Thursday, 23 March 2017


I always feel a pang of regret when I take down an old header and put up a new one.  Always, and today was no exception.  However, a nice snowy spring-like (!) scene should carry us over the transition into spring, and the clocks (needlessly) change this weekend and spring forward into spring, so we get an hour less in bed.  I am very pleased with my new camera and it takes much better detail - even in distant scenic shots.

Just before it got dimpsey yesterday, I walked up the hill as I knew there was snow on the mountains and wanted to take some photos.  Here is Black Mountain with its coating of snow.  It was even trying to snow here on Wednesday and not a good day to be outside.  We quite often get no snow throughout the winter  (the past winter has been quite mild), only to have some fall late in March when the daffodils - and sometimes tulips too - are out.  And so it came to pass this year too.

There were some wonderful cloud formations last night, so I will do a special post just on cloudscapes.

We had a frost last night, and I've just driven to get the paper and still can't feel my hands, as the steering wheel was so cold. I am going to do some baking in a moment, so that will hopefully warm me up a bit.  The Primroses are in full bloom along the lanes.

Being a bit chilly, of course, matters not when measured against the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge and Parliament yesterday, and my thoughts are with the friends and families of those who died or were badly injured in yesterday's attack.  Time for a reality check perhaps, and for armed police guarding Parliament.  RIP PC Keith Palmer, who it would seem was unarmed.

Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage which loves the damp conditions hereabouts.

A general view across the valley, with Upton Hall in the foreground, the red of Goitre farmstead, and a larger farm beyond which is Llettyngors.  I can't tell you the translation as the Welsh - English links on the computer seem to be fairly useless.  This is the general dispersal of farms in the landscape around here.

The sunlight through these Bramble leaves was too good to be ignored with my new camera.

FINALLY, the scaffolders came yesterday, so hopefully Steve and co will be back to finish off the last of the decorating, and the final little bit of hemp and lime up on the attic window aperture.

Our new (but old!) oak settle in the front hall.  I just fell in love with it - I've always wanted one.  Of course, the cats have immediately claimed it as theirs so I've had to throw an old bedspread over the Laura Ashley cushions.

This lovely oak refectory table came from the same home (a guesthouse) and is being polished up ready for sale.  Isn't it gorgeous?  Not too big either, just 5 feet long.  It's probably late Victorian.

Right, time to go and do some baking.  Later:  I made two trays of Double Ginger Gingerbread, my friend Frances' 6 egg Chocolate cake, and a loaf of oaty bread.  Shout out if you want the cake recipes - though I think the Chocolate one is about the only one I managed to get to the sidebar!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

A new old thing . . .

This - new to us - beautiful old oak settle has come to live with us.  It is in our front hallway as I speak, where it looks as if it was always there.  Keith reckons it dates from about 1720 and with that redness to the oak, could possibly be from Montgomeryshire, where the redness of oak used for dressers there is quite specific to this county.  The fabric for the cushions (there are more) is Laura Ashley.  The cover for the bench cushion has gone straight in the wash as it stank of cigarette smoke - this used to be in a Guest House.

I particularly like the little carved knobs along the front and ends (one end is missing one, sadly).  We will try to tie it regionally with those too, although it could well just be a little quirk of the maker.

Life goes on here.  We viewed an auction today, and will attend it tomorrow as the car has to go in for its MoT and that's almost next door.  We have noted a couple of things of interest, though the item which I found fascinating and which is superb quality is probably going to head towards four figures (estimate on it is around £500!) - it's a skilfully-carved Japanese hardwood figure but a couple of pieces are sadly missing - a leg being one of them - they fitted on like a Barby or Ken figure!!  Fabulous workmanship.

It has been too cold and wet to get out in the garden - it was trying to snow at one point today.  I haven't seen the stray tom (Sam), so I shall put out more food now it is getting dark and hope he is about to come and avail himself of a free meal at some point.  There is the other Big Fat Black Tom who is sometimes around the farmyard, so they may have met up and Sam has gone off to hide (I wouldn't blame him) or a few good meals have made him feel strong enough to go in search of ladies further up the valley.

I did a stupid thing today.  Just as my sprained wrist had finally calmed down a bit and seemed to be mending, I took two wall lamps with glass chimneys from the hall, and put them on top of the cupboard in the back hall for safe keeping. Just as I was putting the 2nd one up there, it slipped and in trying to save the glass chimney from being smashed, I twisted my hand and wrist to grab it. THAT was it - oh my - it was SO painful, and I didn't know what to do with myself for a minute.  It was even more painful when I iced it.  I need to do that again now, so had better grit my teefs and do it before I forget.  The bit affected is the grip between thumb and hand and I can't pick anything up - I can just about manage a small tin of soup.  What a daft bint I am . . .

