Tuesday 30 November 2021

At least we have a fitted bathroom . . .

The plumber and his apprentice were here for over 12 hours yesterday and didn't finish until 9 p.m.  There are still a couple of little bits to do, but we have a working bathroom again.  The tiles (under the uber bright light) look much paler than they actually are.  I should have taken a photo in daylight. At least we can have a bath tonight - I am SO looking forward to that and I think my sore hips will appreciate a hot soak too.


The new sink and vanity cupboard beneath. This is more like the colour of the tiles.  Now I have to finish stripping bits of wallpaper over and get the new off-white wallpaper up.

Now, drawing back a bit.  Here is the Real Deal - no lino (it has been bought) but now I am trying to find a local handyman to come and fit it.  If we can't, Tam and I will have to somehow make a template and do it ourselves.  I need to go and paint the skirting boards first though, and paper the bottom half of the walls round the room.

In the guest bedroom we have our new smaller sink.  We will have to get Paul the carpenter to come and box the pipes in.  On Friday the Plumber's coming with a different waste pipe so the sink can be used.  Meanwhile I will have to take the ancient painted-over wallpaper off and am currently looking at some replacement wallpaper.  Hah - and I thought this was the one room I could just leave "as was"!

Yesterday, as you can imagine, was a bit hectic with the plumbers here so late, cats hiding (Alfie was the worst) and another trip to the Chiro in Carmarthen.  I was hoping for a magic trick and Keith's balance problems cured.  Sadly, that was not the case and although now we know what isn't causing his balance problems, the most likely diagnosis (after talking with P) is not a good one.  Back to the GP, since she clearly thinks Keith is "just old" whereas friends keep asking what is wrong with him.  We need to see a Neurologist.

Here's an out of focus photo from a walk up the hill the other day. Somehow I set the Scenery setting on portrait.

Sunday 28 November 2021

Becoming distracted


The above photo was not meant to be blurred in the distance.  Sigh!  You get the idea anyway.

I hope you all survived Storm Arwen with no great damage.  We are surrounded by trees here, up on our hill, and so have a good shelter-belt.  There was an eyebrow of light snow on the highest distant hills yesterday and a definite heavier fall on hills beyond Hundred House.  The Hay-on-Wye road was closed to traffic so I imagine there must have been trees down there, but when we drove to Brita's little Antiques Fair in Llandeilo, all appeared well.  Very chilly though - that Northerly wind just blew straight through you.  

This morning I came down intending to get on with chores and not be distracted by the computer.  Well, that didn't work out!  Not only have I come on the computer, but I checked out a post on The Smell of Water (sidebar) and have gone off on a wonderfully convoluted journey with everything from Odin and Huggin and Munnin on his shoulders, to drilled holes for  eyes in Anglo-Saxon sculptures and did they originally have glass in, to Pictish beast-headed men and the Iconography of the Papil Stone on Orkney and the Glenmorangie Research Project.  Well, that's got my brain working again.  I just LOVE research.  Oh, if only we could drive up to Teeside and back in a day and visit St Martin's Church, Kirklevington.  Ah well.  Perhaps we can get away for a few days next summer and head off that way.

I hope this link to Scotland's Early Silver will work: 

Oooh, never tried adding a video link before.  Success!

We still don't have a working main bathroom.  It's plastered, tiled, the bath and sink set in place, and that's it.  I cannot get through to the plumber - his phone goes straight to voice-mail - and I am leaving increasingly irritated messages for him to get in touch and let me know what is happening.  We are now going into the third week without a bathroom - ironic that we turned the 4 hour quote-from-hell plumber down not just on price, but the fact that the work would take "at least 3 weeks".  (Quite apart from the fact that he expected us (combined age 150 years) to take our own ex-bathroom to the Tip, including the old cast iron bath.  Sure, we could chuck that in the back of the car no trouble!)

