Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Welsh Family Jollies

Sorry to take so long before I write again but have been rather busy with piles of washing and ironing and a little matter of going to work - but you don't want to know about this. So I am back - and am alive, not been swept away by any giant floods. Here we go:-

With car fully loaded we meandered away from out of sunny Leicestershire to Shrewsbury for our first stop. This was to see my dad who was babysitting my 14 year old nephew. Then lunch at Welshpool - couldn't see any wool shops (tragic!). Then as we continued on our journey the rain started.The nearer we got to  Dinas Mawddwy, Machynlleth the heavier the rain got! Then the sat nav said we had arrived but we hadn't because there was nothing there other than grass! So I began driving up various private farm tracks hoping it was our destination. Then Mr P sent me up a really grubby, muddy drive way which then led to a steep narrow road to a farm. It was at this point when I said if you think that is the farm then you'll need to walk up there as I'm not driving! I think he realised that I meant it and after I pointed out that the photographs of the farm seemed to be on a flat road then he put his brain into action and decided to direct me to the other side of the road where the farms were not up some steep hill. I should also say that the rain was lashing down, could hardly see out of the car and I was having to do u-turns on this busy A road! But after a few more turns up incorrect farm tracks our home for the week came into view and appropriately the rain stopped.

The owners came out to greet us warmly, showing us around their amazingly converted cattle sheds to this beautiful home(the owner doing all the rebuild). Then just as the tour was finishing the first of my baby chicks arrived with the dog greeting us first. This first hour was so precious - the excitement of being in a house that is unpredictable and new and then the joy as all my babies suddenly walk in. Great discussions and debates as to who should have what bedrooms. No 1 daughter going around checking the squeakiness of each bed!

A trip was needed to Portmadog, to stock up on food supplies and then we went to Betws-y-Coed. I needed a new rain coat as the one I had was no longer waterproof and a little on the small size. This was the ideal place to get a new coat. Every other shop seemed to sell outdoor clothes. Oh boy is it complicated buying a new coat - so much to choose from, so many different options and a huge price range. We ended up in Cunninghams where a very patient chap explained the ins and outs of the coats. Then I had to make a hasty retreat to a bench outside whilst I tried to understand what I needed to buy. Oh dear guess what Mr P let me buy a very expensive coat, I still tremble thinking about the cost.

There's a lovely train station and on the platform was this bench.

Sorry I don't understand why the writing has changed but it just has! I grew up In Yardley and regularly walked to Stechford to go swimming.

We thought we'd finish the visit off with a quick trip to Swallow Falls, but when we arrived there was a turnstile to go through. But we needed a pound each. Having spent all our loose cash in Betws-y-Coed and no staff around I decided there was no other choice other than to crawl underneath!


Mr P and myself went for a great 10 mile walk along the Estuary from Dolgellau to Barmouth. The sun was actually shining! First stop was by this rickety old car bridge for a cuppa to admire the view.



  Costs 60p to cross this rickety old bridge.




 Then we continued along enjoying the fantastic views, being extremely grateful that we could be out walking in sunshine. 


 Saw lots of wild strawberries along the path.








The bridge in the distance is the railway bridge crossing over the estuary into Barmouth.

 This was the view from Barmouth. I think this was my favourite day of the holiday. By the evening time I became aware of the fact that my face was sunburnt. Never did I dream that I would have this problem and that I would have to go and buy some sun tan lotion!




Was a trip to Bala where we hired sea kayaks and went out onto the large lake. This was great fun and of course ended up with a water fight, started of course by Mr P when he accidentally/on purpose splashed our son-in-law!!! Then into Bala for a lovely warm mug of hot chocolate, cream and marshmallows for the youngsters and tea for me!

The lovely thing about my daughters, daughter-in-law and hopefully daughter-in-law to be is they all love making things and scattered around the living room were many projects - knitting, sewing, crochet and rag rug making. Aren't I lucky to have all my girlies sharing in similar hobbies.

Last day forecasted with good weather so Mr P opted to walk from the farm to Bala, across humongous hills. I did not even for one minute contemplate joining him and instead I headed off to Aberdovey to the beach.


Dare I say it but I got very hot on the beach and was glad when the sun disappeared behind a cloud. Also I sat as near as I could on the soft sand to the sea so that I could enjoy the breeze!

At around 5.30pm I collected a very worn out hubby and even he thought he had bitten off more than he could chew! Home for a shower and for him a well deserved rest in the hot tub.

Woke up to drizzle. So Mr P and me went into the forest at Coed y Brenin for a lovely walk along some waterfalls. Well the views were spectacular and so were the midges. Every time we stopped to admire the view or try and take a photograph we calculated we had two minutes before the midges caught up with us! They were evil. No 4 came with us and he was mountain biking in some shorts, but by the end of his trip he looked as if he had chicken pox! He was covered in bites and they became rather itchy. poor chap.

