Saturday 31 May 2014

Cake, Fun and More Cake.

It was the party today, and great fun was had by all. The venue was the local leisure center, just a short drive from James and Cerys,s home. Junior was full of it but Kaitlyn had him beat, hands down. She was a concentrated bundle of energy.

Sian, Cerys,s mum made the Angry Birds cake. It was eggless as 2 of the children have allergies and was so moist and delicious.

There were stacks of cupcakes and I thought that I had taken photos of all of them, these Superman ones were very tasty and made by Cerys,s sister.

Now that the important part has been shared I will show the rest. Junior and friends were enthralled with the bouncy castle and slide.

Kaitlyn was charging round with Sian in full pursuit, with the rest of us taking turns to help her.

Junior had a few solo slides while his pals took a breather.

James was struggling but Sian gave him lots of encouragement.

When she wasn't on the slide Kaitlyn found a ball to play with.

The children had all worked up a healthy appetite and as you can see, Kaitlyn and her cousin Faith were tucking in well.

Junior was so busy chatting to his pals that he had to be reminded to tuck in.

It was a very successful party and there were not too many left overs. Party bags were handed out at the end and a tidy stack of presents were taken home to be unwrapped.

Reasons to be grateful.

1.  There was cake, yum.

2. There were children having a wonderful time.

3. I managed to get on the slide without being captured on film.

4. Kaitlyn climbed onto my lap for a little rest and a cuddle.

5. There were NO tears.

I left most of the family at James,s and arrived home by 5:00 after a short detour to pick up some salad for dinner.
Ben had his dinner also and then we went for a long walk on the footpath into Gwaun Cae Gurwen and them home along the main road pavement. 
He had his wash with Hibiscrub and will soon have the gel applied and then we will not be late to bed.
Tomorrow, if it is fine, we are going up to the black mountain to explore. 
Now my tea is drunk and Ben needs to go out for a last wander round the garden.

       TTFN                                                  Pam

Friday 30 May 2014

An evening trip and a Big Day Out

I am remiss in not welcoming my new followers, I have no excuse for the rudeness except to say that once I open the blog page my words tumble out so fast that I have finished and published before I remember.
 So to Elaine,Gill,Loo,Jeanette and Lynne and those on Bloglovin (I still have not figured out how to find you) I say welcome in.

On Thursday, after dinner, we decided that the evening was too nice to waste so set off to the Gower for a quick looksee.

 These boats had been lost to the elements, possibly at the time of the sea surge and flooding a short while ago. 

This craft was till afloat and waiting for the next outing.

We walked around for a while and saw this lovely old building. It is so good to see these still in use, unlike the Tabernacle in Cwmgors.
We were in Penclawdd, only just in the Gower, next time Fran is here we will explore further and make a day out of it.

Friday was The Day, Junior was 4 and making sure that he told everyone at least 20 times.

He loves anything to do with cars and was thrilled with the selection of kits that Fran and I bought for him

This pensive look was due to the reluctance to leave his new toys combined with the longing to go on his Surprise Day Out. The day out won hands down.

The air current keeping the balls dancing proved a popular draw, he returned to it several times.

I think that it is safe to say that he enjoyed it.

James and Kaitlyn had fun as well.

Kaitlyn was in there and loving every minute of it.

After around 4 hours we left to visit Cerys,s Mum, She had stayed at home to get The Cake made and start the baking for Saturday,s party.
As you can see James was still in party mode, and yes that is me laughing my socks off in the background. kaitlyn can not believe her eyes, she was so stunned that her bottle of water stayed clenched between her teeth.

I am not certain just how many of these hats are floating about ready for Saturday, I am however certain that I will be wearing one at some point while people throw soft balls at me.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. A good time was had by all.

2. There was cake, it was delicious.

3. There was tea, and plenty of it.

4. I was allowed to go on one of the slides. 3 times.

5. No one took a photo. Phew.

Today has been a housework and chore day. There is a curry in the slow cooker and I will cook plain rice to go with it. Fran is stopping here for some dinner and a rest before driving back to London. That makes her final leg around 3 1/2 hours, much better than a 5 hour straight run.

