Thursday, 30 September 2021

Autumnal Spring clean!

 Tidying and decluttering has started.....from this...

After heaving everything out from the walls and painting them Chalk White...

To in progress...

At least the computer is back on the desk and I can see the table.

One small bag of rubbish removed and one small bag of paper recycled.

There is a lot more needing to be done, but at least it is going in the right direction.

I need to organise my print in progress and print archives better.

Pirate has had his test results phone cancer but still a problem, so they will still be keeping an eye on him...not a bad idea!! And he is getting back to being Possee-tive and making plans!

After a lovely day yesterday in Dundee and at the foot of the Campsite fells, it is carrying on raining...which it did while we were away as well..and it looks like we are in for a week of cold and showery weather.  One positive- there should be a lot more house tidying!!

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Foraging and decluttering

 Sloes and the freezer now, ready for the next foraging session...wild apples!!

Which was supposed to be today, but we went for fuel instead..and found an independent quietly trading, and obviously no-one had been panic buying there. 

 There were heavy showers on the way there and back...and rainbows...we didn't fancy risking getting soaked or at least wet apples can wait until the weekend!

This morning I used the juice from the brambles, elderberries and apples that I had cooked to make jelly...nice and dark and just strong enough tasting! The apple press came in very handy for extracting as much juice as possible.

This afternoon I painted my study walls "chalk white" , painting over dingy pink wallpaper...which matched the dingy pink carpet! This makes the room feel bigger and will make photographing items for selling a lot easier. 

Having moved most of the room's contents they can now be sorted, weeded and tidied!!

Hopefully this will make working a lot easier.

Monday, 27 September 2021


 At last the sunflowers are flowering!! I was hoping for seeds by now...

Keeping the bees going.

I was just moving it to sit on a brick....and it came off the vine....all 19 pounds of it!!

It rained heavily all last night and most of this morning so tidying indoors was it looks a mess! 
At least our sofa is back to the wall now giving us six inches more room. We need to get rid of another two seat sofa which is taking up too much room and is surplus to requirements...but has lost its fire safety label. So no-one wants it....even the council recycling centre only wants those that they can refurbish and pass on to those in need. That means those with a label..... The only choice seems to be pay £16 for the council to lift it, you can't even take it to wherever they would take it yourself.

I am wondering if a leather worker might like the leather!!

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Working steadily

 I seem to wake most mornings at 5....but up today a little after 6.. couldn't lie there any longer!

Tidy kitchen, clothes up to be put away, breakfast made...before himself woke!!

Our neighbour came over for his morning cuppa and put the world to rights, then we all got busy.

I sorted the Elderberries that we picked on a walk yesterday evening

 then put everything in a pan ready..then lunch and out to forage for apples from our favourite tree in Alloway...half the crop of last year, I think that the tree has gone biennial cropping after last year's heavy crop.

Back home to stack them in boxes to ripen ready for juicing, and cook the Brambles, Elderberries and apples for jelly making.

We watched the last 60km of the Men's World Road Championships which finished in Leuven..Julian Alaphillipe was a worthy winner!!

Now the fruit pulp is in the press and supper is in the oven....and a glass of NZ red  wine in the glass!!

We are trying to find the exact history of a frame we want to sell as well...talking to friends in the business and contacting the Facebook page run by enthusiasts of the marque.

Nowadays you have to be even more accurate to sell anything! We had hoped to use this one, but it isn't going to happen so sell we must.

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Autumn Equinox, time.

 The days feel different now, as the day length reduces.

It is a dissatisfied uneasy feeling as I wake before dawn. Changing the clocks will put everything upside down again! At least for a while..until the last Sunday in October...we will only be 12 hours behind New Zealand, which will make Pirate's phone calls to friends easier! No need to guess if he is too early or late!

The cultivated blackberries are giving us about half a kilo a day, we are eating and freezing the wild ones we forage too.  I need to pick some more elderberries as blackberry and elderberry jelly preserve is planned. Also apples for juice,

and keeping too if we can find the right ones.

Pirate has had a reassuring call from the head doctor in our local practice...but we still need that call from the specialist nurse next week.  He is still Mr Grumpy...but it will pass!!

We are watching the fuel situation carefully. It should calm down in 48 hours..after all you can't hoard fuel like loo rolls! It's worrying though, with some neccessary journeys coming up. 

We can't quite make South Wales without a fuel stop..or rather we possibly could, but that would leave us arriving with the tank lower in fuel than is comfortable, especially in an older vehicle.

Therefore one journey might have to be foregone.

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Autumn Equinox

 Not an easy day, still tired after yesterday.  The shortening days are no help atall.

Ebaying starts again, with all the money from past sales spent!

Starting with a decent sale sent off today, and then the job of photographing, researching and start with little bits and bobs to revive the system and hope for the special reduced selling fees offers!!!

Pirate is stressing...another eight days until his specialist nurse phones's a job to keep him positive and he is beginning to lose more hair..I am sure that is as much stress as age and health.

More travelling!

 Monday was catch-up day again, before we headed off early-ish on was supposed to be leave at 7am...45 minutes later we were on the road, this time heading South and East, past Dumfries and Gretna Green and a short hop to the next junction on the motorway to head off East on the A69. A nice change from the usual cross Pennine A66 to Scotch Corner, being far less busy and pressurised.

We turned south before getting too near Newcastle and travelled past Consett.

