Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Another local walk


This was a short walk but one we'd not done before because it meant walking through two farmyards, and didn't want to do this during Lockdown (though others had).  This little stream is at the edge of our land (we have a strip of woodland bordering the paddock).

Happy lambs guzzling!

The white is our house through the trees.  That huge tall pine is ours.  Hope it never falls over!!

Wild Violets flowering on a sunny bank.  We passed lots of them on our walk.

After we had passed through the first farmyard, and had a natter with the neighbours, this white farm was where we were headed.

One of the routes we could have chosen (there are 3 on this particular walk) goes around the mynydd.  Saving that one for a couple of weeks' time.

Looking across the woodland, now showing signs of leaves being unfurled.  Oak and Ash are neck and neck this year.

More Violets - there was a long strip of them here.

Down what seemed to be a sheep path rather than the bridleway it was marked on the map, and into a dingle with another stream to cross.

We reached the double hedges and the grassy lane looked more like an ancient hollow-way.  Not one to walk in the summer as it was a mass of young Nettles, but the banks were covered in Ground Ivy and buzzing with bees.

Another view of the mynydd.

Through the farmyard and up along the farm drive to the lane.

Masses of lovely Daffodils were still in bloom.

Greater Stitchwort.

The first Bluebells.

We got back to find Keith planing a piece of old oak he had dug out from his useful bit of wood in one of the stable stalls.  He and Tam have marked out the template for the new arm and it will be used for this.

We made the most of the late afternoon sunshine and began to lay out the poles for the polytunnel.  Unfortunately we had lost the instructions in our move - I knew exactly where it was when we were packing, but then sold the chest of drawers it was in to the newcomers and it has disappeared from view since then.  Fortunately Tam worked out how it went together from looking up a picture on her phone . . .

Yesterday we carried it up to its final position in the paddock and put the cover on it, so now there are young Tomato plants up there and Tam has sown lots more vegetable seeds.  I did some heavy duty gardening with a Mattock, and dug and fertilised the soil there with a sack of farm yard manure.  Then I got my three pots of Rhubarb in.  I will see if I can beg some well rotted horse manure from the lady with the bay horse in the field opposite.  The other soft fruit will go in up there too.

Today I have been busy baking cakes, two to take to a friend of ours as a thanks for looking after some of our boxes of stock.  One Lemon Drizzle and one Carrot Cake with walnuts and preserved ginger strips.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Worth every penny for the smile on his face!


Well, this is the piece of furniture which brought  a huge grin to my husband's face last week.  We popped into a house clearance shop in town.  There was nothing there of interest to us until we spotted this poor unloved settle, though the lack of an arm wasn't obvious until a big box was moved off it.    Not that something like that bothered Keith . . .  It's 17th C, probably Welsh  and has seen better days. It looks like it may have been knocked over as the seat is split, but Keith will mend that and also the split panel on the back.  Apparently the arm was taken off by the landlady's behest so it fitted into a corner . . . I would have thought that would have weakened it, so I'm not taken in by that tale. The strengthening bars between legs and seat are added later too, and the back legs are replacements spliced in - probably to replace ones weakened by woodworm. 

This is the design, rather Palmette in pattern.  Haven't nailed it down yet though to a particular area.  The settle came from a Welsh pub, but not necessarily Welsh of course. . . I love the way the design is wonky showing a slight lack of skill - perhaps someone still learning their trade.   We'll never know for sure.

Theo saying, "It's not heavy, really!"  I love the original design along the front.  I have never seen the dot and lattice pattern before.  Again, perhaps repurposed from something else.  The seat looks later, so it's got quite a history!

The initials look to be a bit of an afterthought.  It may have been a marriage piece originally. 

Anyway, we got it for half the asking price as the shop owner was keen to get rid of last year's stock which had been lingering due to the Lockdowns. As I said, it was worth every penny for the pleasure it has given Keith, who has already drawn out the pattern for the replacement arm and found a suitable piece of wood.

Saturday, 17 April 2021

A Poignant Day

 View of the Brecon Beacons when we were on our way to Hay this week.

Well, this afternoon Keith and I watched as the Royal Family laid to rest HRH Prince Philip.  I don't mind saying that I had tears in my eyes, as I am an emotional sort of person and because the Queen coped with this alone - there may have been her family with her, all Socially Distanced of course, but she had to sit alone and keep her chin up and try not to cry in public when her husband of 73 years, her one true love, was laid to rest.  I think that would be a big ask for any of us.  I felt it was a very moving ceremony and wonderfully planned by Prince Philip and choreographed today.  I have just noticed on my newsfeed a little clip of Princes Harry and William, talking with Kate as they left the church.  I am glad that on this day at least, they have set their differences aside.  I am unashamedly a Royalist and always had a lot of admiration for Philip, the Rock behind the throne, although he had to always be in the Queen's shadow. He may have been privileged, but used that position to do a lot of good in his life.   

    Aside of that, I have had to rest up today, with a good book, the new Barbara Erskine novel The Dream Weavers, set not far from us here along Offa's Dyke and in Hereford.  I can recommend it.

    Late yesterday afternoon I suddenly began to feel very ill - sick and dizzy with ringing ears and my head began to whirl like I had drunk two bottles of wine.  I had to be helped to bed and only felt OK as long as I was laid flat in bed.  I am guessing it was a viral Labrynthitis and fortunately it was short-lived. (The treatment is a particular antihistamine and I take one each morning. I managed to stagger to the loo in the night without the whirling head returning and although I've had no appetite today, I have just managed to cook Red Rice for tea and eat a portion.  Tam complained of feeling nauseous and dizzy last week, but put it down to side effects from her jab.  Perhaps it was something she picked up at the Vaccination Hub as they make you remove your mask and wear a new surgical mask - no good for either of us as they fall off our faces - we have small ears and the wrong size face for them.

