Wednesday 29 May 2024

An outing to Llysdinam gardens open day

 We went to Llysdinam House for an Open Garden and Plant Sale on Saturday.  The clouds looked ominous, and the heavens opened just as we reached Newbridge-on-Wye.  We pulled into a layby for a while, waiting for it to ease, which it did, so we went onto the house.  It rained a bit whilst we were walking round, but then the sun came out again.  Here are a few photos.  Self-explanatory so no words.  I bought 3 plants which should survive the winter here (if I go for Geums and Cranesbills, I'm ok).  Verbascum virgatum (Twiggy Verbascum I think it is), Geranium Phaeum Album - need more of these, and Geranium magnificum.

Keith now has a social worker - well done Gabby.  She's been doing all the chasing for me.  She's just given me an update and the Social Worker is coming out on Monday, then she gets in touch with the District Nurses for them to do a medical assessment.  He is a lot more comfortable now, but coughing at night - although when I spoke to the GP yesterday she just suggested SALT came out again - I wanted her to listen to his chest (which, admittedly, sounds OK at present but that's just my ear on his ribs).

The typical British "It's raining but we carry on regardless"!  Iarna's Snow White dress had rising damp - last minute decision to go, so she had her play things on.

P.S.  This is a first-time-ever-seen for me - at Cors-y-Llyn reservoir the other day, a beautiful Marsh Cinquefoil.

Below - a few more blocks sown.  I did another 3 this morning, first thing.

Sunday 26 May 2024

An improvement


THAT'S more like it.  The Moda design works. I shall be sewing as much of this quilt as I can the next couple of days. Tam, Jon and Rosie here, so that's a delight.  Keith seems none the worse for yesterday's scare, but as he still may have inhaled food, I will have to watch him carefully. I want the GP out next week to come and check on him.

I tripped and slammed into the upper hall wall when I was hurtling for the phone to ring for an ambulance yesterday and have a big bruise on my upper arm (I collided with the end of the support rail for Keith) and my left foot hit the wall and is puffy and painful this morning.  A poorly big toe.  It hurt to drive yesterday, and I will NOT be going to Malvern Flea tomorrow (boo hoo).  It is definitely NOT up to 3 hours driving and a couple of miles walking.

Hopefully the bit of rain we have woken up to won't get any heavier as us girls had planned a visit to an Open Garden this afternoon.  It's a beautiful garden and they have plant sales . . .  I have room for some more Geums and Cranesbills, which survive here - more select (e.g. expensive!) plants snuff it over the winter.

Saturday 25 May 2024

What could possibly go wrong?

 That's what I said about the "very simple" zig zag quilt. Well, you can buy a Moda jelly roll - which is just 2 1/12" wide.  The quilt instructions were for a 2 3/4" width . . .  I tried to modify it when I did a test strip, but could see it wasn't going to work . . .

Imagine it on the diagonal - the top single block is a corner.  As you can see, nothing matches - width is not equal when turned upwards, as per instructions.  I had to halve the end quarter-squares again, which made them too small.  I have abandoned the magazine pattern now and found an actual Moda one, which is a slightly different layout, but will at least go together the right way. I will incorporate the print into the pattern now, but still have the darker one as a border to make it up to double quilt size.

Pippi - It went in here

Mayhem here last night with two hunting kittens, after a mouse Pippi had bought in live and let go of in the afternoon.  Danny finally found it, picked it up by the tail and let it go outside.  I was hoping it had escaped to enjoy life, but have just found a recently deceased mouse looking just the same as yesterday's victim, so it hadn't gone far and Pippi'd killed it this time, little horror.

Lulu - can't see it behind here either. . .

Pippi - I can hear it up this end now . . .

The day started very scarily, as Keith insisted on a fried egg in a toasted sandwich.  My gut feeling said NO, but he has so few pleasures I had to give up talking him out of it.  He choked on the last mouthful and I had to phone 999.  It cleared whilst they were on their way, but they do obs just in case and had to write it all up.  My nerves are only just settling again. We were all worried sick.

