Tuesday 25 February 2020

Keeping warm by the fire

This morning's sunrise.  It promised a good day, but the grey skies soon returned and it was very cold out today, with some more showers.  I am laid up with another cold - this time the sort with a temperature, and I have spent the last couple of nights "glowing" in bed, with extra layers of bedding over me.  I have been sleeping a lot more (to make up for a night without much sleep when my kidneys were working overtime).  I've had to go back to bed a couple of times too.  Hopefully - says she, with fingers x'd - the worst of it is now over and I may wake up tomorrow feeling a bit more normal.  My nose has stopped streaming today, so that is a positive.  I daren't move away from the fire though, and have been tucked up on the sofa with a throw over me, plus a hotty botty and a bevy of cats to keep me warm.  UPDATE: woke up this morning (Wednesday) feeling back to normal, thank heavens!

Just to prove that the sun did come out yesterday for 5 minutes - the long-distance view from my office window looking across next door's farmyard and the valley beyond.

Here, thanks to my clever husband, is a new-to-me floor standing anglepoise magnifying lamp.  We bought it - sight unseen (never a good idea!) - at auction last Friday.  Several other people piled on it too and it swiftly rose from the £5 we began bidding at, to £28, which meant it came home with us.  However, when we collected it, it was very grubby with no plug on it, and it looked like someone had found it at the Tip and bunged it in the auction!  The head was also drooping where the back fitting connected to it.  We were cursing ourselves for buying it, but K said there wasn't much that could go wrong with it and he got busy and sorted it out.  We just needed a new starter motor (I think). I went to the lighting shop at Johnstown and it was mended - for the grand outlay of 50p!  Now my other one is deemed a spare and has gone up for Tam to use with her jewellery business and I have a far superior magnifier for my use.

I was feeling slightly better yesterday and Tam and I went to see Emma.  It was really good - far better than the prim and proper 1990s version.  This was a lot more tongue in cheek and ladies' dresses were fabulous, as were the house interiors (Wilton House figured large) and the beautiful concoctions of puddings and grand food on the dinner table.  I can recommend it.

Saturday 22 February 2020

Brecon Museum Part I

We went to auction at Brecon yesterday, and afterwards we went on to the Museum.  We have been on the look out for the museum at Brecon to re-open for a long time now (it was closed for more than 3 years for a renovation and extension project.  It now has the Brecon Library under the same roof.  However, a severe lack of signage and the incorporation of an art gallery made negotiating it rather difficult - they definitely need signage - for a start to say which door leads to the bloomin' museum!!  The original glass front doors now shut to public, which seems daft . . .  It was very disjointed too - no flow to it whatsoever.

Firstly these wonderful Welsh love spoons formed part of the original Rural Life display.  I think they have more on display now and oh my goodness, the quality of this work is just amazing.  The ones with chain links (wooden) were all carved from one long piece of wood.

As well as the spoons there were pieces to fit in stays/bodice (whale bones later used) and some other more random pieces of craftsmanship - all given as love tokens.

A lovely old Welsh dresser showed a wonderful selection of Welsh treen items for the dairy and kitchen - all hand made of course.

A double and two single spoons.

Sarah Jones was very diligent as was Mary Thomas, below.

More lovely examples of craftsmanship - close up of the writing on the one on the left below.  I love the knife, fork and spoon on the one on the right!  SO cleverly done.

This reads" Mary Davies.  Coed (wood) Lland-y-vailay Vach.  March 1st 1643.  Amazing that it has survived, but I imagine it was much treasured and passed down through the family.

A wonderful puzzle? piece, again all carved by hand in such intricacy.

Miniature examples of  furniture.  Apprentice pieces or just the work of many winter's nights by the fire?

Stumpwork (probably 17th C looking by the design) - so the women's skills with a needle were represented too.

In the children's section - I used to have a little tinplate set like this - it was from the Queen's Coronation.

Some wee dolls - the one on the right looks a bit grumpy!

Finally, soft toys .

Off for a bath now as I am very sore from a visit to the Chiro today to put back my neck (it would be the arthritic part that fell foul of my fall) and lower back.  Hopefully it will remember where it should be tomorrow and bits will have stopped aching.

