Friday 31 January 2014

Views from the House

The light we get on our Welsh hillside changes by the minute, the other day it was spectacular.  I almost caught it with my little digital camera but not quite.
In these photos I started taking by a photo to the left as we look out from the house and then swung round slowly to the right.

You can almost get the feel of the clouds rolling across the landscape.

Looks like there is a bit of sunshine in Llandudno, but by the time I got there no doubt the clouds would be fast on my heels, so I decided not to bother.
I walked the dogs around the paddock after taking these photos and then the rain came, so it was a quick dash back to the house and time to put the kettle on. 
My green fingers are itching to get going with some planting now but everywhere is just too wet and boggy, and we have just had the bad news that we need to apply for planning permission to be able to erect our polytunnel ... how long will that take to come through :-(
Sue xx

Thursday 30 January 2014

New Boy Toy and a Rant

Lovely Hubby's new 'boy toy' arrived yesterday.  It was not light ... so why they would send it on a large van with a very small man who could no more pick it up than I could I have no idea.
What is wrong with the world when van drivers are expected to deliver packages that weigh more than they do.  There are so many unemployed youngsters at the moment why not have 'drivers mates' again.  For the minimum wage I'm sure lots of delivery companies would get their deliveries done twice as fast and therefore be able to deliver twice as many packages and make twice as much money AND someone would be off the unemployment register!!
Rant over!!
After he had left it on the drive, there was NO WAY of taking it anywhere else, I managed to inch by inch get it to a place where I could hide it from the road by the wheelie bin.  So fingers crossed Lovely Hubby's new boy toy is still there when he gets home!!
Sue xx

Tuesday 28 January 2014

A Simple Life

I picked this poster up from Facebook this morning, it says on it that it's available to share .... so I thought I would share it with you.
It really is a manifesto for the way we want to live our lives. 
Walking the dogs along the promenade at Llandudno today, I stopped and took a moment for myself while they sniffed around the pebbles and shot the seagulls threatening glances.  I looked out to sea, savouring the quiet and the calm on the deserted prom, while out on the horizon dark, almost black clouds were gathering and rolling towards the shore almost imperceptibly slowly.  I knew that before I got home in the car the rain would be back, but I was pleased that during the couple of hours of weak Winter sunshine late in the afternoon we had made the effort to find a quiet spot and breathe.
Sue xx

Monday 27 January 2014

Cold Day, Hot Soup


Sometimes on a cold, cold day all that you really want is a mug of piping hot soup.  When it's homemade Leek and Potato made with your own veggies somehow it's even more satisfying.

At the moment I am having real problems both with our main computer and now with the old laptop as well, if I vanish for a while please bear with me.  I should be picking up a brand new lap top on Friday of this week.  Fingers crossed that will work!!

Sue xx

Sunday 26 January 2014

Sunday Snoozing

What better way to spend a Sunday than snoozing away the day on the sofa .....
... and even better with Dad to cuddle into.
Happy Sunday  :-)
Sue xx

Saturday 25 January 2014

I Must Be a Robot

I must be a robot.
Because virtually every time I get to the end of reading an interesting Blog post and go to leave a comment, the ones that have the 'prove you are not a robot' numbers/words/puzzles make me do it over and over again .... and yes, I do put on my reading glasses .. most of the time :-)
I know they are a necessary evil for some, but it's soooo frustrating!!
Sue xx

Thursday 23 January 2014

Project 333

I've been doing Project 333 for over a year now and I have to say it's the best thing I ever picked up on here in Blogland.  This is my final assortment for this fourth round which should see me from January through to the end of March.
(Link to original post way back in December 2012 HERE.)
I usually start with my outer waterproof jacket, a necessity when you have dogs ...

... and then pick a few really seasonal items, in the case of Winter a couple of jumpers.

I couldn't resist this one, I must wear it at least two or three times a week.

I try and pick a smarter cardigan in case we go out in the evenings.
And of course there's the little extras that you really can't do without, gloves ...