Right, this won't do.  Must mop the kitchen floor (that was to be my first job, so it was dry before Keith came down!) and get the ironing done.

Friday 26 November 2021

What a difference!


A male Greater Spotted Woodpecker on the feeder this morning.  I always love seeing them visiting. Yesterday I counted over 20 Blue and Great Tits at the feeders, plus more on the ground and the Chaffinches have come back from summering in the wild wood.

K and I saw the GP yesterday and had the results of the scan explained.  Basically, pretty well just typical aging.  He has some blood pressure pills to try for a week and see if they help his circulation.  Then the chiro on Monday, who, RR, used to lecture on BPPV (the crystals in the inner ear problem). Fingers x'd it may be that!

As I said in my last post, I had HAD ENOUGH of those hideous "picture frames" on our bedroom wall. Keith provided me with several chisels which I hammered underneath the inside of the frames and managed to prise them off, though they were reluctant as they had been nailed on, stuck on and then plastered up to.  fortunately just a couple of small holes through the plasterboard which were easily dealt with by our competent tiler and plasterer.

Before . . . and after.  WHAT a difference.  The room looks so much larger.  £80 well spent.

The bathroom is almost finished.  Just waiting for the loo to be fitted and everything that needs taps, having them fitted, and the shower put up.  The plumber was here briefly yesterday, just long enough to fit the sink.  Didn't speak to us at all.  According to the tiler, the plumber will be here tomorrow.  ANOTHER day when I will have to set the alarm, just in case he's here early.  His communication skills are fairly low key, I have to say. I won't show photos until it's completely finished, but the tiling looks amazing - bright and cheerful.

Wednesday 24 November 2021


 Well, there has been much progress here.  Yesterday the heating engineers came and installed our new Worcester Bosch boiler.  That's a big bill we weren't anticipating to have to consider just yet but the old boiler was old and inefficient and a bit flakey and could go at any time.  Now we are sorted for the rest of our years here and it is a more eco-friendly boiler.

The tiler has been here and plastered the back (outside) wall behind where the loo will be, and done all the tiling. It looks fabulous.  He'll be back tomorrow to do the grouting, and also skim plaster the wall behind our bed.  Today, in our bedroom, Tam and I have to set to and try and remove the hideous painting surrounds made from dado rail, off the wall without causing too much damage.  I fear there will be some big holes though!  By the end of the week we should have our new bathroom up and running and have the house to ourselves again.  We are also replacing the ancient corner sink in the guest bedroom with a narrow modern one.  Keith was very sniffy as he thinks the sink is fine.  He is in a minority of one though!

I am a lot more comfortable since seeing the Chiro.  It was money well spent.  I need to pop into Llandod for some groceries this afternoon as it was a whistle-stop tour of Lidl on Monday, for essentials.  Tescopolis today for cat food and Earl Grey teabags etc.

Enjoy your day.

Sunday 21 November 2021

A morning out and some apple cake recipes


This is the view from our gateway, looking left.  Not bad is it?  As you can see, we had sunshine today (still have)  but oh my goodness, it is truly COLD for the first time this year and up at Ludlow Antiques Market it was 10 times as cold in places as there was a bitter Northerly wind howling up from the car park. I felt so sorry for the stallholders who had the pitches along that stretch.  One of them was saying she wasn't going to warm up until she had a long hot bath - having been that cold in the past, she had my sympathies.  We just bought a couple of little bits - an old whistle which we hoped might be worth more than we paid, but broke even on that (whistles CAN be very desirable, but unless you are an expert, you have to take a chance.  It was worth a punt at £5.  The pendant I bought with Tam's business in mind turns out to be worth just a fiver more than I paid for it, and for £3 I have a very pretty emerald green paper mache bowl which is on my dresser now.

