Thursday 31 May 2018

Well, I guess it's time to hang up my blogging hat - SORTED!!!

(Since I have had to introduce screening comments on my blog because of spammers, it seems to have stopped everyone posting completely. Either that or I am such a boring old fa*t that comments aren't forthcoming.

I have appreciated everyone's friendship down the years, but I guess blogging is old hat these days - things change and people all want the instantness of Instagram.  Can't be doing that as I hardly ever use my mobile.  )


I was VERY tired last night (a long day at a distant auction) and got very frustrated because when I checked my email, STILL NO COMMENTS for moderation.  Hence the above post.  I have just "gone into the works" here on Blogger and realized that the recent Blogger changes have altered the moderation process too.  I just couldn't understand why there was such a thundering silence from everyone.  Anyway, hopefully it is now sorted and I will try and do a post later on.

I'm not feeling at all good at the moment - asthma very bad and I am maxed out on everything I take to try and control it, which is a worry.  The steroids aren't really helping either so I will back down off them now and see where I am. Pollen is supposedly low today (after the rain I suppose) but heavy rain (like the monsoon we drove home in yesterday in the Forest of Dean - I had to pull over as I couldn't see where we were going) isn't good either as it breaks the pollen up into tiny bits which get deep into my lungs.

Today is a working day but I am waiting for my body to stop feeling shaky before I can do what needs to be done.

The People of my (Medieval) Parish

I woke very early again today (4 a.m.) so I decided to put the extra hours to good use and have made a start on the Heritage Statement necessary for the planning permission for the relocating of our driveway across the area which used to be the paddock, but is now very overgrown garden.

I looked out all the old notes I had made when researching our house and its history in the 1990s, which coincided with my degree course, so I had lots of access to old records when I was backwards and forwards to Uni and the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.  I will need to go there again (and I need to renew my readers' ticket again) and look up several old maps I had jotted down details of.

Hmm - I've lost some plantings down the years, though the Potentilla is still there and doing well, and the Elecampane loves it and is now in several different places around the garden.  We need to keep the grass down now but it's difficult as we sold the ride-on mower many years ago when we got the horses and grazed this for a while.  Now it's back to garden we have to keep it that way.  But I digress, here are a couple of characters associated with this area, some with this actual house.

Llewellyn Voethus (the Luxurious) lived here in the 14th C.  He had a daughter named Jonet, who married Nicholas ab Philip and their only son was Griffith ab Nicholas, who married 3 times and was "possessed of great property".  Also it did him little good as he was killed at the battle of Mortimer Cross in 1461.

My favourite extract from the Dosparth III - Genealogy of Llwyth Elystan Glodrydd from this ode to David ab Thomas ab Grufydd ab Nicholas:

"David with the crop-tailed horse."  A neighbour of his had a young horse, of which David, who seems to have been an excellent judge of horse, had so high an opinion, that he gave him 24 cows, with pasture for themfor one year, which being considered a most extravagent price, exposed him to the ridicule of his acquaintances.  As soon as he had completed his purchase, he cut off the horse'sears, slit his nostrils and cropped his tail; after which he branded the skin all over with a hot iron, impressing numberless hideous and fantastic forms.  (POOR HORSE!)  Sometime subsequently, an opportunity was afforded him of showing his enemies, who had greatly amused themselves with his singular whim, of what metal his cropped horse was composed.  Being beset and closely pursued, as he approached the river, and perceiving his danger, he clapped spurs to his steed, and leaped across the stream to the opposite bank and then turned round and tauntingly derided his pursuers for riding such cows, on which they dared not follow him.  This is related as a most extraordinary feat - a leap on horseback which will never be leaped again."  (

Taken from Rev. T Ree's Topographical etc of South Wales:  

. . . . . "And he also tells him how richly caparisoned his charger would then be - (when he is knighted) - with gold trappings, and a gold petrel, and the saddle also, as well as the bridle, ornamented with gold."

Times are a bit quieter around here now . . . unless you lived anywhere near Nant-y-Ffin where there was an illegal rave last weekend, with a thousand or more people attending, and folk 5 miles away couldn't sleep for the racket of the "music".

Tuesday 29 May 2018

Two posts in a day!

Phew, today has turned out to be . . . a wee bit different.  After waiting for weeks (I don't like to nag and after the 3rd asking, gave up) Next Door Farmer came to top our paddock today.  Well, I suppose it is no longer a paddock as unfenced, and now has a small orchard, soft fruit, planted area etc.  Anyway, that is by the by.  The grass and Dock had gotten to about 3 feet high . . .

I have had one of those oddball days. Next Door - the dad, G (his son has now taken over the farm) - came into top the paddock for us. I had asked son C very politely again yesterday - he kept saying they were too busy before. I mentioned we weren't having any more viewings, but my asthma was very bad and I was on my second course of steroids already so could he please cut it. (In return, he gets to use the top field whenever he wants for cattle). Anyway, G was going round the field and I went out to see how he was doing, and noticed a strange car parked in our drive. The family looked very embarrassed when I went over - they were From Off, and thought our driveway was the lane up the hill to Felingwm. They couldn't reverse out because the Estonian bloke working for G & C was letting the cows in and had put the binder twine "rope" across the driveway! I explained to them the route out and said it was a bit confusing round here when lanes looked like cow tracks looked like farm roads. By way of guidance, if there was an electric fence both sides of them, they weren't on the lane!!

