Home Time – 15 June 2019

Time to say our goodbyes and point the Juke’s red nose north.

Up about 7am and got the last of the stuff packed into the juke’s boot. Wished everyone a safe journey home and headed for Aberystwyth one last time go stock up on essentials before we set the sat nav for Home.

Drove through some beautiful countryside I’m told, although I didn’t see much of it. I was two busy watching the grey asphalt run under our tyres. Saw a friendly group of cyclists going our way and a load of others with racing numbers on their bikes going the other way. I didn’t envy them their run through the mountains. Stopped at Chester services and grabbed two clean shots of an Airbus Beluga. It must be the ugliest aircraft ever built. Only had my iPhone to record the shot, but at least I got it. That wasn’t the best shot of the day. PoD went to a shot taken from the house looking up through the garden to Sim taking her last shots of the landscape round the house, and there was blue sky and sunshine too.

The rest of the journey was uneventful and we arrived home in sunshine at around 5pm

Tomorrow will be a lazy day. No driving.

Venison, Dancers and that railway walk again – 14 June 2019

Time to get your feet wet!

JIC and Sim were off into Aberystwyth for supplies so we had the morning to do as we pleased. Heavy rain last night had swollen the burn that runs down the side of the house, that meant it was just screaming out for a slow-shutter series of photos. Dragged the tripod out of the car and got started. About fifty shots later I was done. It was one of the fifty that got PoD. I got my boots wet, but thankfully my feet stayed dry.

Time to start prepping for tonight’s dinner which would be Venison Casserole. We’d brought the slow-cooker with us along with a kilo of venison from the butcher in Muirhead. There would be nine for dinner tonight. Eight for venison with Scamp preferring he non-meat ‘Rats’. Nine in total because Madeleine had invited an old school friend of hers with her husband to spend the day with them and have dinner. That’s why I was prepping the casserole just before lunch.

After the slow cooker was doing its thing, and lunch had been served to Madeleine and her guests, we minions left for one last long walk. This time we were going all the way along the railway before turning up the hill and heading for high ground where we hoped we’d get a good view. We got to the end of the railway and started to turn up the hill when Sim called a halt. There were bullocks and cows in the field we were in and she didn’t know how Vixen would react to them, so we turned round and went all the way down the hill towards a river ford. About three quarters of the way down we heard a dog barking. Again we stopped while an expeditionary force went to investigate. We couldn’t find any sign of dogs, but there were a couple of houses and everyone down here seemed to have dogs of some description, so we aborted that route and headed back along the railway line then up that bloody hill again.

Madeleine was holding court in the kitchen when we got back and after we’d got cleaned up and changed, we finalised the cooking of the dinner while they chatted noisily in the background. Dinner was well received, as well it should have been. Then we found out that we had a lot in common with the two visitors. He, Peter, had been a college lecturer and head of department. Both he and Alison were ballroom and Latin dancers. We shared tales of Fishtails and Turkish Towels. Overall it was a good night. After that it was time to start the packing and we really got most of it done with just enough time left for a last drink with no TV, then it was time for bed and a long drive for all of us the tomorrow.

Aberystwyth without the rain – 12 June 2019

It was a very different place.

JIC, Sim and Sophie were going for a long walk today. We didn’t fancy that. There had been a change of plan and we were making tomorrow’s dinner as well as Friday’s, so we needed some extra supplies. I suggested that we take Madeleine and Jaime in to Aberystwyth with us and go for a walk in what we hoped would be the dry, if not the actual sun, and that’s what we did.

The trio left and entrusted us with the main door key. Soon after that we too left. Aberystwyth was dry when we arrived after meeting a milk tanker on a narrow road with very few passing places. Luckily we met at one of those places or it would have been Juke Soup! These narrow country lanes are not meant for wide cars like the Juke and even less for hulking great milk lorries, but we both came through unscathed. We parked at the exact same place as yesterday and walked along towards the castle.

After investigating the ruins, we wandered past the University and in to town proper. Coffee in Nero, just like yesterday and then walked back along the prom past the statue of the Mary Poppins lady and back to the car. Next stop Morrisons to get the extra food needed for tomorrow’s dinner, then home.

After unloading the car I was deciding whether or not to go for a walk when I got in conversation with the man who owned the house and most of the land on that side of the road and he told me how the house was renovated. I’d thought the beams that held up the ceilings (and provided Jaime and me with so many lumps on our head when we forgot to Duck not Grouse) were Greenheart, but he said they were more likely to be Oak and had come from the masts of ships which had been decommissioned in the 1700s. He’d heard about Cumbersheugh, but had never been there. I told him that’s what I’d have recommended. Interesting talking to someone who has a totally different lifestyle to mine.

Not long after that, the rain started and we went our different ways. Then the trio returned with Vixen ‘covered in ticks’. Poor dog, I know how he feels.

Then it was time for the Trinny Trio to start making dinner which was Stew Chicken and Macaroni Pie. Immediately I smelled it, I remembered eating it in Trinidad. It tasted just as good as it smelled.

Apparently tomorrow morning is to be wet, but the afternoon will be better. We may be going for a walk somewhere not strenuous and without ticks. Good luck with that.

