Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Not So Insta Gram

I have to get this out of my system. I promise if you let me rant now, I will reward you with pretty pictures, wine and chocolate chip cookies. But first I have to tell you that BT (British Telecom) has still failed to connect our broadband internet service. Hashtag that!


We were told a month ago that there was a fault with the ‘underground line’ to our house, and yes, we were told that the engineers who do that work ‘are very busy’. Since then, Mr. S contacted BT several times and been told lie after lie after lie, some told with Indian accents by people who take ‘personal responsibility’ for making sure this would be sorted out.


Finally, Mr. S contacted our Member of Parliament as well as the chairman of BT. We have been assigned a person who is responding personally, mostly to make excuses. However, as of today we have the landline telephone hooked up! That’s progress!

However, we were told it will take five to seven days to switch the broadband on!*$!#&%!


We use our smartphones to do a reasonable amount of stuff – emails, Instagram, Facebook – and we’ve set one up as a wifi hotspot so we can use our computers in a pinch. That’s a real data drain, though, so I’ve been Instagramming rather than blogging, and my Muse Fondue Facebook page is slumped in the corner like a ventriloquist’s dummy.

But now I’m sacrificing my data ration to bring you – ta da! – pretty pictures from Wales! Almost all of these have not even been on Instagram – they are exclusive to the blog. Don’t you feel special? I hope you enjoy them!

The orangery at Powis Castle

Plunge pool at Powis Castle - looks inviting, no?

View from the orangery
Leighton church doorway with finger (I did it on purpose, natch)

Llanerfyl church doorway

Bishops Castle street

Bishops Castle square

Montgomery Castle ruins and view beyond

And for those of you who also want wine and chocolate chip cookies, send me your address and I’ll, um, put them in the post.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Cheap and Cheerful

Thank you all for your kind comments on my last post. I recovered from the horrible bug I had (Brexit bug?), thanks to some down time and a gift from Mr. S.

Chocolate can cure almost anything.
Now, I know you’re all wondering about our new house. 

It’s bright and pleasant, small but adequate, and fulfils that wonderful British phrase 'cheap and cheerful'. We've quickly filled it up with new furniture and other crap that we feel we need to live a modern life. We've been up to our ears in flat-packs, corrugated cardboard and plastic packaging. I hope we’re done now because I’m getting a serious case of stuff-itis – and we don’t have any more room!

We received the boxes we had shipped from the States with the belongings we kept. It’s funny opening them after six weeks, now that we’re in a new environment. Some things I look at and wonder, ‘What the hell was I thinking? Why did I keep that?’ But other things are such a joy to unwrap, and finally make this place feel like home.

Blogger keeps turning this photo sideways - weird.

As you can see up above, we painted one accent wall. Otherwise, we've made things easy by sticking to the 'new-build neutral' colour scheme. Most things we bought in either cream or white, with just a few patterns to shake things up.

I have a nascent craft corner in the garage.

I have a new bicycle with pretty patterns on it.

It's pretty, but it's not exactly top of the line.

The shower, which is so small that I almost can't bend my elbows, shows what the builders thought about following instructions.

Although we're in a rural location, we're in a newish cul-de-sac just off a highway. It's a fish bowl with great views of all the neighbours' cars. 

It's not ideal, but there's only so much you can do when you buy a house online! We’re looking at this as a starter home, so we may have to move all this new furniture and stuff again someday. What fun.

I have surprisingly few local pictures available except on my phone, so if you want scenic shots (it is gorgeous here!), check out my Instagram feed (@musefondue). But here are a couple blog-exclusive pics taken in local towns, and I’ll share some soon of our trip to Powis Castle.

There's so much more I want to photograph, but it seems we're always rushing on our way to somewhere else. And the weather has been mostly horrendous! Hoping for sunshine and a slower pace soon!


Friday, July 8, 2016


Would you Adam and Eve it?!*

I move to Britain one week, and the next week they vote to close the borders, more or less! You might say I got here just in time. Or you might say I just moved into a big financial and political hurricane. Or you might say, like me, WTF.

chapel in Llanwydden

So, here I am in Wales. It's very green because it's very wet. I'm using wifi at the library because we still don't have internet/phone/cable hooked up at our house - thanks, BT!

We had a smooth flight over except for the requisite turbulence during meal service. After landing, we hit the ground running - we went to the bank, got a mobile phone, and renewed our driving licences before you could say, 'Please return your seats and tray tables to an upright position'. (UK punctuation and spelling rules apply now.)

That was just the beginning of the fun!

After feeding us and giving us her bed for the night, my stepdaughter, Emma, drove us to our new house out in the Welsh countryside, where we dumped our three huge suitcases. Then we dashed into the nearest town with a good variety of shopping (20+ miles), and we quickly loaded up several shopping trolleys with pillows, duvets, towels, towel rails, broom, mop, dishes, mugs, glasses, kettle, toaster, cleaning supplies, tools, and two patio chairs. We made quite a spectacle, especially when one of the trolleys rolled into the street as we were waiting for Emma to bring the car round! 

Then back to the house just in time to receive our new car so we wouldn't be stuck when Emma departed. An hour later we received our new bed, which turned out to be very comfy. After that, a quick run in the new car to the supermarket (18 miles away) and we were set for the night, eating beans on toast and sitting in our patio chairs.

Then several more days making the rounds of the local towns to get more supplies, pick out furniture, get keys made, join the library and sign up with the health centre. Home again to unpack and find a place for everything in our little house.

nearby tea shop

And the house needed cleaning - it had been either rented or empty for the last five years. (Oh, the dead spiders and flies in the window frames - ugh!)

And then I got sick. Not surprising, really, but I haven't been ill like this in decades - sore throat, fever and aches, lots of sleeping. It's a bit of an extreme way to engineer a rest, but we have furniture and food so I'm taking it easier now. 

Lake Vyrnwy

Until we get fully online, I've been getting used to my smartphone. I'm on Instagram (@musefondue), but for everything else I really prefer a proper keyboard!

Enough for now. I'll have more pictures when it stops raining - someday.


* Cockney rhyming slang for 'Would you believe it?'