Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Family life - here, and above and below stairs.

Today has been a family day.
How nice.
This morning, Bill's sister Julie came round.
And then this afternoon cousin Ann and her son Andrew came round.
Ann had been to see the lymphodema nurse based at The Hospice. The answer to her severely swollen arm could be not to cut the entire hedge in one go!
She has to remember her age (82) and that her lymph glands were removed at the time of the mastectomy.

We have also made arrangements now to take Ann and one of her sisters to the funeral of cousin Daphne on Tuesday - I am glad that some of Daphne's cousins will be there.

It does mean that yet again I have had little time to be in contact with Jamie and family - sorry 4 Js. We still love you and haven't forgotten you.

This afternoon I tried my new EBay system - I described 4 things ready for after the Kentish holiday. The more I think about what EBay have done, the crosser I get. Ashley and I have worked out that the new rules will probably boost EBay profits by about 3 million pounds!
I won't bother to explain - just know that EBay is not very interested in the little people who helped them get established.
He wonders if he will bother to continue.
I guess I will because it is a background basic little income which I like to feel pays for some of our leisure activities.

Another family has been on my mind today.
That is the Pennant family who lived at Penrhyn Castle.
Penrhyn castle is a National Trust property where photography is not permitted inside - but Bill managed one or two. And then once we were below stairs nobody seemed to bother about that rule.

The first 2 pictures were taken from within a corridor.
Nobody was about.

I think the first one that Bill took is just superb.

The grand dining hall was set for a banquet. This picture is from a postcard.

The family had a small, more humble, breakfast room for simple meals.
Bill decided that it looked more authentic in black and white.

There was a little maze of rooms below stairs. This one seemed part of the laundry with flat irons out, ready for use.

The kitchen was large and airy.
There was a delicious smell coming from a pan on the range. "Cook" had lemon, cinnamon and cloves simmering; this was just as it would have been in earlier times to keep the room smelling sweet and fresh. I must start doing it myself at home.

"Cook" was a volunteer worker at the Castle, just as all the others who stand about in rooms with information and a watchful eye for the visitors.
But in the kitchen she used her time to make things happen.

On the day we were there, she had her grand daughter, Annabel with her.
We walked in at just the right moment - as she got out bundles of herbs for Annabel to make pot pourri. Ekatarina was invited to join in.

The girls each had a pestle and mortar to crush the thyme and other herbs in the bundle and could add dill seeds, caraway seeds and bits of cinnamon.

I now have the pot pourri in a pestle and mortar in my kitchen. I can go and pound the herbs a little more and release a beautiful herby aroma. Thank you Ecky!
I have done the blog early today.
I feel a bit low. The tooth I broke yesterday is making my tongue feel like it is being ripped to shreds; I know, considerable exaggeration!
But a sore tongue is making my throat feel sore and my head ache.
I shall actually be very happy to get into the dentist's chair tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Autumn cleaning and Penrhyn castle

I had a good night's sleep - 9 hours of it.
I needed it! Last evening I had one of those times when tiredness makes me feel ill.
It has been lovely weather today - enough to stir one into action.
There was action today in the bedroom!
It needed dusting and cleaning badly - now that makes it seem like it is a room of squalor and mess, such as one might see in the TV programme "How Clean is Your House?"
I assure you it is nothing like that.
You do have to look specially to see the dust - but oh dear, when you do look, the dust seems rather thick!
Some people have asked how we keep everything dusted - we do have shelves full of all sorts of interesting things. The answer to the question is that we don't dust very often and when we do it feels very satisfying.
Perhaps I'll photograph some of the shelves in the next few days.
I also had a jumper drawer to sort out - and to discard items that I didn't think I would choose to wear very much again. Perhaps I did it too rapidly - a few that I actually like are already in the charity shop.
Never mind the drawer is full of new clothing.
This afternoon after taking lots to the charity shop we popped into Asda. Hooray! The expensive cat food that we get for Frieda to feed to George and Harry was on special offer. So we have enough food now for most of October.
Finally I sorted out the last of my Welsh photos. Bill keeps asking for them so that he can think about printing.
And I have some more for the blog.
I have split Penrhyn Castle into 2 sections - some today and some tomorrow.
Today we have pictures taken outside.
Penrhyn Castle can look dark and forbidding - we have seen it many times for it is almost in Bangor. It looks Norman or Medieval but is less than 200 years old. It was the family home of the Pennants.
Queen Victoria visited - and refused to use the large slate bed they had made specially for her.
Inside it is spacious of course, but also intimate, as homes should be.
The grounds are extensive and in the stable block are some special exhibitions - steam locomotives, dolls, slavery, photography etc.