... a scarf, my watch and my necklace of choice for this round of P333.
Of course there's always my bag to count too!!
I've reverted to my across the body bag for the moment, makes life much easier when you have three doggies walking on leads to control, and it stops me carrying too much junk around with me too.
I did a collage thingy of all my clothes but I'm sure the programme for it has upset my computer so I've deleted it pretty sharpish, I did get chance to print and scan the finished article before I did though.  I don't know if you will be able to see all the things that are on it, but it's a good record for me of this my fourth selection of clothes for Project 333.  (If you click on it you will be able to have a closer look.)
I've stuck the original in my diary ... do you stick things in your diary, it's my obsession ... by the end of the year my A4 desk diary is always soooo fat, but very interesting, and a real record of the year !!
I'm trying to have a year of NOT buying any clothes this year.  My last clothing purchase was this lovely fleecy top from Asda just before Christmas, it's gloriously cosy and I look and feel like a teddy bear in it!!
Hopefully I have enough t shirts and lighter weight things packed in a suitcase under the bed to see me right through Summer and I also have some summer shoes packed away after last year so that should help in my no spend effort. 
How many items of clothing do you have in your wardrobe?
Sue xx

Wednesday 22 January 2014

My Little Brother

Fifty years ago today my Mum and Dad gave me the most longed for gift I had ever had.  My Little Brother.  I remember the excitement of him coming home from hospital, and the slow realisation that he wouldn't be playing with me for a while, he slept, and cried and slept and cried.
Not the most perfect gift in the world then.

It got better though ... marginally.  He loved cars, cars and then there were the cars. On this, one of my favourite pictures of the two of us, taken on holiday he's not hugging my legs in a brotherly show of affection .... nope he's driving little Matchbox cars around me
There were some games we got along fine with, the Lego for example and we would share and play happily for hours designing and re-designing the many structures (yes and roads for cars) and remember this was 'early Lego' no cute little people to inhabit the houses then ... so we snapped every available person out of his cars, I quite liked his cars briefly, when they gave me the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang family and Parker and Lady Penelope from the Thunderbirds pink car, to live in our little housing estates.

We had wildly different likes and dislikes, he was the indoors boy who would play happily for hours with cars and chess and doing things that I as the outdoors all the time tomboy that I was had no idea of.  But we touched base at mealtimes as you did in those days, each evening meal sat around the table discussing the day.
We grew up and I guess in some ways further apart, but I remember being totally amazed when he agreed to be best man at my first wedding when he was just fourteen years of age.  He even did a small speech, I was totally proud of him, and I think looking back I never even told him that.  What a terrible big sister!!

Our paths widened even further once I was married and although we met up once a week at home, he was often in his room doing what teenagers do and we really saw each other best at family gatherings. I can't remember what this event was but Graham is stood on the left behind me and the other three are our cousins, Robert, Colin and Ann.
 I was always pleased to see him developing into a confident, and such a very handsome young man. ( But I was totally jealous of his curls).   Sisterly love glowing within, from a distance.

The thing that brought us back into each others lives was the birth of Simon my first son. 
From the minute he could walk and talk he hero worshipped the tall smiling Uncle that took time to show him things.  Who taught him to love animals, how to handle Sooty the big black Labrador, the happy Uncle who taught him how to play snooker left-handedly (Simon is right-handed but to this day plays snooker the way Graham showed him) and who gave him valuable boy time and a few toy cars into the bargain.  Giving him the love of cars that has forged his career to this day.
When he was presented with his second nephew he again took time to do all the same things with him, in Jason's case developing in him the love of chess and all things ball related.  Jason too was taught to play snooker and was proficient with a cue at just 18 months old, not wanting to be left out of the games played between his brother and his Uncle.  As the boys grew and we moved away to Cumbria less time was spent with their beloved Uncle but always at family get togethers the bond is there, forged early and never to be broken.
And as Dad moved on from photography to a love of video filming Graham became the family photographer, practicing his art and moving quickly ahead in the photography world.  In my shop I sold limited edition framed copies of his pictures of the Lake District, and they now grace many a wall all over the country. Including one of course on our memory wall. 
He now is a judge on the Photography Club circuit that he's involved with, travelling around the country using his expertise to help others improve theirs.  When he tells me a particular photo on my Blog is a good, well balanced shot I know that I've got it right with my little point it and shoot digital camera :-)
Family get togethers, something we do so well, lots of laughs and time for a catch up.
And here is Graham, having trusted me with his beloved camera, with Mum, Dad, his nephew Simon and Simon's eldest son Liam, my brother's first Great Nephew.
Since the death of my beloved Dad almost two years ago Graham has been there for Mum, a rock steady shoulder to lean on, an almost daily presence in her life, sorting out for her the things that I struggled with, the paper work, the running around needed sometimes at a moments notice, the logical brain to deal with a problem.  If Mum is poorly or needs help he is there for her ... a son to be leant on, a son that will grit his teeth and do what is asked of him, a son to be proud of.
And what is he to me .... he's my brother. 
I love this photo of him taken by Jason on a rare day out for the two of them, it shows Graham at his best, relaxed in his walking gear a camera slung round his neck, ready to walk on and find the next possibly perfect shot.  I'm not so keen on the 'flowerpot man' style hat but sometimes your brother just has to be an outdoorsy geek!!
He's been in my life since before I was four, the little toddler that I rushed home from school to see.  The little brother that joined in the games I orchestrated (sometimes bribed to play and sometimes willing).  The brother that was there for me whenever a brother was needed.
He might not have been the most perfect gift in the world but he was the most perfect present my parents ever gave me.
*** *** ***
Happy Birthday Graham
50 today
You've teased me for the last time for being in my 50's now .... haven't you!!
Sue xx

