Tuesday 31 March 2020

Getting Through the Jobs

 This enforced time spent at home here in Wales has meant there has been a real need to find useful ways to fill our days.  Although Alan is still working full time, albeit from home, he still has the evenings and weekends free, so with me being here rather than at the Van living a totally different kind of life and being here 24/7 at that, not being able to be here there and everywhere in my car visiting Mum, the shops or walking dogs, there has been quite a few extra hours to fill.

We have been using this time wisely, to do all those little jobs that have been put off and put off  ... and once they are done there has been a real sense of satisfaction for both of us.

For instance, yesterdays main job was to finally get around to finishing this little area near the gate.

When we first moved to North Wales and started walking the dogs along the  promenade and beach at Llandudno, we started to pick up a pebble with a white stripe each time we went.  One or two pebbles a week had added up to a nice little collection, one that we had been meaning to add to this area ever since the driveway was completed a couple of years ago.  Luckily we had continued to pick up a few more pebbles here and there recently as we needed a lot more than we had!!

Alan had already part filled the area with a layer of concrete a few days ago, and then yesterday he topped it with some quick drying cement and I set too to press in all of the pebbles before it dried.

It was going well, until I ran out of pebbles.

What to do?

I had to think fast.

Then I had a brainwave, and I raided Alan's little stash of old and antique tools and bits and bobs in the box in his workshop!!

He didn't really mind as he saw the lovely effect they created and in fact we loth love it so much we will probably use the rest of his collection at our new address in the future for a similar feature.

Only hopefully next time we will get round to doing it before we are about to sell up!!

Sue xx

Monday 30 March 2020

My Daily List of Four

Photo from:  Crazy Girl Loving Life on Facebook

I'm still trying to give a modicum of structure to my day, or at least to my thoughts, with my little four part list of things to try to accomplish each day.  Yesterday's four things went something like this:

Productive - Hoovered the downstairs.

Fresh Air - 2 doggy walks around the paddock, one with lots of lunges and hops, skips and jumps ... yes Alan thinks I'm mad, it's official.  I did try to look like it was a normal walk whenever a car drove past.  🤭

Something Cooked or Made from Scratch - missed out on this one, we had a nibbly, eat all the little bits from the fridge sort of day.

Something I Love - We both watched a couple of films ... Contagion, so weirdly similar to how things are now it was scary!!  Men in Black 3, we've never seen this before so it was different.  And finished off with a Midsomer Murders, a really old one with John Nettles as Barnaby.

Every day is starting to feel like a Sunday, it's very strange.  A bonus is that although it's bitterly cold outside, the sun is still shining and somehow that makes things so much better.

I hope you are still safe at home.

Sue xx

Sunday 29 March 2020

Homegrown Food

Here in Wales there's not been that much food grown over the past year or so, so it feels nice and in some ways calming to get myself back to the land and sow some seeds.

Yesterday I tidied up the polytunnel, watered, watered and watered some more the dried out raised beds until I thought they were suitably damp enough for a bit of direct sowing.  Then I sunk my trowel into the soil and found that less than an inch deep they were still absolutely bone dry.  Thankfully the advantage we have now is that all the watering is not coming from our metered water supply but instead from the rainwater tank buried beneath our parking area next to the workshop.  Thank goodness for that!! 

While the beds thirstily drunk up more and more water I checked on the seeds that I sowed before leaving for the Van, whenever that was ... I've lost all track of time ... they have all started to come up.  I started us off with some Kale, Spinach, Beetroot and Courgette seeds thinking that they would come up relative quickly and look good in the polytunnel and net tunnel beds for the viewings that we sort of expected would be happening in the next few weeks, as well as being a good source of nourishment for our chickens ... and us.

When I left the tunnel yesterday afternoon, due to it getting too hot to stay in anymore, I left it with this side fully watered and soaked, the seedlings growing away in the first two covered trays and a row of Spring Onions planted direct into this first bed.

One day soon it will all look green and fresh in here again, just like this photo ...I can't wait.  This photo has reminded me to sow a few Marigold seeds in a tray as well, to bring that glorious splash of colour and  pest preventative properties to the tunnel.

Sue xx

Saturday 28 March 2020

My Granddaughter

I couldn't resist sharing this with you, isn't she just adorable.  💖

This is my youngest grandchild Amira Vicki.  In this photo she almost 16 weeks old ... and already learning to read, it would seem the family love of books is continuing!!

" It's time to get back to my book Nana Sue."   😄

We don't see a lot of them anyway at the moment being so far apart, and of course with things the way they are right across the country even if we were closer we couldn't visit.  We are here in North Wales and Simon and his family all live in Cumbria, a good four hours away ... but we are very happily two hours nearer when we're at the Van.

But thanks to Simon being so besotted with his new daughter, as he quite rightly should be, and taking lots of photos of all of the children and posting them on social media, and in particular Facebook it means that we get to see her every week.

Amira with Daddy on his birthday last month.

She was the most perfect little gift 💖

Simon and Catherine … Amira's Mummy and Daddy in our paddock.