It took us ages to get through Leominster - there was a long queue of people in the High Street and cars were being stopped near the car park by the river.  Don't know why.  We were in the queue for about 15 minutes.  Whilst in the queue, we drew near to the Almshouses and were amused by a sculpture of a nearly-naked man with an appropriate fig-leaf and a hatchet.  With this saying beneath him:  "He that gives away all before he is Dead, Let em take this Hatchet and knock him on ye head".   Strange!

We missed our turning for the Knighton route on the way there this time, but found the route back that way easily on the return journey (turn right after Leintwardine.) On the way there, we now know to turn right just after the little pastel-coloured Regency Gothic style cottage.  Sorted!

    As soon as we got back I topped up the bird feeders - with this cold weather I think they will be very grateful.  I put a loaf of bread on in the bread-maker and have just pulled out the first of two Apple Gingerbread cakes from the oven.  Here is the recipe:

I never bother with the icing.  It comes from this book, which is my kitchen bible for certain recipes.  


1/3 cup (2 oz/56 g) softened margarine)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (I use 3 oz/85 g)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup (4 oz /115 g) all purpose (plain) flour
1/2 cup (1 oz/28 g) cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt 
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (ground cloves, or I used ginger in this instance)
1 cup applesauce
Confectioner's sugar (That's icing sugar and I didn't bother with it)

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F/170 deg C.  Grease and flour a 9 x 9 inch baking tin (I used a round cake tin with a liner).  

Cream first two ingredients together until well blended.  Beat in eggs and reserve.

Combine next 5 dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Add dry mixture alternately to first mixture with applesauce.

Beat only until blended and pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake about 30 minutes, remove from oven, cool in pan on rack and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.


Friday 19 November 2021

Sod's Law at work!


I was so looking forward to being able to have a lie-in this morning, as all the week I have been setting the alarm because of workmen coming in.  Well, on Tuesday and Wednesday that was a complete and utter waste of time as the Plumber didn't show up, or answer my phone calls. It would appear he's Not Good on communication.  On Thursday I left a curt, Please phone me and let me know when you will be here again" message, put the phone down, and he arrived 2 minutes later.  Now he lets me know exactly what is planned and when, and yesterday we had the chippie here all day, cutting up sheets of plasterboard and boarding in the bathroom where needed.  He was a lovely young man, and used to live just up the road so knew all the local gossip! We had hoped the bath would have been fitted before the weekend, but the carpentry took longer than expected, even though B didn't even stop for lunch.  We were impressed by him and have taken his card and talked about him doing the kitchen fitting in February or so next year.  The Plumber is doing overtime on Sunday afternoon and coming to fit the bath in then.  The tiler arrives on Monday, so it's all happening here.  Can't move upstairs though as there is a bath in our top hallway, so woe betide us if we want anything from the airing cupboard at the moment.

        Where was I? Oh yes, lie-ins.  Would you believe I slept right through the night, and didn't wake until 5.45.  This is unheard of - certainly since we have moved here. Anyway, shortly after that I was aware of a plaintive meowing outside our bedroom door.  It was Alfie, he of the strong paws, who had managed to open the staircase door and come up to remind me that a little breakfast wouldn't go amiss. (The door has warped and you can't shut it on the catch any more.)  I would replace it.  Keith says don't bother.  So of course, I came downstairs and here I am, with an early cup of tea.

        We had a letter from the Consultant yesterday, with the results of Keith's scan.  It gives a reason for his balance problems so now he needs to see the GP and sort out some treatment. It was not, as Keith kept saying, the lingering effects of the Steroids per se.  Sadly his mobility is not set to greatly improve. Now I can apply for the Blue Badge etc.


Yesterday I baked a Spicy Dorset Apple Cake to take up to the farmers up the lane (3 brothers) after one of them cut our hedge for us last week.  So I shall stroll up there after breakfast.

