Sunshine in North Wales

I hope you have all enjoyed sunny weather similar to ours. It has been gloriously sunny here, with relatively little wind, so we have not been able to resist being out in the grounds.
My apologies therefore to anyone following this blog looking for pictures of demolition – that will follow next time, after the weather changes.

On Saturday, Mike planted 4 further fruit trees and then gravelled the bed whilst I served a group of about a dozen cyclists – our first group this year who enjoyed sitting outside in the sun – and the many customers who followed them. In fact it was so busy I had to have a brief kip in the afternoon before we prepared for our musical evening with Pam and Ivor! As the evening progressed, I was glad I had had a kip since the audience was a very dancing one and Charlotte (who had popped by to run the bar) and I obviously were honour bound to do our best to keep the side up.

Sunday was a relatively quiet day which, as usual, required us to be in the cafe as Jane was having a delayed weekend. So a quiet day was very useful since we were both pretty tired after the Friday/Saturday events combo. I spent some of the afternoon in the garden whilst Mike managed the cafe.

When I first went out, this was the only part of the garden in sun so I got stuck in...
When I first went out, this was the only part of the garden in sun so I got stuck in…

...and after a bit raking and tweaking, it looks like this!
…and after a bit of raking and tweaking, and some planting (which you probably can’t see yet) it looks like this!

Yesterday and today, Mike ran the cafe whilst I progressed the garden further. I have now finished planting and matting the area behind the labyrinth, and have also pulled a lots of junk down from the cliff edge, including a tree which blew over when Doris passed through.

In this picture you can see that the slope is under bramble, weeds etc - next time I will show how lovely it looks now!
In this picture you can see that the slope is under bramble, weeds etc – next time I will show how lovely it looks when this has gone

Over lunch yesterday we met some of the new group of workmen on the railway, one of whom kindly showed me a video of their explosive talents, blowing up an overhang over the railway. Around 4-ish I decided to take advantage of the unusual weather conditions and set light to the heap of stuff we have been clearing from the garden over the last few months. The pile went up very quickly which shows how dry it has been. But it was useful to lose this before the rain comes, which is scheduled for tomorrow.

This afternoon, Mike and I managed a couple of hours together in Llanrwst – partly to pay in the Red Nose monies, and partly to just spend some time together without tools or cafe implements in our hands!

So a couple of fun shots to end with:
firstly, the flowers Charley, Tom, Will and Phil sent for Mothers day

Flowers from the lovely offspring
Flowers from the lovely offspring – thanks, guys.

and a picture of me sporting an extra gift from Charley – my new overalls, ready for the next phase of heavy work, re-starting tomorrow!
Snazzy, no?!
Snazzy, no?!

Our first Red Nose…

Construction – or rather destruction – news first:
On Wednesday, Mike disconnected the electrics and took down a wall of what used to be room 5 in the morning, and split logs with Adrian in the afternoon. I had a morning with some church paperwork, and in the afternoon went shopping – deep joy. But I did get my red Nose T-shirt…

View from room 7 onto the corridor (buff coloured wall you are facing has disappeared in next photo)
View from room 5 onto the corridor (buff coloured wall you are facing has disappeared in next photo)

On Thursday, Mike removed a further wall – you can see where room 5 used to be here:

View from room 7-as-was towards the old extension stairwell with one wall removed
View from room 5-as-was towards the old extension stairwell with one wall removed

Meanwhile my mission, should I choose to accept it, (which I did, fool that I am) was to re-stack gubbins in the damp part of the house so we could walk around more safely. I then changed tack to empty one chest of drawers, demolish a second set of drawers, then move the first set to the room that used to house the second set (are you still with me?) We now have one slightly superior bedroom (although that’s not difficult at the moment) for family and friends. In the afternoon, we all focused on preparations for Red Nose Day – blowing up balloons, printing posters etc. etc.

Today I went to my Welsh class as usual. On return I joined with Mike and Jane in serving the wonderful people who had come to the cafe for our Comic Relief Red Nose cake sale. The dealio (as we say in Plas) was that the cafe benefited from food or drink sales, and Comic Relief received the donations for the variety of Jane’s delicious cakes and other nibbles which were on offer.

We have been running a ditloids quiz for Comic relief for the last month or so, which has raised at least £188 (we still have to collect some funds from the church) and today’s cake sale raised £181 so far, so we are thrilled to announce that the total raised so far is £369 with a little more to go.

Incidentally, the quiz entries included three sheets with all 100 correct answers, so we look forward to Gill and Idris of Trefriw, Nen of Pont y Pant, and Claire, Conan, Matt & Erika of Trefriw coming to collect their prizes. Well done to them all! And well done and thanks to all who came to make today’s efforts worthwhile and helped raise this lovely sum for Comic Relief.

The Penaeldroch Red Nose team - two of whom were busy, and I with time to smile for the camera!
The Penaeldroch Red Nose team – two of whom were busy, but at least I had time to smile for the camera!

Taking one step at a time

Apropos of nothing, did you see the Guardian article on the 20 best UK walks with a great pub lunch last weekend? Moel Siabod featured amongst them – just saying… and to think I get to look at it every day – or at least everyday when the weather is reasonable…

We took delivery today of our new 3-fold leaflets. We had drafted something late last week, and then suddenly realised that the season is virtually upon us, so we polished up the draft, and now have several thousand to share around. We have also made our eighth batch of marmalade on Sunday, using a subtly different recipe. Since the cafe had a steady flow of customers over the weekend, the outstanding wall destruction in the long corridor had to take place after hours – but now the entrance to the stairwell (when it can be made and fitted) is cleared:

I see no wall
I see no wall this way…

or this way...
…or this way…

Last evening Jane and I went to the Penmachno quiz for Welsh learners which was very enlightening, but as all introduction and instruction was in welsh, I suspect I only understood about 5-10% of what was happening. Today I have been mostly in the cafe and/or domestic duties while Mike has removed the original door into the bar, and then cut an access hole from floor 1 to the ground floor, so that we can check floor to floor heights accurately.

First today, Mike removed this door, closely followed by the door frame and stud wall
First today, Mike removed this door, closely followed by the door frame and stud wall

then he cut a hole in the floor to check inter-floor distances.  I'm not sure what the hand gesture means, though.
then he cut a hole in the floor to check inter-floor distances. I’m not sure what the hand gesture means, though.

Mike and I also took some time today to study the plans we received on Friday. These are not yet the finalised plans, since there are some outstanding queries regarding the building engineer’s calculations with Building Control (like joist hangar strength and position). So long as we don’t try to build anything yet, we should be OK doing some of the destruction so that we are ready for construction as soon as we get the word.

For the sake of completeness, I suppose I should also confess I took a tumble over the weekend. It was the most extraordinary: my feet sort of got caught up with themselves. What struck me most was that, since I last had a fall, all my elegance in flight and skill in landing seems to have vanished. I could feel myself going, but was aware I had all the grace of a falling brick. I also suspect that when the bruises come out, they will be far more extensive than they used to be back in the days when I played contact sports, which is probably about the last time I (a) fell over so completely and (b) got bruised so extensively. It only proves tempus fugit and takes much of our youthful bounce with it.