Tuesday 26 November 2019

The sound of silence

I needed a walk today and got Keith to drop me off by a farm across the valley (which meant I didn't need to drag myself up the steep hill on the valley side.)  I did the bridleway walk, as I wanted to get away from everything and everyone, and indeed, only saw two cars all the time I was out.  It was partly an experiment to see how quiet it was in the proper countryside, as the Beeb is doing a recording of Silence in Antarctica to calm people down.  I thought, well, I can cope with the wind in the trees, the occasional bird noise, and the chatter of a lane-side stream - I don't need to go to Antarctica to have Silence . . .

Some colour on my walk, as I was walking the bridleway loop.  The wind suddenly got up and I had to snatch a chance to photograph as it dropped for a millisecond and before the leaves were thrashing again.

All the leaves are gone on all but the most stubborn oaks now.

Looking across the Towy Valley, in rather murky light, and below, a close up of the fields along the valley bottom.

This bare tree looks so beautiful.

The slightly pink hue on some of the trees show that these are Alders, putting out tiny catkins.

This is one of the valley neighbours.  It turns out he was cutting holly (without berries) for his wife to make a Christmas wreath for the church.  I helped her carry the branches back.

The lane ahead and below, the plants still growing in the wet ditch.

Looking up the valley.  The dark clump of trees hide the farmhouse where my son's best friend grew up.

The lane ahead.

Bramble leaves still hold their autumn colour.

Looking across the valley again, above and below.

Some slightly blurry photos of holly berries and the river.

Just off to bed now - having had a tussel to get a bat out of my daughter's bedroom (great screaming alerted us!)  I "think" it went out of my - opened - office window, but have just heard scrabbling, so perhaps it's hanging on a curtain still . . .  We'll find out in the morning.  Meanwhile I shall shut it in!

Friday 22 November 2019

A day out

Yup - yesterday we were over this way again - Hay Bluff in the distance.  We had to go to Hay (to chat to the agent handling the sale of the house we like), and to view a house a bit further over.  If I am honest, it felt much too far over, but hey ho, we needed to check it out as it offered what we needed.

We had lunch in Hay (nothing fancy, but tasty, well cooked and sensibly priced), chatted to a few friends and I had a lovely serendipitous conversation with a young man selling fruit and vegetables on the market and we were getting very excited over Heritage Apples!  I bought some Ashmead's Kernel apples from him and they are DIVINE.  This is one (along with Pitmaston Pineapple) that I am definitely going to plant when we move . . .  Not that I will live to see that much of a harvest but someone will benefit.

However, despite its age, character, size and brilliant outbuildings, the house was absolutely hemmed in by other properties which impinged on the privacy considerably.  Work needed doing to upgrade it too (as in central heating would be nice!) and the price was set in stone, so it's off the possibles list.

It was a late viewing and darkness fell as we were driving back  and then it began to rain, so all in all we were very glad to get home, and not be blinded by other people's headlights.

I didn't sleep well - I was too hot and my mind was busy from all the driving, and the day's events, and because we are still waiting to hear whether we might be included in the list for a 2nd viewing from the people who viewed on Sunday.

Tam's stuff is still strewn through the house and I am not allowed to put it away as she won't know where things are then.

The mahogany wardrobe which had to leave her bedroom to make room for her hanging clothes rail, is going to have to be broken up because the door from it (which ended up in a stable - don't ask why!) is damaged where the hanging pin is and so no good now.  Still, we have found a new home for the single bed we need to get rid of, and will phone the British Heart Foundation shop to come and collect the other wardrobe we no longer need.    That will be progress.  I have also put another 25 books in a box to go to charity.

Tam is pushing me to get rid of "most" of my books but then she isn't attached to them as I am.  Many cost good money (even second hand) and they form parts of several different collections which I have put together over a lifetime.  She doesn't know what a big ask it is to just ditch them - my treasured old friends.  I will try and get rid of as many books I can bear to part with, 'onest Injun. . .

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Wednesday - in which I leave my brain on the pillow

Tam and I went into Llandeilo this morning, to take umpteen bags of "stuff" to the Green Charity Shop.  Tam said she had a feeling it shut on a Wednesday, and she was right.  Anyway, we had a wander round the Charity shops, and went to the lovely kitchen shop, Peppercorn.  I pounced on some dried Habanero chillis which I wanted for a preserves recipe I had copied down from a cookery programme on tv last Saturday morning.  Then I couldn't resist a set of ever-decreasing star cookie cutters - they were only £6.35 so didn't break the bank and will certainly see me out!

We also went into the lovely shop Cloth, Paper, Stitch which specialises in selling (or repurposing) old and vintage craft materials and selling some new ones too.  Do go to the link above, as it shows you what a lovely shop it is.  I bought a skein of 1950s red heavy embroidery floss - just the colour for Christmas crafting.  We fell into conversation with the owner, admiring some little hand-made and embroidered cottages and trees she had made. (Photos of them on the link I put above).  I mentioned I had some craft things to go to the charity shop, but it was shut, and she said she would be delighted to have them and could even give me a little something towards them, but I said that as I had been happy to give them to the Charity shop,  I would give them to her and be even happier.  She was delighted with the four bagfulls I had sorted out that morning (I emptied an entire BIG painted tin trunk of wool and craft bits and the other bags for the charity shop were full of old curtains, home-made bed throws etc and emptied another coffer and will be handed over tomorrow.)  She gave me a loyalty card to spend at the shop with a £5 spend on it, bless her.