 Then we rewarded ourselves with a lovely coffee in T H Coffee Shop, Parliament House in Dolgellau. The cakes are to die for, the atmosphere lovely and relaxed.

Games to play with, newspapers to read and free wifi.

Perhaps this a good time to tell you about all the wonderful puddings that some of family ate over the week. The way we divided up the cooking was that each couple cooked the evening meal and there was a bit of a competitive spirit especially when it came to deserts.

Well mine was a bit pathetic as I was going to make a trifle and realised at the supermarket that I didn't have a whisk to beat the cream - so I cheated and bought some spray cream. This did lend itself to some creative bowls!

I should say that No 2 and his wife made a wonderful hot steamed chocolate pudding. There is no picture as I was too busy devouring it!

 No 4 and his girfriend made this huge chocolate cheesecake, in a tray!

No 1 and hubby made this Irish chocolate feast with strawberries soaked in a bit or Irish whisky!

No 3 and hubby made a gorgeous orange and lemon cheesecake with a sauce made from raspberries. Again no picture as I was too busy stuffing my face!


The rain returned, just like it did on the day we arrived. Some of the children went out shopping but Mr P and myself decided to be very lazy and stay in the comfort of the home and watch Mission Impossible 3. Oh it was great fun, totally far fetched. But I loved it - lots of gadgets, a few scary moments. And then the rain stopped and we headed off to Portmerion - where The Prisoner was filmed. I find it hard to describe the place as it is so surreal. No wonder the TV company thought it a brilliant place to film from. I took lots of pictures but I'll only bore you with a few.


Even the trees seemed to be surreal.

I made Mr P stop driving in order for me to take this picture.

The last evening we all went out for a meal together to y Sospan. 
We had a lovely home cooked meal, thanks to my dad who paid for a large chunk of the meal. It was a lovely way to finish a great week together. Back to the farm for a final hot tub session - which ended up with us not going to bed till 12:30. Not good when you've got to be up early!

Loading up of the cars, sharing out the leftover food and sad farewells. Mr P had to drive for a while as I couldn't stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks and obscuring my vision. It was so wonderful to have had this week to spend with my fantastic family, that Mr P and I are very proud of.

Home in time to start masses of washing and ironing. Followed by a special evening at a friend's barn dance and hog roast.

If you've managed to read all of this blog then well done!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Family Jollies

For those of you who know me well - no I am not moving house again! As we have moved fourteen times since we got married nearly 34 years ago (golly nearly needed a calculator to work it out). It's definitely not time to move yet.

Tomorrow Mr P and myself are off on our jollies to a lovely self catering farm house.

I have packed sooo much stuff that I think our car when loaded up tomorrow will look a little like this car.

Mr P thinks it might have been easier if I'd just packed the whole house.

The whole of the family are meeting up at the cottage and where we hope we are all going to enjoy a brilliant week together - that's 10 adults and 1 dog!

The reason for the large bags is the fact that we are going to - yes you've guessed very wet WALES!

These two pictures were taken a couple of days ago!

So I've packed lots of craft things, games, books etc in case we get marooned!

The cottage has a hot tub so if it rains surely it won't matter too much!

So no more blogs until I come back next week.

A little Welsh joke for my crafting friends:
Mrs Evans pulled Mrs Jones out of earshot of the front room, where Mrs. Jones' lovely young daughter, Mefanwe, sat.
'It is really none of my business,' whispered Mrs Evans, 'but have you noticed what your daughter is doing?'
'Why, no. Is she up to anything special?'
Mrs Evans leaned closer. 'Haven't you noticed? She's started knitting tiny garments.'
Mrs Jones' troubled brow cleared. 'Well, thank goodness,' she said smiling, 'at last she's taken an interest in something besides running around with boys.'

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Trigger Update

As long promised an update on Triggers new adventures.

This letter was received not long after he went to his new home:

Dear Ma and Pa,
Just a few short lines to let you know that I have arrived safely at my new lodgings – though the ride over here was a little fast and scary – I hope the driver is never responsible for taking anyone of a delicate disposition on, say, a church outing! My new owner seems very nice, though I may have a problem getting enough to eat as he did seem to tuck away the groceries at supper time (his wife told me afterwards that he can be a bit 'precious' about making sure he gets his fair share, and as the newest member of the family I have to wait my turn at the feeding trough). His wife seems very nice too - when she showed me to my stable I saw that she had embroidered a tapestry just for me and hung it on the wall; it said "Roses are red Violets are blue Nags that play up Are turned into glue" (What's a "nag", ma?) Anyway, I'd better turn in now. I'll be sure to write again soon with all my news, Your ever-loving foal, Trigger XXX on

I have to say I'm a bit worried about the amount of grass Trigger has got through - as when horses eat too much grass, they can become colic. This is a problem with the stomach.Because a horse can't throw up, it means that the problem is confined to the stomach. Not nice!
Eating too much rich grass can also make the horse lame.
If over-eating, the horse will become fat, which can have terrible effects on its health.

