Saturday, 30 September 2017

And All I Ask Is A Merry Yarn ~~~

Hello Friends!

Being Welsh, poetry and music are in my soul, but my blood is also awash with salt water, for I cannot bear to be more than a few miles from the sea at any time.

I love the sea, in all her many moods, from the sinister, glassy green swirls amidst the foaming maelstroms of a tidal race, to the calm blue skittering with points of reflected starlight on a summer day, and the raging storms that batter our coastline on a wild and woolly winter's day ~~~ I love them all.

One of my favourite poems, by the English poet and Poet Laureate, John Masefield {1878~1967}is this one ~~~

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.
I don't think I have ever lived more than a stone's throw from the ocean. I grew up near the sea, along with the farmland and fields that lie between the village and the coast, my playground was a coastal inlet and the beach; and I was often out at sea, bobbing about on the beautiful, blue briney with my dear Daddy as soon as I was old enough to not be a hazard.  Today marks the eighth year of his passing, and truly, I know not to where those years have flown.

My Happy Photo of me, Daddy, and Skip aboard Sea Crest
We often worked together, he ran boat trips, and for more than half the year he plied his trade ferrying tourists around, and landing them on, Ramsey Island, now owned by the RSPB.  During the winter months, he sometimes fished, but oh! the weather was not kind, and we fretted deeply while he was out in the bay hauling nets and pots, but it made ends meet during the lean, winter months.  I ran the office, and I also crewed. At age fourteen, I could take the boat, single handed {with supervision, naturally} around the island, having learned the tides and reefs, and other perils which are hidden to most.

It was grand, a simple, but privileged life.  When most of my school friends were working Saturday and summer holiday jobs waiting tables, or selling ice creams, postcards, cheap souvenirs and buckets and spades to tourists, I was outdoors ever single day, hanging out with the other boatmen's children, waiting to see if we could hop on a boat for a ride, or splashing about in the sea, eating our picnics of soggy cheese and tomato sandwiches and drinking warm pop. 

There were very few regulations in those days. Yes, the boats had to pass inspection and be fit for plying the waters with passengers on board, we had to have insurance, but none of the overwhelming plethora of health and safety issues that prevail today. Common sense was the order of the day and that was good enough for everyone.  

We sold tickets from the house where we lived in the village, and gave directions how to reach the boat.  We had a large, deep front window where we put our signs advertising, and I took advantage of this.  When I came home in the evenings, after a long day on the quay, I made candles, and jewellery from local stones and shells that I gathered from the beach. I displayed them in the window, and my mother would sell them for me to interested passers by. At the end of my first summer, when we returned to school, and all my friends had spent their money on weekly trips to the nearby town and were now broke, I still had all my money intact, and was the envy of all when I bought a stereo record player {which I still have, and it still works}.

I had the very best of both worlds, and it put the sea in the very centre of my heart and salt water coursing through my veins.  

As I have travelled about, and lived in different parts of the world, I don't think I have ever lived more than fifteen minutes drive at most away from the sea. At times, I have seen the ocean just a few hundred yards from my windows! Now, I can walk to the high cliffs overlooking the wild Atlantic Ocean in a very short while. The sea holds my heart; it is my home. 