On the positive side, Keith has just walked along the landing right to the top of the stairs which is a huge improvement, and I can tell he is determined he WILL get downstairs again. He has regained a little weight and strength anyway.

Now to try some sewing . . .  Watch this space - everything could go wrong!

Friday 24 May 2024

Take a bow, Doughty's

 . . . for the fabric happiness you sent my way today.  Not only was my order processed super-quick (as always) but when the fabric I ordered wasn't in stock, you helped with a decision of an alternative.  I am delighted!  This is the shop in Hereford I like to visit.  I've not been able to go there since visiting Keith in Hospital in March, but will go back again soon.

This is (top) for the borders and binding, and below, for the half square corner patches.

Doughty's don't do jellyrolls, so I got this from The Cotton Patch.  Gorgeous colours.

Now I'm going up to play Scrabble with Keith.

I need to get out of the house

 Apologies, but I am having problems with Keith co-operating and I am being driven totally witless.  K got Danny to turn the air bed off a couple of days back - it was 24 hours before I noticed.  That did NOT help his btm. The District Nurse was due to come out today anyway.  We have Keith on his side but that makes his neck and back very painful.  We can't win.  Update: D. Nurse been, sorted the areas out and put stickers on the worst areas, and noticed his catheter was leaking - hence the wet bed this morning, which I had put down to fluid seeping from his btm (the reason I was so worried sick) and cause of the apparent worsening of the area.  They're coming back this afternoon to change his catheter.

Danny and Emma have been brilliant.  How could I manage without them?  

More worries from Gabby being told if you want carers, find them yourself - more or less.  That was very upsetting and worrying.  Anyway, we are working out a paid package of care with Emma, who was a carer in the past (and has been so helpful since being here).  A real relief.  I am now going to Cors-y-Llyn in search of Marsh Cinquefoil and Dragonflies.

Wednesday 22 May 2024

The path to Wigmore Castle

 I began putting up the photos for this two days ago.  I have had a very busy week.  My poor brain keeps forgetting words I should know, because I just work from one job to the next and never get a chance to rest.  Monday was the worst day when I was still "working" - Keith's meds) 10 minutes before I literally FELL into bed.  Today I have been sorting out medications, what we have in stock and what needs re-ordering, topping up the pill dispenser, and seeing to Keith.  Had two deliveries today and Keith now has a mattress topper in light plastic - a bigger version of the seat one I had put beneath him in desperation last week.  D. Nurse came yesterday (I had popped out of course) and put a sort of 2nd skin dressing on his worst pressure sore.  It hasn't completely covered it though so she will have to do better when she comes on Friday.    

Today I have sat down and cut and sewn 10 strips required for the quilt and pressed them.  I enjoyed that, though began by losing my dressmaking scissors, every single one of my tape measures and then changed the blade on the cutter and couldn't put it back together again without the help of a Youtube video.  I think that gives a fairly damning explanation of the state of my brain these days.  I regularly can't remember if I've taken my inhalers or not.

I've started replacing the ties on a lovely duvet that was my late friend Annie's. Just need to unpick the seam a little to set them in and out of the way.  That's the next job.  My tea has been cooked for me courtesy of Emma, a nice veggie stew (with a chicken portion on the side for D & myself.)

Yesterday I had a real tussle finally trying to get up the shade in the greenhouse.  I looked online, but that was of no use whatsoever, especially when the Vitavia site mentioned the "two hooks" to fasten the wire along the greenhouse.  There were no hooks (or identifiable parts!) that came with mine, and no instructions.  I have done a total Joe Bodgit job and fastened the wire across the top, stood on a stool and sewed a hem on it. Why didn't I think to do this before the wire was in place? Then I put another length of the wire across from bar to bar half way down the greenhouse to hold the shade, tucking it behind the staging.  Since the Youtube photo I found showed it carefully cut into strips and fixed neatly in place against the roof glass, I clearly just screwed up monumentally.  Since it felt like 100 degrees inside the greenhouse, I wasn't prepared to linger over it!