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Chicken Shed

The view from our spare bedroom window is changing a little bit day by day.  Between Chicken World and the wood store and the temporary Manshed there is a slowly developing area.   Lovely Hubby has been getting the base ready for the new Chicken Shed.
"Did you say Chicken Shed" ....  yes I did, but it's not for chickens so keep out.
"Me too?" ... Yes, you too!!
It's for all the chicken feed, supplies and equipment, I toyed with the idea of calling it the Girl-Shed to compete with the Manshed, imagining frilly net curtains, a rug underfoot, a comfy armchair and a book case with space to deposit a cup of steaming hot coffee ... but then I thought "Nooo I have the house for that". 
So it's going to be the Chicken Shed ... I still quite fancy the idea of a net curtain though :-)
Sue xx

Sunday 19 January 2014

Cosy Night In

Everyone cosied up in front of the wood burner last night, while outside the wind blew and rain did it's usual trick of lashing down in every direction, inside some were curled up together for comfort and warmth ...

... some fell asleep on their feet waiting for Dad to drop some of his curry ...

... others got as close to the wood burner as they could without burning the tips of their noses. and alternated between watching the flames and chewing on a bone.

And while we laughed at the goings-on on the television ...

.... Suky gave up the quest for dropped food and joined Mum on the sofa to bark at the Minions.
Later we went all high brow and watched Les Miserables on Dvd, one good night, two good films and four very happy animals.
It's been a good weekend.
Sue xx

Saturday 18 January 2014

A Special Gift for My Old Man

It was Lovely Hubby's birthday just over a week ago, I didn't Blog about it ...he's shy and didn't want you all to know that he's reached the grand old age of 55 .... oops there you do now, but you won't tell will you. ;-)
It's hard to know what to buy him, especially with his birthday being so soon after Santa's visit, but I like to try to be original.  We neither of us need 'things' but we have some wonderful memories that we share, and one of the most special memories is of the gorgeous girl that we had for so long.
Sophie was LH's dog when we met and she winkled her way into my heart as only a dog with that lovely laughing face could have.  So I asked a very talented friend of mine, well actually she used to be my boss way back in the day when I went out and did a real job, if she would do one of her wonderful pastel pictures copied from a photograph of Sophie to surprise my old man.

All I asked was that she caught the twinkle in Sophie's eye and the lovely laughing, happy personality that she had. This is the photo I sent her.
I think she got it so right don't you.  LH was absolutely delighted and it now has pride of place on our memory wall.
If you would like Wendy's details drop me an email (address at the very bottom of the right-hand sidebar) and I will pass them on to you.  She doesn't do it for a living but as a hobby that pays it's own way, she's so talented and I'm so happy that we now own a Wendy Hall original.
(And no she's not related but it is brilliant that we now share the same surname.)
Sue xx

Thursday 16 January 2014

No Doggies on the Sofa ......

We were going to be SO strict in our new house, no doggies on the sofa, dogs most definitely NOT allowed on the beds.
As you can see this did not come to pass!!
It's partly because we still have no doors upstairs as they are waiting to be hung and stained by my perfectionist of a man.  So apart from the bathroom and the hall doors we are totally open plan and the little furry members of the family are making the most of it.
I've decided to just go with the flow and so I put a quilt on top of the bed each morning that is machine washable, just so they are not actually on the sheets we sleep on.  As much as I love my animals I do not like being covered in doggie fur straight after my bath.
The Jack Russells, Rosy and Mavis have formed a real bond, they play fight as only Jack Russells do, standing on their hind legs wrestling and boxing each other it's fascinating to watch, if little Suky's nose is being pushed out she's not showing any signs of it, as usual she cuddles up to Mum on the sofa each night and chews on her hide bone, oblivious to the madness going on in the rest of the room.

