Wednesday 30 March 2016

Easier just to set up camp perhaps?

We always seem to be heading East down the A40 these days.  Last week we went to Abergavenny Fleamarket (and again today), and also Hay, then Monday it was Malvern.  If only we could get a buyer for the house, we wouldn't be driving so many miles . . .

Anyway, at Malvern on Monday we saw someone we know who mentioned he might have something of interest for us, and so we agreed to meet up with him at Abergavenny Fleamarket today.  This time I remembered to bring my camera.  Aren't these goats fab?

Here are a few more.

A bit gloomy, but I didn't want everyone looking up if I used the flash.

I've never seen a RED top hat before, so I just had to get a photograph of this chap.

Above and below - some tempting Pansies.

Another view across the stalls.

We bought a couple of things, and chatted to dealers we knew, before having a wander round the town to get a late breakfast (we were out of the house by 7.15 and I wasn't feeling very hungry then).

Not a very good picture - I was trying to get a photo of how the town and the landscape interacted - and failed!

I stopped at various points along the A40 homewards to take photos of the Brecon Beacons with their sprinkling of snow.

Pen-y-Fan is the flat-topped peak to the centre.

Finally, above and below, the Carmarthen Fans, with the flat scarp of Black Mountain just showing.

I just find the mountains breathtaking.  We are so lucky to live in Wales.

Tuesday 29 March 2016

That's Easter over and done with then . . .

So, the clocks have sprung forward for another season and we can look forward to April showers and the May Bank Holidays.

Yesterday was a Malvern Fleamarket day, so we were up in the middle of the night - in fact, 20 mins earlier than I set the Alarm Clock.  This has happened a couple of times recently, and despite altering the hour, it has twice registered different times than the ones I changed it to.  It's had a new battery recently, so I think the time has come for a new clock.  It wouldn't do to be late for the next Malvern, in 3 weeks' time.

We were on the periphery of Storm Katie and were only vaguely aware of the wind getting up (a bit) and not at all aware of the heavy rain which left standing water on the A40 and roads onwards to Hereford and Malvern.  The first 3/4 hour was driving in utter darkness (I hate driving after dark these days, as we do so little of it), but the skies were lightening noticably by the time we reached Hay Bluff, and I was delighted when a Barn Owl flew across in front of us.  I haven't seen one for many a long year.  (Not surprising, since we don't go out much at night!!)

The weather forecast had put off all but the most stalwart of outside stallholders, but actually it stayed dry so they should have chanced their arm.  Consequently, there wasn't a great deal to buy, as the inside dealers are like pop-up shops with prices to match, and few dealer deals to be done.  We bought a couple of things anyway, and despite what I have just written about inside dealers, this lovely vintage 1970s quilt came from an inside stall.

That chestnut brown will be hard to match.  I have just two lots of brown - one is bitter chocolate brown but the other might just do, but I have very little of it.  I will just have to start a variegated border to finish it off.

The next coloured shape will fit in here.

So, we didn't buy a great deal, but got a couple of bits for stock, and had a lovely day, which is the main thing.  How did your Easter go?

Sunday 27 March 2016

The best-made plans

As I look out of the window, it is flinging down hailstones at a great rate of knots.  So that has knocked having a wander round the car boot sale on the head.  We are meeting up with our son later in town, but my OH has woken up dizzy and nauseous, so isn't going anywhere.  In fact if he, and the weather too, don't improve, all our plans to go to Malvern Fleamarket tomorrow are also knocked on the head.  If the Storm Katie hits higher than anticipated, Malvern will be a washout anyway, as there will be few outside stalls, and those are the ones where the best bargains are to be had.  Mind you, we have been before when it is raining and done well, as everyone just wanted to sell enough to make an early getaway.  I could go on my own if the weather looks OK, but that's no fun, and it's a lot of driving on my own.  We always share it.

I seem to be blocked by the stars at the moment, as I treated myself to the latest issue of Baking Heaven magazine yesterday.  I marked several recipes I would love to try, only to find that one of the prime ingredients in each was ground almonds, which I am low on.  Ah well, the best made plans and all that.  I will stock up later as I shall still meet up with Danny in town and if my OH is feeling better, we still may manage tomorrow, although it is doubtful as when you've been feeling rough, a 3.30 a.m. start is not appealing . . .

