What I did on my holidays..

Don’t get me wrong, we have had holiday disasters before.  There was the three days in Bruges when we arrived in the freezing rain at dusk to find the B and B shut and locked.  There was the weekend in Amsterdam, where on our arrival we found the hotel had given our room away and had no more beds. And then there was the long weekend in Rome when I came down with a horrible flu/cold on the journey there.

But this latest adventure really takes the biscuit.

I had sooo been looking forward to this holiday – a whole week away in a cottage down on the Dorset coast. Instead of rushing around trying to see everything in a weekend, we would have time to sit back and smell the roses/daffodils (it’s spring here, no roses yet). Plenty of time to visit museums, gentle fossicking for fossils  on the beaches, drives in the countryside to see beautiful scenery.

We really should have stayed home and just dreamed about it, it would have saved a lot of grief..

It started on the trip down – with the brakes failing on the car, by the time we pulled into the services there was smoke pouring from the back tire and we had absolutely no idea why.  The brakes had been sorted recently and although the tire was burning hot, it was still in one piece.  Parked with the hood up we attracted the attention of various helpful, kind people and were about to limp our way to a garage in Chepstow when a man came up and informed us that he’d had experience of this sort of thing before and that we would find that after the car had a rest that it would be fine.  And guess what?  He was right.  We started on our journey again – the brakes worked and the smoke stopped and we made it to our destination with no further trouble.

Till we got there..

We were stood talking to the lovely lady who had showed us around our cottage, the dogs were in the car – all excited and leaping about, it was time to unpack and show them their accommodation for the week – except wait – we can’t, in their excitement the dogs had trodden on the door lock and locked themselves and the keys in the car… excellent.

We had to smash the window to get in and get them out..

But wait folks, there’s more..

We then preceded to have three lovely days, fossil hunting, admiring the scenery, strolling the streets of Lyme Regis and Bridport and drinking the odd pint of lovely local beer. And then it was Tuesday.

Mr T dropped me off in Bridport and he and the dogs went to the beach for a amble.  We had arranged to meet at a certain time and we would have a lovely lunch in town before maybe, another spot of fossiling.  So I was surprised to find him leaning out of the car and yelling for me, half and hour earlier than had been arranged.

 

Charlie, our beautiful Pomeranian boy was in Bridport vets in an oxygen tent, with a broken leg.  Instead of following Mr T and Toastie down to the beach he had wandered unnoticed up the cliff path and fallen about four metres, probably hitting himself on the rocks on the way down, and ramming sand into his eyes when he hit the ground.

His leg was so badly broken that the Bridport vets said they couldn’t do any thing for it and his x-rays were sent through to our vets in Hay-on-Wye who have a visiting orthopedic vet who said he would try to fix it.

So..

Home we went, Charlie splinted and bandaged and carefully held on my lap.  He had his operation on Friday and it is going to take around three months to recover.  He has drops for his eye that was badly scratched, antibiotics, painkillers and a crate which he is supposed to be confined to, none of which he is inclined to enjoy but the worst part is that he is not allowed any exercise apart from very brief forays (5 mins) outside to toilet.  Have you ever tried to keep a Pomeranian quiet and calm?  Let alone, poo on demand during his five minutes outside?  It is a trial believe me.

We had no pet insurance so having started the holiday with a small amount of savings, we are now so deeply in debt to the vets that we will still be paying for it in nine months time.

All the holidays that I mentioned in my first paragraph turned out well and made good stories,  but I’m afraid I am struggling to  see the light in this one.  If I can’t keep Charlie from knocking his leg about there is the chance that it will not heal properly and he will have to have it amputated.

I am grateful that Charlie is alive and that we had a few days at least of enjoyment but still..

No more holidays for a while.

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Bain and Murran’s World Famous Emporium.

I could moan on about the state of the world, or get all droopy about the greyness of the sky – but I’m not going to.  It’s all got a bit much lately, so instead I’m going to write about something that cheers me up, another post about a friend’s fantastic shop in Hay..

I heard about Becky before I met her.  A woman came in to my work wearing a beautiful embroidered, felted wool bracelet, and I was like – Oooo! where did you get that?Information gained, I soon enough made it up to Hay Castle where Becky had her shop.

