Sunday, 30 November 2008


I stopped doing the 3 Beautiful Things exercise some time ago. I think I will revisit it sometimes:

Macaroni cheese cooked by Simon

Being on the beach at Trebarwith Strand and meeting lots of dogs and their people. There is no better way to get chatting to other people than via your dog sniffing their dog's bottom, or their dog stealing your dog's ball.

Facebook - witty little comments, re-making contact with people I had nearly forgotten, links to other things. OK, OK, Wordscraper Blitz, a scrabble type game, in which you play against yourself, but it is timed and others are also playing and the person with the higest score wins. Very addictive.

Saturday, 29 November 2008


Maybe our dogs are not so clever, or they think we are not.

During the few days of summer we had this year, and in past years to a greater degree, we enjoy taking our food outside to eat whenever possible. The dogs love to come with us. As they cannot be near us indoors when we eat in the kitchen or dining room, being around us and hoping for morsels to 'accidentally' drop on the patio holds great interest for them, so they leap up and down and wait for us to open the gates etc.

Today, we decided to eat crumpets and cake in our little annexe, where we sleep and where we have a wood burning stove alight much of the time. We have never done this before. The route to the annexe is via the back door, as the route to the garden is, and the dogs jumped up and down for the gate to the garden to be opened. They were of the opinion that, as we were carrying food and drink, we must be going to eat outside!

This all comes down to the conditioning that Pavlov discovered in some cruel experiments he conducted whereby dogs learn to salivate on the cue of food and act accordingly. Or does it just come down to us having very silly dogs, who expect us to eat outside in the cold in winter? I wonder if they will latch on the next time we take food out of the back door!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Shopping in Truro

We ventured to the vast metropolis of Truro, for a spot of Christmas shopping today. It was fairly quiet, pleasant and we had several food and drink breaks. What I noticed however, was how out of touch with fashions I have become and what a country cousin I now am! I haven't worn a skirt for months, it never crosses my mind to do so even! Yet, here were all these women wearing skirts with lovely boots and looking generally great. I bought some make-up for someone for Christmas, and it was extortionately expensive. I began to understand why, on Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 yesterday, someone rang in to say that the new 45% tax threshold of £150,000 'wasn't much at all, and barely enough to get onto the property ladder', which I had previously considered a preposterous statement.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Searching for ancient woodlands

We have come to realise that it is fun to search for ancient woodlands. There are books describing where to find them, and it entails visiting all sorts of places we would probably not otherwise see. We went to three woods on our recent holiday in Shropshire, some on the well trodden route at Croft Castle, but we did not find the really ancient ones here, then we visited Shrawley woods, much of which seemed to be behind fences saying 'Keep out'. The woods were of small leafed lime trees and were right beside us for a long while. The final woods we tried to visit, but did not really see properly, due to failing light, were at Lords Hill near Snailbeach, where there is a stand of ancient holly. To find this we had to cross the Long Mynd, quite a hairy car ride. Then the road went down a lane so small it had grass growing along it's length and there were two closed gates along the way! I found this quite daunting, and might have chosen to turn round, but when we found someone opening and closing the gates and going through as though it was all quite normal, we followed suit. All these visits were just tasters, and much more time could be spent at each of them, as well as exploring many other sites, we have many holidays of searching ahead I hope...

Shrawley Woods, small leafed lime trees

Lords Hill Snailbeach, - hollies

Croft Castle - collection of ancient trees

Pretty pictures from our holiday in Shropshire


Fabulous autumn colour

Those dogs have to sniff their way into as many pictures as possible. This is mainly of an amazing tree we found when we were looking at a small leafed lime tree woodland, this is not a lime tree!

Wigmore Castle

Ho hum, Leonard Cohen has become a ghost with three heads. My photos were truly awful, but there are plenty of excellent snippets on YouTube

the view from the kitchen window at The Shear

Resting at the cottage we rented in Shropshire - we all did lots of that

Credit crunch - well there's nothing else to eat.

The table is bare.

I never have any money in the winter, that is the nature of the role I have chosen, and I am beginning to accept it and I have discovered some great charity shops and have more clothes than ever. We just about get by, Simon's work is less seasonal, luckily. Having little money leads to creativity, well I am hoping it will. Somehow, though, it feels more acceptable not to have any money this winter, what with the credit crunch, and everyone having similar problems. I might not have even felt comfortable mentioning my penny pinching ways this time last year, so the financial crisis has done some good, even if just for greater openness by myself. Blogging and Facebook are free.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Leonard Cohen

the version we heard at the concert at Cardiff was even more magical than this, but the You Tube recordings on people's mobile phones do not do it justice!

Absolutely magical, exquisite, a term I do not use often, or lightly.