Monday, 18 September 2017

Pretty Porthgain

Hello Friends!

After the wild and woolly lashings of Aileen against our shores, the weather has become decidedly improved with pleasant temperatures and lighter winds. I awaken each morning to the kind of days I dream of all year long while waiting, with eager anticipation, of Autumn.

This afternoon seemed a perfect day to visit nearby Porthgain, a small hamlet with an intriguing juxtaposition of quaint cottages and imposing industrial stone ruins, complete with a functional red telephone kiosk {necessary, as you won't get a very good mobile signal here} and small red post box ~~~

I was surprised at the number of cars present, but then Porthgain has two of the areas favourite hostelries, The Sloop Inn and The Shed.  Below, you can see the industrial ruins, just a hundred yards or so from the picturesque cottages {above} that are quite heavy, and when you get close, they give off a Dickensian feel, gloomy, dark, and imposing, a remnant of the industrial past, when Porthgain was a bustling hive of industry, built into the cliffs ~~~

The harbour is quite small, and today is used by local fishermen, and in the height of Summer it is very busy with visiting boats sailing the coast or looking for a quay from which to launch and sail forth into the Irish Sea ~~~

The tide comes in quite quickly too ~~~

Porthgain is an "on off" point for walkers along this stretch of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park where you can pick up one of the seasonal bus services, the environmentally friendly Strumble Shuttle, if you are done walking for the day and want to return, foot sore and weary, to your accommodation.

Of course, you may wish to refresh yourself with tea and cake at The Shed, or something a little stronger at The Sloop Inn before continuing along the path, or boarding your transport!

I opted for a delicious slice of Coffee Walnut Cake, loaded with walnuts and bursting with coffee flavour at The Shed, with a refreshing pot of tea ~~~

and such a pretty view, overlooking the small harbour, to look at while savouring my treat ~~~

By the time I'd finished my tea, the tide was filling up the harbour quickly indeed ~~~

A trip out would not be a trip out if I didn't take some photographs of the things that speak loudly to my creative soul, so today I found some old red brick work, a lovely, chunky, rusty chain, and a rather scary opening in the brick work ~~~

 I hope you've enjoyed our little trip out along and up the coast!  Soon, I think we'll have to get back into the garden. Yesterday, I cut back the mint, oh! did it smell divine! The tidying up, preparing to tuck the garden away for the Winter has begun ~~~

