations.

The book on Thomas Hardy by Lascelles Abercrombie is very interesting, as Abercrombie was one of the Dymock ("Georgian") poets, and friend of my poetry hero, Edward Thomas . . .  I couldn't leave that book behind . . . It was like coming full circle!