A day at the seaside – 11 June 2019

The young ones were off for a walk round a pond. We were going to the seaside

JIC, Sim and Sophie were taking Vixen for a walk around a couple of lakes with unpronounceable Welsh names. Madeleine and Jaime were staying at home. We were off to Aberystwyth. The first problem was getting the car’s sat nav to recognise Aberystwyth. It seemed to be fascinated by somewhere called Aberri… something. Finally tricked it into accepting the proper spelling and off we went into the rain. Driving around on these narrow roads with the high hedges was bad enough in the dry, but in the pelting rain it was a whole new challenge, but the sat nav lady did talk us through the rain and the narrow roads to get us to Aberystwyth, so it did know where we wanted to go all the time.

We went to Morrisons because it was the first supermarket we passed, then drove in to the town. We parked down by the harbour on one side and one of the beaches on the other side. Neither was very inviting in the torrential rain, but we zipped up our rainy coats and walked out into the wet stuff. About twenty minutes after we left the car, I discovered that my rainy coat was no longer waterproof. We ducked into a Nero for lunch and a chance to dry out.

When we came out it was drying up nicely, so we went for a walk up the main street and then back down towards the other beach, although it wasn’t really dry enough for a walk along it or a paddle in the water. Took a few photos of the headland and the funicular railway framed by grey sea and slightly lighter grey sky, and also the lady on the pillar that Scamp felt looked like Mary Poppins.

Our parking ticket was up, but we’d used up almost all of it anyway and so we drove off and found a Tesco the sat nav didn’t know about (ha!) and a very posh one too. Then we drove home through the rain that had returned.

Chicken on peas and leeks for dinner. Our chance to cook.

Walking – 10 June 2019

Today dawned sunny, so we were going for a longer walk than yesterday.

Madeleine decided to stay as this was going to be a fairly energetic walk. The first part was definitely energy sapping and was a climb up a fairly steep hillside, but as Sim had told us, after that it levelled out and we walked along a metalled road … for what seemed like miles, but wasn’t really. The views from the top of the hill were excellent with speckled sunlight over the Welsh hills. It was a circular path that took us back the way we came eventually. Findings were a strange looking Shield Bug with red and black markings, a bird’s nest with chicks in a hole at the side of the road some strange brown striped flies with enormous antennae and an interesting brown butterfly. I got photos of everything except the birds nest because I didn’t want to disturb the parent birds and risk them abandoning the chicks, unlike the rest of the group who crowded round for a better look. Then I noticed I’d set the ISO to 256000! Luckily I only took a few shots with the heavy grain. Unluckily the butterfly was one of those shots.

We just got home before the rain started and I was beat, so I had a snooze. After that it was lunch and I managed to get some more photos taken. Then Scamp and I sat in the garden where I got a couple of sketch/paintings done one of which is here.

The clouds had been gradually massing and when the thunder started Scamp decided the good weather had gone. I stuck it out for ten minutes or so before having to give up too. Just in time as it turned out, because the rain came down in torrents, but the thunder grumbled away down the valley.

Chicken curry and roti for dinner.

Seven went for a walk – 9 June 2019

Seven became five, then five became two and a dog called Vixen.

We started out as seven, but then two dropped out and five soldiered on. After that the rain came on and showed no signs of going off, so another three walked back to the house while JIC and Sim tried to walk some of the energy out of Vixen.

We waited and waited and waited some more, but the rain didn’t want to leave us alone. Finally it dried up and I went out for a walk to take some pictures. That’s where today’s PoD came from. JIC and Jaime went to light the BBQ. I pitched in and eventually we got it going. Three grown men staring at a fire and occasionally throwing some more combustable material in and watching it burn. What’s not to like? Then the rain came back. It didn’t last long but kept going and coming until JIC decided he’d had enough and suggested that we finish off the cooking of the meat in the oven. Everyone agreed agreed.

Dinner was good. Lovely pork with spicy sausages. Scamp, of course, had salmon. Bottle of wine and more chat before we went to watch some crap TV.

I went out to try to get some star shots, and wished I’d brought the Nikon rather than the Olys. The Panasonic lenses don’t have manual focusing rings and that makes life difficult at 11pm, outside with midges and also, I think, bats flying around. Got some shots, but nothing spectacular.

Tomorrow, no real plans. Looks dry in the morning and wet after that.

Driving, driving all the day – 8 June 2019

Left the house just after 10.30am. Arrived in Wales at about 6.30pm

Actually left the house at 10.15. Couldn’t remember if I’d lifted the MBP power supply. Decided to check. Thankful that I did, because it was still plugged in to the multi point socket in the livingroom. Finally on the road at 10.30, but without the Aeropress or the breakfast cereals or the beer, but we didn’t know that until around 6pm when we were 300 miles down the road.

Fairly easy run down until we reached junction 26 of the M6. Warning signs for the last 30 miles telling us about a 90min delay after junction 26. Decided to take a diversion through Liverpool. Lost our way despite using two phone sat navs and the in-car one. Finally drove along narrow lanes with 2metre high hedges on the outskirts of Aberystwyth and actually found the house with little problem after that. It was signposted just as the letter had said.

Dinner and chat for a few hours, plus a few drinks and bed.

Weather driving down was terrible for the most part with torrential rain, but for once, there were almost no roadworks.

We’re walking, not driving tomorrow.