        There was more "fighting" with the awkward bits of x-stitch yesterday, some unpicking and resetting of stitches with Lord of the Rings on the telly in the background, to partially hide all the banging upstairs.  At least we will have a little break before it is kitchen time, but we need to get a plan drawn up and a couple of quotes in.  Chippie not at all sure on the merits of Ikea kitchens - and let's face it, what you save in buying them as a flat pack you then pay out in handfuls for whoever's installing it to put it together.  Probably better to buy them already put together!

        I'm just looking at bath "caddy's"- you know that thing you put across the bath for soap and shampoo and they all seem to have a fitting for a glass of (red) wine! Or a Tablet propped up and/or a mobile phone, and petals in the bath!  Hah!  I don't know about you but I like my wine in front of the tv, not in the bath, which I look upon as the place you get washed!  I must be getting old:)

Thursday 18 November 2021

When Robins appear, loved ones are near

 This is my best friend Tricia Rennie, who passed away on this day in 2016.  She was 64, taken by Cancer.  She was about 16 in this photo of her on her New Forest pony Nikki.

I have thought of her all day long,  and tears would spring to my eyes. As the years go by I just miss her more and more.  There are memories only we shared, things only she would know.  The number of times I have got up to go to the phone down these years, to ask her something obscure, only to realize she was beyond a phonecall.

We had to go to Hereford today, to look for lino for both the bathrooms, and to check out sinks.  When we got back I got the lino out, but had left the driver's door open to get my bag out. When I came back out there was a Robin in the car!  I know they are nosey creatures and he probably thought this was new territory for him, but . . . how strange, and today of all days. Friends and I were talking about this only last week when one of them had a Robin checking out an extension she was having built.  She said there was an old saying: "When Robins appear, loved ones are near" and she liked to think it was her dad (in Robin form) checking out what she was having done.  Then another of our group said, how strange, this week the postman handed me a parcel with bird-poo on, apologising and saying, when he got back to his vehicle a Robin flew out - leaving a little "present".  Today it was my turn.  Are you familiar with this saying?

  Here is the poem this saying may have come from:


Do Robins appear when loved ones are near?
It's amazing, don't you know?
He visits in the place of a loved one
That's sadly had to go
He comes to show they miss you
Just as you do them
And they too long for that day
That you shall meet again
They're by your side forevermore
And that will remain so
So they send a little Robin
As a way to let you know

(Author unknown)

You will be relieved to know that the plumber and his mate turned up today, and you would never guess they hadn't been here since Monday and he had ignored  my phone calls! I was not in a good place in my head yesterday.  It's just so frustrating.  Yet they are very good workmen and today they've had cupboards emptied, floorboards up, old plasterboard down and banging mightily etc.  Tomorrow the chippie is here to box in piping, and on Monday the tiling begins.  I made sure I knew the programme of events before they left today!  So, it's all gradually coming together.  I refuse to have a shower in that other awful en-suite one though so just washing in the little sink instead!  Tomorrow night the bath will be in and as long as we don't splash, we can have a bath.  Oh that will be BLISS!

Anyway, I did joined-up driving in Hereford today and linked the one bit I knew with the other bit I knew and came out on the roundabout I knew, and sailed out on the Brecon road, so it is gradually falling together.  I had one of those "good driving" days, and even parallel parked in town, with a bus behind me, and did it perfectly without becoming flustered.  The scenery and the trees were so beautiful and again I wish I had a dash cam so I could share the colours with you, and the light on a hillside of the Black Mountains, with cloud descending their crests and a drift of woodsmoke crossing the trees towards them.  Beautiful.

Wednesday 17 November 2021

X-stitch pictures from the past


X-stitch is high on my agenda at the moment - I'm taking advantage of being in the mood to do it (NOT in  a patchwork mood right now) and to finish off a gift.  Here is a beautiful design from the Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady book of charts I still have and love.  I sewed it for my friend Annie (who sadly died 5 years ago last March) after she had been widowed.  She and her husband had a couple of beautiful stained glass Dragonflies in their cottage.  The gold-work wings on the one in this design weren't easy to work as the thread wasn't co-operative!  She cherished it and it was by her bed after she died, so her daughter gave it back to me.