We had our middle daughter G here yesterday with her partner.  It was good to see them again (first time since Christmas!) and hear all their plans for the future.  They are saving for a deposit on a house, which is good news, and there is talk of kittens . . .

I don't think gardening will feature today, due to the weather.  Now I have removed the rampant pink thug from my main border and also the paddock plot (and put all the big chunks of it in a rough area between the lane and the paddock, so the bees and other insects will still benefit) I have decided to take one of the David Austin roses I have in tubs - destined to come with us when we eventually move - and plant it where the thug used to be.  I think it will be the pale pink Felicite Parmentier.

Well, Happy Easter to everyone, and I hope you don't have a spoke in your wheel this weekend!

Thursday 24 March 2016

The scenic route home

Apologies for a photos-only posting, but am feeling slightly distant this afternoon, due to a dull headache.  These photos of the Brecon Beacons were taken on our detour home on Monday.  I'm glad that sliproad WAS blocked off, as we definitely got back to Brecon by the scenic route.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Not quite a wasted morning

On Monday we had an appointment to deliver something we'd sold to a chap at Crickhowell.  I should have followed my gut instinct which told me we were on a hiding to nowhere after previous meetings had been cancelled, delayed etc.  Anyway, it was a wasted trip as it would seem the chap was all talk and no trousers and had cancelled on the morning (email after we'd set off!) and then when we got there, never offered to come and meet us and pay up.  We were somewhat miffed as it's a round trip of 100 miles and two gallons of fuel . . .  However, his £20 deposit covered that, fortunately.  We decided to travel home via Llangors lake and crannog.  I've just realized I never took a photo of the crannog (oops) so you will have to go HERE instead.

Anyway, the photo above is the lake through the trees.

This photo shows you how it looked up close, with Pen-y-Fan in the distance.  A really lovely spot.

The information board tells you a bit about the crannog construction.  You may have remembered a Time Team dig there a few years ago now.

Some more Mollyblobs, which were very adventurous, growing in water over a foot deep.

Looking across the lake to the small church we have visited in the past - Llangesty Talyllyn.

The lake is a popular place for canoeists.  These folk were having a lesson.

Plenty of wild birds too.  Barnacle geese . . . .

Coots and Moorhens . . . (Moorhen has red, a Coot doesn't is how I remember which is which).

Above and below, this delightful Manderin Duck was scooting about at a great rate of knots and looking for a mate.  Unfortunately he was the only one on the lake!  I've seen Manderin Ducks before on Brecon canal, so perhaps he should try his luck there.

Photos tomorrow of the Brecon Beacons as we had another unexpected detour on the way home.

Monday 21 March 2016

A valley walk and some baking

OK - I am a failure at Hot X Buns, but these are Hot X Apple Scones (without the X, obviously!), and glazed with ginger syrup from a jar of preserved ginger.  They are AMAZING.  My husband ATE TWO for his lunch.  He NEVER eats my baking . . .  I had to be revived with smelling salts!

I hope you can read the recipe.  Shout out if not, and I'll type it up.  Many thanks to the Waitrose Spring Harvest Cookbook 2016 from which is it taken.

These bought a smile to my face on a walk up by the river yesterday.  The first Wind Anemones of the season.

Now that the river has dropped, you can see a tree which has been there a couple of years now has snagged some more branches brought down by a winter spate.  A bit too difficult to get at with a chainsaw but there's a branch on the bank which might do.

Our favourite view upstream.

A lovely wild daffodil growing by the ruins of the old river-side cottage.

You can barely see what is left of this little one room cottage.  A char lady lived here in Victorian times.

Mollyblobs (wild Marsh Marigold) growing in a damp spot in alder carr woodland beside the lane.

The remains of the more substantial cottage opposite the tiny river-side one.  Legend has it that earlier last century the encumbants of each cottage - I think they had each lost their partner - married.  A practical arrangement, but let's hope it was for love.

A piece of old farm machinery now has a tree growing through and around it. The cottage sits in a good acre of land, but now it's totally overgrown with trees.

Saxifraga oppositifolia (Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage) which abounds on damp ground hereabouts.

More tomorrow - off out the door shortly.