Wednesday, 15 January 2020

A lovely day out

It was chucking it down with rain again yesterday, but despite this Tam and I decided to take advantage of her two for one offers on cinema tickets and food, and braved the elements to go and see "Little Women" which I have seen in several incarnations film-wise down the years.  This was the best yet and I can heartily recommend it.

My cold hasn't gone away yet, and I still have to keep blowing my nose - I sat at the back, honking like a tugboat now and again and trying not to cry in parts made it worse - how can you NOT cry when Beth dies? - as the tears took revenge and came down my nose instead!  I felt like Typhoid Mary and when the film was ended and the lady in front of us got up, I said loudly to Tam, "I am so fed up with this cold - I've had it 3 weeks now" so she knew I wasn't still infectious!

We are already planning to go and see "Emma" and "David Copperfield" when they are on release.  

Then we went the 20 yds or so from the cinema to Pizza Express where we had pizza and a glass of Pino Grigio and brought back big chunks of pizza in a box, which were lunch today.  This meal was half price too . . .  It was a lovely day out.

My cold is still plaguing me - I shall be glad when I see the back of it, as it has brought dizziness on occasion too - generally when I am lieing down in bed, but sometimes just moving around in the day.

We have some outside work to do too, as we had some trees felled last Friday and need to clear the brash with a bonfire and log the trunks.  Hopefully we will have some more sunshine like we had today.  One had a pronounced lean on it, all had Ash die-back and they were just by the stables, so not a good place to fall naturally.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

A Winter Wildflower Walk

Well, how did the viewing go you are probably all thinking.  This couple were looking at houses all over - Devon, Shropshire, Wales and have no set notion of where they want to be.  I don't know if it will be the house which dictates, or the outbuildings (those were an essential) or the area.  Anyway, they liked the house, though it was blowing an absolute hooley all the time they were here and rain was being flung at a high rate of knot onto - and into - the walls.  We had a couple of leaky moments and I had to quickly go and hide the wet towel from where rain was being blown through a window which isn't as tight a fit as it should be on the side of the house that gets the weather.  That will be remedied tomorrow.  Anyway, I was incredibly stressed at the end of the day (from other problems I shan't mention) and had to have a brandy shandy to calm me down afterwards.  I never want another day like that again .. .  

Today we had sunshine and a heavy shower whilst we were out for a walk.  We went up around Colomendy to do a wild flower count.  We saw Snowdrops, Primroses, Wood Sage, Wild Strawberry, Dandelion, Gorse, a Periwinkle, a Violet, and Red Campion.

The end of the rainbow - wonder if there's any gold up there?

Ivy has been pollinated and set seed.

Looking towards Carmarthen.

Another rainbow, seen as we sheltered from a heavy shower, crammed in a barn doorway with a good overhang.

Flooding of the Towy down in the valley.

The cottage above Colomendy, going to rack and ruin now.  A big crack is in the gable end wall and quite a few roof tiles missing off the back.

The first Snowdrops.

Cow Parsley which always flowers somewhere in all but the coldest winters.

The first Primrose.

Looking towards Carmarthen and Merlin's Hill again.

One of the steep fields with a covert of gorse in bloom.

Looking back towards the Brynamman ridge.

First (or last!) Violet.  We also saw the first Butterfly of the year - a very hale and hearty looking Peacock.

Towards the mountains again.

The first spring lambs too!

Navelwort growing in a wall.

Wood Sage in flower on a sheltered bank.

Dryslwyn Castle in the sunshine.

Looking up our valley again, and below, across towards Llanfynydd and the Italianate tower of Pantglas (all that remains of the old hall).

Finally a Dandelion . . .So, a good day.  A 3 1/2 mile walk and some fresh air and exercise, plus I did some cooking this morning - a beef and sweet potato curry, a huge pan of stewed apple and a vat of spicy Beef and Barley soup.

Friday, 10 January 2020

No flies on me!

Oh the joys of country living.  We have another viewing tomorrow, so it has - as usual - been all systems go to try and get everything shipshape and Bristol fashion.  The house has conspired against us in various ways to come across as unattractive to buyers, so we have had our work cut out - removing cluster flies from the attic being one problem from sunny weather on and off this week - I stood on a stepladder to open the highest Velux roof window and was promptly covered in flies - most of them dead.   Tam had to vacuum them off of my clothing and hair.  YUK!  I will still have to go up there and vacuum more up as near as I dare to the actual viewing . . .  You know that bit in Escape to the Chateau where Angel says "Living in a Chateau isn't all romantic . . ." as she sweeps up a huge pile of cluster flies.  Yup, I'm with her on that one!

