30 December 2008


I started to write this to be published on Christmas Day, however, somehow I was sidetracked and it has taken me until now to catch up.
Christmas Day was reasonably quiet; Annette, Clive & the dogs have been staying with us for the whole of the holiday although Clive had to spend a lot of time at work as was the case on Christmas morning. Having opened presents, Clive went off to work for the morning and the rest of us went to Watergate Bay for some fresh air and to exercise the dogs. Here we are posing for the obligatory photo:

Clive finished work in time for dinner to be served at about 5 pm after which we spent a quiet evening relaxing in front of the TV.

During the preparations for Christmas Dinner, Maria noticed that some of the potatoes, which are kept in the garage, had large chunks missing. On closer investigation, we discovered mouse droppings and holes in various items of dog food and old paint sheets. We decided to set our traps (humane) that we bought last year and one that Clive came home with. The mice seemed to be able to pinch the bait without tripping the trap until we found one comfortably ensconced in Clive's trap. The following video will only be relevant if you can move it on frame by frame and even then the mouse is a blur as he/she makes a dash for freedom in the brambles in the top field.

Since this release, we have caught and relocated another one. This was in one of the smaller traps and it was so fat that it had to be shaken out; it then ran around my back pursued by Tia. It safely made the brambles eventually.

The weather has been cold and dry with a good amount of sun so we have taken the opportunity to climb our local mountain a couple of times so that we could pose with the recently erected (Christmas Day) Cornish Flag. A couple of photos show us up there being blown about by the wind:

14 December 2008

Twice in One Year - Snow Joke brings up the 100

After a rather late night watching X Factor etc, and perhaps consuming one Grouse too many, I woke up late this morning and, on opening up the black-out blind, I was met with the following scene:

Now snow doesn't usually last very long in Cornwall so there I was outside in slippers, tracksuit bottoms and a sweater to record our second fall of snow in one year, the last being in April.

It is quite pretty as long as you don't have to travel in it; I wonder what the person making the following tracks thought about it?

Just in case you haven't thought about the title, this is post number 100, so I am up there with Amy again!

10 December 2008

Calendar Girls

Yesterday we decided to combine some shopping in Plymouth with a visit to the theatre. We set off early-ish and called in at Trago Mills on the way, where we wanted to buy a new "runner" for the kitchen and some spare bulbs for the Christmas Lights. The runner cost £14 and they didn't have spare bulbs so how come we came out of there with a bill for nearly £80?
I had booked on-line for Calendar Girls, starring Linda Bellingham, Patricia Hodge, Sian Phillips, Gaynor Faye, Brigit Forsyth, Julia Hills and Elaine C Smith, but could only get seats in the Upper Circle. Once we had parked, we went to the theatre and asked whether we could get better seats and were pleasantly surprised to get a couple of seats in the middle of Row H in the stalls.

We went off and did some more shopping and had some lunch before getting back to the theatre in time for a cup of tea before the show started. I guess that most people will know the story of the Women's Institute Calendar Girls who have so far raised nearly £2,000,000 for Leukaemia Research so I won't bother with the story. Suffice to say that it was a tremendous afternoon's entertainment, alternatively very very funny and then touching. It was mostly funny and lest anyone thinks the show is for voyeurs of naked middle aged women, then think again. Yes they did take their clothes off, especially Linda Bellingham, but nobody could possibly take offence, as the scenes with the nakedness were very tastefully and cleverly done. Thoroughly recommended, even for an afternoon performance.

06 December 2008

Three times trouble

It all seems a little quiet since the wall was completed; Clive kindly came along and tidied up the top with just a little help from me and I took out one and a half barrow loads of rocks and rubbish from the ground at the side of the road, which has made the whole thing look more presentable.

On to the troubles as in the title of the Post.


