Friday 30 July 2010

A Day Out In Ludlow

The Feathers in Ludlow.

We went back to look at a house we have fallen in love with for a 2nd time yesterday. The house and garden were even more perfect 2nd time round.I just hope and pray we can sell quickly here, but with this nincompoop of an agent, I'm not holding my breath . . .

I shall just have to carry on as normal, hoping against hope that a) we will eventually have people viewing here, and b) someone will want to buy it, and that c) the house we love is still available.

Anyway, then we drove up to Ludlow and spent a happy two hours there, exploring the streets and visiting the parish church of St Laurence, which is like a small cathedral, and has the most amazing misericords with Medieval carvings so crisply executed - obviously the work of a very skilled artisan. OH and G climbed the 200+ steps up the tower whilst D and decided to have a look around the shops. It's a good town for Charity Shops! And a brilliant cheese shop (Mousetrap) where we bought various local cheeses for lunch and supper.

One of Ludlow's busy streets.

Two Green Men! They turn up everywhere . . .

I think this is meant to be a Gryphon, although of course, this close to the Welsh border, he could be a DRAGON!

Here is a mermaid. You may think she is a long way from the sea, here in Ludlow, but she was chosen because she represented temptation - she was inttent o luring men from the path of salvation, with her mirror and comb. She is flanked by two dolphins.

I often wonder if they were carving likenesses of people they knew - or even a self-portrait on occasion?

Here is the Good Wife in her kitchen, with sides of bacon in the larder and a kettle on the hearth.

Do you think it was his mother-in-law?!!!

Misericord with stag at bay and two hounds.

You can see why I declined to climb the tower . . .

Though the views from the top were amazing. Below is Ludlow Castle.

Today I have wine-making planned (Sparkling Gooseberry), and I need to process the rest of the plums, which have hopefully survived a couple of days in the fridge . . . or else I shall have to turn them into chutney (or wine!)

Thursday 29 July 2010

A morning at the Horse Sale

I spent the morning at the local horse sale yesterday. I kept my hands firmly in my pockets though the few I saw sold in the main ring were not attracting much in the way of prices - bidding started at 200 gns for a 16yr old Welsh Cob mare - good sort - had bred foals and been ridden regularly. Withdrawn at 390 gns . . . That set the pattern for the prices . . .

Two friends about to be parted.

The palomino on the right reminded me so much of one I knew when I was a teenager - we called him Windy and he was such a poppet.

I love golden duns - I hope this one sold well.
Riding horses (rather liked the Roman nose on this one)

. . . and driving horses.

This little Shetland stallion didn't know he was little and had SUCH an attitude - as he was led across to his stall, he was screaming and striking out with his front feet!

They used to call these (1/4 or 1/2) Shire x cobs "Colliers" and there was a great demand for them in the mining areas of Wales.

Spots - I fear some local breeders think the demand is for the colour and not the attractiveness of good conformation of the equine wearing them . . . Poor lass (above) - quite the ugliest mare I have ever seen, spots or no.

Wednesday 28 July 2010

THAT'S looking better!

Our neighbour was finally able to come and top the paddock for us last night, which is a huge relief as it looked so untidy and IF we ever get someone to view the house, at least the paddock no longer looks such a mess, though I shall miss the fringe of Umbellifers.

I edged another 6 feet of the semi-circular bed emcompassing the original herb bed (from 20 years back) and the new extension to it which is full of flowers. Some bought and some dug up from the main garden. The Teasles are there for the Goldfinches this winter . . .

My husband finished the new door for the old Cart Shed yesterday and it is now hung and looking smart, as does the Cart Shed now it is painted to match the house, though it looks much paler in the very early morning light.

As you can see, the paddock desperately needed cutting . . .

Looking across the newly-cut paddock this morning at the house.

One of two matching Fuschias I bought at the Car Boot Sale last weekend. Delta's Sarah they're called, and the photo doesn't do them justice, they are SUCH a pretty colour.