Until next time ~~~
~~~Deborah xoxo

Monday, 18 September 2017

Pretty Porthgain

Hello Friends!

After the wild and woolly lashings of Aileen against our shores, the weather has become decidedly improved with pleasant temperatures and lighter winds. I awaken each morning to the kind of days I dream of all year long while waiting, with eager anticipation, of Autumn.

This afternoon seemed a perfect day to visit nearby Porthgain, a small hamlet with an intriguing juxtaposition of quaint cottages and imposing industrial stone ruins, complete with a functional red telephone kiosk {necessary, as you won't get a very good mobile signal here} and small red post box ~~~

I was surprised at the number of cars present, but then Porthgain has two of the areas favourite hostelries, The Sloop Inn and The Shed.  Below, you can see the industrial ruins, just a hundred yards or so from the picturesque cottages {above} that are quite heavy, and when you get close, they give off a Dickensian feel, gloomy, dark, and imposing, a remnant of the industrial past, when Porthgain was a bustling hive of industry, built into the cliffs ~~~

The harbour is quite small, and today is used by local fishermen, and in the height of Summer it is very busy with visiting boats sailing the coast or looking for a quay from which to launch and sail forth into the Irish Sea ~~~

The tide comes in quite quickly too ~~~

Porthgain is an "on off" point for walkers along this stretch of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park where you can pick up one of the seasonal bus services, the environmentally friendly Strumble Shuttle, if you are done walking for the day and want to return, foot sore and weary, to your accommodation.

Of course, you may wish to refresh yourself with tea and cake at The Shed, or something a little stronger at The Sloop Inn before continuing along the path, or boarding your transport!

I opted for a delicious slice of Coffee Walnut Cake, loaded with walnuts and bursting with coffee flavour at The Shed, with a refreshing pot of tea ~~~

and such a pretty view, overlooking the small harbour, to look at while savouring my treat ~~~

By the time I'd finished my tea, the tide was filling up the harbour quickly indeed ~~~

A trip out would not be a trip out if I didn't take some photographs of the things that speak loudly to my creative soul, so today I found some old red brick work, a lovely, chunky, rusty chain, and a rather scary opening in the brick work ~~~

 I hope you've enjoyed our little trip out along and up the coast!  Soon, I think we'll have to get back into the garden. Yesterday, I cut back the mint, oh! did it smell divine! The tidying up, preparing to tuck the garden away for the Winter has begun ~~~

Until next time ~~~
~~~Deborah xo

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

It's a Wonderful World ~~~

Hello Friends!

I consider myself truly blessed to live where I do. Even though, at the moment, I cannot get out and about in all the coast and countryside where I live, I am deeply grateful for all the photographs I have taken over the years to bring me closer to the beauty of my Shire.  Just stepping outside my cottage door and breathing in the fresh, countryside air that permeates from the surrounding land into my garden lifts my spirits and fills my heart with abounding joy. Of my Shire, my heart will never tire.

I have always enjoyed photography, but my life behind the lens was transformed in October 2006 when my late Daddy gave me a huge surprise for my birthday ~ the gift of my first digital camera. How that transformed my life! There were two things I could not get over ~ first, that I knew instantly whether or not I'd captured the shot, and second, the cost of being able to take hundreds of photographs and print off only the ones I needed to, rather than paying to print off everything from a 35mm roll of film, and paying to get even the out of focus shots that I can now simply discard.  I'm not decrying 35mm photography, it has a charm of its own, the same way old vinyls do when compared to CDs. I think most of you know, and understand, what I am saying!  In a time when we strive for the perfection that comes with progress, you cannot beat that grainy 35mm film, any more than you can top the hiss and crackle of a vinyl record on an old player.

Today, while my prayers hold my friends across the west of America where fires rage, those in Texas recovering from Harvey, and my friends in Florida recovering from Irma, and we all watch, with baited breath, the progress of Jose, we in Wales are waiting for what might prove to be our first named storm of 2017/18.  Aileen will be her name, if she develops to storm force, and she is here about six full weeks ahead of when we should be looking at the start of our storm season, usually in November.  We are told to expect winds in excess of 75 mph! Oh! Joy, Bliss, and Rapture ~ I don't think.

I notice on the list, here, that several Celtic and Gaelic names are included, giving equal representation to the four home nations.

My garden is not prepared, many plants are still flowering and a long way from being ready to be put to bed for Winter, so scurried attempts to bring things temporarily inside, and shelter that with which Summer is not yet done, must be top of the tasks today.  I think we all felt we had Autumn to look forward to, in all her magnificent, colourful array, and wind down gently into November, but no! We must prepare and batten the hatches this very afternoon!  Looking out of my window across the garden, glittering and green, underneath a blue, nearly cloudless sky, who would think in a few hours we will be hunkered down as the storm rages?  But hark! I hear the chimney rattling already ~ the winds that reconnoitre the path ahead have already arrived!