Since then Becky and her partner Tom have moved down to Castle Street and the shop there is an absolute wonder.  Like Simon in my previous post, Becky is enormously creative, knowledgable and has the magpie eye for finding interesting and unusual objects, clothes, shoes, jewellery and all manner of fascinating things.  I wander around her shop with my mouth open and you could easily spend an hour or two fossicking for treasure.

She is also one of the best friends you could have, kind, wise and a hoot, with a London background in magazine and T.V. work, she is an interesting person who is interested in other people – how lucky I am to have been able to come to the other side of the world to meet her.

Oh and Tom is lovely too!

Some photos folks…

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Here is the woman herself under a waterfall of vintage scarves..

These are some of Becky’s own creations, beaded and embroidered brooches and bracelets, which you can’t buy on the net, so you’ll just have to come to town and visit..

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Two floors of Amazing Emporium!

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Something for the boys..

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It was fun taking the photos but once again I don’t think I’ve done it justice.  So if you are in town and have had your fill of books, you can always take a wander into Tom and Becky’s shop and you might just find some lovely thing that you  can’t do without 🙂

a little light on my friend Simon

One of the things I used to love about coming to visit Hay-on-Wye when I lived elsewhere was the fact that not only were there masses of book shops, which is my idea of heaven, but also there were other lovely and sometimes unusual shops as well, with a complete lack of the normal high street chain stores.

My friend Simon has owned his chandelier shop Goosey Ganders for twelve years now.  I met him when we first came to live in Hay, and I liked him straight away.  He’s an interesting person, a bit of a renaissance man – sometimes outspoken and outrageous, kind and gentle and incredibly creative and I love him to bits.

I think Simon knows everything there is to know about chandeliers – he certainly knows the history of them, how to build them, fix them, hang them, clean them and make them even more  fantastic than they are already.  The amount of care and work that he puts into creating and rebuilding is mind-boggling.  I am always fascinated when I go in to his tiny, jewel box of a shop because it is jam-packed with lamps dating back over the last century and full of light and colour, which is not to be sneezed at in these dark days.

So without further ado, here are some of the photos I took the other day..

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Flamingo friends
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Keeping him company.. Kenny and friend

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The man himself

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My photos don’t do the shop justice so drop in if you’re in town and maybe you can add some extra sparkle and light to your home.  And don’t forget to say I sent you 😉

As I emerge blinking into the light..

Regarding my last post – one of the reasons I had been feeling so crappy is because I had had the flu since Christmas day and two weeks on, just as I thought I was getting better, the glands came up under my chin and back I was, sofa bound (apart from walking dogs) again.

I am finally well and have emerged ready and able to listen to all the other poor sods who have also been ill, and there are many, probably because around Christmas everyone gets more social than usual and we cheerfully and unknowingly go about the town spreading our germs.

While I was ill, our possessions that we had shipped, arrived from New Zealand. Unfortunately I was in no fit state to deal with them and it is only now that we have finally got down to the last box.

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Family heirlooms worth shipping across the world – plastic flower lights, Marmite tray and Big Blue the Pot

 

 

 

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Never go anywhere without this motley crew 🙂

It is lovely to have all our rugs and bits and pieces about again although it is taking some doing, shoe horning everything in to our tiny bolt hole.  It is fortunate that I was rigorous in what I packed, although somehow a large amount of yarn managed to find itself secreted into whatever crevice it could be stuffed into.

And talking about yarn – here is my new poncho which I whipped up when I got hold of some discounted, beautiful Japanese Noro Hanabatake wool and silk yarn on Ebay – yay!  Finished just in time for this very freezing weather.

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I am going now to take tea and catch up on some socialising but I will be back later in the week with a couple of blog posts about some of my friends here in Hay-on-Wye and I’ve got lots of lovely photos to show you.   Have an awesome day 🙂

 

 

 

This evening a nearly full moon rides serenely in the sky with a pale, petrol slick coloured halo glowing as the slow clouds pass.

I’m feeling pretty serene as well which I am curious about.. Most of the day has been spent in tired despair, brain fogged and irritated  at myself, continuously forgetting what it was I was about to do, dropping things, knocking things over, snagging my clothes, dribbling my scarf in the washing up, remembering just what an utter arse of a person I am then getting cross for calling myself names – and generally getting in my own way, and then suddenly, about four in the afternoon, and for no earthly reason  that I can think of,  I find I am completely and utterly fine..

