So my friend Yvonne said to me on the phone a couple of months ago “Please update your blog” – I agreed and then proceeded to procrastinate with a vengeance…

It is far to scary to attempt to recount all that  I’ve been up to in the many months since I last posted so I am just going to start with the here and now..

Out my window as I am writing..

The view out my window is lovely and green – that is because we have had eleventy million litres of rain bucketing out of the sky all summer.  Believe me this is only a slight exaggeration.  Now normally I like rain – specially heavy rain, but I like it to be appropriately cool – rain and cold, they go together don’t they?  Instead we have had rain and hot – so sweaty hot that the obligatory walk with the dogs ends up with me as wet as they because it is far to warm to wear a coat.  I hate that.

The other small thing of note in the photo is the surprisingly lovely and incredibly long lived pom pom flowers which grew from our neglected leek plants.  Well worth growing just for the flowers.

The last thing I note from this photo is the card celebrating the 1st of August – Lammas, the first harvest festival. We have had so little sun it seems a bit of a swizz that we are already on our way back into the dark half of the year.  Ah well, at least I will get the cold as well as the rain that I am moaning about.

This morning I spoke to my Mum in New Zealand for about an hour.  She told me about her week – playing bowls, outings with friends, her renewed interest in Coronation St  (oh yuck) and I told her about the amazingly wonderful effects of HRT that I have finally twisted my GPs arm into prescribing.  I feel like a ‘normal’ person again, truly incredible and I wish so much that I could have started taking them years ago.

I did do some research before swallowing the first pill – and amongst it all I found this article from the New York Times really interesting if you are trying to make your mind up about it yourself.

The rest of my day has been filled with house work, walking the dogs (one Toastie and one visiting aged and quite lovably stupid Springer Spaniel named Alfred, whose elderly owners are both in hospital.

Alfie the Great

My other job of the day has been to revive my Etsy shop and start to list some of my new creations.  Not that I think that anyone will actually buy them but more that I have to justify continually making new ones and purchasing the yarn to make them.

Also – a couple of months ago I committed to go to Rome for four days the last week in September with some friends and the trip has worked out to be a lot more expensive than I expected. As Mr T did not want to come and I am spending vast amounts I need to show willing and at least try so sell some of my wares.

Here are the ones I listed today..  They are great fun to make – partly because I am not using any pattern so there are no rules and I get to use whatever yarn I want, including strips of tee shirt.

Also they look good on me so they will look good on anyone!

New ragged scarf

That is my day so far – I am off now to feed my furry friends and settle down for my currant fave True Blood and a little hooking.. Have a good one all..

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

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



How Not to Have a Sex Life and Other Stories..

I have had a long day but thought to blog about some of the things I missed out yesterday.  No photos this time though.. (well, maybe one).

Firstly , and astoundingly,  I am mentally well for the first time in ages – this is wonderful and I am trying to enjoy every moment.  I had been having a go with a new antidepressant called Sertraline (a SSRI also called Zoloft), which seemed to work well for me.  After a while however I ran into a wee problem that is apparently common for many of us poor bastards on SSRIs, and is also responsible for large amounts of people not completing their course of treatment. Which is what has happened to me, except I have stayed well – long may it last!!

I had been meaning to  write about this problem for some time but could never get my head around exactly what I was going to say without giving too much information.  Then when I was paying a visit to one of my favourite bloggers  I came across her post on the same subject – and here it is. .  Why reinvent the wheel huh? And she says it so much better than I could.  It is really interesting reading some of the post comments as well.

I first came across Dooce’s (Heather Armstrong’s) blog when I became aware after four years, that the mystery illness I was suffering from was actually depression.  She had been through the hell of post-partum depression and was so badly affected that she had ended up in a psych unit.

I love her blog for many reasons, not the least being that she shows it is possible to be on  depression meds and still have a lovely life.   Also because she and her husband John strongly remind me that not all Americans are bonkers – Oh and because she takes photos of her dog Chuck with objects balanced on his head.. well maybe she is bonkers, but in a nice way..


One of the most helpful things that I came across in my research about depression was information about mindfulness, which is why I go on about it so much.  The book I probably found the most helpful is called The Mindful Way Through Depression,  another is called The Noonday Demon – An Anatomy of Depression by Andrew Solomon.    This weekends Guardian bought an article by Tim Parks who has just had a book published called Teach Us To Sit Still, A Sceptic’s Guide to Health and Healing, which I found really interesting for his discovery of how mindfulness/meditation helped him with his illness.  It is on my Amazon Wish List.

Sunday’s Observer bought a wonderful interview with Christophoer Hitchens which can be read here, for anyone who is a fan of the man..

And last but nowhere near least, is the podcast which features Terry Pratchett and Jacqueline Wilson in conversation on the subject of folklore.  So if you are after a little insight into the writing of the Discworld Novels  and/or just plain fascinated as I am, in how humans seem to really need to invent and tell ourselves stories, go and have a listen.


