Saturday 31 October 2020

Apparently it's Saturday . . .

. . . but it doesn't feel like it.  Mind you, I don't know which day it DOES feel like, but that's what happens when you are in Lockdown and have no proper daily markers to get you through the week (apart from Wednesday, which is grocery delivery day).  

The view across the paddock  a couple of weeks ago.  Fewer apples on the tree now and the Polytunnel is taken down and ready for transport to its new home.

It's blowing more than half a gale out and the clouds are heading North-East at some speed.  In fact it was the wind that woke me up this morning.  Hmmm, any walk is going to be a bit brisk.  I shall go out for the paper first thing, and try and remember to put the last bag of books in the car ready for when our patchwork teacher comes over this morning to collect them for the community shop, along with plenty of patchwork magazines and some fabrics for her.  I am hoping she will want to take on a charity project with the applique blocks from many many years ago which had originally been destined to make a quilt for charity, but I got distracted and they got stowed away, and so now they will have a 2nd chance.  I always think I have more spare time than I actually have.


Up the valley by the swing bridge, with Banc-y-Daren in the background.

    I can see I am going to be picking up more fallen apples today.  I am only using the biggest to stew up and am still (trying to!!!) give away bags of windfalls to  unsuspecting victims . . .

    Torrential rain out now.  Looks like a good day to make a pan of soup.  If it carries on like this it will be another day for indoors exercise - the number of times I am going up and down stairs at the moment, sorting the attic rooms out.  Not difficult to clock up 12000 steps without going out the front gate.  Tea is already sorted - the other half of last night's tasty lasagne, totally home made of course, right down to the white sauce from scratch . . .  Well done Tam.

    Off for some breakfast now, and to read a few more pages of Blood Water by Ted Baker, which is a crime novel set in the Dorset Purbecks, an area I know well.

    Ghengis had his trip to the vet yesterday and is now on Loxicom for his cystitis (poor boy was on the litter tray every few minutes yesterday afternoon) and an eye ointment for his eye (Conjunctavitis).  Then in the afternoon I had to take Keith to the Dr's to have his barked shin checked out as it wasn't looking as if it was healing and there was redness around the edges of the wounds.  So he's now on anti-biotics.  Hope both my boys are better soon.


Thursday 29 October 2020

I Surrender


Hercules aircraft flying across our valley (as they regularly do).

Another busy day.  First thing Keith and I braved the weather and had a walk along by the river, which was speeding merrily towards Carmarthen Bay. The leaves were spinning off the beech trees, all the colour of good bay horses and shining with rain.  I noticed that the Betony was still in bloom on the riverbank - little purple notes of summer joy.

    I managed to delay my breakfast until gone 10.30 today (it helps with weight loss to eat in a restricted time period), then I cooked up more windfall apples and pears, and made a Lemon Drizzle Cake.  Then just when that came out of the oven I put the temperature up and 10 mins later put in a tray of Cheese scone wedges.  Oh my!  These are SO tasty.  I also baked an extra large loaf of Granary bread, but that was in the breadmaker so just a case of putting the ingredients on and setting the menu. 

     This afternoon Tam and I went back to the top of the house to finish sorting out what is to keep, what is for charity and what is rubbish.  From now on in I just have to surrender to whatever has to be gotten rid of (but I have squirrelled away the other half of my West Country books - Shhhhhhhhhh!)

     Danny's DVD's are all in a box for him to collect when he is able, and his books in a box on one side too.  Tam and I finished sorting in the sleepover room - there was a LOT more in there than I remember.  I went through another box of fabrics and have shed another black bin liner full which will be going to Alex, who teaches us patchwork, along with the patchwork magazines I am shedding, and several boxes of GOOD books for the charity shelf in our community-run shop/PO at Court Henry.  When I went out for the paper this morning (hoping to catch Alex) I dropped off two bags of patchwork and knitting books and another bag of apples to Mair, who is another patchwork group member and she was delighted.  She makes lots of jams, chutneys and cakes with the apples.

      So now we have two rooms done up there now, which is very pleasing.  Yet more things to go to the charity shop or bin, but we have an awful lot of bedding which we need to sort through.  There is a limit to how many duvets and pillows and bed quilts you need.  I stripped the spare bed, now that no-one is viewing, and downsizing the super kingsize duvet cover will be a job for when we have moved.

    Dusk seemed to come very early tonight - by 5 p.m. it was quite gloomy outside.  Ah well, another day nearer to the shortest day - let's think positive!