This is a post card. Not at all dark and gloomy in late afternoon sunshine.

This is a view from the castle grounds towards the mountains.

Looking along the north wales coast to Llandudno (Clan did no - sort of)

The main doorway.
Do you see the carvings round the door - lots of funny little men. These heads are everywhere - inside and out. I loved to see them and notice how each one was different.

This is a post card of one of them.

Close up of doorway arch.

A couple of steam locos amongst lots of other bits and pieces.
I should have photographed dolls - I know Ekatarina did.

Virginia creeper round the tower.

Lily pond in the walled garden.

Ekatarina and I take a rest - both in black white and grey!

In the bog garden.

Little summer house in the bog garden.
Tomorrow there can be some pictures taken within the building - including some of Ecky making pot pourri.
Now time for a drink and my date with the choir master - on TV.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Busy little pilgrims

Seven days - a week in fact, have passed since I last wrote about being in the shop.
How can so many days have passed in the blink of an eye?

In many ways we are fortunate that Mondays are busy - better than sitting around waiting for customers, but it can be hard work and we don't get things done that we plan to do.

There was the lady dealer from Belgium - en route back to Dover to catch her boat. She was hard work. She wanted to buy a little tie pin with a scarab, priced at £68......... but was it set in real gold? How would I know! Sometimes very small objects, like this little pin are not hallmarked. But the Jill, the seller, had priced it as if it was gold. I was pretty certain it was gold and I think the customer was too. Perhaps she was trying to be clever and trying to get me to reduce the price a lot because I couldn't guarantee. I made phone calls to others - unable to find Jill at home, to get advice. Finally she accepted a price of £55 and the little scarab tie pin is probably now in Belgium.
On a different level I spent a while playing "Walky round the garden" with Holly in her push chair, whilst Mum and Dad browsed.
The man with no short term memory was back. I just had to explain that on this day I didn't have the time to walk round with him because there were lots of customers..
Today his personal hygiene was very much in doubt - it was so bad, that one customer hurried to the door with her hand over her nose and mouth!
Last week a smart, slim attractive woman asked about 1950s fish ornaments - made from multicoloured glass. I told her about a big one I had at home. Fortunately I remembered to take it with me - along with a smaller one I found I still had. The smaller one was bought in from a caller in Rocking Horse - so I've had it a good while. I had reduced it in price before that shop closed. Today it had its original price on - and went off with the happy attractive lady.
And so it went on.
Julie went to Waitrose to do some shopping and came back well over an hour later (maybe 2 hours) having enjoyed coffee and cake with a friend in another shop; and no - she didn't want the cup of tea she had asked me to make before she went out.
Monika has been worried about money again. Her car caused her much grief yesterday and it probably needs a new clutch. That will be expensive - fortunately she sold a table today. But that money was burning a hole in her pocket - all she really wanted to do was go to the antiques fair at Kempton tomorrow and spend it. She was cross that she had no car to get there - somehow she would have to find a way. Then there will be no money to pay for the car repairs!

So Bill and I worked - and enjoyed it. But we are tired tonight.
I shall sort out a few more Welsh pictures for the blog tomorrow.

Right - time to unwind and get ready for bed. Goodnight.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


My grand daughter, the fashion model.

We were late to bed last night - a party night.
This was a joint party for Jo's 70th and her daughter, Bridget's 50th.
There were lots of people - some whom we knew from Rocking Horse and Turners Hill days.
Conversation was bit difficult - but it was lovely to see them again.
Bridget had arranged an R & B band to perform. They were very good, but they were very loud!
My voice does not shout well!
I might have wanted to dance (Bill wouldn't!) but sadly I was afflicted with the old gipping flut.
My fault!

