Thursday 30 November 2023

The Robin and The Cold Days

Hello Friends!

Do you remember the nursery song that begins "Dear little Robin, waiting so patiently outside my cottage door"?  Or the nursery rhyme "Who Killed Cock Robin"?  Who can resist a little Robin Redbreast?  There's a reason it was voted the nation's favourite bird in a national poll to find the most popular bird in Britain.  Quintessentially British, a constant visitor on many a Christmas card, no garden bird feeder seems complete without a robin pecking away on a low, ground feeding station at the Oops. offered mealworms, dried berries and suet.  When I am digging in my garden, turning over the soil, the most friendly and trusting little robin is always there, not far away at all hoping to find exposed grubs or worms for an easy snack.

The weather is wuthering and has recently been living up to my alliterative definition of Wildly Wuthering Wet and Windy Wonderful West Wales!  Not such perfect weather for a cobweb clearing walk but rather a justifiable reason for sitting snuggly indoors sipping hot drinks and nibbling on a sweet, fortifying treat or two, or three as we approach Christmas.

Today, though the weather is biting. We are below freezing for the first time this year. Being peninsula We don't normally drop below freezing until into January. I guess it's a sign of the times. I was woken up in the night by the gentle hum of the central heating, which came on because the inside of the cottage dropped below 16 degrees C.  I was putting the bins out at 4:00 a.m. on a cold and frosty morning under a cloudless, silver moonlit, star studded sky.  As the day break came a few hours later, I could see the bird bath frozen solid, a rare thing here.

All the deliciously crisply crunchy leaves we love stomping through are now a soggy mess lining the verges of the country lanes. If the rain hadn't already done its work, the frost will soon speed up the process and that, rich dark leaf mold will suddenly appear. Quite the best growing medium for next year's hedgerow flowers. 

A robin redbreast sits, perched upon a fragile stem and he looks cold!  Fluff up those pretty feathers, sweet friend, and keep warm.

possibly the one below is one of this year's fledglings

It is said that when robins appear, a loved one is near.  I'd like to think so.

Until next time.
Stay safe stay well. 
Stay warm!
Debbie.  xx

Monday 20 November 2023

In Which Treasure Gets A New Jumper

Hello Friends!

Due to having Parkinson's, there are an increasing number of everyday things I cannot do, such as prepping food with a knife, dusting, and other manual things that we take for granted.  I drop things quite a lot too, but there are aids and tools to help me overcome a lot of these issues for now.  However, one thing that never fails to amaze me is that, despite these manual dexterity issues, I can still paint and draw, and I can still knit.  So far, no one can tell me why this is, but maybe it engages different parts of the brain?  Who knows?  I shall continue as long as I can.

Anyhow, out there on Tinterwebwonderland is the most charming little character called Frog who, courtesy of India Rose Crawford, shares the cutest of adventures.  If you want to be smitten by their utterly adorable cuteness, and be totally awestruck at India Rose's world in miniature then go here for Instagram or here for Facebook

Frog has a whole wardrobe of beautifully tailored clothes so when I found a knitting pattern for a tiny jumper by DotpebblesKnits on Etsy I decided to give it a go for Treasure.  He feels the cold, probably because he doesn't hibernate.

Oh Dear! It's too big again!  But he loves it anyway.

For an inexperienced knitter who just does plain and purl, stocking stitch and ribbing, I don't think I did too badly.  There were a few new techniques, but I mastered them courtesy of the online Godsend of YouTube.

Final fitting before sewing up.

As the following images show, this garment is knit in one piece, so it was quite a challenge, but I stuck to the pattern and trusted the instructions and et voila!

Other than the sizing issue, I don't think I did too badly at all.  I might tackle something else soon!

In the meantime, I am seeing positive results from Tai Chi and Qigong, and last week I had my Covid booster.

Until next time
Stay safe, stay well
Debbie xx

Sunday 5 November 2023

The Colours of Days

Hello Friends!

