Melanie’s April Monthly News

Welcome to Melanie’s April Monthly News. I cant quite believe I’m slightly more organised this month and the blog is actually coming out on time! Considering it has been a busy time with Nicholas having an April birthday to celebrate too! We went on a short 4 day break to Exmoor to a gorgeous little cottage we found on Air BnB. Nicks parents could join us for the holiday from Cornwall too. We haven’t seen them for a long time. A lovely stay and we cant wait to go back. There was so much to do and see, I’d pack my bags and go back today if I could!

Melanie's April Monthly News

We of course had cake, the most important thing for a birthday! Completely yummy and full of amazing chocolate, who can resist?!!

Melanie's April Monthly News - Birthday Cake

Melanie’s April Monthly News – Dunster

The first place we visited was a beautiful medieval town called Dunster. It was bitterly cold even though you can see blue sky. The village or town was very beautiful and looking at the photo below, you can see the castle right in the distance and to the bottom right is the 17th Contrary Yarn Market.

Dunster Yarn Market

Inside the Yarn Market, on looking up, you can see the most incredible roof with old timbers and a partially lime covered central column.

Melanie's April Monthly News

I took a photo of the info plate, I hope you enjoy viewing this, we found it fascinating.

Dunster info plate about the yarn market

The houses and cottages were so pretty and old steeped in history. The cottage below was called ‘The Old Nunnery’ which dates back to the 15th Century. The wooden structures holding the two floors above were incredible. Also note in the stone work by the door, at one time it was either very much wider or there has been some kind of repair or change to it.

The old Nunnery Dunster

I love the fact that you can come across an old window that has moved and changed so much over the years and its still standing and stable. It looks as though it should be in a story like Alice in Wonderland.

Melanie's April Monthly News - Won't Windows!

This door also captured my interest, there were many doors like this, but the wooden surround is just stunning. I’m sure it has a few stories to tell!

Old Wooden Doors

Dunster Castle

We took the afternoon to visit Dunster Castle which was beautiful. The wallpaper inside the castle was beautifully opulent and we very much enjoyed our visit.

Dunster Castle

Amazing how the day looks so beautiful, yet it was positively freezing!

Melanie's April Monthly News

We also visited the watermill there and this was the little bridge prior to it. All so stunning and well worth a visit if you are heading down that way.

Bridge at Dunster castle

Porlock – The Ship Inn

Another amazing place is Porlock, and the Ship Inn which was a delightful place to have a meal. Dating back to around the 13th Century you can read about the history of the Inn here – The Ship Inn History I didn’t seem to get a photo of the pub, I’m not sure why, but this is a photo I took inside of what it looked like may years prior!

Heading out of Porlock, driving up Porlock Hill which is reputably the steepest A road in England… (Great fun! )you get to the most beautiful panoramic views. We had not realised you could overlook South Wales from there!

Porlock Hill
Porlock Hill with amazing views

Cat Portraits – Oil Painting of Saffie

Nicholas has been busy at his easel. The portrait below was commissioned as a birthday surprise. It is a 12 x 10 cat portrait framed. When the portrait was completed I took the opportunity to take photos of Nicholas with the portrait in the sunshine outside of our studio. You can see some of the photos of the portrait framed below along with a photo of Saffie with the painting too! Ruth telephoned to thank us for the painting and portraying Saffie so perfectly.

Cat portraits, oil panting of Saffie with Nicholas Beall
Framed Cat portrait
Saffie with her painting
Cat Portrait Framed of Saffie

Minehead and Aberystwyth Parkrun

A ParkRun is an organised event, anyone can join in running or walking 5k, starting at 9am every Saturday. I have only done a few Parkruns since I have started running, mainly as I started my couch to 5k in Jan 2020 and before I could even run the 5k we had all worked towards with my new running buddies… lockdown happened.

Now park runs are officially back and it has been great to be part of them. When we planed to stay near Dunster, I knew that there was a Parkrun in Minehead, so was determined to get down there for it. The photo below shows me really pleased having beat my previous time at 29.25.

Minehead Parkrun

I am now hooked. We don’t have many near us so we jump at the chance of going to a new one if we can get there. A couple of Saturdays ago our running buddy trio (myself Harvey and Sarah) went to Aberystwyth park run for the first time and we loved it. The course was flat (phew!) and we got some PB’s mine was 28.54. I still have lots to improve on, especially having come out of 4 months of no running from being unwell over Christmas, so I was thrilled. We are all back to running 4 days a week now so I definitely want to improve on my times this year.

Aberystwyth Parkrun

Melanie’s April Monthly News – Easter Days Out!

We had our friend Steve to stay for 4 days over Easter so we took him out and about to different places during the time he stayed. The furthest away place we travelled to was from a place called Hafren Forest which is the source of the River Seven. The views were spectacular and even though we didn’t get right up to the top where the peat bogs were, it was a fabulous day out. We will definitely go again and try to walk further next time.

Melanie's April Monthly News
Hafren Forest
Melanie and Lily
Lily posing in Hafren Forest
Falls at Hafren Forest
Melanie's April Monthly News

We Hatched Baby Chicks!

And finally… as the heading photo gave it all away, we set some eggs in our incubator at the start of the month and 4 have hatched! We bought three Cream Legbar eggs and 4 White Leghorn eggs. All three Cream legbars hatched without any help or issue, you can see one just having come out below.

Hatching baby Chicks

My friends daughters named it Dolly as soon as it came out. It’s the strongest out of all of them and here is a photo when it was drying off with me! Lets hope it is a girl!

Cream Legbar Baby Chick

The second, the Leghorn, took a long time to hatch and it was touch and go. It started around 4am with its first crack but it was still struggling 20 hours later. We stayed up and finally helped it at around 1am that morning. It’s not great to intervene, as they really should do it on their own, but we couldn’t see it struggling and we didn’t want to loose it. Thankfully it was fine, it’s a bit behind the others and is just about able to stand now. Fingers crossed it will be well on it’s way. Here are all the chickens on the first morning after hatching, you can see one is still drying off.

Melanie's April Monthly News - 4 baby chicks

As for the other three Leghorn eggs, sadly one of them was empty and having looked in the two that didn’t hatch, something must have gone wrong mid way as they had died in the eggs. These things happen, you never get 100%. So we are extremely lucky to have the 4 we do! Lily cant wait to get in to see them as you can see from the photo below.

Lily wanting to go see the baby chicks!

Chicks Are Growing!

They are only a few days old now and here they are trying to eat their first chick crumbs!

Baby chicks up and about eating!

The heat lamp we have for them is great, its a square plate and it is height adjustable so as they grow it can accommodate their growth rate. It’s lovely and dark under there too, just like being under mother hen.

Melanie's April Monthly News

We didn’t have names for the others and as yet we are still two names short! So my friend asked if her daughter Emily (7yrs) could name the second. Which she did! She named it Daisy! She drew a picture of it and send it to me. I love it and have taken a photo and added it below as its just wonderful!

This is the most up to date photo we have, which I took this morning. I will have more photos for you to see next month, they will have grown a lot by then… and hopefully living outside!

We hope that you have enjoyed this months blog post. If you would like to check out what we got up to last month, head on over to our Melanies March Monthly News. Till next time!

Baby chicks are they are today!

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