Saturday, 27 February 2010

gallivanting (3)

and last but not least, a door made by The Carpenter, in the National History Museum of Wales, St Ffagan,near Cardiff when he was 15.

gallivanting (2)

The journey last Monday was fun, and got gradually warmer (relatively speaking) as I headed Westwards across Mid Wales. I still didn't feel like adventuring out of the warm car!
There was some stunningly beautiful countryside, but so often where you can stop is a way from where you want to photograph. Even if you walk back, if it is safe, the light that you saw has gone, the mood has changed.

Hedges are still being laid and cut, late because of the snow. Trees are being harvested and where once was a dark green hillside now shows a swathe of brown with tree trunks like so many discarded matchsticks.
Two days later I had a trip a little further North.
I'm glad I hadn't been able to go that way the day before! (where I was to stay,and the other place I normally would have found a bed were both not available)
Next time I'll make it!!
This is at Bwlch yr Oerddrws - vaguely translates as Pass of the Cold Door!
"door" used to mean the hole, not just the wood in the hole!
Thankyou Imageman. (Daughter's husband).
The combination of Artist and Driver is not always easy- one *should* keep one's eyes on the road!! It was bliss to be able to forget the road and just see and look.

Friday, 26 February 2010


I've returned refreshed-but to a house that needs cleaning. Mainly because Mike the Builder has put three new wood double glazed windows in!!

I've been offered more horse manure for the allotment!

The other heap of **** that needs sorting is the government department that is supposed to be paying me the princely sum of £64.30 a week. To quote the government blurb, this is how much you need to live on.....
You sign on the line to say that you are unemployed every I have been since early December. Their computer caught up with the fact that I wasn't sick enough to be "sick" mid no money since then. Apparently I have been dealt with "manually" instead of on the computer system. So no records. Now apparently even THAT doesn't exist.

All this, and you cannot deal with anyone face to face, it is all online or by phone..."yes, I'll e-mail this off straight away, mark it Urgent"- said ten working days ago.

Now will they phone me back this morning as promised?

Monday, 22 February 2010


Time for some time out.
Away from a house that is improving, but still fairly disorganized.
Away from housework.

The ground is still too wet to dig so I don't feel guilty on that front!

I've done a long distance errand for a friend.

I'm in my daughter's house now...not sure where tomorrow!!

The Black Mountains were all white as I drove through and further north in mid Wales little lanes and laybys were full of snow and ice.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

busy day

I had a baking morning today, getting bread and bean and vegetable pies ready for when Mountain Man delivered this weeks eggs.

The Wizzard visited, which was nice, and we had lunch together before he took another of his bikes away and went in search of a Nice Surprise Present!

Then to the allotments where it is still too wet to dig and the buds on the Cat's Tail (Equisetum) are beginning to swell just beneath the surface.
I cleared one Strawberry bed and transplanted the best dozen plants to the shade of a fence as it is a woodland plant originally. They should do better there.
Then I decided which four beds will have potatoes this year! The plans are shaping up, the greenhouse is "ready for the off" and potting compost should arrive at the Allotments' Shed any day now.

Winter is still hanging on. Another two inches of snow fell early this morning on the mountain, making over six inches lying in some places, more in the drifts.
Down here it was just cold and wet, but dried up and the sun came out by lunchtime.
It was beautiful in the afternoon and the weather brought quite a few allotmenteers out to tidy, move greenhouse and compare notes.
Ar four o'clock the sun dipped down behind the mountain and the chill descended upon us.
Home Time!!

Saturday, 20 February 2010

jugs again

All handled now!
I retreated to the kitchen for this as the weather is deceptive. Beautiful blue skies, bright sunshine...and a chill breeze.
I went to deal with the reclaim bucket and the clay was that dead cold which sucks all the heat from your hands in seconds. This is when it is dangerous to do this job as you have no sense of touch to be aware of any foreign- possibly sharp- bodies in the clay.

I have brought three bags of clay into the house to warm a little, plus the reclaim now in an old clay bag. I do this for the slurry pot to make throwing easier, this weather I'll do it for the clay too.

I wasn't too happy with the last of the new shape jugs, so I cut it in half to see how my throwing was...not bad, even if I say so myself!!
I think this jug might be better with three pounds of clay....


