No Specific Reason..

The last four days have been lovely – not for any specific reason, just lots of little reasons all piled up.

Friday, spending time with my friend Louise in her shop, and then with other friend Emanation at Booths Book Shop cafe eating spanking hot chips with garlic mayo and sipping to die for real hot chocolate.  M then came back to mine and we crocheted and talked until after 10pm when she departed and T finally got home from work.  Huge enjoyment to have company for the evening and to be treated to part of M’s life story.

Saturday was also a treat because T didn’t have to start work till 6pm so we had the whole day.  Utterly freezing out so we just had to go for a walk of course.  Took a new track that passes up the side of Hay Cemetery and then follows a stream up to common land finally returning via the path that leads to Hay car park.

I love being able to walk through the countryside like this.  The people here are really lucky to have all these right of ways and paths.

T did his good deed for the day by removing the huge sheets of ice in the sheep’s water trough.  They were so thirsty they ran up straight after and started drinking.   It was so cold that not even all the exercise over heated me and my face was going numb.  Then we had a walk up to the Co-op for supplies and home for soup and toasted sandwiches – bliss.

Sunday again very restful, ending the weekend with wine and nibbles at our friends house and a brisk walk home.

Now today – Monday, I have talked to my friend Kate in NZ, posted parcels, got a job application and done some packing.  It is so good being well.. such a novelty.  I keep thinking something really good must have happened but there is nothing specific – just being well, good-humored, not over-anxious, not tired for no reason, no crying, no dwelling on all of lives manky bits, it’s simply bloody wonderful.

Some photos:




Plaque on fallen angel grave





Hide out





Thirsty sheep





Outside it is doing its darndest to snow and inside I am hiding away from the world – for its own sake I might add.

I awoke this morning psychopathically  hormonial (my word).  I discovered the psychopathic part when I attempted to cash a NZ fifty dollar note firstly at the post office and then at the bank.  Mr T had unthinkingly buggered off to work with all the finances and as it is market day I thought to exchange my Christmas money for real money and buy some necessaries and maybe the odd unnecessary. It had taken quite a lot of effort to get myself out the door and I had promised myself an almond croissant from the french bakers stall for being a good girl.

Blood arose in front of my eyes as the pleasant lady behind the counter told me that there is nowhere in Hay that will cash the note and that I would need to go to Hereford – an hours bus trip away……….  FOR FUCKS SAKE!!!  FUCKETY, FUCKETY FUCK!!

So I went home

For tea and cake and crochet

And not to deal with this, which is difficult in a room this small..

And then a very kind person sent me this

and this

Until next time – aint life grand?

A Fine Start to a Year..


What has three bedrooms, one of which is the entire attic area with velux window, which will make a mighty fine studio.  A large bathroom (well large compared to the closet which we have at the moment).  And A BATH!  And a wood burner. And a dog door. And a garden, with a glass house and an apple tree and a walnut tree. And it backs on to fields and Mouse Castle woods.  And it has its own car park. And it is furnished so we will have proper  double beds in all the rooms, And has walls so thick you can’t hear the neighbours hoick.  And costs exactly the same as the one we are in now ???

Answer – Our new house, of course!

Yes we are moving yet again, only this time it is just about as close as can be to where we are now –  five minutes walk away in Cusop Dingle.

This is the New Years Good Things post, and about time too.

I feel bullet points coming on

  • I am really loving our Stitch and Bitch group.  Just getting together with a lovely bunch of people purely for the sake of sitting and crocheting and talking and laughing.
  • A British winter – well, what a winter!  It’s still grey and manky outside BUT the signs of spring are already here, snowdrops, lambs, budding plants.  And I can smell it in the air.  Our town has got ridiculously quiet, almost empty pubs and streets.  It is amazing to think that this is the same town that just six months ago you had to walk off the pavement to get around all the people.  And soon it will be like that again – perhaps I will just enjoy the quiet for the moment.

  • A week after we move we are to be visited by our friends Julian and Kath.  This will be their first visit to us in Hay and I am just so happy that it will be at our new house.  Not only will we have a spare bedroom to put them up in BUT also we will have a proper bed for them to sleep in.  Hurrah!
  • Books – oh the books.  I try not to go into the book shops here to often, just because it is torturous to the financially embarrassed person but – sometimes you just have to.  On one of my trips I came across Paper Cutting Techniques by Sharyn Sowell which I just had to have as I have been wanting to have a go at the craft for some time now.   Then I found Shoot the Damn Dog by Sally Brampton, an account of the writers journey through and out of severe depression.  This book is well up there on my list of best depression books and reading it has helped me hugely.
Paper cut by Julene Harrison. Just imagine cutting this! There are some amazing people out there
  • Carol Shields’s Unless, is another book I just had to own.  I think Shields was one of the best novelists in THE ENTIRE WORLD – sorry about yelling but golly.  If you haven’t read this or the sublime The Stone Diaries, well then – you should 😉
  • After she threw the baby in, nobody believed me for the longest time. But I kept hearing that splash...     These sentences  come from my best read of the new year so far –  The Well and The Mine by Gin Phillips.  This doozy flew across the sea to me at the behest of an American friend Robin who I met last year at my local pub Kilvert’s, just up the road.  She was on her first solo trip around the UK and being a book seller, had to pay a visit to Hay-on-Wye.  The lovely Robin along with my friend Jenny and I spent a fabulous evening bonding over real ale and in the process I found out that not only was she from the southern states where I would just love to visit, but she was also a huge fan of Fanny Flagg, author of Fried Green Tomatoes as well as some of my other favourite books.  Robin, sadly, had to leave the next day but we have been in email contact since she got home and just after Christmas a package arrived from her.  Not only did it contain the latest Fanny Flagg hardback I Still Dream About You but a copy of The Well and the Mine which is the authors first novel – I can’t wait till the next.
  • Just before Christmas I had received another package in the post – this time from Amazon.  I hadn’t ordered anything and so I gave it to T who promptly put it away.  It turned out to be a rather wonderful, and strange book entitled The Complete Book of Retro Crafts which I suspect was sent to me by blog buddie Katyboo.   Full of the most wonderful, crazy stuff that humans can make it includes how tos on every kitsch craft you can think of – including glitter encrusted pine cone elves, Bottlecap man, Pantyhose Poodle and festive Reinbeer.

