Thursday 30 November 2017

Winter has a Heart ~ Memory Making

***a note to my readers ~ my computer is on it's last legs and I have struggled to put this together because periodically my typing does not enter on the screen. Consequently, for those of you who do leave a sweet comment, I should be able to publish, but may not be able to reply immediately, so please be patient. A new computer is on the horizon, and, frankly, is something I dread doing!***

Hello Friends!

Brrrrrrr! Unless you live in the Southern Hemisphere, I think Winter has arrived with all of us. It isn't too bad here, yet, but I'm sure we are going to pay this Winter for several exceptionally mild years recently.

As many of you know, I am a full time care giver, and now, for two afternoons a week, I have help coming in so that I can get out to do things that I could otherwise struggle with, such as getting to the bank, or off for my 'flu injection!  One of the things we can do, weather permitting of course, is to go out for rides in the countryside and make some new, happy memories to cherish as we visit garden centres ~ ones with tea rooms, naturally; go out for lunch or afternoon tea; just go for a ride to see pretty scenery; in fact, pretty much anything. This is why, of late, I've been able to share with you some of the photographs I've taken on some of these precious days out. 

Here's what we did yesterday. We visited a lovely little tea room in nearby Mathry called "Siop Fach Tearooms"  Sadly, they do not have a website but have a very good rating on Trip Advisor.  Here are the photographs I took of some stunning scenery, and delicious food we ate.

I have to say that the tea shop was immaculately clean, light, fresh and airy. A welcoming aroma of cooking food filled the entrance, and a display of deliciously tempting home made cakes was on display by the main counter.  More photos of those next time, but today I'll focus on what we had to eat.

A simple Scampi, Chips and Peas ~~~

I had one of several delicious sounding vegetarian options, Glamorgan Cheese Sausages. These are a traditional Welsh dish of cheese, onion and leeks. Served with yummy Sweet Potato Fries ~~~

Desserts! Puddings! Yay!  Lemon and Lime Cheesecake ~~~

Apple Pie with Custard Sauce ~~~

and I had Warm Chocolate Brownies with Ice Cream ~~~

I confess, the portions of pud were rather generous, but who's complaining? We cleared our plates!

Of course, it has to be Heinz ~ I fell for this cute condiment tray! I would have bought one had they sold one in the little shop next door ~~~

Who can resist an ice cold Fiery Ginger Beer, made in Radnorshire, on a cold Winter's day?

Isn't that a cute name for a company? "Heartsease Farm" It just makes you want to drop in and visit them. On the subject of hearts, I casually tossed my gilet to one side and look what happened? The folds just arranged themselves into a lovely heart shape? How cool is that?

I took a couple of photos from the window, the first has to be the creepiest creeper covered cottage I think I have ever seen ~~~

and this is the Farmer's Arms pub, just across the road. Recently, I was asked if this is 'arms' as in with hands on the end, or 'arms' as in "up in arms and going off to fight" ~ as far as I can tell, it is the 'with hands' version, although I've tried to look into this for you and there is nothing easily found to clarify. Let's go with 'with hands' as it is far more friendly, I'm sure you'll agree. It is a very common pub name in Wales ~~~

On our way home again home again jiggetty jig we pulled over so I could take a few quick photos of the wild and woolly wonderful big sky across the lush, softly rolling hills and gentle valleys of the Shire. In the far distance of this one you can just see the Preseli Hills, where the world famous bluestone which forms part of Stonehenge originated. Bluestone can be found across the world. Preseli bluestone is a fine grained dolerite, a magical stone with particular healing properties used in Shamanic rituals.

The weather was decidedly wintry, with gusty blasts of icy winds coming from the North, and I got caught out in a sharp, prolonged hailstorm! I love looking at the big skies over the Shire, in all their glorious majesty, in wonderment and awe.

