Tuesday 22 April 2014

Easter Monday at Malvern Fleamarket

We were up at 4 a.m. yesterday morning to go to the huge Bank Holiday Fleamarket at Malvern.  The weather was on our side and it was warm and sunny for most of the day.  This is the road just the other side of Trecastle.

Misty grey mountains.

Sunrise near Brecon.

There were hundreds of stalls there, but I have to say it was more like a gigantic car boot sale yesterday - lots of house clearance stalls outside, and some were asking absolutely ridiculous prices for stuff.  We didn't buy a great deal . . .  When I say "house clearance" I don't mean the lovely things that Vicky gets up in Anglesey, or the things she and her husband have given time and skill to improve, but the boxes of damaged china, rusty old tools, and stuff you would think twice about crossing the road to dump!  All for sale at ridiculous prices.

A corner of a pretty applique modern quilt.

A little corner of Victorian mourning clothes . . .

The usual taxidermy was there.  Some are becoming old friends almost . . .

Poor little chap didn't have much of a life and then ended up with a tummy full of sawdust.

I'd have loved the horse picture when I was a child.

Hard to believe that this poor dolly was once a little girl's pride and joy.  I hope she gets the TLC she need.

A general view.  As you can see, lovely blue skies.  It took us 6 hours to walk round and our legs were glad to rest once we got back to the car.

Today is a catch-up day . . .

Thursday 17 April 2014


I have been very busy in the garden. Here are the main vegetables I intend to grow this year.

Above and below, a more detailed photo.

The onions, parsnips and carrots I have several packets of, as a friend had been given lots and so I benefitted too.

Just a few flowers to be going on with.  The sweet peas are late, I know, but currently in soak and will be planted in little pots today.

On Tuesday we had a big bonfire of the brash from the Ash tree which we felled last year.  It looked very untidy up that end of the yard, and we had plans for it . . .

As I said  . . . untidy!  When I say I spend 8 hours gardening a day, it is more THIS sort of (clearance) gardening than a little light weeding sort of gardening!

My OH putting sand over the ashes of the bonfire, which has killed off most of the weeds below it.  We have a plan you see!  The path by the Rhubarb was about 75% COVERED in grass and other opportunistic weeds.  I weeded it this week and put down several barrowloads of fresh chippings over the old layer.  The pathway membrane goes on for about 3 feet beyond the end of the chippings.

As I ripped the grass/weeds/soil combo away, the membrane saw daylight again for the first time in about 6 or 7 years . . .

Cleared, for my . . .

polytunnel.  My OH figured it was best up here as then I had the use of my entire veg plot for planting beans, peas, brassicas, carrots etc, and I could have my cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, chillis etc in pots in here.  Oh and strawberries, as I had about 50 feral plants around the place, so they are all potted up and hopefully will thrive in here (and the birds won't get them this year.) I know - it looks a bit drunk - I think I didn't straighten the cover up after we'd carried it (already made up) from lower down the yard where we had tethered it overnight.

Meanwhile, Theo was having his version of "meals on wheels" !! in the hallway . . .

Meanwhile, I am re-reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle which is such an inspirational book and is the code by which I try to abide, although financially it is not always possible to afford meat which is locally sourced and from a named farm.

This is an excellent book a friend sent me for my birthday one year.  I can recommend it heartily to any breadmakers out there.

This is the recipe I am trying - for Italian Pugliese bread.  Hmmm.  Slight problems with the "biga" starter, but I shall report back.  I made the mistake of putting it in the sun to rise yesterday, and the sun was so hot it put a skin on the "biga".  It was meant to rise for 8 to 10 hours (guess who started it at lunchtime . . .) and in the end I was SO tired I left it overnight.  I will see if I can make an edible loaf with it today, despite the overnight abandonment!

Anyway, I don't feel in a gardening mood this morning as I have not a jot of energy, so it is going to be bread and then a couple of Apple Gingerbread cakes, one for the freezer and one for now.

Saturday 12 April 2014

Highways and byways of Laugharne - some more photos added

View across the estuary from Laugharne.

A magnificent Wisteria was growing up this beautiful house.  It was just putting out tentative buds.

