When the novelty wears off..

Following on from my previous post I can happily say that I am no longer smitten with snow.  I know, I know – that didn’t take long, but really, seriously, what a pain in the arse these weather conditions are.

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The frozen Warren by the frozen River Wye

Walking the dogs has turned into a mission.  Just getting out the door through three-foot of snow and down the driveway has become perilous.  Mr T has slipped and fallen twice already.  He is ok but I am mortified that on both occasions when he told me about it, I laughed so hard and so long I thought I was going to have a heart attack – I just couldn’t help myself.  Fortunately my hilarity was infectious and he started laughing as well.  I am not helped by a hormonal trough which has me exhausted and tearful for no obvious reason.  Tiredness makes me laugh inappropriately – go figure..

I found several tiny, feathered corpses on our walk down the river this morning, the birds are having a hard time of it, despite everyone putting out extra food for them.  I felt very sorry for the pair of resident swans as the river has frozen over in some places.

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Mr T only just made it home on Thursday evening the weather conditions were so bad, and thankfully his work was cancelled yesterday and today.  We have checked on our elderly neighbours and everyone is ok.  The only casualty has been a neighbour who we rarely see and who we had been told did not take well to visitors.  Yesterday morning, Pearl, our oldest neighbour, had sent her son over to check he was alright and when he didn’t respond to knocking, Pearl rang the police.  Shortly after a police officer,  a community support officer and a national parks officer arrived and eventually managed to talk the man into receiving some help.  It took them over an hour to get him to leave his house and go with them, and we were all very pleased that he was going to be looked after.  It’s difficult trying to care for people who don’t want help but those men took the time and we were so impressed with them – and particularly impressed with Pearl..

In the meantime I am distracting myself from how bad it is going to be when the snow starts melting and all the paths ice, by obsessing over Gee’s Bend quilts and binge watching Brooklyn 99.

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Denim, corduroy, synthetic blend (britches legs with pockets)
108 x 77 inches, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

This is the Contour Shawl by Joanne Scrace (available on Ravelry) that I am working on using Koigu Painter’s Palette yarn.  It is a simple pattern but my hormonally buggered brain is making the crocheting of it a slow process, I seem to be constantly frogging and restitching.  So I am giving it a rest.

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I will stop now, I am impressed that I have got this far..  We are warm and dry and not lacking in anything except sunshine – and that will come.  We are grateful..

Go well all..

 

 

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Novelty snow..

Where I grew up in the North Island of New Zealand, snow was a real novelty.  I remember as a small child being taken up the mountains to see the sparse snow that had fallen but it was many years before I saw snow actually falling and then I was smitten.  It’s easy to be smitten with snow when you have warm clothes and a warm house to snuggle in of course.

This week we have had snow for the last several days on and off.  In fact for the last two days my late afternoon compulsory walk with the dogs has been enlivened by the weather.  Both days we have left the house in bright sunshine with the odd flick of the white stuff and both days we have been hit by mad, blizzard conditions before we were half way down the road, turning myself and the dogs into ambulatory snow creatures. Today the weather is properly cold, it’s been snowing constantly all morning and on our walk this morning I noticed that there was coagulating ice floating down the river.

You would think then that there would be few people about for the usual Thursday market day but surprisingly there has been a steady stream of customers at the few market stalls that did brave the conditions and I bought the last three remaining, locally baked, gorgeous hot cross buns at the Londis.  I also stopped at both bakery stalls buying Portuguese custard tarts from Kate the Bread  (which, by the way, you take one bite of and have a moment of utter bliss as your brain realises just how truly delicious they are) and a massive Chelsea bun from Sue bravely womanning the stall at Gooch’s.  I am eating to stay warm of course, not because of my massive greed 😉

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Something odd happens to people when it snows – they suddenly become a lot more friendly, not that Hay people are not normally a friendly lot but snow means that everyone talks to everyone, whether you know them or not.  I have found myself on several occasions standing in a snowstorm having conversations for long enough to cause drifts to gather around our legs.  Also nationally it brings out the utter unselfish goodness in people who look out for their neighbours, help people trapped in cars and aid those in need.

So, how am I spending this snow day?  Well I have chosen today to defrost the freezer because why wouldn’t you when you can just pop the frozen food outside the door to keep cold?

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I have taken the opportunity to slow cook a shoulder of pork using the Pulled Pork recipe from the Guardian so I will have that in the oven on low for the rest of the day.  There will be some crochet done this afternoon and maybe some stitching and listening to the radio before I have to drag myself and our furry friends out for a walk.

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Where I will be crocheting.. and dreaming of spring.

Mr T is driving a bus in the frozen wastes and I am hoping he is ok and furiously hoping that the weather will mean he can come home early and have a snow day tomorrow.

I am also furiously hoping that everyone stays warm and safe and that all the wild creatures find food and shelter over the next couple of days until sane spring weather returns.

Until then – let’s be careful out there..

Crunchy Leaves..

I have unearthed my favourite green, woolen cardigan and today for the first time in many months I have worn it and the poncho and beret I made last year.  There is something about these much loved garments that brings comfort – like old friends you haven’t seen for a while.  And I love that it is cold enough to meet them again.

It is autumn – just over a year since we travelled back from New Zealand, and I found myself appreciating all over again how stonkingly gorgeous the changing countryside is, even though everything is withering and dying – it does it so beautifully.

This is my favourite time of the year without a doubt and I suspect that is partly because the introvert part of me likes the excuse to hide out, cwcth up ( a welsh cuddle) and hibernate.  But also – I like the way the air feels when we are out walking, the crisp, clearness of it.  The colder weather makes me feel more alert, almost as if there is a hint of danger,  perhaps it is an ancient memory stirring – beware the cold and dark are coming.

I have to be firm with myself not to rustle up memories of childhood ghost stories when I walk the dogs in the graveyard in the gloaming, in order not to give myself the creeps..

I love the changing colours of the plants, the bright glossiness of the berries, the activity of the animals and insects as they rush to fatten themselves and to store food for the coming months.

Toastie has gone squirrel mad lately as the little, furry blighters spend as much time as possible hunting for food, often down on the ground.  To our scruffy terrier, squirrels are  fair game as well as very annoying, the way they sit up on their branches making harsh cawing noises at her and giving her the furry finger, so she rushes up and down the woodland river banks peering up in the trees with not a hope in hell of catching anything.

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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 🙂

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 🙂

 

 

 

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..