Friday 30 October 2015


This week, in rather unpromising weather, we drove across the bridge to Wales.
Our destination was Llandrindod Wells,a popular spa town in the Victorian era. The town, and the hotel where we stayed, has seen better days - this is polite English understatement!
The hotel was a huge great slab of uncompromising green with interior decor straight from the '50's and a view from our bedroom window that provided a new low in our experience of hotel accommodation. Oh, well, we kept the curtains closed, at least the bed was comfortable and the water hot!
The town is full of fine examples of Victorian architecture

and in the park in front of the hotel we were pleased to see a statue to the artist Thomas Jones (1742-1803), a local man whose Italian paintings we admire.
Victorian visitors once flocked to the town to take the restorative spa waters so we wandered down to Rock Park Spa to see what all the fuss was about.

At the fountain I cupped my hand to drink, the water promised all manner of improvements to my health.
Iron-rich, it tasted disgusting and lay in my stomach like lead!
'No wonder they're all dead!' quipped Himself.
Like the rest of the town, Rock Park was rather neglected and forlorn.

Two of the former Rock Park shops, attractively built in blue and cream brickwork.
The following day the weather gradually improved and we drove along a beautiful and very narrow minor road on our way to the Elan Valley. We stopped under these larch trees to drink from our flask. 
 There were no passing places along the road. Luckily we met no-one coming the other way!

The Elan Valley comprises 70 square miles of moor and woodland, rivers, dams and reservoirs. It is  run by Dwr Cymru  (Welsh Water) supplying water to the city of Birmingham. 
The threatening sky at Cabon Coch looked a promising subject for Skywatch Friday.

But when the sun shone at the Garreg Ddu dam the atmosphere became completely different.

There are six dams in the valley. (The Nant y Gro Dam was used for tests during WW2 in preparation for the Dambusters Raid.)
Pen y Garreg
The water levels were very low.

We reached the head of the valley just before the sun went down.
Perfect timing!

Sunday 25 October 2015

A sunny Sunday

I walked on a bedroom carpet in my bare feet when we came back from holiday and discovered that the floor was soaking wet, caused by a leak from the water tank in the attic. Yesterday the plumber came and because it was so wet and muddy outside Himself brought some dust-sheets from the shed to put down on the stairs and landing in preparation for all the traipsing up and down. Oh, my poor dust-sheets, a mouse had made a nest of them last winter and now they are a mass of holes! This morning the rain had stopped so I put the sheets in the washing machine and then hung them out to dry. What a sight, the mouse had made a thoroughly good job of chewing through every layer of fabric! 
But the sun was shining, I find it hard to be downhearted on a day like today. We put on our boots and enjoyed a walk around the lake. Tomorrow I'm going shopping to find a big box to store my dust sheets in - once they've been patched! 

Friday 23 October 2015

Autumn skywatch

A dull, damp morning for Skywatch Friday. The temperature has dropped, there is no wind and dozens of small birds are flitting about the garden feasting on seed heads and berries.
The leaf mould and compost from last year has been tipped onto the veg plot.
Now the business begins of collecting this year's leaves as they fall 
and putting all this
into this!

The kittens from next door are large enough to explore outside and their adventure playground is our garden. But they are still small enough to come to grief down the well or in one of the water butts (Buttons has already fallen into the pond) so we've covered them all with wire netting. It's rather like having visiting toddlers!
Everything is going over.

There are still flowers
and colour
but it's a rather raggedy affair!