Ben,s skin is showing a great improvement, all I am doing is bathing him twice weekly with a calming shampoo from the vet. Then twice daily I wash the sore areas with a dilution of hibiscrub and when dry smooth on some Fuciderm Gel. The initial tests indicate an under active thyroid. further tests have been carried out and we are waiting for the results.

He may be going on HRT!!!!

             TTFN                                         Pam

Wednesday 28 May 2014

A visit to Kidwelly Castle

Bank holiday Monday dawned fairly bright and the forecast was promising. After Ben,s first walk of the day Francesca and I decided to risk a trip to Kidwelly Castle. It was lovely, the sun shone and we had a good 2 hours rambling round. We took in a 30 minute local history talk with lots of detail on the weaponry and battle tactics through the ages, including a hands on lesson in drawing and firing a long bow.

The views from the castle walls were panoramic.

Dogs on leads are welcome and Ben was on his best behaviour.

The stone walls lent a gloomy atmosphere even though the sun shone.

Once inside the walls though it was bright and cheerful.

Another view of the village.

Ben was fascinated by this from a distance, however one close up look and he realised that it was not real. His look was of pure distain and he was out of there.

We had lunch in the village and then a poke round a shop filled with china, glass, brass and furniture, piled up and swathed with cobwebs in places. I found a pretty teapot but at £195 put it down very carefully, there was a lovely Davenport hiding under a slithering pile of unframed prints and a war chest supporting an unsteady tower of crockery.

I itched to sort, dust and polish, then came to my senses and left smartish.

We took a leisurely drive home and were no sooner through the door than the kettle was on for tea.

An hour later Ben was ready for another walk, we were gone for almost an hour and Fran had to put her feet up and get a few gentle snores under her belt before dinner. That is what comes of working in an office I suppose, plus her legs are considerably shorter than mine so she takes many more steps.

Yesterday we had a lazy day, just pottering round and walking Ben, after dinner we were feeling a touch of cabin fever so hopped in the car and drove out to the Gower peninsular, I will share the photos tomorrow.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. Good weather, bright and sunny most of the time.

2. Lots of happy time spent with Francesca.

3. Realising that I remember so much of my early history lessons.

4. Looking at some of the farming tools that were adapted into weapons and recognising them from my childhood.

5.Seeing Ben enjoying a day out with Fran, he loves spending time with  her.

It was something of a shock to see hedging tools and reed cutters being used in demonstrations and remembering seeing my Grandfather using the identical things in his work. In fact I have used a reed cutter to chop kindling myself in the not so distant past.
The small hunting bows were similar to the play ones that my play mates and I used to cut from the hedgerow as children, and some of the arrows were almost identical to the ones we fashioned. How many generations of children have enacted our history out while playing and used skills handed down unknowingly for centuries.

Fran has now gone on to Cardigan for 2 nights, we are all meeting up at James,s tomorrow for Juniors birthday and then, once the presents have been ripped open are off to a play center on the coast. The weather report is not wonderful but we will be indoors.

My dinner is just about ready so...............

                TTFN                                    Pam

Tuesday 27 May 2014

A short tour round Cwmgors

I will start with the view from the front garden.

I really like this view, I have to stand to one side to block out a house almost opposite but it does not matter a jot. In the afternoon the sun streams down straight onto the front of the house.

This is my little front patch, the grass has been cut twice as it was a small hayfield when I arrived. I grubbed out the weeds from the little bed and have popped in some smallish geraniums and a few violas and a pot on the doorstep. That is as far as I intend to go as this is rented.

This is the almost lawn at the back, it too has been cut twice, there are more couch and broad leaved weeds than lawn grass. The gate  that separates it from the wilderness beyond will stay exactly where it is. There is a small wooden shed up there and it has my gardening tools in it, there are 2 small fruit trees also, a plum or cherry and a pear. The long strip on the right side is full of herhs and neglected flowers, I am going to tidy that up mainly so that I can use the herbs and cut some of the flowers. You can see my weed container ready for the next section, I cleared about 2 yards yesterday and found a couple of large pieces of slate.