So some advice for Trigger if he gets overweight:-

Keep overweight horses in stalls or paddocks until the pasture’s rate of growth has slowed, then introduce them to pasture slowly.

Since this I have then received another note from Trigger:-

Dear Ma and Pa,
Another short note to give you the latest update from my new lodgings. 
Over the Jubilee weekend I finally succeeded in getting the lawn down to an acceptable level.  As a result I've put on a lot of weight and don't want to see another blade of grass for a very long time (and no jokes, please about needing to go on the Hay diet). 

Definitely think his owner needs to read the above advice.

 Perhaps this sign could be used to prevent further problems.

But still Trigger does not learn quickly.

And finally I have received yet another note:

Dear Ma and Pa,
Being kept well fed. As you can see from the picture below, when not helping in the garden or learning about the mysteries of the universe I do find the odd minute to follow a few select blogs; the one shown in the photo is a particular favourite, featuring as it does some fine specimens of the equine form.
Anyway, I'd better close now as it's time for my favourite TV programme – "Neiiiiiighbours".

With much love,

Just look how big his back side has become! Tut tut. Just hope the new owner takes on board what has been said.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Tenor For Tea

Saturday sent me manic with tidying, cleaning and cooking - why? Well in the afternoon was the final rehearsal before the performance of the Bach Choir. You still may be saying so, why all this panic. Well it was this man's fault.

This is Charne Rochford a tenor singer. Madly I had agreed some weeks ago to take him home between rehearsal and performance and feed him some tea. Isn't he delicious? I was so nervous and spent the whole time apologising and he also was nervous and he too kept apologising! But happily he loves footie and so does my husband so I was able to plonk him in front of the TV with a cuppa whilst I prepared the meal. Another lovely lady from the choir also came for dinner - she's a senior anaesthetist. So there were many interesting conversations flying across the dinner table. Although I was very on edge about everything it was a privilege to have met him.

The concert was magic. I'd never heard of this music before we started to rehearse and it grew on me the more I sang it. Even as I type this blog the tunes are buzzing away in my head. It was so exciting to sing with four soloists. The power in their voices were amazing.

Came home for a well deserved glass of red wine and an early bed.

Sunday was a deliciously selfish day for me, me, me, me! Even the weather agreed with me and instead of yet more forecasted rain the sun shone. So outside I went armed with a cuppa, a book and a deckchair. I started reading a book that a friend has lent me.

 Apologies for the poor quality pictures of this book. I started reading it thinking I'd read just a little bit and then come in to do some crafting but the sun carried on shining and the book got engrossing. So I spent nearly all morning reading. Just in case you think I was totally selfish I did do three lots of washing and some washing up and made Mr P a dinner. Sadly Mr P was having a nightmare of a day with church services, several meetings and a new venture - church in Costa Coffee. This book is available from a small independent publishing company called Persephone. Oh do have a look at the books available - they are so interesting and well written.

Even the inside cover is printed beautifully, also a bookmarker with this design.

Oh well the sun did disappear and the temperature dropped so inside for some crafting and watching the last weeks episodes of The Great British Menu.

Bag number one.

I know it's technically not very good, but I just wanted to get sewing and not spend hours getting the corners right! It's only going to have food from Asda in it!

Bag number two.

I just loved this fabric - so cute.

Ok this is my mad creation. You may recognise the tree from Easter and now I am putting it to use for the Jubilee/Euro/Olympics celebrations.

Mr P was speechless when I asked his opinion!!!! Says it all - oh well no other home will have a mad decorated tree like mine!

This was the state of the craft room at 11pm last night! Needless to say I did clear up before I went to bed.

Now for more sensible things - a progress report on the plants.

The runner beans have grown a little and are beginning to start to attach themselves to the canes.

Sadly the snails and slugs are losing and I'm winning with only 1 plant lost still!

 Not sure if these pepper and chilli plants have grown much. I've not planted them into the raised bed yet as I was frightened the weather might deteriorate and they would need to come indoors. But I guess now that it is June that I should plant them.

Guess the same can be said for the tomato plants. Have they grown? Should I put them in the raised bed?

Don' think I have shown you my five strawberry plants - but I think they are looking good.

Well think it's time to draw this page to an end. I promise you this week I'll put an update of the progress of Trigger.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Jubilee, Day 4

Well it was difficult to resist not having another day by the canal. Weather report was for a deterioration as the day progressed. So Mr P finally got himself sorted and we were able to leave early this morning for another outing to see more narrowboats.

