Where Summers finds Black and White joy in life.

The Ynyslas Dunes.

This month is now 25 days old. So far? Much.

Recently purchased a jar of cheap instant coffee and two bags of washing soda. Today will look for Vitamin C powder on the Internet. Then hopefully, in the next few weeks, develop some old black and white film negatives with these alternative natural items. I have about 7 or 8 rolls taken about 6 or 7 years ago. May even be longer. The latent imagery sitting on each of those negative film 35 mm frames have been patient. They will be a different story completely when they come to life. Blinking their way into reality and looking battered but free. Like prisoners escaping forced isolation. They won’t look like this photograph above certainly.

Decorating the front room, which involves, as yesterday’s activity continued, to both stripping thick layered paint and old varnish off 1890s old Scandinavian pine alongside preparing the walls for chalk paint. The old plaster architrave being gently attended to to remove hideous apricot coloured gloss. Carpets of wool Berber bought. Wall and floor furniture and fittings internet inspiration sought. Colours choice for walls, now decided upon, caught. Now ambience intentions identified, no longer fraught. Still attempting skills, still to be self taught. Got into a groove there!

Looking after the grandchildren for a number of days over the last few weeks. Intentions to carry on with projects on those days grind to a halt. I find activities that they don’t want to partake in. My wife does it oh so much better. They bake a cake, Hoover the carpets with glee, load the dishwasher, Facetime their cousins, etc. With me? Can we watch the telly. ‘But I bought these new coloured pencils!’ I say. They look away. So we watch a glorious well chosen film. Chitter. Chatter. And we are all very happy.

Also. Been busy helping a friend to move plants from her garden because a move of premises from rural isolation to local town and increased socialisation is soon to be realised. There are very many plants to be considered. Probably upwards of a hundred in fact. Very many house items too. So in the next week, a helping hand to move will be an activity for a few days.

My wife’s shop is going from strength to strength. But she needs to slow down. But can’t. Wholefood orders alongside other orders to be made and once delivered to be put out; hundreds upon hundreds of different items in the shop. Also, having six staff to look after and support, meetings with reps, constant phone calls and everything else running a shop entails doesn’t do it all by itself. Not kidding when I say that she has a very busy and popular shop! The community really love it. It is a hub of activity and good vibes. She sat last night putting together a huge SUMA food and other products order at home because she accidentally hit the ‘Empty your basket’ button at work through tiredness.

What else this month? Oh! The interest in and seeking of fountain pens. Mending them. The visits to town and buying amazing vintage items from charity shops. Or books. The meeting of friends whilst there in town. The profoundly Deaf gentleman who I stand and sign with, the people I haven’t seen for months, and years even, who don’t recognise me because I now have a beard. Or that I am not in a nurse uniform. ‘Didn’t recognise you with your clothes on!’ Ho, ho, ho. Seriously I find that exhilarating because I actually feel that I am now recognised without the uniform and as an everyday guy who speaks a different conversation. Mind you they still talk of their illnesses or developed symptoms at times. I don’t mind one bit. Good that they can find an ear to talk to about how they feel. And interestingly, a telephone conversation with my old nurse colleagues who phoned me a couple of nights ago from their night shift during late evening. Speaker phone on, we exchanged a ten minute glorious update of how they, and myself, were faring. Still they are struggling. However. Nurse humour never dies. Inner spirit still soars. They are, simply put, champions!

And the blogs. Quite difficult to think up what to actually write about. Subjects to choose from? Got no idea. Ho, ho, ho.

18 thoughts on “Where Summers finds Black and White joy in life.”

    1. J’s move is going okay. Went over with my son’s partner’s Dad, Angie and then son’s partner herself over 4 different days. Took loads of boxes over from Angie’s shop. Been sorting out, with H’s dad, moving the garden plants and big heavy pots and containers into one area to easily get at and that are to be taken to the new home. J wants to put her precious collection of house treasures and items into boxes herself. All this name confidentiality! Important to do though. So myself and Angie have been only garden focused up to now. I know your involvement in the local Mach community. I emailed a local guy yesterday about the VeeDub. It needs to get back on the road. Start of February, it is definitely on the cards to get an overhaul to get the Bus to tick over nicely again. Actually. With your busy lifestyle too. We both need a break you and I. Let’s actually make time in the next few weeks. I need to get in touch with my best nurse buddy too. He has been doing shifts aplenty and sounds cream crackered! Hope your weekend break went well. Have a good one too. Xx


  1. Loved this post Gray. You really gave me a good giggle. Perfect start to a day of postgraduate marking. I am wondering though, with your ‘ho ho ho’ and you say you now have a beard – are you secretly Santa? 🤔 😆

    I’m surprised to see you say you struggle with what to write on your blog, you seem to do so well. And always seem to have wonderful insight and stories, both on your blog and the comments you post on mine.

    Keep being you 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me? Santa? Sssssshhhhhh! 😉 Good luck with the non red pen marking. It’s not Christmas though! No broad sweeping of giving pressies of A+++ ‘s. All the best Brenda. Now where’s Rudolph gone…….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That ‘we’ll be ok’ shows a great lecturer. All on board for the academic journey. Rudolph can’t hide for long. His nose doesn’t give him away. He just keeps singing that song written about him! Cheers.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been a nice day. No vinyl listened to whilst hot air burning and scraping off paint and varnish! Just ‘Alexa. Play………’ and then a load of sing-a-longs. Oh! And an hour looking for a metal nib block for straightening nibs. Not that I have any nibs to straighten. Just in ‘future’ case. Can’t find one anywhere though. Hope you are keeping well. All the best.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I saw the acrylic ones, but only available in the USA with a hefty postage cost. I think they had sold out too. I believe it was on Etsy. Never heard of a dipping set. Had a quick look just now on Google but nothing came up. I thought a jewellery finger ring measure may work. Thanks for the advice. I’ll have another look.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for the link Danny. Had a look. I think it is the same company I looked at. Postage is about £16 and the block is £31. Just checked your currency exchange rate and about $58. I’ll keep the internet page on Faves and have a look again in a few weeks. Cheers.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh! Wrong Etsy account then. I eventually went with a bookmark from my site. Did link yours and it came up in a window still on WordPress. Then linked to delivery charges and it didn’t identify easily. Gave a huge list of what could/couldn’t be brought into the UK. Bit weird. So switched to going into Google from my previous searches again. I’ll try again. Thanks for the nod. My conversion from $ to £ came off asking Google. Can’t do stuff like you’ve just done in my head! 😆 Cheers Danny.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Hi Danny. It is the same guy making them. Same web address you kindly linked me to. I re-downloaded my Etsy App to access differently. Can see it now in pounds and pence. It’s probably gone up now. They are so difficult to find aren’t they? £30.54 plus £15.23 p&p is the price presently. I screen-shot the Etsy page so can find it again easily. I’m looking at a few pens at the moment so if one does come my way with a dodgy nib, I’ll bite the bullet and get it. You’ve fired me up with this renovation interesting journey! All the best.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. That is odd, must be an Etsy markup. His web store front on VINTAGEPENS.com has the block listed at $25 + $14 to ship to Cardiff (my example choice.) Total cost to you should be £31


      6. Weird. I have a screen shot but it isn’t a web copy and paste possibility because it’s from the App. So can’t attach. I don’t mind paying about £15 more to be honest. Just had a phone call from the carpet fitters. 6th Feb to fit. They gave a guideline for end of Feb. So I’m buying paint and everything needed to finish the living room. Panic! So money is being thrown at decorating for now. Cheers for looking. It will be a definite. I love this vintage pen malarkey. All the best Danny.

        Liked by 1 person

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