Monday 30 November 2020



Carreg Cennen Castle

I had a phone call from an old friend yesterday - we had lost touch when she had changed her mobile number and now we are no longer going to Malvern, we couldn't pop in and say hello on the way back, so it's been two years since we spoke.  You would think it was yesterday when we last met up and we just carried on our conversation!  Good friends, really good friends, are like that.  It cheered me up no end and we look forward to meeting again when it is safe to do so.

Our other more local friends, P & D, are kindly storing my Fair china for me as I was worried about it getting damaged in the main move.  I have bribed them with Lemon Drizzle Cake, but there will be a better "thankyou" later on.

View from Carreg Cennen car park

Today Tam and I had to take some more "stuff" to the Green charity shop in Llandeilo, and after that we went on to Carreg Cennen, which is just 4 or so miles away, at Trapp.  We had a slow walk up to and around the castle - we were the only ones there, and it was lovely to have the place to ourselves.  Lots of photos were taken but I shall use most of them for future postings.

The selling shennanigans carry on - one step forward and often two back.  We have to take a deep breath when that happens.  We will get there . . . eventually.

Friday 27 November 2020

Fed up with channelling Worried!

 I've not been enjoying this week very much - I have been channelling "worried" like no tomorrow.  We thought we were all booked and ready to roll with our removal when we had a completion date, but no end of emails to the removal chappies bore fruit.  Eventually we had a phone call in reply to one and we asked for the invoice so we could pay, as we thought until we had one we weren't properly booked in, but still nothing.  Last night at midnight I woke and my brain was hurtling round like a psycho rabbit and worrying about the move.  Did they regret the price they had given us, did they want the offer to expire and then they could withdraw?  Were all the boxes of books a REAL issue? I had been trying to get an invoice for nearly a month after all!  It was Looking Dodgy to me, especially after I had been awake for hours.

A faint rainbow from the other day.

Anyway, my head was NOT in a good place this morning and I went nutso with work (how I cope with stress) and removed another 3 big boxes of books from the Junk Room bookshelves.  I put another dozen historical novels (Barbara Erskine and Philippa Gregory) in a book-bag for my friend.  She can keep the Barbara Erskine and baby sit the Philippa Gregory books, which I will have back when we are settled in our new home.  I spent half the afternoon, whilst watching the racing, going through my boxes of stock, and properly wrapping the contents, and removing any treen or leather pieces which might be damaged if stored in a barn.  The same friend will look after the boxes of stock until we have moved too.  Less chance of china being damaged in transit when we move it ourselves later.

    I also cleaned the car, which had been filthy for ages.  It's going in for MoT soon and green algae around the headlights isn't a good look! Keith always power washes it underneath at the garage, but doesn't really clean the body work, just a quick swoosh over the windows before he's finished!  We have never been clean-the-car-on-a-Sunday-morning sort of people . . . more do it when absolutely necessary.

    Whilst I was out there I set about picking up windfall apples, and raking leaves up from beside the path - that took 4 barrowloads to clear it! and there are still plenty of apples under the tree (for the birds).  Tomorrow it will be the windfalls under the cooking apple tree.

Another pic from the other day showing the river flooding the Towy Valley.

    Anyway, I have had a good chat with a friend of mine (we started off as penpals 50 years ago, then became meet-up friends) and that's set the world to rights too.  

    Hoping that we can get lots more done over the weekend.  Another load of junk went to the Tip on Thursday again and we are hoping there is just one more visit down there.  I have books, blankets and odds and sods booked in at the charity shop on Monday, so we are slowly getting there.

    Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday 25 November 2020

A Primrose in November

 Tam and I went for a short walk up the hill today and were amazed to find a Primrose in flower on a bank!  It was the only one, and had we walked around Colomendy (where we have seen them well in bloom on a mild Christmas Day before) we might have seen more.  Tam took the photo on her phone, and I think it could be sideways, but you get the gist anyway.  A little ray of hope to remind us that the shortest day is not too far away now.  Less than a month.

The morning was spent fielding email questions from Solicitors, seller's agent, etc and as I answered one, another would arrive!, but we're hopefully getting there now.

