Monday, 16 April 2012


I promised to update you on the progress of our windows and never found the time. It's been a busy couple of weeks around here. 

Before - photo from last year:


 The first window goes in:


The panelled wood finish and architrave inside:

To say that we are happy with the result would be an understatement. Of course, the outside will need some serious work with a paintbrush before it will look its best. The slight mis-matching of the window heights and sizes will disappear once the mortar is painted white again. We are also still debating what to do about the shutters. I think we may keep them because the house will look too plain without them, but paint them a different colour. We feel like the house has got its original Georgian character back and we love the enlarged central window, which is bringing much more light into the study and landing. I am delighted with the new joinery inside each window too. It makes it difficult for me to use the sills as temporary glasshouses for my veg plants any more, but I knew this would be the case. We've just got a lot of painting to do now, but it will be worth every penny we spent. Huge, huge thanks to Rod and his team at M&R Joinery. They took so much care in making our windows, and obviously take great pride and interest in what they do - it was fantastic working with them.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


above Marloes Sands, high tide
Since we are soon to be gaining an addition to the family, the husband and I decided to take a short break as a kind of last hurrah; the last holiday that we will take just by ourselves for a long time. We chose an easygoing, self-catering trip to Pembrokeshire for lots of walking and eating. I am luckily not too whale-like yet to be unable to complete shortish walks, so we managed a few miles here and there of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, and also found the time to look around St Davids and one of my favourite seaside towns, Tenby. We used to holiday in Tenby when I was a small child. I don't remember a lot of it, but I still associate Castle Hill and the crashing waves at the base of the cliffs on South Beach with some of my happiest memories. The weather was perfect for our first full day there, but quite windy and overcast for the rest of the time. Nevertheless, we ate picnic lunches outdoors every day and enjoyed the feeling of utter remoteness that can be found along this stunning coastline. True, the inland landscape of Pembrokeshire is nothing particularly special but where it hits the sea, something magical happens. I was blown away by the geology, displayed in ragged splendour on every cliff-side, and the sea that remains blue even when the sky is gloomy with clouds.

near Solva

We dined out one evening at Y Polyn, near Carmarthen, which was absolutely wonderful. As I get older I am becoming more difficult to please, but this was the best meal out I've had in ages. The bread is freshly made in house every day - we were treated to perfect focaccia and a moreish onion bread - and the cooking is lovely and simple. We had a rich fish soup with rouille and gruyere croutons, which was the undoubted highlight of the meal, and a lovely, fresh goats cheese in a hazelnut crust with golden beetroot, followed by duck confit with lentils and pollack with a saffron, potato and leek broth. Dessert was a pair of tarts - mouth-puckering lemon, with ginger crumble and home made plum ripple ice cream; and a warm pear and frangipane tart with vanilla ice cream. I nearly burst, especially since the food was in competition with the small child in my belly space, but it was worth every waddle and groan on the way home. It has inspired us to make the most of the fruit we have in our garden - rhubarb right now, and later the delicious, perfumey plums and damsons that we didn't make the most of last year. I am dreaming of our own rippled ice creams, more damson gin, crumbles and Eton messes. I could go on...

In other news, we came home to an immediate, if self-inflicted, chaos. In short: the windows are being replaced. Update to follow later on this week.