Friday 30 November 2018

Driving the scenic route home . . .

We had to go to Cardigan yesterday to collect some stock from the Unit.  We took the shorter route home, cross-country, stopping at Cenarth to take some photos of the river, which was pretty full after all the rain which had accompanied Storm Diana.

Of course, it is regularly MUCH worse, and certainly was a couple of months ago when we had tremendous flooding locally.  I think the bridge at Cenarth was shut for a while due to trees piling up against it.

Up on the ravine overlooking the river, I am pretty sure this is a Spindle tree - they like Limestone, and this one had obviously found a safe niche here.  When the bright pink seed pods split open they reveal orange seeds.  I used to see them regularly when I lived outside Salisbury and walked my dogs along the Shaftesbury ("Shaston") Drove.

Finally, the ever-increasing wind farm in Brechfa Forest.  These were all turning well in the strong winds.

I had to go back to the Doctor's yet again today as I had a chest infection and am now on anti-b's and steroids (the latter for 3 to 5 days).  Hopefully they shouldn't disturb my sleep pattern too much.  I have a nice pile of books to get through - I bought 5 by Peter James when we were in Wotton on Monday and I have read the first already.

Tuesday 27 November 2018

A spotlight on charm . . .

My mum had a huge selection of old sayings, and the title of this post was but one of them.  I have always kept them alive, but I suspect they will die with me, which is a terrible shame as they are worth keeping to my mind.

Anyway, I woke at 4.30 for the loo and laid there, not able to get back to sleep.  Finally I allowed myself to check the alarm clock again - 6.15.  I thought, right I shall get up in a moment.  Then - manoeuvring lights showed up behind the curtains, and finally settled into position.  What. The. Hell?  Next Door with his tractors doesn't have lights as strong as that!  I was just thinking E.T. thoughts, when I realized that the oil man had cometh - we'd only ordered the oil yesterday and it was scheduled for the end of the week but obviously they were coming our way sooner and we must have been the first delivery of the day. 

So, whilst I am sat here with a hotty botty stuffed up my fleece top, I have allowed myself to put the central heating on for an hour or so.

Not only was it the oil man arriving, as yesterday, after a long wait because he is so much in demand, our builder turned up and he and his sidekick hacked off damp gypsum plaster from the end attic wall and put on the first coat of lime plaster. The second coat goes on on Friday and a minor repair to the long bedroom wall, plus Steve will get up on the roof to sort out what needs to be done to totally weatherproof it.

I gave myself the afternoon off yesterday as I felt far less than 100% and I am SO fed up with clearing my sinuses.  I have a used paper hankie mountain which is being burned daily.  I am hoping to avoid a chest infection but the wretched bug has gone on a journey of exploration into my lungs, which is not a positive, but so far just coughing up gunk and not running a temp etc.

Right, I must get on with Tam's quilt or it will never be finished!

Monday 26 November 2018

Over the English border once more

A cottage beside the road as we drove away from Wotton.

Today we had to go to the Auction at Wotton in Gloucestershire to collect something we bought, and something we had put in the auction but didn't attract a bid (typical!)  Now that K is on the mend from his cataract operation, we shared the driving but I did all the motorway bit (which I hate, but I need to keep my skills up).  Because he is still suffering from a Frozen Shoulder (v. slowly mending) he can't drive for 2 hours at a stretch, but I can.  We came back the slow scenic route past Gloucester, Forest of Dean, turn left at Monmouth, stop at Waitrose in Abergavenny for anything we are low on in the food cupboard, and then along the A40 to home.

TBH, I haven't been feeling 100% after a long day at yesterday's Fleamarket (which was worth it though), and my cold is entering Week 3 and has morphed again - I am losing my voice and have a nasty suspicion it's going down onto my chest, which I could really do without.  I shall reach for the Elderberry Rob tonight, which I should have done when I first started with this bug.  K is about 2 days behind me with it . . .

Anyway, it was lovely to see some beautiful scenery, and I did try to take some photos when we were driving along, but you can never get a decent picture, so they are disappointing (and mostly in the photo dustbin now). 

Hmmm - a pretty half timbered cottage at 50 mph - or rather, we were!

On the bressamer beam in the kitchen, a rather large felt Robin which is my contribution to fresh Christmas decorations this year.

Below him is the short section of Heavy Horse leading rein from 100 years ago, with a heavy brass Victorian Crotal bell.  My treat from the Fleamarket yesterday and a nod to my Agricultural Labourer ancestors, one a known Carter and many others probably involved with farm horses too.

Friday 23 November 2018

Family busy-ness

Sorry, I had hoped to do a post today, but our eldest daughter is with us for a few days, and I made a lovely roast for tea (which took ages of prep - hardly ever have a roast dinner for just two of us).  

I have had a health blip too, which is a bit of a scary one, so I shall be on edge until I've been to the appropriate hospital dept. and had some tests.  Hoping it's something of nothing, but there is always a scary thought of two nagging in the back of your mind at such times.  

We have a busy weekend again with the local Fleamarket on Sunday, hoping it goes well as finances are in that sort of state where the only movement in your bank account is in an outwards direction!! The new Unit is having a real NoNoNovember too, which means the rent for next month will not be covered by sales.  Ah well, I have a full freezer and can make a vegetable curry go a long way . . .

Have a good weekend, all.

