Tag Archives: West Wales

Puppy sees his first Snow

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Actually, I’m copying this from my other blog ‘the spare’, cos I couldn’t find a re-blog button!

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Took this picture this morning – yes its snowing in West Wales.  Yes its my puppy – I’ve had him since 1st November, and I’ve resisted the impulse to put pictures of him up until now, but I think I can share this one!

A Wonderful Vintage Straw Baler: at Llandysul Agricultural Show

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Yes, I know this is a total change of subject!

I went to Llandysul Agricultural Show yesterday, and it was the best organised show I’ve been to, beautifully laid out, with plenty of room for all the animals and their owners transport.  The weather was warm and  the views of the hills around the area, gave it a very relaxed feel.  Unfortunately for the organisers, it wasn’t as full of visitors as they’d have liked.

I “got into” agricultural shows when I first moved from London to Ystalyfera, and found myself co-opted as “official photographer” of the Swansea Valley Show – which unfortunately is no longer held.

If you happen to share my enthusiasm – there’s quite a lot of my photos of various shows taken over the years, on my rather neglected other blog  “The Spare”

You can find Sennybridge Show HERE  and HERE (kids in fancy dress on their ponies) and a collection of my favourites HERE

fullsizeoutput_273The straw baler is powered here by running the tractor connected to the 1948 machine through the long ‘canvas band’ which turns the wheels.  I’m not sure what the original power source was – all I can say is that it makes a very satisfying mesmerising racket!

In this demonstration, the straw is in the white sacks on the ground and thrown up to the man at the top who empties them into the hopper.

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(PS: after I published this I had a thought – it must have been a thresher with a straw baler, cos that big piece of machinery wasn’t made just to ‘straighten straw’!  – I just assumed it was a baler cos that was what it was doing at the time – and there wasn’t any information board in front of the machine – apologies!)

Which comes out “combed” at the other end.  The man who was making sure the straw got into the next part of the process, has stood in the wrong place, so he’s got straw on his back instead.  However, its a great picture to show where the straw is coming from!  It then goes thro’ the actual baler, and gets compacted into the familiar shape of a straw bale – and I think – the bale is automatically tied with twine to keep it in shape.

I did manage to have a quick word with the owner as they were packing up the machine, near the end of the show, and he told me it was a 1948 machine that he actually brought down from Scotland, as the machine was never used in Wales, because it was too expensive.  He bought it for £6,000 about 5 years ago and had to do a fair bit of work on it to get it running again!

It must be a huge job, transporting it anywhere – just wondering how he even got it to the Show Field!  It attracted a lot of attention from the visitors.

A few more pictures – I didn’t try to cover the whole show, there were also cows & sheep and dogs etc etc as well as a craft tent and the all important food and beer tents!

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HALLO AGAIN! – it’s been far too long!

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a garden in benign neglect_Fotor

A Garden in Benign Neglect

Its been a long time since I last posted on this blog – a lot longer than I intended it to be.  I thought I was just going to take a short break from online selling, but as you can see it didn’t work out that way, and a few more changes came along too!

I did want to have some time to rethink the way I was working, because it wasn’t suiting me to be bound to the computer and the deadlines for posting out endless packages.  Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed it, but I missed the personal element.

For many years, before the internet came along, I sold face to face, at craft markets and other venues, and I knew who my customers were, what they wanted, what they were making, any problems they had etc – because they would tell me! – and I would learn techniques from them too.

I was missing that part of the process, but of course, I found that there are less of these events around now, simply because its possible to sell online.  And sad to say I have found that I can no longer do the driving to venues and packing and unpacking the stock that I used to take for granted, because I have osteoarthritis in both knees and find it too tiring to do many of these events these days!

Of course I can reach at lot more people online, in other countries as well as my own, without moving from my desk.  So whilst I hope to keep my hand in with some face to face selling, I think its time to get back to selling online again!

I have tried introducing as much interaction as possible with this blog, trying to include that person to person, if not face to face, feel by encouraging people to leave comments, and with invitations for everyone to share their work here – but I have to say, that it hasn’t worked all that well, because there is an issue of trust that is missing when you don’t know and can’t meet the person you are dealing with.

However I will be keeping the “SHOW & TELL” archive section, and will always be happy to put up pictures of your own work, whatever kind of craft you work in, and wherever you are!  And you are welcome to contact me with any queries, and to tell me what you are making and what items you might need, and I will see if I can source them for you.

