Sunday, 29 September 2013

Things to do when the telly breaks down

Our flaming aerial snapped last week and we haven't had a TV since then. To be quite honest, I haven't really missed it that much. I found this on You Tube. It's a bit ancient - about the same age as my XP computer - but it makes me laugh. BTW,  I read on one of the news items that as from April 8th next year Microsoft are apparently no longer doing patches for XP and the hackers, rot their little cotton socks are saving all their nasty little bugs up for that date. I for one, happen to like XP. and as far as I'm concerned, Windows 8 is a geriatric's nightmare. We're not all dexterous techno mad fourteen year olds.  Does this mean I have to save up for a new computer with that dreaded thing on it come Spring. My computer is not and never will be the fastest thing on two gigabytes, but it works for me. I wish that somebody would just  listen to what their cash-strapped paying public really want?

Tom Jones looks a bit like Our John - what do you think? (Quite a bit older of course)

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Rebuilding the wall

Our house 60+ years ago

The wall along the edge of the garden

The  face in the window

Do you ever start, what seems a little bitsy job only to find it ballooning and expanding until it becomes a major operation.  As long as we can remember there's always been a hedge growing on top of the wall. Every year we've tried to trim it back to keep it in some sort of order.

This year, 'Chainsaw Man' thought he'd cut a bit of the brash off, to tidy it up a bit. We've had three full trailer loads so far, and hardly started.

Next job has been pulling out half a century's ivy  that's entwined itself through the stone blocks.

Once we've cleared the last piece ivy

the next step will be rebuilding the wall.

We were given some old photos of our house a few years ago.  I enlarged one of the photos as I scanned it today.  A little blonde girl appeared to be staring through the window watching us. I can tell you it gave me goose bumps a bit. Can't decide whether it's just a shadow on the curtains. What do you think?
I really love this old house. Perhaps there'll be a shadowy figure of me at the window in fifty years time watching the next occupants as they work. That'll give them the creeps for sure.

In the meantime, back to the job in hand. Hope the weather holds. I'll post some more pics as we progress and when it's completed.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

A Walk In The Country

To be quite honest, we haven't done a lot today. But then again, it is Sunday and I still like to keep my Sundays special.

Weather wise, it's been a mixture of brilliant bright sunshine and then heavy dark clouds. I hate being stuck in the house all day so we donned our coats and wellies and went for a walk.

The wind had blown twigs and acorns across the road. O/H said he remembered as kids they used to stick sticks into them and pretend that they were pipes and 'smoke' them.

This year, there are masses and masses of berries along the hedgerows.

And those sticky, furry things you sometimes see growing on wild rose bushes. When I was little I  used to think that they collected them and stuck them on the front of slippers - you know those sort - usually tartan with a beige collar your auntie used to wear.

And rose hips. If you're as old as I am, you might remember collecting rose hips in those light carefree years of  the fifties.

We walked up the Mill Bank towards the Red Bridge. Some geologists, a few years back, took some samples of the rock and  maintained there were gold deposits in it.  No gold rush yet, so don't hold your breath. The quantity is so minute so as not to make a lot of difference. We've not seen them since or any gold either.

Several little oak saplings  growing along the hedge row. I'm going to be long gone by the time they're trees.

We're coming back down now to the brook by the mill.

Clumps of Meadow Sweet are growing along the edge of the stream. They smell woody and fresh after the rain.

The elder bushes by the gate are dripping with fruit this year.

Now we're standing on the bridge on the corner. The sun's out again and the reflective rays shimmering on the water are just beautiful. We pause for a moment or two and then head for home.
Doesn't a walk in the fresh air, make you feel so much better?

Friday, 13 September 2013

Car Boot Sale

Young Joe

This is a re-post of a blog I posted  on my old site just over three years ago.  I just happened to think about him, hoping he was okay  and wondering  how he was getting on. He was such a lovely little lad.  I hope he's growing up into a fine young man.  Haven't been up to Chirk car boot  sales for quite a while.

 'August Bank Holiday Sunday and another day for clearing out the tool shed! The alarm went off at 2.15 am and we were on the road again by 3. Aren't the mornings so much darker now? We pitched on our usual spot and waited for the day to break. The wind was cutting and it was perishingly cold outside.

The Travelling family we've met on several occasions before, pulled up on the opposite side of the road to us. Isn't it interesting watching people unload! You'll never guess the contents of their stall! First of all T drove up in an ambulance - no not the model kind - the real thing this was! In front of  his stall he placed two alabaster Venus sculptures and three PC World purple plastic pull-a-long shopping baskets on wheels. There were various entranklements and two green vintage Mini doors. His son, a little lad of about eight years old followed Dad around and whirled his little LED torch in the air and then proceeded to shine it under his chin and pull horror faces. After a while little Joe ( I gathered his name was Joe when his mother hollered , "Joe put  yer shoes on your right feet!" to which he promptly took no notice and proceeded to make his way over to our stall, laces trailing behind him and shoes at quarter to three!)
"I'll help you to set up," he offered enthusiastically.
 "Perhaps Your Dad could do with a hand?"
"Ach me Dad's unloaded most of it already!"

