Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Market Day

Tomorrow I do my first Market in Hay on Wye.

They are fighting to keep it going, despite obstacles placed in their way by beurocracy.

Fortunately the town has a charter giving it the right for a market to be run.
I'll try and find out more....

Monday, 21 June 2010

Celebrating Dad

On Father's Day I went to Somerton, in Somerset, to watch the second day of racing in the Kalos two day race. The first day had been on Merryfield aerodrome, and included racing for all ages. The second day was seven and a half laps of an undulating (!) ten mile circuit on the open road near Somerton, for riders aged 16+.
My father, Walter Rixon, worked with younger riders as organizer, teacher, coach, team manager...... from the early 1960s to his death in 2005
The organizers awarded the prize for the highest placed under 23 year old rider in his memory.

I was glad when it was won, by only three seconds over the two days, by a rider from Somerton, and the organizing club, Team Tor 2000. On top of that, Dougie was one of the riders coached by my father. This was no mean feat, against a top class field of riders including some from the Olympic Development Plan.
The break
and the main bunch of riders.
I rode round the course in the reverse direction-and found that it was hilly in both directions!!
A cottage in Compton Dundon. This one needs the attention of the local thatcher, whose signature can be seen on the next one...
The bird on top!!
This column is just outside Street at the northernmost end of the course
I just managed to catch the sky at sunset.
A fitting end to Father's Day, started one hundred years ago today, in America. A woman thought of her late father on Mothering Sunday and thought he deserved honouring too.

Then the shortest night of the Summer Solstice, followed by "Hirdydd Haf", the longest day

making more pots

The next kilnfull is on its way, as I start selling (hopefully) at Hay on Wye WEEKLY market this Thursday!!
My stand is looking better, as more new pots are replacing older ones.
Jugs and small vases. I use the latter for glaze tests- and then sell them!! They are quite popular.
Hanging posy pots
Mugs, cups and funnels.....and the sheep!! and lurking next to the top mugs, a dragon!!!!!

Brecon Craft Makers' Market went well- until the start of the local School Fete...which had everything, plus the Town Band. We found out afterwards, when we found the flyers under the windscreen that is where all our customers went!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

a walk on Mynydd Maen

As if a trip to Hay, then some gardening wasn't enough, the suggestion was made that we go up pony checking!
We parked at the Northern end of Comin Mynydd Maen, and headed South....

Mountain Man looking over Cwm Lickey (=Lleucu=Lucy) near Pontypool, with Blaenafon in the distance.
With New Hat!! (from Hay)
Soub, you will see in the middle distance as you look first over Pen yr Heol and then New Inn, Llandegfedd Reservoir. This is where water is pumped too from the River Usk, and ends up in our taps.
When the Aluminium works in Rogerstone had to change to this supply from local springs, they had a hard time re-adjusting as the water wasn't as good.
It also tastes not exactly unpleasant, but not very nice! Yes it is safe, clean, etc etc. For which we are very thankful.

Looking down towards Upper Cwmbran (the old village) In the middle is the old reservoir(no longer used as a supply), hopefully you can make out the tower, a third in from the left of the reservoir-and realize how low the water is....
Success, after four or more miles walking!
See the mast on the hill in the background? That is where the picture of Llandegfedd reservoir was taken...
About two thirds of the foals have been born so far.
Then Mountain Man will start on shearing! Not long now. Some people on lower ground have already finished, but these are at 1200 to 1500 feet above sea level.
Looking over Cefn Rhyswg to Twmbarlwm- the one in the middle with the pimple!! An IronAge Fort

Ten ponies seen. Eight miles walked. Just one foot in front of the other!
Two and a half hours of heaven

a day in Hay

Well a good two hours in Hay on Wye- which is full of interesting corners and alleyways

It also has a good Thursday market, with a good range of stalls, so I'll be trying there. Being blunt, it is an area with money!! There are lots of interesting small shops apart from all the book shops!!!
I managed a mega-achievement....I did not even buy ONE book!!!!
Looking over Llangors lake, to the Brecon Beacons. There is a bronze age (i.e. "Celtic") lake village here which has rewarded its excavators with many artefacts
The road from Talgarth to Bwlch looking towards Mynydd Llangynidr , which I was about to drive over. It isn't easy to find a place to stop!
but I managed to stop in a gateway to a potato field!!
From the top of the main climb up from Llangynidr village, looking eastwards
then back North
and NorthWest-ish!
Then South over the plateau into which the Valleys have been eroded

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

just a little three hour walk...