    This afternoon we loaded up the car for yet another Trip to the Tip (No. 6 I believe) and there will be another (hopefully FINAL) one next week, mainly of old mirrors.

    Our evening meal was Kedgeree, which is always one of my favourites.

    Only one box packed today, which was the contents of a small chest we had offered for sale at the last couple of Fairs, but which were mostly treen and metalware, so could take their chances in one of our normal plastic boxes used for Fairs.  Now the wooden one can have two favourite ceramic vases put in it, wrapped in bubble wrap and then a quilt.

These are the vases, and they are tall and breakable!  The photos in the middle are my lovely horse Fahly.

Below: It is beginning to look very bare in places:

A couple of beautiful plates and a corner of a Black Chintz cup (I have 3 different ones) and the top rim of an old Burleyware jug which came from one of Keith's aunties.  These are all packed away now but once we have moved will be back in pride of place on theArts & Crafts dresser. The little flowers and ferns plate has a big brother in the shape of a meat plate.

Finally, the current reading downstairs.

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Tired on Tuesday

 This is the dresser which is now being offered for sale (on a well-known public auction site). Minus all the collectables on it of course and my cupboard contents.  Beneath the white chalk paint it is solid mahogany, even the drawer sides and back.  I expect someone thought it was "too brown" and painted it, before I bought it from a trading friend in Hay-on-Wye.  If it doesn't sell, we will have to try and shoe-horn it in somewhere in the new house.

    I was looking for an old photo of the Arts & Crafts dresser we're keeping, all dressed up, but cannot for the life of me find one with all the Royal Doulton plates and pieces on it.  I will have to take one of it "bare" tomorrow.

    After a dental check up first thing (our first in a year) Keith and I came home and he and Tam started sorting out stuff for another Bonfire outside, and I did necessary emails/phone calls, but didn't get the reply from our Solicitor until very late in the day.

    I am trying to get all my boxes of stock from the back of the junk room to the front of the hall so I can take them to some friends locally who have offered to look after it for us, so we can collect it once we have moved.  That way it all stays together and doesn't get confused with all the other boxes. I also took down all the jugs from the beam and the dressers, washed them, and any "dented" ones are going to the Charity shop this week. This seemed to take longer than anticipated.

    Tam and I got some fresh air when we had a walk down along by the river - we wanted to have a nose at the progress on the demolishing of the lane, which started to happen this morning - I was REALLY shocked to see a digger at work!  We were taking bets on whether it was going to be 18 mths or 2 yrs before work started!

    I finished one book today (Copsford, thanks Sue in Suffolk for the heads up on that one) and am now re-reading another.  Photos tomorrow.

Sunday 22 November 2020

Hoe, hoe, hoe . . .

 Today has been another full-on day trying to sort through stuff in the outbuildings, as well as (me) wrapping up ceramics from the house.  This is such slow work but I am hoping that they are all safely wrapped and double-boxed so they won't get broken in transit.  Outside with Keith and Tam, we have been sorting out stuff for the next Trip to the Tip, going through gardening tools (we have 4 hoes, which is 3 more than we really need!) and I felt compelled to sweep up the masses of oak leaves strewn wetly across the yard.  When I had the horses, that yard was always impeccable - not a stray wisp of hay in sight, and it sends me a-twitching to see it half buried with leaves.

We also got leaves out of the only gutter we can reach, emptied an old stone sink of water and placed it on blocks, and filled with soil ready to be planted (if they are gardeners).  These Belfast sinks are far too heavy to take with us.

We have come to a decision on the lovely old Arts & Crafts dresser which was Keith's gran's.  We had been going to sell it with some other furniture from the house (to the buyers) but have decided it will go with us now instead.  Not sure where it will go yet but perhaps in the sitting room, if we arrange things properly.

I still have a long list of things to do, but tomorrow is another day and now I need to rest.

Saturday 21 November 2020

Little boxes, little boxes . . .

