20 October 2009

Odds & Ends

At the moment, we have a very friendly Robin who seems determined to spend as much time as possible in our garage or shed. Just as soon as I open the garage door, he seems to appear and hop in. Here is a photo of him sat on the waste bin:

I mentioned in an earlier Post that I had obtained some bark chippings from the "Newquay in Bloom" team, well, this is a photo of the top rockery suitably weeded and covered; I think that it looks quite good. The fact that the photo shows Maria busy weeding her wall is coincidental.

Earlier in the year I planted some wild flower seed in the top of the walls; it would seem that the only flower to appear, so far, is a Cornflower.

Annette's Dogs
Some readers will know that Brandy, Annette's older dog has been very ill recently. Thankfully, he is up and about again and, as can be seen from the following photograph, he looks well and happy.

Just so that she is not left out, here is a photo of Tia surveying the rockery and wondering whether or not she should walk across it.

19 October 2009

Parish Registers for St Mary's Church, Walmer, Kent

One project that has kept me busy over the early mornings, late evenings and rainy Summer days has been the transcription from microfiche of the Baptisms, Marriages and Burials recorded in St Mary's Church, Walmer, Kent. In a moment of weakness, I volunteered to do this for the Kent Family History Society, who have been most helpful with regard to my own Family History research. It is an ongoing project, which will probably occupy me for all the Winter. The baptisms cover the period 156o to 1945 and so far I have transcribed some 3545 records from 1560 to 1830. The Marriages cover 1561 to 1921 and I have managed 747 records from 1561 to 1837. The Burials cover 1560 to 1988 and I have managed 91 records from 1561 to 1582. As you can see I have some way to go!

14 October 2009

Roseveare Update

It is a long time since I wrote anything about the house and garden so you, the reader, might believe that I have done nothing over the Summer months. Well, the weather did play its part and made it very difficult to keep the grass in order. For the most part I managed but have plenty of problems that will have to wait for another year. We have had some Stepping Stones laid between the front path and patio as can be seen in the following two photos. In addition, the Patio has been slightly extended with the addition on a row of bricks on two sides. They can just be seen on the second photo.

One ongoing problem we have is of grass growing through the fences from the field. An example of this is shown in the photograph below.

The problem is that, because I have wire below ground level to try and keep out the rabbits, it is difficult to cut the grass. My solution was to put wooden planks below ground level, with the wire on the "garden" side. This means that the grass can be "strimmed" from the field side. So far I have completed the section from the gate to the new wall.

The above photo shows the completed project, although not very clearly. Whilst carrying out this task, I modified part of the fence so that the top two rails nearest the new wall can be lifted off for easier access to the rockery area; the supports can just be seen.

One other job that I have done this year is to cut a border around the top "lawn" to make cutting around the Griselinia hedge easier. The border will shortly be covered in bark, recently acquired from the "Newquay in Bloom" team. Unfortunately, there has been no real improvement in the state of the lawn!

Yet another job was to tidy up the area between the shed and new wall. The first thing that had to go was the Pampas, which was really scruffy (It now appears to have taken root in my rubbish dump). So far, it has been replaced by a couple of Hydrangeas as shown below.



One more task undertaken was to fill in the ditch that used to run across the entrance to the field. I don't have a photo of what it looked like before but, it now looks like this:

More to follow at a later date.

13 October 2009


Our most recent trip has been to see Amy & Andrew in Italy. Apart from being convenient to all of us, the temperature in Umbria suited us better than that during the summer months in that it only reached about 26 degrees Centigrade!

The most convenient place for us to fly into is Perugia but the only flights to there are from Stansted, which meant that we had to get ourselves to Stansted in time for an 07.30 take off. We decided against driving and, as there are now no flights from Newquay to Stansted, the train seemed to be the best option. In addition, we had to book an overnight stay at Stansted. Whatever faults are levelled at it, when it comes to organising travel and hotels, the internet has become invaluable and so it proved with all the appropriate arrangements quickly made.

