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 🙂

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..

 

like a phoenix..

I have been awake since 5.30, and up since 6.15, full of energy and surprising Mr T who’s already up for work.  This early awakening has been happening for a month or so now and I have to admit, I quite like it.  Extra time to sit and drink coffee and read or surf or wonder at the world outside my window before it wakes up.

The energy I feel on waking and throughout the day is complemented by sudden surges of fiery bodily heat that has me casting of clothes in all directions.  I appear to be arising like a Phoenix from the flames.

It is amazing to me to have all this energy, I am immensely grateful for it, especially at this particular time when I am packing and organising and having to be ‘on to it’.  I try to remember not to regret all the years spent living in the grey mire.  After all, I couldn’t fully appreciate how I am now with out experiencing the opposite.

In addition to all this unexpected menopausal energy is the fact that I am no longer able to drink alcohol the way that I used to – and that is so weird. I have gone from easily drinking the best part of a bottle of wine at a party with little or no ill effects to cautiously drinking one glass of wine because two will not only give me the start of nausea but also give me the hangover of the century.  Why does no-one tell you these things may happen?

What is even weirder for me is that if this alcohol intolerance thing had happened a year or so ago I would have been devastated – no more social crutch, boo hoo, throw my toys out of the cot time.  Now however, I feel quite calm about it and that is so odd – almost like I am on some kind of hormonal valium.

In my down time I am stitching and enjoying it so much.  Around 5pm, after dog dinner time, I seek my spot on the sofa, gather the fur babies around me, cue up what ever I am binge watching (at the moment it is The West Wing and The Great British Bake Off), adjust the Anglepoise and happily stitch away.  I have finished one piece  –

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and working on another..

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and trying to organise supplies of embroidery cottons, fabric and yarn etc so that I have enough to keep me going after everything is packed.  Then doing the classic of realising that I have packed something that I am actually going to need and then not being able to find which box I’ve put it in, grrr.

This morning I have dogs to walk and a fridge to clean before a prospective buyer visits this afternoon so I am off and running – hope you all have a happy, energetic day too.

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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full speed for home..

We have been having weather.  I really mean WEATHER..

It came in last night and we watched the rain radar on the Met Service website with fascination as two huge, multicoloured splodges of rain joined together and dumped on us.  In addition they bought along their friend the wind and we had gales that kept waking me up during the night, bashing against the bedroom windows.

Today I was meant to be getting together with two friends for a potluck lunch and lots of lovely chat but that was cancelled due to travel concerns, the wind was honestly so bad that I wouldn’t have liked driving in it either.  Toastie and Charlie talked me into going for a walk but we got quarter of the way around the park and both decided they had had enough and turned for home and I was happy to oblige, walking into the wind was difficult to say the least and my overactive imagination kept conjuring flying sheets of corrugated iron and crashing tree branches.  In addition I could see threatening rain cloud being blown across the mountains and we had only minutes before it reached us.  Don’t ask me why I wasn’t wearing a coat..really,

It was good to get back in the warm, dry and quiet.

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So the rest of the day was lovely.  I had gone mad yesterday and cleaned all the house, so apart from going outside and picking up the sodden washing of the ground, I did not feel the need to tidy anything, yay!  Instead I made date scones with the never fail Lemonade Scone recipe except I used ginger beer instead and had them for lunch.  I kept the fire going and read my book, Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead (on my top ten best books of all time list) for the second time, and I dozed and worked on designing a new stitching project and just generally had a cozy day.

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So that’s me for now – where ever you are I hope you are happy and safe and out of the weather..

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 🙂