Bees, boobs and breakfast

One aspect of trying lead a kinder life is making the best of your lot – valuing what’s around you rather than complaining about it. “Grow where you are planted“, as The Contented Crafter would say. And so, this weekend, rather than rushing about seeking entertainment or distraction, we have been making the most of what’s around us.

Yesterday morning I needed to make a trip to the local Post Office to send off the three knitted knockers that I had made over the previous five days. Mr Snail suggested that we combine this with breakfast at a little cafe that has recently opened in Aberaeron – decked out like a 1950s American diner and serving waffles and pancakes. How could I resist the opportunity to support a new local business? Not being organised, I didn’t take my camera with me, so I can’t make you drool by showing you pictures of my pancakes, maple syrup and whipped cream or Mr Snail’s toffee apple waffle with toffee ice cream (yes, for breakfast!) so you’ll just have to take my word for it that the food was beautifully presented as well as being delicious. Yes, I know I can make pancakes and waffles myself, but it’s nice for someone else to do it for me once in a while.

Bee and kale flowers

We returned home to some chores and more knitting of knockers (currently five more on my list). Mr Snail went out into the garden to sort out a slight sagging of his gate made of a pallet, but got rather distracted by the bees that were out in abundance; so much so, that they ended up in a blog post: The Bum of the Flightle Bee. Interestingly we seem to be seeing very few honeybees but many other species. What’s particularly nice is that if it wasn’t for the building work, the yellow brassica flowers that the bees are enjoying so much would not be there. Knowing that builders would be likely to cause damage to crops, most of the vegetable  beds have been left unplanted this spring. However, since I didn’t want bare soil I just left the old crops in place, resulting in a profusion of kale and broccoli flowers for pollinating insects to enjoy. Once they have finished flowering, they’ll be cut down and the green leaves fed to the chickens. I could complain about the lack of beans and peas in the garden but, instead I will celebrate food for bees and hens.

It may be a simple system, but it's working for me

It may be a simple system, but it’s working for me

The orders keep appearing for knitted knockers and I’m enjoying being able to contribute. I’ve had to set up a system to keep track of the ones I’ve agreed to make (sizes, colours, cards to enclose etc) as I’d hate to send a black 34B to a lady who requested a pink 40D! There is still a nearly-finished Welsh dragon peeking at me out of my big work basket, but he’s going to have to wait until there are no more ladies in the UK and Ireland in need of a soft, gentle prosthesis to replace those uncomfortable, heavy silicone jobbies that the NHS provide at great expense. I am loving using my skills to spread hope and kindness… it feels like a real privilege to be able to help in this way.

So, those are some of the small things that we have enjoyed this weekend – what about you?

Weekend 1: Where there’s a willow, there’s a day… spent taming it

Just like Kate (Tall Tales from Chiconia), there has been some severe cutting down of stuff here Chez Snail. However, rather than write about it myself, I’m going to point you in the direction of Mr Snail, who can tell you all about it…

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Spot the ChickenSpot the Chicken

We know what you're doing...We know what you’re doing…

After a week of Urbanity, it’s nice to return to the outdoors particularly when it involves saws, cutters and my favourite plant in our garden, the willow hedge.

As regular readers of this blog and that of thesnailofhappiness know, we have a hedge that, from 30 tiny sticks, has grown into a living companion of immeasurable worth. It provides us with wood for the Kelly kettle, shreddings for the compost heaps and chicken area and a means of controlling the water flow off the field behind our house.

And, whilst others have their gym membership to keep them in trim, I have the willow hedge to keep me in trim while I, well, trim it.

Last week, the remnants of hurricane Gordino (a service station on the M5, surely?), er, Godzilla, er Gonzalo (a character in the muppets?) swept across Wales and in particular our…

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L is for…

Mr Snail-of-happiness learned to knit so that he could contribute a square to My Masterpiece. Like everyone else, I asked him to write something to go with the picture of the square in my scrapbook. This is his contribution:

a special contribution

a special contribution

I’m just finishing off the scrapbook… photos to follow.

Apple time

How can they escape your notice when they are so big?

How can they escape your notice when they are so big (1.3kg)?

