Friday 31 December 2010

New Year

Busy tidying and sorting, it is getting wearying!
Most of the snow has gone for now and it is promising to get colder again, so I headed for the garden while I could!
I lifted swedes, parsnips, the rest of the beetroot and a couple of kohl rabi. Most of the white and red cabbage outside and inside the shed has succumbed to frost, and was fed to the compost heap. Mountain Man gave me a bag of brussels sprouts. He has lost some to the frost,even some of the tightest buttons.

I've taken so many photos that the camera battery needs recharging! More again tomorrow.

Thinking of how designs are developing, and where to network next.

All this and I need a part time job to pay some bills. That is a joke in this area, with more and more people losing their jobs.

I'm going to sell lots of pots, honest!!!! Someday soon.

Thursday 30 December 2010

A better day

I journeyed to Hay this morning through white fog. It makes you aware of different things as what you usually see is hidden.

The stone flags of the floor were wet, condensation was dripping and my newspaper just got damp from the air!! At least we had a roof, so missed out on the fine rain!!

Hay was surprisingly busy, it was good to see local people out and about. All the sales today were from the Bargain Corner!! Sales are Sales! This makes more room for new work.
I must look at the pots on the shelves here at what else can I sell??!!

All the other craftworkers were talking about how to diversify or add value to what they sell.

Everyone is feeling the pinch, market people, shopkeepers and customers.

Still, I made enough for it to be worthwhile carrying on, and still feel positive.

The Carpenter is feeling more positive too, and is making decisions!

Wednesday 29 December 2010

pre-spring cleaning!

The house is slowly looking better, despite all the slush outside.

Outside is not worth seeing,it is all foggy and damp.

I am worried about The Carpenter. He hasn't enough self-employed work, so must face signing on again. Meanwhile he stays up longer and longer and gets up later and later. I know it is the early signs of depression. It looks like he might be turning the corner and sorting things, but it is hard to have to stand back and watch.

The pot stocktake progresses, and I have had some enquiries via facebook, having posted links to my flickr account. No firm sales or commissions yet.
They all need to be sorted and back in the boxes by tonight, as, weather permitting I'm off to the market at Hay tomorrow. I don't know if I'll sell much, but I need to go often enough to retain my 'patch' which is a good one!

Tea drunk, blog done, post checked.....back to the grind!!

Tuesday 28 December 2010

walk in the mist

Mountain Man had a phone call this morning- "we have some of your ponies!!"

They had come down through the forestry, through fences broken and cut by thoughtless people. Luckily found by friends.

We took a bag of haylage over to entice them home but ended up leaving it where they were, with another pony in a field with shelter.
Now it will be twice as far to get them home! Weather permitting we can move them next weekend, as help has been offered.

I managed to drive all the way up The Hill!! Luckily it had been mostly cleared, and in the fog the snow is thawing steadily. Hopefully most will be gone before the next batch of "weather" !

Monday 27 December 2010

lights, camera....

Mugs and bowls done. I tried to upload some images from flickr to here-got as far as clicking "done"...then they disappeared!! I'm doing something wrong.....not sure what just yet!


Time to check the stock, take some more photos for here and my flickr account,

Then decide which are no longer good enough to sell, and which direction making goes.

What does sell? (and where?)

What do I enjoy making?

Which new ideas do I develop?

Sunday 26 December 2010

cold workkshop

That says 5 is dead cold in the workshop
and this is on the inside!!
I've left the pyro on to see how cold it does get to inside the kiln in comparison with the outside temperature. I haven't been brave enough to venture out at night, yet! Still, it appears to stay considerably warmer.

The weather is set to change again this afternoon, going colder again and possibly wet.

I like cold and wet even less.