Then later on I went into the kitchen and found Theo with a bit wet patch on his back and chewing on what looked like tiny slivers of mouse (sorry if tmi) - he had burst an enormous abscess on his jawline and there was gunk from it everywhere - especially his chops. Poor boy. He wasn't at all impressed when I got some boiled water with salt in and a couple of wads of cotton wool and cleaned him off. He's been outside since, and had some extra grub which I cunningly laced with some of the painkiller left over from Ghengis last week. He's on the sofa now, so I think I shall be sitting at the other end tonight . . .

A busy Bank Holiday and 2 new books

Morning all.  I hope you had an enjoyable Bank Holiday weekend as we did here.  The boys are following the sun and I have 3 of the 4 up here in my office with me.  Little Whale and Theo just about fit on the window ledge, whilst Ghengis has a sunny spot by the door.

We have had a busy but enjoyable Bank Holiday weekend.  On Friday we were working, and I spent several hours over the weekend working on my vegetable plantings.  At Sunday's car boot sale I found a couple of squat square planters for £1 each so those were quickly planted up with more beans - the Flat sort this time - as these freeze well.  A long narrow planter I got from the shops is planted up with Chantenay carrots.  Yesterday I bought Thomson and Morgan deep red Mange Tout "Shiraz", new to the market this year.  Those will be lovely in my stir fries.  I also got a little pack of Ridge Cucumbers ready to get planted out today and a pack of Telegraph Cucumbers for a very overdue sowing to grow in the greenhouse.  Better late than never. 

At a car boot sale a couple of weeks back I came across these two books, which had my name on them, and they came home with me (50 p each).  Just my cup of tea, as a couple of pages below will demonstrate.

I always grow a variety of Nasturtiums here and Pot Marigolds too.  The latter have just burst through the soil in a little triangle of what used to be the veg plot.  The triangle came about because of some drainage pipe cutting across the plot, so I normally sow it with annuals (flowers).  I broadcast a selection there a couple of weeks back.

My garden is alive with bees - the plant I have LOTS of (gosh, it spreads!) is the Geranium (Cranesbill) phaeum "Mourning Widow" (I know it as Weeping Widow.)  It is prolific, but because the bees love it I let it grow where it likes, though that said, one bed needs de-Cranesbilling so I will let it flower, cut it back and move those plants to a spot beneath the eating apple tree which is a bit bare.  I treated myself to a couple of well-grown Lupins this weekend, a purple and a deep pink, and a pretty Verbena in a sort of tan and mauve, and a pink Salvia.  The pinks will go in the bed with the Roserie de l'Hay I'm thinking, along with a couple of matching deep pink Aquilegias which I had potted up to sale at a car boot sale (but the world and his wife are doing the same and so I may as well put these to good use).  You can never have too many Aquilegias . . .

Last week I had a lovely craft meet up day with localish friends.  We played around with freestyle  machine embroidery, chatted lots, had a lovely lunch, and learned about tatting (thank you Dawn, Sue and Sianfor such a lovely day out). I came home and decided to start crocheting a winter beanie hat with the lovely home-spun/died wool I bought at Hay recently.  The first try got ripped back as I managed to ADD stitches somehow and it went ripply.  The 2nd try didn't get quite as far as it got too big in the next colour band.  The third try for some reason was too huge from the start (tension), so I have ripped it all back, rewound the balls and have started off a cushion cover in a white Aran . . . have lost heart a bit as let's face it, a cushion cover ISN'T a beanie hat!!

The new stray cat, a big black tom we have called Whitby (because he is jet black), just absolutely REFUSED to go away, and since he isn't aggressive, has been tolerated although Theo and Alfie have tried to see him off a few times. He likes to sit on the window ledge and look in the window, very intently.  He looks at me in the same way, like he is trying to put his thoughts across.  ("Feed me" I dare say!)  He has been someone's pet as he knows about houses and catflaps.  I am nearly at the point of touching him.  When he can be handled he will be off to the vet for neutering.

Yesterday was the big Bank Holiday Malvern Flea and of course we got up in the middle of the night and drove for 2 3/4 hours to get there.  I do all the driving now as K because he has a frozen shoulder and finds driving painful.  He's seeing the physio but it's a long slow process getting it right again.

We had a lovely day out, bought well - some interesting and unusual pieces - and look forward to our next big Fair at the Botanic Gardens in July.

I hope you all had a pleasant weekend too.

Saturday 26 May 2018


A Happy Saturday to you.  Just a brief selection of the Aquilegias flowering in the garden.  I tend to have the dark ones in the sunny yard, and pinky ones up in the top garden.  I note I am down to just three pure white ones now (must save seed from those) and one of the flowers on my really tall pink and yellow plant (in a tub) has turned out pure pink . . .  Variations of different flower types on the same plant is a regular occurrence too.