 Well, these ones I've been packing today are little enough but then go into BIG boxes for extra protection.  Some friends up the valley offered us some plastic packing boxes they had used (had no further used for them) so they dropped them round today.  I will have to take them a cake as a thank you as they are going to be very useful.  This morning, after going to Abergwili for fruit and veg and more banana and apple boxes, I came back and went straight into the Junk Room of Doom and packed up 7 banana boxes of books.  That went very quickly and I was pleased with myself.

Then I had to quickly go out to Maggie's stable to put a coat of paint on the dressing table which is for middle daughter G.  I had left around the mirror - back in August, when it was hot!  Today's stint in the stable wasn't anything like as comfortable.

Then it was back indoors and packing away my collection of Torquay pottery.  I had already packed two smallish boxes, very carefully wrapped, but this was a bit more of an ask.  It didn't look that much on the shelf, but then I remembered all the miniature ones on the little cupboard with shelves which has baking things like muffin cases, ginger and cinnamon, essences, glace cherries etc.  Those took forever to wrap up and box - fortunately I had quite a few smallish boxes which suited their size perfectly. Two of those big plastic boxes are now filled with boxes of Torquay ware.  Hopefully they will be doubly safe from breakage in there.

Time to go and unwind now and watch Strictly.  I can see I shall have to make an early start on some more china tomorrow . . .

Friday 20 November 2020

A day like the Curate's Egg . . . good in parts, and Baking

 Positive things from today:  the old Doblo has been collected to go to scrap, plus a hugely heavy old cast iron oil fire which I knew we couldn't shift on our own, and a few other random bits of metal which hadn't already gone to the Tip.  Plus we got paid more for the car than expected, so a real bonus.  We'd have been happy to give it away, just to get rid of it.  

This is the little Arts & Crafts lamp we bought this week.  I need to give it a little clean up as there are noticable sharp dark streaks down the canopy/lid of it on one side.

This lovely old French ship's lamp has been carefully packed away ready to go to the new house.  We have a couple of these.

    I spent a lot of today in the kitchen, baking.  I made a Chocolate Apple Cake, Apple Dappy, and a big Granary loaf, and then Beef Cobbler (with cheesey scone topping) for our evening meal.  We will have the other half of it tomorrow night.  

Thursday 19 November 2020

A Day of Rainbows

 . . . with storm-clouds in the offing.  I spoke to our Solicitor today, and the wheels of house selling are moving very slowly right now.  It doesn't look like we will even be in before Christmas at this rate.   So Tam and I had the afternoon off and took a lovely walk up the valley for a couple of miles.  20,424 steps so far today.

One of the lovely rainbows which kept us company on our walks.  This has been a day of them.

Without the trees along the riverbank, you get a great view of our bridge.

Above and below - carnage.  I was upset to see that our farming neighbour along the valley had seen fit to decimate the woodland he had planted 15 or so years ago.  We actually saw him on the lane and I asked about it.  Oh, it was all Ash which had dieback (no, these were young healthy trees) and Willow - all trash.  I said it was such a loss of habitat.  He didn't seem bothered.

This looks like the remains of a plastic-covered  greenhouse? 

One of the loop walks we do comes down past this old house in the centre of the picture.

Here's where we turned round, just in sight of Nant Gwilw.

The low sun made the leaves on the Oak trees stand out against the mostly Alder and Ash woodland.

Hope for the future - Catkins forming already.

November flowers - Umbellifer (Common Hogweed I think).

Last glimpse of the rainbow.  There were lots this morning when we went to the Tip - it has been a day for them, all splendid and richly-coloured.

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Getting paid for something - there's a novelty!


A photo from one of the happy carefree days last year (July 2019) - the view from the Botanic Gardens across to Paxton's Tower.

Today we took several antique items which were from stock and would not travel well to our new home.  Difficult shapes and/or easily broken.  Some dealer friends of ours bought several pieces off us and so now we don't have to travel with a large rigged wooden ship on someone's knee, or a wooden "cradle" for a Victorian scythe, or a French coopered toddler's feed/play chair on wheels.  See below - the  rake item in the middle is the Scythe Cradle and to its right is the little child's coopered chair.  It's designed so that they can't get out (!) and can have a meal on that tray or toys on it.  A sweet thing.