Until next time ~~~
~~~Deborah xo

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

It's a Wonderful World ~~~

Hello Friends!

I consider myself truly blessed to live where I do. Even though, at the moment, I cannot get out and about in all the coast and countryside where I live, I am deeply grateful for all the photographs I have taken over the years to bring me closer to the beauty of my Shire.  Just stepping outside my cottage door and breathing in the fresh, countryside air that permeates from the surrounding land into my garden lifts my spirits and fills my heart with abounding joy. Of my Shire, my heart will never tire.

I have always enjoyed photography, but my life behind the lens was transformed in October 2006 when my late Daddy gave me a huge surprise for my birthday ~ the gift of my first digital camera. How that transformed my life! There were two things I could not get over ~ first, that I knew instantly whether or not I'd captured the shot, and second, the cost of being able to take hundreds of photographs and print off only the ones I needed to, rather than paying to print off everything from a 35mm roll of film, and paying to get even the out of focus shots that I can now simply discard.  I'm not decrying 35mm photography, it has a charm of its own, the same way old vinyls do when compared to CDs. I think most of you know, and understand, what I am saying!  In a time when we strive for the perfection that comes with progress, you cannot beat that grainy 35mm film, any more than you can top the hiss and crackle of a vinyl record on an old player.

Today, while my prayers hold my friends across the west of America where fires rage, those in Texas recovering from Harvey, and my friends in Florida recovering from Irma, and we all watch, with baited breath, the progress of Jose, we in Wales are waiting for what might prove to be our first named storm of 2017/18.  Aileen will be her name, if she develops to storm force, and she is here about six full weeks ahead of when we should be looking at the start of our storm season, usually in November.  We are told to expect winds in excess of 75 mph! Oh! Joy, Bliss, and Rapture ~ I don't think.

I notice on the list, here, that several Celtic and Gaelic names are included, giving equal representation to the four home nations.

My garden is not prepared, many plants are still flowering and a long way from being ready to be put to bed for Winter, so scurried attempts to bring things temporarily inside, and shelter that with which Summer is not yet done, must be top of the tasks today.  I think we all felt we had Autumn to look forward to, in all her magnificent, colourful array, and wind down gently into November, but no! We must prepare and batten the hatches this very afternoon!  Looking out of my window across the garden, glittering and green, underneath a blue, nearly cloudless sky, who would think in a few hours we will be hunkered down as the storm rages?  But hark! I hear the chimney rattling already ~ the winds that reconnoitre the path ahead have already arrived!

So, as I cannot get out and about as I should like to do, I'm wandering through my old photographs, of which there are many, and popping a few from my archives on here today ~~~

The first few photographs are of tree bark in my garden ~ I love how diverse bark is, from tree to tree, and the inspiration for art, or textiles, that I glean from it ~ Nature is a wonderful source of inspiration ~~~

Bountiful fruits of the season ~ blackberries, haws, crab apples and Autumn fruiting raspberries abound ~~~

Shhhhhhh! be very quiet, for faeries live within, and if we are very still and do not break the magic, why! we may see one flitting about ~~~


 Gossamer webs are woven all across the bushes, trees, and shrubs ~~~

 Here is a sheet of Autumn coloured colouring in I did ~~~ I love the stylised acorn and leaf patterns ~~~

So, my friends, Stay Safe, wherever you are, and these storms will pass ~~~

Until next time ~~~

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Dear Little Robin ~~~

Hello Friends!

When I was a child, I remember my dear mother singing a lullaby to me, and later I would sing it myself. I wish I knew the name of the tune, and maybe you know it yourself, here is the opening line ~~~
Dear Little Robin waiting so patiently, outside my cottage door ~~~ 

So, imagine my utter joy and delight upon opening my own cottage door to discover a Dear Little Robin waiting for me!

He's quite the obliging poser, don't you think?  He is a juvenile, one of this year's fledglings, and such a happy chappy. You can just see the beginnings of his red breast feathers coming in ~~~

but then, I think he'd had enough! "what do you want" said the cute little fellow, before he flew away ~~~

I look forward to many happy hours with him alongside, routing around in the freshly turned soil as I dig and pull out earth~bound juicy worms and bugs for him to feed on ~~~ they are such friendly, trusting souls ~~~

Until next time ~~~
~~~Deborah xoxo

Friday, 1 September 2017

Let's Give This A Go?

Hello Friends!

Let's give this a go with pictures and text today and see how it goes.

Thank you for all your comments and support. Things are still not right on my end, but are better than they were. My Reading List is empty, and I know that there should be many! My page looks different too, so I was this all something to do with a really big Windows 10 update I had? Some of you had all my blogs publish in one go, going way back, while others got no notifications at all, and some of you wonder what I'm going on about because you haven't seen any of it! My page views plummeted to fewer than five per day! They are back up now, to normal, thankfully.  I won't list more, but you get the drift, all is still not right with my blog.

So, let's just keep this simple today, and see how things go?  It's a beautiful Autumn day here in the Shire, the sky is blue, cotton puffs of cloud drift on by, so lazily that they are almost at a standstill, the wind is barely moving, and I feel as lazy as the day. I can't do much, I'm waiting the arrival of a new appliance, so am tied and limited as to what I can do today.

I made an old favourite for my lunch, something I haven't made in a long, long while. My Vegetarian Meatless Balls in a sweet barbecue sauce on rice. So easy, and to get back into the swing of things I'll share it with you.

I made up a packet of soya based vegetarian sausage mix, according to the directions, but you can use any recipe you have for meatless balls.  You can even use real meat if you must!

I rolled them into small rounds, and dusted in lightly seasoned flour before searing them to give a crispy crust in some hot oil.

Meanwhile, I warmed some barbecue sauce and an equal quantity of apricot jam in a pan.

Pop the meatless balls in an oven proof dish, pour over the sauce, and put in a medium oven, Gas Mark 6 or equivalent, for about 25 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the balls are cooked.

Serve over plain boiled rice and with some vegetables of choice, if desired.  This recipe also goes well in Submarine style rolls, and the sauce is good with a lot of other dishes too ~~~

Pudding was a bowl of sun ripened, freshly picked juicy blackberries, from the stone hedge at the back of the cottage.

Well, my friends, so far so good. All have uploaded and fingers crossed this will publish!

