About Me

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An itinerant observer and thinker about life in general, sharing some moments of wandering and wonderment.

Saturday, 24 December 2011


If you have to travel tomorrow, arrive safely
and for all the sheep out there across the world, may a good shepherd have a rest
and all flocks be kept safe.

Friday, 23 December 2011


To all you folks out there across the globe, who follow Dafad's, almost daily ditherings. I just want to say, thank you and where ever you are, whatever the weather, stay safe and warm. Enjoy the chance to take catch up with old acquaintances and drink a toast to all.
This was taken a few years ago, on a Christmas Day. So ... Seasonal Greetings all of you!
and may the New Year bring you all, the better things you wish for.
Best Wishes to the many. 


  It was one of those days today,trying to get the festive cards written out for the natives ... yes ... I know it's a wee bitty bit late, but better than never. I was doing my best to be festive, whilst outside, there was perpetual pluviality! It rained nearly all day, which kind of spoilt the mood I was trying to induce (despite blue loo roll No 6 as a constant companion). Some people have friends ... mine at the moment is Andrex and no jolly Labrador antics with it. Good job really, my canine companion was fed up enough, making his grumpiness clear. I've never known a dog who can sulk in such an expressive way, with rolling eyes, heavy sighs and collapsing into a resigned heap with a loud "Humph!" 
  Late afternoon, the sky stopped crying, so we took our chance in the grey overcast light 
and drove out for a brief stroll  in some local forestry which was dark and dingy. The leaf covered track didn't scrunch, it was very heavily over-soaked, not that the mutt minded at all, there were squirrels to make faces at from his safety beneath the skeletal canopy.
A lovely old beech tree had succumbed to the recent gale force winds, a sad sight, as I had only recently been admiring the huge bracket fungus, which as you can see, is now split in half. The wood, tired and rotten, didn't even smell as freshly split timber should. Then as if by magic the curtains of cloud cleared and light started to permeate the wet forest and acted like a spotlight on the colours which up till then had seemed rust-corroded and drearily dank.
Suddenly the wet beech leaves just shone with amazing luminosity ... and what had been a canine caring chore turned into something much more interesting for me to capture.

The whole atmosphere changed and the magic transformation didn't stop there ... suddenly the rust had become a bright leaf carpet.

                                                                         Suddenly it was a joy to walk back as the sun started to set ...the valley sides seemed to become fire bright with glorious, bright red high lights.

What had been grey, miserable, muddy and, well boring, was transforming. And then, as if nature just really wanted to totally show off her changeable abilities  today, something really unexpected was strengthening in the west ...
I took loads of photo's. The sky was just changing at speed with grey clouds scudding across the rose gold and duck egg blue. Amazing!
Just as we headed back home, I had to stop for this last chance ...
and to think, had it not been for a coercive collie ... I might very well have missed all this! 

Thursday, 22 December 2011


  I suppose I really should be gearing up for this festive thing that's happening. Though  many folk I know say they're not really in the mood, except for good food &  'a few' drinks.
Today saw me in a cold wet garage waiting for the Ffin Limo, to have it's power steering and new brake cylinders sorted out. So that was me not doing much Chris Moose prep!
If anything can cheer you up, something very unseasonal but a reminder of sunnier days.
It's that time of year when we catch up with old friends and all their news., finding out what they've been doing and share humorous seasonal emails that make on smile. That aside, I've become one of the "Grumpy Old" club. And new members join every year, to have a good old moan about the festive fever and all the extra hassle one has to put up with.
Well ... this will do me for a Christmas tree ...
and as for the coloured decorations, well nature can do that brightly too ...

and even add some. sparkly stars
not even the squirrels will go without during the human silly season ...
though I think this pine cone has already been very well picked through already ...
Where ever you are ... take care out there.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


Dafad's been penned up a bit in the in-bye, with a cough that could compete with a few other sheep I've heard in the past ... and I thought they sounded rough! Have just started blue loo roll number six (not that I'm counting) Yan-tan-metherer-pestering-wimp! Some of yewes will get my drift with that one. Anyway there's healthier hay munchers in the out bye ... getting muddier by the day as the soggy ground gets churned up by wheel and hoof
The dog was driving me nuts yesterday, so after a trip to the human vet, for me,I drove him up the mountain road for a run. Notice the sugar icing on the tops in the background ... it was a bit nippy but worth it just to get some very fresh air and watch as the greedy lot got more to get their teeth into. Is that a weird looking pair on top or what? Dolly?