The Dairy Bowl and the Bushel (in the front) have been sold with the house (on a separate listing)so will add charm to a corner.

    After selling those items, we drove back across country - and boy, the weather was FOUL, constant drizzle and low cloud surrounded us, with light levels which put a very early end to the day.  Last week we had seen (and Tam and I had fallen for) a hanging copper Arts & Crafts lamp (with glass panels).  It was just what we wanted to go in the kitchen or hallway at our new home - so we bought it as a little indulgence.  I'm hoping we haven't tempted fate by buying it.  

    It was almost dark before 4 p.m. when I was outside picking up windfall apples to cook up.  This is a "sofa job" whilst watching Antiques Roadtrip.  I put all the (10 or so) big apples in the wok, and have a pan of cold water by my feet, and peel and chop the apples whilst relaxing and watching one of our favourite programmes.

    Tomorrow I want to sort all the lamps and shades that are going (I even know where they are!) and put them in the big oak coffer down in the Dairy flat for safe keeping on the removal journey.  There are some we bought years ago in boxes labelled "Lamp for new house".  

    I am feeling far more tired than I should be, so I think it will be an early night tonight.

Monday 16 November 2020

The winter nights draw in and memories of houses past

 4.25 p.m. here and it's virtually dark.  I have helped Keith and Tam clearing the main shed today (I hardly dare call it Fahly's stable these days, though it was), cut back the spent and sagging stems of the Sedums, and cut back the big Hydrangea down in the little plot that was mum's.  I also cut back the other sprawling summer flowering plants, and then it came on to rain steadily and I had to retire indoors.

  Dyffryn Camp, dating to the Iron Age.

      There was another trip to the Charity Shop this morning, this time to the Green Shop in Llandeilo, who were pleased to be bequeathed yet more balls of  wool, a lap quilt made for my late m-in-l, a hand-quilted pre-printed quilt top that never got made up into a quilt, one of those Indian or Chinese-sewn patchwork quilts which once graced mum's bed, some books, some wide scarves/shawls (how did I come to have over 15?!), handbags, and some clothing and Victorian jugs from jug and basin sets where they were the only thing to survive.  I am glad they will be able to earn the charity some money from them.

    This afternoon Tam and I had to collect some medication for me from the Pharmacy and we stopped off at Abergwili for more banana boxes to pack books in, as well as salad stuff and some apples.  Whilst I have enough apples to keep an army going, none of them are eaters.

    The living room is strewn with detritis from yesterday's foray into the back of the Junk Room of Doom.  Lots of old paperwork of Keith's, plus family photographs over a century old - Great Uncle George when out in India around 1910, pictured sat with his fellow team-mates from the Hockey team, and lots of trophies and awards in front of them.  Great Uncle George sat in his Masonic regalia, with his Indian Lodge.  Not photos to necessarily display, but certainly ones to keep for family history's sake.

    Wedding photos too of Uncle George and Aunty Ethel, long pushing up daisies.  She had a stunning bouquet of orchids and flowers and a long lace veil embroidered with flowers.  Family members to each side for bride and groom, looking quite solemn considering it was a wedding.  

    Flat and house purchase details from half a lifetime ago, and more recently, details of houses we viewed in hope.  We could recall them all, and in most cases they didn't suit at all when you got there and had a proper look.  One place had 5 doors/staircases coming and going from the main central room which rendered it into a large hallway, and the chap's sons' rooms reeked of smelly socks and trainers and in both cases the lads had clearly just been hauled out of bed but stayed defiantly in their rooms whilst we peeked in the door and thought, this is not the house for us!

    Another house had a spectacular view across a valley strewn with apple orchards, but was approached by a steep flight of steps downwards - that was no good to us with all our boxes of stock which we took to Fairs, plus the kitchen was of a 1970s ilk (and not the best look from that time) and a later addition to extend the property in one direction made the rooms it was extended from very dark and gloomy and to no end as it just provided a corridor and a storage room to the side which had the lovely view.

    Another was one Keith really fell in love with, as it had an Arts & Crafts look and a fabulous staircase, but it was all about the staircase and all the other rooms (bar the living room) suffered for it.  I could see it, but he couldn't see further than the staircase, unfortunately, and anyway, it was just a field away from a very busy road.