Yesterday Keith and I were sweeping the top of the driveway clear as it was muddy and leafy where we park and not very welcoming.  By the time we had slung buckets of water over the concrete to clear it, we had mud pies everywhere and boy was it hard work after a winter of less active pastimes!  Then it was scrubbing down a wall green with algae, and that involved a stiff broom dipped in water and held above my head.  Needless to say, I got covered in watery-algae and had to wash my hair again (I only did it the previous evening!)

It wad our wedding anniversary yesterday and we had planned a day out, but that had to be abandoned, as did my patchwork class the previous day, to try and do the outside tidying up necessary.  House looking shabby as algae growing everywhere from 9 mths of rain!  We popped out for steak for tea from Dewi's (fab local butcher) at Ffairfach and Tam cooked the meal as she could see I was worn out (it would have been beans on toast if I'd been in charge!)  That was washed down with a bottle of excellent red wine, and how great it is to be able to drink it again!

As for the viewing, I have got to the stage where despair is taking over and I am thinking, these are London people (again) and won't understand living in the country or old houses. Let's hope I'm wrong.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Tottering by gently

Morning all.  I am typing this to a backdrop of someone busy with a chainsaw across by the farm, so I am assuming an old tree may have come down in the night.  It is another grey damp day.  I was only saying yesterday, oh for one hot summer's day to be slipped into the mix to cheer us all up!

The "tottering" in the title is sadly only too apt at the moment, as the "bit of a cold" I came down with a week ago, is still manifesting itself and I have no energy, and it's now affecting my balance.  I am OK in the day, but when I first lay down in bed the whole world spins giddily for a moment, and when I get up for the loo in the night, I can't walk straight and am staggering across the room.  I nearly fell over the other night as just having laid my head on the pillow, Tam yelled "cat fight" - she's nearer the kitchen, where the cats are overnight, and could hear ructions.  I - stupidly - leapt out of bed and then zig-zagged across the room with my head whirling.  No damage done downstairs, just big black Sam surprising them all by bursting in through the cat flap.  I shall be glad when I am done and dusted with this cold.

I have sat down far more than is good for a body (I am normally VERY active and only sit down for my afternoon cuppa and in the evening) and watched a lot of telly (some of it good documentaries, some just entertaining), made good progress with my  William de Morgan x-stitch picture (which I am enjoying so much) and am over half way through C J Samson's hefty tome "Tombland).

Yesterday I submitted my accounts (with help from Tam).  Boy, was I glad to get THOSE out of the way - I have a horror of anything to do with a) figures and b) the Powers That Be.

Today - a little ironing, whilst I listen to the Archers Omnibus, and some pootling in the garden to get it tidied up before the viewings start again.  Tam and I went into the once-Wyevale-but-now-a-sensibly-priced-garden-centre in town and were amazed at the MUCH LOWER prices.  We bought two wreaths for £1 each for the bases for next year and I got a load of bargain bulbs.  Yes, they are late going in (e.g. today!) but they will still flower.

Right, this won't do.  I've sat long enough.  

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Back to Reality

Afternoon all. I slept so badly last night and am feeling bejeebered now! My nose was all bunged up and then I was thirsty, but my water stein was empty and I couldn't face going all the way downstairs to fill it up (don't trust cold water upstairs for drinking as held in tank in attic which isn't sealed. OK for washing in but that's all). At 5.40 a.m. I thought Sod It and got up and came downstairs, read a bit of my book "Tombland" by C J Samson, then did ALL the ironing (big bedding too).

Then I had to deal with the kitchen floor - it had needed a clean anyway but I came down to a scene of carnage with a nearly-decapitated rat on the floor. I carefully scooped that up on cardboard and left it outside for Keith to deal with. So I mopped the floor, and would you believe, when I turned Radio 4 on it was a programme about rat eradication!!