But in the midday sun, the ground was turning back to green fast and things were getting even muddier. We didn't stay out for long, but enough time to get a few shots. Now I normally hate con trails in my photos but under a very busy international air route they are hard to avoid, but sometimes they create effects, that really are worth catching on camera ...
Just down and to the left of the above sky, a peaceful pasture in the winter sunlight

And yet further along the road the scene looked almost like a, warm, late summer afternoon.

So folks, thanks for your  concern. I've not popped me clogs yet.
As you know, a bit of rarefied mountain air and sun is good medicine for the soul.
Then it was back to the blue roll and a warm indoors.

Saturday, 17 December 2011


   Don't worry I haven't popped me clogs yet ... lets just say that the mists have been fumes of Olbas Oil, with sky blue loo roll and the green of the curtains. Scenic  ... not! From the warmth of indoors, through the window I've watched real life sky showing off how many different ways that water can be made into special effects. Through a window with condensation or an icy sheen first thing in the morning. We had a reddish sky this morning jackdaws all excited, but the body refused to be impressed. It's times like this you wish you were a scout troop polar bear ... well prepared! Dog looking at me reproachfully as I refused (cold-heartily) to enter outside, my body just wasn't willing, much as the mind would have liked to explore more. I was ready to take him for a short outing later on today, when the heavens poured more wetness! That was me being looked at with decidedly much fed up-ness. 
Not my fault matey boy Anyways, as the end of the daylight drew to a close, a gentle sunset  and chance dryness, so I togged up in mega warm togs and ventured forth, it was worth it it just to see the pale sunset deepen.
An amazingly clear blue sky for so late in the day after all that mist, sleet and rain.
 Parked up by the old church, it was cold, not that the dog minded one bit. I almost did, but the sweet, warm scent of cattle in the byre against the chill of the soon darkening sky, was just lovely. It was a surprise to see snow still lingering despite the efforts of the rain today to attempt to wash it away.                  

And beyond that in the distance the peaks were still a very dense white. Am guessing it's even colder over there.  Yeowch!

One last look across The Argoed, one of my favourite views, no matter the weather ...
I love taking a photograph in the same place to see how the mood changes and ... it's never the same. That's just a wonderful thing

Thursday, 15 December 2011


 After a hibernating day yesterday. Mind you I can't complain about the timing because it was not the weather to be out and about in. The mad mutt thought differently and was decidedly a miffed mutt ... heavy sighs, soulful looks and silent sulks. I'm meandering again ... overnight under heavy fogginess and lots of that whip lashing rain, today dawned bright. I knew it when I surfaced from down under in duvet country. The jackdaws sounded happy as they chat-nattered in their roost behind me, I almost heard them say, "It's a flying day!"
They were right, it looked lovely and dry ... from inside. Guess dog knew it too, I got pester power full blast. Eventually, dressed like a cross between a plasticated onion and a Russian doll, with a very small human in the centre, we ventured out into the ambient coldness.
I drove up to the top to look at the view as Ffin went nose to ground, racing about ... what a difference! Gone the snow and hail whitened heights ... welcome back soggy greenery.