Anyway, Wigmore Castle with the briefest of write-ups.  You will now why . . . brain not in residence.

So beautiful- Cow Parsley flooding the churchyard.

A lovely Wisteria on this cottage.

I am hoping if you click on this, it will enlarge so you can read it.

It was a very hot day, and I will confess to not walking the final uphill bit to the top of the castle.  I was pooped.  A nice spot and all that excellent farmland shows why they wanted control of this area.

Sunday 19 May 2024

Noises in the night . . .

 I didn't have a very restful sleep last night. Keith was coughing and I was worrying and lay awake 3 hours (the standard length of time for insomnia for me).  Finally I nodded off and then there was a cacophany in the top hall - Shadow-cat hurtling up and down, brief pauses and then more hurtling.  I swore at him, got up and found him proudly sitting by a large dead mouse!  NOT what you want in the bedrooms.  I think it must have come out from behind the wooden panelling as cats have been spotted sat by a room corner in the past (K's bedroom).  Anyway, it was a Harvest Mouse - I would have preferred a dead House Mouse as Harvest Mice are so pretty with their chestnut coats and white tummies.  I removed said mouse and dropped off again, only to hear a loud lamb bleat outside the bathroom when I got up for the loo.  Well, of course that was IT  for the night then - I had to go and check. The nearest sheep are two fields away.  I noted from the window that our new neighbour was also up and surveying his vegetable plot.  Perhaps he'd heard sheep too. Couldn't see hide nor hair of any sheep but oh gosh, what a beautiful sunrise and morning it was.

I visited Tam and Rosie yesterday and did gardening, sweeping, clothes sorting and lots of washing up.  Tam can't wash up as Rosie won't be laid down without screaming the house down.  Jon hates washing up . . .  I imagine they were close to running out of plates and bowls and things to cook in!!

A rather misty view up in the mountains yesterday when I took the "scenic" short cut home via Devil's Bridge.  Tam set the Google maps satnav on my phone so I didn't get lost (without that I certainly would have!)  I found it surprising that there were so many farmsteads literally right out in the middle of nowhere and that marshy land not much good for anything.

As I said, short cuts like this one through the mountains (Tam calls it "over the top") are scenic.  Not many passing places though.  

A misty view of the back of a mine building up in the mountains.  These were primarily mining lead and zinc, though silver was found in a mine nearer Aberystwyth. You can still have the Silver Mountain experience (for a little under £20 for an adult).  Wouldn't mind doing that sometime.

Here's a nice "doer-upper" for you . . . Not that there is a for sale sign, I might add.

Today I have been very busy in the garden planting things, watering, weeding etc. Danny's gone to Cardiff to see some friends, and "I" and her mum went to the Smallholder's Fair on the showground, the highlight of which for little "I" was not the pony scurry, or the motorbikes, or the many animals, but the fact that she saw a goat poo into her water bucket!

Wigmore Castle tomorrow, I promise!

Friday 17 May 2024


 I had meant to write up Wigmore Castle today but it's been hectic here. D&E off to wedding in the next county, little "I" to her dad's, and me dealing with Keith alone.  I have struggled and got so cross I phoned ASSIST to ask where the carers were.  Nothing doing.  I reported back to T, G & D and G was on the phone like a rabbit down a hole, and soon got things sorted.  Apparently Keith STILL has no Social Worker handling his case, and apparently - this is interesting - the Hospital told Powys Council that Keith needed carers in 4 times a day - Powys had him down for 1 hour a day.  That is now going forward to brokering again and as it's a bigger care package, should be more successful (you'd think it was the other way round). I think it sounds like since the Hospital said 4 times a day they actually had to pull their finger out and DO something.

