Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Holiday comes to an end with a Bump!

We had a lovely time during the last week of our holiday.  We moved to a camp site near Hereford, which was very central to a lot of wonderful areas.  We actually spent quite a lot of the time in Wales and it is definitely an area that we would like to go back and explore more.  Our site was overlooked by the Black Mountains, which were magnificent.

We also spent a day in the Brecon Beacons, which were stunning.  We got out of the car and walked and walked, the scenery was breathtaking.

I had forgotten to take my walking boots on holiday and walked the mountains in a really cute pair of cerise pink ballet pumps, which were immediately binned when we got back to the tent as they got so wet the sole fell off!

We also tried to get in to Merthyr Tydfil as I wanted to pay homage to Kier Hardy.  However, the place was packed and we couldn't get parked anywhere, so we gave up and went into the Welsh Valleys.  It was only later that we learned that the reason it was so busy was because Jeremy Corbyn was in town.  I really wish we had made more effort to find a place to park as I would love to hear him speak.  We really did have a lovely relaxing time on holiday and came back completely chilled, until......

.....my daft husband fell from the top of his ladder to the stony ground, hitting his side and back as he went down.  Having spent his entire life running up and down ladders, Pete is well aware of ladder safety rules, he always ties his ladder off.  Anyway, he had untied the ladder that was against the yacht when we went on holiday to prevent any theft, and was putting it back and was going to tie it off again.  The ladder slipped on the stones and down Pete went, about 12ft.  He has broken several ribs and punctured his lung and had to spend several days in hospital.  He is in considerable pain and will be for sometime yet, but he is also aware that it could have been a lot worse.  Pete is not one for sitting around doing nothing and I see problems ahead in keeping him down.  Please send all jokes that I shall save for when he is being particularly difficult!

I have had enough of Broomfield Hospital this year, what with mum being in for several weeks and now Pete (funnily enough they were both in the same bed, not together obviously!).  But once again, the staff did an amazing job especially considering the pressure they are under.  I am always in awe about how cheerful and caring they are.  So thanks again to the staff there.  Oh, and to finish, I bought the girls little Welsh National costumes and Bobby a flat cap and waistcoat, so here is Jessica modelling her outfit.  

Back soon ......hugs and kisses all.

Friday, 5 August 2016

More Exploring

Yesterday we took a trip north of Hereford to Weobley and Ludlow.  Weobley (pronounced web-lee) is a beautiful little village.  It is one of the 'black and white' villages and is so pretty.  The Delacy's had a castle here in the 13th Century but they upset good old King John I and he confiscated all their land.  All that is left of the castle are the earthworks.  Brewing and glove making were the Saxon industries, although there is no evidence of this today.  We had brunch in a really sweet little cafe that allowed Alfie in and served an excellent cup of tea.  As you can see from the photo, I think summer has departed as we have not had any sunshine, just cloud for days.

We then moved on to Ludlow, which is a medieval town with another castle.  The town had many really beautiful medieval houses and was bustling with activity.  There was a small market selling local produce and 'antiques' and Alfie got to taste his first Liver Cake - how revolting does that sound! 

We didn't actually pay to go in the castle, as we are getting a bit tight in our old age, however we did walk round the perimeter which certainly gave us an sense of just how big it actually was.  Set on the hill it was quite imposing. It is another of the DeLacy's castles; just how rich were these people! It is a mixture of Norman, Medieval and Tudor architecture and has a long association with royalty, becoming a royal palace in the fourteenth century.  The two boy princes lived here before they were taken to the Tower of London and mysteriously disappeared (their bodies being found under a staircase a couple of hundred years later), Mary Tudor, Queen of England, spent her winters here and Catherine of Aragon spent her first honeymoon here with Prince Arthur before she then married her brother-in-law Henry VIII and we all know how well that marriage worked out!

Ludlow was a typical medieval town with lots of little streets and courtyards and looking down into the little passages gave you a glimpse into bygone days.  This passage was such beautiful colours, but the phone camera is not so good at showing that.

Today we are off to explore the Brecon Beacons and its Neolithic history, more later xxxx

Wednesday, 3 August 2016


The campsite we are now at in Herefordshire is absolutely wonderful.  The best showers in gorgeous wet rooms that I have ever used whilst camping, a real pleasure.  It is also very central for a lot of veryinteresting places.