I have Simons permission to use and share these photos as I usually don't share much about the younger members of the family to respect their privacy in years to come.  But in these confusing and strange days I thought a little baby post would be something to awww over and make us all smile.

Nana Sue xx

Friday 27 March 2020

My New Office Space

We used to share the office upstairs in our spare bedroom.  When Alan worked mostly away from home it worked out fine, I had it during the week and he used it at weekends.  Now of course for the past three years he's been working most of his time at home, so he's had to claim the office purely for himself.

I have no problem with this after all I was mostly at the Van for the last two years, so my office was on the table in the kitchen there, easily packed away each evening ... simply fold down the laptop and place things neatly on top.

Now we're both home I tried using breakfast bar in the same way but there's less space and having to pack away for lunch was annoying.  

So ... I have claimed the table!!

Brilliant for blogging on, and for doing my coursework and I can just leave all my things out whenever I want to ... although I am trying to stay neat and tidy.  The temptation of course is to gaze out of the window at our glorious view far more often than I should while the sun is shining as it is, but there's no rush to do anything at the moment so I allow myself moments of relaxation and hillside watching whenever I want to.

A little heads up for anyone that usually gets the Radio Times, as we do, and was wondering ... as I was ... how to carry on getting it.  There is currently an offer in this weeks edition, meaning you can get the next twelve editions delivered to your door like a mini subscription.  It has free postage and packing and you do save slightly on the cover price ... and of course you do not have to leave your house to get each weeks copy.

I used to get a subscription until I started living between two addresses and two countries and needing two different areas editions, yes it got complicated, so I just started buying it each week from the supermarket wherever I was based.  Now that I am trying to avoid the supermarkets for as long as possible I was just starting to wonder what I would do, and this solves that problem nicely.

Order online at -   buysubscriptions.com/RTP1420A

Just go to the website fill in the details, it literally took me five minutes and you have your next 12 weeks Radio Times on standby.

Although the Radio Times may seem expensive … it's currently £3.50 … it is only one of the two magazines that I now get and I read it cover to cover (except for the radio programmes) and do all the puzzles, so I do still think it's worth it for me.

Did you stand outside or at your window and Clap for the NHS last night at 8pm?

We did, although not even being in a village ... just 20 odd houses dotted all over 3 miles of hillside the only other clapping we could hear was that of our nearest neighbours on the now closed campsite across the road.  They have a little cluster of terraced cottages that are let on long lets, so their little family of four plus a few more hands valiantly clapping away made enough noise to carry up to us.

What most people did on both sides of the valley was to light up their houses with as many lights as possible, and for just a few minutes it was like a magical valley of fairy lights stretching as far as the eye could see.

Sue xx

Thursday 26 March 2020

A Day Filled with Memories

Today is a day filled with memories of my Dad.

He died eight years ago today and this year I'm finding it harder than ever, so there are not many words here … just happy memories.

Dad ashes are in a box buried in the middle of my Veggie Patch, the flowers that surround his tree bring the birds and the insects over to pollinate the crops he would have loved to have seen.  The bird bath in the middle was one he and Mum bought for their garden, and the little dancing couple in the bottom left corner are Darby and Joan … or Syd and Joan the couple that danced their way to happiness.  My Mum and Dad. 

Dads ashes will be coming with us wherever we end up when this place gets sold.

Happy family memories from a Scarborough holiday we all took together to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

Three generations of family love.

Mum and Dad almost recovered from the shock of being enticed for a family meal … and finding it was a surprise party for their 50th Golden Wedding Anniversary.

Four generations in 2011.  

Mum, Dad, my brother, my son and my grandson … I'm taking the photo.

Dad helping us out at Jointers Farm, he loved helping out on the farm even if it did mean getting chased by giant pigs.

Lets go fly a kite!!

We have just had an amazing fly past here in on our little patch of North Wales by five American fighter jets.  Each whooshing by and then almost doing a loop before disappearing behind the distant hills, amazing to watch … Dad would have loved it.

Sue xx

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Reasons to be Thankful

Well here I am first day back home in Wales, with the sun shining and a gentle breeze I have managed to dry two sets of bedding already.  According to the forecast the weather is due to change sometime soon so I decided to get stuck in with washing today and get as much dry as I could.

Yesterday while I cleaned around the Van and packed up as much as I could possibly fit into my little Fiat 500 ... as of course we don't know when we will be allowed back onto the park ... Suky kept a beady eye on me from the doorway, while managing to soak up as many rays as she could while doing so.  She was determined, as the dogs always are, that I would not go without her!!

The motorways were quite busy as I left around lunchtime, but as I entered Wales and the M56 merged into the A55 the traffic got quieter and quieter and the roads cleared.  It was a quieter journey home than I have ever had, and as I came off the A55 and drove through Glan Conwy there wasn't another car to be seen.  It felt eerie, but with the sunshine and a few dog walkers here and there it was also strangely calming. 