    We still regret not being able to buy a fabulous historic old hall in Shropshire, with a garden full of David Austin roses (70 of them), soft fruit, orchards - oh it was so US, but then it would have begun to be a burden by now - if I find 4 apple trees a problem in a bumper harvest year like this, imagine how I would have felt when  terrorized and held to ransom by an orchard of them! I have picked up a wheelbarrow full of spent fruit from the path today - hate to not be able to rehome it or use it but when you have hundredweights of fruit on a tree, you are bound to lose the fight!

    Now I need to go and check on my bread dough and put a meal on for Keith.  

If I were a Reindeer, I'd be Dasher

 Oh goodness, there is little time to sit and relax right now.  I dash from one job to the next, and am about to dash off to the Charity Shop with another lot of "stuff".  

Desirable seaside properties at Aberporth last week.

I counted the duvets last week and a recent cull had got them down to the correct numbers (some being Tam's).  There are some quilts-from-the-past to go to the Charity shop today - a mass-produced hand-sewn one, a hand-quilted "top" which needs making up, a lap quilt I made for my late mother-in-law etc.  All the others, and pillows, duvets and cushions have been squished into vacuum bags and take up a lot less room now.  

Now I must away to the Charity shop.  Wish we had a moving date . . .

Thursday 12 November 2020

Running out of road!


Last week, this tree had had a noticable lean on it, and following some more heavy rain, the roots had nothing to hold firm to and it ended up across the river.  With heavy rain forecast for this weekend, this situation couldn't be allowed to continue as the tree would snag any passing branches or trees and cause a real log jam in the river.  Various people phoned up to report it (and the collapsing road too) and today a local firm (Extreme Tree Services) turned up to remove the tree, and others lining the river bank and looking set to follow it.

However, this is the amount of undercutting below the lane and there has been a crease down the middle of the lane for quite some while - not sorted out by recent roadworks which simply tarmacced over the top!  It soon came back, and with attitude.

The lane is now reduced to about 3/4 of its width and is too dangerous to use.  I imagine it will probably be a couple of years before it is shored up and usable again - jobs like this never seem to be done quickly hereabouts.

Today was another Trip to the Tip day, and Tam and I got the better of an unwieldy mattress, and a very recalcitrant bicycle (why is the scrap metal container the highest one there by a long way?!)  More bits of plastic tubing and old drain pipes went to be melted down, and the Council will be richer for some more metal bits too.  

    This afternoon we went to the British Heart Foundation and the YMCA Charity shops and got rid of various things - dvd player, tv stand, dvd rack, small bookcase etc and some clothing and yet another box of books.  Progress.

    Tomorrow, bright and very early, an electrician is coming to check our electrics for our buyer (who wants a certificate) and then Keith and I have a dental check - our first for about a year.  Keith has been during this time, when a molar broke in half, but that meant an extraction.  Hoping nothing needs doing now as only temporary fillings are being done - or extractions.

    Off to catch up with another episode of Mountain Men.  We're trying to watch everything we have recorded from Sky before we move and possibly lose the lot.

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Aberporth beach

 Today has been the usual getting things sorted out sort of day, though irritatingly one of the things was to be sorted as the Courier collection from home of a parcel by Myhermes was a complete waste of time.  It was booked for Saturday, and was still here today, so after failing to get through to them through any medium, I drove into town in high dudgeon and took it to their parcel shop.  I shall NOT be using them again.  

Yesterday Tam and I did another Tip Trip in the morning (we have another tomorrow, what fun!) and then later we all went out to celebrate Keith's recent birthday.  We took in a couple of antique shops - the 2nd one run by friends, so it was good to see them again.  Then finally down to the beach at Aberporth for some sea air.  We didn't stay long - it was late afternoon by then - but it made a nice change to be right over on the Cardiganshire coast.

