Monday, 31 October 2011


I've lit a lamp and placed it in my window, which is open.

I'm remembering my Father and my Man, celebrating happy times and good memories.

I'm thinking of my friends who are in Glastonbury right now.

New beginnings tomorrow, the start of the year, the wheel turns and life goes on.

Peace and Blessings Be.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Friday, 28 October 2011


It has been beautiful today, after a damp, chilly and misty start.

I've spent six hours on a sunny bank, alternately weeding and path sweeping, so as not to seize up!

Even better, I'll be paid for doing it!!

I even had the washing out on the line early and it has almost dried!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

busy again!

My back has eased quite a bit and I've been busy again. Before you say anything I'll be receiving treatment this weekend!!

Gardening work is developing steadily, and there is a possibility of the use of a different workshop in a beautiful location, with friends.
There might be another garden to tend as well, things are looking up.

So much to think about whilst my computer access has been limited!!

The weather has definitely turned autumnal, the past few mornings have been damp and misty after chilly nights. Tender plants are coming to an end, and bushes are being tidied.

Today I've almost finished packing a glaze kiln, just a few corners to fill before firing early next week. I've just done one craft and gift fair in a village near Raglan, plenty more Farmers Marts and Christmas Craft Fairs are looming!!

South Wales Potters at Bridge Pottery, Cheriton, Gower

On the fifteenth of October I went to a South Wales Potters meeting at Micki Schloessink's Bridge Pottery in Cheriton, Gower, near Swansea.
We discussed making, firing and selling , and watched Micki making.

One she made earlier!

The spacious workshop, warmed by a woodburning stove, where we tried two of the clays that she imports from near La Bourne in France.
I made a horse in the "Terre Primitif", which is actually a made body!

The kiln is warmed by propane then fired with wood

Discussing glaze tests
Fleen Doran, who is Micki's apprentice on the "adopt a potter" scheme

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

touching base

Just passing...

Marvellous potters' meeting

Lovely to stay with friends and catch up and relax

Good to see daughter and family (and twin chicken pox!)

Too much driving and twin lifting has aggravated an old neck/shoulder/back injury that was pulling a little last week. Aaaaargh!

It doesn't help the concentration one little bit!!

Friday, 14 October 2011


That has been today!!
Boiling beetroot, finishing juicing pears, apples and red wine grapes for juice (about eight pints), making pear with fennel chutney, and baking a cake!!
All this and two big washes (dried on the line too!) and unpacking the kiln! (pictures next week)

I've brought the onions in from the green house ready to be tidied, put in trays and stacked in the larder. With any luck someone else might do that, as I'm off to a potters meeting tomorrow, then to friends in Pembrokeshire, then Northwards to see Daughter and family!!

So the Carpenter and the Oily One can look after the Cat and the house for four days...I'm sure they'll survive!!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Monday, 10 October 2011


Today has been really windy, and on top of not the best night of sleep that makes me tired.

It has been an unsettling sort of wind, whirling about as it blows across the valley at the mountain top, causing turbulence at village level.

So a slow start and a long lunch, but today I've repacked the kiln already. Much was already glazed, but the new iron glazed pots had to have their waxed feet (and rims) re-wiped.
I hope that will work, but just in case I battwashed the affected shelf as it wasn't too bad, and used it for pots with that glaze again.

On a good note I had a rummage and found another full size kin shelf, so I have three platters in this kiln load.

I had a walk up the mountain yesterday afternoon to collect the crabapples Col had told me about and found some below another crabapple tree that he'd wanted to plant pips from.
So a good and productive walk. Amongst other things I saw that a gate that he'd fretted about it not closing properly had thankfully been mended.
The gate alongside it, that I'd never seen open before, stood open.

Read what you like into that.

unpacking the kiln

Before and after
I photograph each shelf as I unpack. This time from the bottom upwards, as I was a little impatient!!

One glaze has dripped and spattered a little, looking at those yet to be fired , it doesn't wipe off the wax resist too well. Their feet will have to be re-wiped, possibly with a little liquid detergent in the water.
I'm not looking forward to grinding the glaze off the shelf, but at least it isn't a huge amount.
Here he is!! You can see how the wax resist hasn't worked so well on the rim, despite being wiped thoroughly and left for a day between waxing and glazing.
At least the platters look fine.

Glaze tests
and more!
Some that are showing potential I'll try again.
The blue/green cup in the foreground is my usual soft green glaze, put through a 200 mesh lawn instead of a 120s. It is still speckled, as I'm using Copper Carbonate, but like ball milling a glaze finer, seems to have brought the maturation temperature down a little, enough to make it easier to clean, without it being glossy.

The green glaze also showed touches of pink, but not excessively so, so obviously when the breeze is strong I need to have the damper open a little further to prevent a reducing atmosphere. The kiln fired well, I took it easy for the first 700+ degrees,(but not slowly after 300) so that I would not freeze the gas bottle! I then swapped over to a half-full bottle to finish the firing.

Now I need to get another kiln load glazed and through, before a fair on the 22nd of October.

There is so much to do, so much to learn. I could do without the pressure of keeping ahead of all the everyday paperwork and housework. This is why potters are usually men, with either wives that don't make pots or with a housekeeper!
Gardening helps, both paid and unpaid.

Sunday, 9 October 2011


Kiln flue mended will need another section lower down before long, but the kiln is on and firing since 6.20 am!!
The weather is quite warm and breezy, but just over 300 C so far and looking good. I'm going gently, to get as much as I can from the first cylinder without freezing it. I don't want to send it back with gas in, that I could use! There should be enough in the other to fire well, and I'll be ordering more tomorrow. I should have ordered it Friday, but the flue hadn't been mended then....

Saturday, 8 October 2011


This is the result of 1.5 lb wine grapes, 3.5 lb eating pears and about 3 lb mixed apples....not a lot of waste!

The juice is strong and flavoursome but also a little sweet. Very drinkable! I washed the jugs with a little water and drank that...still good.

The pulp is nice as it is to.

My scales promptly died, so I froze the juice and pulp and dashed out and bought a better set!

Now do I make syrup/cordial, leave the juice as is or ferment it? Then do I go for fruit cheese or even fruit leather with the pulp?

comin mynydd maen, by ysgubor wen

wind in the trees, rushing fast.

I tried to record the wind singing across the ends of the snow marker poles- all I got was the wind over the microphone of the camera! It was beautiful, like a mountain version of whalesong. You'll have to imagine it!!
looking towards Mynydd Maen
the old road goes ever on.

Now ask yourself, why would people dump rubbish behind the dewponds and burn out cars here?

Friday, 7 October 2011

loose ends and some beginnings

The perry is now all in demijohns, looking good on the windowsill. This gives a little more room in the kitchen!

One batch of drying is finished-apple rings and pear "L" plate shows! They do taste good, which is what matters. Next time I'll peel the apples. The next batch is one layer of small dark red wine grapes, just to see how they dry.

A saucepan of grapes, pears and apples is cooking, for jelly and cheese.

Still waiting to have less wind at the same time as assistance, to finish mending the kiln flue, but at least the kiln is now packed and ready.

Everything clean has been put away...and the next batch of cleaning/washing is lurking!!

Next job is more allotment tidying and muckspreading. It feels too soon, perhaps too mild, to sow broad beans and plant the garlic.

I'm thinking of Crab apple vodka- that takes two years, but is worth the wait.

Keeping busy, but a little of me still feels a little lost, like an unravelling thread on a T shirt hem.
Must get mending!!


Why does the wind get up stronger JUST when you've got the new section of flue to mend the kiln chimney?!!!

Thursday, 6 October 2011