Annette took us to Bodmin Parkway for the start of our journey on the appropriate Sunday and our journey started. The only real problem we had was travelling across London from Paddington to Liverpool Street. Usually, the tube goes between the two stations with no changes but, the day being Sunday, we were diverted all over the place. Never mind, we reached Liverpool Street and jumped on the Stansted Express; 40 minutes later we found ourselves searching for the bus that would take us to the hotel. Our overnight stay was short due to getting up at 04.00 but the rest of the travel to Italy went smoothly and Andrew picked us up for the final 40 minute journey to his home.

For most of the week, I helped Andrew to carry out some improvements to his Polytunnel, including some electrical rewiring, concrete block laying and watering system improvements. I was also put in charge of a bonfire to get rid of a pile of rubbish that had built up over the Summer when it is particularly dangerous to have fires. Whilst Andrew and I were doing this, Amy was busy catching up with her wedding photography backlog and Maria rested, sunbathed, played with the dog and did plenty of jobs around the house.

Polytunnel - Centre Bed Foundations

On Saturday we all went to Assisi, which proved interesting; Andrew tells me that they have been to Assisi when there have been hardly any people around. Well on this day it was fairly chaotic and it wasn't until later in the evening that we realised that October 3rd is the anniversary date of St Francis' death. We did wonder why there were television cameras all over the place! The Basilica is a fantastic place with one church built on the top of another and St Francis' tomb underneath. Well worth the visit, as was the whole of Assisi.

The Basilica

Maria, Amy & John at the Basilica

Santa Maria sopra Minerva

The week went very quickly and very soon it was time to go. The return journey went very smoothly without an overnight stay; we left Perugia at about 11.00 and reached Bodmin at 21.00 where Annette was waiting to take us back home. Thanks are due to Annette for the transits to and from Bodmin but especially to Amy and Andrew for looking after us so well.

09 October 2009


A little earlier in the year, Beryl & Ian Niven, some friends from Scotland who we had met on a previous holiday, invited us to stay in their apartment in Madeira. We jumped at the chance because it is an island that I have always wanted to visit and so, on the 26 August we flew out from Bristol to Funchal for a week. Very early on I found that my camera would not work and so I bought a 35mm disposable to try and record our stay. The results were not very good and so I apologise for the standard reproduced for this post.

Hotel Regency Palace Pool

Hotel Regency Palace from the Pool
We spent quite a lot of time around the pool, relaxing and chatting and in the evenings went out and ate in different cafes/restaurants, some good, some not, some quick and one, very very slow.
I was not feeling very well one day so the others went off to Funchal to have a look around, but we did manage another trip on which I was present. During this visit, we managed a coffee in a floating restaurant as shown.

On the Sunday that we were there, we hired a taxi and went on a seven hour tour of the west of the island. This was a very instructive trip after we had stopped looking at the inside of churches! As most people know, Madeira is very mountainous and the cliffs rise almost vertically as shown in the photograph below.

Towards the top of the mountains sits the famous Madeira mist, which provides the island with its water supply. It is very difficult to photograph but the accompanying photo might give some idea.

The mist is the very white patch above Ian & Maria's heads.

We toured the North West of the island and visited a couple of very pleasant villages, in one of which we had some lunch. We then headed back via that part of the North coast where there are loads of waterfalls that must be almost a thousand feet in height in places.

We thoroughly enjoyed the whole of our visit and think that we would like to go again and do some more touring. Only time will tell.

22 September 2009

Hall for Cornwall

In the last couple of months, Maria, Annette and I have been out to see two shows at the Hall for Cornwall. The first was to see "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat", starring Craig Chalmers who was one of the finalists in the BBC show, "Any Dream Will Do", that chose Lee Mead to star in the West End version of the show. We had booked some time ago and managed to get seats in the second row on Wednesday but, as the due date came closer, I remembered that we had also managed to book a holiday in Madeira, of which more later, and we were due to fly from Bristol on the same Wednesday. Oh bother!! Now, the only date that we could actually get to the show was on the Tuesday, which happened to be opening night. Well we did manage to get seats on the second row, but this time they were second row from the back! Never mind, the show was excellent and we had a splendid evening.
The second show was to see the Central Band of the Royal Air Force in concert in aid of the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA) "Wings Week". This time we were fourth row from the front so a very good view and once again we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Service Bands are not to everyone's taste but they do play a wide range of music including film scores, marches and some popular classical. In this concert there were two pieces composed by one of the band members based on Cornish legends, which were very well received. There were also a couple of pieces for violin although more like traditional Irish Music than classical violin. The finale included bagpipes and, all in all, it was very enjoyable evening.

