Archive | daily life

Hen book review

Here, at last, is the review of the hen book I was sent a few months ago! 

hen keeping book 

This is the cover of the book: Hen Keeping.  You will notice that the author has a very appropriate name!  The publishers, New Holland, have a series called Self-Sufficiency and this is one of them.  In fact, I just went to the category on their website and I think more titles have been added recently.  Natural Remedies and Foraging sound two interesting subjects to me, being a closet self sufficiency enthusiast! 

hen book review 

The book is quite small format, which I like, and very down to earth.  It was a very useful and straightforward guide for beginners to hen keeping like myself.  I liked it best of the out three books I’d reviewed.   It has sections on choosing your birds, housing, feeding, cleaning, all the things you need to know when starting out.  Together with the Omlet forum (the forum related to the Eglu, which is the henhouse I have), it gave me a very good start.

hen book review

The book is divided into two halves: The Basics, and then essentially a dictionary of poultry breeds, with pictures and a rundown of the characteristics of each, which are suitable for newcomers to henkeeping, etc.    All in all, a very useful little book.

Eggs galore!

Well, I’ve finally restarted blogging and feel a lot more enthusiasm for it.  Well, time will tell… I’ve also spent a lot of this afternoon learning to use the new menu navigation on WordPress and finally got it how I want it.

The hens arrived at the beginning of April and have definitely made their mark – on the slugs, on the borders in the garden, and now on the egg production!

Here they are when they first arrived:


This is Peggy.  She is a ranger. 


This is Prudence, a bovans nera, which is a cross between Rhode Island Red and Barred Plymouth Rock.  She has lovely markings.  She is also the most laid back and the peacemaker of the three. 


And this is Lucy.  She is an amber star.  They are all hybrid hens.   


They like perching on the garden bench.   Prudence was the first to start laying and now they’re giving us two or three eggs a day. 


This is the Very First Egg! 

I don’t seem to have any very recent photos of the hens but I’ll be writing a review of the hen book soon so I’ll put a few on here then.  Don’t worry though, I am doing textile stuff as well!!  Just not so much as I do seem to spend a lot of time sitting in the garden these days…

A few photos of Crindau

When I finished the monthly reeds photography at the end of 2010, I wanted to replace it with another project because I seem to work best with particular themes (and of course it gives me something to blog about apart from how untidy my studio is!).

I decided to focus on an area of Newport called Crindau, which is fairly close to Shaftesbury Park, where I photographed the reeds.  It is an area which is, I think, under the Council’s spotlight for redevelopment – a new, huge Sainsburys was built on the derelict gasworks site last year and they have plans to built a marina on Crindau Pill, one of the inlets from the River Usk.  Whether it will happen in this economic climate is anyone’s guess, but I decided that it would be a good plan to capture the area in photographs before it happens.  There are a lot of derelict warehouses, as well as quite a few operational ones, there – it is a funny mix of residential and ex-industrial; lots of potential for distressed walls and arty rusted fences…


There’s a lot of up and down so you get great rooftop views.


And the odd bit of arty graffiti.


I love these old derelict factory buildings.  Note the individual facades – none of your identikit shoeboxes here.


And you turn a corner, and a flight of steps beckons you….


To this street of Victorian terraces (can you see the Civic Centre tower on the horizon….


But then you turn another corner and, in the middle of all those little Victorian terraced houses is Crindau House, this longhouse dating from about the 1500s!  I didn’t know of its existence until a few weeks ago when I came upon this plaque.


When it was built, this house would have been in the middle of countryside – right up till the 19th century, in fact.  Now it’s enclosed by all these Victorian terraces, a secret medieval survivor.

Last chance to see the Superdragons!

I just read on the BBC news website that the dragons have all been returned to their den to get cleaned up ready for the final showing in the Kingsway shopping Centre and the auction later this month.  Very sad to see them go!

There’s a brilliant audio slideshow here with lots of great photos and a commentary by the organiser of the project.

Anyway, here’s the last instalment of dragons (unless I find any stray ones on my camera memory card that I’ve forgotten about!).


