Monday 31 July 2023

Quick update


A Wall butterfly in the garden this week.  Only the 2nd I've ever seen - and the other one was last year in the Elan valley.

A quick update on Keith.  Having spoken to the Dr today, he can carry on with his higher Levothyroxine dose (phew) although it's not ideal.  The oedema is down partly to the lowering of the thyroxine levels and probably also partly to the upping of his blood pressure pills!  Jeepers - almost impossible to get it all balanced - everything has unwanted side effects.  Anyway, he slept about 12 hours last night - he tried getting up at 10.30 and couldn't stand.  Tried again at 1.30 and he could.  He was walking better this morning, but is tired again this evening. Let's hope we can get back to where he was a couple of months ago.

    It was his fortnightly massage today and the horsey gal came along but had to do his back/neck with him sat in a chair as he couldn't have gotten up on her massage table.  

    Lots of rain here today but I managed to get a walk in when it wasn't quite such heavy rain.  It was good to get out and clear my head.

    I'll try for a belated church post tomorrow.

Sunday 30 July 2023

Family History fatalities . . .

 I have been very late to realizing that Find my Past has actual access to Newspapers so I am making up for lost time as my subscription runs out in October I think it is (note to self: must check).

    Anyway, I was doing searches on various family members and now know that one member did not die of natural causes, as I had assumed.

In late summer 1853, my 3 x g. grandmother had been visiting her sick father in Brixham, and was setting off for home in Totnes, when Mr Mingo, who had delivered a corpse to Brixham in his hearse, asked her if she wanted a lift home.  She was pleased to do so and sat on the "dickey" of the horse-drawn hearse.  They proceeded safely until "they reached Black Post, where the road being steep, Mrs Brown preferred to get down and walk, and whilst in the act of getting down, something connected with the hearse [Jennie: I believe it was a spring] broke, and the horse started off down the road, dragging the poor woman along the road, she being entangled with some part of the hearse.  The horse was, however, soon stopped by coming in contact with a gentleman's gig, which was much damaged.  The deceased, Mrs Brown, was then conveyed home in an omnibus, but was quite dead.  Mingo, the driver, was also much hurt.  At the Coroner's Inquest held on Saturday Morning, a a verdict of "Accidental Death" was recorded."

    How sad . . . and you would think a fairly unusual accident, but no, and again it was another family member - my g. grandmother, who also suffered an accident when alighting from a horse-drawn wagon when driving into the country to see friends.  She too decided to dismount from the wagon at the hill by Bourton Hall.  "Her dress was caught as she alighted and she was thrown under the wheel.  Dr Cuppridge was passing at the time, and superintended the removal of Mrs Bow to her home, where on examination he found that two ribs were broken and that she was suffering from shock to the system." She escaped lightly, only to die still young (40s I think) just 5 years later).

    I carried on searching and whilst not looking for them, found another fatal accident, involving another relative in Totnes.  This was George Albert Rogers, aged just 31.  He worked in the timber trade and this brought about his demise.  "John Penwill, who was working with the deceased at the time, said that the piece of timber which fell on the deceased was 44 feet in length.  Deceased had got off the top of the tree which was 8 to 10 feet long from the wagon, and which was on the ground, and while deceased was trying to move the other piece, it suddenly shifted and knocking deceased down caught his head between the tree that slipped and the tree that was on the ground.  In reply to the Coroner, the witness said the deceased and himself were not in the habit of using dogs (I assume these are metal grips to fix on the trunks for moving them) although they had them in the wagon.  The Coroner remarked if the dogs had been used, the accident would not have happened."

    I will spare you the gruesome details which came next but suffice it to say his head was crushed between the two trees. A verdict of accidental death was recorded.

    Then dang me, another brother in the same family lost his farming job after the woman running the farm retired.  Before his last days at work, he took his own life, with a shotgun, as he could see no way forward.

    My own g. grandfather also took his life because of early onset Parkinsons, death by drowning in the Leat at Totnes.  

    Life here is a bit difficult at the moment.  You may remember Keith had a private blood test to check his thyroxine levels and whether or not his Thyroid was working properly.  He was found to have excess Thyroxine in the blood and the GP said to alter (lower) the dose and they would do a blood test after two months.  That is due on 16th August, but in the last week he has been going downhill steadily and barely able to get around - it took him 3/4 hour to get from his chair and up to bed a couple of nights ago.  Today he went up to the loo late afternoon, very slowly and announced he would have to go to bed as he knew he wouldn't be able to get up the stairs again.  So first thing in the morning I will be on the phone to the GP for advice.  He had his tea in bed and is currently being cared for by Ghengis and the two girls :)

I am having a glass of wine . . .

Friday 28 July 2023

A breath of fresh air

 I wasn't in a gardening mood today, so I did some family history, began to write a letter whilst watching Escape to the Country, and got a short walk in.

As you can see, the showground campsites are pretty well empty now - just a few caravans around this morning, probably from people still clearing the site.