I have some seeds started (Tequila Sunrise) which I bought recently, but so far nothing has shown through the soil in the tray.  Perhaps the hot temps were a bit much for them - I have them on the concrete in the yard now, covered in a cat-proof tray . . .

A short and sweet post this morning as my asthma's not very good at the moment - heavy rain on pollen is apparently NOT a good thing for asthmatics.  I am hoping to avoid another course of steroids.  

They adore the gravel and self-seed everywhere.

Finally, some mesh over the strawberry patch which Ghengis DOESN'T fit through!

Thursday 24 May 2018

Banana Jam

I suddenly remembered today I had promised the recipe for Banana Jam.  The one that follows isn't the one I used to use (damned if I can find which book it was in), but it sounds very similar.  Enjoy:


Juice of 3 limes
Juice of 1 orange, topped up with water to 175 ml (6 fl. oz.)
1 tsp ground cinnamon (I don't remember this, so omit if you wish).
500 g (1lb 2 oz) granulated sugar
seeds of one vanilla pod (or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste) (I don't remember this in my recipe either)
a pinch of salt (for some reason?)
6 large ripe bananas, sliced fairly thin or mashed (I would definitely mash them)
50 g (2 fl oz) dark rum (this definitely wasn't in the recipe I used, but go for it!)

Makes 4 x 340g (12oz) jars

Keeps for 3-6 months

Put the lime juice, orange juice and water, cinnamon, sugar, vanilla and salt in a preserving pan over a moderate heat.  Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Add the bananas and cook gently for 15-20 mins until thick, stirring often (be careful as this jam has a tendency to catch).

Add the rum and cook for a few minutes more, then bottle in hot sterlized jars.

Variation:  For a banana-chocolate jam, swirl in 100g (3 1.2 oz) chopped or grated dark chocolate when the jam has been cooked.

Taken from Mary Tregellas' "Notes from the Jam Cupboard" which I thoroughly recommend.

Wednesday 23 May 2018

How does your garden grow?

In our main pond, the yellow Flag Irises are now in full bloom, and looking beautiful.  I have been admiring them as I sit in the sunshine on the patio, with my book.  It just goes to show that I CAN rest sometimes!

These lovely Welsh poppies have self-seeded themselves into the top of a wall.  They seem to like to struggle in life . . .

Alliums.  Believe it or not I have never grown them before, though mum used to.  I have one head with just a few flowers but lots of Bulbils (the paper-like covering didn't peel back properly).  So I shall have lots of extra ones for next year.

The youngest of the Montana clematis, which I popped into the top of a wall "bed" a couple of years back.  It's taken a while to get established, but is now doing well.  I have another white one in the front thicket of rambler roses which is putting on a show too.

Here is the original one, which has put out even more flowers now, and the scent is divine.  I have a number of Aquilegias which have established themselves in the gravel bed here - proper photos tomorrow.

Finally, Alfie in the shade of the stripey grass beside the pond.  When this grows high in the summer months they all like to rest in there.

It's late and I haven't been downstairs to unwind before bed yet, so will be back tomorrow with some Aquilegia photos.

Monday 21 May 2018


. . . and I don't mean the stuff you can eat either.

Due to problems with spammers, any comments in future will be moderated.

Sunday 20 May 2018

Pottering round Brecon

Well, given all the hoo-hah about yesterday's Royal Wedding, imagine my surprise at finding this sign in Brecon this morning - just one letter adrift!!

Here's the wonderful house it's associated with:

So now you know!  I'd have loved to have seen inside.

This building was the stables and coach-house for Buckingham Place.  Note cobbled stretch still at front.  Now it is a children's Day Nursery.

The remains of this house were opposite - just a front wall left standing to half the house height, with a rather imposing doorway, blocked in.  Behind was a car park for businesses in that vicinity.  Intriguing.

Another grand house - now a nursing home.

I will have to try and find out something about this imposing building - it tickles me that the portico is a a floor up, above the front door!  Later: this is Watton Mount.  It was formerly the Council Offices, and here are the listing details for it.

Dan-y-Gaer Mill, a former Sawmill in Brecon.

Walking down from the Mill towards the Canal basin.  I rather liked the green villa.

The Canal Basin at Brecon (above and below).  There were several narrowboats on the canal, including one which does 2 1/2 hour canal cruises (I'd love to go on one of those this summer).

At the side of the tow path were 4 lovely tiled pictures of the canal, showing the route it took and some of its history.

For sale!  A lovely cottage at a lovely spot - BUT, there is a busy road out of (and into) Brecon just the other side of it.  Such a pretty garden too, with lots of Aquilegias.

A modern wooden rendering of the area's past.  This was near the Limekilns . . .

Above and below: the path continues onwards.  Below, heading towards the Black Mountains.

On my way back, I took the little lane the other side of the canal path, and here are the limekilns.

One of the Mallards on the canal.

Finally, a wee cottage tacked on the end of a row of terraces.  The roof and end wall look very scew-whiff!