Yesterday we decided to check out Abergavenny as this is where Pete's grandmother was from.  Such a lovely town with a wonderful market.  It was a 'proper' locals market not one of these arty farty ones with exorbitant prices that claim to be town markets.  Anyway we also took a trip to the castle and a sweet little museum.  I love the Welsh National Costume.  I got my granddaughters some little aprons but have yet to find the tall hats in their size.  I got Bobby a flat cap that he will look really cute in.

Some of the locals had knitted/crocheted squares that had been sewn together and wrapped around trees in a 'knit the community together' project.  So colourful, fabulous idea.

We then went on to Raglan Castle, which really is worth a visit.  The original castle was partly destroyed by the Parliamentarians but enough of the castle remains so that you can see what a magnificent place it must have been.  A walk up to the top of the great tower via a narrow, stone spiral staircase results in stunning views across the Black Mountains.  I recently treated myself to a digital SLR camera and have been playing with that for a lot of the holiday. Unfortunately, I have to wait until I get home to put all my photos on to the laptop, so I can only show you some photos here that I took with my phone.  I will  post some of the mountains on my return, until then you have to take my word about how beautiful the mountains are or google it!

Raglan Castle.  What impressed me was that you could see all the many fireplaces at all three levels, the poor servants must have spent all their winter days just keeping the fires going to keep the place warm.  The size and grandeur of the fireplaces also depended on which room they were in, the differences fascinated me as you got a good sense about the use of individual rooms and the people who lived there.

Today we are off to Blackwood in the mountains to visit Pete's Aunt.  But I have to go now as Pete has just said that my breakfast is ready, veggie sausages, beans and toast.  It's hard work this camping lark!

Tuesday, 2 August 2016


When Pete first told me about the village Peterchurch, I thought he'd looked at it wrong on a map and was really looking at a church, but I was wrong to doubt him, it turns out there really is a place called Peterchurch.  Obviously we had to go there and see the village that Pete says is actually named after him due to some heroic act (Pete is a great storyteller as all the kids will tell you).  So........

To be honest I think the sign should actually read 64 3/4! 

Peter has always been fascinated by the Battle of Rorkes Drift, he has read so many books about it and I don't know how many times he has watched the film (albeit a very romanticised version of a very bloody battle which ignores the massacre that followed it).  Anyway Private Robert Jones (aged 21) who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroism at Rorkes Drift is buried in the local churchyard.  Robert Jones along with William Jones fought the Zulus off through the windows of the hospital.  They moved six of the seven patients to safety and all survived the battle.  The seventh patient refused to go and when Robert went back for him, he was being stabbed by a Zulu.  150 soldiers fought 3000 to 4000 Zulus that day.  Robert  returned to Peterchurch, married and had 5 children.  Unfortunately nightmares about Rorkes Drift plagued him (today it would be known as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) and he committed suicide aged just 41.  Due to his suicide, his headstone faces the other way to all the other headstones around him, such a shame.

We walked the entire length of the village and were quite surprised at how 'new' most of the houses were.  We chatted to a lady who had lived there all her life and she said that most of the older houses were in the surrounding hills and that the village, as it is now, had grown in more recent years.  Unfortunately we were far too early in the day for Pete to walk into the local pub and announce 'I'M BACK......'!!

Monday, 1 August 2016

Holiday Snaps

We are having such fun exploring.  We have now moved to Herefordshire as I have always wanted to go to Hay On Wye.  Unfortunately  the book festival finished a while back, but I am sure I will still have fun browsing the second hand book shops.  We went to Bath and had a wander round - Abbey, Roman Baths etc.  It has been many years since I went to Bath and it has changed, but I had forgotten what a beautiful city it is.  I loved this art exhibition, just about sums up the British weather.

There was a lovely young lady advertising free samples of homemade fudge, I asked if they made vegan fudge and she said they did and gave me a huge sample.  Now, it would have been very rude not to buy a slab of salted caramel fudge.  I didn't know that fudge should be kept a room temperature, so instead of putting it in the cool box I put it next to my bed, Ooops it just seemed to disappear!  On reading the info supplied, it says that the fudge can last up to ten days, hahahahahaha!!

We also had the most amazing Turkish meal.  The Meze they served as a first course would have been sufficient but we had to plough through two courses of delicious food.  Note to self - hang head in shame at first Slimming World meeting after holiday!