A fencepost staring at the view . . .  How did I not notice that was there?!

Above and below: an old fallen tree in the field by the young plantation.  It looks like it might have been a big Hawthorn in its prime.

Square Stemmed St John's Wort.  You can feel the stem is square to touch.  The Perforate St John's Wort has tiny holes in the leaves, and the S.S. has not, which is obviously how you tell the difference!

Knapweed.  I have some of this in the little wild flower patch in the orchard this year.  I think it was in the wild flower mix.



What a difference a day makes.  Not quite lined up but the only vehicles left on this parking area are the toilet block? in the bottom picture.

Lots of clouds have been making a lovely skyscape all day but just a few drops of rain today.

From the few words, you will probably guess I am tired. Keith is exhausted - he has been asked to cut down on his Thyroxine meds and this is the result.  It took him 45 minutes to get from the living room, upstairs into bed last night. (I was desperately tired and wonder how I managed to stay awake).  He also has oedema again, and can barely get about.  His blood pressure decided to be high one day, which was scary but back within limits now.  It's SO hard to get the drugs balanced so he functions properly.

Off to sit down with a book now.  Have a good weekend everyone.

Wednesday 26 July 2023

A Taste of the Royal Welsh Show

 Only from tv coverage - I haven't been down there personally.  Some of the photos aren't very sharp, but hey ho . . .  Enjoy.  Best first, and the main reason I was watching the coverage yesterday - the Welsh Cob stallion class.  WOW is all I can say.  Some superb horses forward.  They stand in the collecting ring and come in breathing fire to hurtle at a superb powerful trot down past the judges - first impressions and all that.

They then go back to walk and circle the ring whilst the Judges (who are probably familiar with many from judging them elsewhere) appraise them and then make a line-up.  It is fairly rare that they change horses around but that occasionally happens at smaller shows(and with lesser horses) after each horse gives an individual show.  First it is appraised whilst standing  squarely - the judge will be looking for any little conformation faults, any deflection away from the breed standards, and then they walk towards the judge and then past and away and then turned and do this spectacular trot past the grandstand and the judges. 

Above and below: the winner of the class, and he went on to be overall Welsh Cob show champion. That's HIS stud fee doubled I should think!! I didn't note his name but gosh, he's a cracker and absolutely typical of the breed.

A winning and beautiful very feminine Section A (Welsh Mountain) mare.  The commentary was all in Welsh, so I didn't get names.

An entry in the Section B Welsh (there are 4 sections).  I think this colt went on to win his class.

Another Section A in action.

A snippet from the sheep-shearing. Each competitor has a set number of sheep to shear and the quickest wins.  They were very deft and even an awkward sheep was expertly and calmly handled.

Pair of Beef cattle - the chestnut brown pair won. They had come down from Scotland I think.  I wasn't sure if it was father and progeny.  The judge was very thorough.

Finally, a view from up the lane of a fraction of the caravans, cars, tents etc on site.  Every field around the showground is crammed with the same, and the young farmers have a gigantic site a mile or so out of town.  It rained steadily all afternoon yesterday so I imagine they had a busy time of hauling cars from the car parks with local tractors.

You would not believe the amount of booze delivered to pubs in the town in the run up to the show!!

Right, 20 to 4 (a.m.) now so I am back off to bed.  Hoping I can sleep now.

Morning now, 9 a.m., the sun's out and I am planning to be back out in the garden in several areas.  There is still SO MUCH to do out there - clearing the shrubs end of the bank now the grass is just standing hay. The hedge is an overgrown mess and I would like to carry on clearing the house end of the bank, and planting that up.  No peace for the wicked.


Visiting the Dig at Arthur's Stone


On Saturday morning I made the most of a drier spell and drove across to Dorstone, to visit the penultimate day of this year's Dig at Arthur's Stone. It was the OpenDay. HERE is a - very brief - link to work on the site in layman's terms, from the Hereford Times.  "Archaeology at Arthur's Stone" is the more detailed Facebook page if you want to check that, and it has links to the nearby dig at Snodhill Castle too - exciting times there as well as they found a private Royal Free Chapel.  I've not visited this site, so this is one to go to this summer.

The view across Golden Valley from Arthur's Stone.

A new area uncovered this season at the entrance to the Burial Chamber.  The white grid is used for drawing the plan of a particular area of the site.

An exciting find - a cist which had been added later and contained some cremated remains which are now being analysed.

More exploring at the back of the entrance.

This shows the dry stone walling which demonstrates this was one of the Cotswold-Severn group of burial chambers.  Amazingly, what appears to be neatly-dressed pieces of stone occur naturally - what's more the Dig explored an area of the field behind Arthur's Stone and found these pieces in situ!  BELOW You can see the smaller little "wall" of stones close to the nearest end of the trench.  Amazing - but how did folk KNOW this was here?  I can only assume it was sheer luck when quarrying for the "doughnut" of stone which surrounds the burial chamber.