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Some more lesser-known views of Hay-on-Wye

My apologies, but words will be few this morning as I have some sort of bug and just want to sleep - my brain doesn't feel like it is in residence AT ALL!  Some photos from a wander round Hay-on-Wye with the camera on Friday morning. Above - Chestnut leaves unfurling on a tree by the river.

From the bridge over the Wye, looking back across the rooftops - the Lovely pointy roof is the clocktower, and of course, the castle behind it.

Coming back up from the river, a lovely row of cottages.  They front the lane up to Clyro.

Above and below, The Three Tuns Inn, which as you can see, dates back to the 16th C.  We'll have to check it out inside some time.

Above and below, further along the same road (which heads out towards Clifford castle and then the Toll Bridge over the Wye.

There was a footpath by this plaque, so next time I shall explore.  Below are the cottages a field away below the plaque. 

Above and below: a pretty garden which is beside this stream.  The heathers look lovely at this time of year when we have been starved of colour all winter. Right, I am off to lie down on the sofa now, and hope my brain takes up residence again later. . .

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Family history woes

I began a - supposed to be brief - foray into my Family History again in the cold grey days of January.  I did quite well (I thought) and even remembered to end my Ancestry membership before the appointed day - except they came back and offered my 3 more months' membership for the price of a month, which sounded a good deal.  So I carried on looking, followed my Hobbs family line back and was excited by the results.  Sent them off to my cousin in Romsey, but with some misgivings.  I had been sleeping badly, and hadn't looked properly and I had misgivings.  I checked again - wrong - someone had cobbled together about 5 different families on one family line, and whilst one was one of mine, the rest were irrelevant.  I began again, and have been continuing ever since, as Ancestry really ISN'T that user-friendly, and when your folk just do NOT appear in earlier censuses, and there are no marriages you can find which have links to banns and marriage lines, one quickly becomes moribund.  I am somewhat disinclined to order certificates willy nilly until I am absolutely certain I have the right person/people!

I am currently going round in circles with my g.g. grandfather who married Elizabeth Russell.  In one census they are in Peckham, living as relatives with a family (the wife nee Russell) , but claim to be Father-in-law and Mother-in-law, which I cannot work out to be possible unless the wife was her daughter, born out of wedlock and the only notion I have is that it might be her sister.  Which brings me a long way from tieing up my Hobbs/Russell children of which there were 9 (though sadly only 2 survived and they buried 7).  I guess I will have to bite the bullet and send for their marriage certificate to get this a step further.

Not that any of this is interesting to you folks!

Meanwhile, I made the most of lovely spring weather yesterday and gardened fitfully in between watching the jumps racing at Cheltenham (I am a life-long enthusiast).  Now some bits of my garden are minus weeds, which is a positive. I bought some seeds in Lidl and Wilko this week, so need to get them started off - peas, runner beans, green beans, purple beans and courgettes.  

I have been feeling off-colour today - heavy achey legs, and SO tired that I went back to bed this morning, but couldn't sleep.  I tried to buck myself up and made myself a Moroccan Chicken Soup from the BBC Good Food One Pot magazine I got this week (I want to cook everything in it).  The trouble was, by the time it was ready, I just couldn't face it.  In fact, the smell of it made me feel sick (tomato-y, and normally I would have loved it).  So I froze the lot and had fish and chips, and couldn't even face the fish!  Now I feel really bloated, like I have eaten an elephant . . .  Ah well, perhaps a good night's sleep will sort me out.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

A BUSY weekend

Just about poking my head above the parapet now, after a hectic 4 day weekend, filled with Fairs and Auctions.  When I DID have a quiet moment, I began a new book and am now just a couple of chapters from the end.  I can recommend it - I love Ann Cleeve's Shetland series the best of her writing, because of the continuity.

There weren't many stands outside at the Carmarthen Fleamarket on Sunday (a dire forecast, which came to pass with terrific heavy rain at about 10 to 11).  I had a wander round before the doors (and later heavens!) opened, and found two lovely old butter print (stamp) made in Sycamore and naively but expertly crafted.  Sycamore was used as it withstands being washed regularly.  The other butter print was sharper and will be sold - this one stays with me so I can enjoy it for a bit!

Some friends of ours had this little painted pot (copper underneath the paint) on their stall.  I just fell in love with it and they did me a good deal, so it is home with me now and waiting for a suitable sized pot plant to go in it.  I think it's painted by the same talented lady (from Whitemill I think) whose work I have seen in the area on other things like breadbins and coal scuttles.

We were given a well-made nest box by the folk who have the Shoot on Next Door's land.  Keith got the ladder out and with a little adjustment to the size of the nail hole, got this fitted ready for the nesting season.  I'm quite excited, as I've never had a nest box before.  I should imagine the Blue or Great Tits will be fighting over it.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Mares eat oats, and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy . . .

Sorry, on my hunkers here after 4 mornings of getting up at 5.30 a.m. and doing Fairs/Auctions/Driving etc.  Here are a few photos from the end of my walk earlier in the week.  I'll add some more tomorrow and more words.