21 September 2009

Light Bulb

Crumbs, nearly 3 months since I wrote anything so here goes.

I thought that I would start with a story concerning a light bulb. On a recent visit to see my Pop in Bradford, he asked me to fix the ceiling light in his living room because one of the three bulbs wasn't working. Up on the largest of his step ladders (Oakroyd has very high ceilings downstairs), I soon came across a problem. As soon as I touched the wiring, it fell apart; I guess it must be about 40 years old at least. So, I thought, remove the complete fitting from the ceiling rose and see if is fixable. Having duly unscrewed the two fixing screws, I was surprised to find that the fixture did not come away from the ceiling! It soon became evident that it was secured from above in Pop's bedroom and underneath his bed just to make life awkward. I went up the stairs and moved the bed to find that a new carpet had been fitted since the light fitting - oh joy; now I had to cut a hole in the carpet but no Stanley Knife in the house. Off I went to the local hardware shop in the village and purchased a Knife, came back to the house and, after carefully measuring everything twice, I took the bull by the horns and cut an X in the place that I believed would give me access to the appropriate floorboards. When I folded back the carpet, guess what? One of the exposed floorboards had writing on it, "Lights". Bingo. The floorboards came up easily exposing the top of the lamp, which was quite easy to undo and disconnect electrically. There was just one problem, how to disconnect it and then get downstairs in time to catch it before it hit the floor? In the end, with the lampshade and all three bulbs removed, I just let it go and it landed fairly softly on one of the chairs. Having carefully checked the wiring, I had two options, either replace the complete unit or rewire the old one. I chose to try and rewire but, of course, there was no appropriate electrical cable in the house so back up to the hardware shop where I was lucky enough to get something which would do the job. I spent about an hour rewiring and then had the problem of pushing the fitting back through the ceiling and getting upstairs to reconnect it. As luck would have it, a friend of Pop's, Brenda, was visiting and she volunteered to climb up the stepladder and hold the fitting in place until I could reach the other end. After that it was quite easy to reconnect, put the floorboards back, refit the carpet, move the bed back into place, refit the light bulbs and the shade and then test it. Quite satisfactorily, it all worked. After all that, all I can say is that if you are ever asked to replace a light bulb in an old house, remember the Scout's motto and Be Prepared.

30 June 2009

Gas Boiler

We knew for some time that we had an inefficient Boiler, which was costing us dearly, especially during the winter months. We therefore decided to have it replaced with one that is over 90% efficient instead of around 75%. This is now fitted and we have had it boxed in so that, approximately, the units match. Three photos show the relative stages.

Old Boiler

New Boiler

New Boiler - Boxed

12 June 2009

Jane McDonald

Maria, Annette and I recently went to see Jane McDonald at the Hall for Cornwall. The show was excellent with plenty of songs, mixed up with some comedic stories including plenty of references to "Loose Women". As backing, there were a musical director/keyboard player, a brass section of three, two guitarists, a drummer and three backing singers so plenty of noise. The theatre was almost full with the only two empty seats that we could see being right next to us. Speaking of seats, I must remember not to buy seats less than 10 feet from the speakers! I know that I am old, but I still like to guard my hearing.
As asides, I have two little stories associated with the audience members. When we were passing through the ticket checks, an elderly woman, using a wheeled walking aid, arrived very slowly and asked the ticket check lady for assistance to reach her seat; this happened to be almost immediately in front of us. The front of house manager duly arrived and she was helped to her seat. Very good of the theatre to be so concerned you might think! The trouble was that towards the end of the performance, this same woman suddenly got out of her seat unaided and got down to the stage rail and promptly jigged around quite happily.
The second story is about the woman immediately in front of me. She was very noisy and was obviously a great fan of Jane. I am not sure what was in her water bottle but, by the time the second half came around, she was, to put it politely rather sozzled. So much so that, at one stage, she slumped in her seat, leaned her head back onto my knee and fell asleep briefly! Sorry, I cannot understand the wish to pay good money to see a live concert and then not know what is going on. As Sir Terry would say "Is it me?"
Never mind, we all enjoyed ourselves, would recommend the show and would go again if we had the chance.