Here are the x-stitch pictures I hung on the wall last week.  This first one is sewn by my dear friend G - we started off as penpals when I was about 20, but have been friends for decades now.  I had always hoped to return to Dorset to live, and missed it SO MUCH the early years we were in Wales, but like Devon, it was not meant to be.  Note Kingston (brilliant cider in the pub there back in the day) and Worth Matravers,  our favourite Purbeck walk which went down to the quarries and the sea, and Dancing Ledges. Great pub there too!  (The Square and Compass).

Here's one of mine (I'll have to put my details on the back).  This was sewn in the 1990s - TINY x-stitches as it's very fine Aida.

I can remember sewing this one when all three (small) offspring were in the bath.  They had VERY long baths and as I sat by the sink and sewed, they would say, we're washed now, can we come out now?  And I would say, in a minute . . . until they resembled prunes, they were so wrinkled! I am pretty sure that the pattern was sent by an American penfriend.  She had her heart set on sewing 100 samplers and was well into that number when we were last in touch.

Tom Kitten, sewn for Middle Daughter, to go in her room.  I had a T for Tam too, with another kitten, but that never got worked.

Another lovely one from my friend G.  You will notice the relevance of Kingston or Worth Matravers now!  I vaguely remember a similar design of a blacksmith's shop, which I think I sewed for her.

I absolutely LOVED sewing this.  It was very straightforward and I just love Fungi!

Another present from G and I adore this. Those Foxgloves set the landscape off beautifully.

Finally, what I'm currently working on.  I've made a boo-boo with the top of the trees on the left (e.g. the top straight bar of stitches should be an inch lower) - probably why this got abandoned in frustration a couple of years back.  However, I shall sort it out.  The single x-stitch stitches are in 501 and 502, just a shade apart and the counting and spacing has been sending me mad.  I'll be glad to finish this bit.

I was looking for a new X-Stitch magazine in W H Smith in Brecon recently, but hardly any seem to be on sale any more.  Quilting and card-making were well-represented.  I don't know what magazines folded due to the Pandemic - certainly ones I used to get weren't on the shelves, but perhaps they had sold.  I used to get Cross-Stitch Gold, and there was Stitch, and a more general one called Workbox.  Ah well, I will have to go through the few that came with me on our move - although that includes the dozen or so American "Just X-Stitch" magazines which I absolutely treasure.  I used to buy them when we were on holiday in Dorset, from a Patchwork shop in Blandford.  Oh, I can still remember the absolute luxury of stopping for food at a supermarket in Shaftesbury, and Keith took the kids in to get lunch and I was able to read my new magazines (I got patchwork ones too, also from America).  Happy memories.

Monday 15 November 2021

What having no bathroom looks like

 I was up early this morning (and of course slept badly last night so had only just dropped off again when my alarm went off at 6.30).  I needed to get the last of the things out of the bathroom (e.g. stuff we had used the night before) and the bath scrubbed clean where the non-slip mat had been.  Not that it really mattered as the bath itself was disgusting with stains that just would NOT come off, though I had tried and tried.

The chaps to install our new Worcester Bosch boiler were due to arrive 7.30 - 8.  They arrived at 20 past and were gone by half past because someone had ordered the wrong boiler . . . NOT ME!  So it will probably be another week before we see them, but at least we still have a working central heating system.  I was a little perturbed that this had happened, but of course it wasn't the engineers' fault but I did expect an apologetic call and an update from the company, which wasn't forthcoming.  When I phoned up this afternoon to see the state of play, the lass was very apologetic and said she would let me know as soon as the replacement was in and let me know when it could be fitted.  I don't know about you, but when I was a secretary I would have phoned the customer up to explain what was happening (and to say sorry), but Tam says things aren't like that these days and the poor girl probably has to combine lots of different jobs. 

