Wednesday 30 November 2022


 Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz - that was ALL of us in the living room this afternoon.  I had to have a nap - Ghengis was cwtched up by my tummy, the babies by my feet and Keith in his chair.  I never did find out how the ancient Western film I was watching ended! I'm not surprised Keith fell asleep as he has had a bad night on Monday - awake half the night with his legs going into spasm.  Yesterday he could barely drag himself around and it was such a worry.  Then the Surgery refused to do a repeat prescription on a slow release dopamine prescribed by the PD Nurse.  It would seem this happens EVERY time something new is added.  She informs the Surgery by letter and it never gets added on to his list of repeat medications.  The PD Nurse has just phoned to say she is faxing a prescription to Boots and we can collect it tomorrow.  I think I need to have a word with whoever is the Manager at the Surgery though, as it is very worrying, time consuming and frustrating to have this happen repeatedly.

Today the car went in for its MoT.  It failed - the ??? arm to one wheel needs replacing.   I had said there was a noise last time it went in, but then we had the replacement air conditioning unit.  I was hoping the noise would be sorted by that, but no.  It's back in on Friday.  She wasn't sure if they would do the other repair which involves the hanger for the spare tyre beneath the car, but I will settle for one wheel not falling off ! so we can use it at the weekend.  I've booked tickets for Keith, Pam and I to visit Llwyn Celyn, the lovely Landmark Trust property which is having an Open Day weekend, all decked up for Christmas. We plan to take in an Antiques/Collectables Fair in Crickhowell on the way.  Keith's been looking forward to it so it would be a shame to miss out.

Anyway, I had a couple of hours to kill - and arrived at Pam's when she was still out with her rescue dog.  So I wandered slowly back down to the town and did a little bit of Christmas shopping, and spent a lovely 15 mins or so chatting to the lady manning the Local History Society rooms.  I had seen this book in the window, and of course, HAD to have a copy (I expect you will come into town on that mission next time you're down Billy Blue-Eyes!)  It's very good and a new localish church has shot straight to the top of my ones to visit.  You will see it in due course.

Yesterday afternoon I finally got my act together for a Christmas cake - gosh, it was nearly ALL fruit.  The Recipe comes from the BBC Good Food pages .  There was so much mixture, I had enough left over for a small one in a loaf tin, which Keith can enjoy this week.

This new brushed cotton duvet set arrived today from Dunelm.  Keith had requested a 2nd brushed cotton duvet set as he finds the sateen finish ones I have heavy rather than warm.  I changed to the autumn weight duvet too, and we are snug as bugs under the Paisley one we already had.  This had gone in the wash, ready for the next change in a couple of days.

The obligatory kitten photos.  Really must learn how to use the video button on the camera - if I can follow them fast enough, as they hurtle round at warp speed!

Time to sleep . . .

Ghengis looking offended.

Ghengis about to be even more offended as Pippi goes to wallop him!

Lulu - what do I do to boxes?  I EAT THEM!!

Was it Debby who asked about the Tornado here.  I found a link - it was a waterspout from the river Wye! Glad I wasn't driving along there then.

Friday 25 November 2022

Not the best day to go to Hay . . .


I decided to go to market in Hay yesterday.  There were several things I needed and haven't been to Hay for months, so I had rather set my heart on going.  I don't often watch the local news, so when I got into town and found the A470 shut to traffic, I was surprised.  It turns out that a mini-Tornado (v. localised) the previous day had bought lots of trees down across the road, blocking it nearly as far as Erwood.  

I turned round and headed out on the Brecon road, taking the first turning left for Erwood, which takes you across the last stretch of the Eppynt.  Not a very direct route, but better than going to Brecon and turning Left!  The scenery was lovely, even on a wet day and I noticed two signposts for driving carriages!  Never seen those before.  Bridleways and footpaths too of course.  The Wye Valley Walk also crosses this lane.  Lots to explore next year.  

I have to say, it was a single track lane, and in some stretches turned into a stream or was covered in mud.  There was a steep zig-zag towards the end, but then I could see scenery across the valley which I recognized and finally got spat out just before Erwood and another road-closed sign blocking the road back to Builth.  I wish I'd been able to take more photos - there weren't many good places to stop.  Some of the Birches along the slopes had held onto their leaves and were guinea-gold still.  Beautiful.  A statuesque Ash tree in a gully begged to have its photo taken, but of course, I couldn't stop there.

On to Hay, and the rain began in earnest, so I had a quick gallop through the town, stopping at the Health Food stall just long enough to buy two packs of their excellent dependable curry powder (having bought a Tesco Medium curry powder and had two curries ruined when I discovered it was Vindaloo hot, and forgot it and used it again to ruin another curry this week.  It's now in the bin.)  I needed a bag of the lovely big chunks of preserved ginger too (to cover in chocolate for Keith) and also some glace cherries for the Christmas cake.

