Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Christmas Shopping

Two more shopping days until Christmas.  However carefully you choose, there's a hair's breadth between buying your nearest and dearest exactly what they'd like and what you might imagine they'd like. I read an interesting tid bit in the Daily Mail about how to read body language on whether your chosen ones like what you've chosen  - here's a link on Choosing what to buy

We had an unexpected Christmas present the other day. A recent storm had brought a tree down on my brother-in-law's farm. He phoned us to say that he was cutting logs up and would we like any?  We have a solid fuel Rayburn which eats logs like they're going out of fashion. With the soaring electric and central heating oil prices, I have to say that its recently come back into fashion with a vengeance. He chopped them up on his log splitter in the pouring rain and we loaded a Transit van full. We're having to dry them  in the Rayburn oven,  a few at a time before we burn them, but the bestest present out.

  Like everyone else in Britain, the floods and storms are on the way with more heavy rain forecast for tomorrow. It looks as if we could be hunkered in for Christmas Day. To you who call by - have a special, happy Christmas.  Keep warm and dry, love from Molly xx

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Some Other Carol

It went quite well, as far as PCC meetings go. The rector mentioned in passing that one of his neighbours was about to cut down some over grown Christmas trees and was happy to donate them to his three churches if they would like them. We all nodded in unison. The weeks flew by and it was the day of our Carol Service.

The church warden popped down to the church a couple of hours before the service was to begin, just to check that the heating had come on properly and that everything was as it should be. Aw no! A huge Norwegian Spruce was lying prostrate, sprawled out in the aisle, blocking all access to the front of the church. The branches flopped across the pews on either side so nobody could sit down either. Racing outside to find a container, she thankfully discovered a biggish blue plastic bucket by the tap under the yew tree. No time to lose, she filled it with some liftable stones. Picking her way, over the prickly branches, with panic beginning to rise like high tide, she tugged and she pulled, pushed and grunted. She was only five feet three and this monster had to be all of eight feet. Supreme effort and dripping in perspiration, she managed to get the thing to as near the lecturn as she could. Bucket filled and tree at last upright even if it was leaning drunkenly against the north wall.

At this point, the door creaked and a lady walked in. She said that she lived a distance away and had come as she did every year to visit her husband's grave. Noticing the lights on, she ventured into the church. They chatted for a little while as she shared her life story. After she left, the churchwarden zipped home to take the decorations off her own tree and attempt to cover some of the nakedness of  the inebriated giant.

Breathless, churchwarden finished and hoovered up minutes before the first of the congregation arrived. Goodness knows what she looked like. The service progressed. The last lesson read and the last carol sung. The lady sitting in the seat behind, tapped me on the shoulder. She said how shocked and disgusted she was to see almost nothing on the Christmas Tree. Considering this thing, (like I said) was towering eight feet and our own tree, less than three, it didn't really come as a big surprise. So I just nodded in agreement.

Monday, 2 December 2013

All the way to Hereford

We went down to Hereford last week. When I'm somewhere where I'm not sure of my bearings, I take a picture of the street where I'm starting out - I find it helps you to find your way back.

We were near to Hereford Cathedral. The wrought iron and

the architecture were just amazing.

A heavy studded wooden door from the Cloister Cafe led out into a small courtyard.

A saint in the garden - but I don't know which one. An ancient stone too.

  We went back through the narrow passage way to the library. (Not allowed to take photos in there) But we saw 13th century Mappa Mundi - Map of the world as it was understood then. Went through the chained library. The books were chained on the shelves by their spines. Learnt a little of the history.   The cathedral had  been built as a dedication to St Ethelbert who was beheaded by King Offa. 
Hereford Cathedral link can tell it better than I can.

We wandered down into the crypt. Stone cold in Hereford

We were told how the cathedral had flourished on the wool trade. The colours of the wool displayed in a glass case were beautiful.

 As were the stained glass windows.

We stood on the bridge and watched the rolling waters of the Wye

in the November sunshine.

Friday, 22 November 2013

The Colour Red

The last time we went food shopping, O/H put this poinsettia in my shopping trolley just for me. I love it. The bright red leaves come out a bit more every day. Red is my favourite colour.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Silence of the Trees

Went for a walk today

No sound, except a rook for a few seconds warning its predators to keep away.  It was wild.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

The Best Things In Life Are Free

Like my blogging friend Perpetua who lives a bit higher up Mid Wales, we took time out and went for a walk after dinner too.  You just couldn't live around here and waste the glitches of  November sunshine  - we don't get too many days like this at the end of the year.