Alfie is having an absolutely fabulous holiday.  He has even more freedom than he normally does and is walking around with a permanent smile on his face.  He is worn out by about 8, as are we, and is the first to bed every night.  As it is a strange place, he does get a little anxious if either of us disappear to the shower/loo and keeps a watch out until we return.

Today we are off to a very special village, but I will reveal more about that later.  And yep, that is me laying in bed waiting for my breakfast to be cooked and my third cup of tea to be served.  If I stay here long enough, the washing up will be done too, I could get used to this lark.

Friday, 29 July 2016

What Have We Been Up To?

It has been a crazy few weeks, just as the end of the school year always is, quite a bit of admin to finalised.  I have also taken on a new role, visiting new learners in their homes, doing the initial interview, risk assessments etc and then finding a teacher to match the learner's needs.  That has been really interesting. I am still only doing a couple of days a week and a lot of the admin can be done from home sitting in my lovely wheelhouse.

Pete has converted his work van into a micro camper van.  We planned on touring the West Country in our tent but we saw some similar campers on Pintrest and thought it was a great idea for an overnight stay somewhere.  We could have bought a kit ready done for about £500 but Pete said 'I'm not paying that!' so out came the tools.  We reckon, including a new futon mattress, that it has cost about £100 all in, so quite a saving.

It actually gives us more room for camping gear too using the van, as my poor little car was packed to the rafters last year.

So we have now left for our holidays.  The first site we stayed on was near Brighton and we had booked and paid for three nights.  At first it had great potential; it had great reviews, was behind a country pub that served wonderful food (and it did, we tried it) and it looked so pretty and well maintained.  Unfortunately it was also under a flight path for Heathrow/Gatwick and on a main road.  For country bumpkins like us, that meant three nights of no sleep.  Also the toilet and showers were not cleaned at all for the three nights, so we won't be going back :(

Now we have found a real gem of a campsite in Wiltshire.  The toilets and showers are beautifully clean, there is no noise (not even from military planes).  We have friends in the area and have managed to wangle ourselves an invite to a BBQ tomorrow afternoon which will be fun.  Look at our views from the front of the tent.

And today the sun has come out, a real bonus!  We do like a quiet life and are quite happy to do a bit of exploring and then back to the tent to BBQ a simple meal and enjoy just lazing around listening to the radio or reading.  More about our trip to follow ......

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

For Pete....

Hello Daddy, I hope you are having a good time in Scotland.  The weather here is fabulous and Mummy has taken me for lots of walks.  I have been swimming too, just what I needed to cool down.  I couldn't sleep the first night you were away, so Mummy gave me your dressing gown and that worked, I slept like a baby.  I think Mummy did too, coz she was snoring away.  She said something about enjoying the bed all to herself, so I snuggled in close and kept her from messing up your side of the bed.

I went to the beauty parlour today and had a haircut and manicure, don't I look gorgeous.  I wanted to look my best for when you come home.  Mummy had a haircut too with Auntie Emily, she was muttering about how it cost three times as much at my hairdressers, but I think I'm worth it.

I have got to go now as we are going to Uncle Rob's for a yummy dinner.  I saw baby Bobby earlier and he was throwing the ball for me.  Everyone got excited that he was calling me dog, strange coz my name's Alfie.

Love and miss you Daddy, come back soon (and Mummy sends hugs and kisses too) xxxxx

Sunday, 5 June 2016

View From My Window

Here are some views from the wheelhouse today.  These views constantly change depending on state of the tide, weather etc, but that keeps life interesting.  I am so lucky to live here. Sorry about the poor quality of the pictures, but the glass makes it hard to photo.

This and That

The weather has been awful this week.  The beginning of June is supposed to be summer but we had to light the woodburner to take the chill off the air.  And the rain, I think we have had our year's quota in a week!  It has also been half term, so a whole week off work.  I have really just been pottering in my new kitchen, practising new recipes on Pete.  I have made a few loaves of bread and some cakes, here is my spelt loaf and banana bread:

The banana bread was a new recipe and is amazing.  Here it is in the cake box that I inherited from my grandmother.  When I was a child it was always full of homemade goodies, something to really look forward when we visited.  My Nan was renowned for her fruit cakes, both light and dark ones, they were delicious.  I asked for the recipe once and was given a cutting from a 1930s Woman's magazine. I made it and it didn't taste the same at all.  I questioned Nan and she said 'did I remember to tell you I soak the fruit in tea?', no she hadn't, so I tried again, still not the same.  Again 'oh, did I remember to tell you about the glug of brandy' tried again, still wrong.  And so the story goes on and I still didn't get the full recipe!  My Nan didn't use scales, everything was done by eye.  I miss those cakes (and her pease pudding).