    Tomorrow morning first thing I have to take Ghengis to the vet's as he has cystitis again- I am finding it hard to get the specific Urinary care biscuits, so he has been on the Senior Cat ones instead.  I've just checked Amazon and ordered some from there to give me time to source them locally.  He also has a sore eye - it looked weepy this morning, then better this afternoon, and now worse again, so that will get sorted too.  Poor chap.



Wednesday 28 October 2020

An afternoon off

 I am breathing a huge sigh of relief this afternoon, having ironed out yesterday's problems, and had reassurances.  We had to dash into town to Bank and Solicitors this morning, and now await the delivery of the groceries, which will promptly be Chernobyled.

Tears before bedtime

I am tired out, worried sick and frustrated.  There are yet more demands from our buyer for things to be checked - he clearly is Very Organized BUT the stress is affecting my health - yet another day when I thought I was about to have a heart attack, and spent half the night awake fretting.  I do not WANT any more people going into every room in my house - there is a Pandemic and  we are in a LOCKDOWN here.  Our home is the only place we feel safe and yet we are being constantly invaded by people asked to verify its integrity and being robbed of that security.  (Update:  everything now sorted and going ahead according to plan.  Relieved is an understatement).

    It is pouring with rain, so no chance of a walk to unwind.  It's back to the master suite today I think.  We made good progress going through the under-eaves storage in the sleepover room yesterday and I found two lots of different 1977 Laura Ashley fabric which I will list for sale on eBay, if I find the time.  A basket full of fabrics destined for a rag rug are now destined for the bonfire (and I have a spare basket again!) and more books from the long bedroom (craft room) have been gone through and are destined for the Sally Army when we are out of Lockdown.

    When I was going through my collection of vintage pony books yesterday, I was in tears when I came across Ponies and Caravans and The Ponies of Bunts (Oliver & Ducat, authors).  They were written in the 1930s and had photos from the time to illustrate the pony adventures.  Children and ponies and a gypsy vardo caravan travelling for a holiday (and naughty Petronella had to learn some lessons!) Another world.  I remember buying them at the Jumble Sale in Testwood Village Hall nearly 60  years ago.  They weren't worth much and I can't part with them, but gosh, being transported back in time so clearly to a happy carefree time just overwhelmed me.  Those happy carefree days of childhood.

    Right, this won't do.  Work calls me.

Monday 26 October 2020

When you can't sleep . . .


Yesterday the Surveyor employed by our buyer arrived to carry out the Survey.   He seemed a nice chap, who arrived promptly at 9 a.m. - I had "12ish" written down on the calendar from his e-mail . . .  I was still in the middle of breakfast and Tam was still in bed!  Action stations!  He asked lots of questions and got me to show him round the house before he did his survey, so now we have to wait and see.  He did say that we had done a good job on the house . . . and he did understand old houses and how lime worked . . .

    I am glad that is done and dusted and hopefully there will be no further potential "blockages" to our move.  I am allowing myself tentative imaginings of us in our new home, but I don't want to tempt fate and won't believe it's really happening until we get the key to our new front door.

    Anyway, by the time he had gone, Tam and I had missed the PO but I had bought postage on line for my little parcel to a friend and was able to pop it in the box.  So we went on into town, despite the Lockdown, as we had to get Keith's prescription, and then braved Lidl, which was fairly quiet, as were the roads.

    Driving home, our lane was very busy with walkers and a family out enjoying the sunshine.  From the forecast, it looks "very unsettled" for the rest of the week.  We didn't have any chance for a walk as whilst it was dry, we needed to move some more bits of "useful wood" along to our neighbour's.  Keith's main workshop is going to be a real challenge to clear!

    I shall go downstairs and read for a bit now.  I have finished the Eleanor trilogy and now I am reading a crime novel set in the Purbeck Hills of Dorset, which I know well.  It is Blood Water by Ted Baker.  I will go back to bed later (have the electric blanket on) but not sure if I will get back to sleep . . .

    Update - I didn't drop off again - I was chilled and glad to get up at 7.30.  I have even had soup for breakfast to warm me up!  Grey and drizzly out there, so another day of going through bookcases and cupboards is likely here.

Sunday 25 October 2020

An extra hour

An "Atkinson Grimshaw" moon tonight . . . behind mucky-looking clouds.