Until next time ~~~
~~~Deborah xo

Thursday 23 November 2017

A Blustery Day

Hello Friends!

One thing you can guarantee is that our weather out in the west is windy!  We had two major storms and one hurricane back in October, but, other than a few days where the winds picked up a little over twenty five miles an hour, most of November has been relatively calm, with breezes not much above twenty miles an hour most of the time, and some days well below twenty! Until today! I guess we had to have some more winds at some time, living where we do, jutting out into the wonderful and wild Atlantic Ocean, and sure enough, overnight we had winds well in excess of fifty mph, gusting up to seventy, so a blustery day, as Piglet and Pooh would say.

This afternoon, I was able to spend a few short moments in a car park overlooking Newgale beach, with the small hamlet of Newgale nestled precariously either side of the road that winds up a hill leading up from the beach and valley below. I don't know about you, I would love to live in one of those houses, for the view must be spectacular during a storm! Of course, I wouldn't want the job of cleaning the windows afterwards, lashed with all those salt laden winds and spray!

The yellow building, to the left hand side, is the Duke of Edinburgh Public House. It is on the road, and immediately across the road is a bank of pebbles, the only protection from the ocean and all the elements can throw at it.

The pebble breakwater running alongside the main road. 

Several times a year, mostly during the Winter, the combinations of high tides and high winds crash through, causing the pebbles to breech and the Atlantic Ocean to pour through.  When this happens, the road can be closed for several days and all traffic is rerouted along the unclassified back roads to my village. These back roads, although surfaced, are single vehicle wide and not designed to take the regular daily traffic of many cars, busses, and delivery trucks. It can add some time to the journey.

You will also see a pond of water in the field alongside the Duke of Edinburgh; that, my friends, is a camp site! No camping there today!

Here are some more views of Newgale looking out to sea ~~~

This is the most stunning view any time of year. I love to sit in the bus, as we tootle along the high~hedged road home, and watch the faces of visitors to the area as they see it for the first time. It is priceless to see their amazement at the wild beauty of it all ~~~

In the distance Ramsey Island and Ynys Beri

A great place for walking the dogs!

Just as I was turning away, I heard a distinctive noise. I stopped, turned, stayed still and observed, searching with my eyes and ears until I found it ~~~ a sweet little wren ~~~ hopping about in the thorny bramble vines left behind long after the Autumn fruits are gone ~~~

All too soon my time at the beach was over and I had to return, so ~~~

Until next time ~~~

Sunday 19 November 2017

Black and White Seven Day Challenge

Hello Friends!

Some of you, who use social media will have seen a recent, on going, photography challenge, the Seven Days Black and White Photo Challenge. No people. No explanations. Just black and white images.

I was nominated by my friend Maggie. I'm so happy she did nominate me, because I delved back into my archives and came up with the following photos, and a few more than the required seven besides. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed black and white, I think it reveals a lot more of the subtler nuances of light, shadow, and textures than colour photography. Don't worry, I'll keep taking colour most of the time, but expect to see more monochrome too!

Today started out as a lovely late Autumn day in the Shire. Winds have dropped, rain has gone, and a pale, frothy edged ball of lemon sits, diffused, maybe confused, in a wintry blue, cloud cluttered sky. It ended submerged in grey murk and that sort of precipitation that is nameless ~ too heavy to be drizzle, too light to be rain, just everything getting damp through. Now, if only we could have a hard frost overnight, I'd have some grand photos in the morning, but I think it is a mild night forecast here.

I think there will be a lot more black and white photography from me in the future. I've rediscovered something special this week!

Until next time~~~

Saturday 4 November 2017

The Hare in the Moon and The All~Seeing Eye

Hello Friends!

Did you see the full Frost Moon last night? Ours was scuppered by cloud cover, which often happens here in the west.  In the middle of the night, I was woken by bright, silvery light gleaming in through some cracks in my not~so~tightly closed curtains, and the clouds were briskly swept aside by breezes that had risen during the night. I was tempted to get up and take photos, but as soon as I felt the chill air in my room I decided against, and snuggled back down under the duvet and back to sleep.