This on is Flowerport by Deborah Wheeler, a local textile artist, on the top floor of Museum and Art Gallery.  The circles are fabric with stitching.


Recycled Royston by Amy Fletcher is in the entrance to the Kingsway Centre car park.  He has lots of colourful bottle tops stuck to him.

Phyco the Dragon

This is Phyco the Dragon by Lala Ward outside the back entrance to the Kingsway Centre


He has lots of fun multimedia elements like netting and organza – all those fun fabrics we love to use!   I like the way his mouth foams!


A bit faint because of the way the sun was shining on it…The Vigour of Gwyn by Daniel Fowler, George Street, by George Street Furnishers


A mini dragon in the window of Gwent Picture Framing.


Eyesee by the Newport Young People’s Information Shop.


Inside Asda – Paint by Numbers dragon by Tom Brown.  He has a box of chalks for people to colour him in.


Philatelic Relic – Shaun Featherstone on Mariner’s Green, watched over by the police station.  There are lots of stamps stuck on him. 

Do have a look at the audio slideshow – there are a lot of great close up shots from unusual angles.

Belle Vue Park Superdragons

Last week I suddenly realised I only had a couple of weeks to find the rest of the Superdragons in situ.  They are all being brought together for a final viewing about the middle of this month, but it’s not the same as seeing them out and about.  So over the last couple of days I’ve been photographing some of those I hadn’t seen before.  And a few which have been relocated in more secure positions to prevent them being vandalised again.

Yesterday I went to Belle Vue Park.  We used to live in the road running up the side of this park so I know it well – it is a lovely Victorian park on the side of a hill. 

This dragon is called Amser and it is next to the cafe.  The artist is Marianne Thomas.

superdragon Amser in Belle Vue Park 

There is a little mini dragon painted by Clytha School inside the cafe too:

Clytha School's mini dragon

This one is Highly Flammable – Stick is the artist who painted it.

Highly Flammable superdragon by Stick

The last one in Belle Vue Park (apart from Goldie Looking Dragon who was relocated to the cafe from Ridgeway) is Cenhinen Bedr by Danielle Mayer.  It is the Gorsedd, the stone circle constructed by the Victorians when they landscaped the park.

Cenhinen Bedr superdragon

Here he is in his setting.  You can see the lovely trees in the park.

superdragon in Belle Vue Park

A few more dragons

September has been frantic so far, especially this week.  The good news is that I’ve managed to get screen printing!  No photos yet but I’m pleased with what I’ve done so far.

So… here are a few more Superdragons. 

This one is called Hope for the Youth by Anna Ozemoya.

Hope for the Youth superdragon

It has been suggested that it should be renamed No Hope for the Youth, since its original location was by the canal.  Thanks to the local youth, it ended up IN the canal, so now it has been relocated to the main shopping street. ** UPDATED: please see Anna’s comment on the true situation, thanks Anna ***

The People's Dragon

This one is called The People’s Dragon because its design was voted for by local people.  It was outside the Civic Centre when I took this photo but it must be in for repairs because its plinth is empty at present. 

That’s all I have at the moment in my camera.  Job for next week: go and find some more!  And September’s reeds….

Transporter Bridge Superdragons

Here are the superdragons by the Transporter Bridge.  In case you haven’t come across a Transporter Bridge before, this page tells you about the one in Newport.

Newport Transporter Bridge

Newport’s has a platform to take cars and people across the river.  It has just been reopened after several years being in disrepair.

Transporter Bridge high platform

This is the top level – you can walk up those steps and across the top on some bank holidays but I’ve never stomached it!

transporter bridge superdragon

This dragon is called One Flew Under the Transporter Bridge and the artist is Anthony Davies.  Those are two of my sons in the background with their young Spanish cousin, Pablo.

silver superdragon

This one looks like it is covered with wrinkled silver foil (very effective) and it is called Reflections of Nature.  The artist is Cerian Price.

I’m going to be at the Festival of Quilts from Thursday to Saturday – hope to see you there!

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