Tuesday 26 February 2019

Enjoying the sun whilst we can

Apparently it will be back down to normal single digit temperatures again next Monday, so we have been making the most of "summer in February" by working outside, and I got a lovely long walk in today.  I've also been gardening, but more of that later.  

My walk was across the bridge and along by the river, trying to get some slightly different angles.  I even climbed off the road onto the riverbank where I could (though it slopes towards the river a bit!)

This is where I climbed down onto the bank.  It was worth it.

Then a left turn up past Eisteddfa Farm, where this looked like a metal Praying Mantis!

Merlin's Hill.

View across the Towy Valley.

Primroses.  Less about this year - less Celendines too, perhaps due to the hot summer last year.

A long distance shot across our valley - what a view that farmhouse has.

The Italianate tower that is all that remains of Pantglas mansion.

Wild "Tenby"daffodils.

The river glissading over the stones.

The work in the garden is coming on slowly.  I try not to work too long in one position, so it's a bit of weeding and dragging grass and ivy out from between the currant bushes (much stretching involved) and then some sweeping in the yard, then a little digging in the veg plot.  I've cleared most of the fallen twigs and bits of dead wood from the rambler roses - it took 3 wheelbarrow-fulls though! It would be good if it kept dry a bit longer, even if it cools down, but it looks like we will have some rain on Thursday.  Drat.

Monday 25 February 2019

When it hits 60 deg. in February . . .there's only one place to be!

It was foggy when we got up early for the car boot sale - we got down there and folk were still arriving and no-one had unpacked or set-up.  We missed a decent car by walking away to see what others were unpacking, but hey-ho, that's the way it goes sometimes, and the decent car was asking non-trade prices anyway.  I came home with just two small glass vasess for a pound apiece.  So we bought the Sunday paper and came home.  It got hotter and hotter when the fog cleared and I had such an urge to go to the beach, so that's what we did.  Llansteffan is our nearest beach, and we knew the main car park would be full by the time we got there so we parked on the grassy area and walked up the estuary, back down towards the castle, and home via Tesco's where we bought a tub of Carte d'Or ice cream for what one small cone would have cost . . .

Above and below: looking up the estuary.  Imagine the sound of Oystercatchers . . .

Above and below: sleepy Ferryside in the sunshine.

Looking out to the mouth of the Towy where it flows into Carmarthen Bay, with of course, Llansteffan castle on the headland.

Below: my husband strolled ahead of me whilst I stopped and took photos.

Looking towards the church.

Some kids had had fun building this den with sticks washed up on the beach.

Finally - some of the pretty pastel-hued cottages that line the lane down to the beach.  Some are holiday homes but others lived in all year round.

You may have guessed the current header was taken yesterday too - I couldn't really see what I was taking as the sun was so bright, but it was one of my better "point and shoot" pics which has turned out so well I may have a big copy printed off . . .

Saturday 23 February 2019


If you have ever listed anything for sale on eBay, you will know it can be time-consuming.  I have just surfaced from listing 6 chunks of antique furniture and I took about 80 photographs overall today of the various things I need to get listed this weekend (there is a special deal on over selling fees).  I am finally clearing out ALL my remaining horsey things, and need to shift a few book bundles too (if they still sell).  

So, this afternoon, rather than watching the National Hunt racing (though that's been recorded so I will catch up on it tonight), I have been polishing, photographing, measuring, making measurements have metric and imperial equivalents and then cubing them so I have a size/price for the courier plus making those eBay listings (which also require research as to pricing, wordage etc). 

The little yew-wood drinks trolley which hopefully will go to a new home soon.  (The mare and foal are staying though!!)

The day started with scrubbing out the inglenook downstairs in (what was) mum's kitchen, putting antique lighting and lightbulbs away in the cupboard, scrubbing the flagstone floor, vacuuming the carpet, and brushing the walls and sweeping and scrubbing the inglenook floor.  All that so I could use the inglenook to stage a couple of bits of furniture.  I have quilts and blankets to photograph and list tomorrow, but that's another day.  We need to get rid of a lot of furniture (and "stuff") before we can put the house back on the market, so we have rooms which - though they won't be minimalist - you will be able to see as they should be presented.

I did finally get around to making more soup today (been planning it two days now).  Chicken breast chopped and fried, and then the last 1/3 of a still very fresh packet of stir-fry mix from Sainsbury's (I couldn't face it 3 meals on the trot for tea!)  I added some spicy seasoning (Cajun I think) and it tastes very toothsome, though I say it myself.

The frogs have just about finished doing their thing out in my ponds, and there is masses of frogspawn to show for it.  I hope the tadpoles survive and don't all snuff it from a virus or something like they did a couple of years back.

I have now awarded myself the evening off - my Period Living magazine arrived today - which reminds me, I need to cancel my subscription as I only took one out to get the free Emma Bridgwater mugs . . .

ADDENDUM - having stripped the bed this morning and got all the bedding washed and dried, I had forgotten we hadn't made the bed up with fresh linen.  Nor had I ironed the warm flannelette set from last week I was intending to use (in preference to the lighter more summery duvet sets I have in the coffer).  So I had to iron that, and the sheet, then vacuum the bed (dust mite eradication) and then we made the bed up fresh.  I think I shall fall into it later!

Thursday 21 February 2019

A Slightly Muddy Walk

I spent sometime this morning sorting out a problem with someone in Europe buying something from me on eBay.  I needed some help and moral support from Eldest Daughter, who talked me through it, bless her, though I did need to go into the bowels of eBay to find out a link to speak to a Live Person there.  