Joe was my companion for most of the day. He confided, " Me Dad said I wasn't to pinch anything off your stall 'cos you're his friends and he'd give me a good hiding if I did!"
Phew, that's a relief. The usual chastisement is for getting caught!" Little Joe was shivering under his thin t-shirt and flimsy fleece. I wondered whether to offer him a blanket out of the van to put round him. However he trotted off and re-appeared some few minutes later wearing a  grey GAP thicker fleece.
"A woman down the field gave me this for nothing."
He certainly looked more comfortable and she obviously had the same tender mothering instincts as me. He showed me what he'd bought! A red plastic jelly-like 'splat' ball with a little pink and white plastic whale inside.
"I could throw this at the side of your van and it would stick"
"Perhaps that wouldn't be a very good idea. What if you hurt the whale? Is he your pet?"
He told me the whale's name was "Free Willie," so he'd obviously seen the film at some time or other. However Willie did break free before long when young Joe stuck his finger nail through the plastic and Willie disappeared somewhere in the grass. Non-plussed he turned his attention to my bucket of sweet peas and buried his nose in the bunches of flowers.
"Corr them smell nice!"
"You like those do you!"
The bucket of sweet peas were beginning to look a bit flattened and worse for wear so I asked Joe if he'd like to take a bunch for his mum. That was a good idea. I tie each  bunch with raffia and create a little vase for each out of a plastic bag with enough water in for people to transport them home in one piece. Young Joe promptly turned his bunch of flowers upside down to see if the water would run out - which it did. But he was so delighted and breathed in the fragrance as he trotted off to his mum across the road.'
My O/H saw Little Joe, few months ago. He's grown. He was asking where I was. O/H said that I'd gone to church. And he said quite concernedly, 'Has she gone to see the Pope.'
'No, he was too busy today.'

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

War on Weeds - (Before) Work in Progress

When it comes to this time of the year, I've usually had my surfeit of gardening and I want to leave it all until the spring.

Because we had a couple of weeks away this year (and a Bank Holiday) which we don't normally take,  I want to create the resemblance of a cottage garden we had before the weeds went wild.

The flowers have made a valiant effort ( well the hardiest of them) to survive, though some have died under the avalanche and will have to be replaced.

Thistles and couch grass

Bind weed and nettles  
I thought if I took pictures as I clear each bit, sort of a 'before' and 'after' I will feel inspired to keep going. That's one of the good things about gardening, when you do a bit, you can see where you've been.
It rained today.
Once I can make a start on one corner and do a bit at a time, I can do it.
Do you need goals and accomplishments to keep you going too?

Tuesday, 3 September 2013


We went to Aberystwyth for the day yesterday.  It's a little seaside town on the Mid West South Wales coast, about sixty miles away from where we live. In our family it's been almost a ritual that at least one day in the year is singled out for for the pilgrimage to Aber. My O/H when he was little, used to go with his mum, sisters and brother. His father was usually unable to leave the farm.  It was a time of great excitement - the brown cardboard suitcases, buckets and spades and all the paraphernalia you had to take on the train. They used to stay at Mrs Roberts' guest house, not the last word in comfort, but who cares when you're ten - and that's long gone. An empty weedy space where the house once stood.

And then his mum and dad used to take our children and my sister-in-law's children  when they were little. Mum and Dad retired from the farm now and  time out to spend with their  precious little  grandchildren

 We took our grandaughter for the annual pilgrimage to Aber. There's a lovely children's park right by the castle. She soon made friends with a little boy.   He was as Welsh as the hills and she a little English rose. They couldn't speak a word of each other's language but they had a great time playing together - like you do when you're four years old. She's eighteen now and off to Uni in the next few weeks. We won't see a lot of her now.

And yesterday we sat on the bench with my sister-in-law and wondered where it had all gone.
It was a lovely time. Most of the families had gone home and the college students not yet started. The place was all but deserted except for a few oldies like us. You could breathe in the bracing sea air and feel it doing you good. The seagulls dive bombed any titbit of food they spotted on the pavement.

We watched a  lone black headed gull, surfing the waves and then suddenly disappearing beneath them to come up a few seconds later with a wriggling fish in it's mouth. That gull had a good dinner yesterday.

We leaned over the rails and looked down into the rock pools. If you look closely the  pebbles and colours of sea algae are amazing.

Along the promenade there was a strip of deep blue salvias in a concrete rectangle. The bees were collecting almost the last of the nectar before they go. I love salvias. Must buy some seeds and sow them when I get home, ready for next spring.
Do you have a special place of happy memories? Everyone should.