Live and let live, sometimes it's the only way.
Sue xx

Tuesday 14 January 2014

The New Chicken World

The chickens have settled in well after the move, the egg laying is down to an average of five or six a day which is the lowest we have ever had, but this is caused partly by the fact that the hen that was left behind (and caught and re-homed by our neighbour) and also the one that sadly took it upon herself to die last week were both good layers.  So if we still had them that would have been a much more respectable seven or eight.
Angel, 'the double rescue' Hyline still lays a couple of eggs a week even though she must be getting on a bit for an ex commercial layer, but for reasons known only to herself never in the nest boxes, she hops over the fence lays her egg behind our house in a pile of leaves and then hops back over into Chicken World.  We have no problem with this, we just keep our fingers crossed that she always gets back safely.  We tried moving the leaves but she laid on a pile of stones instead, so the leaves are re-instated for her comfort ... yes, we are soft like that :-)
Caldwell II is still in charge of the flock ....
... ruling with a iron fist of tender care for his wives, until Lovely Hubby shows his face and then the aggressive little so and so charges with feathers and spurs a flying!!

He has a young pretender in the form of Flash ...
... who is maturing into a most magnificent specimen,.
We don't know what breed he actually is as he was sold along side his siblings as a Silkie .... and he definitely NOT a Silkie!!

Although Snowy his sister is!!
She's always on the go, hence what is a slightly burry photo, a bundle of Silkie fluff that runs around at the speed of sound!!
The henhouse is proving really good.  At first I had trouble adapting to a completely different style of house.  You get in your routines, any chicken keeper will know what I mean.  Cleaning them out a certain way, knowing how the birds use the house, accessing the house yourself.
We made some modifications to it to suit us and our birds better, we took out the first of the interior perches, our girls just couldn't manage the jump up to the perches without first landing on the board that sits under them, with the perches coming right to the edge of the board this was impossible and they spent the first few nights sleeping on the floor.  Luckily we have a lot less birds than the house is designed for so this is not too much of a problem.  We also made them a ramp that leads up to the shelf so the larger girls can climb up instead of jumping, our Black Marans are heavy birds and they found it a struggle. 
At the rear of the henhouse are the nesting boxes (accessed from inside for the birds and from outside for us), unfortunately the door for this opens downwards which just clears the incline of the hill.  It would be so much better for accessing the eggs and for cleaning out purposes if it was the lid that lifted up as it did in our last henhouse.  But for now this must remain as it is, although it is frustrating to be stood on a slope ducking down to reach in and collect eggs.
The only other downside to the house is that the perches are fixed in position with screws, I much prefer removable perches sat in recesses and  also the shelf under the perches is supposed to slide out for ease of cleaning but this is virtually impossible to do singlehandedly so I have worked out a way to clean it from inside the house, a bit of a bug bear but one that I can live with as long as we do a deep clean of the house every so often and remove these completely.
All in all it is a well thought out house and very well made, LH was impressed with the quality of the treated wood and the instructions for assembly were so easy, we could have had it assembled on site for a very reasonable cost but he wanted to do it himself so he could thoroughly check it's construction. 
Now I'm used to is, cleaning it out daily for a month helps considerably with this, I am getting happier .... and the main thing is the chickens are happy and safe.  And it proves that we are happy with our henhouse we have just ordered a brand new shed from the same company to house all our chicken feed and supplies ... this time it's not a Manshed .... it's a Chicken Shed!!
At the moment we have the electric fencing round Chicken World but hopefully in the next couple of months we will be constructing a proper fenced area with an undercover space for the rain that very occasionally falls here ...... please understand the sarcasm in that last sentence ;-)
*** *** ***
Thank you for all the comments about yesterdays Blogging post.  You left some really good links to Blogs that I don't currently read and I'm sure a lot of you will be using them, just as I am, to hop even further around Blogland.  It's also nice that we enjoy a lot of the same Blogs.  Some of the ones mentioned I do already read but are not on my sidebar.  Reading Blogs can be a wonderfully time consuming occupation, but it's so nice to belong to a crowd of like minded souls.
Sue xx