I have also been looking after grandchildren this week.  I gave Lucie a break with the new baby by taking Scarlett out for the day to a small local wildlife centre.  She is now two and a half and is such good fun to spend time with. She has an absolutely wicked sense of humour!  We got absolutely soaked but it didn't put a dampener on the day.  Here she is feeding the fish.

Yesterday I found this little guy sunning himself by the boat.  He didn't even scurry off when I took his picture.  The weather is set to improve this week, typical when we go back to work.  However that is the joy of working part time, I get to enjoy the sun.  I need to get to the allotment this week.  The weather has put me so behind with planting, and the weeds obviously like the rain :(. Take care xxx

Monday, 23 May 2016

What A Difference A Week Makes

So my son got himself a lodger and that meant we had to empty their spare room of all our stuff.  It was quite a daunting task, yet exciting to rediscover lost treasures.  I have sold quite a bit though, I mean who needs three electric coffee making machines!  This is what the wheelhouse looked like last week.....

And here it is now .....

There is still quite a bit of work to do.  Obviously a wheelhouse needs a steering wheel and navigational instruments and installing hydraulic steering is our next big expense.  But for the time being at least it is cosy and comfortable.  We have been living mostly below deck, so it is lovely to be able to sit up here, watch the changing landscape and the walkers on the sea wall.  It is so nice just to be able to come home from work and chill.

Friday, 20 May 2016

A Beautiful New Gift

Sorry I didn't get time to reply to you all individually last week, but I have been a little busy.  Look at this wonderful, beautiful gift that I received on Tuesday 

Baby Sienna is so tiny (she weighed in at just 6lbs) but absolutely perfect.  Both mum and daughter are doing well and Scarlett is absolutely delighted to be a big sister.

Back soon ..........xxxx

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Galley - Finally Done!

Here is the grand unveiling of my new galley.  Many of you will know how much I enjoy cooking and I especially enjoy cooking for friends and family.  Now I can entertain more and the beauty of having the table in the kitchen, is that I don't miss out on the fun whilst serving up.  I don't do 'formal' entertaining, if you come to me you just get stuck in and help yourself, no standing on ceremony here!  Don't forget to drop in if you are in the vicinity, you will be more than welcome xxx

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Galleys, Kids, Boots and A Special Friend

It has been all hands to the deck round here.  At the beginning of the month my son announced that he had a lodger moving in.  It makes sense as young couples always could do with some extra help with paying the mortgage.  However, it also meant that we had to clear the spare room where all our worldly possessions were stored and that meant getting the galley finished (no pressure for Pete then!).  Anyway, it is almost done and we have started stowing away our belongings.  It is like Christmas unpacking all the boxes. I cannot wait to start entertaining properly in my beautiful, dream (not quite finished) kitchen.  So here is a preview of work so far.

When I became a vegan, I took the conscious decision to use up/wear out all my non vegan stuff.  I love boots, especially Dr Marten boots and I was thrilled to find out that they made a vegan range.  I have held on until I actually needed some boots and when I did get to that point I was straight on to eBay.  So here are my beautiful new-to-me boots (actually new to anyone).  Is it normal to love a pair of boots so much?

Working less means I have a lot more time to help out with looking after the grandchildren.  They are so much fun, but boy are they hard work.  What with kids and moving boxes around I am definitely feeling my age!  Here are a couple of pictures of my other two favourite grandchildren.

I had the great pleasure a couple of weeks ago of meeting a fabulous blogging friend , Val from River Girl blog (http://vallypee.blogspot.co.uk).  We have been chatting for about nine years but have only just met for real (anyone would think that Rotterdam was on the other side of the world!).  She was just as lovely in real life as I knew she would be and we chatted away for hours like old friends.  I now cannot wait to meet up again soon.