Jo's family is lovely. I was very happy to be a a part of their party.
I think there will be some sore heads today!
Bill is sorting photos right now. I shall blog some tomorrow; though he keeps grumbling that the quality is not good - the lighting was dark and he wasn't going to ask people to waste their fun time posing specially; so they had often moved before the photo was actually taken.
I am sure that I (and Jo) will pleased enough with them.

This morning we opted for a bit of Sunday morning lie in. We went to a later car boot sale, arriving just before half past nine.
The sun was wonderful and it felt good to be strolling around.
I bought 2 lovely cot or pram eiderdowns, one might well have been hand made. They have matching pillow cases. We were told that an old aunt had them in her loft - they had been made in preparation for a baby that never arrived.

Bill bought a box of model cars - an expensive box, but well worth it. he handed over £50 for the box of cars in various states of repair.

We also bought 10 jumpers or sweaters.
There was a man selling what I assumed to have been bankrupt stock.
There were masses of jumpers at £1 each - all brand new and sporting their original labels, with the original prices.
Some were £39 and at least one was £65.
We have about £500 worth of jumpers (in theory) for just £10.
Now we have plenty of jumpers and no space to put them - the jumper drawer needs sorting out now and the old and tatty and unworn can be discarded.
Yes, we enjoyed our morning.

This afternoon we worked, sorting out the purchases and getting things ready to take to the shop tomorrow.
I always feel keen to get the weekend's purchases on the shelves straight away - but I wonder if there will be room for it all.

And I sorted out some pictures of Ekatarina, fashion model.
We had been to the car boot sale at Benllech (Ben Cleck) on Anglesey. We found some interesting clothes for Ecky.
The labels stated that the clothes were suitable for ages 9 -10.
How fortunate we thought - our Ecky is not yet 9 (birthday October 17th).
But in truth, these items will hardly last her beyond her birthday.
She is very tall.
But Ekatarina loved the black jacket.
I wanted a neutral background to take some pictures and all we could find in the house was a door - the door to Ashley's study.
So the pictures tend to be long and thin - a bit like Ecky really! Though one doesn't use the word thin to describe a person - slim is much better.
The pictures can be enlarged of course, with a click of the mouse.

You will see the jacket again in pictures taken at Penrhyn Castle which I will get onto the blog before long.

I think Ekatarina looks just wonderful.

And then we did this photo of Ecky on the landing outside her bedroom.
Her bedroom is just full of toys and books - hundreds of books.
So Ashley and Liz sorted out more shelving on the landing for more of the books.
Soon the pictures might have to come down and the shelves extended.
Do remember that every book is second hand - so all have cost less than 50p.
Or, instead of increasing the shelving....... Ekatarina could help to organise some de-cluttering.
There are many items in her room which have been much loved and hold good memories - but are not used these days.
Its hard for our family to de-clutter though.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Saturday, looking back to Parys Mountain.

This Saturday is a full day.
We have been to Ford car boot sale and to a toy collector's fair. Later we are going to a party.

I can't say the browsing at Ford was very successful. I bought - some odd things and now they are laid out on the kitchen cupboards I am not sure why I have them.
Bill bought very little.

But it was a lovely morning, with the sun breaking through the early morning chilly mist.

We drove home via Henfield to visit the toy collector's fair in the village hall.
The atmosphere seemed dead to me and made me realise just why I am not selling at these fairs any more.
But it was good to see Penny again, who is still selling. We always used to have adjacent stalls.
After the very good breakfast cooked by village hall ladies, I enjoyed a good chat with her, getting up to date with each other's news.
Bill actually bought something from her.

This afternoon we have rested. I have sorted out photos of Parys Mountain (see below).
And Ashley and I have been having a good moan together about eBay.
They now have a system in place whereby sellers can't charge for postage and packaging for books. We have to include the expenses within the opening bid. For many reasons this is not good for the little seller or individual buyers. It presumably suits organisations and full time Ebay sellers. Oh and it suits EBay itself of course!
There are other auction sites, but eBay have managed to be the one that people might turn to first.
Now we have to re write our general instructions to buyers.
And this may involve having to offer to send refunds to buyers who have more than one book.
Such is life.

