Thursday, 19 January 2017

Moss Busting!

A little burst of very early flowers in a corner of my garden this morning.  It was cold first thing, and I wanted to get out and garden, but had to wait until the sun came out a little bit, so I sat at the kitchen table and reorganized my family history folders - or at any rate, made a start on it, as everything was higgledy-piggledy.  I'm a bit further on with that now anyway.

I intended to dig and weed along here - not much fun as there is a lot of clay in the soil here, and all it seems to grow well is a good crop of Creeping Buttercups!  I made a start and suddenly thought, I had intended to clear moss from the walls too - if I scraped the wall which is the back of the woodshed straight away, I could wash it down and once it had dried off sufficiently, get a coat of paint on.  So this border got abandoned for a couple of hours whilst I cracked on with the scraping, scrubbing and painting.

Before coming back to this spot I also cleared some of the gravel area in the yard, by the house, but when I wanted to cut back the clematis there, do you think I could find my (expensive) secateurs?  Nope.  We searched everywhere for them.  I am worried I was doing something with them, got called for a phone call, then distracted, and they are rusting somewhere in the garden, but as they have red handles, I should have found them when I searched out there . . .

Above and below, as you can see, the borders and beds got abandoned last autumn (it always happens) and so I have a LOT to clear before the next viewing.

The woodshed wall AFTER I had de-mossed it.  As you can see, a fresh lick of paint was called for.

Here it is after, but because I still couldn't find the secateurs, I couldn't deal with that tangle of ivy on the post which has the outside water tap.  So instead, I cleaned and prepared the side wall of the woodshed and got that painted.

The bottom of the front wall of the house was also growing a lot of moss, so I took the scraper to that, and below, a stretch of it is ready for when the builder comes to repaint the house.

Just for a change, here is a lovely old Ewenny dish I bought at Auction recently.  It will be on our stand at the Botanic Gardens Antiques Fair at the end of the month, along with some other lovely pieces of Ewenny.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Fingers crossed - another viewing next month

I'm not holding my breath, but we have another viewing, in Early February.  I AM going to be beavering away to get the garden looking as neat and tidy as possible, and having the inside nice and smart and with as few things in the Junk Room as possible . . .  You can guess what I will be doing the rest of this week and next.

But at the weekend . . .

We have some time off for good behaviour  and will be going to . . . .


Keeping busy

I'm out of the door any minute, as we are minding the shop today.  I was awake in the night again for 2 hours - came down to read for one of them, and then fell back into another really dreamy sleep (must be processing stuff, as in one dream I was losing handfuls of hair and going bald!)  I have been dreaming so much this past week.

Perhaps it is to do with the family history I have been doing - I took out a month's Ancestry membership to try and find some missing persons, and have done very well actually, and finally found out that my Hobbs family, (grandad was a Hobbs) hailed from Cricklade in Wiltshire.

I also found out that two Hobbs brothers and two Wilson sisters were married together on the same day in mid Victorian times, and one marriage produced my family line with people leading ordinary hardworking lives, whilst the other one produced Sir Joseph John Talbot Hobbs, a superb architect and even more distinguished soldier.  He emigrated to Perth in Australia and there is a statue of him there!  I think he would be my 2nd cousin, once removed?

Briefly, here are the lovely casserole dish I bought in the summer, and then whilst in Ludlow I found the milk jug to accompany it (which is also going to be used as a gravy jug).  The jug was £8.99 but that's Oxfam for you!  Of course, I could hardly leave it in the shop once I'd seen it in the window . . .

Bird feeding - and Miffy had been sitting high up in the tree hoping a bird would fly into her mouth!  She had given up in disgust here and was making her way down.

Ah well, this won't do.  I need to find some stock to take in to have a change around on our Unit, so will wave goodbye for now.

P.S.  Do look up the Link for Sir Joseph, I'm rather proud of him!

Saturday, 14 January 2017

The delights of Leominster

After lunch, in a lovely old pub called the Rose and Crown which was hidden away behind the main street in Ludlow - and which served sandwiches of such monumental proportions we didn't need to eat for a week afterwards! - we dropped back down to Leominster, where there are lots of antique shops.  Voiceover by David Attenborough:  Ah, the antique dealers in their natural habitat . . .

I rather liked the soft dotty green of this dinner service, but it's Susie Coooper so not cheap . . .

This was more of a walk-through room as not a lot there to interest us, but it shows the diversity of what is on offer by various dealers.

Another mixed lot on offer. . .  I was trying to take photos where there weren't people in the same room, so didn't get to photograph some of the more winsome pieces.

BUT, I did get this one - these are absolutely SUPERB.  Not so much the fineness of the potting, but in the subdued movement of both foals playing.  The naughty bay and the chestnut about to retaliate!  Look at the price though . . . that won't even MAKE the same room as my Christmas list for 2017!!

This is a Keith piece - he loves old chests like this, preferably the Armada sort with lots of heavy iron strapping and needs moving with the help of a team of elephants . . .  "Try lifting one end" he invited me.  Well, it doesn't take much imagination to realize I couldn't shift it the minutest bit.

More goodies on offer here.  I loved the inlay on this Court Cupboard.

I have a soft spot for the rush-light holders shown at either end of this display case roof.  The price was a little prohibitive though.

I only realized after taking this photo of the skull (bronze) that the ivory figure beside it, draped in reptiles, looked . . . ahem . . . rather phallic.  Ignore that and concentrate on the skull!

Leominster too has it's narrow alleyways, like Cordwainers Lane, with its Elizabethan? overhang.

Above and below - examples of local craftsmanship.  The owl was particularly attractive.  The price tag reflected the artist's skill.