Cwmcarn snow walk

Not much gardening to do-the padlock was frozen solid too!
Looking up Nantcarn to the Graig and the forestry above where Cnwc once was
Cwmcarn Forest Drive car park. Not many bikes today either!
The top end of the footpath home

Looking towards Rhyswg Fawr on Cefn Rhyswg as it caught the sunset

Looking up slope
The spring with the wren

The end of the path looking towards Mynydd Machen
The Forest driving!


Thames water is donating 1p per hit that this video receives, to Wateraid.


Saturday 25 December 2010

views from my window

Ice in the sky and on the ground

shopping trip

Shopping was needed, and the car has mysteriously lost its radiator contents whilst being stood for a week in the snow. (no sign of them beneath the car either).
So needs must walk.
Going down Factory Trip. (to where there used to be a Flannel weaving factory)
Going from Pontywaun down into Crosskeys with the wind whipping the snow along the rooves. (or is that roofs?)
Blown snow like sugar frosting
The shop car park. "pure as the driven slush". Walking was fine until here.
I filled my back pack and bag and headed home. It is only a five mile round trip and I enjoyed most of it. People who wouldn't usually pass the time of day, talked!
The consensus was that people have been complaining about not having a "proper" Winter-and now that it is still here they are still complaining! Also younger people will now have an idea of what their elders have been talking about!!
It still isn't as much snow as I have experienced in past years, but it is still a joy to some and great difficulty to others.

I was still glad to be offered a lift home for the last mile, in a large van...Thankyou Spannerman!
Back home and the clouds lifted...typical!
Good to be back in the warm....baking time!!

Wednesday 22 December 2010

The Year Turns

As the Year Turned on the Solstice I received a text message from a friend.
She was walking up the hill behind her home with her husband to see the year in.

Blessings Be, indeed, and to you all too.

We had a special supper last night. Puy lentil, mushroom and chestnut roast with a slightly spicy tomato sauce, steamed winter squash and red cabbage and boiled rice.

Pudding was planned, but there was no room!

Yesterday I kept the curtains drawn to conserve heat, but this was a mistake as I suffered from the lack of daylight and had little sleep.
Today I must go for a walk!

Heres hoping and working towards a better year!

Tuesday 21 December 2010

staying home

I contacted the Market Toby to find out about the weather in Hay. It is snowing there now, and no prospect of temperatures above freezing this week.

So I'm staying put.

Normally the Potteries, makers and suppliers, would shut for a fortnight.

Now we know why.

Monday 20 December 2010

yet more snow

My fault for clearing the path and the car!!

Sunday 19 December 2010

shearing time?

Meet The Oily One ! (and suitable T shirt!!)


Snow and ice

"The flue has got his hat on"...(apologies to The Bonzodog Doodah Band)

The snow and ice have brought down the second half of the guttering on next door's extension.
No use complaining-the last snow put paid to the first half and a chunk of render just missed me. Thankfully none of us were nearby this time. If you stand outside the front (which is a cafe) you'll have the ice and snow from their roof on your head. Lack of insulation? Needless to say, the owners don't "live above the shop".

Friday 17 December 2010

Snow Walk, Cwmcarn

This is the hill I failed to drive up- looks fairly innocuous- but see where the valley bottom is and the slope the road crosses!!
I've put these photos on in reverse. It is a job to think backwards!
Daisy Park, Cwmcarn
Path along the top of "Lloydy's fields"
Looking down across "Lloydy's Fields" above Tribute Avenue, Cwmcarn
Fire road
Quad bike tracks
Mountain Man's hill- I'm not going to try to drive up today!
Going North to Abercarn
Cwmcarn looking North
Cwmcarn looking South
Bathroom view!

Hay Yesterday

Hay has its own Father Christmas- with no false padding and his own whiskers!


The snow is back again.

Why do I have the feeling that we have had two Winters this year?

Thursday 16 December 2010

feeling dissuaded

Son in Law has sorted the website, thankfully.
Unfortunately calls me arrogant as I phoned at Twins' Bedtime. I just got the time wrong.
The number of times I've NOT phoned as I thought the time was wrong...and got called being not interested in their welfare!

