My Favourite Place: St Donats – Atlantic College, Wales

Every few years I go to Atlantic College in St Donat’s in Wales for the Beyond the Border Storytelling Festival.

There are two favourite places here, greedy eh?

The first is the walk as you arrive for the festival. you walk through the woods, lit by strings of lights which give the place a sort of mysterious feel as you look into the dimness beyond. I always have a letting go moment. A big sigh of relief and peace, as if I am passing from our normal world to another.

fairy woodland at dusk


Then you come out of that onto a field that slopes down to the sea. I always love this as I live inland. this is often my first sight of the sea of the year.


On a night when there is a clear sky the moon makes the sea glitter magically.

The festival is full of people and colour but the thing I really enjoy is exploring the gardens which are stepped down the hillside facing the sea. There are several garden rooms; the blue garden, the beast garden but the best for me is the rose garden. It has seats and places to tuck yourself away so you can contemplate the world.

rose garden at BYTB

 When I can’t sleep I take myself off to this lovely place and explore my memories of it. You can see why I use it as my header photo.


via Photo Challenge: Favorite Place

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Prepping – Coping With The Weather

Earlier this month we had a lot more snow than we are used to in the UK.

Many of you who live in these conditions on a regular basis will know about prepping for adverse conditions. Stocking up on food, water and fuel. having alternative ways of heating your home. In the UK we are quite lucky in the fact that we rarely have problems with supply of any of these commodities.

It is said that we are 3 days away from starvation. Not sure if this is just the UK but we certainly cut it close these days with supply and demand. there is very little scope if everything goes wrong and supplies can’t be moved.  So when the weather arrived many were caught with their pants down so to speak.

In my house I have a good food store, bottled water and loads of torches and candles if the electricity went off. The main weakness in my place would be keeping warm. We have gas central heating operated by electricity, no open fire or wood burner.

Many across the country were affected by sudden loss of water or power and for extended periods. Even the sturdy Cumbrians were caught out needing an airlift of food and fuel.

Predicatably, once people strated shopping again, there was a rush on staple foods; these were the bread shelves at my local ASDA:

empty shelves at asda

Even after a week stocks in the shop were not up to there usual levels.

So what is there to learn?

Assume there will be a period you can’t get to the shops, like illness, weather or something else.

Have some water stored but also a week or two of non perishable foods that you can be relied upon if needed.

If you have a car have a spade, blankets, snacks and water, something to do,  just in case you get stuck. Those people stuck on the motorway must have been feeling it after 18 hours:


We have another weather system coming over the next few days offering further freezing and snowy conditions. It will be interesting to see what happens now people have had chance to think about what happened last time



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Current Themes – An Update

We are now in the middle of March and time for an update.

Health and Fitness:  Everyone at work is dieting and I have had a bit of salad and cutting down of heavier food but not dieting yet.

The  walking has also been interrupted. this time I had something called ‘shin splints’.  The pain was really bad, especially at night, down the right shin. Current advice is to ice it and rest it. Usually caused by over excercising, (never thought I would say this about myself), I think it occurred after a walk around a local reservoir. More ups and downs than I am used to.

Not to worry. I started training early just in case something slowed me down. I am back to it and will soon reach the ten miles I was doing before. Lighter nights help. Its a pleasure to get out in fresh air.

Still struggling to get enough sleep. Most nights getting by on 5 to 6 hours sleep. Not enough so catching up at the weekend. I am plagued by restless legs. Overall I am sleeping for longer period once I have gotten off.

Making Money: Doing well at the moment. An extra £100 or so from a variety of sources including surveys this month. It is all going on my mortgage.

Prepping: This month in the UK there has been a lot of snow (for us). We didn’t go shopping for a week and then only to stock up on basics. I am happy with my preps so far. many were not so luck and had loss of power, water or were cut off. More on that in a further post.

Decluttering and Minimising: More stuff has left the house than come in this month despite me being given a load of crockery and ornaments. Most went out to the charity shop and some I will be selling. I am still clearing books, another 5 or so bags have gone. I have also given away lots of items, finding homes for things is so much better than throwing it out.

Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: Concern about plastics have been seeping into the national conciousness and there are news stories nearly every day at the moment. I hope this continues.

My own efforts include not buying food at work. Everything has some plastic around it. I am taking in food in recycled tubs.

I have been over the allotment today and started using some of the food packaging for sed trays and to put seed trays in. I won’t ever have to buy any again. I wash all my pots and trays and reuse again and again. Even the bags for shop bought compost are reused.


Posted in Avoid, Reduce, Recycle, cleaning and clearing, decluttering and minimalism, Health and Fitness, Making Money, Prepping, recycle, repurpose, reuse, sleep, Uncategorized, walking | Tagged , | Leave a comment

International Women’s Day

Today as you may know it is the  International Women’s Day.

