Countryside Tales

Grannies Little Adventure

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At 94 it is not as easy to do things you did when were 64. So anything you do is an adventure.

When we had a sunny day this week I summoned up my courage to go and sit in the garden, with the help of my trusty Zimmer frame and my daughter I managed to get over the step from the conservatory onto the patio. I have always preferred being outside rather than being stuck inside. But now at my age I spend most of my time confined to the bungalow as I am not able to get about as I did and certainly I am now no longer allowed to go anywhere without somebody with me as I have been known to topple over and everyone is afraid I will do it again – surprisingly I no longer bounce when I hit the deck.

I have always loved my garden and up until a couple of years ago managed to grow my vegetables and keep it reasonably up together. So it makes me very sad that I can no longer do it. A while ago they came and fitted grab handles in the doorway and railings so I can now get down the step and safely onto the lawn, so it takes me a long time just to get outside.

Once I had got onto the patio Zimmer trundled along to the steps down to the lawn but once on the lawn Zimmers wheels were reluctant to rotate. But I still managed to make it to the chair and had a lovely time enjoying the garden and the warm sunshine. My daughter does her best to keep the garden in check but its not the same as doing it yourself.

Time, Garden and My Week.

Here we are at the weekend again, where does time go? I am sure like me you can remember how time dragged at school and we were always told that as you get older everything speeds up, did we believe it? no we didn’t. I used to put it down to the fact I lived by my diary and in my business everything happened in six weekly chunks. But not now, I pack as much as I can into my week but there is always a little bit left over.

Now with the weather hopefully improving I can add the garden to my weekly duties but after being stung by a queen wasp this last week I don’t mind if I leave it all a bit longer. We have a very helpful neighbour but sadly he only does half the job so making more work. He had an idea we would like strawberry plants last year so he constructed a makeshift trestle in the fruit cage and planted strawberry plants in grow bags. He also planted veg seeds in the beds with no further activity, consequently we had only three strawberries (the rest went rotten) and the vegetables were strangled by weeds where they hadn’t dried up due to lack of water. My mother is no longer able to take part in the gardening process so its up to me to try and keep everything tidy. I mentioned if it were up to me I should probably cover the lot in gravel! Don’t get me wrong I love a garden and have always had one but not when you have a thousand and one other things more important as I do these days. Mother is telling me she wants to grow tomatoes again this year as she has always done so, she does not acknowledge the fact she not only unable to get down to the greenhouse but she has about one tomato a month due to her IBS and arthritis. We still have bags of them in the freezer from last year.

Yesterday saw me in Hampshire having lunch with a friend and then off to the crematorium to say goodbye to my second mum. She was a marvellous person a real mum always there with a kitchen full of good smells a spare bed and a comforting word. She had a passion for life and family and was an amazing vegetable gardener. There are few of her like still around and so it was so lovely to see the chapel overflowing with so many friends from times past. What a shame the vicar gave us a lecture, but it was cheered at the end with The Wurzels rendition of Combine Harvester.

So we head on catching up this weekend and getting ready for another week, lets hope this brings the builder to mend the hole in the roof, life can’t get better than that!




#blog What do you do at home?

A silly question you might think, but not in my case. I spend a greater part of my time camping at my mothers so I can care for her, and work nearby so that she doesn’t have to have strange carers. Not that she would pay for one anyway!
This means my own home which is some 70 miles away only gets an occasional visit. Recently when I had arranged to go home for a couple of days I was asked ‘you are having two days at home, what are you going to do?’ This question doesn’t surprise me as I was asked the very same question by a friend some months ago.
What does anyone do at home? For me there is the usual cleaning, cooking, laundry and meeting with friends, who I rarely see these days and of course I do have a small courtyard garden that never gets enough attention.
I also have an office there as well as one at my mothers. The former is filled with all my cd’s reference books and my better computer, not to mention all my files. Another ‘treat’ when I am home is the television, I record my favourite programmes so I can watch them uninterrupted whenever I like.
I don’t have children but I do have a dog and when I take her home we have lovely long walks up the Welsh mountain outside my backdoor. She doesn’t always come with me as she is great company for my mother and does a wonderful job as a substitute carer!
So like most people home is home and the same things have to happen.

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#blog of catchups at a snails pace

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Sometimes I liken myself to a snail. I am just about as speedy but get there in the end as long as someone doesn’t tread on me! Other times I pack my day without a minute to spare and get a similar result.

I have recently gone back to being a freelance secretary after a spell doing other things, which means a daily search for more work and driving around to different customers doing all the jobs they either don’t have time to do or don’t want to do. It can be interesting work and I am used to going into strange offices without any knowledge of their business or life (private secretarial work) as I have done a lot of temping in the past and worked in various places. I am hoping things grow a little more but not too much as I now find I don’t want to work ‘that’ hard for someone else.