 For once, I didn't wake at the crack of dawn when the clocks went back and in fact, slept in until 8.40 p.m. which is unheard of for me.  I obviously needed the sleep.  I have been keeping busy all day, but turned some jobs into Sitting Down jobs.  One of these, this afternoon, when there was something I wanted to watch on tv, was the Quilting Magazine Cull.  I was Ruthless again, and went through them asking myself, was there anything I wanted to make that I didn't already have in a book (or could find on line, come to that?)  Very few quilting magazines passed the test, and in fact the ones that stayed were some Period Home magazines, a Homes and Antiques magazine, and a couple of Christmas magazines for the ideas in them. Now someone will benefit from me shedding more "stuff".  I have earmarked some sewing books to go to a friend from my patchwork group who I know  is always looking out for fresh ideas.  I will donate the magazines to Alex, who runs the patchwork group, along with two bin liners full of fabrics.  I am not giving up making quilts, but being very specific with what I make in future.

    We took another load for storage at a friend's, along with some apples, pears and some culled country cookery books for her.  I know she will enjoy all.

    I picked up 3 grocery shopping bags full of windfall apples and will give the remaining two bags to other (unsuspecting!) neighbours.  

    I caught up with the ironing too, changed the office curtains for some new ones I bought (think I did that yesterday actually), and have vacuumed the house from top to bottom (another survey being done tomorrow - hopefully one which won't condemn our house as unfit to live in . . .) I shall be glad when tomorrow is over though.

    Hoping that Pat is comfortable in Hospital and is already mending.  Thinking of you my dear.  I hope you have a good book to read whilst you are laid up.

Saturday 24 October 2020

Get Well Soon Pat (Weaver of Grass)

Looking across to Llanfynydd on a recent walk.

 In my corner of Blogland, blogging friends have mentioned that one of my favourite Bloggers Pat (Weaver of Grass) has had a fall and broken her hip.  She is now in Hospital, but I hope will be on the mend again soon and back home.  

    These things happen so easily - Keith has a barked shin from tripping over the sack truck yesterday and we have to go out this morning to Llandeilo to get dressings and tape . . .

    Keep safe all.

Thursday 22 October 2020

Loosey lefty, righty tighty . . .

 Another long long working day again today.  Down to the Tip this morning, and another lot of junk gotten rid of.  Then home via Dunelm  so I could get some cheap-but-nice curtains to go up here in my office to replace the £65 ones I would really rather take with me.  Then Tam and I helped Keith go through the cart shed workshop (he has two workshops), and consign lots of formerly "useful bits of wood" to the woodshed for burning on the fire.  I took a break from that to do some weeding in the bed in the stable yard, and then as it was fine, Tam and I set to and took the Polytunnel down.  It took a lot longer than we had expected, and we were very glad to have all the matching pieces held together in bundles with sticky tape, and all the screws appropriately bagged.  Now it is in a box in the cart shed, and the cover is drying off in Fahly's old stable - there was mud around the bottom apron where it had been held down with boulders.

The title for today's post is something Tam taught me today.  She said she knew it from Scrubs - which the girls used to watch back in their teens.  It refers to loosening and tightening screws . . .  Gormless here happened to mention, "This screw seems to be getting tighter".  Tam came to check and said that didn't surprise her as I was actually tightening it and then she said,"Loosey lefty, righty tighty" and that tickled my funny bone!  Never heard it before.

    After we had tidied everything polytunnelish away, I was beyond cooking a meal, so it was bung a pizza from the freezer in the oven time. However, I still had to bake a cake as we have a friend coming tomorrow to collect some of our stuff for storage.  I had promised him Socially Distanced cake.

    I rather think that a couple of wine glasses of Cider wouldn't go amiss tonight and may even help me sleep through - I have had two nights where I have been awake half the night, plus having my Flu Jab yesterday and every time I rolled over in bed my jabbed arm said ouch.  Better today and no ill-effects from the injection that I can see. 


Banc-y-Daren, just above the "swing bridge".

Tuesday 20 October 2020

Feeling a tad Overwhelmed


I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and on my hunkers this afternoon.  Yet another long busy day, making decisions about books which I can bear to part with (but would rather not if given a choice), taking 5 boxes of books to a charity shop this morning, along with craft things and odds and sods. Another 6 are going tomorrow, so that will be over 30 now. 

    This morning we took rubber stable mats along to give to our smallholding friend, along with Tam's grooming kit in its purple box (happy horsey memories), and also gave her some windfall Pears, and a huge bag of apples and some pears to the lass who milks for Next Door.  Both were delighted.

    There are more phone calls, another chap came to quote on something and now with the added looming Welsh Lockdown to put a complete spanner in the works. At least during Lockdown we can get on and sort more stuff out and hopefully get on top of it.  I have booked another Tip Trip for Thursday, so after we have our flu jabs, and a short rest tomorrow, we will sort out what is going to the Tip from the pony stables.