05 June 2009


May is over and June has started with a blast of Summer weather that has seen us having more barbecues in a week than we had in the whole of last year.
The foxes seem to have left us now so here is a last photo of all of the cubs, taken with a borrowed 35mm camera.
We have been watching the weather forecast keenly over the last few days, waiting for the news that it is going to rain. Well today, Friday, was the appointed date and, as today is the middle day of the Royal Cornwall Show, it seemed reasonable to assume that the rain would duly arrive. For that reason, I spent five hours yesterday cutting grass so that the rain would refresh everything and I wouldn't cause the grass to burn to a straw colour. Guess what? Today has dawned bright and sunny and the latest weather forecast suggests that we may get a shower tomorrow or Sunday!

17 May 2009

More Foxes

The latest count is five cubs and they are certainly having a boisterous time in the field, although they do stay remarkably close to the boundary fence.
The following is a short video of them playing, well, four of them.

15 May 2009

Fox Update

After not seeing the foxes for the last 24 hours, mother and cubs came out to play today at about 13.00. They are too far away for really good photos but here are a couple taken after the mother had chased off one of the remaining rabbits!

New Wall - Build Complete

The good news is that Chris has completed the building part of the new wall. The bad news is that our bank balance is a little smaller! Here are the before and after photos:

It is now up to me to do some tidying up, which includes the redistribution of the pile of earth that can be seen. I have a use for some of the rocks, but the rest will go at a later date as payment for the use of the digger that Chris borrowed.

13 May 2009

13th May

51 years ago today, I joined the Royal Air Force as an Air Electrical Apprentice in the 89th Entry at RAF Halton. How I came to join is a little story in itself so for anyone that doesn't know, here is the way it went.
I was in the Lower 6th at St Bede's Grammar School in Bradford, studying for my 'A' Level GCEs, having not done very well, but just well enough, in my 'O' Level GCE's. I was studying Maths, both Pure and Applied, and Physics. Unfortunately for me, I suffered Appendicitis just as the September Term started and spent 10 days in Bradford Royal Infirmary. This put me back in my studies and, coupled with wanting to spend more time with my girlfriend than doing homework, I never recovered. A secondary reason was the inability of my Maths teacher to be able to teach me. Mr Charlie O'Dowd was his name and he was undoubtedly a very clever man but somehow he could not get through to me. I put up with the situation until some time just after my birthday (I cannot remember exactly when) and then I decided to leave school. The problem was that I conveniently forgot to tell either the school or my poor parents. I simply went out of the door in the morning and came home at the appropriate time in the evening. The funny thing is that I cannot remember what I did all day or for how long I played truant. Eventually my parents found out and my Pop went to see the headmaster, Monsignor Sweeney, who told him that I had reached the level of schooling that I could attain.
So, now what to do? My Pop suggested that I might like to join the RAF, following in his footsteps, and, as that seemed like a reasonable idea, I went down to the RAF Careers Office in Bradford and told them that I wanted to join as an Apprentice (Pop, quite rightly, thought I should have a proper trade). The Careers Office staff thought that, as I was over 17, I should wait until September and then join in Men's Service and be paid the full rate; being an Apprentice did not seem a good idea to them. When I told this to Pop, he went ballistic and promptly wrote to someone in RAF recruiting, probably an Air Vice Marshall, which prompted a request for me to attend RAF Halton for a medical and interview. Having attended that, and obviously passed, I was required to attend again in May and consequently signed on 13th May 1958.

