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Sunday, 18 February 2018

A Good Hand

It's been a weekend of card playing. Student daughter visited us briefly for Friday night. She is always keen to have a game of cards so we spent the evening playing cards.

Then there was bit of trying out what she has learnt. I was happy for the farmer to volunteer to be the recipient.

Then it was more cards on Saturday. We got together with a group of friends for a night of Crazy Whist. It's a light hearted game of whist with a twist. Each round has a change in rules to keep everyone on their toes. Somehow I managed to win and came home with a box of chocolates. 

Saturday, 17 February 2018

What is it?

You may recall that at the end of January I went for a walk that took us down a stretch of the Kennet and Avon canal close to where it finishes in the River Avon in Bath.

We passed this purple star on the other side of the canal in someone's garden.

There were several suggestions as to what it is and why it is there. What do you think it is?

Friday, 16 February 2018

Out of the Rain

It was a bit of respite from the rain to get into the hothouses at Dyffryn Gardens. This extraordinary statue was in the first small room of the reinstated glasshouse. It's pair was situated at the further end of the hothouse in a similar room. An interesting welcome but at least the hyacinths gave a beautiful aroma.

It took a while in the tropical house for my camera to demist after coming in from the cold wet exterior. I was then able to photograph these.

There was also an impressive collection of cacti in a drier more desert like house.

Some small.

Some large.

Then some beautiful birds of paradise plants so named because the spectacular flower resembles such a bird.

Like the house and garden the hothouses deserve further exploration.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Take Three Thursday: Valentine's Hearts

There is one thing for sure Farmer Husband is not a romantic and would definitely not be rushing out to buy me a Valentine's present. One year he did buy me some flowers but only because they were reduced at the cattle market several days after the 14th February. ....
I was in Sainsbury's yesterday and at 5pm there were still a huge number of red roses left and a large quantity of gifts. Some of these made me smile and I thought they would be a good choice for joining Mary Lou with her Take Three Thursday and also as a choice for the Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt No. 23. A Heart. 
1. I only photographed the heart on this 'Roarsome Lion'.

2. Perhaps you prefer the 'Singing Lion' . I didn't actually discover if it does sing.

3. Then for the last Pussycat there is 'Smitten Kitten'

There is one thing for sure Farmer Husband definitely would never buy one of these!

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Too Wet to Wander

Last Saturday we went on a day trip to South Wales. We spent the afternoon at The Royal Mint which you can read about here. We thought we would make more of a day of it by visiting a National Trust property about 20 minutes from Cardiff called Dyffryn House and Gardens. Unfortunately the weather was not on our side. The day had dawned fair but by the time we were crossing the Severn Bridge it had started to rain. It was raining heavily by the time we reached the car park and made a hasty dash for the cafe where we were meeting up with some friends. Once we had refreshed ourselves with coffee or hot chocolate we were ready to brave the elements. Equipped in our rainwear we strode out into the gardens. You can get an idea of how wet it was from this.

The garden above is actually the heart garden. The path cuts the heart in half. It is probably more defined when the flower beds are full. A good amount of the gardens is arranged in rooms which was a popular Edwardian style. There are a lot of ornate walls and follies.

The gardens were designed in 1906 and are now Grade 1 listed. 

Despite the rain and the time of year it was obvious what lovely gardens they must be in the summer and we are already planning a revisit.

There is in addition an arboretum, a fernery and banks of Spring flowers. There is a project to replant hundreds of snow drops which is pretty well under way. There is an incentive where you can plant a snowdrop. It was all a bit wet for that kind of thing.
The house is also open. We underestimated how much there was to see inside which gives another reason to visit again.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

A Poppy Post

I shall be busy most of the day with the pancake lunch I told you all about. I'll just show you a few Poppy pictures before I go. 
It's time for a bit of 'leave the hens' alone training.

Then it's off into the woods for a bit of playtime with Socks.

I think Socks has had enough now.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Money, Money Money

We had a trip out on Saturday and in the afternoon we visited The Royal Mint. You may be aware that the original Royal Mint was situated first within the Tower of London and then nearby in Tower Hill. It was the beginning of decimalisation and the huge number of coins to be produced that precipitated the move to the present site at Llantrisant, South Wales. Building started in1967 to be ready with all the new coins by D Day on 15th February 1971.
We were greeted by a Royal Mint Shaun the Sheep by the entrance before we started our tour.

I am not sure exactly what I expected to be able to see on the tour. We had a very informative guide in quite a large group. He gave us a good explanation of the process of producing a coin which was backed up by a good exhibition which was a little difficult to see due to the number of people. We then moved on into the mint itself, well a glass windowed corridor on the side of the factory. It was actually quite difficult to see the coin production because it was basically all within the machinery but we did get the gist of what was happening.
It was then time to move onto "Strike a Coin". This gives you the chance to strike your own coin by pressing a button to start the machinery.

We had paid for Student Daughter to have a go (£5 or £7.50 for two). The coin being made was a 50p with a Sir Isaac Newton design. This particular coin is the 2018 version and will not be released into general use.

We had been asked to turn off our phones and not use cameras while still in the factory. We assumed however when we came to a number of large chests of pound coins with a sign saying 'have your photo taken' that we could switch them on again. Apparently not as I found out when I was reprimanded for trying to take a picture for the Student Daughter. Whoops! Unfortunately I had already taken this one.

I thought it could be used for the Winter Scavenger Hunt for No. 17 Many. These two would also qualify both of which were taken in the area where pictures were allowed.

There were quite a few things that I learnt on the tour. I was not aware that The Royal Mint produces currency for many countries. Egyptian pounds were being made on the day of our visit. There was an exhibition of all the different countries that coins are or have been made for which included this square coinage for Suriname and this petal edge for th Phillipines.

It was certainly an interesting tour with a lot of exhibits to see including medals and commemorative collectors coins. Many of the commemorative items were for sale in the shop. The Beatrix Potter 50p coins were particularly appealing but fairly costly including a gold plated painted Peter Rabbit coin at £1000. Perhaps not today!