We decided to walk along the canal, not sure where but before you get to Yelvertoft and up to Crick. The reason being we decided that as it was the last day of the show then there was probably going to be more activity along the canal with boats either moored up or leaving.

Mr P looking dreamily on.

   These four days have been so good for us. As you know the first two days were manic and very little time to spend together. Today was spent more in reflection and wondering about our retirement, but that is some years away yet!

Not sure what's going on but I can't seem to put the words where I want them. Oh well I'll try and carry on. These two geese made me laugh - they were like guards on sentry duty, watching over their three babies. Even when we walked back they were still standing in a similar position!

This boat very much reminded us of our retirement home in Northumberland.

This sign made us chuckle.

And I took this picture especially for No.3 who probably has a similar problem!

Just like this photograph!

And this picture perhaps reflects all our thinking over the last two days! 


Monday, 4 June 2012

Jubilee and So Much To Say

Day 1 of The Long Jubilee Weekend.
Wow - I don't know where to begin. Just had one of those amazing weekends. It started with a friend's daughter's wedding. They got married at Normanton Church, Rutland Water.

An amazing venue for a wedding. Sadly it was not hot like it had been a week ago but the rain managed to hold off. The groom arrived by boat! After the ceremony the bride and groom then took a boat trip around the church

They had another boat shadowing them to film them.

Sorry but I'm deliberately choosing pictures so that my friends faces don't have to be splashed across my blog.

The bride had to wear wellies in order to be able to get on and off the boat without getting her feet wet!

Whilst all this was going on a lot of the male guests were busy admiring the gorgeous car used to deliver the bride to the church.

The reception was held at a local boarding school - again an unusual venue. As the service in the church was done as if in a registry off ice Mr P was asked to conduct a blessing service in the school garden.  

The speeches and the cutting of the cake were done before the yummy dinner. This was done so that those giving the speeches could eat their food without getting stressed about having to give their talks. Nice touch I thought.

The cake was all chocolate - made up of layers of chocolate cake and cream and the outside is white chocolate!

The bride and groom put the rooms together. They supplied all the furniture, decorations, flowers etc. I think they did a great job.

I've been to lots of weddings but this was the first time I've ever truly seen the bride's bouquet tossed for one of the unattached girls to catch!

Day 2.
So that was Saturday then came Sunday and the Jubilee Celebrations held at our church. The church invited the local neighbourhood in for an indoor street party. Thank goodness it was planned this way because it poured with rain ALL day. They were of course fed 1950's food.

Should say around 100 people turned up for the event. This was then followed by community singing and party games.

One of the church rooms was then set up with 1950's memorabilia. In this picture were some photographs of one of our older ladies. She had been a midwife and oh the pictures just looked as if they'd come from the recent TV series "Call the midwife".

Dad and I had lots of fun browsing through the magazines. I was especially intrigued to read the adverts for cigarettes. As some of you may know I work for the NHS trying to help people quit smoking.

I found this one rather interesting - have a fruit gum when you can't smoke!

Not so removed from today when I know lots of my clients chew sweets in order to resist a cigarette.

Children and adults had fun playing with lots of very old games and toys.

Then finally people drifted into the church to watch the regatta live on a large screen.

The Queen amazed me she stood for virtually three and a half hours watching all the boats go by, in the cold, wind and rain. What an amazing woman - guess its qualities like this that have kept her going. Long may she reign.

I also thought the filming of the regatta was brilliantly done by the BBC.

Finally Day 3.

Today Mr P and myself opted for a quiet day at the Crick Narrow Boat Show.  We had a fabulous day, never been there before and oh boy was it a treat.You see I kind of have this yearning to spend our first year of retirement on a narrow boat either cruising around the canals of Britain or going to France and hiring a barge and travelling all the way south to Carcasonne. We both love the canals and have even walked the whole of the Leeds/Liverpool canal - the longest one in Britain. We also spend lots of spare time walking different bits of the canal system. I think my children think me mad - they're often saying "Oh mum you and your boats". Having said all this Mr P and myself had not been on a narrow boat until that is today!

I adore these traditional narrow boats - and today we were legitimately allowed to nose at them and go inside.

This man is advertising for someone to come and work with him!

But you have to be female!

Then decided to go back to old habits and took a stroll along the tow path and was delighted to see a boat called "Chance" - a fellow blogger. Chance Blogspot

Dogs were allowed to enter the boat show. Doesn't this one look sweet with his small neck scarf?!

These dogs were huge - Irish Wolf Hounds.

Ok I have to be honest and say we were a little insey winsey bit tempted with this small 2nd hand narrow boat, called Aster.

Can't seem to show you a picture but it was oh so sweet and so traditional in its layout. Oh well we'll keep on dreaming. Hope you are all having as much fun as I am this long bank holiday weekend.