Thursday, 31 August 2017

Complete and utter MAYHEM!

As you can see, I meant it when I said it was mayhem in our house the past couple of days.  Yesterday we had summoned the plumber to come and sort out the leaking pipes.  These were copper ones, about 15 years old, bought from a company we shan't ever use again, as the quality was so poor.  (In our defence, the builder made the decision to buy from this company as delivery was quick and they saved money).  However, we have had several leaks from these pipes in the last 18 months and spent a small fortune replacing them, and on paying a plumber to carry out the work.  All is now sorted, however, and this leak (which was in the middle of the kitchen wall) will start drying out now.

We had to replace the backing on the one fitted unit, as this had gone very mouldy and it was this which had been making my asthma bad in the last few weeks (no surprise when we found out there was mould).

You may have noticed that we now have a new kettle (needed) and a toaster (the grill is SO SLOW these days) used to paint the kitchen cupboard doors and that pine cupboard.  I just couldn't leave those behind as we needed them anyway.  Now the unit is back against the wall, a new worktop for it arrives tomorrow, and we will soon be tickety boo again.  I have managed to put most of the china and equipment away again now, after it being out for about 10 days (couldn't get the plumber here on a day when we were home before this).

If you look at the table in the photo, there is a very antiquated little orange lamp.  This belonged to Keith's mum, and reminds Keith of his childhood home, so it stays, but it is hidden behind my big charger in the sitting room, and when turned on, with this new colour on the walls, it looks amazing - like a little solar eclipse in the corner of the room!

It was also action stations in the shower room, and it is just as well we were replacing the ancient shower cubicle anyway, as a big chunk of tiling had to come down to check for rotting copper pipe behind it.  This will be the scene of action soon.  We will get the plumber back to help install the shower and then we can retile the shower and the floor.

This morning after breakfast, I set to and removed every book from the bookshelf, as it had to be moved out in order to paint behind it (two coats).  I also asked Keith to go through the books (mostly his) and sort out any he no longer wanted.  Many are there purely from habit.  I had gone through the antiques books a few weeks back and taken out a pile of old out-of-date Miller's Guides, and these will go to the charity shop.

Believe me, there were quite a few books in these many piles.  I definitely burned some calories shifting THESE!!  The new wall colour is Dulux's Copper Blush and is near to a true terracotta as we could get.  The colour shown in these photos is a few shades lighter than it actually is and makes the room look very warm and cosy.

Books back on shelves, and as you can see, some SPACE for the first time in years.  Many of the remaining books are reference books (antiques and militaria) and are staying.  We refer to them regularly.

Two boxes full of books to go. . .  The faded strip of carpet is going to be replaced, as we had half a roll left over and more than enough to replace the faded area.

A tidy, painted corner (well, just some filing on the chair).  The colour is more like the bottom left above my sewing basket.  NOT the orange it appears higher up (blame the flash).

Tomorrow I am off to a Quilt Festival in Bristol along with smallholding friend Dawn and other sewing friends.  I am really looking forward to it.  I am sure there will be LOTS (and lots) of photos in due course . . .

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

After Malvern Fleamarket

Heading home from Malvern yesterday morning, I stopped to take a photo of the view.  Quite a few houses are built overlooking the vale, and they must have the most amazing views, especially of sunrises. 

We were up at 3.45 a.m. to set off.  It takes about 2 1/2 hours from here to Malvern.  The first hour and a bit was in darkness (the sun comes up around 6.10 a.m.) and the first half an hour was thick river fog/low cloud.  Before we got onto the A40, we cut up over the hill on the short cut lanes and Keith remarked, "There's a road there SOMEWHERE!"  As the driver, I was inclined to agree with him - couldn't get above 20 mph as it really was a pea souper!

We had a very enjoyable day, and saw lots of friends from the trade, so it was time for a good conflab (as my mum would have said, bless her) and catching up on news - though some folk we had only seen recently.

We seemed to spend a lot of money (and a big chunk on the first stall we stopped at, as he buys in France and had bought some things with Keith's side of the business in mind).  My needs were less, and I was also looking for little bits for my white kitchen dresser (when it is finally delivered - Ian Is still looking for a newer van before he can deliver it).  I found the prettiest little fixed-together "cup and saucer" with pointy petalled top, creamy yellow glaze flower top and the right shade of green around the edges and saucer - a slightly lustred glaze, by Royal Winton.  Only £4 so it didn't break the bank (photo to follow).  I got some other ceramics and two pieces of Mdina glass, which I like to have in my display. 

It was VERY busy there - folk had been queuing for 2 hours just to get in to sell!  It took us four hours to walk round the outside stalls, and then another hour walking round the sheds, with a short interlude inbetween.  It was also HOT and after the first perambulation, we went back to the car laden with stuff and offloaded, and I changed from jeans and long sleeved top to a thin t-shirt and a skirt and sandles and was a lot more comfortable. 

We left early (for us) at about 11.30, thinking it was Sunday and the Ledbury car boot sale would be on, but no - it was Bank Holiday Monday and Ledbury was on shut-down because it was their annual carnival.  The car boot fields were the designated parking . . .  So we got home early, had a cup of tea and then I went out in the garden, continuing the Autumn tidy up.  It is to be a ruthless one this year - anything with large leaves and not much in the way of flowers for any length of time is being hoiked out.  It was the turn of the orange Crocosmias yesterday.  They had been breeding and breeding and where the soil was shallow in the shadow of the front wall of the house, had piles of corms going upwards - a foot deep in places.  They have a short flowering span and an awful lot of leaves so I have eradicated all but one bit (to be done later) and have an entire wheelbarrow full of corms (happy to post to people if anyone else wants to give some room in their garden.  In their place I shall plant spring bulbs to be followed by annuals.