There's a sloe tree, dripping with sloes in the hedge along the lane. I made some sloe gin one year. You collect the sloes, wash them and then prick each one a couple of times with a sterilised darning needle. Sterilise a few clean coffee jars with lids. A few sloes in the bottom (about a quarter of a jar) Equal amount of sugar. I don't usually bother  measuring, though if you want to, there are some good recipes on the internet. Top the jar up with gin and screw the lid down tightly. Keep turning the jar end to end every day for two weeks. As the juice turns to alcohol it takes on a deep rich ruby colour. Strain the juice into a sterilised bottle. Need to keep it for at least  three months before using. The longer you keep it, the better it is ........

There are masses of rose hips and berries in the hedge - should keep the birds happy through the winter.

Another little bit of joy, finding mushrooms in the hedgerows near the gate. Not knowing  much about identifying  fungi, I looked them up. The nearest description I could find was 'Parasol'  which are supposed to be a delicacy.I would never eat any mushroom I wasn't sure about, so for me it was just nice to see them growing.

There's the view across the field

Trees on the 'Moely -y'

The Long Mountain on the southern side.

Pampas Grass swishing in the wind, in our neighbour's garden

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Then the trot back home, down the Mill Bank.

'How much for all that?'
 'Nothing - it was all for free.'

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Time Slips Away

I've been to a funeral today. I'd known her for over 20 years. She was such a lovely lady - a real character, a zest for life. She was the same age as I am. There must have been around 400 people there, so they obviously all thought the same as me. I think that it was one of the most poignant, moving service I've attended and I'm so glad I went. At the end of it, the 'Sunset Poem' by Dylan Thomas was read out and the above song was played during the Commendation. When she was in hospital going through a dodgy time a couple of years ago her husband used to play it as he travelled to Stoke to see her. She got better. She was a walking miracle ..... everybody said. I saw her a couple of weeks ago in the supermarket.

RIP Dot - it was a privilege knowing you. You were a beautiful life.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Easy Apple Saucepan Cake

The wind is bringing the apples down from the trees like nobody's business. I made this cake today from a few windfalls - well actually I made two, but we ate most of the best one -
Easy Apple Saucepan Cake
4 oz (100g) butter or margarine
4 oz (100g) sugar
1 cooking apple
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg (beaten)
8 oz (250 g) self raising flour
heaped tsp ground mxd spice
tsp ground cinnamon
8 oz (250g) dried mxd fruit or sultannas
6 or 7 glace cherries (chopped)

Line and grease a 1 lb loaf tin.
Peel and slice the apple. Microwave for 2 minutes in a suitable dish. Mash the apple up with a fork.
Put the butter, sugar and vanilla essence into a medium sized saucepan and stir over a low heat until melted.
Remove from heat.
Add the beaten egg, apple, sifted flour, spices, dried fruit and cherries and stir well with a wooden spoon.
Scoop the mixture into the loaf tin and bake on a medium heat - about 180 degrees for about an hour.
To test whether it's done, insert the blade of a sharp pointed knife. If it comes out clean, it's done.
Allow to cool on a cooling rack
Slice, butter and enjoy.

Friday, 11 October 2013


My lovely granddaughter has just phoned me -
'Hello Granny it's me'.
'Hello Sweetheart, how's Uni?'
'Can't stop, I'm in Morrisons. Where's the pudding rice?'
'Usually next to the jams and custard'
'Great! Got it! See you!'
I'm left holding the receiver. Not bad considering that York is one hundred and fifty four miles away from where I live and I've never been there in my life. What do you say?

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Up the Mountain

O/H's tractor needs a new glass fuel bowl gasket to make it go again. We tried all over Welshpool today to get one.  We tried Teme Valley Tractors. We tried John Deere Tractors. We tried Phil's Tool Hire

Then we turned up the mountain. There's a man who lives up there who's sure to have one.

We went further up the mountain  past a place called Little Hope. And then we finally arrived -
'Do you have a glass fuel bowl gasket for an International B275 tractor or would you be able to get me one?'


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?