If I turn right out of the gate and walk down into the village I pass this on the left side, it is a small garden with a picnic table at the center. it has been laid out and planted very well and is accessible by wheelchair.

On the right hand side is this lovely old chapel, it is very large and stretches back around 70' I would think, possibly further, built in the late 19th century it is such a shame to see it abandoned.

This is the view across from the chapel showing a bit more of the wind farm.

Just past the chapel I turn right up a side street, hang a left at the top and come to this open space. It is criss crossed with tracks left by dog walkers and Ben loves it with a passion.

Every now and then I find a splash of colour in the long grass, and it is not always a discarded drinks can.

The view from up here is over the village and into Gwaun Cae Gurwen, the village that joins Cwmgors. The surgery, chemists, library and post office are here, along with a good selection of shops. It is a comfortable 5-10 minute walk for us depending on how many dogs have to be greeted.
Next time I will walk in another direction and show you more.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. The sun continues to shine.

2. The water is soft and tea tastes sublime.

3. Ben is as happy as a dog with two tails.

4. I am becoming fitter by the minute.

5. My jeans are getting baggy.

I am now off to make a start on dinner, Chicken, Ham and Leek Pie with a suet pastry top, as requested by Francesca. Followed perhaps by some of yesterdays vanilla cheesecake,also a firm favourite with Fran.

Luckily all the hill walking will help burn off the calories.

             TTFN                                                     Pam

Sunday 25 May 2014

Sunday Morning in a Welsh Valley

I am such a klutz I managed to load all my photos onto the laptop only to delete the lot, tomorrow (weather permitting) I will start anew.
It has been all systems go here, curtains have been altered and hung, ornaments and pictures unpacked and scattered willy nilly throughout the house, a lost rolling pin that showed itself once I went and bought a replacement and a teapot lid that hid itself in my sock drawer. hmmmmmmmm I am not going to think how that came about.
Francesca is here until Wednesday when she will go to Cardigan to stay with James and Cerys. We had breakfast once she landed yesterday morning and then went to Carmarthen to indulge in some retail therapy. Joy of joys the Hotter shop had a 3 for 2 event running and much of the stock was on a good sale reduction, of course I bought 3 pairs it would have been feckless not to. There shoes are so comfy and wear extremely well, I have some that are over 5 years old and still going strong.
I will try to remember to take a photo to share with you.
Then we got down to the serious business of Birthday presents for Junior, once more deep joy. We went into Tesco and there was a small mountain of Hot Wheels sets all on sale price so we clubbed together and collated a selection along with some really cool cars.
I see some construction work in Jame,s future he he. We then went to the clothes section and lo and behold there was a 25% reduction on all childrens clothes, 4 summer outfits for both of them, we just went half each on the lot so simple.

A word of warning, we went to the cafe for a cup of tea, it was dire, it was hot and wet and tasted of nothing but the metal from the pot.

I did pop into M&S for a pack of tights and a couple of Tee Shirts, there basics are good but the clothes buyers need to get a grip on reality, I have not seen anything that I would wear in there for a few years.

My nearest shopping places are Ammanford in one direction and Pontardawe then Neath in the opposite, I have had a quick visit to them all they have their pros and cons just like most places. Swansea is very close and I plan a day there soon. There is a Hobbycraft on one of the retail parks that is high on my list for a visit.

Ben is registered with a Vet, they have surgeries at Pontardawe and Neath. I am very impressed, he has been for a check up and when I explained about his skin problems they had him in for a morning of tests. the results will be in next Tuesday and in the meantime I have some washing liquid and skin cream that has already had a calming effect.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. I am in Wales.

2. The weather for the first 4 days was glorious, hot and sunny.

3. We have had rain, but not torrential.

4. I love my "new" home.

5. The people that I have met are friendly and in the main have time to stop and chat.

My first viewings were not for me, not enough usable garden, a mountain goat would have struggled to access them.

