Friday 28 August 2020

John Gray - Influencer

So I read John Gray's blog post the other day, the one called  Guilty Pleasures  all about him going wild in the centre aisles in his local Aldi ... and then I made the mistake of going shopping, yes you've guessed it to Aldi 🤣🤣

There really was a plethora of new and varied goodies.  All sorts actually, there was a real mixture of random stuff not just the usual gardening, summer sports or DIY type linked specials.  I quickly spotted the pencils that John Gray bought and then I spied the notebooks 'ooh he didn't mention those' I said out loud to myself, it's okay no one can hear you chatting away to yourself when you're wearing a mask ... well that's what I tell myself these days!!

In this little stationery section there was also the cardboard tube ...

... with it's contents.

All these items were just £1.99 each, and although I didn't really need them, you all know that stationery is one of my few weak spots and they will come in handy one day.  So they all made it into my trolley.

I spotted John's little glow in the dark squidgy nightlight thingy, and although I loved it and it's little assorted friends I couldn't justify a splurge on one of them.  But then I spotted a brilliant deal on Aveeno hand creams and body lotion and treated myself to some of these.  At just £3.49 for the body lotion and just £2.99 for the hand-creams they really were a bargain worth having. 

You never know what you are going to find on the centre aisles so it's always worth a look, and when the rain is thundering down outside and people are running past the shop windows looking like drowned rats, there is really no need to rush through the shopping.

So John Gray as well as being a brilliant blogger and a newish YouTuber, can now officially class himself as an up and coming Influencer 😃

Sue xx

Thursday 27 August 2020

The River Has Risen ... Again

So the rains came down thanks to storm Francis and once again the river level went shooting up.

This morning the guy from Network Rail was there photographing the bridge and checking facts and figures against some documents in his hand.  A bridge has to be safe when it carries the main line from Preston, with goods and passenger trains passing every few minutes.

It's funny but living here it doesn't take very long for you to completely zone out the sound of the trains, I had to purposely stop and listen to see if any trains were actually using the line ... they are.

Yesterday the field opposite was also under water, but now the river is back inside the riverbank, even if it is pretty near the top and flowing very fast.

The area where there is usually a good sized pebble 'beach' is completely submerged, and Suky was quite dismayed to see the path stopped so abruptly.

Further along the adult ducks were all mooching about in one of the little fishing areas near the waters edge.  

The Mummy duck with her two week-old babies was nowhere to be seen, but I know she was safe last night as I saw her settling her babies into the bushes away from the edge of the river.  Their little legs could just not cope with the fast moving water at the moment, but they are good for carrying them along the grass looking for titbits.

While I photographed ducks, Suky had a good sniff around, everything must smell so fresh to her after all that rain.

'Are we going now Mum?'

We had a nice walk along the river and then it was home to get the soaking washing out of the sink and hung on the outdoor airer.  Fingers crossed the rain stays away today, it's looking hopeful.

Sue xx

Tuesday 25 August 2020

Why We Are Friends

When I get into my darker days I wallow for a while ... there's no shame in a bit of a wallow, don't let anyone tell you otherwise ... and then start to sort out for my own peace of mind how I got there, why I got there and what I could do to stop me going there again.

It doesn't always work, nothing is perfect but understanding yourself thoroughly is better than tootling through life like a one eyed, one wheeled minion. 

I realise that this time I simply need to slow myself down.  I was rushing to someone else's timetable, and that is virtually always a recipe for disaster.

I want to be invigorated ... but I want to go slow.

If other people find the rushing to accomplish things invigorating then fine, I have absolutely no objection with that ... although I will look on in amazement and think they are mad.  Indeed not so many years ago I was like that too, but now I have changed.  

And the change feels good.

I simply need to embrace that change once and for all and stop being torn between two worlds.

"What did you do today?"  Is a question I am frequently being asked.

"I did nothing" ... will be my new reply.

The reality will most likely be: walked the dog, did the washing, hoovered the floors, got some shopping ... built a tower of stones.  But who actually needs to know that.  If saying I did nothing calms my mind, soothes my soul and lets me not dwell on  the minutiae of day to day living then 'I did nothing' sounds good to me.

Thank you for all your comments yesterday ... now I know why we are friends 💖

Sue xx

Monday 24 August 2020

Completely Out of Sorts

I have been having a bad few days.  