Down to see Rob, but he was shut (perhaps for the season, as Hay gets very quiet over the winter months), so I took a photo of his shop window instead.

The lovely shop opposite has now moved on/shut down, and been taken over partly by the chap who used to have a market stall selling pattiserie goods (I of course came home with an apple strudel for Keith and a Tart au Citron for me).

As I came out of the car park it began to really hurl the rain down and it meant slow driving as you could barely see the road ahead.  I had a vague memory of a yellow weather warning for wind and rain - oh yes, NOT the best day to come out, and I had to go home via Brecon too, and over the Eppynts!

"Uncle" Ghengis is supervising play time on the stairs.  He was playing with them too - pat-a-paws! Alfie is finally starting to accept them but L. Whale still inclined to yowl and run away, or else stand his ground and hiss menacingly.  Hopefully we will get there for Christmas.

The little darlings have just been helping me attach the backing to a small quilt top. You can imagine the sort of "help" this has been!  Including running underneath it, and trying to pull my curved safety pins out, and then grabbing the edge of the quilt and pulling it back!  They are so funny :)

Wednesday 23 November 2022

A Stressful Morning


Here are the babies, sleeping off the trauma of their first vaccinations.  Oh poor little ones, I knew it was for the best, but they encountered pain and fear for the first time, and I was immediately taken back to my last visit to the vet's, when I had to make the decision to have Theo pts then and there, and had to deal with that experience with him, as we waited - and waited - for the initial anaethstetic to work, and it never did, although they left us for 20 minutes.  I tried not to cry as it all came back.  Pippi seemed to cope with it better than Lulu, who really shut down when she went back into the carrier.  I popped them into their new snuggle-bed and they have slept several hours.  Pippi has just come out to see what has happened to the catering arrangements . . .  I will be so glad when they are their normal bouncy warp-speed selves again.  An appetite will do for now though! Ghengis has appointed himself as Chief Comfort Cat and is sat at my left elbow, hoping that food is going to be dished out all round and not just to babies!

We have had some foggy days recently, and rainy ones, and sunshine breaking through and then river mist moving up.  Here is one of the latte afternoons, looking across to the Quarry - you'll have to take my word it is there.

The door to nowhere is showing some of the pretty autumn leaves at the moment.

Although the Copper Beach at the end of the front triangle paddock has lost all its leaves in the past month, the two ordinary beeches in the garden are only just changing colour and dropping leaves.

Upstairs views across the woodland.

Across the orchard paddock.  The sun was bringing a beautiful soft gleaming light through the trees yesterday, highlighting the hillside beyond.

A rather blurry picture looking through the half-landing window.  You get the general idea.

I have wrapped all the presents I have bought so far -did half of them this morning.  I've ordered a couple more, and ordered a new kettle.  Despite paying over £40 for the last one it only lasted not quite 16 mths.  I have asked Keith for jeans and a new bra for Christmas (things I need) but am a little stuck on what to get him as I know the kids have most options already cornered! I think I may buy him a few months of Audible membership, to see if it suits him, as I know he finds it hard to sit and read for any length of time as it hurts his neck. That and some Mead (which he loves and helps him get to sleep at the moment) and dark chocolate-covered ginger.

I have decided to make a Christmas cake this year - something I've not done since my mum died.  Only she and I would eat it and Keith would force a sliver down (fattening!), but this year we have an extended family get-together and it seems apt.  Must get some Glace Cherries.

I have been listening to Radio 4's dramatisation "The Witch Farm" - Heol Fanog, near Brecon.  It is quite gripping.  I've caught up as far as I can get (one episode to go) so have been listening to another production by the same chap, Danny Robins, "Uncanny".  Now I no longer live in a haunted house, I can cope with this!  Anyone else been following them.  Uncanny is from the summer, and I'm on my first taster of it.  More episodes to come.  

Monday 21 November 2022

Tuckered out!


They have had a full-on weekend and here they are yesterday evening, absolutely bushed!  Mind you, I felt a bit the same too as this virus or whatever it is keeping me feeling low, bounced back with knobs on the moment I had a drink at the weekend.  I spent an hour one night shivering and with teefs chattering and had to turn the bed heater back on to thaw out.  No appetite whatsoever - but I bet I don't weigh any less!!

Take THAT Pippi!

Afternoons are spent nursing kittens, so I get to watch Escape to the Country and The Repair shop with absolute peace and quiet.

D'ya wanna closeup?