Yesterday Mountain Man had a call to say that five yearlings (for which read 'a bunch of teenagers'!) were down on a farm- they had gone visiting these three!
He got them back through the fence, then I drove around to the other side of Twmbarlwm and walked back along the fire road to meet them. They had taken him up the steepest way they could, with the most, lowest, hanging branches!! At last we got them going up to Pegwn y Bwlch at the foot of Twmbarlwm, then up Twmbarlwm itself
looking up
and down
Back on the mountain. I walked behind them and went around the side of Twmbarlwm, sometimes on sheep tracks, others walking through knee-high Bilberry bushes- heavy going!
Mountain Man went over the top in case others of the herd were there.
Then we followed them at a steady walk, persuading them to carry on until they were with another mixed bunch of eight, including a couple of older mares to keep an eye on them!
We watched the approach of a scrambling motorbike with trepidation- would they bolt back? Luckily he had the sense to see what we were doing and eased off-mind you, he was not supposed to be on the mountain atall.
We were glad of a following wind back to the car . Driving was "interesting" with tender(ized?) feet!!

I'm not here!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Shaner's Red and Old Yeller

Shaners Red on the left- it is red where thin, as it should be.

Old Yeller on the right.....

Cone 9, oxidized firing (they are glazes for reduction firing) Not bad atall!

from blast! to blasted

and after!!
The very top, front of the kiln is a tad underfired, this platter will have to risk a re-fire
This one is ok
same glaze, I think the posy pot at the back of the bottom shelf got a bit of reducing atmosphere
Blasted! Looks like that is the limit of this clay body
as it usually looks like this
ALWAYS put some glaze tests in!! No rubbish this time- four I can use and three pointers for the next step in their development.

I think the kiln fired better for it being a cooler, slightly damp day. Certainly the cooling was less nerve racking as the workshop itself didn't overheat!!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Abergavenny Market

The stock market, with the Sugarloaf Mountain (it IS steep, if not that big!) peeking up at the back
A slate pillar in the Brewery Yard
The Brewery Yard carpark at the back of the Market Hall (with tower!) and the Blorenge behind- that is definitely a mountain- just try riding up it!

The last stage of the Junior Tour of Wales (a 3 day cycle race for 16-18 year olds) finishes at the top....

kiln firing!!

Up at 4.30 this morning to light the kiln-it should be cooler and damper today. Hopefully this means the kiln will go better and the workshop wont be scarily hot when the kiln is cooling!!

Abergavenny Market yesterday- all I sold was SHEEP!!!! At least I'm getting something right!

Friday, 11 June 2010


The Mouse seems to have disappeared down a hole again- just when her writing was getting very interesting indeed.....Ho Hum.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

kiln talk

Pictures for Soub. The burners go horizontally into the kiln and there is a deflector right at the back. I've added an extra one two thirds along each side, as it fires more evenly with them there.
the flue exit is horizontal from the bottom at the back, damper about a foot later just before it begins to curve upwards.
I have been using two smaller bottles, changed to one big (47kg) one part way through the last firing. Normally we'd use two per burner on the salt glaze kiln I share. My kiln seems to be doing fine on one (and I can't stretch to the cost of another yet!)

There is a thread on clayart forum started yesterday about firing propane fuelled gas kilns- could be useful!

early start

I woke at 5.15 today and felt ready to I did!!

Bread in the bowl at 5,30, birthday cake in whilst waiting (The Carpenter is 21 tomorrow)

Greenhouse opened and the verge by the allotment fence weeded, back to put the bread in.

Bread out at 10, followed by the third load of washing to the line!!!

Next job make packed lunch and go gardening!

Glazing later when its cooler, looks like another hot one today.
What do they say about a British Summer? "Three hot days and a thunderstorm"? Rain is forecast for tomorrow!!

Friday, 4 June 2010


I am trying to decide if I try and sell on folksy. Then I would need a paypal account. I've just had a look at their website.

I'm getting confused with all this online paperwork. It distracts from the most important thing, getting work made!! I know it is necessary, as is investigating all the grants and stuff that are available. I think I need a business mentor.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


Not the best of pictures, but you can just about see the regulator on the other end of the pipe (not the pipe that is there now) and the burners.
This is for soub- hope it is a good enough pic