Jane's Blog

An Everyday Story of Country Folk!

Its a Hard Life Being a System Adminstrator

Think we are all up and running again now, but it was a close thing! For some reason the webserver (where this blog and its stablemates, plus the Somerset Scout website live)  managed to acquire a new ip address probably when it rebooted after a collection of Windows updates auto loaded. This meant that the website became totally inaccessible. For Tony to diagnose and fix the problem remotely, using my eyes and fingers on the keyboard was quite a feat, involving an enormous number of texts over two days.
It is also quite interesting trying to cook tea while running backwards and forwards to play with a computer, but I didn't think anything would be helped by starving the operator!


Bread and Jam

Well, the highlight of the week has to have been the visit to the bakery in Glastonbury ("Burns the Bread") with the Ladies Evening club. Yes, the owner's name really is Mr Burns, and his shop title has nothing to do with how he cooks his (delicious) bread. Garbed in hairnets and white aprons, we all had to make 4 pasties each - should be easy with the pastry all rolled out and cut in circles by a machine - the trick was to get Max can do it blindfold too), while we turned out some very strange offerings. But, no matter, while the pasties cooked, we had a grand tour of the bakery,giving us an appetite for our buffet supper, and then went home with a goody bag containing our pasties, a loaf of bread and a fruit cake.
I have the bread, and very nice too, now time to cook the jam. Ralph and Steph will be with me this weekend, and I know Ralph is at the end of his jam, so a few pots of seedless raspberry are in order. Unfortunately I took my eye off it for a second, just long enough to coat the cooker nicely with boiling jam. In the subsequent clean up, with Morris shouting to lick the spoon (she has some very odd ideas what she would like to try eating), I seem to have coated me in jam, fortunately not boiling! At least I didn't lose much, and there are two big jars for Ralph and Steph.

There's Life in the Old Girl Yet

Mouse for breakfast! Left (well dead) on the kitchen floor this morning, just ready for me, and the second this week. The first I found (still alive) on the front door mat, and I still don't know where it was hiding while I let Morris in - I saw nothing as I watched her slink in through the door  and up the hall, but when I nturned back to shut the door, there it was, cowering. I threw it out,wondering if I should despatch it first, and wished I had when I later found it dead in a puddle. They don't do well after being chased by the cat, even if she loses interest.

I had though Morris was getting past it - she is beginning to look a little long in the tooth, and the way she gets up in the morning suggests she too suffers from a touch of arthritis - but maybe we have just been waiting for the mouse population to recover from 2 years ago. As long as she hunts at night when the birds are tucked up in the trees I shall be happy.



A Week is a Long Time....

Well here we are, suffering from drought and floods all at the same time. Last Sunday was an evil day; the road down into Norton was still running water on Tuesday afternoon. But the sun was lovely when it came out - when we were all indoors rehearsing the drama group pantomime, Sleeping Beauty. Its very strange preparing so far in advance for something we shall be performing in November - compared with the 2 or 3 brief rehearsals we get for the village panto, but perhaps that explains why the village panto is such a shambles. But as long as they laugh at us.....

The Brownies visited the 80s this week, in their time machine, slightly improved by the addition of a strut to hold the top of it open enough for the girls to pass through. Acres of parcel tape were deployed to hold the sides together- whether it will still be in one piece next week, I have no idea! As well as finding out about Live Aid and eating Vienetta (Sue maintains that this was her favourite in the 80s) they had a glamour evening, with make up done by Rachael and nails by Emily. It seems to be that the further we go back, the more things we can remember about the decade, though we have now "lost" all but 2 of the team, and I shall be on my own for the 50s.

I did not wimp out for this weeks walk, so have just come back from Evercreech and not too wet; early drizzle having given way to grey skies, but dry. Tomorrow I shall be guiding Francoise around Stourhead, reccying my June walk. AS long as we leave the car park in the right direction, we should be OK.

Confessions of a Wimp

Well, its Thursday, normal day out with the Mendip Ramblers, and instead of being in the car heading for the walk start somewhere to the west of Axbridge, I am still at home. My excuse is that the weather forecast is fairly grim and its a very long way to go to get piss wet through and cold when I can do that at home. There is a walk on tomorrow, from Stratton, finishing at the pub for lunch, so I might do that, but not bother about the pub.
I am not too short on excercise - it has been a busy week, starting with the Ramblers Quiz last Friday,a coffee morning for the Air Ambulance on Saturday morning, and then dancing the evening away at the Village Barn Dance. For this, we had a wonderful caller, who managed to coax even the least willing onto the floor, and sang to us in between dances while we got our breath back. The supper went well - so much was left that a number of people were able to take doggy bags away, and I have been feeding sausage rolls to the birds all week.
On Monday, the Brownies got out the Time Machine they made the previous week, and we all went back to the 90s. The leaders found their memories somewhat challenged for that decade and ended up mostly thinking about girl bands. We are hoping to find more excitement in the 80s, next week. Before that, I think some serious repair may be needed on the Time Machine; something is needed to augment the gaffer tape (seems to be the non stick variety) and I hope plentiful parcel tape will do the trick and avert a catastrophe!