This is the lovely big Fuschia I went mad and bought a few weeks back. I've forgotten its name already, but it has settled in well and blooming prolifically. As I was digging up bits of rock in the flower bed extension, I chucked them around it and then just sprinkled some chippings over the top. It looks better than the grass and weeds that were there before.

Now we just need someone to come and fall in love . . .

Goodrich Castle and Wading through Treacle . . .

Traveller's Joy (wild clematis) and the first blackberries.

That's how it feels here at present. I spent the entire morning doing housework (loath it!), including deep-cleaning several rooms, to get the house in apple-pie order in case we got any viewings from the house having a write-up in the local paper. OH came home with the paper and - no such write-up . . . We were told it was in this week. Getting mighty fed up with the useless agent now. Have asked bod dealing with our sale to let us know when this will come to pass and also the adverts in various magazines and a Sunday broadsheet which were supposedly going to happen to justify their extra half a per cent . . . I am now convinced we have just signed up for 3 completely wasted months and should have gone with an English agent to start with . . .

Anyway, here are a few pictures taken when we visited Goodrich Castle after house-hunting on Monday.

Here in peaceful rural Herefordshire, an absolute SEA of plastic polytunnels - presumably for soft fruit. Now you understand why hordes of people are imported from Europe to work in them . . .

The Keep which predates the rest of the castle by about 100 years, as it is Norman. You can just see the Norman zig-zag work around the window.

This niche was in the Chapel and presumably housed a small statue at one time.

A stunning stained glass window in the Chapel.

We climbed up and up and were rewarded with some glorious views.

And looking up here, just made me plain DIZZY!

A Feast indeed . . .

The outline of the stables can still be seen in the turf.

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Hmmmmmmmmmm . . .

Guess where we are off to for a 2nd viewing next week?

Monday 26 July 2010

Growing up

Today I think we may have found it, that elusive place, the dream home. But of course, it comes with two big drawbacks, possibly too big to ignore.

We were shown around the house, and we love its quirkiness, the beams, the little corners which were niches in rooms above the huge inglenook fireplace. We loved the formal side (added later) and the warm grey stone. We loved the roses growing up the walls, and the nods at its history and past owners. The garden was what I have had in my mind's eye for many years. We wandered past fading roses, some setting huge hips. The owner named them all, dozens of them. Some I had never heard of, they were so rare. Butterflies danced ahead of us as we walked through the orchard. The owner, knowing a kindred spirit when she met one, showed me every inch of the garden. My jaw dropped open when I saw the size of the fruit cage. We brushed past countless more nodding roses, tangles of clematis, a view of distant dreaming hills through a gap in a wall.

But we must be sensible. It is too far out really, for us who have been saying we want to have a social life again and be closer to friends. To be closer to jobs and nights out whilst G and D are still at home with us. And, it would be cheek by jowl with the previous owners, and we are used to total privacy . . .

Friday 23 July 2010

Just dreaming . . .

Golden dreams . . .

We had a day out yesterday, travelling eastwards this time to go househunting along the Welsh Marches. It was an interesting day, in that houses can be totally different to what you expected! HUGE rooms and lots of light are great, but without that "atmosphere", count for nothing . . . And an otherwise ideal house inside and out, also a non-starter when it is on a rat run for quarry lorries . . . What was an excellent house (to me), felt "hemmed in" to OH (oh, and I did LOVE the kitchen too . . .) But there was another, which despite some BIG no-no's which we thought we would never compromise on . . . Hmmm. Off to think in a darkened room!

We had lunch at a dear friend's house and I would like to share some photos of her clever horses, who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent!

First you pick it up . . .

. . . and then you turn . . .

. . . and bring it back to the Boss. Aren't I clever?!!

And here is my understudy . . . Whoops - it's not meant to do that!

Here you are then . . .

Here is someone whose speciality is NOT hoops . . . he is very good giving rides to little girls and encouraging them to be horse-mad for life . . . and just being beautiful.

Supper was a visit to the chippy which let me off the hook nicely!