12 May 2009

Fox Cubs

Today has been an interesting day. I was busy doing some gardening and dog sitting. As Tia and I were walking back from a visit to the top field, I heard a rustling in the ground behind the hedge in the bottom field. As I walked across the field, thinking that I would see one of the local farmer's Jack Russells, two Fox Cubs appeared about twenty yards away. They didn't stay long before disappearing back into the wilds. I walked back to the house to get my camera and decided to get the dogs back in the house. As I got the dogs in, one of the Cubs appeared back in the field and Maria, Annette & I spent quite a long time watching him/her before he/she disappeared again, to be seen climbing up the hillside and playing with the second cub. I did get a photo of one in the field, but could really do with a real camera with a telephoto lens for this sort of work. Anyway, here is the long distance shot and a photo, taken a little later, of Tia on guard.

09 May 2009

Top Garden Wall continued

Work on the wall has progressed, albeit somewhat erratically. The May Bank Holiday, some bad weather, a collapsed drain and some plastering have all interrupted work, however the next week should see the completion. The main part is complete now, with just the short stretch below the new gate and above the rockery to be finished.

I should explain that the collapsed drain was not ours. It occurred on a Static Caravan Park in Newquay and Chris went off to do a couple of days digging and fixing. The plastering was a job that Chris knew about before he started here; it was just a case of finding a suitable time to do it.

End of Day 4 - New Gate Entrance

End of Day 5 - Field Side

End of Day 5 - Garden Side

End of Day 6 - Garden Side

End of Day 7 - Garden Side

End of Day 8 - Garden Side

End of Day 9 - Rockery

29 April 2009

Top Garden Wall

Ever since we moved into Roseveare House, the top garden has been a cause of concern to me in that it is very difficult to look after properly. As can be seen in the previous Post, the lower section is starting to take shape but the top end, which is virtually all grass and Griselinia hedge, remains a shambles. There are three fruit trees, which would appear to have little or no chance of ever bearing a decent crop so I need to make a decision on them in the near future.
One of the main problems, however, has been access. To cut the grass, I have to lift the mower or make a ramp up the wall; to get rid of garden refuse I have had to lift it and throw it over the "Cornish Hedge" into the trailer. The "Cornish Hedge" itself has partly collapsed and is very difficult to keep looking tidy. For these reasons, we decided to have the wall rebuilt properly and a 4 ft gate put in between the lawn and the field. That work has now been going on, in between showers, for about six days now so I thought that it was about time to show the world what has been done.
The first two photos show the wall as it was and the succeeding ones show the progress.

I mentioned, in a previous Post, a Gorse Bush, well, these photos show where it was; unfortunately it had to go although the roots remain so there is a possibility that we will get some new growth in the future.

End of Day One

End of Day Two

One of the problem rocks that Chris had to deal with - compare it with the size of the wheelbarrow!

End of Day Three
That's all for now; more pictures later.

26 April 2009

Conifer Area

Our long term plan, as has been said before, is to make our garden as easy to maintain as possible. I quite like cutting grass; I find it therapeutic for some reason and like to view the results. Maria particularly likes "stripes" on the front lawn. The grassed area to the top of the drive contains a variety of conifers of differing sizes and to cut around them is a nightmare. One of the tasks I set myself after returning from holiday, was to make this area easier to look after and so I have cut a border next to the wall and around all the conifers. I had considered another area of chippings similar to that in the front lawn but Maria wants to try it this way. The photographic evidence is not easy to see but the following two photos do give some idea of what I have done so far.



If you look carefully, you will see a couple of newly planted Rhododendrons; the hole for one of those I had to dig using a clump hammer and wrecker bar! The sub-soil around here is fierce stuff and if the house is built on this, then there is little chance of it ever falling down!

Roseveare in Bloom

As anyone who has ever visited us here in Gothers will know, our garden is usually a collection of different shades of green. The garden was planted with a large variety of different shrubs with a view to ease of maintenance. During the Spring, however, we do get some colour from the daffodils and various other plants so I thought that I would just show a few pictures that I have taken over the last couple of weeks.


Tulips, Azalea & Berberis in the rockery

Tulips & Primula

Tulips in front of Pieris



I have a particular reason for including this last photo, which will become apparent in a future Blog.