November sits, suspended midway between the glory days of Autumn and  the bone chilling cold of Winter; a no man's land of dull November grey when all the vibrant leaves of orange, yellow and red have fallen from the trees and branches brown hang down, empty, dull and bare, against a leaden sky where December snow has yet to form.

Light is scarce in the sky, a dull grey gloom wraps itself around the horizon and wild clouds scud across the sky.  Cracks in the clouds let slivers of silver light push through, a reminder of what once was, and a promise of what is yet to come.  Houses, curtains tightly drawn across windows, glow with light, beacons that guide us home.

We have time to stand and stare.  Our harvests are gathered home. We are ready for the winter hibernation that will come.  Let the season of hygge commence!

Wrapped up warmly against the chill and bitter wind, wearing our mittens and scarves, woolly hats and chunky Fair Isle socks, we take brisk, invigorating walks out into the Welsh countryside.  

Berry picking time is over. There is nothing left to harvest now other than a scant handful of late fruits that we leave for the wildlife, for the birds, for the squirrels, for the mice.  

If we are lucky, there are piles of leaves dry and crunchy through which we stomp and kick. But in this November gloom the rain has fallen hard. The spent leaves are a squishy squashy mess of muddy brown. Are they not in decay? No!  They are making the food for next year's plants.  The Circle of Life rolls on 

Soon , much sooner than we realise it will be December. The snows will come and all will look different again, dusted in powdery white.

And so the seasons turn.  The days that not so long ago were warm with summer sun, now cold and chill us to the bone with withering winds.  The time has come to withdraw inside. Let us sit by the fire cosy and warm with books and hot chocolate for our companions.  

My friends I have been doing more art. Here is my latest effort by an online course offered twice a year by the renowned Danish artist Ida Anderson Lang, called Wish Upon A Star. 

Until next time
Stay safe. Stay well.
Debbie xx

Wednesday 1 November 2023

Tai Chi, The Angel and Me

Hello Friends!

A recent study has shown that's doing Tai Chi twice a week drastically reduces the progression the progression of Parkinson's disease.

If you are interested in it, you can read all about it here.  

It is by no means conclusive and is pretty much in the early stages of research but I am happy to try anything especially what are classed as complimentary therapies.  I have found an instructor who is happy to come to my home so that I can try this out in private, one on one, without having to go and make a fool of myself in a public group.  It would be quite embarrassing trying to learn this in front of other people because I am prone to falling and I am very slow so could not keep up with the group.  I also tire easily so it might be that I can only do a few minutes before I need to sit down and rest.  

She came to my house yesterday.  After a brief assessment of my mobility, she suggested that Tai Chi is not the best idea for me as my balance is rubbish and as I am prone to falling or toppling over it might prove more of a hazard than a benefit.  She did, however, suggest Qigong, a system of gentle movement and breathing, you can read about it here,  I have since discovered several of my friends do this with good results.

Meanwhile, I made this little watercolour painting of a Prayer Angel of Peace as part of the annual Wish Upon A Star online course hosted by Atelier Ida Andersen Lang.  I used Gansai Tambi, Chromoflow, and graphite.  It is the job to angle the camera, to get the true colour of the picture.

I always want to paint a very muted palette. But it is something that eludes me all the time. I am learning to accept that it's that it's probably part of my own personal style that I favour brighter jewel colours. So I'm going to learn to stick with it.

Here are a few photos that show you don't have to have a huge space to create simple pieces of art. I am working off a folding table. I think they call them TV dinner tables. Plenty of room for a book stand to take my tablet so I could then play back and follow the lesson. My recycled chipped mug of brushes. An A4. drawing book. My crystals and candle which make the space sacred. and other bits and bobs.

As I put the final touches to this entry so Storm CiarĂ¡n, our  third named storm, is beginning to make its presence felt although it's not supposed to be here until late Wednesday. The wind is definitely howling outside right now. Hatches are battened once more!  We are under an amber weather. alerts for the next 36 hours. We are expecting torrential rain and winds of up to 90 miles an hour. And this is just the beginning of winter.

Until next time
Stay safe, stay well
Debbie x