One last glimpse of Arthur's Stone . . .

    The kittens have been on Bat Watch this week, but I have blocked the attic door with a towel. The last one to crawl through was hung on the towel where it had ended up, out of the window overnight.  It was still there yesterday morning so I gently shook it off, but it has clearly died as it hasn't moved from the outer windowsill.  

    Yesterday Lulu had to be persuaded that perhaps pursuing a Hornet which had landed on the glazed half of the old kitchen door, was NOT a good career move.  I managed to catch it using a large yoghurt pot and lid and took it outside.

    Meanwhile, L. Whale brought in a live mouse last night.  I heard him give a "Look what I've caught" meow, but unfortunately around the "Look what" part he opened his mouth too wide and it escaped and is somewhere under the shoe rack or the food cupboard in the hall.  According to two interested kittens that is.

    I did some more family history yesterday and noted THIS gem (he would be my 1st cousin, twice removed).

Northampton Mercury 14 January 1910.

"Joseph Battams wishes to thank Fred Kellaway Esq, and other local gentlemen and friends from around the villages of Shutlanger, Stoke Bruerne, Roade and Blisworth, who SO KINDLY HELPED HIM OUT of his LITTLE DIFFICULTY.  With KINDEST THANKS to all."

    Having checked other newspaper reports, I don't believe this is linked to him riding his bike without lights, for which he was fined 4 shillings, and 4 shillings costs . . .  Will report back!

Monday 24 July 2023

A morning at Malvern Fleamarket


The alarm went off at 4.45. Since I had been awake for half an hour or so around 3 a.m. I was in a very deep sleep and left my brain on the pillow for a few hours!  Anyway, I got to Malvern at 7.35 and wasn't surprised to see far less cars in the car park and far less outside stalls than usual.  The weather forecast for the weekend had obviously put people off, although the Met Office's 10% chance of rain from 7 a.m. - mid afternoon proved correct.  I had taken a spare top and jeans just in case though and walking boots in case the ground was wet. I managed in waterproof walking trainers as it happens.

One of the more genteel outside stands.  Everything else there was white.

WHO on earth would want an upended pair of legs?!

Above and below - gorgeous wrought iron garden ornaments. There were also tall umbellifers, but I forgot to get a photo of those.  The swallows (a sort of three swallow arrangement) were £25 and I was mighty tempted, but it was early in the day and so I saved my money.  Next time .. .  Below are Bullrushes and lovely ferns, though of the latter I have more than plenty of the real thing in my garden.

The plant people who sell at Hay Market had their usual stand and I snapped up another Verbena "Bampton" which has dark purple foliage and little star like purple flowers.

A couple of other folk had plant stalls and I couldn't resist this either:  Sidalcea "Party Girl".  Also known as False Mallow.  Apparently it needs moist but well drained soil.  How many of us have that?!  It should hopefully be ok this end of the bank which holds more moisture than where the shrubs are.


Lots of these enamelware items about the place.  Can't get excited about rusty tin items though.

These folk buy up masses of these pots out in Turkey and bring them back by the pallet-load.  Below, same thing applies to their dough boards which are used for making Flatbread.  I have a few of these for my next stand.

One stall had a circus/fair theme and these rather oddball items obviously used to be in a Fair.  I don't think I'd want them in my house.

Even more hideous, a sort of "Herne the Hunter" made-up arrangement.  Not for me . . .

When there are no prices and "smart" display cards, I automatically assume I can't afford them!!!  Keith told me off for not asking the prices of the Polynesian throwing clubs . . .

Sorry, I forgot the couple of indoor stalls photos.

I bought this, ostensibly to take to the next Fair, but I do like it very much.  Someone has sawn the top off (as you do!) so it needs framing, but I will measure it up and see what I can find. I think it's the little turquoisey window/door on the left which makes this picture.

I was away by about 10.15 so got to listen to the Archers Omnibus on the drive back (Keith will have been relieved!)  I stopped at a church too - post of that later in the week.  It was a good bit of time off from my caring duties, and Keith didn't miss much as a lot of the stalls were very car-bootish - stock just not desirable. Our favourite traders/stalls aren't trading there any more so I assume didn't sell enough to make it worthwhile.  

I hope you all had a good weekend.  I am trying to work out how to avoid the show traffic to go and do the grocery shop (and kicking myself for not doing it in Ledbury Tesco's yesterday!) It's the week of the Royal Welsh Show and traffic through the town will be nose to tail.  They have shut off the roads which go across from one side of town to the other too.  I can go a very long way round across the Eppynts to join up with the road which I need for Brecon, or I can chance going towards Maesmynis, then along the steeply-ending lane which dumps you into traffic coming round a blind bend - NOT good when you are turning right. We went that way once and never again . . . If I turned left and then went into the layby 100yds on to turn around . . . just possible.

I am making a big pan of Minestrone soup this morning - it felt like a soup day.  Now, having stripped Keith's bed before breakfast, I need to make it up with fresh linen.