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

 

 

 

off again..

We are moving again..

Only this time it’s not a little move, it’s a great big journey across the briny and back to beloved Wales.

We arrive on the 21st September and are being picked up by our good, kind friends Kath and Jules, who are celebrating their wedding anniversary that day, the wedding that six years ago in Swansea, I acted as best woman..  What a fantastic day that was.  And I had forgotten, I have enough problems remembering our own anniversary without remembering anybody else’s – yes I know that’s bad.  In my minds eye I think of their wedding as being in high summer, it was such a hot, sunny, beautiful day.

I have been having a hard time of it lately and I know that because now the hard time has stopped I can look back and see what it was through clear eyes and shudder.  Mostly I think it’s been to do with my thyroid medication.  Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile will know that I have Hashimotos disease.  It’s an auto-immune disease where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland and causes fatigue, depression, weight gain etc.  To treat it most people take a synthetic thyroid hormone called Thyroxine, usually it works and people return to normal, for some the symptoms can last for a long time.  I’ve been taking it for years, but in the last six months, since I have been living in Carterton, the pharmacist has be giving me a different, generic form of the drug.  And when I asked about it they told me that it was the same thing – no problems and they wouldn’t consider giving me anything else.  So I took it and for months I have been feeling bad, crashing fatigue, depression (more than normal) , anxiety – constant tight ‘butterflies’ in the stomach and occasionally suicidal – oh yes..  I put it all down to ‘The Change’  good old menopause adding to my misery.

So about ten days ago I found a sheet of my old Thyoxine in the bathroom cupboard and thought – what the hell, let’s experiment. Five days in and I was feeling better and the last five days have felt like a major gift.  No depression, no anxiety, normal energy all day, and happy.

I cannot begin to tell you how good that is.. Moving is always a stressful time, especially when you are going such a long way – packing, selling, sorting the dogs for their health checks, rabies vaccinations and flight.  Trying to deal with everything with constant anxiety was awful – and now it has stopped.

I rang the medical centre yesterday for a new prescription which I will have filled in a pharmacy where they will give me the real deal.  I spoke to the nurse and told her of my concerns about the generic drug – and she was tripping over herself to tell me how right my concerns were, how many patients say they have had the exact same experience as me – honestly WTF?!!

I never thought we would be going back to Britain,  I just thought that this was it, we were here for good and tried very hard to just enjoy being here, and for the most part that worked.  I think that if Mr T wasn’t so home sick I would be happy to stay right here, but he is not happy and we are going and now I am feeling better I am getting so excited I could pop!  To think that in five weeks time we will be driving that beautiful drive from Swansea to Brecon and to our new home near Hay-on-Wye is just mind blowing, let alone seeing and hugging all our lovely friends who I thought we would never see again – it still feels really unreal.

I thought I would leave you with a photo of a visitor we found on our doorstep the other day – Australia may have way more fearsome critters than us but only we have The Weta!

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Now – where are my dried frog pills?  Ahh, that’s better…

So, where was I?  Doesn’t matter – I’m not there now..

Last time I looked I wasn’t Atlas, I do not have to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders and every now and then, like today and Sunday, I remember and my world becomes a lighter place.

What am I up too?  Well, it’s the middle of winter here in little, old N.Z. and mostly I seem to spend a lot of time putting wood on the fire to keep warm.  And dressing in lots of layers, and walking the dogs in the rain and drying wet dogs and wet washing and – well you get the picture.

I do like the winter though, especially when we get truly wild weather like we had yesterday, southerlies rolling in, lots of dramatic, freezing wind and rain.  Giving me a chance to wear some of my sixty million shawls and hats and socks and boots.

I have been making stuff as usual, like this blanket, which handily warms my knees as I hook it.

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The latest shawl, fresh of the hook and waiting to be blocked.  It’s called The Sunday Shawl from a pattern on Ravelry and I am pleased with it except I could have been more careful about the main colour – dark blue is a blond dog fur magnet.

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I am also doing some stitching, using my natural dyed fabrics.  My brain has not been working well recently and although I wanted to stitch something really complicated it turned out that energy and concentration levels as well as the ability to MAKE A DECISION FFS, were not playing together nicely.  So I’m keeping the design simple but interesting (to me anyway).  I will show you it again when it’s finished.

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I have company during my day of course, there is this dog..

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and this dog..

 

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and both of them are giving me the ‘it’s time to take us for a walk’ signals, so I’m off.  See you soon hopefully 🙂