Where the moles in this field obviously felt happy enough to be creating havoc on the pastures.
It was hard to believe there had been whiteness every where yesterday, everything was just sodden and waterlogged with deep puddles all over the place. Wellies essential footwear!
Dog bouncing around in sludgy muddiness, just happy to be outdoors (I didn't feel quite the same). But with wafts of Olbas Oil, I did my best.
It was clear I wasn't the only one who was having problems with traversing the ground >>>
It may not be snow that the farmers have to face to get to their outlying flocks but I guess this can seem just as bad, especially if you are in a Landrover.
As it was, I was struggling unlike Mr Surefoot. He was just happy to be outdoors and I have to admit (despite struggling) so was I. The fresh air and the views were a balm to the soul.
But I knew I would soon have to give in and get back to recuperate and rest. Dog wasn't so impressed,  there were still reminders of yesterday to explore ...
But I'd had enough, and just wanted to get back home in the warm. I still felt very frail and unable to cope with the cold.
So back in the car and heading home I saw a sight that made me stop the car and take photographs. Our Welsh breed, seemed more like Herdwicks in colour ... due to the muddiness.
They've sure made short work of their hay rations and that's the second big bale to go out for them. But with the grass so green I guess there's not much attention to the hay put out for the in bye sheep ...
except for  a few greedy individuals who rely on supply ...
but still a few reminders of snow linger on,
but heading back home to the warmth of home, there were still a few more surprises.
I  really had not expected this sight on a cold December day ...  >>>>
a rainbow over peacefully grazing sheep.

As finally the jackdaws having had a great December day headed in to roost early ...
or maybe just a lunch break ... I'd had enough for today.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


  Apologies to readers from far over the globe who may not understand the following terms ... Covonia,  Olbas Oil, Beechams, Andrex  and a few you may recognise, honey, lemons and whiskey.!
And what on earth you may ask has the following photo got to do with all of the above ...
That's how my throat feels ... brick dry with an irritating bramble tickling the bits that the various tinctures won't touch. Any-ways, just wanted an excuse to use this photograph and I found it today.
Still I'm not complaining, as outside is far worse than inside, which is at least warm and free of ...
snow, sleet, rain, hail and wind! Just before the cloud gracefully lowered a blanket of invisibility, it was not the kind of weather to be out and about in. Not that the suffering dog really believed me!
Next month is January,  I'll share with you two photo's taken on an old mobile in January 2009.
The last few winters this lovely pond with its cormorants, has been totally frozen
now for a more relaxing scene,
and for those of you that remember the film "On Golden Pond"
the same month, the same year, just a different outlook on life.
But not as we know it today.
So for all of you out there suffering from inclement weather ... and feeling kind of blue.
Who remembers Eric Clapton with Electric Light Ochestra?
"Mr Blue Sky" 
So ... to quote Monty Python ... "Always look on the bright  side of life.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011


  Just to be different today. Why? Because the day was different in many ways. Yesterday Dafad had a nose like a gurgling downpipe ... with the constant companion indoors of a loo roll (cheaper than tissues) hankies outside sufficed. Today, it's gone to my chest. "*@%+&" Then the rain began ...
As I was still in charge of 13 chickens, 2 rabbits and my own dog, the day had to be faced. So fully togged up with more layers than an onion, I headed bravely out into what seemed more like the icing sugar dusting for mince pies, only I wasn't a sweet treat and the icing was tiny floaty balls of snow! The chooks at least were eager to be released to eat their wet mash, and I was rewarded with two more, very fresh eggs.
 But the skies were already dark and foreboding with a front heading our way.

 Taken from over a well built stone wall, the view you see here was soon to be occluded as from every angle it seemed the weather was closing in ... and fast at that. The sun was struggling to break through ... all too soon the skies were ominously dark ...
that's when the icing sugar turned into real, westerly blown snow! Within minutes we were white with snow of the large, fluffy, flaky kind. The ground was so soaked with last nights rain, the snow quickly soaked in, though on the higher slopes it shows.
Hard to believe that the snow was still falling as I took this photograph ...
As for the rest of the day ... rain, hail, snow and sleet;
Time to hibernate indoors methinks.