This afternoon was my Patchwork class, and it was lovely to meet up with my friends there again.  My brain was just NOT tuned in though (I reckon it was left on my pillow this morning) and everything I sewed I did wrong, and even when I was unpicking at the end, I unpicked the wrong blooming bit!  Yeesh - I need to work on that at home I think.

The squirrel photos were taken at the beginning of the month when this chap (a regular in the yard and the trees nearby) thought he would check out the top of the cart shed . . .

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Catch up time again

I have (finally) completed a couple of hand-sewn projects this week.  One is a gift so I can't share it yet, but this hexi piece is a table runner.  I just have to cut out the backing for it and sew it in place.  

We have a fault with the broadband at the moment, hence not posting as it takes forever to load a photograph.  BT are meant to be coming out today or tomorrow to fix it.  

However, we had a viewing on Sunday and they loved the house.  Everyone does, but no-one's bought it yet . . .  We are on a short-list of what sounds like 5 houses.  I'm not holding my breath as hope is just too painful . . .

We're going to look at another possible property this week, a period property, although it's further out than we'd like but has a range of excellent outbuildings for storage.  Unless we stay in Wales, we can only afford a semi (which this is) or something hopelessly too small.

Meanwhile, I need to carry on trying to find homes for empty suitcases and full boxes as Tam has returned home with all her belongings . . .

Anyway, a couple of recipes for you to try.  



Sunday 10 November 2019

Swansea and a little bit of culture . . .

On Friday we went to Swansea for the first time in a year or so (we no longer have offspring living there).  The remains of Swansea castle now have the skyscraper BT building as a backdrop . . .

After buying Keith new sports trainers for his birthday, we sat down for a drink and a quick on-the-go snack lunch, and were surrounded by hopeful looking seagulls, although this youngster was the most persistent . . .  Young Herring Gull I think.

Then we had a wander round the Glynn Vivian art gallery, which includes some of their collection of Swansea Pottery (some bits very rare nowadays.)

There was a whole case of beautiful paperweights, but sadly they didn't photograph too well.

More delightful object d'arts . . .

Painted enamel watch faces.

A miniature of Good Queen Bess . . .

This little boat is solid silver and exquisitely made.

This translates to "Cellar Corner" . . . Gloomy yes,but I rather liked it.

Two textile pictures from one of the Display galleries.

My sort of art - lovely scenery at Oxwich Bay.

A view of Swansea Bay before Swansea proper existed.  This would have been about the late 1700s I think.  Where the white camera glare shows, is where we might have been standing then.  This is long before Copperopolis came into being.

Part of a larger canvas (Three Cliffs Bay?) - 30s I think and absolutely lovely.

Near the gallery was this steep hill.  Believe me, it was a LOT steeper than it appears here.  You would need a VERY good handbrake to park up at the top . . .

Tuesday 5 November 2019

Some Herefordshire scenery for you

Having said Herefordshire scenery, this is actually just over the Worcestershire border at Malvern . . . and the one below.

British Camp which marks the county line between Worcs and Herefs.

The back of the Malvern Hills.

What I couldn't take photographs of was the River Wye, after heavy rain, nosey-parkering where it shouldn't have been, being adventurous, exploring fields and trackways it had no business to be and turning ploughed fields into paddy-fields and submerging stubble beneath lakes of water. We looked at photos of flooded Hereford town and surrounding villages when we were getting lunch at the Ledbury Tesco's, and it looked like a lot of people had a pretty wretched time of things.

On the way there a lorry flashed his lights at us near Stoke Edith, and we slowed, expecting water on the road, but finding instead a fallen cider apple tree, collapsed onto the road by wind, rain and weight of fruit.  We were unable to stop and had to crawl round it, but how I wished we could have pulled over so I could fill a bag with apples to make cider with!   Near Ledbury we had to follow an enormous swaying trailer of cider-apples being taken off to make cider for Westons or one or the other big cider makers in the county.

The polytunnels near Bredwardine were like skeletons, with their polythene skirts all hitched up for the winter months.  Strawberries are grown inside them, up on slug-proof raised-trays.

On the way home we did a little detour up towards Kington, to check out a property we like (and which is the only possible contender for our current short list of one!)  We will need to go and see it when Tam is home again - it is in a village, and on a side road, rather than the main A-road which runs through the village.  A little hemmed-in with other properties but then we have had such privacy here (the nearest property is 1/4 mile away) that anywhere is going to seem cheek-by-jowl.

We came back through Eardisley, but before we dropped down onto the A-road there, I couldn't resist stopping to take these photos looking across to Hay Bluff and the Black Mountains.

The soft afternoon light lit up stubble fields to bleached whiteness, and leaves shone amber as the sun snuggled into the hills.  It was so peaceful and we had to drag ourselves away.

Yesterday I paid the price for our day out, and felt proper poorly again and had to rest up.  We were supposed to be having another viewing today, but fortunately the Agents rang up yesterday morning to say he had cancelled and so I abandoned housework and went back to bed.  The steroids only let me sleep for about 3 hours on the bad nights, and then the next night I will sleep better (from exhaustion) and I'm glad it was just a 5 day course I was on this time.

Today we have been down to Llansteffan for some sea air so I will leave you with a little tempting photo with more to follow tomorrow.

We both felt better for the beach walk and the fresh air.  It was 11.30 ish when we were here - looks like nightfall doesn't it?!