I think THEY have to learn to phone ME for a change!!

So, despite having instructed me to forward everything about the website to him, he will now have no more to do with it.

Over to the Geek Wizzard...!!

Hay was ok today, eight degrees C at first!! It soon chilled and got gusty! So not much sales, but better than none.

The snow and hail showers didn't catch up with me until Crickhowell on the way home.
We are forecast snow and suchlike overnight, possibly not until daytime in this corner of Wales.

So Mountain Man might not come down tomorrow.

If only he would let me go up......

Wednesday 15 December 2010


I am trying to make sure that paypal has all the right details, I'm not impressed by the automated question answerer!
and HOW did they give me a completely different birthdate? in 1901?????

Now I have to try and log in to my website's host to get back on asks for email address and password....but these will not be the same as where you log in to your website.....okay.....

I think this is a job for Son in Law who set it up for me...needs to be done today,as Daughter says they have a 50% discount today, if I need to pay anything.

I just want to deal with a Human Bean!!!!!!!

Tuesday 14 December 2010

More tidying

I did some more reduction of the paper mountain today. There is a limit to how much one can do at one time!
Never mind Christmas Decorations, I would just like a tidy, clean, sorted house!!

The Carpenter did some shadowing with a cycle courier today. He may get some work next week (weather permitting) Another string to his bow, as they say. Anything other than sign on, probably!! At least he is doing his best.

I did some garden tidying too. Six trays of potatoes had been reduced to two by the frost, despite being well insulated, in the shed. Everything was frozen solid outside and in the greenhouse too.

Mountain Man is worrying about how many local farmers are going to go bust in these times. It is more likely to be the younger ones who want things now, and borrow to get them. Which leaves the average farmer's age (now 58) going higher.

Monday 13 December 2010

paper day

Yesterday the kiln firing went well-the regulator worked, thanks to a hotwater bottle wrapped in a towel!
The pots looked ok today, apart from the bottom of a small stack of small plates. I haven't unpacked, just peered in.

This morning I have been attacking the tide of general paperwork. Plastic mushroom trays to the rescue!! Using them means that had I stopped halfway I could have stacked them neatly out of the way. Also being in trays meant that separate heaps didn't converge!

By midday I had finished, and the financial advisor from Taste for Enterprise came to see exactly where I work.
The business plan is complete, so if I am in a position to apply for grants I am prepared.
He agreed with Mountain Man- ease back on the markets, find the right gallery or shop, do more online.
To which end I've just signed up to paypal...hopefully all will go smoothly. When I know that is working I can move on to Etsy.

Hopefully the spam problem on my website has been fixed, by having the spam content removed and the "stable door bolted"!. No, I don't understand it. As the spam content took it over its content limit I can't access it, probably until next month. This why the Geek Wizzard is supposed to be looking after it. I just wish he would communicate with me!!

Sunday 12 December 2010

a more restful day

Six o'clock rising got missed, so the kiln went on today at 7.15 am!
The regulator worked after having had a rubber hot water bottle placed over it!
The Geek had arrived late on Friday night, unannounced, and it was good to talk over coffee after he had awoken. The Oily One went off to work, the washing went out on the line in the sun.

The kiln behaved well-hopefully the results will be good in the morning. Some should be reserved for salt firing, and with luck I will have enough for a glaze firing as well. It was finished before lunchtime, so I hope it didn't fire too fast- and I was worrying about it firing atall!

The Geek has a bit of work to do now (along with a full time job as a computer geek, buying a house and keeping girlfriend happy!) as my website has been spammed and I cannot access my emails there. At least I have alternatives.

After lunch Mountain Man was down here, and it was good to be talking together.

The geek went home- to Manchester via Bristol!! I should think he will have had a good journey.
Last week Sheffield had a foot of snow in an afternoon-just the other side of the Pennine Hills.
Who knows what next week will bring.