My nephew asked why there even needed to be such a day; we explained:

When women are enslaved, tortured, raped and beaten because they are women,

When women and girls are expected to be abused by the powerful to get where they want in life,

when an organisation pays lower rates for the same jobs as men,

when a country is proud that it  ‘allows’ women to drive,

we NEED an International Womens Day every day.

I could go on, the list is endless.

So Thanks to all of those strong women who have gone before and thanks to to quieter souls in the background who have supported them, be it women or men. Keep going. One day we may get that respect and equality that we seek.

Follow this link to show how you will #PressforProgress



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Highly Processed Foods and Cancer

Reports in the media about highly processed foods being linked to cancer are no surprise. I have been watching numerous programmes about how our food is made and I am incereasingly horrified at the amount of work that goes into even the most simple of foods.

I have been watching the BBC’s Inside the Factory. Each episode follows a product through the factory from raw ingredients to finished product; from pasta to biscuits.

Its surprising how much effort goes into the getting the perfect product.

The thing is it isn’t only chocolate bars and pop (soda). Fresh chicken and other meats are injected with chemicals and water to make them look bigger, coloured to suit our tastes. Vegetables and fruit are sprayed to keep off bugs and disease.

We have NO idea what we are really eating most of the time.

In addition to all this we are then peeing it away into the water supply. Hormones, antibiotics, chemicals. All inserted into out food supply by manufacturers increasing profit margins and trying to meet the demands for perfect food from the shops who have ld us to believe that there is no such thing as a bent carrot or mishaped apple.

In turn we the consumer have been trained to demand perfection. Neatly packaged and pure.

So I guess there is no one place to put the blame. If you want to break the mold, look out for other ways of getting good food. Growing it, buying organic, cooking from scratch.

Here is some general advice:


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Current Themes – An Update

Another month has whipped by and I hae been fairly busy. My mind is still on my goals which I have updated below.

Health and Fitness:  The cough has finally gone and I have got on with training. I am currently on week 8; doing longer walks. The farthest I have gone in the last few weeks has been 8.5 miles continuously and 11 miles in a whole day. I am also losing weight  bit by bit, a few pounds a month, which is great as I am not dieting yet. I usually wait until spring for that.

Still struggling to get enough sleep. Some nights better than others for no one reason. Waking up with aches and pains, hot sweats, too cold, need the loo, dreams and restless legs. I have ditched the kindle at night and only read paper books, this has helped. Weirdly I sometimes fall asleep for a micro period and wake again. Ah well. Onward and upwards.

You would think that the walking improves matters but it hasn’t really.  It doesn’t make the tiredness worst either so I am carrying on.


Making Money: I am back to doing surveys but find my heart isn’t in it. The sites I have been using are changing on a regular basis and its harder to earn. In the next few months I hope to find other sites or just quit it and use my time better elsewhere.

Prepping: I have been working though my address book and phone book, updating them both. Its amazing how many people change their phone and or their number regularly these days.

Decluttering and Minimising: Since the beginning of January another 14 bags of books and clutter have gone to the charity shop. I have slowed down a bit, preserving energy sometimes but I am still doing a small amount regularly, which is better than nothing at all.

We won’t be moving now but will still be doing the house up for when we do, maybe in five years or so. We would rather retire early than be saddled with a bigger mortgage.

I have started on my craft stash,  crocheting a blanket, but got a way to go yet.

Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: I see plastic waste has been making big headlines in the news in the UK. On a personal level I have converted to a single waterbottle and will refill that rather than buy.

To really give up plastic it means giving a lot of other stuff. Washing liquids, cleaning stuff, fizzy pop, shampoo. There are ways around this but I need to spend some time working out what the solutions are.

I haven’t bought a plastic bag for months, reusing the ‘bags for life’ I have in the car. The thing is to remember to take them when going shopping otherwise I am tempted to buy more.



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Getting The Vote – 100 Years On

In Britain, as in many countries around the world, it is difficult to imagine not having the right to vote. Only a hundred years ago women got this right in this country.

 Image result for suffragettes getting the vote

Image from Wikipaedia.

A hundred years is a long time, progress to equality is being made, but this last year of revelations of women still being treated poorly and unequally in all areas of life demonstrate that there is a way to go.

It is going to take us a lot longer to shake off the thousands of years of ingrained manupmanship that came before the hard won change in the law.

Anyway, I am proud to use my vote each time I can and hope my daughter who is now eighteen and can also vote will use it wisely. I firmly believe that if we want equality we have to carry on fighting the inequalities wherever we see them.

Image result for suffragettes getting the vote

Women protesting about cuts to services for women at the premiere of Sufragette.

Image from Google

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