The other major change – 

is that I have moved to a really nice little stone cottage, with a large garden – see photo above – which needs a lot of sorting out, in the Lampeter area of West Wales.

I have not got much storage space here, and am still waiting to find some builders who will allow me to make the changes I need – such as a safe staircase, some storage space and a bit of renovation work.  (If you know anyone in this area, please get it touch – its taking far too long to find a builder that doesn’t give a start date earlier than 6 months time!)

This means that a lot of my stock is inaccessible at the moment, so when I get going again soon, I will not be featuring my full stock – but if you have been a customer of mine in the past and want to order something that I sold before, please ask and I will tell if you I still have it, and whether I can access it!

I will be feeling my way as to how much I can list, on ebay and etsy, and may try and ring the changes in the way I work too.  ie:  If you list it, you have to be prepared to send the item immediately, so I may have some weeks off here and there and take all the listings down.  However, if you do want something specific when they are not listed, you are welcome to contact me via email, or the “contact me” box on this blog.

There are also a few new ideas popping into my head at the moment, that need a bit more research, and when I have done that, I’ll try them out and see whether they work – for you and for me – smile!

So watch this space, and I’ll let you know quite soon when the listings are up again.

All the best

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A Day out at Mwnt

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After weeks of rain – or so it seems – the last week has been glorious in S Wales – so we took advantage of it and had a day out around the Cardigan coast in West Wales – and I thought I’d share with you a few of the pictures I took.  Time Out from the usual stuff – smile!

I first visited the tiny Church at MWNT, yes it’s the Welsh name,  (pronounced “Munt” with a short ‘U’ – rhymes with “grunt”) nearly 30 years ago with my sister – and I’ve never forgotten it!

The Church of the Holy Cross (Welsh: Eglwys y Grog) - A small medieval stone Church by the sea

The Church of the Holy Cross (Welsh: Eglwys y Grog) – A small medieval stone Church by the sea

Mwnt is a very small community and ancient parish in south CeredigionWales, on the West Wales coast about 4.5 miles (7.2 km) from Cardigan. It lies on the Ceredigion Coast Path.

It gets its name from the prominent steep conical hill (Foel y Mwnt), a landmark from much of Cardigan Bay, that rises above the beach, and was formerly anglicised as Mount. (wikipedia)

You can walk for miles along the coastal path, but you can also approach it along a narrow country lane – watch out for tractors – by car, and there is a National Trust Car Park and a lovely beach just to the side of the Church. (There is also a caravan site just a little further along, but at least it doesn’t intrude on the feeling of isolation!)

the beach at Mwnt - its a long way down those steps

the beach at Mwnt – its a long way down those steps

I can’t remember there being such easy access to the beach, or the car park being so close, 30 years ago – so maybe they have been added since then, or maybe I just remember it as being a very special place that was miles away from anywhere!  I am sure, however, that the caravan park wasn’t there at the time!

The information board in the Church, which is free to visit, and cleaned by a very cheerful lady who I met just coming out of the door, says that there was a Church of some kind there since the 5th Century, and it was a burial place for Saints.  The current building dates back to the 14th Century, with an even older stone font, which I forgot to photograph!

Inside the Church

Inside the Church

The history of the area has not always been peaceful.  Mwnt was the site of an unsuccessful invasion by Flemings in 1155, and its defeat was long afterwards celebrated on the first Sunday in January as “Sul Coch y Mwnt”. The name (Red Sunday) was given in consequence of the blood shed on that day.[5] It is reputed that the bones of the defeated invaders would occasionally be visible under the sand when uncovered by windy conditions in the early 20th century.[6]

There is no way of telling whose grave this is, but it tells its own story nevertheless..

There is no way of telling whose grave this is, but it tells its own story nevertheless..

And just outside is an interesting use of the local stone to create a drainage ditch – the National Trust have copied this on the walls of the car park!

a fishing boat setting out from Cardigan

a fishing boat setting out from Cardigan Bay

Next time we manage to get there, I’m hoping to take a boat trip around the coast – its an area where, if you are lucky, you might see some dolphins!   Hope you enjoyed the day out as much as I did – smile!  (And yes, this is a blatant advert for Wales!)