This was the state of play when the Plumber and his mate left - an afternoon's work ripping everything out.  I think the stripe up the centre of where the bath was is where they moved the Pink Bedroom wall.  (It widens out there and then there's an approach where it narrows. I think this may well have been where the original staircase came up.  They are back tomorrow and everything starts getting put back in. Meanwhile we are left with the en-suite shower with its extra-sensitive meld of hot and cold (it is VERY specific to a particular millimetre on the control.  The little triangular sink is in a corner of the Guest bedroom and not easy to get to to shave or clean your teefs.  Washing your hands there is bad enough.  So, a few days of making do before we can luxuriate in a bath which doesn't feel like it's lined with coarse sandpaper. OH AND WE DO HAVE A TOILET IN THE EN-SUITE!  I think some of you were worried we were going behind a bush in the paddock!

Sunday 14 November 2021

It'll do . . .

 I know, not exactly an exciting blog title is it, but it's a statement of fact, and actually I am delighted with my latest Facebook Marketplace purchase.  This one was closer to home, being about 50 minutes' driving away at Newtown.  Tam said it wasn't big enough, but short of buying something twice its size (which we couldn't lift, let alone get up the stairs!), this would have to do.

Well, not the best photo - you can hardly see it! but it's got a double cupboard on one side, and a separate single cupboard (where I've put all my family history notes etc) and three useful drawers above.  I have stowed away a lot more than I expected inside it (sewing things), but did manage to put some bits of material and what have you away in a small coffer yesterday when I was going through things.  Before it looked a mess as it was all stored on open pine shelving (there used to be a linen cover on it when G used it for storage).  I took that all apart this morning and flat-packed it.  I also rehomed the small amount of things in a Very Large Moving Box (labelled Tamzin!) and so we are also one box less in the pink bedroom, but it's still a mess and I wish I could wave a magic wand but T won't let me put any of her "stuff" which is in there up in the attic.  The eyesore which is a giant box of "useful boxes" particularly irritates me  . . . but she needs it to hand for posting things . . .

The remains of the cupboard, a pile of curtains I really MUST list on Ebay, and three of Tam's boxes.  I have deliberately not shown the other messy end of the room!!  This room will be the next to be decorated (it desperately needs a change of colours) and we will try and somehow have a sort out of the contents.

We managed to find the pick-up place easily (I did a Google earth search first), but oh dear, getting out of Newtown again wasn't simple as the main through road has been blocked because of a crumbling to pieces Church.  I completely forgot I needed to turn left and go past Tesco's and join the by-pass.  Instead we had a complete tour of the back roads round the town and there wasn't the left turn we were hoping for.  We'd known we were heading towards Machynlleth from the position of the sun, and the map confirmed it, so we just enjoyed travelling through beautiful countryside and being spat out eventually at Caersws!

Here's some Radnorshire scenery for you, on the Rhayader road.

Another lay-by gave us these beautiful photos.

Finally, I pulled over at Gilfach Nature Reserve and took a few photos.  I'll try and get a walk in there next week if we have a sunny day. The scenery all the way was absolutely stunning and the Autumn colours the best I've seen for many many years, probably since I lived near to the New Forest.  I think a slow Autumn and different trees round here - LOTS of beeches, which are spectacular at the moment, and lots of Oaks, and hardly any Ash - Carmarthenshire has millions of Ash trees and they are late to get their leave and drop them quickly and brownly.   Enjoy.

Saturday 13 November 2021

A strange coincidence . . .

Good morning.  I could tell it was a weekend day here, as even before 8 a.m. there were the roar of motorbikes heading up the main road and it is still continuing.  I imagine that the West End Cafe in Llandovery will be doing a brisk trade this morning.  That's where they always seem to head for.