So I got rather stressed out first thing (still stressed out when we went into town for more Birdseed and some groceries) and I was stressed again after I HAD sorted it out, but further from the panic attack I nearly had earlier on.  The sun was coming out, so although I felt devoid of energy, I decided I would go out for a walk and relax a bit.

Normally I would be walking along the lane to the right of the trashed hedge.  But I decided to go and see the state of play across the equally trashed fields which belong to a neighbour not known for his sympathetic approach to wildlife and nature.

I walked along through the trees beside the river, which was higher than normal due to recent rain, but still at fairly ordinary levels.  No Kingfishers about today, sadly.

These two little streams enter the river a field back from our bridge.

The Hazels were still covered in catkins on the far bank.

Ahead - an area which had been badly trashed a couple of years back but is mending now - I will spare you the image of the large pile of half-burnt tree-trunks from THAT work.

Looking through the trees to a hillside where once a small cottage once stood - only 1/2 a brick remains where a home once was.

Above, looking upstream, and below - there is a large outcrop of rock in the river here, which catches passing trees and branches when the river's in spate.

A beautiful tree at the river's edge, with an abandoned field behind it.

More destruction of habitat.  This used to be a picnic site, years ago, when there were walks through here.  Now it has been trashed - there's no other word for it.  BIG mature trees taken out and left as stumps.  What's the point?

A cascade of catkins.

Finally, once I was on the lane again, the sunlight shining through these daffs made them glow.

Wednesday 20 February 2019

The Frog Chorus

This morning Keith and I went out for a walk - not a very long one, just down by the river and up to the junction and back again, but we noticed several useful bits of wood, so the moment we got back I change my off-white jacket to something scruffier and we drove back down and loaded the back of the car up with what we had found.  We now have a yard full of various bits of wood gleaned locally in recent weeks.  Unfortunately before we could FINALLY get the petrol chainsaw going again (it has not been wanting to work since last summer, although it did turn over a couple of days ago before hiccuping and going back to sleep again) someone came along and chainsawed the big ash tree we had had a few small bits from (the only ones we could lift) and has taken it all away.  Fair enough - we shall look in the undergrowth tomorrow and see if there are any little bits they didn't want.

Firstly, progress - I finished hand-embroidering (blanket stitch) the fourth and last panel for the Baltimore quilt this morning.  I've been doing an hour's stitching first thing in the mornings and every evening to get this done.  This is the sashing - some sewn on at class this afternoon, and then the long central piece unpicked on one side as I had been hurrying and didn't line up the side-sashes.  Typical of me, but I shan't do it twice.

Above and below: it sounds like the African savannah out there at the moment, with dozens of frogs in both the ponds having a free-for-all with the unfortunate lady-frogs who turn up - unfortunate because they are outnumbered by about 20 to one so wooing is a bit of a free for all!  Both ponds have frogspawn in - although the lesser amount is in the wildlife pond (shown here) although there are more frogs.  Since they return to the place of their birth, this is obviously the pond which has produced more down the years. 

I was about to list a good set of pine bunk beds on eBay, but the courier I was going to use, though very thorough in their pricing, doesn't seem to have included bunk beds only single or double ones have prices, so I will have to contact them and ask for a price first.  The other items I have on (mainly horsey things) aren't exactly causing a bidding frenzy either!  It's mostly excess furniture we need to list, so I will be busy the next few weeks I think.

Monday 18 February 2019

The car boot season is under way

Yesterday being Sunday, we checked that the car boot sale was on at the Showground and set the alarm for 5.45 a.m.  I have to say, I really did NOT feel like getting up as I was tired, but there's no point in going to a car boot sale later as all the bargains have gone, so we dragged ourselves out of bed and were down there for 7.15 (which, I have to say, it late by my standards - ideally you need to get there for 6.30, which we will later in the season when there is more daylight.

From one stall we found a selection of books - the top ones on spinning and dyeing are of course for me, whilst the two here are of interest to us both, but more Keith than me.  To be read and then passed on.

A selection of the same print in different colourways which had come from a curtain shop display.  I had to iron off the glued-on printed details on the back, but some had a tacky glue residue so needed trimming.  Into the patchwork stash they have gone.

I also got a couple of bits to go into stock, but there weren't many cars down there as it's so early in the season.

Today I am going to be listing a number of horse bits - time to have a complete clear out of my last horsey things.  THEN it will be excess furniture - need to shift some big lumps to give us more room.  

The shower room is virtually finished now - just one more coat of paint on two bits of boxed in pipes and the slate window slab needs rubbing down and oiling.

Saturday 16 February 2019

"BOING" (that's the sound of Spring!!)

As you know, I have been gardening this week, making the most of the warm weather and thinking, "Spring's early this year".  Anyway, as I had to go into town this morning, I popped into Morrisons as they are really cheap for plants and bulbs.  I wasn't disappointed, and spent £10 . . .

I have decided to have an area of cutting flowers across the bottom of the veg plot - though the site may move when I finish planning it.  As you can see, I didn't just limit my purchases to Morrisons, and was thoroughly Bad, having gone across the road to the extortionately expensive Wyevale "just to look" and get ideas.  I did TRY to keep my hands in my pockets, really!  For a while, I managed just to stick to the 3 pairs of gardening gloves for £6 (one pair of which is for quilting - holding the material when you are free motion quilting).

I will have to get the Lupins planted tomorrow, as they are sprouting, and either have them beneath the Velux windows in my sewing room, or blow the dust off my seed stack and pop them in there (though I think that needs another plastic jacket before I dare use it for seedlings and the like.)  I have quite a long shopping list of things I need for the garden, apart from the obvious ones like more compost and bark chippings, but will just have to get it as and when.

Right, back to hand embroidering the last panel for the Baltimore quilt.  My tiny blanket stitch has even impressed me with its neatness!