A Marvellous Orange Cake
Sean and Jamandas' recipe from

Find it here

Fine, it uses six eggs...but at this time of year there are plenty. Just think of all the protein with the ground almonds too. If you want it gluten free you can choose the flour you use too, and even the flour is optional. However if your eggs are rather large, you will need a bit of flour!!

The Carpenter has given it his Seal of Approval!! Also he asked what colour it would be if you were to use Blood Oranges...!!

I used Seville Oranges, so it is tangy as well as sweet, so an Orange Drizzle would go fine on top. If I only had Sweet Oranges, no icing for me!!

Friday, 19 February 2010

a dry day!!

The sun is bright, the washing line is full, but it is still frozen solid on the mountain.

All the drips of water on the line from yesterday's snow and rain were frozen on the line.

Today has been a day for yet more sorting, tidying and cleaning. The Oily One's cat is lying on Her cushion, glowering!!
I have found a box and a half of assorted kiln props and yet another box of tools and brushes and odd things that are not tools but were used as tools!
Gradually I am making sense of it all and moving pottery stuff to the workshop.

The jugs still haven't dried enough to handle, but at least they could be carried to the house to dry today. Every time I tried yesterday it rained or snowed!!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

yer be dragons!

I could be making more like this little fellow!

He is the result of a competition we had when boredom struck in snowy weather at a pottery I used to work at...take one pound of clay, tools at the have one minute starting NOW!!!!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010


Just when we thought that Spring was on her way!!

The first lamb arrived on St.Valentine's Day-it was hoped and planned that there wouldn't be any before March, but it is here and healthy so hey ho!!

This is a picture of Blaenafon at 10.30 this morning.....this was the visibility all the way down the mountain road until about 150 feet from the valley bottom near Govilon on the way to Abergavenny. There the mart was full of black nosed, blackeyed sheep being auctioned, but the rest of the town was not busy. The rain was icy and the wind chill, so anyone able to choose had stayed at home!

On the Mountain there is two inches of snow underfoot, Mountain Man is busy checking the Ponies and sheep that are on his fields. Down in the Valley I have been getting warm unloading bags of horse manure on the Allotment!

The pots in the workshop are sitting there all cold and damp. Time to bring them into the dining room to dry, as soon as I have a break in the rain.


Some half pint jugs from 500g of clay
and pint jugs from 2 pounds! I mix and match Imperial and Metric, whichever ends up a nice round number for each shape!
A new jug shape, again 2 pounds. I'm not sure where this came from but I like it!
If it works well enough at medium and small size too, I think I'll keep making it.
One is always expected to design things on paper first but I find that doesn't really work for myself (and many others too no doubt!)
I have a shape here that my hands like to make and pleases my eye and most importantly looks as if it will work well as a jug. Now is the time to do the paper design work!!

Monday, 15 February 2010


and waiting....OK,I'm going!!!

canal journey

This is looking back down the beginning of the flight of canal locks towards the M4 road.
Here looking up, and you can see where the clearing has begun.
A feeder pool

A ledge each side where the narrow boats could then be fitted three in a lock, but use less water to pass each through
looking along the locks (and showing my modern transport!)
Pensarn Basin and bridge number five
Pensarn Cottage, built in 1792
The higher feeder ponds and locks have been drained ready to be cleared
Part of the feeding system, blocked with stone
A higher lock, showing the plate for the lock gate

The second feeder pond showing the arch connecting to the pond, and the square entry possibly for an overflow
The modern visitor centre and cafe
Looking across the top feeder pond which now sports a dragonfly sculpture, towards Mynydd Maen where the ponies live.
Not the easiest gate to pass when you have two pannier bags full of shopping!!
An original sign for the bridge by Fourteen Locks

A new sign giving the history of the Crumlin Arm of the Monmouth and Brecon Canal
If you are going to have a fence, have one made by Artist Blacksmiths! Work from Myfyrfa Petersen Studios in St.Cler near Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen)
Pontywaen, nearly home, looking towards Cefn Rhyswg
The end of the water, and how some people treat where they live

A new sign giving the history of 13 July 1875 when a neglected feeder dam burst after prolonged heavy rain. The ensuing torrent washed away the flannel factory, drowning the Hunt family who lived there, and ten bodies were washed down to Newport.
The last little hill into Cwmcarn-a sting in the tail when you have been for a bike ride! It is called Twyncarn, but is also called Factory Trip (trip meaning a sharp rise) after the Flannel Factory