On the way home we took a loop around Weobley to find some water as we were both thirsty.  I have seen several properties for sale here down the years and wanted to check it out as a possible place to move to.

It is certainly a very attractive village, with a wonderful butchers, local shops, Doctors' surgery etc., and wonderful Magpie architecture.

One final picture through the windscreen of the sun setting over the Brecon Beacons.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

A much-needed Day Out

On Monday, despite the less than desirable weather (it rained all morning!) we had a day out to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  We set off for Ludlow, which is just over a two hour drive from here.  Unfortunately, I'd not done my homework, and hadn't realized that the castle would be shut during the week - it only opens on Winter weekends.  Ah well - I had to settle for taking a couple of photos through the fence, and one of those was distinctly wobbly (the 3rd).

The last time I had been to Ludlow castle was a few years ago when there was a Food Festival here.  That had been very enjoyable and I would love to go again when it is on, but I fear my dearly beloved would NOT enjoy it as he is not a foodie in any sense of the word, and really only eats to keep drawing breath!!

Ludlow is a beautiful and very historical town.  I am going to be a bit short on words tonight as I don't have time to get the research done to tell you about these buildings and do them justice, but hopefully I can find some extra descriptions to add tomorrow.

I love the little narrow Medieval streets, and there are some lovely shops to tempt you to part with some pennies.  I think the only shops we spent money in were charity shops though!  I bought his and hers jumpers (unworn ones, mine still had a label on) and a scarf, and in the Oxfam shop I found a lovely jug which matches the unused casserole dish of a pattern I drooled over in the 1990s - when we were skint and no way could I have afforded the £25 or so it cost in the shops.  I had been looking to replace our currently very elderly gravy boat, and this is it.  Not cheap - £8.99 in Oxfam - but it had my name on it.  I will try and get a photo of both pieces tomorrow.

A view of one end of the market stalls set out in the marketplace.

Now some window-shopping . ..

Grommit, take a bow.  Isn't he fun?!

I don't know how this lovely building got its name, but probably the blardy obvious one that it once sold fish!

The Parish Church of St Lawrence, which is lovely inside - we went in once before and took a pile of photos.  I must try and find them.  It soars above the town, when you see it from afar.  This LINK will give you some idea of its magnificence and history.  It dates from the 11th C and when Ludlow became very wealthy from the wool trade in the Medieval period, several extensions to St Laurence were carried out.

Self explanatory, but the wonderful carvings below were to the left and right of this blue plaque.  I presume they are Sir Henry Sidney and his Mrs.  He was related to just about everyone who it paid to be related to in late Tudor, and Elizabethan England and was, ahem, very well known in Ireland (and hated, I might add). 

Tomorrow - Leominster . . .

Sunday, 8 January 2017

A window on the past - getting sidetracked

I was going to use ALL of January to research and write a talk I have been asked to give about the Dymock Poets (Edward Thomas, Robert Frost, et al) and had made a good start on the timeline.  THEN, as the result of a book I was given for Christmas, about the history of one of the Widdicombe parishes, where the Smerdon family hailed from, and because I have a Smerdon connection in my distant family tree, I had blown the dust off one of my big folders of family history research.  On Friday, idle internet browsing suddenly became all-out research, inspired by what I had found. So many more documents and details have been posted by local history societies and family history societies and - should you wish to pay for membership of any of the genealogy companies such as Ancestry,etc you have access to millions of records.  HOW things have changed since my initial forays into family history and the contents of the IGI!

Anyway, I am going to do some research this morning and then it will be nose to the grindstone again.  It's difficult to change direction of research though, especially when one has the bit firmly between ones' metaphorical teeth!

Meanwhile, if I wake up early (who am I kidding? WHEN I wake up early, every morning!) I go downstairs and read some more of my Phil Rickman novel, which is excellent, as always.  No goriness so far, unlike some of his others!  At bedtime I am reading the third Ann Cleeves novel, Red Bones.

Right, back to the history and good folk of Ashburton, where a relative of mine (Emma Ferris) was once the village Schoolmistress. 

Friday, 6 January 2017

2017 book haul . . .

I have been sleeping very badly recently.  Yesterday I had to go back to bed around 8 a.m. (having been up since around 5 a.m.)  I slept through the phone ringing (our eldest daughter phones most days on her way to work) but was just coming out of a really deep sleep to hear the toot, toot, toot of the Mobile Library.  I threw on clothes and staggered out to it (Keith had got there to tell him I was asleep), and brought this wonderful haul of reading in with me.  The Pamela Hartshorne and Anne Cleeves novels were ones I'd asked for.  A Burnable Book, Plotted in Cornwall and The Serpent Papers I couldn't resist.  The latter book I bought for our middle daughter for Christmas.  Now I won't have to ask to borrow it.  Pamela Hartshorne writes similar books to Barbara Erskine, where the main character seems to move (in their mind) between time periods, so they are always an interesting read.

I have only just discovered Ann Cleeves, though I saw some of the Shetland dramas on tv.  I really enjoy her writing, and treated myself to her first four novels on Amazon (they cost less than £10 the four).  The Jodi Taylor ones (I have all six) have been sent by a friend of mine, and are great escapism.

The latest Phil Rickman was released yesterday, and here is my copy!  NO WAY could I not buy it.  I was awake early again this morning so went downstairs and read it for a couple of hours.   Merrily, her daughter Jane, boyfriend Lol etc are old friends of mine . . .

This was a Christmas present from my husband.  My only problem is I want to read ALL of the books at once!  Here, the tale is about the young Jamie, years before he meets Claire . . .

Finally, I couldn't resist this cookery magazine.  I do have a weakness for such things, but in my defence I choose carefully and normally keep them for years . . .

Right, I had better get some housework done, especially if I want to read later . . .