Yesterday I had an email from an old friend/neighbour of ours where we used to live.  She said that our nearest neighbour had died last week - the disease which killed him having been a rapid-onset version of something which normally takes many years to claim a life.  He died on Tuesday.  Strangely enough, on Tuesday Keith and I were talking about him - it makes you wonder whether we were somehow intuitively aware of his passing - as if his spirit had given us a thought as it left him.  Who can say?  A strange coincidence though.  What do you think?  Pure coincidence or something more?

Having put the lining paper on the scraped-down bit of our bedroom wall where the sink used to be, today I am going to see how I manage with some of the dark blue wallpaper I bought back in the summer.  I will need to clear the decks on the kitchen table first though, so I can cut the wallpaper.  I was going to do it yesterday, and then Keith mentioned that there was jumps racing on from Cheltenham, so wallpapering was abandoned and I sat and watched the racing instead.  He made me laugh when his horse (subject to a £2 bet!) was going round, resolutely last and he said, "Well, if THAT wins it will be a blardy miracle!"  It managed to come in 4th.

I did some more on the x-stitch Christmas present having realized, if the date on the magazine I'm using is anything to go by, that it has been a Work In Progress for up to 5 years now, though I think it is actually 3years.  (I don't feel so guilty then!)  I am really enjoying it - it is my treat, something to look forward to doing each day.  I'm doing outlining at the moment, and grass, and that way I can put in any tiny bits of stitching I had missed.  When this is done I shall finish the Devon village x-stitch (quite a big one that I'm nearly finished on) and get that hung.  I've hung my little collection of x-stitch and embroidered pictures on the staircase wall so will take a photo of that next week.

 The view from the bathroom window, looking across to Llanelwedd quarry.  Not a romantic scene perhaps, but a familiar one. The quarry lights are on all night - they must have a huge electricity bill!  As you can see, autumn colours abound, and the Sycamore across the lane from us has lost most of its leaves now and we are starting to see the glimpse of Aberedw Hill we get in the winter months.   

More Autumn colours looking out of the Pink bedroom window.  It was better with the light on it the other day when the tree to the left, which is smothered in Oak Moss, lit up beautifully.

Ghengis warming his btm and yes, the keyboard DID get a wipe down after he was moved on.

I had An Indulgence this month - Country Living was on offer, and you get a couple of extra bits too.  I got 6 months for £10 off the normal price, plus a Calendar and Diary which will be delivered separately.  This December issue arrived this week.

Another indulgence.  I had and read this book years back, and then it went in a clear out a few years back.  I fancied reading it again, especially as we fans of Phil Rickman are eagerly awaiting his new book, which has been held up for several years because he had a Stroke, poor man.

Apple Dappy.  It tastes SO good.

APPLE DAPPY (Serves 6)

8 oz (225g) S-R flour
2 oz (50 g) margarine
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 pint (150 ml) milk
Pinch salt
1 tblspn Demerara sugar
1/2 level tsp. cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves or mixed spice
2 good-size apples (I use cookers, but dessert will do)


1 (washed) lemon or a little lemon essence
1 tblspn golden syrup
1/2 oz (15g) margarine
4 oz (100g) sugar
7 fl. oz (200 ml) water

Make syrup first.  Peel fine strips of lemon rind and squeeze lemon.  Put rind, juice and all other syrup ingredients into a pan and stir over a gentle heat until sugar is dissolved.  Leave to cool.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and rub in marg.  Mix to dough with milk.  Roll into 8" x 5" x 1/4" thick rectangle on floured board.  (20 x 13cm x 7 mm thick).

Peel, core and chop apples and spread on pastry.  Mix sugar and spice together and sprinkle over apple.  Roll up pastry and apple like a swiss roll.  Then cut into slices about 1" (2.5 cm) thick.

Grease an oven-proof dish  and lay slices flat on it.  Remove lemon rind from syrup and pour over the apple slices.  Bake in a moderately hot oven, Gas 6, 375 deg. F, 190 deg. C for about 30 mins.

Serve with cream or custard.

This is an old Devon recipe .