Tuesday 20 November 2018

A morning in the kitchen

I was cake-baking today.  I needed to make at least three, so here they are - top two are from the top - Dorset Apple Cake with Ginger (that's crystalized ginger strips).  Below it is Mincemeat cake made with the last of last year's home-made Mincemeat, home-made crystalized peel (thanks to Eldest Daugher) and a couple of spoonfuls of stewed apple to give it more moisture. Below is the Lemon Drizzle Cake which is star of the show on Thursday, when we have some friends coming round for coffee and cake.  One of the top cakes will be going to my Patchwork class tomorrow, and the other is reserved for the Antiques Fair at the weekend.

A beautiful antique Carmarthenshire quilt, hand made and quilted, and with a plucked sheep's wool lining.  When I bought it the wretched thing was FILTHY.  I washed it twice by hand, each time gaining a tide-mark.  Finally I got around to putting it in the bath again on Saturday and washed and washed and rinsed and rinsed and finally have gotten rid of the tidemark.  At about 120 years old, it is NOT something you dare to put in the washing machine.  It will be going to a Fair soon.

These little knitted hats took my eye (in last month' Landscape magazine).  They are meant to be for Advent but damned if I can be bothered to knit 24 of them, so I will stop around a dozen.

For some reason the pointy hats don't look as they should, so perhaps I need to go and re-read the instructions or modify them . . .

Some little jingle bells to go on the top of most of them.

I hadn't tried the thumb cast-on before but it gives a nice tidy edge.  I hope you can see how to do it.  If not, shout out and I will photograph just that part of the page.  Below: the knitting patterns for the wee hats.

Finally, one of my car boot sale finds on Sunday, for just £1.  I don't know how much it cost initially - probably nearer £10 with the Cath Kidston name . . .

Right, I have seen the Doc, used the medication and hopefully have banished the problem . . .  We shall see.

I have spent the afternoon listening in (and finally bidding) on an on-line auction and painting a bit more in our bedroom - 3 and 2/3 walls now finished . . .  I have had to wait until Keith was over his op as he wasn't meant to be lifting anything heavy for a couple of weeks at least.

Monday 19 November 2018

Friday's walk

My tally of walks for this year is pathetic, but in my defence, I lost the summer's walking due to my asthma, and then damaged a tendon in my foot, then the other ankle came out in sympathy, bouts of bad weather, flooding, and now I have a feminine problem.  Anyway, I managed to get out on Friday and it was so warm I ended up walking in my t-shirt (plus jeans of course!!)    Here is the view going down the hill and then, below (next two) crossing the river . . .

A neighbour has paid someone (a pittance I should think) to cut some hedges for him, and totally eradicate an outer belt of Hazel trees around woodland he was given a grant to plant 12 or so years ago.  I HATE to see hedges trashed at the best of times, but this had been left to grow for a few years and there were some biggish branches in there which are now splintered and the trees (below) that had been well-established, are dreadfully damaged.  This is not good hedgerow management.

A peaceful view into the larch woodland on the bend.  We used to walk through here and back across the field beside the river, but it's got very overgrown now.  There are a couple of established ponds which are brilliant for wildlife (only there because of another grant . . .)

Where there used to be Hazel . . .  quite a loss for the wildlife, but that said, still plenty of trees around for the birds.  A little gaggle of Long Tailed Tits were Tzeee-Tzeeing beyond that oak tree.

A neighbour's homestead.

The lane ahead, down over a stream which flows through a culvert under the road.  This floods sometimes too . . .  Until 3 years ago we used to have a regular road gang who knew every ditch and culvert, anticipated problems before they arrived.  Then the Council had to make huge budget cuts and our bods are now working on the road between Llandovery and Builth and no-one has been near our lanes in the meantime.  Hence the problems in bad weather.

The hillsides going up the valley.

Another neighbour's Thoroughbred brood mares.  

Here's his lurcher bitch, just whelped - I held my hand out to her and said hello (from the other side of the road) and she lifted a lip and snarled at me.  Knowing the neighbour, that doesn't surprise me . . .

The other side of the valley is more heavily wooded - it's the other side of the Cothi, so another valley in itself.

Above and below: sunlight through the trees by the river.

Finally, slogging up our hill . . .

Now, time to try and get an appt. with the GP . . .

Saturday 17 November 2018


Sorry regular followers, but due to constant spamming, I am changing to comment moderation so I don't have any spam comments appearing on my blog.

Friday 16 November 2018

Round up for the week

When we left, the road was flooded at the bottom of the hill, due to a blocked culvert.  On our return, it was the same state of play, and there had been plenty of rain to keep it blocked.  We walked down, waded through to gauge the depth (6" or so but it had been deeper) and I emailed the Highways Department with photos and they fixed it on Tuesday.

I have been using up some of the fruit from the freezer to make Bramble Jelly and some Blackcurrant Jam.  I like to have some for gifts, as well as using ourselves (though I don't eat much of it and Keith not at all.)

At my patchwork class on Wednesday I finished my sewing bag, learning several new skills along the way!  The holey bit below is stretchy, so you can fit all sorts behind it.

A marathon hand made bread session went on yesterday.  Above is the yeasty barm base, which you then added rolled oats, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and more flour to . . . then let it rise, knock back, rise, knock back and rise again. . . .

On Tuesday we went over to Cardigan to put some more things in the Unit and bring a couple of things back, and we popped over to St Dogmael's to see what their weekly market was like.  Keith got two excellent hard back military books for £1 each and I got a hank of wool and chatted to the potter.

Right, this won't do.  Another busy day ahead and middle daughter is visiting later.