Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas Eve at Pengotton

Our house now has scaffolding! Building work starts on 4th Jan - we can't wait!

Cornish granite from Lankelly made into a bench with a view (shame about the fence - a job for next year)...

Every man must have his shed...

My gorgeous hubby in the woods on Christmas Eve. Glad to be home.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Christmas card

Here is a little Christmas virtual card video. Click on the link here:-

Have a wonderful Christmas x

Friday, 17 December 2010

Measuring up for a coffin, and leaving Wales...

Having made a small effort at starting 'Christmas', I am allowing myself the reward of writing a blog-post. This whole weekend we have been covered in big fat white powdery christmas snow.

We found a Christmas cake had been delivered overnight to our garden table:-

It can also be quite neighbourly. Our very-welsh neighbour Brynmor keeps clearing our drive - and we clear the pavement so we don't feel guilty that he's done it again. It was interesting to see Ian measuring up for a coffin.......not his I hasten to add, but our landlord is also a funeral director. He does about 2 funerals a week whatever the weather but so many of the local population live up long tracks and lanes they are inaccessible to anything but 4 wheel drive. Hence the measuring of Ians truck. I think he was secretly disappointed he couldn't help out, but the prospect of a coffin sticking out the back of a pick-up didn't seem quite right. A long-wheelbase landrover was found to do the job instead.

Needless to say Ashfield is frozen up - no volunteers, no staff and no work. We cleared the polytunnels of snow this morning to stop the plastic ripping and made sure the heating is still on for the pipes and wet floors. It is truly winter at Ashfield in every sense. It's not a good time of year for a horticultural project anyway, and a lot of the renovation work is still in progress so there are limits on what events can be planned. Ian feels he has contributed all he can at this stage, and with our house project in Somerset getting underway, our time should be spent elsewhere. So it's back to packing and trying to plan the next step day by day. We return to Somerset sometime in Jan or Feb instead of staying till June.

How do we feel about leaving?'s mixed. I could happily live here if it wasn't for having a life elsewhere. Yesterday we were invited for tea by a lovely family from our church, so I feel a little sad at interrupting new friendships before they've hardly begun. Ashfield itself has so much potential - I loved the Apple Day and working in a community group, and the vision for an Art Room will have to be laid down for the time being. On the flip side, we can't wait to get our house going at Pengotton and reconnect a bit with Taunton life. Perhaps we could bring something of Ashfield back with us?

Thursday, 16 December 2010

small furry creatures

Today when getting back to the house i was greeted by a small black furry creature flying madly around the kitchen in circles. A bat! After ducking several times and crawling along the floor to open the door without being hit, I have decided they're quite cute - which is a good thing bearing in mind there are a large number living in our attic. We have been leaving the loft hatch open to stop the pipes freezing during the cold weather so i can only think it decided to take a different route out.

Here it is.... if anyone knows what variety it is do let us know. (If you have a bat-phobia look away now)

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Hooray - a finished Nuffield Report

I am very pleased to say Ian has finished his Nuffield report. Here it is:-

For the uninitiated it's about travelling round the world, realising the world is going to run out of food, and discovering algae - the new super-food. He is a non-exec director for a company called Exalga, who grow algae, primarily for the fish-food market but it also goes into soaps, health food products and animal feed.

Roadkill Cafe, Wales

Well - I've made it back to Newbridge plus dog, to be greeted by the smell of dinner cooking. Mmmm, it smells just chicken, definitely not pork - but it's white so perhaps goat? or turkey? Well it turns out Ian didn't have time to go shopping but what a stroke of luck he passed a run-down pheasant on the road to Llandovery yesterday. Oh the joy of having a husband who can cook. I knew we should never have gone to Arizona to the Roadkill Cafe - they really do trade in dead meat scraped off the blistering tarmac.

And yes, sometimes he really CAN cook - fabulously. But today was more on a par with the most disgusting dessert ever made - here it is - powdered banana flavoured diet moussy thing with out-of-date dried banana chips that later got sold to Paignton Zoo for the chimps. Yep, definitely not 10 out of 10 for that one, but it didn't put me off taking the risk to my health of marrying him.

Anyway, full marks for creativity, ingenuity, cost cutting, eating local, fairly traded, low carbon food. Shame about the mental image I now have of Ian stopping the car, picking up the dead and allegedly warm animal, slicing off its breasts and lovingly preparing it for my return. I think that means he loves me.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Minus 13 again... let me out!

We woke up this morning to a frosted white minus 13 world again. Every twig and leaf is encrusted with crystals. The snow has an icy crust over the top that you break with a loud crunch every time you take a step, the river is moving only under its frozen surface and the blue sky is the only colour in sight.

We can see Lan Ganol, above, our own version of 'sugarloaf' mountain, from our bedroom window if you lean out and peer round to the right. For all the beauty I am a little tired of being stuck here with my car iced up day after day, wearing two pairs of socks and wellies every time i go out. Cars are parked randomly at road junctions while their occupants walk miles down frozen lanes from their houses to their cars to get to work. Now we understand why there are so many landrovers in this part of the world and i am grateful for ians gas-guzzling truck. Still, the forecast is for warmer weather by the end of the week.... by which time we'll be back down south in the relative warmth of Somerset....not that it's warm anywhere at the moment.

Monday, 6 December 2010

A new week...

Back at Ashfield today. Temperatures are still below zero, but the boiler there is fixed - and the place needs sorting. We called in one night to check on it and to our dismay found water gushing out all over the floor through the whole building. So Ian's job today will be moving desks and taking up carpets. I'm so glad that didn't happen at home.

My jobs today are drawing plans for a neighbours barn conversion, putting up posters for the oil painting course, and cleaning the church (i'm on the rota). Our church is great - it's a little Assemblies of God in Llandrindod called New Life. They are so warm and friendly and have made a very big difference to how we feel about being here. They are also great worshippers and reach out to the community including those struggling with things like drugs and alcohol. It's a very comfortable place to be, and we are grateful to God for leading us here through contacts in Taunton and Llandod.
Enough procrastinating. It's time to stop distracting myself with other activities and sit down with those plans....

Sunday, 5 December 2010

More snow pics....

On top of Lan Ganol, our very own 'sugarloaf' mountain near our house
Even Barney likes the view

Ian defying gravity
at the trig point at 430m above sea level, Craig Chwefri
The sky went this lovely pink colour after the sun went down
The quick way back down!