So, as I cannot get out and about as I should like to do, I'm wandering through my old photographs, of which there are many, and popping a few from my archives on here today ~~~

The first few photographs are of tree bark in my garden ~ I love how diverse bark is, from tree to tree, and the inspiration for art, or textiles, that I glean from it ~ Nature is a wonderful source of inspiration ~~~

Bountiful fruits of the season ~ blackberries, haws, crab apples and Autumn fruiting raspberries abound ~~~

Shhhhhhh! be very quiet, for faeries live within, and if we are very still and do not break the magic, why! we may see one flitting about ~~~


 Gossamer webs are woven all across the bushes, trees, and shrubs ~~~

 Here is a sheet of Autumn coloured colouring in I did ~~~ I love the stylised acorn and leaf patterns ~~~

So, my friends, Stay Safe, wherever you are, and these storms will pass ~~~

Until next time ~~~

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Dear Little Robin ~~~

Hello Friends!

When I was a child, I remember my dear mother singing a lullaby to me, and later I would sing it myself. I wish I knew the name of the tune, and maybe you know it yourself, here is the opening line ~~~
Dear Little Robin waiting so patiently, outside my cottage door ~~~ 

So, imagine my utter joy and delight upon opening my own cottage door to discover a Dear Little Robin waiting for me!

He's quite the obliging poser, don't you think?  He is a juvenile, one of this year's fledglings, and such a happy chappy. You can just see the beginnings of his red breast feathers coming in ~~~

but then, I think he'd had enough! "what do you want" said the cute little fellow, before he flew away ~~~

I look forward to many happy hours with him alongside, routing around in the freshly turned soil as I dig and pull out earth~bound juicy worms and bugs for him to feed on ~~~ they are such friendly, trusting souls ~~~

Until next time ~~~
~~~Deborah xoxo

Friday, 1 September 2017

Let's Give This A Go?

Hello Friends!

Let's give this a go with pictures and text today and see how it goes.

Thank you for all your comments and support. Things are still not right on my end, but are better than they were. My Reading List is empty, and I know that there should be many! My page looks different too, so I was this all something to do with a really big Windows 10 update I had? Some of you had all my blogs publish in one go, going way back, while others got no notifications at all, and some of you wonder what I'm going on about because you haven't seen any of it! My page views plummeted to fewer than five per day! They are back up now, to normal, thankfully.  I won't list more, but you get the drift, all is still not right with my blog.

So, let's just keep this simple today, and see how things go?  It's a beautiful Autumn day here in the Shire, the sky is blue, cotton puffs of cloud drift on by, so lazily that they are almost at a standstill, the wind is barely moving, and I feel as lazy as the day. I can't do much, I'm waiting the arrival of a new appliance, so am tied and limited as to what I can do today.

I made an old favourite for my lunch, something I haven't made in a long, long while. My Vegetarian Meatless Balls in a sweet barbecue sauce on rice. So easy, and to get back into the swing of things I'll share it with you.

I made up a packet of soya based vegetarian sausage mix, according to the directions, but you can use any recipe you have for meatless balls.  You can even use real meat if you must!

I rolled them into small rounds, and dusted in lightly seasoned flour before searing them to give a crispy crust in some hot oil.

Meanwhile, I warmed some barbecue sauce and an equal quantity of apricot jam in a pan.

Pop the meatless balls in an oven proof dish, pour over the sauce, and put in a medium oven, Gas Mark 6 or equivalent, for about 25 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the balls are cooked.

Serve over plain boiled rice and with some vegetables of choice, if desired.  This recipe also goes well in Submarine style rolls, and the sauce is good with a lot of other dishes too ~~~

Pudding was a bowl of sun ripened, freshly picked juicy blackberries, from the stone hedge at the back of the cottage.

Well, my friends, so far so good. All have uploaded and fingers crossed this will publish!

Until next time ~~~
~~~Deborah xo