About two weeks ago, I came down in the morning to find that the dishes were cold and not very clean. After blaming Maria for pressing the wrong buttons, I had to grovel an apology when we found out that something was not working properly. I found a code E9 fault displayed so went to the book for help; guess what, the fault codes go as far as E6! OK, so ring for help. Help. we were told would arrive in nine days time. On the ninth day, nothing and, on ringing back, the help line was "temporarily out of use". The penny dropped when we heard that MFI was in administration; guess who had installed the kitchen? No prizes there. On the same day, Maria heard someone delivering mail so went to pick it up, only to find that it was a letter for the previous occupants of the house. She rushed out to find that it wasn't the postman but a lady to whose house the letter had first been delivered. (stay with me here) They got chatting about this and that and she came back in with the suggestion that we should contact a local firm, F&K. Having made contact, they arranged for an engineer to visit the following morning. After dismantling the kitchen and then the dishwasher, he fixed it by cleaning out the water input supply and charged me £51 for doing it. I thought this was good value for nearly 2 hours work and much better than the call-out fee of MFI's service which was somewhere near £90.

Central Heating.

For some time, I have been puzzling about how the various components of the underfloor heating work and, as we have been here over a year now, I rang my contact plumber to ask his advice and get him to service the boiler. Unfortunately, he is not registered to work on LPG gas so he said he would contact someone for us. Sure enough a day or so later we had a phone call to arrange a time for a visit from CN Heating Ltd. On the due day Carl turned up and spent the next 2 hours servicing the boiler and explaining and carrying out small adjustments on the various parts of the system. Carl comes originally from Bradford and was very chatty and extremely helpful. As a result of his visit, we now have heat in the Boot Room, for the first time in memory, and hopefully a more efficient system. One more very useful contact. We also know where the pump is for Bedroom 1! His bill came to £69, which we thought was really good value.

Problem 3 - SKY.

Yesterday when we switched on the TV, the Sky channels were not working so I thought that the satellite must be down. Not so, as the fault continued all day. In the end I rang Sky and went through about half an hour of setting up, disconnecting, switching off and reconnecting so that finally we got the services back just in time for the Celebrity Jungle final. Apparently I had "static" in the line. Not sure about that but it is working now so all is well and, as everyone knows that problems come in threes, we should have no more hiccouphs for a while, not that I am in the slightest bit superstitious.

27 November 2008

Wall - Build Finished

At last, Chris & Jason and their diggers have gone leaving us with the finished build as shown below. A big thank you is due to them, especially Chris who did the actual wall building. We believe that the entrance road to the house now looks so much better and we can be sure that nothing is going to collapse in the foreseeable future.

There is some work to do yet to tidy the whole thing up. As can be seen in the photo, there is one section of foliage that is very much higher than the rest. Hopefully, when we have some decent weather, Clive is going to help me level that off as he has done lower down.

The last thing to do is to level and re-seed the side of the road, which, as can be seen, is currently a patch of mud.

24 November 2008

Wall - Day Eleven

As can be seen by the latest photo, the end is nigh. Hopefully, tomorrow, Clive and I will sort out some of the top foliage so that is is somewhat neater, with less bracken than now. It will also give me chance to get rid of some of the rubbish that the hedge is made of; for instance, I know that there is a concrete gatepost semi buried that could do with being removed. Chris thinks that they will finish on Wednesday, which will be a relief not only to us but also to all the residents of the Residential Park, who have had to contend with road restrictions and mud for the past three weeks.
Next report tomorrow; the weather is set fair so here's hoping for really good progress.

22 November 2008

Wall - Day Ten

Although I took photos yesterday, they were so out of focus that I decided to delay an update until today. Just one photograph because, from the bottom, it is almost impossible to see the difference from the last one. Hopefully, given a bit of a break with the weather, the whole thing should be finished by Wednesday next week.

20 November 2008

Wall - Day Eight

On this day, Jason was away fixing his car so Chris worked alone. This was undoubtedly the best for weather that we have had so the working conditions were relatively good. This was also the day when we took delivery of the second, and last, load of stone.

The following photo shows Chris and the small digger taking out some of the vegetation in order to prepare the ground for the next day's building.