A sparkling day today… one of those days that seem to be trying to make up for the fact that it was minus seventy billion degrees celsius last night and there is still, at 10.30am, enough frost on the pavement to make walking on the road a safer bet.

I set out to do a few essential tasks, mostly enjoyable, filling in my time sheet at work, visiting the bank, picking up fresh sour dough buns from Kate our own personal baker around the corner.  Took a few photos while I was out, just to show you – nothing special mind, just where I live..

The last of the photos are to show you some of the rest of my day.  Our Ikea trip last weekend was highly successful and our house is now full of shelves.  Which have all been erected but not without the odd melt down or two and a threatened divorce.   I spent part of today setting up the lights I got along with the shelves – still on a quest to fill our little house with light.

My good friend Julie is arriving on Wednesday night.  She is from New Zealand but spends several months each year working in Norway, this time she is stopping off on her way home to spend a week with us.  I can’t wait – it will be so good to see her.  I will be busy for the next couple of days getting the house ready as well as working.  Not long to go..

One of the shops I used to work in
The sister shop I used to work in as well - twenty paces down the road from the other one
A little dog who would like to get out and meet the other little dog who has just trotted past..
Henry the seventh on the Cheese Market wall has been joined by Christmas decorations already up for the big turn on in two weeks

Mouse Castle woods from the top of my road. I have been watching it slowly turning golden and rusty.
My quest to fight the dark goes on - this is my new glass lamp from Ikea

More Ikea lights - the ones against the wall that is.
Spiced apple chutney made by my own fair hands this afternoon..

One Thing at a Time..

Do you ever get the feeling there are not enough hours in the day?

When I get a day off, lately, I just feel completely crazed – so much to do, so little time.  The sheer fact that I have so much choice drives me mad and makes it difficult to concentrate

I got a pile of books for my birthday.  They are sitting there, on the book-case, gently mocking me – or smiling at me depending on my mood.  Yesterday afternoon they were mocking me and strengthened my resolve to FINISH the wonderful Mrs Ames by EF Benson (author of the excellent  Mapp and Lucia books, that I had from the library.  Library books first AND THEN the smirking pile..


My lovely pile



In addition to all this reading I have been endeavoring to watch my way through the utterly brilliant TV series The Wire,  compulsive it is.  Each dvd has three programmes (not enough) and I have usually managed to ingest them all in one night – has to be done..

Free time of course, has got more precious now I am working at the shop.  This is on my wish list of stuff to do today –

  • Write blog – tick 🙂
  • Go for a walk down the river (walks have shrunk the busier I have got – not good 😦  )
  • Visit Louise in her shop
  • Visit Ali at the Globe
  • Visit the laundromat – washing waits for no woman
  • Start to make another bag
  • Finish an owl
  • List my spare clothes on Ebay
  • Buy veg at the Thursday market
  • Cook tea
  • Go to the Stitch and Bitch this evening

As I  said – this is a wish list, not really a hope that I will get it all done!

My birthday by the way, passed happily, and many thanks to all of you out there who sent me messages.  It was great to be remembered.  I had the day off from work and spent it wandering around town, visiting friends and my work to pick up a huge bunch of flower. The evening I spent with new friends down at Kilverts as unfortunately my man Mr T had to work that night.

This is one of my favourite cards –


and this is what it said inside


isn't that brilliant?




Tudor knows I would like one of these (a real one though, please)




Birthday boots - heavenly! Have worn them to work twice and they are so comfy.



I guess the answer to the ‘to much to do’ problem is to appreciate and be thankful that you have so many wonderful things that you can choose to do and then pick one and totally enjoy it while you are doing it.  I know this – why do I find it so hard to remember?

Work Space..

My work table
Note large cup of char, small, handpainted tea cup full of malteasers and new set of coloured crochet hooks that are a dream to use. I'm in the process of putting together some more bright birds.
The other view from my window

I am in the process of listing some of my makings on Etsy – my shop name is fondle if you would like to take a look.  🙂

Cusop Dingle..

Cusop Dingle is where we spent yesterday afternoon.  It was our second visit, I wasn’t really able to appreciate it fully last time as I had worked the previous night at the pub and was shattered.  This time was so much better!

If I could, I would live in the Dingle.  It has that fairy tale, deep green, deep history feeling that lulls you and makes you feel like the rest of the world can go hang.  Or that if you should doze of on the lush grass by the brook, you might well wake up in another time.  I was amused to read that it was the last recorded place where fairies have been seen.

I discovered a frog which I captured to show Tudor and let go in the brook, and we returned home with enough blackberries for a apple and berry crumble and enough wild flowers to fill my biggest vase – a blissful day really.  Even taking into account the attack of a nettle while I was reaching for flowers 😉  And by the way – the dock leaf did not work.