We might investigate there next time we head that way as there was an impressive viaduct behind the town.

On through Lanchester up and down and up and down over big hills to the edge of Durham, then turn South to Ferryhill where a very good frame builder and restorer lives. 160 miles from our home!

We had left two bicycle frames there nearly 18 months ago as the first lockdown eased.

He works on his own, and is very popular...but we hadn't thought that the wait would be that long!! We collected pirate's frames and the work was stunning, as it was on a friend's frame that we agreed to deliver. As he is a short way the other side of Carlisle it wasn't much out of our way

Heading for home again, this had to be by a different route, so we chose Weardale. We had been that way in the other direction a few years ago...

Our lunch stop was by Walsingham show fields in a lay-by. Unfortunately we had missed the show! 

Then a phone call from our friend..could we meet him in Penrith?!

A quick check of the route and that was possible, just turn off in the village after going over the moor after Weardale...

Just that it wasn't that simple...the centre of Alston was shut..luckily we spoke to a local who told us which way the locals go!! 

Heading back south initially then through the village of Garrigill, with narrow lanes and right angle bends over bridges...over the South Tyne River near its source...up hill again to the road we wanted then down to meet our friend for a drink in the pub on the outskirts of Penrith, just by where we used to compete on the grass track.

The grass track competition isn't held there any more...and the pub has closed too! However we did at least meet our friend and handed over his frame.

Back on up the A6 instead of the easy drive and no Carlisle...then motorway to Gretna Green where we leave the motorway and the A road behind until just before Dumfries. 

Good to be back in Scotland and see the sun gradually going down, shining down out through the clouds.

We aimed for a stop further north than our usual one of Thornhill.

Unfortunately we misunderstood a roadworks sign....or we would have gone a different way.

At Carronbridge we were diverted away from the A76 due to road closure, up the old Edinburgh road past Dunnisdeer.

It. Is. A. Stunning. Road!!!  Neither of us had been through that valley before and we will go back goes over the Southern Uplands over to the M74!  

We could have done without the extra diversion, and  as the sun set we joined the throng on the motorway for one hop up to the A70 and at last head back West through Cumnock to home.

So we left in the dark and returned in the dark...but saw many roads and landscapes new to both of us...drove the reverse way on some of the hilly sections of the Carlisle to Gateshead stage of the Tour of Britain...impressive....we did 40 miles extra overall on the return journey.

But looking at the frames....and with the was worth it!!

Sunday, 19 September 2021

A very different a different direction

 Up at by 6am....we headed towards the Kingdom of Fife to help at a race....that because if last night's heavy rain was cancelled because of flooding.

So what do we do with nothing special to do, 120 miles from home?

Be tourists for a change, have time out!!

Earlie..then along the coast to St Andrews...

Then back to Culross...where we missed the last entry to the bishop's palace by 5 visit, hopefully!!

Saturday, 18 September 2021

Afternoon out

 I know we need to use the car less....but we couldn't do this from home...

We drove just under 40 miles to Moniaive and rode "round the block"...a bit over 20 miles!!

In the fresh air with very little traffic. Can't fault it and we feel much better, if tired.

In the garage...

No, not Trumpton!!

And....I know that some people were hoarding toilet roll....

In the mens' public toilets, photo courtesy of the pirate.

When packing our bikes back in the car we discovered that there was a guitar festival on this weekend!! It is quite a lively village!!

Friday, 17 September 2021

More travelling


It's a long haul up to Dundee...but worth it, combining it with as many other things as we can.
Back to Fife for the third garden centre lunch in three days...a good quality reasonably priced meal..and this is what is keeping garden centres going.

A fencepost mended, a cuppa and chat with a friend there then to the next where we were pleasantly surprised to find supper waiting for us! 
More putting the world to rights..and then the final stretch home.

Keeping in contact with friends with friends is important, and some need more than just a text or phone call.

Deliveries and collections..and a bike ride!


Barter! This plate has gone to Gatehouse of return for two pieces of beautiful wood, this one and a planed one that I already have.

"Kind words are the music of the world"

On to Castle Douglas to collect my clock. The clockmaker had missed a worn bush when he overhauled it last year, so if it stopped before being re-wound it refused to tick!

Now it is ticking nicely and keeping good time. However being older and on its original spring, won't go the full seven days. It is good to have it back on my wall.

As we were in Castle Douglas, what better reason for a bike ride and exploring new roads to us.

We chose one of the routes from a local cycling leaflet, and headed for Palnackie on the water of Urr. 

An attractive and lively small village with chandlery, community run village shop, school, artist with bookshop and gallery, pub, glass workshop, nice older houses and new ones being built.

Plus it has a decent bus service! All this and only 7 miles from Castle Douglas and 3 from Dalbeattie.

The Harbour Dog

Chandlery with various vehicles!

Not sure when these last went out! The Harbour used to be flushed out every tide using a sluice gate on the burn that flows there.

This one, originally from St Malo, I think, but once called Willem, now La Malouine ,a metal ship restored as a training ship, last sailed out three weeks ago.

Looking towards the sea.

Pirate received a phone call while we were looking around...we were due to meet friends back in CD for lunch...they were heading for Dalbeattie, early! Luckily it is a flattish ride to there.

Lunch in the garden centre..and retrace wheeltracks as we wanted to explore Palnackie a little more and it was the least hilly way back to the car!!

I think we will return again, and park there for a walking explore - and not go on early closing day for the village shop!