So, at the beginning of the next day, this is where we are:

19 November 2008

Wall - Day Seven

The latest photos of the wall; this time I have included one from the top, which shows the new build approaching the old. The half way mark has been passed and, if the weather stays good, by the end of this week it should be very close to being finished as far as building is concerned. After that it will be a case of tidying up, reseeding the verge, and rounding off the top.

17 November 2008

Wall - Day Six

Another rather damp day has made work on the wall somewhat difficult; the photos were taken in very poor light and have been adjusted for brilliance and contrast so may look a little strange, however they give some idea of the progress made.

15 November 2008

Fourteenth of November

14th November is a memorable day because, amongst other happenings, in 1946 Maria was born, in 1948 Prince Charles was born and in 1964 Maria & I were married. We didn't celebrate much this year, just went out for a meal with friends Dot and John. I thought that then and now photos would be appropriate, but unfortunately, trying to get a flash photo of Maria with her eyes open is the next thing to impossibility; John did his best and managed to get this one with one eye open:

Next to our wedding day and a photo taken outside the Sacred Heart Church, Thornton. What happened to all that hair? Maria still has that glorious smile though!

The following photo will be of interest to some of the people who read this, I just hope that they recognise themselves.

Maria and her four brothers:
Left to Right:
Paul, Terry, Maria, Brian, Michael

14 November 2008

Wall - Day Five

After a day off for bad weather, excellent progress has been made today as can be seen:

Next report due on Monday evening, always assuming that the weather permits work.

12 November 2008

Wall - Day Four

Another good day for Chris and Jason, the results of which can be seen in the two photographs below:

The weather forecast for tomorrow is, shall we say, a little variable; in addition, Chris is by himself so we wait with interest to see what progress can be made, however the wall is looking very good indeed. Next report tomorrow.

11 November 2008

Wall - Day Three

Although I have titled this Day 3, it is only the second day of real work so I think that the progress is very good indeed. Today Chris brought along Jason as a labourer to shift stone and earth and retrieve the old stone from the wall. The weather stayed fine so, as can be seen, at the end of the day a substantial wall has appeared.

The weather is set fair for tomorrow, so we hope for similar progress again.

10 November 2008

The Wall - Plan 'B'

We have made a decision and are now into Plan B for the wall on the entrance road to Roseveare House. After much soul searching, we have decided that we shall have a granite support wall built; this apparently counts as a Cornish Hedge because the inside is filled with earth and traditionally has a turf top. The following two pictures show the hedge before work started and the progress after Day 1.

It was supposed to be Day 2 today but it has poured down most of the morning so no progress apart from the delivery of 10 tons of granite. The forecast for tomorrow is better and Wednesday is good so we hope for the best.

30 October 2008

"W"All fall down

Whilst we were away we had an agonised phone call and photo from Annette, who had promised to check the house in our absence. This is the photo:

Quite obviously, the Turf Wall that I had been building had partly collapsed into the road, caused I suppose by not being strong enough in this particular area to support the amount of infill required to make it almost vertical and straight. Annette was left with the problem of deciding what to do about it. Fortunately someone stopped and offered some cones as a warning; this offer was gratefully accepted. Annette got Clive to come along as soon as possible and between them, they managed to clear everything from the road so that traffic could pass with no trouble. The following photo shows how well they did:

On returning home, I cleared all the loose turf and soil , as shown in the following photo, and decided to go to Plan B.

What was Plan B you may ask? Well I didn't have one so I thought that I had better come up with one quickly. More news to follow, when I have some.

In the meantime, many thanks to Annette & Clive for their hard work. Why does everything happen when we are away?

13 October 2008

89th Entry Reunion

On Friday 10th October we left the Mepham home for the Ramada Hotel at Pembury, just outside Tunbridge Wells.