Reasons to be thankful are on everyone's minds at the moment, and yes we have lots of reasons to be thankful here.  My first one is the glorious weather and seeing all the bedding blowing gently on the line.  My second is that this hen, looking rather poorly yesterday when I arrived home, has decided as chickens often do that sunshine makes everything worth living for and she is running around and back to normal today.

Watched over and kept company by her sister.  

They are little no-names known collectively with their other sister as 'the Brown Girls' but loved as much as any named chicken I have ever owned has been loved.  They are virtually in retirement now, with perhaps two or three  eggs a week laid between them.  It keeps Alan happy.

I was thankful yesterday to find these flowers in Tesco.

There were hundreds of bunches of Mother's Day flowers all being sold off at half price, and at the end of the aisle a few buckets of reduced to clear bouquets.  I picked this one for Alan, he loves bright garish colours totally opposite to the sort of flowers I love but I bought them for him and they are adding a splash of colour to the living room windowsill and drawing our eyes over to the views and the sunshine beyond.

At just £1 ... reduced from £20 to £10 and then down to £1 … they were worth every penny.

I think in the current climate every necessary trip to the supermarket will include alcohol and flowers!

I'm thankful also that merging the Van food with the home in Wales food, plus the few bits that I bought while I was at Tesco filling the car with fuel, has meant a fridge that is looking very healthy indeed.  

The only thing that will send us out on allowable trips for necessary supplies will be milk for Alan's drinks.  I use long-life Almond or Oat milks and not much of them at all, usually only on my Weetabix and a splash in sauces, and of course I can always make some of my own while I have the necessary ingredients.  And thanks to merging Van food with Wales food I currently have six cartons of unsweetened Almond Milk ... which at my usual rate of consumption is at least six weeks worth of milk.

So we should be fine for a couple of weeks at least and it makes me happy to think that we will not be adding any stress to this current situation.

So that's five things to be thankful for without even having to think about it - beautiful weather, washing drying in the fresh air, a healthy happy chicken, a jug of lovely flowers and a fridge full of food.

Life may be strange, but it is good.

Sue xx

I've decided to blog over on Challenging Myself as well during this worldwide challenging time.  Nip on over and follow along for anything foodie  😃

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Headed for Home

It's funny 'borrowing' one of your own photos from Google Images to use on a post, but that's just what I've done today, everything but my laptop and mouse is packed away ready to hit the road for home so my little computer memory box of photos is in the car and my laptop is devoid of all saved photos.

I thought it was time to heed Boris' warning and head for home.  Better for us to be together on 5 acres where we can exercise the dogs in our own paddock, than 120 miles apart, in different countries with different limitations and alone.

So I'm grabbing the Pug, finishing off loading the car and heading for the Welsh hills.  

See you on the other side.

Sue xx

Monday 23 March 2020

Flowers, Washing and Fresh Air

We've been blessed with a few gloriously sunny days here at the caravan park.  

The flowers are all looking glorious, blossom is appearing on trees and the birds are singing their little heads off each morning and evening … as well as some nest squabbles but we won't go into that!!

My £2.49 replanted pot of Primulas from Aldi are looking gorgeous and have been flowering away here for three weeks now.  Picking the spent flowers off as they go limp means they flower for a  l o n g  time.

The little Tete a Tete daffodils planted in the old bread bin are just starting to look a little tired, but their cheery yellow heads are still making me smile every time I walk back up to the Van.  Beneath them I can see the first stirrings of the Mint that is also planted in the bread bin, ready to come up in a couple of weeks.

The tulip bulbs that I planted in the little tin bath are looking so strong and chunky but with no sign of flower heads yet.  Once my Courgette seedlings come through in the polytunnel back home in Wales I will bring a couple of plants to add to this bath, maybe by then there will be a bit of colour in  here.  Although what colour I don't know as I can't find the label that went with the tulip bulbs!!  

The grass needs cutting again, and I'm hoping that it will stay dry until tomorrow so I can give it another cut without struggling too much.  The dogs really don't like this grass when it's even slightly long for some reason, I think perhaps the soil beneath it is just very cold and wet.

Today I'm taking advantage of the sunshine and getting a bit of handwashing dried.  A day in the sunshine means that by teatime when I bring it in it should be almost dry.  It takes a long time to drip dry indoors in the Van because it's only wrung out by hand, so a day when it can sit in the little garden is always a bonus worth snapping up.

There are lots of folks splitting their days into timetables and trying to keep themselves busy, I had an urge to do this .... but thank goodness it passed!!  Instead I have decided each day try to do four things, something productive, something in the fresh air, something cooked or made from scratch and something I love to do.

If I were to make myself a list each day then, this is what todays list would look like -

Productive - the washing.

Fresh Air - 2 doggy walks.

Something Cooked or Made from Scratch - a big batch of hummus to last me the week.

Something I Love - watch a film on DVD this afternoon.

Some days it could be four really good things, other days it could simply be - wake up, open a window, stick a potato in the microwave and watch television.  It doesn't really matter but I'm just trying to give myself a little bit of encouragement to do something.

Suky says -  Hello … and what would your four things be?

Productive / Fresh Air / Cooked or Made from Scratch / Something you Love

Sue xx