Saturday, February 18, 2017

What the Hay?

(Has it really been a month since my last blog post?)

(Yes, Val, it really has. You've just been too busy with your smarty-pants-phone and Insta-booyah-gram to notice anyone else.
Sniff, sniff.)

My egotistical Id has just informed me that I've been neglecting my blog, so let's have a little wrap-up of me and my life. It's been an eventful - some might even say crazy - month in the world, but in my little corner of Wales the sun always shines and there's no heavy traffic. Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, lambs are gambolling and the coffee is always delicious!

Roberts Coffi Siop in Dolgellau

It's not always perfect here, but even if you're standing in a graveyard with a cold wind clutching at your throat, the views are incredible!

I made plans to go to Hay-on-Wye to meet someone from Instagram, and that expanded to include more people from Instagram as well as from a book arts group. I didn't have any calling cards - and I wanted to impress everyone - so I finally got around to making some Artist Trading Cards (ATCs). Ta da!

I used cut-outs of old family photos (scanned and printed). And then I decided to make some little books.

The one at the front has thumbnails from the back of a calendar.

And then I went to Hay-on-Wye and met these cool people!!

That's Kelly on the right, another American in Wales (on IG and fedoras.and.pearls). On the left is Anne, co-owner of Addyman Books (@addymanbooks), a fantastic shop on many levels with nooks, crannies, steampunk stair rails, and so many books I couldn't even begin to browse (too much chatting!).

miniature books - squeeeeee! 

So, life is SWEET, as long as I don't watch the news.

in Chester

Well, that's probably enough for now, don't you think? Here's one last one from a recent walk near home.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2017 So Far

Wow, what a year it's been, huh? Holy cow! It's been windy, rainy, snowy, melty.

Sunny, cloudy, dark and light.

There's been fly-tipping in our local town.

What a tumultuous year so far - and it's only beginning!

our view on a misty morning

But seriously, I am incensed at politics in both the US and UK, and I am about to go cold turkey and quit reading or watching the news at all. That'll show 'em! If politicians give a damn about my opinion (they don't), they'll be sorry I'm not watching their fake news, platitudes and Twitter regurgitations. But I don't want to sully my pristine blog with politics. I want to talk about something important, which is - is anybody blogging anymore?

abandoned chapel near us

I've become very dilatory about blogging - and especially about commenting - since I drank the Instagram Kool-aid. I'm doing this post because I wanted to practice writing again using all ten fingers to type instead of just thumbs. (Actually, I just use my right index finger to text, hunting and pecking on the phone keyboard. Is that a typical old lady thing? How do you text - fingers or thumbs?)

near the abandoned chapel

So I'll throw in a few photos here, because I have loads. And I'll encourage you all to ignore the news and politics and instead have a shot of vodka and play a game of Scrabble. Spring is just around the corner!

spring lamb on butcher shop sign in Llanidloes

door in Llanidloes

door in Winchelsea

church window in Winchelsea



Friday, December 23, 2016

Light out of Darkness

It's been a while since I posted, so let's get the small talk and gossip out of the way first.

The weather has been good here, much better than we expected. I'm sure that will change in the coming weeks. Here are some pictures taken from our bedroom window - our 'view with a room' as I like to call it.

early November

late November


I know, that was boring, right? Well, here's a little tidbit of gossip to liven things up. I turned on the TV the other evening just as a game show was finishing up, and the contestants were none other than Sandra from Peaches McGinty and her husband! Sandra quit blogging last year, but I am happy to report that she's alive and well, she looks exactly the same, and she won £1000 on the game show! I bet there was some celebrating in Liverpool that night.

Now, in spite of my heathen nature and irreverent scepticism, I am sometimes allowed to enter churches if I promise not to kick the pews or sing too loudly.

So Mr. S and I went to a Carol Service at Hereford Cathedral. Here is my report.

First of all, we went to see the Mappa Mundi and the Chained Library, which you can read about by following the links I inserted. The books are chained to stop thieves, I guess, because you can't trust those medieval scholars and monks.

Then we went into the cathedral to look around before the service started.

These huge ancient buildings really take my breath away. I especially love the gigantic piers and big, chunky Romanesque arches, which had crisp detailing that looked so modern, in a way.

Then we did get kicked out.

Haha, we weren't being naughty. The evening service fills up with hundreds of people who have requested tickets - as we had - so we had to go wait on the cold, stone porch with the other ticket-holders for almost an hour before they opened the doors to the congregation.