I have 5 more lined up but not this week, I will be busy with Fran and the family.
Next door is on the market but the interior has been modernised and looks like a new build and is not for me, plus there is a large fish pond taking up 1/3rd of the garden. Ben would not keep out of it and filling it in would cost a fortune.

I feel that breakfast needs to happen soon, I have the Rumblies in the Tumblies as Pooh would say.

             TTFN                                                  Pam


Thursday 22 May 2014

landing Successful

Just a quick visit to say that I am in, online and almost unpacked. I have 2 houses to view today and  more lined up for next week. The grass may be green in my valley but I am not about to let it grow under my feet.
I will be posting reams of photos, the village is in a very pretty setting in the Amman Valley, guarded by The Black Mountain. I am looking a bit further south for a new home, easy access to Cardiff and Swansea and close to the motorway for visits to Cardigan.
Francesca is arriving Saturday morning for a few days and will then go to Cardigan for the rest of the week. It is Junior's Birthday on the Thursday so a visit to somewhere suitable is on the menu and then he has a party on the Saturday.
Ben and I have done lots of exploring and I do not think we have done the same walk twice, there are loads of footpaths snaking around the area. Last night, after dinner, we found a path that led through a small marsh and onto a disused road. We saw 3 horses and a Shetland pony and were gone almost an hour.
I have met many people and all are very friendly, I have been invited in for coffee and tea by several. I went to an Open Garden on Sunday and met a woman from a nearby village, she clued me in on all the craft shops in a 30 mile radius. I went to one in Pontardulais yesterday and 2 balls of yarn fell into my hands, luckily I loved the colours, the shop is run by a lovely couple and they sell items in their shop for crafters as long as you buy the materials from them.
I have to go now, Ben needs a walk and my first viewing is at 11:00

TTFN                                                          Pam

BTW, thank you for all your comments, I will be answering them later and catching up on oodles of blog posts.

Sunday 11 May 2014

Still Here, But Only Just

Well, "W" Day is almost upon me ( Wales Day that is) I am surrounded by an alien landscape of boxes and cases. Even after all the carloads of stuff that I have taken out of the cottage I have an embarrassing heap mountain of possessions.

I will be able to sew for a year without buying anything at all, including thread.

I will only be buying fresh ingredients for cooking, my dry goods and herbs and spices will keep me going for ages. Thanks to AF and some really good RTC offers in various shops I have enough tins, jars and bottles to last for ages as well, that is after I took 2 shopping bags full to Francesca.

It is raining at the moment but should blow out later, even if it does not there is only a few steps from door to removal lorry so things will not get very wet. I only have a few cardboard boxes, containing Christmas decs, and I can always pop them into black bags.
Most things are in a small mountain of heavy duty plastic storage boxes. I decided that at £20 for 4 huge boxes they were an investment, I can envisage them in my craft room, neatly stacked, full of segregated supplies. They are large enough to hold a full sized quilt kit including batting, and with space for all the remaining fabric  that will become cushions etc.
My evergrowing Yarn stash will also be rehoused in them, and with room for future supplies. The cushion that I have just started has 17 different yarn colours so far with several more to come, that needs a container to keep it under control, and I plan on making a blanket in the same pattern.

The current edition of Simply Crochet Magazine, love at first glance.

My version,Oops Mrs Frank is still on the sidelines. I needed something straightforward and bigger to keep me sane after Friday.
I picked it up in Lynn Friday afternoon while doing my, now unnecessary, top up shop. Yet more stuff to pack.

I will be plugging the slow cooker in as soon as possible once we land, I have a pack of diced venison and another of veg hash, that will feed me for 2 days along with couscous or pasta. Every thing that is left in the freezer will go into cool boxes with ice packs, they will be cooked and frozen as "ready meals" within the 2 days and then I can get a shop in.

Back to crafting, several of you told me to chill and do some crochet. I woke early on Saturday, made tea and returned to bed with my new magazine, yarn and hook.

This little thing had caught my eye, Jeannie is decorating and said that she wanted some more pink and green in her bedroom. 

I thought that this would look good mounted on a soft green cotton and turned into a cushion. Then a couple of Mandalas for the wall should do the job.

