Sunday, 7 June 2009

Welsh retreat

Well, it wasn't thunderstorms! Far from it. Except on the last night when there was an earthquake not so far away in Port Talbot (3 on the Richter scale) - not that it disturbed our sleep! So for a quick update of our doings last week, when it was rather hot, you may remember, climatically, I mean, rather than politically. (I rationed my intake of news severely, as I'd had a surfeit of bile.)
Saturday : We travelled in mediterranean temperatures, having lunch by the Brecon/Monmouth canal, and arriving to a right royal welcome, tea, bara brith, vases of flowers and wine in the fridge. The important thing about this cottage, besides the hospitable hosts, Kenneth and Gill, is it is disabled friendly. Lots of room and a wet room. And it has a lovely view of the River Towey (Afon Tywi) to the Black Mountain (see above). Being Wales, the main sport interest on TV was rugby and we just caught the end of Britain's got Talent, when the dance group Diversity won, while Susan Boyle received rather patronising comments from the judges, half excusing the media persecution she'd received during the week. No wonder she had a nervous collapse afterwards.

Sunday : got up early to go to church in Llandovery, parked the car down the road in the shade for the dog, extracted the wheelchair, and then Jane pushed me all the way back only to discover that the service wasn't at the usual time because it was the fifth Sunday. Of course!! Five of us in all trailed away, disappointed. We decided not to wait an hour and find 'the other' church where there'd be a united service in Welsh... and so drove the scenic route back to the cottage, where we spent the rest of the day enjoying the sun. I began to read 'Vanity Fair' while Jane took Jess for a walk. As Jess relaxed in the shade of the house, a red kite swooped low and circled. I whipped out my mobile phone and put it on to video, but I never got the unique footage of a dog being seized and carried off into the sky. Presumably the kite realised Jess wasnn't dead meat. We even missed Songs of Praise, which was a shame, as it was Pentecost Sunday which I think is one of the most exciting Sundays in the year.

Monday : more sunshine, and we went exploring in the Usk Reservoir area. It was new to us. Sadly the picnic places I'd identified had no shade and were inaccessible by wheelchair anyway. But on the way we did see an extraordinary sight - completely pink sheep, almost flourescent pink, not just one or two, but hundreds. They clearly hadn't just been marked by the rams, because it was ALL over. Perhaps it was an experiment in ready-dyed fleeces.... Eventually we found a promising place at the edge of a Forestry Commission wood, where there was shade and sun, as well as footpaths. While we were eating an open top veteran car rolled up. It turned to be an Alvis, one of 20 (1926-32 era) apparently that were touring in the area. I thought too late about taking a photo, but we saw a number rattle over the cattle-grid and pull away up the hill. But I did take one of Jane and Jess after their walk. On our way back home, we saw several red kites circling near the road and realised we were right by the Black Mountain 'feeding station', about 15 minutes after they'd finished. Aptly it's next to a pub painted blood red. Coincidentally 'Springwatch' showed another feeding station that evening.


  1. Hi Michael,
    I've enjoyed reading about your holiday and am so glad you had such a good time.I'm really reassured that you had good weather,my experience working with your brother had convinced me that your family attracted rain when away from home! Pat.

  2. We met a whole lot of Romeo's friends at the Botanic Gardens, and had great fun getting them all to sing!