Bring on the light..

The first thing I do when I get in the door from work is to grab a lead, a poo bag and a small Toastie and head for the Great Outdoors.  At this time of year it is a pleasure as I know that I will be walking in the light and pretty much mostly in the dry.

It is pure pleasure to see everything regenerating, not just the plants but the birds and animals as well – everyone is out and about and fulfilling the three Fs, feeding, fighting and .. .well you know the last one.

A couple of photo highlights from our walk this afternoon..


Pheasant females browsing with their man happily share the field with rabbits

Day light saving starts this weekend so it will be even lighter in the evenings and of course it is the Spring Equinox tomorrow, yay!

Here is my little table all ready  for a celebration with daffodils from our garden and the patchwork table runner that I put together a while back.

See you tomorrow can have the spiders

The spiders are coming inside..  It’s a sure sign that  summer is on the wain.

I had noticed an extra few about the place a couple of weeks ago.  And then Mr T commented on a particularly large one he had seen run under the sofa – and the one he had seen in the bathroom running under the cabinet… and then that night, as I was getting ready for bed, I noticed Toastie staring intently at something on the floor by my bed side table.   I couldn’t find anything crawly on my search but then spent some time lying in bed in the dark feeling imaginary insects creeping on me..

I have been stewing plums, making plum jam, and caramelised red onion relish.  Very soon our apples will need picking and as our tree is over loaded we will be eating them for quite awhile to come.   I once had a recipe for spiced apple preserve which has disappeared so I will have to try and make it up.  I know the apples were cooked in orange juice and a little bag of spice but that is about all I can recall..except that it was heavenly.

I have been eating home made muesli, Rachel’s Full Fat Organic Yoghurt and my own stewed plums for breakfast and enjoying every last bite.  Mr T has taken up making sour dough bread so for a change I eat the most wonderful toast with my jam on it of course.

I am getting even fatter..


Stewing Plums


On the other hand I am getting way more exercise now we have Toastie and that is a very good thing both for my body and for my mental health.  There are a lot of walks to choose from in this area.  Cusop even has its own little packet of trail maps that we bought from the Information Centre in Hay .  One map points out Badger sets which I had walked past before and not noticed.


Cusop Walks


Although our weather is on the turn it is still warm and last night as the dog and I sauntered out for our evening constitutional we stopped to watch the wee bats stealth diving around the street light at the end of our terrace.  Although the light and warmth make the days seem lazy  and slow, with the Dingle sluggish in places, the animal life is in a mad rush to eat and/or store away as much food as possible.  Nut trees are stripped in days by ravening hoards of squirrels.  Flocks of birds are migrating as well, our most noticeable visitors from afar – the Swifts, have disappeared in the last couple of weeks.

We have been on several long walks lately but the longest would have to be to visit The Begwns – a lovely stretch of open access land owned by the National Trust.  We wanted to walk to The Roundabout, a small group of trees planted on a hill to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.  Toastie is sporting her mohawk which is has got thinner as the summer has gone on.  So far we have resisted efforts to get us to dye it pink.

On the way to the Roundabout on The Begwns


Showing off her mohawk


Mr T and The Toastalator on finally reaching the Millennium Circle wall that surrounds The Roundabout. Wonderful 360 degree views - but a bit hazy on this day.


View from The Begwns - spot the sheep


I do love late summer – except for the spider bit that is..

tiny, shiny leaves..

On Tuesday afternoons I work in the St Michael’s Hospice charity shop.  I started volunteering there after I lost my job and needed things to do to help pull me out of the pit.  It’s normally a fun thing to do, we usually split the shift between us, one working upstairs steaming the clothes and putting them out, the other manning the counter, then we swap halfway.

Today for some reason I got to be on the counter all afternoon and as the hours went by and my reading of Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years was continually interrupted by pesky customers, I felt a great yearning to be at home, swaddled in a blanket on the sofa, writing the wee blog and then perhaps wielding the crochet hook.  So when 4.30 came I headed off at a great rate of knots and I am cuddled up with a cup of tea and a Hob Nob.