I will be making her another quilt for Christmas this year, that will also be pinks and greens, I have all the fabric and batting to make this in my stash mountain.

This year will see home made gifts just like last year, I have so much fun matching materials and ideas to the recipients. I will have more people to make for now, I will be seeing so much more of Cerys,s family and I know that her Mum would love a quilt, then there are the sisters....... happy times ahead.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. Packing almost completed.

2. The rain has stopped and the sky is brighter.

3. Ben is snuggled up as close as he can be, snoring gently.

4. In just over 24 hours I will be There.

5. I have worked through the list of "people to contact" rearranging the move and all were so helpful and understanding, especially the people at Eon and Sky.

I have to amend the last statement, I have decided to move broadband and phone to Sky now that my really good contract with BT has finished. They were most annoying when told of the new arrangements, instead of just taking the "I no longer wish you to be my provider" statement this annoying person interrupted 3 times to argue and try to persuade a change of mind. each time she was told to please cancel the account and in the end voices were raised and she was put in her place.

I am taking no prisoners after last Friday, I gather from most of the people that I spoke with that last minute cancellations are the norm with house sales. 

Any way, enough chatter, I may have a small delay on broadband connection so if I am not here it will be out of my control. add to that the mountain that has to unpacked, the supply of food that has to be cooked, portioned and frozen, the new walks for Ben to discover and a period of absence is inevitable.

           TTFN                                               Pam

Friday 9 May 2014


This morning my solicitor informed me that my buyer was not able to raise the funds to complete. She was, allegedly, short by £10,000 I did not let him finish and just said NO I will not drop my price. Two hours later she had raised another £5000, I still said NO. Finally she has come up with the agreed amount so the move is still on, I have had confirmation that the buyers money is now safely in the hands of my solicitor, the only way that I would proceed and transferred the deposit to the letting agents. It took s few frantic calls to get this back on and to get the movers back in sync. I think that I have a few thousand more grey hairs and a cluster of frown lines.
Once I get to Wales I will breathe a deep sigh of relief and dive into a vat of strong black tea. 
I finished the third Mandala but am too wound up to do any crafting for a little while.
I am off to get dinner on the go and walk Ben.

             TTFN                                Pam

Thursday 8 May 2014

Be still my fickle heart.

 Once again I have gone astray from the straight and narrow path, poor Mrs Frank has been set aside on a whim. No not a whim, a temporary, I hope, addiction. I was warned and I thought that I was above such foolishness. Foolishness it was not, and I was not above it.
 Oh Lucy, why did I not heed your warning about these addictive pretties. 
I was reading Daisy Jones  blog and she mentioned Attic24, so over there I hopped. I had read yesterdays post about Yarndale and no I was not about to make a Mandala. Then I looked at the pretties and thought ......well maybe....just one. Lucy warned that they are super addictive and that I would not stop at just one, did I heed her wise words, that will be a big fat NO then.

Nice but it needs blocking.

Then after a little while, I thought..................well maybe...........just one more.

I like this one too, I see it in several colour combinations, some day.

I made a brew and watched a little TV, Mentalist and NCIS.

Then I flicked through Issue 17 of simply Crochet and saw this.

 Shall I, can I? It looks a bit advanced for me, hey ho it is late I will sleep on it.

Well I slept and then I woke up, and once all the little jobs had been done and Ben had been walked I made a start, there is something wrong with the bottom right, I have an extra stitch in the pale pink so I will take it back later and see what has gone awry.

Poor Mrs frank will get some attention a bit later, I do feel guilty at her neglect but will make it up to her. On the other hand I am hooked on Mandalas and loving it.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. Another bit of crochet to dally with.

2. Some new techniques and stitches learned.

3. There are many free Mandala patterns in blogland.

4. It has rained today but is fine now, just in time for Ben's next walk.

5. I have a new skirt, tags still on, from Next via the CS for £2:50.

All in all another good day, I am off to walk Ben while it is dry.

BTW I tried to get into Bloglovin to have a hop around my followers but could not figure out how to do it, any tips will be welcome.