    Tam is cooking our tea tonight - we got an M&S meal deal yesterday and ate the Tart au Citron part of it with lunch!  Yummy it was too.  Tea is a Chicken, Leek and Bacon Pie and Tenderstem Broccoli.  There is a bottle of Rose for later.

    Whilst we were in town yesterday, I treated Keith and I to a magazine each, and mine was Homes and Antiques which had some lovely ideas in for decorating possibilities in our new home.  Then we went Christmas shopping (!!!) briefly in TK Maxx and I got Keith and I bamboo socks (his are to go towards his birthday present) and some edible presents for a very aged aunty (96 now, what do you buy a 96 year old?) We were very careful and wore our masks of course, tried not to touch anything and had hand gel on multiple times.  

    When we went into M&S as Tam had a voucher to spend, there was a father in front of us (on his mobile), not social distancing, and allowing his 6 or 7 yr old son to touch everything - he must have touched just about EVERY leaf and flower of every plant offered for sale there.  I said, loud enough to be heard, "Remind me not to buy flowers in here" to Tam.  Yeesh.  Much hand gel and hand washing when we got home, and clothes into quarantine (jacket) or wash (sweatshirt).  I will be glad when we aren't going out again, tbh . . .

    Right, I am being called for my evening meal so will leave you with this photo from a recent walk - it used to be called the "swing bridge" and we still call it that, although as you can see, it is very solid now!!


Monday 19 October 2020

15 boxes of books - less . . .

 As I said, I have had to harden my heart and be RUTHLESS with my books. Tam has helped by saying that other people would be able to enjoy them now, and a charity is benefitting.  It was not my first choice of charity, but hey ho, needs must.  Keith has shed a good boxful too, so we have made good progress.

View across to Black Mountain from a recent walk.

    Of course, we had the news on the expected Welsh Lockdown, which now starts on Friday evening.  I managed to quickly get another Tip run booked, and we will sort out the stuff for that tomorrow.  We also need to phone the charity shop we donated to last week, and confirm it is still OK to bring more stuff this week.  We need to Get Rid!

    Yesterday we picked as many pears as we could reach, and the bird-pecked ones will have to be cooked up.  I shall share a few (more!) with our friend up the lane. I am trying not to look at the ever increasing pile of windfall apples . . .

    So much to organize.  We will have to ask the Removal Company to let us have boxes early as we are packing now and lost 15 good boxes for books today when we dropped them off.  There will have to be some juggling of boxes with Tam's stuff going into bigger boxes and we having the suitable-for-books boxes to utilise.

    I don't know the impact of the Welsh Lockdown on the housing market, eg. searches and the like, but I am sure that viewings won't be allowed and that Estate Agents will close because they are considered non-essential.  We have paid for searches to be done, but hope there is no delay on those due to Council offices being shut - I think many Council employees are still working from home anyway.  Let's hope the Lockdown is sufficient to stop the spread of the virus but Christmas will be looking very iffy.  We have already said it won't really be happening for us as a family - D and G will celebrate together if poss, and us 3 together - hopefully in our new home.

Keep safe everyone.

Saturday 17 October 2020

Shedding "stuff"


When you have lived somewhere for nearly half a lifetime (32 years in our case), you accumulate a LOT of "stuff".  Some of mine went to a Charity shop today, as arranged on the phone on Thursday.  Yet when I got there the lady had no knowledge of it and said because of the proposed Lockdown they didn't want to take any more bla bla bla.  So I said, "You want me to take it away then?"  "Oh no . . ." and when I mentioned craft things, she remembered the call and took much of our carful.  I can take more next week.

    After that Tam and I had a lovely walk around Llandeilo, which is a nice little town with a long history.  We included the churchyard of St Teilo's in our perambulation, noting a Chinese headstone beside the path, the first I have seen anywhere, and many plots belonging to the Nicholas family.

    Then I had to go and see our smallholding friend N up the road, and offered her some small books on aspects of country living, plus a pile of old Country Kitchen magazines - they were too good to just chuck.  I also offered her some rubber matting we had for the horses (she has donkeys and sheep) so both of us were pleased when we agreed she would like them!

    After that, we had to load the car for the Tip Run tomorrow.  I will need to book another one or two in for the coming week so that we can get as much away as possible before the likely Lockdown from 26th October.

    Tea was Kedgeree tonight, and whilst that was cooking I carried on going through the (last?) box of paperwork from the Junk Room, finding old Archaeology essays, school reports, notes for a book I once proposed to write, notes and copy of a talk on Edward Thomas which I gave, and old bank statements and auction receipts.  Also the details of a lovely old house in Hatherleigh we once hoped to buy, but it didn't happen as no buyer turned up here at the time. 