It’s good to make plans, but in life sometimes you just have to respond to the situation. This seems to have been particularly so this year in the garden – our warm winter followed by an early spring and hot July seem to have combined and delivered us to a premature autumn. Currently there are blackberries to pick and apples to harvest. Normally I would not expect to have to deal with bags of cooking apples until September, but mum gave me the first bag from her tree on 10 August and so the great apple processing event is underway, whilst still having to deal with mounds of courgettes/zucchini (I found the one pictured snaking its way under its parent plant out of sight, attaining a weight of more than 1.3kg/2.8lbs before I spotted it). I’m waiting for a sunny day to do some more courgette dehydration.

The first bag of many, I'm sure!

The first bag of many, I’m sure!

Although I know I can do dried apple rings, I love bottled apples and so most of the harvest is likely to be preserved this way… I have loads of Kilner jars, so am able to store litres of the stuff. Over the weekend I made two big pots of courgette and carrot soup, some of which we ate, but most of which went in the freezer for delicious lunches on cold winter days. So preservation is proceeding apace even if it does seem to be happening somewhat earlier than usual. Now I’m expecting a message from Perkin to tell me to come and collect apples from their fantastic tree too. I do love this time of literal fruitfulness!

However, life does throw all sorts of things in our paths and so, whilst I am busying myself with gardening, preserving and cooking, Mr Snail of Happiness is preparing to go and work away from home for at least the next six months. A phone call 10 days ago offered him a big contract with a company he has worked for before that was too good to turn down. As a result, in the past week, we have bought a second car and done a lot of on-line property hunting. We collect the new car tomorrow (a tiny one with very low carbon emissions and fuel consumption and no car tax) and he’s off to view a couple of flats on Thursday. Thus, this winter I will be ‘home alone’ during the week… which may result in much more blogging and crafting. In the mean time, bear with me because we have a lot of packing to do and finding all those things that we stored  after his last contract away from home, more than four years ago.

The Bolshy Pallet or how a neighbour’s rasp saved the day

The latest in Mr Snail’s adventures with a pallet

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Everybody, meet…

Our old, slightly dangerous Garden BenchOur old, slightly dangerous Garden Bench

Our old, slightly dangerous Garden Bench…everybody. Good, now we all know one another, we can start.

This bench was given to thesnailofhappiness by her parents, probably about 20 years ago. Since then, it has done sterling service in the Welsh weather and, save one treatment with Ballistol pine oil, has had little TLC (Timber Looking-after Care).

It, like me, started to sag in the middle a few years back and I fashioned it an extra leg (there are a whole host of reasons why we won’t dwell on that particular terminology) and, you know what? It was almost completely useless…

The third man, er, leg, er stop sniggering at the backThe third man, er, leg, er, stop sniggering at the back

What was needed, said the SOH one day last week, was a support that could be obtained from a piece of pallet, suitably placed under the bench to shore it up…

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BATDIG – the Paper Version!

Mr Snail-of-Happiness’ first novel will be available in paper format in the next couple of days!
We have celebrated with homemade strawberry shortcake and a nice cup of tea – we know how to live the high life here chez snail!

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BATDIG on CreateSpaceBATDIG on CreateSpace

At last, a copy of BATDIG you can safely read in the bath*! Both parts of the novel first published for the Kindle together in one predominantly papery place** plus some Author’s Ramblings about the creation of the story and a short excerpt from my next novel, Kirkenes Blue, which I guess I really must finish now.

BATDIG will be available on Amazon in the next 3 to 5 days ( so around the end of May then) but is also available from CreateSpace themselves, although only for American readers (at https://www.createspace.com/4705967).

ENJOY!

oOo

* Bath not included.

** I think there is a bit of cardboard in there too.

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Palletgate 2: The Next Day

Mr Snail-of-Happiness has been at it again.

I daren’t venture into the garden when he’s doing DIY-type things – read this and you will understand why.

Palletgate 2: The Next Day

 

He does so love repairs

A Blatant Plug

Are you looking for some summer reading (or winter reading for my antipodean friends)? Well, now is your chance to get a copy of Mr Snail-of-happiness’ first novel on Kindle for free from Amazon. The offer only lasts for a few days, so be quick!

BATDIG Cover

A Blatant Plug.

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