I am looking forward to getting back to my writing and photography which is what I would really like to waste my time on, but having an aged mother it’s not always possible because of the interruptions. But determined I am.

My first mission in the next week is to book my trip to America to see friends who I have not seen in ages. I love America and used to travel there every year sometimes more than once. I am lucky to have good and longstanding friends so am able to call from the airport or turn up on their doorstep and not get turned away.

I have had some amusing trips through immigration especially with a name like mine and will blog them at another time as they make a good story.

I have been sorting out papers at my mothers and came across my old school books and looking at the one for composition (that’s what it used to be called) I see even at the age of ten I had good marks, the spelling was a bit off so nothing new there. But I thought it would be rather fun to rewrite some of the stories as the subjects look quite interesting.

Well, its Sunday so must do things like prepare a lunch. I hope you enjoy this read and come back another time. Thank you for being there.

An update on events #blog

I apologise for my tardiness in writing a regular blog but things have got in the way but now I am back and will bring you up to date on happenings.

I have over the last four years been caring for cancer patients on a private basis, but sadly they have now gone from this world and it has taken me a few weeks to put it behind me. It is always sad when someone you know loses the battle and even though it was a job you cannot help but get involved with their lives and families when you have to tend to their every need.

It also causes a break in employment and now I have crossed the age barrier it is not so easy to get employers to take an interest in you, but someone was smiling upon me and I now start a short contract in a couple of weeks until after Christmas. It’s connected to the medical side of things but not so hands on. I am looking forward to it but have a few things to attend to first.

As a judge of horses and ponies I have been unlucky with the weather so far this summer. I have been rained on quite heavily and had one of my shows cancelled, but I am off to Pembroke this week to judge and am saying my prayers that we have a dry day. The following week I go up to Chesterfield to stay with a dear friend and travel to Newark on two days to judge at the Ponies UK Championships. I remember a few years ago judging there when we had the most torrential rain and we were all up to our armpits in mud and the loos got flooded and we were lucky not to all get pneumonia. I have eight ‘o’ clock starts each morning and an evening performance so I shall be kept busy. It’s all run with military precision and every one is catered for with classes for everything several times over.

While being between jobs I have been able to spend some time at home in Wales where the dog and I have been taking to the mountain each day. The weather has been glorious and we have thoroughly enjoyed our hours out in Gods own country. Today was a bit special as we went to the very top of the mountain it is a long way up and one of us certainly felt the strain. The wild flowers are fabulous and the views unbelievable. Anyone who thinks South Wales is still coal mines and slag heaps should take themselves over the bridge and spend some time there.

I took many pictures and they can all be seen on my website which I have been working on as I have changed its name and completely relaunched it.


#Blog The blooming banks of the Rhondda Valley

Despite the rain I have had to sally forth with the dog for walks up the mountain.  But what you see when you get out the front door and round the corner makes it all worth while. Whilst it is now all incredibly green the banks and bushes are covered in flowers. Because we are not anywhere too  near industry or main roads the pollution levels are minimal. We also have no farming apart from the odd sheep hanging by its toenails so no sprays or fertilizers.

This morning the yellow broom cheered up the rather damp walk, there were yellow iris’s on the banks of the lake amongst the bullrushes. There was a lovely low growing bush with pretty white flowers and many wild flowers. The best sight of all was the profusion of wild orchids, they are so pretty and there seem to be many more each year.


#blog weekly roundup

This week has seen me laid low with a sinus infection. I don’t do illness so very tiresome. I have so much to do at home which I rarely see so a week at home should be a wonderful time for catching up.  Sadly I didn’t feel well enough to do anything until its now time to leave to go back to work.

Today is glorious here in Wales and really lifts the spirits. Instead of walking Bess round the lower lake and up on the mountain we got in the car and went to the upper lake.  Its quieter there and the setting is so tranquil. I have posted some pictures at the bottom of this post and there are a few pics on the bess blog of her enjoying the water in the stream. We have had a very wet week here so plenty of water flowing down from the mountains.

#blog update on the birds in our area.

Here we are nearing the latter part of February and apart from the odd bit of snow Spring is on the way. Today there was a definite change in the air and the birds have been very busy. The Red Kites have paired up and have started swooping around the wood where they make their nests. The rooks in the big trees behind the house have been giving the rookery a makeover and have been extremely noisy about it.