I watch myself in wonder as with returned energy I walk Toastie and Charlie through the grave yard, calmly spending time reading the grave stones and allowing the dogs to sniff to their hearts content.  I feed my friends cats, stopping to sit and talk to them and stroke their lovely fur.  I sort the recycling and actually don’t hate doing it.  I think of something for tea without effort and cook it well, sausages and onion gravy, potato and swede mashed with warm milk, garlic butter and loads of parsley, steamed carrots and brussels sprouts.  And then I eat it at the table, enjoying that I have made myself good food, appreciating it, thinking that Mr T will enjoy it too when he gets home from his chess club later tonight.

And then I step outside and watch the moon and think it may be the most beautiful thing I have seen in my life.

 

it’s great being back..

One of the first things I noticed when we arrived at our new home in Hay-on-Wye, just over two months ago, was this stone doorstop covered in a crochet cozy by my dear friend Em who had found us this flat in the first place.

It is always a bit worrying when you rent a place sight unseen and although the flat has a few small downsides it has turned out to be a great, little bolt hole.

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And it is wonderful to be back in Hay!  Really so good.  We arrived back to a spectacular autumn, warm and beautiful.  Our house lacks a garden so we have to walk our dogs a lot and we have visited quite a few of our old haunts, up on the Begwns (where it is possible to see all of the Brecon Beacons National Park from the roundabout at the top), Cusop Dingle where I was happy to greet my favourite, majestic Copper Beech, and the castle at Clun on the way up to Montgomery.We live close to the Wye River so that is the default walk of the day.

 

Two months has been enough for the weather to slide into winter and so far we have had one furious storm and yesterday and today the temperatures have dropped to well below zero and even though the sky is clear blue and sunny  the frost stays on the ground all day.

Our flat is in an old, stone building that used to be the work house, it has massive thick walls and is amazingly warm so that even though it is minus 5 outside I don’t need to have the heating on.  I was not best pleased to hear of the buildings horrible history when I got here but I like to think that we will be adding some happier atmosphere to it, besides Em tells me she smudged the place before we moved in to clear any negative energy and whether the smoke helped or not it’s the intention that matters.

Mr T is working back in his old job and has found a welcoming chess club based in a pub in Presteigne, not far from his work.  I am back making things to sell and consciously working on keeping the Black Slug of depression at bay, which is made easier by good friends, beautiful surroundings, our lovely dogs who need lots of walks in the fresh air and it’s nearly Yule!!

This weekend the Christmas lights were turned on on Friday night and that plus the Hay Winter Festival, Food Festival on Saturday, Vintage Market on Sunday meant that the town was full of happy wanderers even more so that usual.

It is lovely living here, we are so very lucky..

 

Nearing ready for take off…

imageWe are up to our eyeballs in farewells to friends at the moment.  Which is to be expected as there is only one day left before we leave the country.

Moving out of our house was exhausting but a lot less stressful that I had thought it would be and we have just spent two weeks staying out in the country at our friend Shona’s house ‘Summer’ where we rented the annexe.  The whole place is surrounded by trees and birds and the air smells amazing.  The house is closer to the mountains so we even had a snow shower when we had a blast from the South Pole.

Shona's annexe out at Summer
Shona’s annexe out at Summer

 

We are now staying at Mike and Sue’s, which is in town but also very beautiful as the house and garden are so well looked after and lovingly decorated. They are tree huggers, like many of our friends and it shows in their surroundings.

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Uncle Mike and Aunty Sue, my soul mates who I will miss so much.

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Our going away party/spring equinox party was Saturday night and so it was lovely to cozy up the next evening with these dear, good friends and watch the first three episodes of ‘Edge of Darkness’ a favourite of us all since it first came out and won awards at the BAFTAs in 1986.  Still a fantastic programme but so dated now in the technology they used, coppers using pay phones and rotary dial phones.  Watching the rest of the series tonight after enjoying one of Mr T’s curries.

Outwardly I am just dealing with one small task after the other, trying to be organised and trying to get the weight down on my suitcase.  Inwardly I am now firmly between two worlds, here and there, sadness and happiness, excitement and apprehension.  We drop the dogs at the pet travel place tomorrow at 1pm and then on to the airport for our flight to Auckland – Shanghai and then Heathrow.

Just trying to keep calm, ommmmmmm