The sun dipped behind the mountain on the other side of the valley, and it was time to take Mountain Man home. I managed the steep road well, even where the steepest part at the top had refrozen after only a few minutes out of the sun. The trip down was....interesting. Stop before the white bit on the road, then first gear and don't touch the pedals!!

I will NEVER become blase or overconfident about driving up or down this mile of road.

Supper is ready now,and having read The Mouse's latest posting I feel happier and might even do some baking tomorrow afternoon!

Saturday 11 December 2010

Craft Markets

Abergavenny today, and despite it being the last before christmas, another dismal sales day. Better than nothing indeed, but not enough.
At least I had an inside pitch today, so I was just cold instead of freezing! Unfortunately the heating seems to be programmed to work in office hours......needless to say, this market is run by the local council!! This is not to denigrate them completely, This is a small town (10,000 people?) and there is a market of some sort here in the Market Hall most days, plus the livestock market which is still in the town. The point is that if you want to attract people into a market, you don't have it colder and damper inside than out on a winter's day!!

No more craft markets until next March.

How can one raise the profile of markets in general? Whether for goods or food, they are seen as somewhere to get something cheap, not as an alternative to a shop. Not somewhere you can buy direct from the grower or maker and get quality goods.

They are seen as places that the poorest people frequent along with pound shops and the like.

Farmers' Markets are keeping up the good work.

How can you change the attitude of people towards markets? If it can work in other countries, why not here?

Thursday 9 December 2010

wasted day?

Today at Hay I sold nothing.

Possibly a wasted day.

However I found a proper metal paraffin can for Mountain Man for£2.

I checked the stock at Beacons Crafts in Brecon.

I showed my face at CRiC in Crickhowell. No sales yet, but it looks good.

All things that needed doing.

Today has been cold, but quite sunny. I saw many good pictures, but no chance to stop and photograph!

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Form Gallery, Blaenafon

They're looking good!-left of centre in the window, candle pots, candle lamps and reindeer!! in Blaenafon, home of some very good work (not just mine!)
Sunday morning in Blaenafon, home also to the World Heritage Centre (Iron Works) and where they held the Winter Wonderland last weekend, complete with real Reindeer.
The crafts and food were in a marquee which had been set up in a car park, next to a mini ice rink. It was fine with the sun on the tent, but once the sun went behind buildings we froze!!
We were all glad to see 4pm and packing up time.

blog free fortnight

I managed to escape from the icy confines of Mid-West Wales!

It was good to stay with Daughter and Family, but visits get awkward on both sides after three days. I love to help but it gets to the point where you don't want to do something the wrong way...and then you get bad vibes for not doing something when not asked, or told how they want it done. Ho hum. That is families!!

They followed me down, as they had a funeral to go to the next day. When I arrived home at lunchtime, the Carpenter was still abed!! (despite being warned of impending Sister!!)
So a mad tidyup ensued, but this was still not good enough for Daughter and Husband. Also it is all my fault for letting them all clutter the house .....they haven't tried stopping them...No just doesn't work, and I hate arguments. Then I had the delight of giving up my own room and sharing another with the Twins. When they slept, I hardly did....then they woke at 4am wanting to play!!

Hay was cold and a bit snowy but enjoyable. We all packed up a little early. I stayed on the biggest roads on the way home and called to check on stock in Beacons Crafts in Brecon. Closed all day!

Daughter and Family went straight home after the funeral....we are in their bad books!! Even though they had places to go on the way home on the Friday.

They had some effect though, as The Carpenter has put the units back in the kitchen and is making progress in the bathroom.

He would be happier if he was being paid for what work he is doing. He is owed above £2.5k. Which he is being paid slowly, as the one he works for is being paid by the next company who contracted out the work... something similar to a house-buying and selling chain....

I've just done two Christmas Fairs....dire. I think it has mainly been cancelled this year

Snow Walk, Talybont