Thursday, 26 July 2012


Do any of us do much on impulse?

I did last night.  I went outside at about 11pm to shut the chickens away for the night, the house has been really quite stuffy and the night air was cool and inviting; so inviting that I decided to sleep outside!   The garden chairs were all still out with cushions on so I took a blanket and got comfy in 2 chairs.  The night sky was really visible it was like soft crushed velvet with glitter sprinkled all over it.  In fact it was so mesmerising that it was hard to sleep.  I woke at one point and saw a shooting star - what are the chances of that?

Socx came out in the night and found me in the garden so got comfy in a chair next to me and then Maia followed; she slept by my feet.

By about 4:30am the light was changing the colour of the sky and it was cold and damp, so I retired indoors.  It was such an adventure and I am still smiling about it now.  I watched the earth rotate against the stars, the garden was peaceful and safe - what fun!!  Well my idea of fun...

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Chesterfield, July 2012

We have just spend a week in the Peak District in our first Homelink 'house swap'.  We stayed in a beautiful bungalow about 8 miles from Chatsworth House.  We were really pleased to find that we were only 50 miles south of Leeds, so on 2 days we drove up to see Ellie.

On Wednesday we visited the Royal Armouries Museum, quite interesting for David but I just tried to find a chair to go to sleep in for most of the time.

We were really late home Wednesday evening and slept rather late the next day!

Looking through the waterfall at the Tropical Park

When we went to Leeds on Thursday we visited a Tropical Park, which had a butterfly house and a meerkat family.  It was a most suprising place with lots of different climates zones and we really liked it and recommended it to Ellie.   That evening we had a Japanese 'wasabi' meal which is good fun and most entertaining. It was just lovely to see Ellie and catch up with her new job news.........  I think David might have to SKYPE her each week for an update. 

We have been remarkably lucky with the weather, when it was raining we were indoors in a museum or country house and when we wanted to walk around the gardens we only had 1 or 2 drizzles.  Our visit to Chatsworth House on Saturday was wonderful.  

We estimate is must be 18 years since we last visited the house and it has been updated and restored very well.  Mind you I do find walking slowly around a big house makes my legs tired, so our trip around the gardens did involve a lot of sitting and admiring the views!!  LOL

Please can I have one of these for Xmas - only a solid silver incense burner about 2ft high.

This is my favourite statue in the Chatsworth Collection, she is lovely

Yes we were sitting in the sun!

I love the 'rockery' in the garden - more like boulders really and much bigger than a house!!  Bit too big for my garden.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Salcombe, Devon

We have just returned from a long weekend in the Port Light Hotel near Salcombe, Devon.  The hotel is situated on the cliffs above Salcombe with amazing views of the coast in both directions and the one reason that I can confirm that the views are good is because Sunday slowly turned from a wet, grey and rainy day to one of glorious sunshine!  

Socx in flight!
David with the dogs on the beach - before the sun came out!
Maia in flight on the beach at Salcombe!

In the morning we went to North Sands a small sandy cove where dogs are allowed all year round and slowly the sun came out and I took off my hat, then my leather coat, gloves and scarf and eventually even took off my cardigan to bask in the heat!    We even had lunch by the beach in a wonderful cafe where the food was excellent and fresh.

That brings me back to the Port Light Hotel.  Oh how the internet can deceive!  ‘The chef loves to cook with the fresh ingredients’ yes but he is better at re-heating, overcooking and totally murdering the food!
David agrees that we are probably spoilt with Stuart’s cooking and our expectations are just too high.  When our vegetables arrived this evening they were exactly the same veg as last night!  I wonder how many times they can be re-heated.  Tonight I had the ice cream – very good – unlike the rest of the deserts that are ‘bought in’.

The plus points of this hotel; the views, the peace and quiet and their acceptance of dogs all over the hotel and grounds and that is why we are here.  We have been able to take Socx and Maia into the dining room when we have breakfast and dinner and the hotel provide a place to hang the dog towels and a fridge to store fresh dog food.   I would also say that our bedroom is very modern and has wonderful views over the cliffs so probably a ‘7 out of 10’ would be a fair mark for this hotel.

Sunday afternoon we visited an 'open garden' and had a cream tea.  The dogs also had a cream tea.... a child dropped it on the ground LOL
 Just before we went into dinner this evening I took Socx and Maia for a walk along the cliffs, the sun was warm and even the wind had died down and the only sounds were the skylarks wheeling over the fields, such a beautiful sound and to wake up to only the sounds of birds is a delight, I just love the quiet and the time to appreciate this wonderful Earth we live on.