Yes I know myself that these too will pass, indeed I am already coming out the other side.  But walking the Black Dog as well as the Pug is tiring, demoralising and just plain shite.

I can't talk to the one person I would love to talk to about it as he has absolutely no comprehension of depression.  It's all in your head  he says ... YES, I FUCKING WELL KNOW IT IS I retort.

Marriages can't survive this, lives barely can at times.

But it has, they have.  Hey ho the sun is shining!!

Things being up in the air with selling in Wales hasn't helped.  Alan working all the hours under the sun and then visiting the Van only to do more work, sleep and needing to be fed hasn't helped. 

I am one for action, for doing, for accomplishing things quickly.  

Decisions and action in my world have to be close bedfellows.  Talking, planning, setting off, doing a bit and stalling are the absolute opposite.  I need to pack a bag and vanish and come back when everything is done and dusted ... oh if only life was that simple.

There I've whinged at you all.  There's no sympathy required in the comments or messages telling me to pull up my big girls pants and just get on with it.  I know all that,  you'll only get my back up... 


Sue xx

Friday 21 August 2020

Here and There

Once again I am back in my Happy Place, and I should be for  at least the next couple of weeks unless something else crops up.  Suky is snoring away in her little living room bed as I type ... gosh she can snore!!

I spent most of last week having a bit of a tidy up at home in Wales and cleaning the inside of all the house windows to keep everything shipshape for viewings.   It's no good having views to die for unless you can actually see them properly!!

The land and garden has gotten away with us a bit over the last month or so, it really is too much to manage unless there are two people working on it every day of the week, so we are getting a gardener in for a couple of days work to bring calm to the chaos ready for the next round of viewings, and for our own sanity.  He came at the start of year just as we put the house on the market so he knows what to expect.

We had what could be a successful viewing earlier today with a couple from Suffolk looking around the property.  Seemingly they have a son who is a carpenter and they said he would love the fully set up woodworking workshop.  So they filmed it all to show him ... we have our fingers firmly crossed.  As a back up we have another viewing booked in for September by a guy in Surrey, at last a bit more interest.  It seems there are a lot of people from Southern England that are interested in a new life in Wales, as our last set of viewers were living down South too.

Our fingers are crossed, very firmly crossed.

Have a good weekend everyone 💚

Sue xx

Wednesday 19 August 2020

Moving to Sark?

Blogging buddy Tania left a comment on one of my posts the other day: 

' I thought of you the other day when I read an article about Sark and how they're trying to grow the population there. 🤣👍 '

 I wonder if she realised she would really get me thinking!!

She knows how much I, we, both love Sark.  Was it really way back in October last year that we spent the week there, it doesn't seem so long ago and yet ... well time is acting very strangely this year.

Anyway I did a bit of Googling and found THIS and then THIS.

I remembered this.

The wonderful trees that grow with the wind on the exposed hillsides.

And we both got to talking.

Alan loved the idea of how simple business paperwork would be ... no VAT, no income tax, an annual two minute tax declaration .... oh there's so much in it's favour. 

Of course the main factor for me would be the simplicity of life.

But you can't have your cake and eat it, I would miss so much too.

But ... and here's the thing ... we neither of us have said an outright no!!

There, did that surprise you Tania ... or did you realise you were planting a seed?  🤣🤣

Sue xx

Tuesday 18 August 2020

Saturday 15 August 2020

Renovating the Little Green Chest

I was asked about the little green chest that I have just renovated, so here it is.

I was a bad blogger and totally forgot to get a 'Before' photo, but I remembered just in time to take a interior shot so you could sort of see what the original colour of the wood was.  This photo shows the grey of the undercoat, I had just enough in old tin to do all of the chest.

The outside was a deep mahogany colour, just like the inside of the lid, but it didn't look nice, it just looked old and cheap.  This photo was taken just as I was starting the first coat of the green paint.

I originally got this as a swap when Alan decided he didn't want his butchers block anymore, it was taking up too much room in the Man Cave and was far too heavy to move around.  We tried to sell it on Facebook Market place but there was no interest, so we went back to the Old Auction Rooms where we had bought it from originally and asked the lovely guy there if he would do a swap for something else ... and he said yes.  We chose a little cast iron bedroom fireplace and this old blanket box.  We were going to put the fireplace in the spare room but the photos for the sale of the house were taken before we installed it, so we decided to sell it instead and made an easy £55.