Do you see a Man in the Moon, or a Hare in the Moon? 

I did take a photo, during the late afternoon a few days earlier, of the waning gibbous moon, and it came out quite well, you can see the edges of the craters along the left side quite clearly. These are the kinds of images that set my imagination racing!

And speaking of getting my imagination working, just look at what I have staring in at me when I'm working in my kitchen! Talk about the All Seeing Eye! It's really quite spooky, especially if you know of Ents!  Maybe there's an Entmoot gathering beginning in next door's garden!

It's actually a forty year old Sycamore tree that has had all the ivy removed, you can see some of the old vines still clinging on!  During the twilight, it can be quite unnerving to see!

A note to all my British readers ~ if you are hosting a Bonfire Party in your own garden, please turn over that heap before you set light to make sure you are toasting marshmallows not hedgehogs! Be safe and have a fun time, but remember wildlife and pets don't like fireworks, so be considerate. Thank you!

Until next time ~~~

Thursday 2 November 2017


Hello Friends!

A few weeks ago, on a warm, sunshiny Autumn afternoon, we visited the pretty Pembrokeshire fishing village of Porthgain.  You may remember a row of cottages, a pub, a post box and a red telephone kiosk, along with some fairly imposing industrial ruins.  Taking the steep climb up some very narrow, often slippery, stone steps alongside those ruins, and then a pleasant stroll along the high clifftops that overlook St George's Channel, brings us to a stretch of National Trust coastline at Abereiddi {English spelling Abereiddy}.

Alternatively, you can approach Abereiddi, as I did, from the other direction, either walking along the coast path, or by car, bicycle, or on the Strumble Shuttle, one of several Coastal Busses routes that service outlying areas to aid walkers returning to their cars.

I did not have long to spend on the beach, but here are some of the photographs I took on that delightful, mid Autumn afternoon.  The sun, noticeably lower in the sky than a few weeks ago, skittered and sparkled off the dark, grey blue water, and although the air was not cold, the water looked very cold indeed.  The edge of the sea lapped, languid and lazily, over the seaweed and smooth, glossy black rocky shore; there were not many people out for such a lovely afternoon. The gentle breeze was barely noticeable, and the afternoon was altogether very pleasant, making me wish I had a picnic to nibble!

The traditional lime washed Pembrokeshire stone cottages are some of the most often sketched and painted in the area.  They are literally yards, probably not even eighty yards, from the beach. A few years ago, you may recall, I wrote about the horrendous and relentless weather systems, endless Winter storms that battered our coastline from November to March.  During that period, the face of Abereiddi was changed forever when the raging waves and massive Spring tides lashed for week after week after week, and eventually the retaining wall for the car park gave way and disappeared into the small bay forever, leaving the beach and car park now, more or less, on the same level and bringing many boulders {since removed} and small stones up onto the car park.

Imagine living in one of those cottages while massive waves and high winds bring the sea closer and closer to your door!

The area is high in slate, originally removed from the now flooded Blue Lagoon {which I did not visit this particular day} and processed at Porthgain. It means the sand on the beach is black, and if you ever swim here {as I have done} you emerge like something from a B Grade horror movie, covered from head to toe in a fine, dark grey gritty dust. Lovely! You don't see many people swimming here because of that, but my friend and I just had to do it, simply because we could! And we were young. And foolish!

For the thrill seekers out there {I am not!} the Blue Lagoon is home to one of the events on the diary of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Championships.

Along and over the top, a pleasant, two mile stroll will bring you to Porthgain

Traditional Pembrokeshire stone cottage, complete with television and all mod cons!

The red lime wash would, originally, have been coloured with ox blood

All that remains of a once eight foot high barrier between beach and car park

An artist has been at work!

A typical slate, full of fossils, which abound at Abereiddi

Finally, a dear little robin stopped by to say 'hello!' obligingly sitting for a few moments to have his photo taken ~~~

Until next time ~~~