As the event had been organised by Mick, it was only right that we should spend both Friday and Saturday nights at the hotel with everyone else. After booking in - what a great room - Mick ensconced himself in the Bar area of the hotel and waited for the others to start arriving. I spent some time with him but also went for a walk to the local Supermaket whilst Sue and Maria went off to Tunbridge Wells for some retail therapy. An evening meal was part of the deal and we had been allocated a separate Dining Room so we all gathered for a meal and chat, renewing acquaintances and, in some cases, making new ones.
Saturday dawned fine with the promise of a glorious day. Once again, I decided not to go on the shopping trip with Maria and Sue and settled for a meander around the local Garden Centre in between meeting those members who arrived on the Saturday.
The evening get together proved very successful, with the staff looking after us very well.

Maria with Sue Mepham.

Anne & Gerry Klippel with Virginia Dalgleish.
Roger Gulliver looking on and the fit brigade dancing.

A good night was had by all with enough people dancing to justify the Disco. My efforts to dance all the way through "Tiger Feet" only went to prove that I am not as young as I used to be - I hope nobody had a Video Camera running!!
I cannot remember what time we went to bed, but we were up in the morning in time for breakfast followed by a very brief AGM. We look forward to meeting everyone again next year in Southport.
Having said our goodbyes, it was back to White Cottage where Jane & John Baker and Virginia & Dag Dalgleish joined us for coffee and chat. When they left, we spent the rest of the day relaxing in the Autumn sunshine.
The following morning, after a leisurely breakfast it was time to say goodbye to our hosts and make the long journey home. This proved to be a fairly easy journey with no problems.

Many thanks to Sue & Mick for entertaining us so well and we look forward to being able to return the favour.

10 October 2008

Hever Castle

After the busy Wednesday, we had a leisurely breakfast and then set off for Hever Castle, the childhood home of Ann Boleyn. The weather was superb, allowing us to wander around the grounds in comfort. The following photos show one of the many huge trees, the Castle and Maria & Sue framing a very interesting background!

Photo Detail

Having spent some time exploring outside, including the Water Maze, we then looked around the house, which is very interesting with some very small and steep stone circular staircases. By the time we had looked around, we all should have been experts on the Tudors but I fear that old age and a fading memory has meant that I remember very little.

08 October 2008

Visit to London

October is the month when we usually have our 89th Entry of RAF Halton, Reunion. This year, the reunion was organised by Mick Mepham near to Tunbridge Wells in Kent. We were lucky enough to be invited to stay with Sue and Mick before the event of which more later. We travelled up on Tuesday 7th October to their "cottage" in Crowborough, East Sussex.

"White Cottage" Garden

Maria and Sue had done some prior arranging and had booked seats for "Dirty Dancing" on Wednesday evening so we travelled up to London late on Wednesday morning and then meandered from Charing Cross to Covent Garden where we had a drink after which Mick and I paid a visit to the London Transport Museum, whilst the ladies wandered around looking at shops.
After we met up again, we made the decision to visit the Portrait Gallery; Sue had a particular wish to look at the Tudor Gallery. Having spent some time studying Henry VIII, and his various wives and associates, we popped up to the top of the building for a coffee and a splendid view over the roofs of London. The Portrait Gallery, now free to enter, is well worth a visit, if only to see what these historical figures did look like. It would take days to view everything in any detail.
From there we walked on to Picadilly where Sue had booked a 'pre-show' table at the Criterion Restaurant. This is a Marco Pierre White establishment and it was a real treat to sit in those surroundings and to have a good meal served by staff who seemed genuinely interested in ensuring that the customer enjoyed the experience.
We took a taxi from there to the Aldwych Theatre for the show, which we thoroughly enjoyed despite the fact that it really is a 'girlie' show and most of the audience knew every word. Anyway, the dancing was great and it was interesting to see how a theatre produces a show from a film where some of the most significant action takes action in a field and lake - very clever.
Because of the time, we took another taxi back to Charing Cross in time to catch the 22:45 train back home. A long day but most enjoyable and we really must thank Sue and Mick for doing all the organising.