  • On Saturday afternoon I was in my kitchen making a Spiced Apple cake, the first baking I have done since we came to this country, and listening to Graham Norton and then Tony Blackburn on Radio Two, grooving away to 70’s funkiness when I suddenly realised just how happy I was feeling, one of life’s golden moments had just enveloped me and given me a big kiss.  I believe you must have had depression or been through some other terrible stress to understand how incredible it felt.  I am getting better…
The best cake I have ever made

We are moving on the 11th Feb and I have packing to do.  You have no idea how much I am looking forward to having a garden again.  I have to try to not get too over excited about it all otherwise I will have to go and sit in the corner, cover my head with a towel (remember you should always carry a towel – check your Douglas Adams)  and squeak.

Looking back – 2010 Bumper Post

The trouble is the longer you leave it the more the words in your head build up until it all becomes overwhelming and it’s a lot easier not to bother – a lot.

So biting the bullet and getting it started again is a good thing.

First off – I hope everybody had a great holiday period.  We had a interesting time of it, with both of us having a really nasty flu which took ages to disappear.  Lots of people we know have had it too – in fact our neighbours have both suffered badly and have had to cancel their two month long holiday in India because they were so sick.

Yule afternoon I spent with my good friend Emanation and her family.  Emanation and I swapped pressies and I received my first proper crochet how-to book from her, as well as a really cool crocheted flower motif wall hanging.  We ate lovely food and drank lovely drink and she dosed me with some head blowing herbal concoction to try to alleviate my flu.  It didn’t work totally but was an experience for sure.  It was amazing to have found someone here who celebrates the solstice and to know that she and her husband Smithy are bringing up their son to celebrate it as well.

Thinking back on it, I should never have gone around to Emanation’s that day as I really was feeling rough and risked them catching it as well.  But fortunately they are made from hardier stock and remained well.

Emanation and me - Yule 2010


Smithy and I and Puss

Thanks to said flu I really did not mind that Mr T worked late Christmas eve and I was home alone.  Just felt like curling up on sofa and blobbing in the warm.  We were both well enough to make it to the Baskerville Arms on Christmas Day to have our (already paid for) feast.    Although not well enough to walk all the way there and back as was the plan.

I got some lovely presents on the day – I have the best friends.  One of them, Louise,  had surprised me with a gift bag of goodies from her shop which contained six or seven little wrapped presents that I had great fun opening – lip balm,  candle holders, colourful machine embroidery threads, cool stuff like that.

Me and Presents - Terrys Chocolate Orange, fingerless gloves, crochet book and one of my most fave pressies - A HEAD TORCH!!
Later in the day after Christmas lunch - full up with good cheer and the flu
Mr T - Christmas day

New Years Eve found us in Swansea celebrating at our favorite Queens Hotel with our besties Jules and Kath.  I love being back in Swansea for a visit – it is sooo different from being in Hay.  Having lived there for about four years on and off I am fully aware of some of the down sides of the place but.. I have a huge soft spot for the city where Mr T was born, I love people watching and listening to the accents.  And of course walking the spectacular beach, which we did horribly hungover on New Years day.

It was very, very good being with Jules and Kath, just great people and great fun.  A huge blessing..  And Jules makes a mighty fine New Years day fry up.

The Gang - New Years Eve 2010


I made no New Years resolutions, I just the hope that I will be able to handle this year better than last.

2010 was a doozey in some ways – some of the negatives

  • Most probably making the decision to return to the UK bought about a return of the Black Slug Depression, perhaps not the brightest idea for a person who apparently does not deal well with stress.
  • Leaving my Mum and all my friends.
  • The collapse of our plans to rehome our lovely Polly, two weeks before we were due to leave the country.  Then having to leave her in a safe but unfortunately temporary home.
  • The stress of moving to another country, finding a place to live, jobs, furnishing said house, finding an affordable car, feeling alien and not wanting to open my antipodean gob while out shopping to stop the millionth person from asking  where I come from (because then I would have to kill them)
  • Relationship problems in the first couple of months of being in this country – really needed that.
  • Failure to cope with pub job, getting another really quite enjoyable job that I could cope with and then having it taken away.
  • All of this whilst the depression ran rampant and did it’s best to sabotage any good at all

BUT  I have survived and our marriage has survived and at this particular point I am extremely thankful for all the amazing, wonderful, simply fucking beautiful things that have happened as well.  All of those negative things have turned out ok.  We have coped with all the problems that moving to a different country brings and some of the stuff we needed to set up life here just dropped into our lives as if by magic.  I have to say that a lot of our good fortune has had to do with people – good hearted, friendly, helpful people – some of whom were pretty much strangers but they made starting  our lives here so much easier than it could have been.

Next post – the positives