I waited all afternoon for the D. Nurse to turn up, and ended up leaving two messages saying I was fairly desperate.  Fortunately she came an hour ago and put a dressing on the big pressure sore, and said I'd done the right thing by putting the blow-up air cushion beneath him to make him more comfortable.  It suddenly came to me earlier that I had seen it somewhere recently and that it might help.,  Finding it - AND the thing wot blows it up - mopped up half an hour.  I have also ordered a suitable mattress topper, and the D. Nurse has put in an order for a change of mattress for Keith, as this one far too rock hard.

I had rashly bought 4 punnets of small strawberries on the Market on the Groe this morning.  2 punnets for £3.  Seemed a good buy, and I could use them for jam.  I made microwave jam with them - of course, lots of boiling over and mess and one jar cracked in half when I spooned some of the jam in.  I got four jars anyway.  "I" loves jam sandwiches and home made jam is so superior to the cr*p you buy in supermarkets which is all sugar.

I spoke to the GP, who prescribed antibiotics for Keith, but needed the D. Nurse to do a set of Obs. on him, which she did. Finally dashed out around 5 to get the prescription, but then Boots didn't have the item in stock.  Llandod did, but were shutting in 10 mins. Lakeside never answered the phone.  Pharmacist kindly made up enough a-b's in liquid form to last Keith until tomorrow, so he's had his first dose and will have another at bedtime.  

So if you wonder where my day went, that fairly sums it up, along with feeding and medicating Keith etc.  Now I am going to have a relaxing evening, once I've made up his pill doses for the next week . . .

Thursday 16 May 2024

Best made plans of mice and men . . .

 I had planned to go to the Quilt Festival at Malvern this week - today in fact.  Then I read that the new Covid variant (F.L.i.R.T.) is really taking off and it didn't seem like a good idea, as Keith is so vulnerable.  I decided not to go. Disappointment is so common here, I can cope with it easily.  There will be another time.  So I am buying fabrics on line - I'm at the planning stage of Gabby's Christmas present, as she has asked for a new quilt.  She's not keen on the traditional patchwork patterns, so I am trying to find something that might appeal to her.  A simple zigzag is a possible, and there's a triangles one which would be nice (but all those points!)  I just want something trouble free!  I was planning to see Tam and Rosie on Saturday, but have a very slight cold (and "I" is unfortunately coughing) so that is probably off too.  Tam is desperate for a nap as Rosie being very demanding and won't sleep in her cot in the day.


This couldn't be simpler - just two dark/light strips sewn together . . .  What could possibly go wrong?!!! Favourite so far.

Bars - a bit boring after doing the curtains, but it would be quickish.  This is my least favourite option.

More bars - and I prefer the layout.  This would be simple too, and as I have ordered a jelly roll of fabric, I could scoot through this as well.  Not too "patchworky" looking for Gabs.

Here's a rag doll I definitely WON'T be making - I should think it would scare most kids witless!  Gives ME the creeps!  It was in a copy of Primitive Quilts magazine I have. 

A useful Alphabets in x-stitch book I treated myself to this week - many of the themed letters could be used individually as a gift.

I had a walk up to my friend Chris's yesterday, and made a fuss of her horses and Whippets, and a cup of tea, and came home relaxed.    Now Keith has wound me up good and proper, as he needs a-b's again but won't let me order them as he knows he will have to have thickened drinks then . . .  The replacement air mattress is too hard and his pressure sores worsening.  D. Nurse coming out tomorrow but I think I need some advice today.  Off for a walk . . .

Monday 13 May 2024

No internet again

 It kept falling out last week and then died completely on Friday.  Fortunately Openreach DID come and fix it this morning and so we are back in the land of the living again, just in time to check out beautiful photos of wee Rosie having found her smile!  I wish I could share, but Tam doesn't want me to share without asking.  You will have to make do with a photo of Pippi instead.  She was hiding in here because Shadow was lurking.  Normally it's no holds barred if she or Lulu spot him . . .  They absolutely LOATHE and detest him.