As you can see, that will weigh a ton when I wheel it across the paddock to empty it!

Anyway, I have a LONG list of jobs to do.  We finally have the plumber booked to come tomorrow to replace all the leaky old Screwfix copper piping (note to self: you get what you pay for - we won't be using them again, although in our defence, it was our builder's idea to use them, for speed of delivery).  Keith and Danny have put a new backing on the one fitted unit in the kitchen (which is no longer fitted!) so all the mouldy stuff has gone to be put on the next bonfire we have.  The worktop will follow it.  We have a new one being delivered this week.  Off to town shortly and then I will be wielding my paintbrush again . . .

Quite a lot of soil came up with the corms, despite shaking some off, so I am topping up the levels with the spent compost from the big tomato and cucumber pots from the greenhouse.  The occupants of which were nobbled by Blight and Mildew a month ago.  They grew much better (and disease-free) in the bigger polytunnel I had - the one which went airborne on me and bit the dust.

Monday, 28 August 2017

More seaside and castle photos

History of Llansteffan Castle HERE.

Many apologies for what will be a great shortness of words in this post, but I am shattered after a middle-of-the-night start and a long day and lots of driving (Malvern again.)  We had a lovely day but it takes its toll . . .

Above and below, Keith and Tamzin, my partners in crime for the afternoon.

The next few are views across the Estuary mouth (Towy) - Carmarthen Bay looking towards Pembrey and beyond.

Finally - digging for lug worms I assume, although this is the Cockle Picking area in season.

Back tomorrow, when my brain is in residence!

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Llansteffan Castle this afternoon

As you can see from the photo,. lots of grey clouds were piling up when we left town, so rather than plan A (which was to head for Pendine) we used Plan B, which was the much closer Llansteffan Beach and the wonderful castle.

There are loads more castle photos, but I have run out of time tonight.  These are the new shower-room floor tiles.  I think they go well with the antiquity of our house.  We like them anyway, and they come in one large tile made up of 9 designs, so should lay fairly quickly . . .

Back from the auction . . .

And not empty handed either - we had been looking for a suitable table lamp to go at the back of the sitting room on the Arts & Crafts oak sideboard we bought when we were still in Dorset.  I bought a big white lump of a lamp at the car boot sale last weekend but Keith and Tam hated it, so it will be passed on and instead I found a really beautiful lamp made from a Chinese baluster vase, on a little wooden plinth and with a beautiful silk shade.  Looks classic and just right for the sideboard.

The car boot plate polished up.  It looks stunning.

We were late back from the auction last night - gone 8 p.m. - as we drive to Gloucestershire via the motorway, for speed, and then come back in a more leisurely fashion x-country via Gloucester, the Forest of Dean and Monmouth, stopping at Waitrose in Abergavenny for provender (a nice stir fry planned for tonight) and then toodling back along the very familiar A40 to home.

Today is dry and overcast but a trip to town is necessary to order the floor tiles for the shower room revamp and then we're going to get some sea air.

Keith is in two minds whether to come as he wants to get on with starting the restoration job on the late 17th C oak coffer (slightly "distressed" on its top as it looks like someone jumped up and down on it!!) we also bought at Wotton yesterday.  It will look superb when it is all sorted and polished up, but gosh, it ain't light - solid and oak mean something when it comes to carrying a coffer made of same!!

Tuesday, 22 August 2017


Today I began work in my office.  I went through all the entire contents of my filing cabinet (most of which will be burnt) and hoiked it out, deep cleaned in here, and then brought in the little painted table I bought at auction recently and the car boot/Range lamp.  I took a photo, but look at what was in the background . . .

I am not keen on handling them this size, so I am hoping he will move on of his own accord so I don't need to get a jar and a piece of paper. . .

Ghengis relaxing in the garden today.  Just before I got the camera ready and set up for a photo, he was flat on his back with his paws in the air, then he must have seen me at the window and rolled over again.

Anyway, I have painted half the back wall in my office white,  and it looks fine.  The other two walls will be papered.  The final wall is all bookcase so will stay books and I shan't bother to paint behind them, just leave as is as it's not in full light and the old paint is a light cream anyway.

I finally got the first blackberries picked today, and they have been washed and left to drain.  Now I had better go down and put them on a tray to flash freeze overnight.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Final St Fagan's post

Some photos from the parade of shops - more or less self-explanatory!

These mangles would have been very familiar to Keith's gran and  great-gran who ran laundries in the late 19th and early 20th C. 

This display of biscuits reminds me of my childhood, when the Corner Shop had a similar display.  I can remember being sent out to buy bags of broken biscuits for mum (they were cheaper!)

A row of miner's cottages.  They start late 1700s and each cottage shows a different period in time, up to the 1970s.

One of the miner's cottage gardens.

Above and below: this is the earliest one.

Further across the site is this wonderful Welsh long house, with the living end at the top, and the beasts (cattle) would have been kept the other side of the crossing aisle.  It meant that they provided some heat to the house, and milking was under cover and just a few steps from cow to kitchen!

A wonderful old inglenook.

Keith has made a similar set of scales to these - his design was based on ones dating from Tudor times.

Cheese making equipment.