Wednesday 29 July 2020

Busy as a bee

I have my two other castle posts to put up but have been going flat out here.  The people who viewed outside on Monday are coming back on Saturday to view the inside.  Then I have another one on Saturday afternoon, and the agent phoned today and someone who was very keen during Lockdown has booked to view tomorrow.   So I have been deep cleaning the rooms that need it and cleaning windows and paintwork inside and out, dusting and tidying.

When charity shops are open again I will be able to get rid of some more boxes of books, linen etc.  We were very glad to see the scrap man yesterday as we had piles of metal bits from Keith's workshop and couldn't get to the Tip to dispose of them as we are both Shielding and until that is dropped in a couple of weeks, they won't give you an appointment.

So tomorrow is going to be very strange, with everyone wearing masks and viewers told not to touch anything, although of course I will still have to go around afterwards and wipe surfaces down.  I will be putting throws over the two beds in use which can be hung out in the sunshine and then put in the wash on Sunday.

I braved the greengrocery at Abergwili yesterday, mask and gloves on.  They only let one person in as another goes out.  I bought what I needed and then when I got home washed, soaped, stood for a while, and then rinsed 12 apples, 9 oranges, 8 pears, 8 nectarines, 2 mangoes, 2 cucumbers, a melon, and the strawberries and onions went into quarantine.  (Strawberries were in a sealed tub, so just had a wash before eating.)  How strange that we should feel the need to know that our food hasn't been "contaminated" before we bought it - even though I always peel the apples and cucumbers anyway.   Today it was the turn of other vegetables from a delivery, now cleaned and down in the quarantine fridge until they are used.  I am turning into Howard Hughes . . . but I know I am not alone in this.

Right, I shall report back when I have paused for breath tomorrow.  Meanwhile, here's a view to go on with from Dinefwr:

Looking across at Newton House behind the trees, from the castle.

Sunday 26 July 2020

A castle walk

In the past couple of weeks, we have done 3 castle walks, but I have been remiss at putting them up on here, so I shall start with the most recent, when Tam and I walked around Carreg Cennen Castle, on its huge limestone scarp.  The car park was very busy - busier than we have ever seen it in fact.  Some tourists as well as more local folk.

Carreg Cennen farm keeps rare breeds - they have about 65 of these pedigree Longhorn cattle.  This is the bull with one of his girlfriends.  All the cows had forward pointing horns.

They mostly have Welsh Mountain sheep, with a few Balwen, Soay and Exmoor Horn sheep.

Looking up at the castle ruins as we climbed the trackway.

Lady's Bedstraw. This was used as a strewing herb in the 12th - 16th centuries (on top of a base of straw).   Others were Rosemary, Rue, Sweet Woodruff, Meadowsweet, and Wormwood and would act as disinfectants and some would repel pests.  Here's an interesting link:

Two of the four big cairns up on the mynydd.  We are planning a walk to them soon.

Through the gate and down the grassy path into the woods . . .

You half expect to see wood elves . . .

Black Mountain (the one we see from the top of our hill) was swathed in rain clouds.

Robin's Pincushion grows on roses and is caused by a tiny Gall Wasp.

The longer walk of 5 miles crosses this stream, but we did the short walk and just walked alongside it for a while before we reached the lane, with a Steep Hill!

From the lane you could see how the castle was literally built into the limestone scarp.  I hadn't realized this from inside the castle walls.

We crossed an empty field to get back to the castle grounds, and some more of the Longhorns were keeping watch.

Various views of the castle as we walked away.  The last one is from the lane going back down to Trap village.

I just about captured all four cairns in this photo but you will have to look closely - two are nearly off the photo to the left.

I have already had my morning stroll, to ease up my sciatica.  Now it's time to do some Domestic Economy - anything that may be noticed through the windows when we have our next viewing (outside only) in the morning.  It is due to pour with rain - deep joy!

Saturday 25 July 2020

Getting things in perspective

Thank you for all your comments.  I will get back to answer them in time.  I heard yesterday that the younger brother of my son's best friend from school days took his own life this week.  That puts things in perspective - we have no problems at all by comparison.  His parents are the loveliest people and must be in hell right now.

Friday 24 July 2020

A little walk in the rain

Just a few photos, mainly other folks' gardens, from our walk around Llanfynydd last week.  Words are thin on the ground here today as I feel rather glum.  "Rather" is a bit of an understatement really . . .

Some lovely plantings in these gardens.  I would have liked to buy in some colourful plants to go under the porch but the prices at the local garden centre were extortionate - I paid £9.99 for a bright purple Celosia caracus to brighten a dark spot in a border.  That's twice what I paid for one last year!  Some of the plants were £14.99 for big daisies!

Anyway, have a good weekend all.

Thursday 23 July 2020

A Disappointing Day . . .

I was in the middle of my Kitchen Tidy Up when the phone rang this morning, bright and early.  My gut feeling said, "Estate Agent" and I was right - they were phoning to say that the people viewing today had cancelled, as they had offered on a house yesterday.  Oh GOODY. Just what I wanted to hear. I felt gutted.  Two in a row.  Both cash buyers (having sold).  We have worked so hard to have the garden looking lovely and everything outside just so, and today I was hard at work on the rooms you could see if you looked through the window or through the open doorway long the hall . . .  Guess what, I even bought fresh flowers for the hall (or rather, Tam was sent to get some.)  That obviously alerted the Powers That Be to put a spanner in the works . . .  What IS it with people? Why do they leave it until the last moment to cancel a viewing?  Is our house SO awful that it can be deleted from the viewing list at the drop of a hat?  Yes, it IS by a farm, but that's better than being on a main road or by a power station or right by the Motorway. . .