Nothing is ever as good as it seems, or as bad as it seems, but I really can’t see how yesterday could have been better – I am thankful for it..

The following is nicked from Wikipedia – just for interest.  Oh and if I had known about the oldest resident I would have paid a call on it.

Cusop is an English Victorian village that lies next to the world-famous book town of Hay-on-Wye. It is reached by driving out of Hay towards Bredwardine, and turning right into Cusop Dingle, locally known as ‘Millionaire’s Row’, because of the large, Victorian houses which line the route up to Offa’s Dyke Path, one of the popular walking tracks in the West of England.

Once documented as the last place in England in which fairies were seen, the Dingle is a single track road running alongside the Dulas Brook (forming the border between Wales and England) into the foothills of the Black Mountains. With a multitude of waterfalls, the Dulas Brook is home to trout, otter and kingfishers.

Cusop was home to the poisoner Herbert Rowse Armstrong, the only English solicitor ever hanged for murder, and the grave of his wife Katharine is in the parish churchyard. His former home, originally Mayfield but now The Mantles, is currently owned by Martin Beales, a solicitor working in Armstrong’s old office in Hay. Beales believes that Armstrong was innocent and has published a book arguing his case.[1]

The writer L.T.C. Rolt lived here between 1914 and 1922, in a house then known as Radnor View, in a development locally called “the Forty Acres”. Spending his early boyhood here, he went on to co-found the Inland Waterways Association and the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society, and to write many books on transport, engineering biography and industrial archaeology.

Cusop’s oldest resident is the Cusop Snail, dating back to the Stone-age.

Recorded in The Doomsday Book as “Cheweshope” from the Roman name of “Kyneshope” meaning Hollow Hill.

The Manor of Cusop formed part of the Ewyas Lacey One Hundreds and was once owned by the Clanowe Family, Edward III, Henry ap Griffith, Vaughans of Moccas and the Cornewall Family.

My neighbour gave me these bits, found when she was doing her garden. I am hoping to make a mosaic to go on our blank garden wall - See next photo..
A mosaic should look good on here.

In a Short Space of Time..

Well – that is the longest blogging break I have had for a while.

I have been trying to sort my life out a bit, or it’s been trying to sort me out.  I finished my pub job last weekend –  the mind was willing but the flesh was weak and I was totally exhausted.  I don’t seem to be able to recover very quickly anymore but am starting to feel a bit better now.  I have decided to make a proper effort to make and sell my hand crafted items full-time, using the web, local markets and through shops.  It will be hard work but I figure that if I work half as hard as I did in the pub I should be able to make it work.  I am looking forward to it.

Actually – in the period since I last blogged, much has happened.  We now have a land line and broadband connection thanks to BT.  You have no idea how good this is, I had loved going to The Globe to use their broadband but it did pale after a while, and trying to contact businesses to get the organization of services set up was rather expensive on a mobile.

We have managed a couple of day trips away – to Abergavenny and up to Knighton to visit a rather cool yarn shop First 4 Yarns. Beautiful countryside on both drives and lots of ancient buildings and lovely people.  The First 4 Yarns proprietor introduced me to a New Zealand woman who ran the shop across the way and had been in the town for 19 years.

A view of Hay on the way back from Knighton

On the way back from Knighton we stopped for a walk around Presteigne.  Tude managed to enrage an elderly lady volunteer in a charity shop by commenting, during the course of a conversation, that he thought she had a bit of a Shropshire accent. Well! – that went down like a lead balloon.   Presteigne for the uninformed (and possibly uninterested) is located just inside the Welsh border and one thing it is important to know about dealing with anyone who lives in Wales is that you need to be careful about who you liken to the English.  I sort of understand this having lived with the whole Aussie/Kiwi mutual hate/love affair.

Then while walking past an antique shop we noticed a pile of boxes and bits and pieces by the side entrance with a large notice that said all items were for sale for 50p each and it could be paid through the post slot on the door!  I went mad grabbing bits and pieces of china, a tea-pot, jugs and bowls.  All old stuff with chips and cracks but I just think that adds character  (plus I am too poor to buy them intact ;-))  What fun!!  We arrived home with bags full, including all the yarn I had bought.

New tea pot
This is like a little soup tureen
I love blue and white china

Our friend Yvonne has been visiting from NZ. She stayed three nights and seemed to like our little town so maybe we can lure her back some time.  We took her to Abergavenny for the afternoon and there were masses of antique stalls set up in the huge Market Hall.  We had a brilliant time looking at all of that and then trawling the charity shops.

Yvonne the Terrible

Yesterday we went for a wander on one of the many country walks that surround our town – here are a few snaps.  We are feeling pretty happy with ourselves as we have found useful foraging plants come autumn – black thorn trees for sloe gin, hazel nuts and blackberries.

The 'camera on a fence post' shot
In the field..
In the distance..
Seen on the walk home - my dream cottage