Anyway after it sitting in Alan's Man Cave for over a year I finally set to and started it's renovation.  Lots of sanding and then three coats of a paint, one undercoat in grey and two coats of the green paint that we have had since we lived at Jointers Farm, and the chest was starting to look as I had envisioned.

I don't know why but I didn't just want to paint the inside, so I decided to line it with fabric instead.  The bottom had three of the four screws that hold the legs on sticking up in the corners, and being so old and totally rusted up I couldn't screw them in any further or or get them out, so I had to find a solution or risk hurting myself if I forgot they were there.

Then an Amazon delivery arrived and in it some padded foam rectangles ... fate!!

They were quickly cut to size and I could get on with the lining.

The material is the king-size bed 'foot runner' that came on the Van bed when we bought it, and matches the bedroom curtains there.  I had brought it home to turn it into a cushion cover, but that had never happened and then I thought it looked pretty good against the soft green of the blanket box.  

Unfortunately, there was not enough to do the sides, base and  lid, so I decided to do the base rather than the lid with the fabric.  I have no plan for lining the lid yet ... something will happen at the right time, it usually does  😃

To attach the fabric I totally cheated and bought a can of spray glue from Amazon and it was all cut to size and stuck in place before I knew it.

It spent a long time balanced on a cardboard box while I gave it the three coats of paint it took to perfectly cover the dark brown.

But I love how it turned out and I love the soft green.

And I also love that somehow it reminds me of a friendly little alien face.

I'm not completely sure of it final purpose yet, but in the back of my mind it may be used to store my Christmas decorations and have my small television and DVD player stood on top in my new home.  Perhaps in the spare bedroom if I have one, so I can  have it permanently set up to play my exercise DVDs, and then only have to lift the tv and player off twice a year to get decorations out and then put them away again.

Sue xx

Thursday 13 August 2020

So What's My Style ... and House News

I've been asked a few times about my style and what sort of things I prefer around me.  I seem to veer from wanting my 'things' around me and wanting clean lines and empty, but not sparse space ... does that even make any sense!!  

I like rustic, I like green, I like simplicity and nature, and I think left entirely to my own devices I am a good mix of the clean lines and 'things'.

My style shows most, and is pictorially illustrated in the things I own that will be coming with me to my next home.  In the top photo it's the row of simple hooks, just a scrap of wood from Alan's mancave and three hooks we bought on a weekend away on Anglesey, it's my Nana's old mirror and it's the little blanket box that I have just renovated.

The bed will be coming, I prefer double to king-sized any day ... but it will probably be painted.  I have owned this since I bought my first house after divorcing from my first husband and it's moved with me five times up to now.  

The green chair, and it's almost matching counterparts downstairs, which were my Nana's wedding present off her Mum will of course come, as will the bench on the left of the photo that was used a shop display area in my little Lavender shop in Ulverston.

Talking of ex-shop displays, the bookcase will of course be coming and all the books on it ... my most favourite books of all.

Also downstairs there is the Welsh Bread and Cheese Cupboard ... which will  most likely come with me.  I am not so attached to it that if the future buyers of our house wanted it I couldn't bear to part with it.  It does look good in the garden room with the almost matching table, shelves and mirror sconce, so if they like the look they can have it.

I guess my car boot sale finds of Sunday morning shout out my style.  I love paisley and ethnic colours and prints, and I'm not averse to mixing them with an almost Orla Kiely style cushion.  The white and wood of the picture frame as well as being a great match for the Van is simple and soothing to the eyes.

The little oak table sums my style up to a T.

Simple lines, old and well loved with a story to tell, well made and useful in a myriad of places.

I have never really deviated from my style, and the things that I've picked up over the years that work well get kept and I look after what I own so things tend to last and last and last.  I don't rebuy to suit a space, I will repaint something to help it fit in or use something slightly differently but my stuff is what makes my home.  This photo sums up that so perfectly, it's taken from a very old blog post on Our New Life in the Country.  We had moved from a 18th century renovated farmhouse to this 1930's bungalow on its last legs, and our things came with us ... some were adapted and some simply left as they were.