The sunshine has been wonderful but definitely too hot for me when I visited Wigmore Castle on Saturday.  It was quite a plod (uphill much of it) from where you have to park at the village hall.  On the way I recognized a house we had had sale details for, many years back now.  It was lovely but right by a main road, so that struck it off the possibles immediately.  We still had to wait many years to sell anyway, because of being next to the Dairy Farm. Here it is.

A lovely house.

I'll do a write up about Wigmore Castle tomorrow.

Friday 10 May 2024

Itchy sewing fingers . . .


My dear friend Gay sent me this book 30 years ago, when my kids were small.  I never did get around to making it, but when I found it in my craft book stash recently, my fingers began to itch to get to work on it.  Hope to start the central block today.  When I went to the dentist in Llandovery yesterday, I found some pretty fabrics in the wool/patchwork shop there, which will suit. The narrow bias binding is for mending the ties on a duvet - I'll need to zigzag stitch down the middle to hold the strips together.  

I gave myself a lunch treat after the dentist - I had three tiny fillings replaced which were by the gums so as long gas I didn't eat on that side, I could eat straight away.  I had a good sausage roll and lovely raspberry and white chocolate muffin from the bakery there, and bought a lovely crusty brown Harvest loaf - so tasty.  How people eat this cheap white sliced pap is beyond me.

Despite the dentist appt, it almost seemed like a day out - it's about 25 miles away, and the route goes through hill country and the road has a beautiful woodland-edging.  It was so good to see all the trees (bar the Ash) sporting leaves in varying hues of green.  When I used to walk up our old valley along the Cothi, the view across to the wooded slopes there showed as 50 shades of green in May.  I even saw a Hare - first I've seen since we first moved to Wales, so they aren't that common.  Last week I saw a Curlew up on the Eppynts, and that was a joy too - it was right beside the road.  The Swifts have arrived, and have been flying above our hill, feeding, and on occasion, shrieking too. The sound of summer.

I was busy in the garden at 6 a.m. yesterday.  I woke early and went out to work before it got hot.  I got a few more boughten plants in, did lots of weeding, and am trying to reclaim the edges of the area at the top of the garden which is covered in large golden gravel and now totally reclaimed by Foxgloves, so I am going to add other boughten plants here and make it into another bed.  First the Tormentil, Buttercups, Plantain and Nettles had to go though!  Not to mention the foot or so of grass which had colonised the edges.  Photos later.

Today I am going to sort out the raised beds and put fresh compost and farmyard manure in them to top them up and then get the bean poles and runner beans in. That gives me some more room in the greenhouse to get some tall perennial seeds started - some of the ones I gave Tam for Christmas which came from Old Bladbean Stud gardens.  If you have Facebook, do look them up. They put up daily photographs throughout the summer. The plantings are amazing - such a beautiful garden and all done from scratch.  I need to pot on various things in the greenhouse too.  

Keith is struggling with the Air bed as it is so hard and he says making his bedsores worse.  SALT are coming again today and he will trial the Tablet-style way of communicating.  Since having pneumonia, his speech is a huge struggle for him, sadly.

The Officious One from the OT team has decreed Keith is not allowed to use their shower board (across the bath) as she deems him too much of a risk (this on seeing him once and NOT using it at the time!) and has also demanded the toilet support be taken away too - lest we be tempted to use that as well, instead of the commode. She got right up my nose (and Keith's) when we met her and if she never darkens our doors again, it will be too soon.  You can do without people like that.  Fortunately the other professionals we have met are more facilitating and helpful.  We have NEVER had a problem using the shower board - there are two of us to help Keith if he needs it, and he only "stands up", supported by Danny, just a few inches off of it so I can wash his nether regions (sorry if TMI).  They told me, we could buy our own, so we have . . .  Obviously worried about being sued . . .

Right, off to the raised beds . . .