Getting the Next Camino on the Road

A week in Tarifa with the Camino team, Tony, Betsy and Tim (if you want to see how they are getting on, go back to the main site and try the entry for the Via de la Plata Camino 2012). We stayed in a "bijou" house in the Old Town, with the rooms cunningly intertwined with those of the houses next door and a wonderful roof terrace (not for those suffering from vertigo) with views all the way to Africa. That may not say much because Africa is only around 14 miles away across the straits of Gibraltar, but it makes for a grand view.

The team started the walk from Gibraltar, advancing in stages with the help of the hire car to drop them off and pick them up. I don't know what I was expecting in Gibraltar but it didn't really live up to it - except for the apes who are skilfull and incorrigeable thieves sneaking into the cafe when someone holds the door open for more than a second and snatching any food they can. Perhaps more interesting were the Roman ruins at Baelo Claudia - remains of a complete town, including factory for making fish sauce, the monosodium glutamate of its day. This is where I left them on the final day to continue in earnest - no house to come back to now - they will have to find accomodation where they can.
Tarifa has a number of things to recomend it at this time of year - no noisy British drunks, beautiful flowers both round the town and in the surrounding countryside, dozens of small cafes and restaurants serving good food, and the meeting place of the Atlantic and Mediterranean. It was slightly disconcerting to be able to walk in two minutes from one to the other across a causeway leading to the Isla de las Palomas, rather than the 13 years of holidays we spent in France doing the same thing along the Pyrenees. The downside was the strong wind - apparently fairly typical, but it took the edge off the warmth, and, for those straying too near a beach, led to episodes of sand blasting about the legs.
Having come back to Bristol with intermittent rain and a temperature of 7C I would welcome a Tarifan wind, as long as it came with Tarifan sunshine! 







Easter Hols

Just got back from Snowdonia. Very good farmhouse for 10 adults plus Betsy and Tim's grandchildren. Its very well equipped, including a cat. Unfortunately the cat is not allowed indoors, which may explain the evidence of mice in the kitchen!
The wonderful March weather was cooling down fast during the early part of the week, but we had a good day on the Glyders on the first Sunday. The enthusiasts got in some scrambling ont the Monday while Betsy, Katy and I took the children to Pili Palas to see butterflies, bugs and Meerkats. It was a great place for the kids, and kept them amused for hours. We were very impressed at how polite they were after we managed to tip 1/2 pint of orange squash on the floor.
The disaster struck on Wednesday when we woke up to 4 inches of snow and a power cut. The house relies almost completely on electricity; the Aga was out and even the water soon stopped as it's pumped up from a borehole (took us a while before the penny dropped on that one!). Freddy did his stuff to get the fire in the lounge going, with coal but no kindling - no mean feat. It would have been nice if the owner had thought to drop by (he is a local farmer so had suitable transport), to reassure us, but when we finally made contact with him, late the next day, he told us that local power cuts don't usually last more than 6 hours, so he didn't feel is was necessary to do anything for us. (Note to self - we shan't be booking that place again!).
It snowed most of the day, but that didn't stop Tim and Eliza building a grand Igloo and a snowman.
The electricity was off for 36 hours in the end, though once the worst of the snow was over we got a car out and managed to get supplies including drinking water (some stalwarts maintained that we had enough cider so what was the problem?). Melting snow is the obvious but with only the one small fireplace it just takes forever. We had to drive down to Betws Y Coed for breakfast the next day as we couldn't cook and the lady in the cafe impressed us by cooking 10 splendid breakfasts single handedly. We felt we'd earned a good fry up. It was very strange to realise that the snow had fallen as rain further down the valley and all was clear there.
Friday was really quite tame after the excitement of the two previous days, and we all got together on a coastal walk at Criccieth to finish the week.
Tony and I had one last brush with the white stuff - we decided to take the scenic route back to the A5 at Pentrefoelas - and discovered that above 300m there was more than a foot of snow, and it wasn't melting.We decided to avoid the drift ahead of us on the road, and narrowly missed getting stuck in a muddy gateway, trying to turn round. In some ways it was a relief to get home!







My Very First Post

This is my first ever blog posting.