What a lovely Georgian cottage . . . in need of some tlc though . . .

Browns Hotel, where Dylan Thomas was wont to drink. . .

Opposite Browns the windows had been blocked out and various paintings replaced them.  Think Dylan Thomas again although I'm not sure about the Chameleon? at the top . . .

I took a little lane which went down towards the park, across a little stream.  This beautiful house was half-hidden in its woodland setting.

A closer view, with the Gunnera putting up their huge umbrella-like leaves.

I saw this huge Magnolia flowering behind someone else's taller garden wall.  This was the best iew I could get of it, with someone else's wall and garage in the way.

A secluded patch at the end of another garden, with Honesty flowering and a sprawling Magnolia thinking about it.

Up the little cobbled street . . .

A view across houses near the little bakery (which did AMAZING sticky buns!)

The castle.  If I wasn't completely shattered, I would give you a little history.  Perhaps a separate post some time . . .

This house was called Green Dragon, and next door to it was Green Dragon Cottage, which abutted to . . .

The rather grand Dragon Park.  I'd love to know where the name came from.

I've always rather liked the look of this house (formerly The Rectory).  It has just been sold and folks were moving stuff in - from the back of their car, so I assume they had lived locally and bought it.  It looked to have lots of character from what I could gather as I nosied through the front door from across the road . . .

Some beautiful words to leave you with.

Wednesday 9 April 2014

My birthday day out

Yesterday was my birthday, and I always like to celebrate it with a day out somewhere, a special meal (at home) followed by a bottle of wine (usually red).  Yesterday was no different . . .

Here we are on the road between Cynwyl Elfed and Newcastle Emlyn, close to the turning to Tanglwst.

I would love to support wind turbines and wind farms as an alternative energy supply, BUT quite apart from the fact they are totally inefficient and have to be backed up by conventional power stations at all times, they are a blot on the landscape and wreck areas - many of outstanding natural beauty - in their construction, not to mention their impact on wildlife and anyone living near them.  Wind farms need pylons (cheaper than burying cables) to take the electricity to the national grid.  This has another detrimental effect on the landscape.  For a discrete area and small locale of dwellings, they can work, but NOT to supply vast cities and populations.   Denmark, Germany and Spain have all tried it and have NOT made any real impact on reducing reliance on traditional power sources such as gas, coal or nuclear power, nor reduced carbon emissions . . .  Right, I'll get down of my high horse now.

Above and below, the beautiful Presilis in the distance.  In the bottom picture you can see cairns as well as rocky outcrops, not unlike the tors of my beloved Dartmoor.

Carn Ingli (the Mount of the Angels).  After our Finals at Uni, a group of us "mature students" climbed up and sat amongst the rocks, drinking champagne.  Happy times.

Of course, there was an antique shop involved in the equation.  This is one we have been to regularly over the years, and is run by a knowledgable couple who actually know what they are selling, and its value.  Unlike the multi-trader "emporiums" where everyone is trading in "stuff" (mostly china), frequently don't know what it's worth and put a high price on because they are either worried they may sell it too cheaply or just want to try and fleece a gullible (and equally ignorant) Joe Public.  I . . . may . . . have bought some books here . . .  Well, no may about it - I got a hardback copy of Thomas Hardy's Under The Greenwood Tree (I am trying to replace my old paperbacks with good hardback copies), a Folio copy of Flora Thompson's Lark Rise (lovely old photo illustrations), and a big hardback book of the first 4 Poldark novels.  All for £10 . . .

My OH walking back to the car park with the books past the pretty cottages of Newport.  Apparently it's desirable with Londoners now, so prices have rocketed.

I was trying to get the ancient castle walls to the right of this lovely house, but obviously didn't!

Above and below, Carreg Coetan Arthur.  Now in the middle of a small estate of bungalows . . .  In one of my archaeology books there are some photos of this stone with a strange light anomaly.  It is a Neolithic dolmen or burial chamber and had a cremation and sherds of Beaker and Grooved Ware pottery associated with it.

Then it was time for some proper sea air, and we walked a short stretch of the coast path.