    Now I am absolutely shattered, and about to have a bath and collapse in a heap.  Tomorrow, legal paperwork needs to be done for the Solicitor, so we can drop it in on Monday, and  pears need picking and storing before the birds have them all, and then it's more going through the junk room.  We have had the eye-watering quote for our removal, and it is obvious we must do some of it ourselves, and jettison more furniture.  Two linen "cupboards" that were middle daughter's will now be taken apart and can be Freecycled, as they are quite bulky when made up and we had originally intended taking them.  No more. G's bed is also staying with the house, and another couple of big chunks of furniture will be offered to our buyers.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Friday 16 October 2020

If it all goes to plan . . .


This would be the view to be enjoyed near our next home.  Let's hope it all pans out . . . but the new Welsh Lockdown could throw a spanner in the works.

    We were there today, measuring up what would fit and where.  Downsizing is a bit of a nightmare, but at least the rooms there are really generous.  As I said, I wanted the same size rooms, but fewer of them . . .

    We also explored the town a bit and got away from the main street and into the hinterland.  Some nice nooks and crannies and a VERY good butcher.

Thursday 15 October 2020

Hard at work and a walk to the Canter Field


Ghengis taking advantage of the Autumn sunshine in my craft room - on my old sewing box, bought at one of the first auctions we ever went to (£16 at Cottees, in Dorset).

    I had another busy day, going through the book stash again, and now I have all my archaeology books sorted - two big shelves of them which I am prepared to "let go".  I have a local bookdealer friend coming out to check them and hopefully offer (generously! I wish).  The Abebooks value of some of the first editions is a goodly sum.  I know a profit has to be made but not parting with £50 books for a couple of quid.  That sticks in the craw - being an antiques dealer makes you want to buy cheaply and sell for the best possible price!


Then Keith called me to start clearing out the poultry shed, namely the stacks of plant pots which had been breeding out there.  I kept what I deemed useful for our new needs, but  the divided seedling trays of different sizes do not stack . . .  There is easily another load to take to the Tip, and a gigantic corner-broken-off mirror which I really do NOT know how we will be able to shift without taking a hammer to it, nor the rusted cast iron stove which should have gone with the scrap man last time he was here . . . (well put it this way, I was for him taking it and Keith not as he thought he might "do it up" and put it in auction.)  Not worth the effort, believe me . . .

Then I came in to "rest" and sat on the sofa with a big wok-full of windfall cooking apples, peeled and cut them up and stewed them.  Then Tam and I had a lovely walk in the sunshine (it was hot!) up the hill and turn right along the ridge to the Canter Field - which now has a house built on it - and took a few photos.  After that, back to going through books and that was my day done.  Here are the steps to prove it! 21,471 steps!!  I slept well : )

Wednesday 14 October 2020

All Change - what a Difference a Day Makes


Good morning everyone.  I slept soundly last night and have a little energy today, and have let go of SO MUCH angst and stress in the past 12 hours.  Our house had a visit from an expert of total integrity yesterday, and hopefully our corner has been successfully fought.  We shall see.

    I have begun my working day by tackling the Junk Room of Doom, and anyone who has ever seen it will think, "poor woman"!!  Still, it has cheered me no end to see the ever-increasing pile of stuff to be moved on (local charity shops will benefit) and my stock is being sorted through and repacked with extra bubble wrap for the breakable bits.

    A walk is planned for later as there are blue skies again.  What a difference a day makes . . .

Monday 12 October 2020

Living in Limbo

A view towards Llanfynydd on a walk on Sunday.

 These are strange times. Without Covid, they would be more bearable, I have to say.  I am still getting bad dreams - all Covid-related.  The other night I was put in a room with lots of people, none of them wearing masks, and I was in such a panic . . .  That's when I CAN sleep though - from Sunday-Monday I went 22 hours without sleep, waking at 4 on Sunday morning, and not able to get off to sleep Sunday night/Monday morning until 2 a.m.  It's like being on Steroids, and I suppose my Cortisol levels must be so high that is exactly what is happening to my body.  Tam and I spend a couple of hours yesterday filling out a form for the next house survey, but at least that gave us a chance to say what had been done to the house, and when.

Walking downhill towards the valley bottom

    Tea last night was leftovers for Tam and I (Keith nearly always eats a different meal because he just likes very basic food, nothing "messed-around"!!)  She had made a wonderful Butternut Squash and Bacon Galette, only using the one (!) Hungarian Blue squash we grew in the garden (wish there'd been more) and substituting Chorizo for the Bacon.  It was delish.  Tam has a photo on her phone, I will try and transfer it.