Thursday, 14 June 2012


How exciting yesterday we received our new chicken coop!

We are going to have the chickens in the garden at the top near the water tank and I needed a new house for them.  It comes flat packed so I was up early this morning and started painting it ready to assemble at the weekend.

As per normal got it from the internet and the company were very efficient, I ordered it on Sunday and it was delivered on Wednesday from Cocoon

It does look very posh!

We are going to have 4 birds which will be ample eggs for ourselves and our neighbours who want to share the chickens with us.

Not sure what type of hen to buy but a really great friend was in today and he is picking up 20 point-of-lay hens and has kindly added 4 more to the order for us!

So now I will have to paint extra fast and get the coop ready.  A new client who does farm work has agreed to build a run for the chickens and then we will be all set.

I will post photo's of our new girls next week!!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Bank Holiday Monday

I am really pleased that I got a lot of gardening done yesterday in the sun.  It was lovely in the front garden, very warm and when the road is quiet it was peaceful.  The tame robin kept flying in to see what I was digging up - mostly weeds and with all the rain we have had there were a lot of weeds.

Today I had planned to spend the whole day 'crafting' as the weather was forecast to be very wet and inclement.  Well I am sort of crafting but I have started a cold and it has gone to my chest, so I am in the 3rd bedroom with all the craft items but I feel to lousy to do any. :-(   I thought that if I stayed in the 3rd bedroom I would not have to go anywhere to do any crafts but I really feel too tired at the moment; I don't think I can concentrate.

An outfit that I customised!
The 3rd bedroom is referred to as the 'belly dance room' as this is where I store all my costumes and dressing up clothes.  I am acquiring items for a Pirate outfit ready for 16 June when I shall go to Poole, Dorset with the 2 dogs to celebrate 'Harry Paye Day'.  It is a day to celebrate the maritime heritage of Poole and as a local girl I want to go this year.

I have nearly all my outfit sorted, I am just waiting for the plastic cutlass to arrive from Ebay.  I did originally think I could always take my Thai Chi sword as it is blunt and has not edge but then my common sense kicked in and I realised that I could not take even a replica sword out in public, so a plastic cutlass it is.  

I have bought some black material with scull and crossbones on it to make 2 bandannas for the dogs, that will be their dressing up outfits, with luck if I have a sleep I will be able to make those this afternoon.

Not sure about the rest of the UK but the weather here in Wiltshire is quite nice now, dry and bits of blue sky, perhaps the rain has passed through for a few hours.
Where ever you are have a good Bank Holiday!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Perfect Sunday

What a blissful Sunday!  Good weekend.

It started with meeting a friend in Bathampton and taking the dogs for a muddy walk alongside the canal, then lunch at the Bathampton Mill Pub.  When Michael left to drive home I had a sudden impulse to give the dogs another walk along the canal and wow did it rain and hail on us.  Poor Maia was so cold and wet that I had to pick her up and when we got back to the car I had to wrap both dogs in towels to stop them shivering!  Never mind that I was also a bit soggy.  Still it makes me smile to see the clouds in the sky and know that I am alive 'cause I can feel the rain!! LOL

Anyhow when we all got home and the dogs had showered and dried off I took up my sewing that I started yesterday.  In March when we had all the wonderful sunshine I notice that the mice have eaten big holes in the cushion covers for the outside chairs; so I planned to measure up the cushions, get some new material and make new covers.

Well last Tuesday I was in Southampton attending a seminar about the budget and at the end of the day I had a couple of hours to spare before meeting Stuart and Tab for dinner.  As I stood in the car park of the Novotel I noticed that IKEA was right next door - not hard to miss as IKEA is a rather large shop.  So of course I go shopping (Pope/balcony, you get the idea).  What I did not know until I spotted it was that IKEA sell material; lots of good strong cotton weave material in very bright colours in very big patterns, just  right for cushion covers for the garden chairs.  Then, even better, as it is IKEA you get to measure and cut your own material.  I felt like I had just been let loose in a sweetie shop; I could play with the materials, cut out what I wanted and get a bargain price - Excellent!

So my sewing project is nearly finished, 4 wonderful fresh, bright cushion covers ready for the summer..............hmmmm rain is forecast for the next week, so I must remember to store the new cushion covers in the house, away from the hungry mice!