After removing the pet travelling boxes that serve as cat beds over the winter months, I brushed every scrap of dirt and dust away and moved in the small planters which had been along the pathway.  I don't know why I hadn't thought of doing this before.  (BTW, the cat bowls go out of sight for viewings, as does half of the kitchen contents, right down to the washing up liquid!)  Miffy is just plodding away, disgusted that the food bowls were empty.

Above and below: close-ups of the wee planters.

More moved planters, these ones from the patio.  I have had to buy several trays of Marigolds to add colour to pots which had gone over with their original contents.

Right, we have another viewing on 1st August.  Outside only.  Perhaps if they can view interiors in England, folk are buying there instead rather than moving on to Wales, though they had booked to do so?  Dunno.  Just as well I suppose, there is b-all to buy right now (for us).  

Wednesday 22 July 2020

A Quick Breath of Sea Air

We just HAD to get some sea air last week, and on Friday we drove down to Llansteffan.  The car park was busy but we managed to find a gap with a couple of spaces so weren't crammed in either side. Here is sleepy Ferryside.  I love the little sandcastle a Small Person has left behind.

As you can see, social distancing is no problem on Llansteffan beach!

Looking across to the Pendine beach side of the river.  One end we have never explored (think it is cordoned off, tbh).

Just a few jellyfish stranded on the beach, and this rather large Blue one . . .

What a spot to live. . . lovely Scott's Bay.

Tam and I would have loved to walk around the point, but Keith had gone back to the car, so we left it for another time.

Walking back towards the car park.  The wee end-of-terrace blue house on the left is on the market for £375K, which seems an awful lot when its counterpart in town would be about £150K! What you pay for a sea view (with a car park outside your front door).  I am guessing it will go as a holiday home . . .

Right, we have a couple of viewings (outside only) lined up, so Tam and I are busy in the garden.  It's looking quite good but I have my perfectionist hat on and so still have work to do, and the hall needs tidying and floor scrubbing as the front door will be open.  Same down in mum's.  I overdid things yesterday so am starting from an energy rating of absolute zero, which is never good.  Ah well, I can have a little rest tomorrow afternoon and Friday . . .

Sunday 19 July 2020

It's been a flakey sort of week - here's the progress in the garden anyway

Apologies for the long gap between posts.  I have had a flakey sort of week.  Hopefully my mindset is improving now.  Sometimes everything combines to bring you to your knees. 

Top photo is Ghengis and Little Whale who are having a change from Tamzin's bed and sunbathing on the membrane put down to suppress weeds so that the squashes can get on with growing and producing.

Tam weeded here today.  There are Cucumbers, Courgettes, Rhubarb, Comfrey and peas.  The trellis thingeys are for Tam's cucumbers to climb up.

Greek Gigantes in the background, and Kale just planted.  We should have a good crop of plastic crates this year!

Kestrel spuds at the back behind vine tomatoes with huge frame to climb up, then Hunter Beans foreground left, and Scarlet Emperor runners on the right.

My autumn fruiting raspberries have appreciated the layer of sheep and donkey muck heap .. .

The blue flowers are Borage which have self seeded themselves everywhere this year.  In front of them are the main crop potatoes - Maris Peer and King Edwards.

Finally, a work in progress.  I've hacked back some of the nettles and brambles on the right, but have yet to proceed to the Himalayan Balsam as I know it is where the Horse Flies like to lurk .. .

We finally got to the beach this week, so I will put some photos up from Llansteffan in the next couple of days.

Monday 13 July 2020

A Day Out!

Some lovely photos taken on our first day out in four months.  We took advantage of the weather and drove up to Hay Bluff, and had a car picnic, and a short walk to take some photos of the amazing views.  There were a couple of groups of ponies - these look pretty well Section A (Welsh Mountain) types, but there were some bigger heavier coloured cobs too.

A walking group (Ramblers) had met up (all their cars in one area) and climbed up onto the Bluff.  I bet that sorted out the fit from the unfit!  Bet the view up there is amazing but I doubt I will get fit enough this year to climb up there, even though the path contours rather than going straight up. 

I actually got a recognizable photo of a Kite - normally they are specks in the distance!

There's a nice spot to live - certainly no close neighbours nearby!

The flat topped peak of Pen-y-Fan in the distance.

The tiny church of St Mary at Capel-y-Ffin, beloved of the Reverend Kilvert who said it looked like an Owl.

It is very simple inside.  The etched window reads: I will lift up my eyes to the hills, From whence cometh my help.

Trekking ponies on an extended holiday - normally at this time they would be working very hard for their keep.  The smears are on the window, not my camera!

We hadn't seen this chapel before - it is across a stream at the back of the church, on a stretch of Offa's Dyke, according to the signpost by the gate.

This reads:  

The Memory of the Just is Blessed.  Proverbs X ch. 7 v.

Messrs. William and David Prosser
Brought the Ministry of the
Gospel to their house in the year
1737.  And Secured this Place for
That sacred use for the Time Being
Both died hear the end
Of the year 1780.

And Mr John Griffiths Secured
The sum of One Hundred Pounds
For the use of the Ministry for
The Time Being died June 29th 1817.

Now they are at Rest from their
Labours and their works follow
Them./ Revel. XIV 13 v.

Also the Donation of Mr Wm. Watkins
Being the Sum of Forty Pounds
Erected by Rev. George Watkins.

That is a HUGE sum (£100!) - and is mentioned here on a gravestone in the St Mary's Churchyard :

I couldn't read the top part (someone else had obligingly whitened the stone here - a bit of desecration . . .) but I think it was in the Watkins' family plot.  So, were they locals with lots of cash (one assumes) who changed from Church to Chapel?  One assumes so.  (Just done some research and found out the Watkins family were Dissenters- there was a famous Dissenting "academy" at Llanigon, near Hay-on-Wye. )