Monday, 12 December 2011


  Well I can't complain about this morning. This afternoon and the days ahead, well that's a different matter as the northerlies and westerlies bring in much wetness until ... Saturday!!
I would just love to unselfishly send it to the drought suffering, arable farming east of U.K
Meanwhile, as the say  "Carpe diem" seize the day, so we did and went scenic tree hunting.
It's an easy walk, not far from where I park. This particular farmers outlying fields are sectioned off by beech trees and some of my favourite photographs over the years have been taken here. It is said that a beech tree can live 300 years, the oldest in U.K is said to be 320 years old.I would love to know how old some of these trees are.
The fields here, stand out emerald green against the now pale winter colouration of the commons and amongst his Welsh White, he has several Welsh Black, which as always stand out in a crowd. Or as in this case ...
just stand alone, grazing peacefully away in this mid December sunlight. It really was a lovely sunny morning, despite the hand chilling wind that made using my camera a wee bitty cold but it was worth it.
I took far too many photographs to share with you here and it has been difficult to choose which ones to use for today.

I visited this lovely old hawthorn, which to my amazement had been stripped clean of its ruby red berries. I guess the birds around here are really fattening up in preparation for winter to hit us really hard. It does stand alone, so probably gets more attention than areas where the haws are in abundance. The other day I watched as another hawthorn was dramatically busy with chaffinches, bullfinches, a wren and two blackbirds. 
The whole tree was just aflutter with activity. Not this one though. All berries have been eaten by hungry, winter preparing birds.                                              >>>

I stopped for a rest out of the worst of the wind as the dog snuffled in the deep drifts  of beech, which reminded me of something I've missed this year ... the crisp sound of scrunchy leaves rather than the soggy ones we seem to have had since the fall began. These were wind dried, crispy and tobacco scented ... lovely!
All around me the skies were blazing blue with cotton white clouds, only the bitter wind gave the game away. Be grateful out there that you can't feel as cold as I did whilst sat here.
Overhead the skeletal tracery of branch and twig ... 
Now ... is that a funny shaped "H" or is it a rather odd pair of dangly legs? Mebbe you see something different, I've not quite made my mind up yet. Anyways ... as the weather worsens, at least I know my charges are safe. I counted them all out and all back in to roost and hutch. I had two fresh laid eggs today, had a lovely omelette for lunch, so feel as if I have been well repaid for all my now drying clothes.
Time methinks to have a long hot soak and relax (with coldy old sniffles and an aching body) for the rest of the day.

I shall leave you with my favourite photograph taken just this morning ...
Where ever you are in the world, my wishes are that you're safe.

Sunday, 11 December 2011


Well, what can I say? Today was a rain sodden sort of a day.Though few complaints from this aching body. Apart from looking after the cheeky chooks, there was little else doing. Thanks to perpetual sky-water which flooded the mountain roads and turned them into tarmac (and potholed) mini streams, there were no photographic opportunities. That is until late in the daylight day, I put the chooks away in the rain ... which suddenly stopped. Lots of lovely raindrop beads hanging on twigs and hawthorn berries ... no camera!
The late afternoon sky was grey but dramatic and worth a photo or two ... need I say more. So relying on stuff taken yesterday ... Chook Book.
The big rooster was on form, strutting his stuff and showing off today. He's obviously got over being so camera shy, so much so he seemed to be almost showing off. Why?
Because his potential rival to being king of the roost was nearby ...
Basically keeping a low profile because (as yet) he really hasn't got what it takes to qualify. In fact, bless him, he seems very much an outsider, keeping himself to himself and staying out of the way.
That  is until the day that the old boy gets to tired and is unable to keep his command.
Until then he's just keeping his cards close to his comb as it were and just feeding himself up, ready for his day of triumph!

Ah but ... in the background is another young contender for the title. As you can see they are all free ranging during the day,
with plenty of chance to avoid each other. But one day there will be a battle of the bravest.
You see ... chooks are not all that boring when you get to know them well. Having had my own, I know just what individual s they can be.
And this one hen seems to be paying more attention to the two younger guys ...
She seems to be keeping her distance, just trying to judge from the sidelines who may be the best bet for future successs.
Meanwhile, despite being in winter moult they have paid me kindly with four fresh eggs. I think they enjoy the wet mash I've been making for them. It certainly causes squabbles in the morning.
Meanwhile elsewhere,  there are contented ewes and a satisfied tup, quietly grazing away.
And that folks, is enough countryside gossip for today!