Sunday, 25 March 2012


One of the consequences of being married for such a long time (35 years in July 2012) is that I find it difficult to have fun with David............................OK OK OK, not that sort of fun!

Fun to me is doing things together, like walk the dogs and stop to have a cream tea (or just a cup of tea).  Visit a beautiful garden or beauty spot and just sit and admire the view. 
Sit together in our lovely garden and read the papers.  

Not really life changing things............but maybe they are life changing.  We all look for happiness/fun, so you have to make it happen.

Woodford Valley, with Maia
Yesterday we went to Salisbury to buy David a new pair of walking shoes, this is not fun for David because he hates shopping but then we drove home along the Woodford Valley out of Salisbury.  

It is probably over 30 years since we have been in this valley, we used to visit it on a Sunday when David was posted with the RAF to Amesbury.
52 Orford Road, Amesbury was our first married home.  I remember sitting by the river having a picnic. 

So we stopped, walked the dogs up a footpath and sat with a cup of tea to admire the  afternoon sun.

In the Woodford Valley, with Socx
My idea of fun! 

Friday, 27 January 2012


It was always touch and go as to whether Socx would accept Maia coming to live with us but yesterday in the office this is what we saw..

Probably difficult to see as both dogs are black and tan but Maia is asleep behind Socx.

One of the few times when there is peace in the household!

Sunday, 22 January 2012


Asleep on Dad

We have a new verb in our family, it is to be 'Maiaed'

Ready for action!!

Socx gets 'Maiaed' every day and so does the house!  What this means is that our new puppy 'Maia' takes a delight in playing rather roughly with Socx.  We found that she was hanging onto his fur as he tried to run away!  She may only be 4" tall but she has a very large character.
Walking in her food bowl
The house of course has been 'Maiaed', with the inevitable wees and poos all over the place, mostly where we can step into them.......ah well.....all part of having a new puppy.

Maia will be 8 weeks old on 23 Jan so she has only had one jab and cannot walk out into the open.  Still it is  good for her to experience new things so I have rigged up a sling to carry her on our daily walks with Socx.  My first attempt at a sling was not very good, the knitted material was too stretchy but this red scarf works a treat.

Ready for her walk/carry!!
I have had to make a harness for Maia as she is so small but she still manages to wriggle out of it (I do not know how!)  On our walk today I suddenly found her making an escape from the sling and that was when I found that the harness was securely fixed to the sling but she was not in the harness!  I may have to make adjustments to the harness.

Even being carried is very tiring

Monday, 9 January 2012

Late Christmas fun

Last Sunday my nephew and his wife, Philip & Steph came to visit for the day bringing their 4 boys with them;
Felix, Isaac, Ethan and Archie.

Father Christmas had forgotten to deliver 4 late parcels to their home and asked me to give them to the boys on this visit.  

The boys wanted me to 'gel their hair, this is the result on Archie the youngest
Archie's new hairstyle - cute

So we had a big Sunday lunch:

Yes, even boys eat!

Captain Cook with Ethan 'EE'

Macaroni cheese
Vegetable bake
Slow cooked lamb with roast veg
Mashed potato

Followed by:
Fruit trifle with ice cream

Followed by:
A walk at Smallbrook meadow, in Warminster, to feed the ducks and play in the park and give Socx a walk. 
Testing the depth of the dipping pond

Daddy playing in the 'children's playpark'

Then Ellie started playing

I think Tom was making sure Ellie did not fall off, long way to the ground 6"

They are delightful boys, full of energy and they even made Socx tired, he slept very well that evening. 
Yes OK I was tired too!! LOL

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

New Year !

Well I have survived Christmas and New Year and I hope that the festive season was not too traumatic for too many people.

I always think of people who have no family, no cosy home to go to, no job.................  well I am sure you know what I mean.  Then it makes me grateful that I wake up each morning to a new day with a home, family, job, not a lot to grumble about in the grand scheme of things.  

Still today got off to a bit of a rocky start, the alarm light failed to work and both David and I slept through the radio alarm even though it was on for an hour!
The dog had spent the night scratching at the door to be let back up to the bedroom where he likes to sleep. Then when I had a shower the drain was partially blocked and I nearly flooded the bathroom.
Then I looked out of the window to see that our front fence was being blown over and a side panel has also broken in the overnight storms.
Oh and the outside light bulb at the front of the house has gone again!!

So I will not grumble - it is just part of life!

Hope your 2012 gets off to a good start!! LOL