Now I must get on and get ready for a night on the town. Jo's party for her birthday is at The White Knight, where one of her daughters is the publican.

Now for a trip to Parys Mountain on Anglesey.
It was once a huge copper mine which has left an impressive alien landscape.
Even on a dullish morning the colours were amazing and the vastness was awe inspiring.
We could see why film makers would choose this site for science fictions films. Episodes of Blakes 7 and Dr Who have been filmed there.

We walked down the steep path onto the mine floor.

This is the southern edge of the mine workings area.
Beyond is normality - the green green fields of wales - Anglesey is referred to as the "bread basket of Wales".

From a distance I saw the shiny black rounded objects and wondered if they were a dump of black plastic sacks of rubbish.
Thank goodness - no they were not.
These black vitreous balls of rock were slag - left over rock from the extraction of the copper.

We spent a little while looking for small pieces of shiny black jewel like bits, for our collections of stones

Blue skies appeared - brightening the colours and making us feel warm.
The jackets we had earlier thought to be necessary, had to be removed and carried somehow.

Lovely portrait of Ashley at the trig point.
We finished our walk and drove into Amlwch (Am-Look) to find some lunch.

Ashley and I wait for our plates of food.
Now, time for a cuppa before I find my glad rags!

Friday, September 25, 2009


This day and meeting Ivan in Aberdaron

The sun has shone from a blue sky today. Hooray.
And I have relaxed.
This morning I spent some time doing a jig saw puzzle - honest, that does count as work! This one was a Dr Who puzzle made in 1977, that I bought at the Anglesey boot sale.
Before I can sell a puzzle I have to check that it is complete - and this one was.
This afternoon we took the bus into town. I wanted to order yet another pair of glasses. There is nothing wrong with those I bought recently, except that I have become unsure about wanting ones which react to light. It makes photography less easy - and I don't like appearing in photos when my glasses black out my eyes.
The pair I have now will not be dumped of course - always useful to have lots of pairs of glasses because the ones I want always seem to be in another room!
Yesterday I commented on a death.
Sadly, today there is another.
Bill's cousin Daphne died this week. I didn't actually meet her (I don't think) until we began doing some family history and I guess that Bill hardly knew her either. She is (was) 15 years older than Bill and therefore as a boy his path would not have crossed hers.
We plan to go to the funeral - although Amersham is a fair distance away.
In my mind, Amersham is the other side of beyond!
When I was a girl there was Greenline bus which started its journey in Crawley and the destination board read "Amersham". I knew nothing about the place except that this special bus went there.
I wonder how many people travelled the whole distance.
And now for a look back to a village that is perched by the sea, almost at the edge of beyond.
Aberdaron is at the westerly end of the Lleyn Peninsula and it is where we had lunch with Pete and Jean last Thursday.
It was just about warm enough to choose the pub with a terrace overlooking the bay.

Welcome to Aberdaron.

We enjoyed a light lunch - either jacket potatoes or baguettes, both with prawns and crab.

If you enlarge this one, with a click of the mouse, you will see why I don't like the dark glasses in photos - sort of dehumanises the face.
Pete had his own way of doing just that.
He took a piece of orange peel (part of our salad) and played making faces!
Will we ever grow up?

Um.... no, it seems we won't!
I called this one "spirit of the wind" - but then we all know what that feels like!

That's better - I got them to pose like sensible old folks.

The church clings onto the hillside above the bay. Bill and I had been to Aberdaron once before, but I hadn't realised then that the poet RS Thomas had been vicar there in the 60s and 70s.

Here is one of his writings carved into a slate.

This is just a fantastic site to rest in peace don't you think?

We walked back through the small village and over the bridge, spanning a little stream that runs out to sea in the bay.

There is a small car park, but before we got back to the car we just had to look at the charity stall run by the car park attendant.
It is where Bill met Ivan!
Bill loves Ivan!
It is Russian and has a date of February 1939 on the base.
It is mostly ceramic, but the tap is brass.
It is about 14 inches in height.
Of course we are hoping that Ivan will end up in another's home before long and the profits will have paid for our lunches.

Next time I do some photos I will share with you the beauties of Parys Mountain.

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