30 September 2008

Bedruthan Steps

As the last day of September disappears in the mist of the Cornish rain, we think back two days to one of our very few trips out this year. The weather was set fair so we decided on Saturday to make the most of the early part of Sunday, when the grass was too wet to cut, and pay an overdue visit to one of our favourite places to walk. This is the area between Bedruthan Steps and Mawgan Porth, where the National Trust has its Carnewas car park, cafe and shop.
We started with a coffee, booked for Sunday Lunch next week, then strolled off towards Mawgan Porth. The weather was superb and this meant that the sea was shown in its best blue with white breakers. A couple of Kestrels hovered motionless over the edge of the cliffs - oh for a decent camera - before swooping off out of sight. After some commotion further up the coast, a whole gaggle of mixed gulls flew past us, obviously heading for somewhere, or something, interesting. I took the following photo of the two of us - it has taken me about five years to figure out how the timer works on this camera.

This photo of Maria really shows how blue the sea was.

After the walk, we stopped in the shop and I bought some gardening gauntlets before travelling home via Annette's where we had a cup of tea. I then managed to cut the last of the lawns that needed doing. All in all a very pleasant and successful day.

27 September 2008

September Sun

After the dreadful Summer, September has cheered us all up with lots of sunshine and very little rain recently. Lots of gardening has ensued with both Maria and I spending lots of time weeding and trimming shrubs. One nasty experience was to watch a Magpie killing what I take to have been a Greenfinch. When the Magpie spotted us, he flew off holding the poor bird by its wing with it still trying to escape.
I have now managed to paint the large shed with preservative; there is no point in showing before and after photos since they look remarkably similar.
With Amy and Andrew in mind, I decided to block up the hole at the side of the house where we believe mice came into the house (we heard them scrabbling about only a foot or so from where I am sitting and Tia used to go mad and jump on the window sill to try and get at them). I found a gap between two blocks and have stuffed it full of rocks so we wait and see if that is effective. As a consequence of that action, I decided to create a border as shown below. What I need now are some shrubs that don't mind being in shade all day - suggestions please!!

One day recently, one of our "neighbours" from the residential park stopped and asked whether I would like some more turf as he was replacing some of his lawn with chippings. I said yes and a few days later, I brought four trailer loads down as can be seen below:

24 hours later, the turf was in place and my wall was a little higher and longer:

20 September 2008

Anniversary Time

Although Roseveare House became officially ours on 17th September 2007 we actually moved in on the 19th, so we have just celebrated our First Anniversary here. Just where that time has gone I don't know but gone it has. Both of us have been extremely happy and, despite the fact that I retired at the same time and we spend nearly all the time together, we have disagreed on very little. Have I missed work? - NO.

So, what have we achieved in our first year?
The house has remained virtually the same with no decorating needing to be done. Vertical Blinds now adorn the Conservatory and indeed the rest of the house and blackout blinds have been added to the Master and Second Bedrooms. Lighting has been added to the loft space and the space over the garage.
The earliest job outside was to sort out the Septic Tank, which now seems to be working perfectly. In the garden, we have had the Patio constructed outside the Conservatory and one of the areas of conifers "degrassed" and replaced with chippings. We also had an extra gate put in to join the main garden to the bottom field and replaced the old metal gate between the road and the fields. Speaking of gates, Nick managed to dig out an old gate, which was probably the original gate to the property. He also managed to trim the large conifers for which I am most grateful. The main garden has had a border cut and all the turf cut out from that and the patio has been used to construct a turf wall, which makes the approach to the house a little tidier (long ongoing project). The lawns have been cut regularly and parts of them now look more like lawns should, with expanding turf and less gaps. In the lower field, I have started creating an area for general sports use.
My own personal disappointment has been my inability to progress the top "lawn", which remains a bit of a shambles. Even worse is the patch of ground on the approach to the house below the large conifers. I think the grassed area needs flattening so that it can be cut properly, but I cannot decide how to do it. One other project that should have been done this Summer was the treatment of the two sheds. We bought the wood preservative but failed miserably to do the painting, partly due to the abysmal weather; the wood just never dried out properly.
Rabbits continue to cause some havoc and my efforts to keep them out of the garden have only been partially successful. Learning to shoot straight might be the ultimate solution!
Finally, how did we celebrate? Well, apart from the odd glass of wine, I had a bonfire, which may not be considered good for my carbon footprint. Perhaps a Garden Shredder would be useful as a Christmas present!