Until next time ~~~
~~~Deborah xo

Tuesday, 29 August 2017


Hello Friends

Something is very wrong with my blog. If you can read this, please leave a comment below so I can get some idea of what is happening, even if it's just "yes"

Thank you


Sunday, 20 August 2017

An Apology!

Hello Friends ~~~

This is just a quick note, to apologise for having swamped your Reading List with all my blogs since January this year. It was an accident, I assure you and I can only guess as to what happened.

I made a tiny tweak to some of my settings, yesterday evening, and this may have caused this to happen. Believe me, I didn't dream anything like this would happen, it is obviously a foible of Google Blogger, but, sadly some of you have already become very upset at me, and have even left. This makes me sad, I did not ask for this to happen, and had I known what would happen as a result of my tweaks, I would have left well alone.

Please accept my heartfelt apologies. I am so embarrassed by it all.

Until next time ~~~
~~~Deborah xo

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

A Road Trip Down Memory Lane

Hello Friends!

We're stepping out of the garden and away from the cottage today for a trip down Memory Lane ~~~

There are a handful of words that bring delight and joy to my spirit ~ some of these words are funny, or require some thought, such as "discombobulate" or are just happy sounding words, such as "marshmallow" or "sunflower", and some aren't really words at all, but are just lovely, silly words, such as "jumbleberry" or "mimblewimble".  There are other words, however, that string together and intrigue me or invite me, and two of these words are "road" and "trip" ~ Road Trip!

I love a Road Trip, and a couple years ago this was my interpretation of the prompt "Route 66" for the annual ICAD challenge ~~~

I haven't been on a Road Trip in some decades, not properly, and maybe the last time was wa~a~a~y back in 1984 when my lovely Dad flew out to San Francisco and over three weeks we drove across America to Virginia Beach. Now that's what I call a Road Trip indeed.  Here are a few photos from that epic journey, please don't expect fantastic compositions, they are photos of photos, for back in the day it was 35mm film and the photos have aged over the decades between ~~~

Let's start at the very beginning ~ remember back in the 1980's when scrapbooks and photo albums looked like this? Three ring binders which we covered ourselves with padding and fabric, adding a frill, and the insides were nothing more than photo sleeves with no room for movement?  We've come a long way, baby!

and we're off ~~~

At the time, I lived in Northern California, in a small village called Ferndale. After we picked Dad up in San Francisco, we back tracked 150 miles to show him where I'd lived for a year ~~~ I can see the little church I attended every Sunday, middle right!

Daddy in the Redwood Forest
Heading South ~ no trip to CA is complete without a winery tour!
Then it was on, south, to San Francisco where there were many things to see, so here is a selection ~~~

Golden Gate Bridge at Sunset



Dad with my 'Californian English Springer Spaniel' Gwen

Then we carried on further south to Carmel and took in the sights of the world famous Seventeen Mile Drive ~~~ secretly, we hoped to see Clint Eastwood!

Then we turned inland, and visited the abandoned ghost town at Barstow ~~~

We spent a night in Las Vegas ~~~

and the next day we continued to journey east, and the next major stop was the spectacular Grand Canyon ~~~

We then followed the road to Arizona where we were in total awe of the giant cactus, and, as Daddy was a massive fan of westerns, a trip to the set of Old Tuscon was a must ~~~

There's a rather large gap now because some of the photos have gone missing, but we ended up, safe and sound in Virginia Beach before heading north to Washington DC for a few days before Daddy flew home after his month long visit to America, and a trip of a lifetime ~~~

The dilemma I now face is whether or not to upgrade these photos to a new album. I'd love to see them in a scrapbook format, but then I'm taking away part of the history, the time in which this is how photo albums looked. Maybe I'll tidy up my photos of the photos, have fresh prints made and make a new scrapbook with them?

Recently, a lovely and generous online friend of mine went on a Road Trip, up, and down, the Pacific Coast North West {some more words that, when strung together, tug at my heart strings ~ for I long to be there, Seattle, Puget Sound, Olympia, and so on} and guess what? She took me, and a few others, along for the journey!  We were all very well behaved, well, we were for most of the time.

Anyway, to bring me along on this virtual journey, I've received, in the post over the past few days, a series of lovely post cards that have made it feel as if I really was there, and isn't this such a kind and generous thing to do? Here's what I got in the post over the last week ~~~

Until next time ~~~
~~~Deborah xoxo