Friday, 19 April 2019

No longer grey!

The swallows and martins are back!
We went by car today twelve (hilly) miles to Kirkmichael and had a cuppa in the village community shop and cafe.

Well fortified, we rode down the Middle Road to Girvan and back along the valley road...the main A77 was obviously out of the question! Just over 26 miles and just under two hours on a beautiful Spring day..bluebells, wood anemones, dandelions, violets...blackthorn blossoming and the May in leaf.
It was so warm, we could have worn shorts...but didn't trust it to stay warm!!

Back home,Pirate has swapped some old hen shed panels for four metal roof sheets, to add to his shed roof and keep the rain out. He has worked out where they will we need a bit less breeze to fit them!  The breeze was useful to dry the washing, so no complaints. Our neighbour made a small chicken coop/nesting box from the old hen house panels!

I cleaned out the kiln ready for mending.  The next step is to work out the size of ply needed, and what we can use to press the bulging wall back together once it has been kiln cemented.
A reverse clamp is the nearest building terms it would be an acroprop, but we need to press horizontally not vertically.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

what to do on a grey day

 Be thankful for the plants that survived Winter...and thankful for today's is needed

 and discuss kiln mending strategy with a fellow potter in Somerset...facebook chatting has its uses!
He has given me advice, support and encouragement...all much needed!  Potters stick together!!

Monday, 15 April 2019

kiln design and mending

I'm working on the design for the kiln flue,using what we have already.
One piece of ceramic fibre and mesh flue I've never used, as it didn't fit the previous site...luckily I kept it...
Its a bit battered at one end,but I do have some spare CF blanket...
The main problem is working out what is needed for the damper section, and the join between this fibre flue with an internal of 6" x 7"....and a round stainless steel flue of 8" diameter...I have two 45 degree bends to turn the corner to the vertical flue.
Unfortunately the old damper section went for scrap, as it was rusted through, and the CF join to the kiln went with it
However as we still have the straight section,  its a guide to making another to go on a section that will have to be manufactured from new.

The kiln itself needs quite a bit of tlc, after its "lying down" antics....

This job needs temperatures of over 5C for the kiln cement to work...luckily it has been stored in the house while we were away!   Looking at the weather forecast I should be able to get on with this by the weekend if not before.
I'm not sure how to bring the back of the roof arch up again-that was subsiding in 2012 before the two moves...but once we're on to the job hopefully a solution will appear!

Meanwhile I'm busy with pen and paper....

Winter is hanging on..

The wind here is "Baltic" !!
We've had two days of shortish rides and had hoped to get a ride on different roads yesterday.
The bike shop in West Calder had organised a day of rides, including e-bike tryouts, stalls from half a dozen manufacturers,including childrens' bikes, plus the Paris-Roubaix professional race on screen in the a coffee cart!
The wind was so strong and cold the bikes stayed in the car!

Apparently the bike shop is in what was originally the West Calder Cooperative Society's building....very impressive!
If anyone hasn't found out...Philippe Gilbert won the Paris-Roubaix race.

Also a Flahute is apparently a Flandrian's real Flandrian....

Saturday, 13 April 2019


We visited a cafe on serves good coffee...and celebrates many "bugger" moments in photos around the walls.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Driving Creek Railway and Potteries

Our one tourist trip in four months....Well worth the 35$ each for the trip on the railway...powered by the engine from a grey Fergie! Unfortunately we missed the exhibition, but what we did see was inspiring.

getting back to normal

Which begs the question, what is normal?!

The change from 24C in Auckland....and landing at dawn in 24C...then landing in Glasgow in a bright and sunny afternoon...which lost its shine as we travelled towards home. A cold night followed, then a day of 4C.  A shock to the system!!
Its as if Nature is saying Tried to avoid Winter, did you? Well I've saved a bit for you!!
We are beginning to feel that its more like November than April, with murky low cloud and a decided windchill.
We have at last got back on our bikes, but its steady going so far. We've both 4kg lighter than when we left Scotland four months ago, which makes riding uphill easier.

At last I've got the photographs from the tablet on to the laptop, now to use some of them.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

back home

Safe home...and we're homesick for Aotearoa/New Zealand.
We left Auckland at 24C, landed in Dubai at dawn...24C...landed in Glasgow on a pleasantly warm and sunny Sunday afternoon.
Three buses later we arrived home, and it was beginning to feel a little chilly...and after a cold night we reached the dizzy heights of 4C!! 
Further North and East from us, up in Aberdeenshire, roads are closed due to snow, and it has been hailing and snowing (but not settling) here. 


I'm back on my old laptop, so blogging is easier...I just need to transfer the photos to here then I can share a few .

Our Monday afternoon was brightened by the arrival of a parcel from Ohio...a pair of beautiful handwoven towels from Joanne of "Cup in the Bus". A priceless gift.  Also an incentive to get back working myself!!

Monday, 25 March 2019


Washing done and drying and ironing as well. Ironed clothes fit better into a small place when packing. Thinking of weight allowances and making decisions.
Weeding out clothes that are worn out or that we can just do without. Placing some items in a box to stay in the campercar as it will be kept for our return, apparently....
Pirate has gone for a short ride to loosen his legs as the bike goes back to Bombay tomorrow. We decided that the new Kamo path would be ideal to avoid traffic, so he is trying out the section from Kensington to Whangarei centre and back.

Unfortunately we've missed my potter friend from Street near, he was only at Matapōuri..never mind, he only lives twenty minutes drive from my brother...which is about 500 miles from our home in Scotland!!
I agree totally with what he said in his last message to us.. Aotearoa..the only place I feel homesick for when I get home.

I am not looking forward to the leaving or the journey.
We are looking forward to meeting Kamo Lady, even if we have missed Amy and Raewyn and my cousin near Taupo Bay.

Sunday, 24 March 2019