Looking at this photo we still own everything except the sofa and the chubby jug on the top of the bookshelves  The mirror was repainted, possibly it's fourth coat of paint and is on the landing back in Wales, the little chair is currently in the shed but will come with me, the wire heart basket is here at the Van on  the trellis in my little garden and is filled with little terracotta plant pots.  Even the waste bin is still in use and is back in the office at Isfryn, usually full of sensitive documents waiting to be burnt.

The heavy lined curtains had been bought for the farmhouse to keep out draughts from the old front door, they were tacked up to a new length for this window after we moved.  They are currently packed away ready to come with me to my next place, having been taken down so that in Wales once again all the curtains upstairs are matching and can be sold along with the house, but for the past few years they have been in the spare bedroom there.

So what's my style, it's fluid within boundaries, it's simplicity and history ... and it's slow.  No fast fashion in clothes or furniture or stuff.  To quote a famous Mr Morris:- 

 'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful'.

That is my style.

Sue xx

*** *** *** *** ***

House News

The house is still on the market and now we have a For Sale board stood proudly by the front drive announcing this to the world.  The viewers from last week, a lovely couple from Hertford (but originally from Llandudno), although loving everything about the house, what we have done to it and it's potential, just wanted more land.

It seems sadly that we are too big for some and too small for others.

There is someone out there, and we just have to bide our time.  Although Alan was totally gutted at first as he was convinced they wanted it, he is getting over the disappointment and we are going to continue to look after things until the right people come along.

We are also now advertised on Greenshifters, which is the online smallholding sales site that we bought the house off seven years ago.

*** *** *** *** ***

Wednesday 12 August 2020

My Mind is Blank

Today my mind is blank and I really didn't know what I wanted to post about.  So I looked at my photo file and picked out the most recent to put on here.  

Hopefully, I thought ... this will start me off rambling in my usual fashion  😄

Top photo the riverbank last night.  

The water is still high after the night long thunderstorm of Monday night, we had sheet lightening and rolling thunder directly overhead for hours and torrential rains that beat down on the Van roof like a hundred or more tapdancing clog-wearing garden gnomes.  

The heat of the last few days has meant that Suky's doggy walks have been very early and very late and it has totally thrown any minor routine I had in place ... I've not even been wearing my watch. 

The little entertainment area of the caravan park.  

This is a small park but we do have an outdoor heated swimming and paddling pool (it's just beyond the cream colour Mini and the gazebo like structure).  There are strict social distancing rules in operation at the moment, but it is now open again.  

The building to the front of the red car is the clubhouse.  It has three bars, the main entertainment room that hosts bingo on a Friday and Saturday night and usually when we are not under Covid-19 rules there is entertainment on these nights. The actual bar itself is partly double sided and at the other side there is a much smaller seating area with a widescreen television.  T this is where sports lovers congregate to sup their pints and watch whatever big match, tournament or game is being shown on the Sky Sports channel.  Next to this is a room with a pool table, and a few other gaming machines used mostly by children while their parents are in one bar or another.

Finally, upstairs there is the Riverview Bar, an adults only area with a full sized snooker table and darts board at one end and comfy seating with yes, river views at the other.  This bar holds an Open Mic session once a month usually with people coming from the neighbouring towns with their guitars, keyboards and voices to entertain each other.

Back in front of my Van I have offered my just read Country Living magazine to anyone passing by that would like it.  

It seems so wrong to throw away or even just recycle a magazine that cost me so much.  Does anyone else occasionally fall for the glorious covers of this type of magazine and just have to buy it?  It was a good read ... but wow how much more stuff I could have bought at the car boot sale with £4.99

I try my best not to be tempted ... but sometimes you just are aren't you!!

Mint growing in the bread bin at the front of the decking steps.

It's recovered well after the scorching and dryness it withstood when we were in Lockdown at home in Wales and the Van and it's garden had to fend for itself.

My cool reading area for later.  

There's a smidge of a breeze here today which is very welcome after the still, stifling heat of yesterday.

The indoor plants having a day out in the cool of the shade stood the nicely soaked little tin-bath.  

I cut the grass first thing this morning with the little push mower.  I was too hot to struggle out with the electric one or to do any sort of exercise workout ... so this was a good alternative.

This mornings washing under the shade of the umbrella, but the intense heat of the day is still drying everything nicely.

You know my mind is still blank, it must be the heat but the photos gave me something to waffle on about.  Normal service will be resumed ... probably, possibly, hopefully, eventually!!

Sue xx