    After the funeral, Keith and I sat out on the swinging seat - I with my new book and he just enjoying the sunshine.  Then he did a little work to prepare some old oak for a repair to something we bought locally yesterday, but more of that tomorrow.  Here is a little teasing photo . . .

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

A few Good Books to read


This is my current reading, courtesy of my friend Gay, and I am enjoying it.  More to come by him Gay tells me!  I have a big pile of books to get through but gosh, never enough hours in the day!

My blogging friend Sharon is responsible for this purchase! (She recommended this series).  Period detective story set in 1929.

Recently read: the Ann Cleeves is one I treated myself to recently and can recommend. "The darkest nights can hide the deadliest secrets . . . Driving home during a swirling blizzard, Vera Stanhope's only thought is to get there quickly.  But with the snow driving down heavily, she becomes disorientated and loses her way, eventually stumbling on another car abandoned on the road.  With the driver's door open, Vera assumes the driver has sought shelter but is shocked to find a young toddler strapped in the back seat."  Murder most foul of course!

The other two are from my friend Gay and were both really good reading (couldn't put Castles in the Air down.  It deals with doing up an historic castle - Gwydir Castle in North Wales, and all the couple's trials and tribulations, including the resident ghost!)  Forging on is the story of an apprentice Farrier in Yorkshire, and made me LOL in places.  A nice relaxing read.

Some more reading fodder from my friend Gay, who has the same taste in books as me.  The Anna-Marie Morgan books are detective novels set in Wales.  The Edward Marston one of a Medieval series.

Finally, freebies - I just couldn't resist, but will read and pass on, apart from the Hovel in the Hills - I shall keep that copy (with photos) to replace my original elderly one.  Someone in town is clearing his late mother's bungalow and had a sign up outside his garage door asking people to take what was on offer to safe it from Landfill.  We also had an old Lloyd Loom chair from there, to go in the Summerhouse, but it needs a new cushion.

Monday, 12 April 2021

A Random Miscellany


Just a quick random miscellany of photos from the past couple of weeks.  The one above shows the red flag flying to show they are firing on the Eppynt range.  Below is the view across the mynydd where it links with civilized farmland.

Below: the Beacons snoozing in a little sunshine.

One of the Gousto recipes - remembered just in time to take a photo - this is Minty Lamb Meatloaf, Rosemary Potatoes and Gravy.   Very tasty.

Before the Leylandii hedges went - I must get another photo tomorrow to show the comparison - it's opened it right up.

The best I could do to show how much room they were taking up.  Today I have been clearing ancient rotting and weed-infested membrane from the area behind the shrubs, and I planted 3 big clumps of rescued Primroses by the Holly and damaged Cherry on the right.

Finally, from a walk the other evening, the first Stitchworts in bloom.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Banana Maple Muffins recipe


2 cups (300g) Self Raising Flour

1/3 cup (50g) Plain Flour

1/2 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda

1/2 cup (100g) firmly packed brown sugar (I used Demerara)

1/4 cup (60ml) maple-flavoured Syrup

2/3 cup mashed bananas

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup (250ml) buttermilk

1/3 cup (80 ml) vegetable oil

Coconut Topping:

15g butter

1 tablespoon maple-flavoured syrup

2/3 cup (30g) flaked coconut

To make: Melt butter in a small pan, add maple syrup and coconut, stir constantly over high heat until coconut is lightly browned.

1. Grease a 12 hole (1/3cup/80ml capacity) muffin pan (I just used muffin case liners).

2.  Sift dry ingredients into large bowl.  Stir in maple syrup and banana, then eggs, buttermilk and oil. (I substituted a couple of tablespoons of papaya and mango yoghurt for some of the milk as I needed to use the yoghurt up).

3.  Spoon mixture into prepared pan, sprinkle with coconut topping. (I didn't bother using this).  Bake in moderately hot oven for about 20 mins.  (180/190 deg. C/350-375 deg. F, Gas mark 4).

Makes 12.

No photo - but enjoy.  These had a lovely subtle banana flavour and the maple goes well with it.  Recipe taken from The Australian Women's Weekly Cookbook - Muffins, Scones and Breads.

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Happy in Hay-on-Wye


We went to the market in Hay-on-Wye again last Thursday - it was a nice morning out and we enjoyed a stroll around the town after we had made our purchases.  Above and below: lovely new window displays in the antiques centre - the blue and yellow one was very pretty.

Down near the clock tower (below) was a beautiful illustration from artist Jackie Morris's book "The Lost Words: A Spell Book" which seeks to put back words from Nature into children's lives, words which are being lost.

I love this crowded little window above one of the shops.

Our friend Rob's shop window display.

Across the lane and up a tiny way is a new shop which will be able to throw its doors open to customers soon.

The Castle is gradually having its final titivations and there is only a little bit of scaffolding on it now.

I didn't shop in here last week, but love to see what heritage apples they have in season each autumn.

Finally, mouth watering goodies from the Patisserie stall. Mine was the lemon tart topped with white chocolate and strawberries.  The one to its right was almond and apricot, and below - this one had pistachios, cinnamon, plum and a couple of other ingredients.  All were scrummy.