Anyone any good at making Smoke Signals?

Here's to the next year!

16 September 2008

Pop's Visit

On the Friday after our return from Italy, Emma & Paul drove Pop down to Cornwall to stay with us. They were having a long weekend and chose to stay in a local hotel rather than us so that they could have some time to themselves.
On the Saturday, they took Pop to The Lost Gardens of Heligan. Fortunately, the weather was good for the whole of the weekend, which is something of a miracle considering the so called "Summer" that we have had. They all seem to have enjoyed themselves. Emma and Paul came to tea with Annette and we had a very pleasant evening.
On Sunday, I managed to get Pop onto the "Tractor" so that he could have a look around the whole of the garden and fields. The photo shows him with rather a surprised look on his face, but he managed it well enough even if he did comment that his electric buggy was easier to drive.

We went to lunch at Trevose Golf Club where we were treated extremely well; thanks Clive for the arrangements. After lunch we all sat in the bar, drinking coffee, admiring the magnificent view (see the Trevose Golf Club home page for that view) and watching the golfers come and go. After a leisurely drive home the rest of the afternoon was spent lounging around the house, which was very warm in the sunlight. A few minutes(?) of siesta was enjoyed by all before Clive arrived and it was time for a snack tea.

On Monday morning, Emma & Paul arrived to collect Pop for the return journey to Bradford.

Thanks to them both for taking the time and trouble to bring Pop down. We thoroughly enjoyed their visit and hope that we see them again in the near future. They seem to have had a relatively trouble free journey home as we had a phone call from Pop at about 5 o'clock to say that he was home.

11 September 2008


After Nick & Karen collected Charlotte & Curtis, we had a short period in which to get the bedding washed and the grass cut before we set off for a week's holiday with Amy & Andrew in Italy.
We had decided to fly from Newquay to Stansted and thence on to Forli; the only problem with this was the ten hours spent at Stansted awaiting our connection. The seating in the airport is not the most comfortable but we managed. We considered taking a train to London or Bishops Stortford but the weather was pretty miserable so we decided that walking around the shops in the rain was not a good idea.
When we reached Forli, Andrew was there to collect us for the 90 minute drive to Città di Castello and our home for the next seven days. We had a lovely relaxing time doing very little except throwing the football for Jasmine. I say relaxing but the farmer starting his tractor right outside our window at some unearthly hour was a little startling on the first morning.
During our stay we spent some time at their "new" house, which is still some time away from becoming habitable, however some vital changes have taken place and they are now close to having an electricity supply to the property. The photo below does not indicate the full extent of the work needing to be done.

We also visited Montone, which is a very attractive little hilltop village, beautifully kept, with steep streets and the obligatory village square where we had a very peaceful drink as can be seen in the photo of Maria & Andrew below.

Because Amy & Andrew had a business meeting in Florence, we all went by car and train and had a couple of hours wandering around, trying to make the most of our comparatively short time there. We had no time to go inside any of the galleries and the Duomo was closed so we just managed to get to some of the main tourist areas, notably the Piazza Della Signoria, Uffizzi Galleries and the Ponte Vecchio. We also managed to get something to eat before meeting up with Amy and Andrew and climbing on board the train for our journey home. Florence is certainly a fascinating city with some magnificent architecture and art but I think that to make the most of a visit would need considerable planning and unlimited time.

So, after a splendid week, Andrew drove us back to Forli, where we caught our flight back to Stansted and onwards to Newquay where Annette met us and brought us home.

Below is a photo of our hosts to whom we say thank you very much for looking after us so well and transporting us around. It was really appreciated and we hope to do it again in the future.