Speak soon people.  Enjoy the bank holiday weekend xxx

Friday, 1 April 2016

Latest From the Galley

Hi Everyone, thank you for all your comments on my last post, I am sorry I didn't reply to everyone.  I have had the flu.  They say if you can get out of bed with the flu, you actually have a cold, well having spent six days in bed unable to move, I definitely had the flu.  Safe to say I never want that again. Then it developed further into a chest infection (hacking cough) and then laryngitis with no voice for five days (Pete said that was wonderful!).  I'm back on my feet now though, just in time for the Easter holidays :)

The galley is coming along nicely, just a bit more painting and then the floor to be laid.  I am sooooo fed up with dust everywhere, it has gone through the entire boat.  But I am not complaining.  When I have a good clean up, it will also give me the chance to have a good sort out.  I think I will probably do a carboot sale to get rid of some stuff and earn some money to buy more stuff!

I am loving the colour of the paint that we found in the engine room, in fact I probably would have chosen the same colour if I'd gone out and bought the paint.  And I really love the black tiles, I do have such a clever husband.  I can't show you the other end of the galley right now as it is covered in dust sheets and besides the top of the cooker is so dirty it is a disgrace!  I will do a grand reveal next week, hopefully.

It's been a while since I showed you a picture of Scarlett.  She is growing up so quickly and is a right little chatterbox now.  She is at playschool and loving every minute of it.  I love this age when they are so inquisitive and just soak up everything, but not too old to enjoy a good cuddle with her old Nan!  Be back soon, take care xxx

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Happy Saturday!

Morning everyone.  It doesn't take a lot to make me happy, but getting running water in the galley has made me ecstatic!  Do you know how much more convenient it is to fill a kettle, drain the cooked veggies, wash fruit and veg etc etc from two paces away rather than walk to pantry or bathroom, especially if carrying a pan full of boiling water.  Mind you, I guess it has cut down on my daily exercise!
So here is a picture of the taps that have made my life so much easier.  I also now have a tiled backsplash but they are not grouted yet so I will wait until they are finished before I show you them.

Whilst hunting in the engine room (where Pete keeps all sorts of odds and sods) for some white emulsion as a base coat for the walls, Pete found a huge great big tin of Farrow and Ball paint that he had left over from a job.  When we opened it, it turned out to be a beautiful green/blue colour which will be absolutely perfect for the units.  He reckons that it has saved us about 80 quid, certainly not an insignificant saving, I'm glad I liked the colour so much or there could have been a disagreement.

Mum is doing great, I cannot believe how well she is doing considering it is not so long ago that she had major surgery.  She is already seeing the benefits of her new heart valve in her breathing and mobility.  Once her ribcage get back to normal, she will feel like a whole new woman :)

Finally, I did really well for Mother's Day from all my lovely boys, but just look how these lilies have opened out, they are really beautiful.  I have them in the bedroom as the kitchen is still in a state, so they are the first thing I see every morning.  Not a bad sight for sore eyes xxx

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Galley Update

Pete is going great guns and the galley is really coming together.  We bought a small butler sink and ended up receiving three, the seller said it would be too expensive to return them so we could keep them.  My son is going to make good use of them in his new kitchen.  We also bought the most beautiful solid wood, walnut worktop.  The colours in it are amazing, but I can't show you that until next week when it is fitted.  Mum is out of hospital and doing really well, she said to thank you all for your good wishes.  I am loving working only two days a week, although on two of my off days this week I was on babysitting duty, not that I am complaining about that in any way!

My IKEA trolley has had its own little chubby hole built.  In the trolley are all the bits you need for everyday cooking eg oils, herbs & spices, stock cubes etc, it's all ready to pull out and use.  In the past these things have cluttered up the worktop, but I think this is a tidier option.  You can just about see the brown sauce.  Can't stand the stuff personally, but Pete says it has to be Daddies sauce or not at all, is there really such a difference?  I now need to put labels on top of the spice jars so that I easily see what they all are.

This is where the dishwasher and washing machine are going to live.  Can you see my lovely little sink tucked under the old worktop?  I don't need a big sink in the galley as I have a deep, full sized butler sink in the pantry for washing big pots and things.  I am going out in a minute to choose some taps, what a rock and roll life I lead!  Speak soon and enjoy the rest of your weekend x