Above and below.  We found this in the first antique shop.  It was just what I had been looking for to go in our new house.  Here there are old nails in the beams in the kitchen that I hang my colanders, wok, sieves, jam thermometer, and various pans from, but no beams where we are going.  I like the style (and usefulness) of this wrought iron rack and we managed to get the price down a bit, so it came home with us.  Temporarily houses in our kitchen so we don't fall over it.  Just needs a bit of blacking to tidy it up.

    It was a gloomy end to the day, but very peaceful there.

    Today we loaded the car for the next Tip Trip tomorrow.  A mattress, an old bike, some old jam jars (I had too many to ever use), and various other odds and ends are in the car ready to be disposed of.  Next week it will be paint.

    Tam and I used the afternoon to sort through the bags of stuff for the charity shops and have it in two heaps - one for the Salvation Army and the other for the Green shop in Llandeilo.  There are some small bits of furniture to take to the British Heart Foundation shop too.

    We had a quote to replace the gate post today- we didn't want to move out and have the present one keel over the minute the gate was opened or shut (it is currently tied to a tree to keep it upright).  The price was a bit ouchy, but needs must.

Sunday 8 November 2020

Just another Manic Sunday


I noticed the setting sun lighting up the trees across the valley with a soft red glow and ran upstairs for my camera, opening the window to half fall out to capture it.  The end of another busy day here.

    I began it by doing all the ironing which had piled up.  I wanted to catch up on some more episodes of Mountain Men, so watched that as I pressed the creases out of king sized duvets (2) and sheets.  I used to absolutely loathe ironing, but now I don't have so much of it I actually enjoy it and it helps to keep me warm too!  

    As I wanted to keep watching the recordings, I then set about going through the books and magazines in Keith's Militaria bookcase, and that took longer than I expected.  Magazines are going to a friend, and old antiques magazines and many auction catalogues are destined for the next bonfire.

    I was getting very involved with one of the Mountain Men story lines by this time, so carried on with clearing out the Craft Cupboard, which has to be totally emptied as it is staying behind here with the incoming folk. They were interested in buying a lot of our excess furniture, which was a relief as most of it was big and heavy and we didn't have room for it due to downsizing considerably.

    It was lovely to find again the x-stitch works in progress - some started and overlooked for many years.  I had so nearly finished the big Devon Village design, but then it got complicated with half stitches and 1/4 stitches and it was before I had a magnifying light, so hopefully now I can get it completed and framed (when we move).  Another one is Grandmas's Quilt, which I didn't get so far with, and another which is a gift for a friend WHEN I get back to it!

    At lunchtime, Tam and I had a pleasant walk up the valley to the next junction and back.  Lots of berries on the Holly trees, and we found what looked like Otter slides onto the lane near the stream.  Claw marks had been smoothed out by a wet tummy anyway.  We paused to check a lovely bright yellow leaved tree, pondering as to its type and took two leaves home for an ID.  Going through our tree books, it was a White Poplar.  One of the neighbours had a grant a few years back to plant native trees on one of his fields, and this was one of them, well-grown now.

    This afternoon I liberated the last of the Gooseberries from the freezer and Tam and I made a lovely crumble.  I can see me having a serving of that for breakfast as it is SO good!  I also cut back the Autumn fruiting raspberries - they are still offering fruit, but it's not at all sweet, and I wanted to tidy up that bit of the garden.

     Then I made 3 Shepherd's Pies, one for Keith's tea and two for the freezer when he needs a quick meal.  Then Tam made the Winter Squash galette we made a couple of weeks back for our meal.

    The Removal company will only move our freezers empty, so we will have to go through and eat the contents.  I hate getting close to Christmas with a big freezer to restock, but needs must.  We will have to go to Lidl in Llandrindod Wells to stock up once we've moved. I can't think of a way around it unless I ask a friend if I can plug the little spare freezer in at their house and then come back and collect it and contents once we are moved.  Tam has been very organized and booked us two close-to-Christmas grocery deliveries with just a few items on (to be added to later) for both addresses, so we are covered for Christmas food anyway.

    So, things are gradually being packed and there is more in the pile to go to a Charity shop next week, when we can book an appointment.  I've got two Tip runs to be done next week too and there is a list of things to do once we have a date to move.

    Enjoy your week.