Wednesday 31 August 2011

Sunday's car boot treasures

The weather was a little threatening on Sunday morning - this is looking out across Next Door's farmyard first thing - but I'm glad to say that when we got to the Car Boot Sale it had brightened up a bit and although there was one very heavy shower, that was when we were under cover in the main shed. We kept our promise to only buy what we NEEDED, ahem, with the exception of £2 spent on books . . . But I did NEED that horsey book! I even found the right size frame/glass for a little x-stitch picture I got recently, so I shall have to set to and get it mounted and framed. That was 50p.

These lampshades ay be a little dated now, but there were 3 of them, at £1 each, and we needed three more open lampshades for our bottom hallway, and these let a lot more light through now, and can be left as part of the fixtures and fittings of the house when we FINALLY get a buyer.

I couldn't believe my luck when I found this weighty tome for just £1. It was a reprint of a Victorian horse book dating from about 1880, and is an excellent addition to my Library.

OH couldn't resist these two books at just 50p each.

Isn't this gorgeous? I collect green glass anyway, but this will be going to one of my daughters at Christmas, with a display of felt biscuits from the latest Mollie Makes magazine.

I just couldn't resist these curtains, although I was trying to think which window I could hang them at as they were for a long narrow window and ours tend to be wide. As they were only £1 the pair including the top valence, I threw caution to the winds and hope they will fit somewhere in our next house!

I think I must have conveyed a cosmic order to the Universe for curtains last weekend, as when we went to the Car Boot Sale almost every other stall had curtains of some description. I was on the look out for a pair of heavyweight winter curtains for the kitchen. I didn't find those, but I did get this pair of pale blue cotton curtains, which are a perfect fit, and which I intend to back with woollen material (I have an entire roll of it). They were just £2 and the denim blue colour matches the kitchen tiles and deeper blue paintwork of the kitchen.

Friday 26 August 2011

30 pounds of Damsons and an Autumn walk . . .

There is no doubt about it, Autumn has arrived early last year. In fact, there were glimpses of it back in the end of July. It is no great surprise really, when we had high summer in April and the garden has been totally out of kilter ever since.

Anyway, it gave my soft fruits and tree fruits a good start, and I picked 30 lbs of Damsons this week. So far, I've given some to friends, and made a Crumble, and started off some Damson Gin, though I need to get another half bottle soonest. I will make Damson wine this weekend, and cook the rest up and freeze them.

I managed to fit in a short walk on Wednesday afternoon, and got OH to drop me off on the way back from the PO:

Above and below, lovely chunky Welsh Cob broodmare and foal.

The old farmhouse with its wonderful backdrop of Black Mountain.

I chose to walk this in reverse, as it's a much flatter route!

Looking across Carmarthenshire fields, and below . . .

The last corner before the steep downhill bit to the valley bottom.

One of the last Foxgloves of summer. They seem to flower from beginning to end of summer, the first few peeping out in late May/early June (they were early this year because of that heat-wave in April and May), and the last little fairy bells heralding the return of Autumn (early this year for similar reasons).

There were lots of bees this side of the valley. On our side they are conspicuous by the absence.

Looking across towards Horeb.

The Sweet Chestnut was amongst the earliest trees to put out leaves, and flower, but it is always the first to turn as well, and the road and verge beneath it were already bearing the first fallen withered leaves.

"Fox and Cubs" is the country name for this wild flower. It is also known as Orange Hawkweed.

White Himalayan Balsam, which looks far prettier than the pale and mid pink varieties.

It is so difficult getting a "different" view of our river . . .

The fruit of the Wild Arum Lily (Lords and Ladies) by an old long-abandoned cottage where a carpenter once lived.

Yellow Hawkweed growing on a verge.

I actually managed a little jog along here. If I am to start doing this regularly, however, I definitely need to invest in a very good sports bra . . . or run before dawn . . .

Scalloped rocks where the river carves out gobbets of stone slowly over the decades and centuries. Each spate carries down small rocks and water-worn pebbles which get deposited in the scoops in the bedrock, and then carries them on downstream and leaves them at the pebble beach where we used to skim flat stones when the children were younger.

There is a Dipper on the rock towards top right. He/she wasn't curtsying, but just looking intently into the river. A pair of them nest under the bridge every year.

A colourful display, as always, down at my neighbour by the river.

Thursday 25 August 2011

Here be dragons : )

Last weekend we had guests to stay Friday - Sunday. This was my friend "GTM"'s first visit, and I think I can say that she and her girls will be back again - hopefully soon! We had a wonderful time. Much red wine was drunk, much talking done, two big roasts eaten, a lovely walk taken along by the river where her twin girls hunted for the local dragons - and found some too! GTM is my friend's internet forum name. We have known each other about 5 years now, and met a couple of times before. I can honestly say that the group of friends I have made in recent years, all from forums, are friends for life and not one of them has been an axe-wielding murderer . . .

GTM and girls down on the bridge, hoping to see an Otter. No Otters this time, but Dippers and Water Wagtails were in evidence.

Looking upstream.

"GTM" and girls E & M, spotting the Dipper curtsying on his rock.

Here they have spotted the Tree Dragon, who has freckles of grey-blue lichen on his face and who lurks beneath a cape of ivy. He is quite a benevolent dragon.

Golden yellow Chanterelles growing up from the moss and ivy of the river bank.

Here by the river, we found the Spindle Dragon launching himself into the Wood Rushes on the riverbank.

These gorgeous Dahlias were a gift from a friend of GTM's. Aren't they lovely? I am now filled with enthusiasm to grow them in my garden (hmmm, somewhere where the slugs can't get them!) either here - as we seem destined to stay put - or else in our next home.

I wish I could remember their names, but I think I will have a trot round Wyevale today and jot down some names of those I like and will grow next year, wherever we are.

Absolutely stunning blooms. The photos don't do them justice as the overhead light made the yellow on the petals glare. The black ones were superb.

The bashed old Victorian jug was the perfect foil for their intense colours.

Sadly, the weekend sped by and our guests were heading back to Dorset, leaving us with memories and some gorgeous venison sausages and a haunch of venison for Christmas dinner, residing in the freezer. It seems very quiet without them . . .

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Tretower Court and Castle . . . Part II

When we arrived at Tretower, we walked across to the Castle ruins first. Much of the fabric of the original walls and buildings has been incorporated into later dwellings (the Manor house and a nearby farmhouse), but the main keep still remains, and its surrounding circular defensive wall.

The keep was still a pretty good height - high enough to make me dizzy when I looked up.

This area was the kitchen with a hall above.

Looking out across the landscape from the tower, to give you an idea of Welsh vernacular housing, and the scenery.

Double click for the history.

The remains of the original wonderful fireplaces still hanging on the wall.

Looking back through ruined curtain walls to one end of the Manor House.

Keyhole view of the fields.

The end of the Manor house, where the orchard and formal gardens are. (Photos of those tomorrow).

The view of the Manor house as you walk back from the castle. Quite a size!