Maybe I am feeling a little deflated because the long weekend is over – it seemed to pass so quickly.  We did get quite a lot done though – the attic room tidied into a proper study space and the garden got a seeing too as well.  Feeling particularly pleased with finding that what we thought was a dead Ceanothus shrub by the front door has survived the snow and has new tiny, shiny leaves at its base.

My parents-in-law arrive on Friday for a weeks stay so that should be interesting – hope they like our little town. Neither of them are royalists so we won’t be forced into watching wedding stuff – thank heavens.   Something to celebrate though will be Mr T’s birthday and Beltane on Saturday and it’s another long weekend!

this blog won’t change your life..

I read the Guardian.  I can’t help it, I just always have..  I know there are more exciting newspapers out there, ones with pictures of naked ladies and/or writers whose main claim to fame is that they are total wankers, but I have some how avoided all that excitement and settled down to a comfortable middle age with G2 and a latte.

I have several favourite columnists, Lucy Mangan and Jay Rayner for a start, but the one I have stuck with the longest has to be  Oliver Burkeman and his ‘This Column Will Change Your Life’ .  Why?   Well  I guess I just have a fascination about us humans and why we do the things we do – because his columns  almost always fascinate me and I find myself thinking about them for ages afterwards  And quite crucially – they almost always end up making me feel better about myself.  Take for instance this one – Existential Indifference  I have thought a lot lately that it is pretty pointless angsting about the meaning of life, a bit of fun perhaps to consider when you are having a few drinks but surely – isn’t it just better to just get on with it?  Be here and now and enjoy the ride?

And then there is his latest one  Get into the Habit of Random Rewards regarding Habit Judo which actually sounds like it might be fun to try.  I have already downloaded the spreadsheet and the first habit I have entered is an attempt to write my blog every day.  So you will get to see how I am going.  Just don’t expect screeds all the time 😉

getting whizzy on it..

Time is going all whizzy again.

One minute it seems to be taking ages before we get to move into our new house, the next it is all nearly upon us.  To add to it – I started voluteering at our local Oxfam charity shop on Saturday and I will spend all day tomorrow dividing my time between Oxfam and the St Michaels Hospice charity shop.  This leaves Wednesday and Thursday to get fully packed up before the big move Friday.

It is going to be fun – I am not sure why I feel that way, I’m not that big a fan of the actual moving process but this time I can’t wait to start shifting boxes.  T is not so sure about that bit – probably because it always falls on him to do the lions share of the larger stuff, but as there is only going to be him and I shifting then I will definately be sharing as equally as I can.

We have had a lovely weekend, the highlight of it being the party we went to on Saturday night which turned out to be a celebration of our friends Susie and John’s secret wedding that afternoon.  VERY COOL!!  I was so pleased for them.  They are such a lovely couple and really good people.  They were just so helpful to us when we moved here and saved us a heck of a lot of trouble by selling us their little run-around car for £300.  It has turned out to be a great car and has got T backwards and forwards to work through all the snow and ice with no trouble.

I first met Susie when we were last in Hay in 2008.  She runs a jewel of a shop called Sage Femme  (that you must visit if you are ever in town) and I had called in and got talking with her, mentioning that we would love to live in Hay.  She was just so sunny and optimistic and encouraging that I never forgot her and was really pleased to make her acquaintance again when we finally made it back last year.

Today has been spent in the pleasantest circumstances.  My friend M phoned me this morning to enquire whether I was up for a bit of company – which I was, and I immediately put some hot cross buns in the oven.  This turned out to be unnecessary as M arrived with chocolate cake and Shephard’s chocolate ice cream because she felt in need of a little sweet fix.  So – there I was having a large bowl of choc yumminess for breakfast!  Then I bounced around for half an hour afterwards feeling suddenly smashed on sugar.

M had bought a little present for me that turned out to be seven years worth of crochet patterns and instructions and inspiration that she had downloaded off the internet.  She plugged her little memory stick into my laptop and suddenly I have A LOT more wonderful stuff to play with – all beautifully categorised.  How amazing is that?!

Not that I have got much time to play with anything at the moment… And I am hoping to get busier.  I applied for a job last Friday – just 10 hours a week as an Admin Assistant, and I got rung today and invited for a job interview next Monday – here’s hoping..



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