Well, we had a lovely time meeting our son's girlfriend and her little girl for the first time and got on like a house on fire.  She has her own business specialising in holistic therapies and gave Keith's neck a much-needed massage which gave him instant relief.  She's going to do another one on Christmas day as they are here for Christmas (that should be lovely).  Her little girl is nearly 3 and was so good when told to be very gentle with the kittens.  (They have a cat at home). The trains were up the creek because of a collapsed embankment so they came up from Swansea on the train but I offered to drive them back as it's no fun with pushchairs and little ones on long distance buses, so took them back to Carmarthen.  They are setting up home together in February and saving for a house.  Lots to look forward to.

The Big Boys were horrified at strangers in the house (they forget Danny as he's not here very often) and a CHILD?!  They hid outside until the weather was too nasty and last evening I mislaid all three of them.  They had gone upstairs:

L. Whale had been on Danny's vacated bed but wanted tummy rubs.

Alfie, after being found on our bed, appreciating the electric blanket warmth!

But I couldn't find Ghengis anywhere.  I even went to the back door and called him though it was nasty out and very unlikely he wouldn't come in.  I finally found him - talk about needles and haystacks!

This is an enormous floor cushion that Tam's partner has loaned us for Christmas seating arrangements.  Ghengis thought it was Especially for Stripey Cats!!

So, apart from feeling unwell, a really lovely weekend.  It is miserable outside today.  I can vouch for this as I've been doing my outside jobs and was jolly glad to get indoors again.  The birds are very hungry now and feeders need topping up morning and evening.

Update on moi: I am hoping I have turned a corner as I have actually eaten and enjoyed a meal tonight (Kedgeree) and it tasted as it should do.   We shall see now. I have scarcely eaten all week and Sunday's portion of the veggie pizza I made was about 3 inches square, with a tiny bit of salad and I had to force that down.  Breakfast today half a slice of toast. Lunch a mug of Cupasoup.  Then I felt a bit peckish so had a slice of Wenslydale cheese and a tomato.  Let's hope I can keep my appetite under control now.  I've not even fancied chocolate!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Thursday 17 November 2022

I am beloved. . .


I am glad to report that things have calmed down a bit now I have invested in a Feliway diffuser to calm the Big Boys down, and it has worked a treat.  Alfie actually sniffed noses with Lulu today and though his tail was twitching, he only did a small hiss to say he was boss.  L. Whale still not that brave but he is happy to be in the same room now - as long he is on a seat!  I won't leave them unattended in the same room yet, but it's going the right way.

They like to be on my lap, as you can see - Lulu was fascinated by my computer screen.

Pippi Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzing.

Current embroidery project.  Tam bought me this partly sewn, and a matching one, not worked on, from a Charity shop, so I am slowly sewing these.

I have been poorly for a couple of days - the stress  (and consumption of too much Tiger Loaf that Gabby brought with lunch last week) caused an IBS flare-up, and also aching joints.  I was knocked completely sideways yesterday and just could NOT stay awake, and I was in bed at 7.30 p.m. and slept for 12 hours.  I have taken Ibuprofen today and that has helped, and I know I must just eat my own home-made bread in future.  I have a loaf baking as I write this.  

Danny and his girlfriend and her little girl are coming for the weekend.  First time of meeting his partner and child, so I hope it all goes well.  I have been to the charity shops and got a few books suitable to read to 3 yr olds, and a little playhouse and a plush teddy to cuddle.

Now I need to go and make simple non-challenging (for the digestive system) food for tea - a Cottage Pie should do the trick.

Tuesday 15 November 2022

Not enjoying stress and some more kitten pics

Sorry for the gap between posts, but Keith has been quite unwell in the past week - sleeping badly, which really affects the Parkinsons, and with painful neck spasms, which left him barely able to get around some days.  He perked up when we went to the Fleamarket at Carmarthen on Sunday, on the mobility scooter, and made a couple of purchases, one of which (an antique Mandau) he may well keep.  I got some nice things too, including some German mid-century Studio pottery, which in my defence came at the right price.  I had said No More china! 

Even our Sunday treat out was stressful though as we were half an hour late leaving, and when I came to use my phone as we needed to contact friends to say we'd be late, I couldn't find my charger for it (it was down to 22%).  It always lives in the car but not now!  I will have to buy another one.

When we got there Keith wanted to see every stall thoroughly,  and chat to friends, and so I began to worry about being away from the kittens for so long. That's the trouble when your stress levels are already high.  