Then I made a start on the oven. I had wanted to clean that totally before Christmas but ended up running out of time and so just did the shelves and tray. Last night we had a roast - a piece of Aberdeen Angus beef from Aldi (I don't normally buy meat there, but it was Tam's treat). It was full of water (and gristle) and blew the door open at one point - imagine fat sprayed everywhere too. I had my air purifier on in the sitting room as the log burner was lit, but it started to give higher readings. I went out to check on the spuds, opened the door and was nearly overwhelmed with black smoke. We had to open doors and windows and when Tam took the air purifier out there it read 795! 8 - 10 is good . . . I beat a hasty retreat and have vowed never to buy supermarket meat again for a roast.  Aldi have now received a Complaint about poor quality!

Since that burst of energy I have been feeling tired, so have been doing some x-stitch - a little William de Morgan tile design which I bought when we were at Wightwick Manor on my birthday. Now I'm feeling guilty as there is still work to be done but I can't garden as it is raining, nor can I walk for the same reason.  Right, back to work now.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Before Christmas has entirely left us

Well, we got to the beach today - only had a short walk along the actual beach though as it was pretty wet underfoot where the tide had been really high and was only just retreating.  To our surprise, the car park was crammed with cars - then we noticed burning braziers on the beach, and found out that this was the annual New Year's Day swim.  We had missed it but all I can say is, rather them than me!  I imagine that water was pretty darn cold!

I was thinking of the high spots of Christmas today - not just ours, but other people's Christmases too.  As we were driving home on Christmas Eve I think it was, we passed the new neighbours at the smallholding just across the river.  They had bought some sheep and just as I was driving by I noticed the wife was with the sheep in a pen in their yard, and her husband was taking a photo.  Both were grinning like loons and obviously SO happy.  When I spoke to them recently, he said he wished they had made this move 20 years ago!

Then there was saddest thing I read, a little before Christmas, on a FB post.  It was a couple who had returned the birthday gift of a My Little Pony which had been given to their 4 year old daughter as it was  unsuitable.  (They were English, btw).  They did NOT believe in magic, and she wasn't allowed to see any Disney movies, have stories with magic in them, and My Little Ponies were tainted by magic - apparently.  No, their child was going to grow up in the world of reality, and they had already told her that  Father Christmas did not exist.  She is just 4 years old, for heaven's sake. How despicable to force your beliefs on a wee child and in a way, remove that element that makes childhood special - deleting the "imagination button" and that special magical atmosphere that Christmas brings.  

I can remember my children writing wish lists to Father Christmas and sending them up the chimney.  I used to  show my children "Fairy Forests" of moss, and we had a "fairy glen" in the corner of the paddock.  We read fairy stories, and folk stories connected with the superstitions of yester year.  The girls knew some of the poems for the Cicely Mary Baker Flower Fairies books off by heart (as did I).  They loved Enid Blyton's fairy stories, and when they got older, the works of Tolkien, and Philip Pullman.  They discovered Mythology from many countries, and I considered it part of their education - the girls went on to read Archaeology and Anthropology and you can't escape mythology in either of those subjects.

I can remember Danny coming home from school, aged 5, and telling his older sisters that Father Christmas was just someone dressed up. Tam was 9 then and Gabs 7, and they still believed in Father Christmas.  I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach that their innocent belief should have been destroyed.

So part of me grieves for this little girl, robbed of her innocent hopes and beliefs by her narrow-minded parents.  I hope she still discovers the magic in this world of ours anyway . . .

Happy New Year

Sorry for my absence, but I have had a bit of a cold which nailed me to the sofa and filled my head with cotton wool.  At least I have read a chunk more of "Tombland" and watched more tv than usual, and read bits of my Christmas books.

I took the tree down yesterday, and was promptly in the doghouse with Tam, who wanted it to stay up longer, so here is my alternative "Wintering" of the hall - little birds and baubles from the main tree on some beech I gathered before Christmas.

Our beautiful new bedding was soon washed and on the bed.  It's 300 count so very fine.  LOVE the colour and William Morris Strawberry Thief design.  I must get started on the William Morris heirloom quilt the girls bought me the fabrics for 2 birthdays ago . . .

Here are the Meeces and Mr Robin waiting to be put away for another year.

The Christmas tree decorations, gathered over many years, when we would each choose a special bauble for the tree.  About to be carried back up to the attic.

Finally, a view of our valley from a recent walk.  Off to the beach today to blow away the cobwebs and I hope, clear my nose!