The birds are still eating greadily from the nut feeders and the biggest culprit is the spotted woodpecker, she arrives several times a day and fills up, we think its a female as we believe the male has a red spot on his head and this one doesn’t. We have clouds of fieldfares in the fields where the sheep where and on the edge of the wood the buzzard has been resting on the fence post watching the world go by.

Unusually we have two robins  I always thought they chased their relatives away but these two a real buddies! they come and pick up the stray nuts and crumbs dropped by the blue and coal tits and many chaffinches. There are many blackbirds in evidence and sparrows.

At nightfall the deer have been calling a very eerie sound if you are not used to it.

NEW #Blog Spaniel Puppies






I have been involved with dogs all my life, starting at 18 months old winning child and dog most alike, I was wearing a red romper suit my grandmother made and was showing a black peke called Wol. Sadly I am too young to remember the occasion but have a picture as proof. Mother tells me the judge was not surprised when she found out whose daughter I was because most other mothers would have put their daughter in a party frock!

I have since gone on and bred and shown many different breeds of dogs and I am probably best known for my Crumblecreek Border Terriers but have had others including my last dog who was a Standard Poodle. For the last few years work and living circumstances have meant that I could not have a dog as I was never at home, but after  several months of agonising I now think the time is right.

The kind of work I now do makes it possible and with a little alteration to my life I think it’s time to have a companion. Once I said I was thinking of having a puppy one or two new aunties appeared so I expect I shall manage. Having had show dogs I thought it time to have a working dog so I am decided on a working Springer Spaniel.

So finding an advertisement in a regional paper I set off today knowing what a good friend told me is very true “You don’t go and look at puppies, you go to buy a puppy”! I had asked around the people who I thought maybe would hear of something available but as nothing was forthcoming I took the plunge and went to someone I didn’t know.

I arrived at a farm on the Somerset levels to be shown a litter of very well reared healthy looking pups, having in my mind I wanted a bitch I was disappointed to find that the colouring I had wanted only came in Dog. Tonight I am tussling with myself as to which one to have as there are two possibles. It will be make your mind up Grayson come morning.

Watch this space…………………………………………..

# Blogging A Feathery update for Friday

I promised my faithful readers that I would update you on the bird life at my day job in Oxfordshire. The kite families did not appear much yesterday as we had torrential rain most of the day but in a short dry spell yesterday evening they came out for a swoop around.  We have two dead oak trees in the next door field and the kites use this as their lookout point. They looked extremely bedraggled there but still seemed to make a lot of noise.  If you have never been near a kite nesting site I can tell you they are extremely noisy. I have taken some pictures but have forgotten my cables etc to put them on the computer, I promise to put some on the site when I get home in a couple of weeks.

The swallows in the stables have fledged, this is the second family. This morning it was flying practice, so when I went in with the wheelbarrow they became quite flustered! I had forgotten something so went to get it, when I turned the corner on my way back the old grey event horse walked out the stable with a baby swallow perched on his withers, it was so funny, the poor little bird couldn’t understand why its world was moving. Naturally when I went to get the camera it flew away. ( I call myself a professional photographer!).

I have two extra dogs to look after on my stay this time, one is a very shaggy terrier and the other a springer spaniel, the latter has a terrific nose although she is not used for shooting.  I take them out into the orchard several times a day and she can always tell me where the birds nests are.  The robins I know are in the first bush and its her first port of call on her way from the kennel. I hope when I get my puppy she will have as good a nose but perhaps not quite so scatty.


#blog of birds (feathery ones).

Where I am working  in Oxfordshire at the moment we were saying how we hadn’t seen any Red Kites. Usually we have several families, they swoop around the paddocks and sit up in two dead trees in the big field calling. Last year I got some quite good photographs including a juvenile being fed in mid air. We thought as they are such pests they could have been culled! or may have moved on to better feeding grounds. Then in this last week they have emerged, swooping and calling with the youngsters being taught to fly. Obviously they had been sitting and rearing their young up in the tall trees we have around here. They are such majestic birds a real time waster when they are around.

There is also a buzzard that lives down the drive and he often is perched on the post  and rails when you drive down, he doesn’t seem to be shy as he takes his time to launch in the air.

When I took the dogs out this afternoon there were a pair of green Woodpeckers on the lawn, they obviously have young as one of them is a very good alarm clock yaffling outside my window at 6 a.m. Because we are surrounded by trees we have a large variety of birds, finches, tits, spotted woodpeckers as well as robins and wrens.

It is completely opposite from my own home where we have no songbirds as I live in back to back terraces and only have a small backyard. But just five minutes walk and you are at the lake in the country park with, ducks, geese, coots, moorhens and the odd heron.

I think we should all take note of our wonderful birds whatever types we have visiting us as there is nothing nicer than listening to a chorus of birdsong.