 Then it was trying to sort out a problem, this past two days. You will all know what it is like when you are trying to contact a company about something, and you get a robot to speak to.  If your particular problem isn't a one word option the robot knows, that's it.  In fact, when I said I want to speak to a real person, I got cut off! This is Sky, by the way.  We had a 2nd booster (Q box is it?) which never worked properly, so I cancelled the subscription and they wanted the box back.  They sent me a box and label, and I sent it back on 3rd November.  Then last week I got a text saying if I didn't send it back, I would get a fine!  You can't reply to that texted message. Of course, I can't get through to the right place, on the phone or on line.  I was going from room to room (computer in one place, ability to use mobile phone in another - it doesn't recognize the house phone).  I left it overnight, in a tizz, then today I couldn't find the proof of postage.  Goodness, I got my knickers in a real twist and went from room to room looking for it before finally finding it in Tam's bedroom on her bookcase - inches from the window I have to stand at to get a phone signal.  It doesn't help that Royal Mail are on strike, so I couldn't even check on line today to see if it had been actually delivered (forgot to do this last week).

When I gave Keith today's post, and a brown DVLC envelope which had been moved and then covered on the table after arriving last week, he said he wanted the one that came last week for taxing the car.  I searched everywhere again, getting even more stressed, only to twig that the one I gave him this morning and the one with forms in which he opened today were one and the same.  We had words, and had to go for a walk before I exploded!  

L.Whale and Alfie - "we're safe out here", and Alfie thinks as he is not actually TOUCHING the table, he is allowed to be there!!

It's been quite stressful with the kittens, keeping them contained if Big Boys loose, but then once the big boys realized they were in the new big crate, they wouldn't even come into the room and have been sleeping in the kitchen.  I have Feliway arriving tomorrow to calm big cats down - I wish they did a human form!!  Alfie did walk in this afternoon, and didn't hiss and spit for once (babies asleep in their "cage"!)

I'd best go down and rescue Keith now as I fed the kittens before coming up to finish writing this and they will be turbo-charged!

Friday 11 November 2022

Friday roundup and of course some kitten photos too.

 I can't remember who was asking, but the header photo was one I took last Friday on the way to pick up the kittens.  It's of the Towy Valley near Carmarthen, where there are meanders of river and flooding by Dryslwyn Castle.  Here's another, of the castle ruins.

Not a great deal happening this week, apart from kitten cuddling.  My breathing hasn't been good (I think it's from having the carpets cleaned - there was an ammonia smell for several days when I came down in the morning.)  I sprayed the carpets with 50/50 water and white vinegar to neutralize it and had my air purifier on in both rooms. I am better today - kittens were brought upstairs and their crate put in Tam's bedroom.  

Before the kittens arrived, I finally got to finish sewing the rose x-stitch I bought when I visited Mottisfont with my best friend Tricia a few months before she died.  That would be 6 years ago now.  I will get it framed and on the wall with my other stitched pieces.  

I have been baking cakes today - one for friends, and one for visitors.  Lemon Drizzle and Dorset Apple Cake respectively.  Busy last week making jars of jellies: 

This was so high in pectin it was setting in the pan as I was ladling it out!

Both jellies almost free - just the cost of sugar and a quick heating.  Apples from friend Pam, Blackberries picked locally, and Crabapples from Tam.

I heard loud cat yowling outside this morning, and got out there in time to see L. Whale and young black and white tom from the farm up the hill, having a stand-off.  I tried to break it up by shouting and running towards them but L. Whale decided he wanted this young whippersnapper off his property and leapt into action.  Oh goodness, he was twice (or three) times the size of the young tom and there was fluff going everywhere.  The young cat ran off, with L. Whale in hot pursuit.  I don't think we'll see him again in a while.

Meanwhile, the two little horrors have started climbing up the blanket over the crate and found where their food lives and were trying to get into the open sachet.  They have terrific appetites, and would have a dozen meals a day, let alone the four they are getting.

I have renamed Scallywag.  Called her Lulu instead (after the 1920s song which talks about don't bring anyone "wild and woolly"!)  "You can bring Pearl, she's a darn nice girl, but don't bring Lulu".

Note the long-suffering Ghengis in the background.  He doesn't mind them at all, even when they bite his tail!  He just pulls a put-upon face.

After each other's tails.

Some Zzzzzzzzzzzzs with G. Uncle Ghengis.

Do you want a close up?


I am still having to be very careful that they aren't in the same room as either of the big boys, who really don't like them and due to their size, are quite capable of harming them if they wish.  I don't think L. Whale would - he has been running away until yesterday, but now he hisses nastily.  His brother, Alfie, is probably one to watch more as he is a prolific catcher of baby rabbits and the kittens are baby rabbit size.  He also hisses and spits.  Hoping it will all calm down soon but for the moment, my nerves are plucked ragged!  I didn't expect this reaction.

A nice week with family here - Gabby yesterday, who was enchanted by the new additions, and Tam arrives tomorrow to stay over.   Next weekend it's Danny and his girlfriend and her little girl.  We are meeting them for the first time.

Right, this won't do.  Have a lovely weekend.