When the service finally began, the lights were turned off, and the choir and officiants processed by candlelight only - it was magic and beautiful! The lights came on for the rest of the service - we had to read our hymn sheets, after all. I no longer profess to be a Christian, but it was a beautiful service. The boys in the choir sang like angels and the pipe organ stirred my soul. It was a very special way to mark the Solstice.

Just a minute, you're thinking. Solstice? A Christian ceremony? Isn't that hypocritical?

Well, I find commonality between heralding the Solstice and celebrating Christmas. They are both ways that we puny humans try to find light in the darkness. And it feels like 2016 has been pretty damn dark, so we need all the light we can get.

May your days be merry and also bright, and best wishes for signs of light in 2017!


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Short fiction - or is it?

I walked down Wiggly Wort Lane, in that dusky half-light between unconscience-ness and waking, and I saw a little antique shoppe that looked as if it hadn’t changed in decades. Although it was dark and murky as I looked through the window, I decided to go in.

A bell on the door rang as I walked through, and a rude shout came from the back of the shoppe: ‘What do you want?!?’

I hesitated, then answered, ‘I’ll just have a look round, if you don’t mind,’ and I started to wander in and out of the items stacked here and there - dusty books, elaborate furniture, old-fashioned grooming kits with brushes and combs. There were several scale-model buildings - some were houses and others looked to be offices or mercantiles. One was a hotel that included a small green board resembling a golf course. I walked deeper into the shoppe, nearer to the door at the back. There was a shelf with a row of trophies lined up. These had been dusted and polished, gold glinting in the tiny ray of light from a window at the back. I looked closer and saw that they were all shaped like women, dolls really, in decorous poses with affected smiles.

Then an old man came through from the back of the shoppe, ducking a low beam although he was actually quite small. His hair glowed in the back-light of the window, and I noticed he looked a bit jaundiced. His eyes had a strange gleam that would flit from one eye to the other and back again. I wondered if he was entirely well and if I should, perhaps, leave the shoppe and not disturb him, when he suddenly boomed, ‘I have the best antiques! You’ll never find other antiques better than mine. Mine are the best. Everyone says so. I will sell you the best antiques, the best! Mine are the best!’

He had walked quite close to me by this time, and I started to feel uncomfortable. His breath smelled of mint and something rather rank, and he loomed towards me and gestured extravagantly, his voice rising in volume as he repeated his litany of boasts. I became more and more fearful while he continued talking and coming closer to me, manoeuvring me into a corner. Suddenly there was yelling as someone burst through the front door, the bell clanging loudly, the man turning and bellowing, ‘Get ’im out!!! Get ’im out!!!’

The person who had entered was also shouting, trying to drown out the strange little man, crying at me to ‘Wake up! Wake up!’ as the din got louder and louder.

Paralysed, I struggled to move, shaking my head from side to side and trying to wake myself up. My eyes would not obey me as I tried to force them open, tried to find daylight to end this nightmare.

Eventually, the shoppe began to dissolve around me, the noises stopped and I moved my hands. My arms stretched out as I opened my eyes and broke through the miasma into full consciousness. 

And yet, the nightmare lingers.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

First this, then the other

I know, I know - we're all saying it to ourselves if not to the lady at the shop or the man at the post office.

I can't believe it's November! Where has the time gone! It'll be Christmas before you know it!

Chirk Castle

With all this time flying by at supersonic speeds, I thought it was time to update my profile pic. The old one was at least three years old.

summer in Eugene, Oregon - 2013

How things have changed in three years - different glasses, different hair, different home.

autumn in Wales - 2016

Now I'm going to bombard you with pretty photos because, one, it's been an amazing autumn here in the UK and everything is BEAUTIFUL!

And two, yes, I do live in a faerie tale land.

Chirk Castle

Stokesay Castle

Lake Vyrnwy straining tower

Between the photos, though, are my ramblings about balance. I am a Libra, the sign of the balance, and Libras tend to tip first one way and then the other. I find that it is, in fact, true.




I go through periods of being energetic, creative and upbeat. Then I go through periods where all I want to do is sit quietly and read or watch TV.

Welshpool canal

Welshpool canal

Llanerfyl churchyard

Remember all the paper dolls I did a few weeks ago?

Yeah, that seems to have blown over. I imagine I'll get my creative magic back at some point, and I'll dive in to my crafting supplies and start flinging paper around again.


Lake Vyrnwy

Llanerfyl churchyard

Until then, I'm just enjoying this lovely autumn before the weather changes to dark winter skies and howling winds, and a different kind of magic takes hold.

Lake Vyrnwy dam