We stopped at the bridge over the stream to take a photo and then turn around as another steep hill ahead and we only had time for a short walk.

    I have now found an antidote to being wound up and it isn't wine . . .  Tam got me to try some of the Plum and Clementine Gin I bought her last Christmas.  I had it with lemonade.  I am NOT a spirits drinker and normally don't touch Gin, but I have to say this was really nice (came from Aldi last year).  After two sips I was Very Relaxed! and slept well last night. I think the ratio of Gin to Lemonade was strongly in favour of the Gin . . .

  I came up to bed half way through University Challenge (we record it each week) - two colleges from Oxford and Cambridge were slogging it out and instead of the 12 or so questions I could answer in recent weeks, I only got 5 and there were too many science or maths questions - not my starter for 10!  Bed seemed a welcome option.

One last look across the landscape.

        So, another day of living in Limbo, tidying up in the garden, going through more books - though today I think I need to go into the Junk Room of Doom and go through boxes of stock - some have "Car Boot Sale" on them and since we won't be doing one of those any time soon, these lesser items will have to find another home.  I daren't let myself think too much about our new home, just in case it all goes pear-shaped . . .  Fate just loves to be tempted.


Saturday 10 October 2020

Facing up to reality


Yesterday was another rather stressful day on two counts.  Firstly we had complete strangers here to give quotes and although we were all wearing masks, I still feel very uneasy, especially as they were inclined to stay and chat at the end and I just wanted to shove them out of the door soonest!  One even needed to use "the facilities" and that freaked me out.  The shower room has since been bleached within an inch of its life and the window left open/door shut.  

    Then I had to take myself to task to go through my collections of books - rather than just novels, which are a lot easier to part with.  A boxful of the latter had come from the Donation Table in Tesco last year - some I was still waiting to find time to read, but - there will be other books.  Those will be going to a friend next week.  I have now got a much heavier boxful of defunct craft books to go to the charity shop.  I was being practical there and the special craft books - and magazines - have stayed.  I have a pile of craft magazines and booklets that is nearly knee high, plus another pile of Country Kitchen mags to pass on to others who might enjoy them. I would hate to have to put them on the bonfire. This is where the Tesco Donation Table is sorely missed - I got rid of a lot of magazines and books that way last year, looking ahead to "when we might move".  Some charity shops won't take any magazines. The Green Shop in Llandeilo may do, but I don't know if they are open at the moment.  I've e-mailed them, so will find out in due course.

    Anyway, I have been through the first shelf of my archaeology books, and valued the 1st editions etc.  Some quite valuable, though getting their value is a totally different matter.  I will keep a selection to stay with us.

    Then I tackled my Countryside and West Country collections.  With my West Country roots, I have long collected books about Devon.  I had to dig deep to find the strength to be ruthless, but I looked at each and every one and have packed (get me being so organized!) two packing boxes of books to go and the rest to be rehomed.  Memories of those days out in Hay-on-Wye bookshops in pre-Covid times, when I would allow myself the luxury of choosing a book (normally only £3 or £5) for my collection.  

    Then I came upstairs to the bookcase Keith made me from a solid oak wardrobe. This has recently had a door and lovely brass hinges fitted on it and will be our food cupboard when we move.    However, it needed to be emptied first and being deep, had acquired a double layer of books on each of the 4 shelves. These were some overspill books from my Literary collection (these ones are mostly about Thomas Hardy), Victorian Social History, Folklore, a few books about Herefordshire when I thought we would be moving there, and some of my collection of Antiquarian Horse Books.  I have reduced it to 3 shelves of single depth books now and 100 or so are piled on the coffer in the hall.  I will have to get these moved on before I can do much more clearing.  I am going to call a bookseller friend to see what he would take.  He came out years ago when I was thinking of parting with my horse books, but now they really DO have to go, so I hope he can manage a decent offer.  

    I have always loved books, and as money was short when I was growing up, books were what I got from the library or as Christmas presents.  I began collecting Antiquarian Horse Books when I began work aged 16.  I am unashamedly a bibliophile.  I like to have my own Library around me.  I will have to prune back now but know there will be more books in the future . . .

    We now have some tangible proof of works done on the house, as fortunately in going through all our photographs recently, I have found one of Danny in a pushchair, with the front wall clearly drilled for a damp proof course, so we can now prove that was done (though in a house of this construction with walls 3 feet thick and a rubble centre, I don't think it was of any use whatsoever!)  We have also found other photos of when we were turning the totally derelict dairy into a flat for my mum, showing the flagstones up and membrane going down in there and also beneath the new floor in her bedroom.  Plus others which show other improvement work on the house and what it looked like when we moved in - you know, that "we must have been MAD to buy this" sort of decor . . .  Our buyer is here again on Tuesday to meet with his Builder (outbuildings plans), though  I doubt we can sit out on the patio to talk now it's autumn.