    TTFN                                                                  Pam

Wednesday 7 May 2014

A Nosy Female Makes an Appearance

A warm welcome to Jeanette from makinghome and eggbounder new followers. A greeting also to the followers on Bloglovin, I am going to concentrate some hopping around there later on. I am not tech minded so will probably be doing this the slowest, most long winded way there is. I have started this before but been called away to another job and it has been, out of sight out of mind. My apologies to one and all.
Today has been a complete mixture, at 6:00 it was bright sunshine, so washing went on the line. During the morning the sun came and went a few times, the washing dried fast as there was a brisk breeze. By 12:00 it tried to rain but there were only a few spots and the day continued as before. It is now overcast but still quite warm.
Ben has been walked 3 times, all in bright sun, and is currently snoozing.
My liver was  delicious yesterday and used up 3 carrots and 1/4 of a swede from the fridge. I put a shake of frozen mixed peppers, 6 cubes of frozen spinach and a small sliced onion in with the liver. All in the slow cooker, I thickened the gravy and added the dumplings, AF Herby Dumpling mix, 30 minutes before dinner time. I got 3 ample servings from it, and all went down with relish.

This was mine, the other plates were larger.

The back of my floor cushion, I like the pattern but next time will try to make the corner loops smaller. I have made this in a simple pillowcase style but will be on the lookout for some big bright coloured buttons.

The ripple front, I like this and think that another will be along soon and possibly a lap throw.

Now, that nosy female.

I have made a start on Mrs Frank, this is the first time that I have used an Amigurumi pattern, and started with a magic ring. I did frog it out 3 times before the light came on and I read the pattern correctly, completely a case of more haste less speed.

I have the colours lined up and will beetle away happily tonight. in front of the TV. I gave her a pink nose as I do not have black or dark brown yarn, Mr Frank will probably get a blue nose. Then again he may turn out to be a Schnapps drinker in which case his nose will be red.
Nothing to say about much today really, I did a little blog hopping this morning and lost an hour. The garden is having a rest today, I made bread and a tray of flapjacks. Chicken thighs in a cook in Barbecue Sauce Bag from AF with salad for dinner tonight.
The kettle has hardly been cold all day as I have been indoors. I did consider popping into Long Sutton to visit friends but as it is now raining quite hard will think again.
I will have to shop tomorrow, just a few basics that have run down too far for my peace of mind. I need to pick up some more food for Ben as well and some milk. 
I got a flyer from Farm Foods this morning, I might nip in there for a look, it is just over the road from Lidl and Tesco so I can get every thing I need and fill the tank with cheap petrol in next to no time.

Reasons to be grateful.

1.  The cottage is full of the scent of freash baked bread.

2. I have a batch of seedy, fruity flapjacks to nibble on.

3. Dinner is prepped ready to go, as the chicken is in a bag the washing up will be minimal

4. I have cooked Raspberries and Apples from the freezer, still eating last years fruit.

5. The last boxes went to the CS yesterday.

It was really good to see the last 3 boxes of unwanted things go off to the CS, it did not free up a huge space but it looks less cluttered now. I still have what seems like mountains of things but each and every item has been looked a twice and is a keeper, for now. I have extended my wardrobe rule, 1 in 1 out, to the rest of the home. I do not need cupboards full of extras in case I am swamped with visitors, now that my family is spread so thin and over such a wide area that does not happen. For years it was nothing to have over 20 sit down to Sunday Lunch, or have 30 to a barbecue. Now 5 is a crowd, and that includes me.

I emptied the glass cabinet as well and now have only the ones that are used regularly, about 1/10 th of what I did have.

I went through my baking tins and took some to James and Cerys when we went last. I have hung on to a few just in case I end up somewhere with a good social minded group of neighbours, or even a Knit and Natter group.  Tray bakes and cup cakes may well be required.
I have 4 bread tins, that fills the oven and gives me almost 2 weeks bread in one baking session.
The pyrex section is big but I do use every bit of it regularly, I have sizes from 2 to 6 portion dishes and am reluctant to part with any.

I think that will suffice for today, I feel the need for tea, again.

                TTFN                                                      Pam