Wednesday 19 February 2020

Gloucester Cathedral 2

Thomas Machen (1541 - 1614) and his wife Christian, and below some of their 13 children (poor woman!) - 7 sons and 6 daughters.  He was Sheriff of Gloucester several times, and Mayor several times too.

I think these modern stained glass windows are lovely.

Sorry, above plaque barely legible - Charles John Ellicot, Bishop of Gloucester, lived 1819 - 1905.

A lesser-known fact about this noble figure is that his naughty brothers once upended a full and very well used chamber-pot over his head . . .  Perhaps this was what led to his rocky relationship with them and his father . . .

The Cathedral has 46 beautifully carved 14th C Misericords, and 12 other replacements by Gilbert Scott.   Their designs reflect mythology, folklore, religious symbolism and everyday life.  The one above is open to conjecture!

Could be anything!!

A figure of a king wearing a crown with beaked beasts either side of him. 

The man riding a goat is to do with Licentiousness, something that goats were well known for.  The perils of succombing to lust . . .

Another not sure - Christ? St Francis?  with a donkey.  Or just "Be kind to animals . . ."

Finally, one of the stunning stained glass windows.

Whilst we aren't bothered with flooding now the river is back down to showing the rocks again, other poor souls further east are still suffering, and more rain due and the good folk of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire in the firing line with rising river levels, and yet more heavy rain forecast for the next day or two. When will it end?

Monday 17 February 2020

Glad we're on a hill

I think I can safely say that our next house is not going to be called "River View" . . .  We like Crickhowell and would like to live there (though it's a bit of a hot spot so not good value for money).  The poor souls living near the river had immense flooding - I've just been watching the Welsh news and they interviewed the pub landlord (that's the pub, on the juncture of the two streets where the bridge begins, I believe) - the flooding came up and into his upstairs bedrooms . . .  On other houses it was measured at 20 feet deep and nearly in upstairs too . . .  The landlord doesn't know if he will reopen for business.  This drone photo was taken after the water had subsided a good bit . . .

You can see the pink colour of the river and floodwater - good red sandstone soil in these parts.  I got the photo from our daily paper as I don't know if links to BBC online coverage will be valid for overseas followers.  We were very fortunate here - a day's inconvenience, should we have wanted to go out we'd have had to go the top way.  We did get out today and I took the following photos of the flooding in the Towy Valley.

These were taken from the car, as we drove along the A40 (I was not the designated driver I hasten to add!)

Then we stopped in the Museum car park and nipped across to film the Bishop's Pond which had joined forces with the flood water from the River Towy nearby.  Sorry that the light was so poor.

Then on into Carmarthen and these are the traditional flood meadows under water.  I hasten to add all these photos of our local flooding are normal for many winters . . .  This is farmland - though there are a couple of farms which are situated at the edge of or (one) in the middle of the valley.

Sometimes we too get exceptional floods - one last year meant the auction house and other businesses beside the river had three feet of water in them - not good news.  A couple are garages, another a woodworking business, one a builder's merchants etc.  One makes coracles, which is very appropriate . . .  Under the rules of the insurance apparently, everything - even bags of gravel or stone or floor tiles - are deemed ruined by floodwater and must go into landfill.  What a waste.  I believe the river was over again this time (saw water still in the car park of the garage on the far side).

My thoughts go out to those who have virtually lost everything . . .

Sunday 16 February 2020

A brute of a storm - definitely Dennis the Menace

I hope that you are all safe and warm and DRY as you read this, but I know that many many people are not.  Wales got hit very hard this time, and the poor residents of Pontypridd have suffered, whilst Herefordshire and Gloucestershire also have a lot of flooding and Nottinghamshire has been badly hit too.  The Scottish borders will be bearing the brunt as the storm spirals across them.  We were lucky - our river burst its banks as it often does, flooding the lane both sides of it.  Here were my photos taken around 10 a.m. this morning.

This is the little stream at the back of our house, showing no threat to our home.

Whilst out in the front pond, some chaps who don't give a damn about the rain or the storm, have been making merry . . .