    Right, this won't do.  Just gone 6 a.m. and I have been awake since 4 again.  This will be another long day.

Queen of the Gypsies

 One of the positives of having to go through drawers and sort out books (and I have been SO GOOD today and been ruthless with my countryside and West Country books, only keeping two boxes from a big book-case full), is finding odd scribblings of mine.  Here is one I would like to share with you.  It takes me back over 60 years . . .

Queen of the Gypsies

Gap-toothed and clothed in rusty black

Perpetual mourning,

She lived a half-life behind

Greying net curtains and

Four waving pine trees.

I knew her for a witch.

If I was playing by the cherry tree,

She would always notice, and

Cross the road,

Fumbling her apron pocket and

Pinching my cheek with her sand-paper fingers.

She would smile gummily, and

Press a packet of 3 wrapped biscuits

Into my hand. They were always soft . . .

She was Queenie Goddard, whose grandsons visited every week, taking dock-tailed Mandy out of the flat cart and leading her through to the shed at the back.  Queenie's home was a creosoted wooden shack, with four tall pine trees at the front, making it gloomy inside.  I can see it so clearly, the dark bay mare being led through the gates, and then they would all go in for tea and soft biscuits I reckon!

Friday 9 October 2020

I am having to be a Grown Up Now!!

 The river Wye at Builth.

Oh gosh, no place to hide right now.  I am having to make phone call after phone call, knowing BT are ripping me off as I haven't been able to negotiate a new contract as we are moving and I do NOT want to be tied to them for 2 years after we have moved.  We will have to sort out Sky nearer the date too.  Plus change energy companies - possibly to Octopus, which as good reviews. Currently with the Green Energy Company, who have been good - they are also up for renewal but I will let that hang too.

    We had a removals chap here yesterday (one Keith met when he was moving our neighbour at the bottom of the hill and he came here by mistake).  I was NOT impressed - he seemed to rely on the brute strength of his workforce and really, I want unbroken china, careful transference of antique furniture, and sufficient insurance cover! which he did NOT have . . .

    So I have found 3 local companies recommended in the local tradesmen listings, and two are coming out in the next week.  So it will be masks on again as we have to show them round.  Moving in the middle of a Pandemic is not ideal, I have to say!

    I'm off out to the pony stables this morning, and then Tam and I will do a Tip Run.  We need to get hold of a charity shop so we can offload various boxes of books and bags of good clothing.  I think the books are best going to the Red Cross bookshop in Llandeilo, so I will phone them first thing.  I will try the Salvation Army shop too.  No-one was answering the phone when we tried on Wednesday.

    I may also call in Leo, who has the bookshop in town, and get him to give me a price on the archaeology books I want to part with.  I am about to go through them and put all the ones I am going to keep on one shelf.  I need to find a Ruthless Streak I think!

    Then I must photograph all Danny's books and DVD's and see what he wants to keep.  It's all go here!

Thursday 8 October 2020

Having to Get Organized!


Looking up the Towy Valley from Dryslwyn Castle.

Jobs for today - buying a giant roll of bubble-wrap and then trying to decide WHICH boxes offer the best value and how many of the dang things we will NEED (trying not to think of books - apple boxes from Abergwili perhaps . . .)  Anyone moved recently who can advise on boxes?!!!

       I have to check out removal companies.  Just had a chap round for a quote, but need a comparison as I don't think he has the level of expertise or insurance coverage.  Update: have called for quotes from two removal firms who are in the "best 3" recommended in our area. It will be dearer, but I just want it all to be as stress-free as possible.

    I have had two nights with scarcely any sleep - first one my lower back and hips were cranky and I couldn't drop off, and everything was going through my mind.  Last night our plumber called to put one of our bedroom radiators back on the wall (a picture fell on it during Lockdown - screws only went into the lime plaster and didn't reach the stone wall.)  As Rhys was here for an hour, we decamped elsewhere overnight - even though the window was open and he had a mask on.  Better safe than sorry.  I got the sofa as the spare bed in the master suite needs a new mattress.  I found it so hard to sleep though - back and hips still v. sore and the sofa breaks into two for removal and my hips were on the bit where it joins!

   I really MUST get my accounts finished and submitted and that's it, end of trading for us.  It will just be "getting rid" after that.  I have to do this now as we may not have internet for a few weeks once we've moved, so I am getting organized.  Right, I must away and make some more phone calls.

Tuesday 6 October 2020

Down by the sea


I've just been starting on the Annual Autumn Tidy-up in my "unkempt, virtually non-existent" garden.  I have to say, for a "virtually non-existent" garden, I am on my 3rd wheelbarrow-full already, and I've not even got to the main garden yet.  I have cut the Aquilegias back to the ground, and hoiked out all the Feverfew (which grow on a gravel area near the Damson tree).  Around the wildlife pond next - that'll take some time as everything grows very luxuriantly there.

    I will do a good stint out there today and then head for the old pony boxes (originally calf-sheds) and sort out stuff to go to the Tip.

    Above and below: Blue Jellyfish stranded on the beach. Lots of them.  The fatter ones near the rocks, below, almost looked like turtles coming to lay their eggs! They are surprisingly firm if touched with a welly booted foot. . .

We set out to walk to the main headland, in the middle (far side of Scott's Bay).

Stormclouds massing up, but no rain whilst we were there.

The opposite shore - below Laugharne, and the very end of the Pendine Beach as it turns the corner along the Taf estuary. 

Then the walk back - it was about a mile each way I think.  Good for legs and lungs.  If we move to Builth, then we will be a lot further from the beach - over an hour away.  I think beautiful Borth and the Nature Reserve of Ynyslas will be our new tramping ground.

Monday 5 October 2020

Some sea air for you - more photos to follow tomorrow


Tam and I got some sea air at Llansteffan today and I clocked up 10,000+ steps.  I felt much more relaxed afterwards, that's for sure.  Back tomorrow with the rest of the photos.

Sunday 4 October 2020

Another night short on sleep


A misty start to the morning, and the indistinctness of the trees in this photo reflects how I feel - no sharpness to my my mind this morning.  Blurry.  I slept well until 3.30 and then that was it for the night again.  I laid there for an hour hoping to drop off, but no.  I came downstairs and read for an hour, then came back to bed, but despite having had my electric blanket on whilst I was downstairs, my feet got cold and I couldn't get back to sleep. It will be a long day.

    I have more phonecalls to make - we need a quote for a UV system on the water and we need the Hergom stove serviced.  Our heating engineer was going to get back to us with a day, but hasn't, so I will have to nail him down.  Finally managed to get our plumber to come out this week and put the radiator back on the wall in our bedroom (the picture above it fell off and knocked it off during Lockdown.) Getting ANY tradesmen here at the moment, even for a quote for anything, is very difficult as they are all completely rushed off their feet.  I don't know if it's the same where you are but everyone seems to be playing catch-up.

    I need to get some stewing beef out of the freezer to defrost and then I will put it in the slow cooker and perhaps make a pie out of it for our evening meal.

    I also need to photograph and list some books on eBay, although IF (don't like to tempt fate) we get the house we have offered on (offer accepted), then there IS room in the dry usable attic to store them in boxes and deal with them at my leisure - or even, turn that into a Library, but it would need heating in if we were to do that.

The bridge over the River Wye at Builth Wells.  Builth would be our nearest town if all goes to plan.  Llandrindod (or if we fancied a drive out, Brecon) would be where to go for the Big Shop as both have a Aldi, and there's a Tesco in Llandod (what the locals call it) and a Morrisons in Brecon.  The ubiquitous Co-op can be found in Builth and every small town across Wales . . .  Expensive though but OK for day to day things you might need.

    Right, this won't do.  Onwards and upwards.


Shedding belongings - and UPDATE with river photos

 Now I am going through everything I own.  Books are a continuing job as we have so many.  Some I know have a good resale value so those will get listed on eBay.  I have a big stack of those though so I need to get cracking on those.

Other books will go to the Charity shop - probably the Red Cross book shop in Llandeilo as they are such a good cause.

I have a stack of Country Kitchen magazines to go to a good home too.  I will see if our local shop will take them (have books to go to them too if they are taking them at the moment).  A big box of novels are going to a friend to read and pass on.

Storm Alex wasn't too bad here - we've just had rain.  Tam and I will walk down the hill in a moment and see how the river is looking.


Above and below: our river in spate, just as we come down the hill towards the bridge.

The river viewed upstream from the bridge - playing Pooh-Sticks on its own!

Here is the rock we normally stand on to take photos - we'd have got wet feet today!

Looking back upstream from the Hall gates.  Quite some volume of water hurtling past . . .

I have spent the afternoon picking up fallen apples, vacuuming, a little dab of paint here and there and making phonecalls to tradesmen with mobiles, more chance of getting them on a Sunday.