Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Mending things

This is just a little make-weight posting as I am currently researching something but not ready to write it up just yet.

The new header photo, by the way, was taken in early May in the Cotswolds near Stroud. I wanted something to remind me that spring really IS nearly here now.

In the past, it was common for a woman - be she married, single or a servant - to sit down in the evening and "relax" with a pile of mending. Things to be hemmed, collars to be turned, socks to be darned, rips to be mended, and that old adage "a stitch in time saves nine" never far from their minds.

In this throw-away consumer age, many people are more inclined to throw away things which need mending, or aren't perfect, and I am sure some either don't know how to mend something or have absolutely no inclination. Of my two daughters, one sews and mends, and the other brings stuff home to me to fix!

As money is tight for us, and we are "olds" now, who grew up with the skills passed on to us by parents who lived through the restrictions of wartime, you will already know that we belong to the "Make Do and Mend" brigade! My husband has been busy this week repairing (for about the 4th time) our ageing wheelbarrow, which got slugged by a 2 cwt chunk of tree trunk a few days back, and flattened! I thought it had really had it this time, but with his trusty drill and some galvanized steel tubing, he has brought it back from the grave, and although it IS a tad wonky still, it is usable once again!

You may remember me mentioning all the frogs out in the pond. Well, here is the wildlife pond with one gigantic mass of frogspawn, just starting to straighten out from round black blobs into more elongated shapes.

And then the frogs decided an overflow pond was necessary, so they moved across to the main (fish) pond, and carried on there . . .

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Tail Corn

The expression itself in a country sense means the small, light or undersized grains in a sample. In this case, it refers to country sayings in the magazine The Countryman, which I collect back issues of. I found one from 1965/66 at the car boot sale last weekend, and for 50p it came home with me.

I thought I would share the examples of colloquial chat with you, as such things seem to be a thing of the past these days (they were gradually lost to The Countryman magazine too, so one assumes not enough were submitted by readers to keep the page going). Anyway, enjoy:

Farmer's wife, of sick husband who has lost much weight: ''Couldn't hardly find him in the bed. He were just like a crease in the blanket."

Hampshire farmer, of bearded student: "'E looked jus' like a rat peepin' through a besom."

Lancashire woman, to visitor inquiring for her aged mother: "'Oo's sittin' round t' speer. 'Oo's as faust as a boggart.' (She's sitting behind the partition. She's as cunning as a hobgoblin.)

Gloucestershire postmistress, of husband's appendix operation: "'E's 'ad a bit of 'is chitterlin's out."

Kentish farm worker, searching for his lunch bag: "I 'ung a bit of a scran bag 'ere 'smornin'. 'Pears summun's snuk it."

Orra man on Fifeshire farm, bringing news of arrival of laird's first=born: "Naebody tell't me. I saw the hippens hingin' oot. What mair wad ye hae?" (Hippens - nappies).

Yorkshireman, to vet who left medicine for dog: 'Ah give it 'im an' locked 'im oop, an' a couple of hours after 'e was as frisky as a cat an' fit ti roon a mile an' scream murther."

Wiltshire farm worker, describing feverish symptoms of his seven-year-old daughter: "She's all redded up as if she's busting to lay."

Scots straphanger in bus slewing round corner: "Guidsakes, Ah'm bein' ca'ed aboot like a birlie." (Child's hoop).

Herdsman's wife, of husband's employer: "'E's that mean 'e dreads milkin' time an' 'is cows gettin' a feed."

Veteran singer in Lancashire chapel choir, to nervous new member: "Tha'll be aw reet, lad. When Ah guz opp tha guz oop, an' when Ah guz doon, tha guz doon."

Sunday, 26 February 2012

I'm getting old . . .

. . . I am aching all over and for two pins would just find a warm place to curl up in and go to sleep! That's what gardening does for you after a winter where you have been just concentrating on staying warm. And being the "gofer" for your husband when it is time to cut wood. Still, we have half a BIG ash tree cut and some of it chopped and already burned as we are low on firewood, having had to light the wood burner just after breakfast most days.

I have been working in the paddock, in the soft fruit area which has raspberry canes, gooseberry bushes, a big loganberry, strawberries,a boysenberry, blackcurrants and redcurrants, and a wee blueberry bush which doesn't know whether it wants to live or die. Anyway, one patch of raspberries is pretty well dug over, and partly-mulched/fed with muck heap. I was working around the loganberry today, which has put on a lot of growth and also managed to tip-root three of its overgrown canes, so I have potted those up to sell on at a spring car boot sale. I have some blackcurrants and gooseberries to do the same with, when I reach them.

As the sun has shone over the weekend, I was out there yesterday too, with the help of the cats - mainly Lucky, but also Gypsy for a while, Banshee, Lucy and today Misery Guts (the latest stray - the grey tabby) came to join me, and also came down the hill to cast an eye over the logging proceedings. Very sensibly, as she noticed large chunks of tree rolling across the lane, she went uphill and behind a bit of netting, where she felt safe.

Progress has been made, though it is very difficult to weed when a little elderly cat thinks you are out there merely for her comfort. First of all Lucky sat on my boots, then on my lap (when I sat on my kneeling mat) and when I was on my hands and knees, she decided she would jump up on my back and make a bed of me!!! Today she quickly appropriated my kneeling mat again, so I had to go and wrap a chair cushion in a bin bag, and use that instead.

I had intended to go for a walk, down by the river, but I was soon aching like an achey thing and abandoned that idea. However, I have put up a couple of photos of a river walk in the 3rd week of March last year, just to remind myself that spring WILL arrive.

Here is the intake area when I was first getting started - path membrane laid out and some Lidl fruit trees planted beside it.

The thrill of a greenhouse big enough to stand up in - the first thing I did was to take a deckchair and sit inside it to read the Hope Bourne book (Exmoor) which had just arrived. . .

This was it last summer, with everything nicely established. Soft fruit to the right and herb garden and overflow flower garden on the left. It was worth all the effort, though my OH thought I was MAD.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Saturday sunshine!

Finally we have the warmer temps and sunshine that other parts of the UK have been boasting about. Ten minutes ago I was looking at a misty sky, and a rolag of mist settling in amongst the trees on the far side of the valley. I went to get a drink, came back and voila - clear blue skies everywhere. WHAT a difference it makes to see sunshine again and once the shopping's done, I intend to go outside and make the most of the weather. The birds are certainly believing spring isn't far off and winter is on the run, just like in Narnia!

There is so much to do outside, and although I shall slowly dig the kitchen garden over it and move some more muck heap onto it, I am not going to grow much in the way of veg. this year, as it's only me that eats it and there is a limit to how many beans of various persuasions I can eat/fit in the freezer! Onions don't like it here, garlic's been planted since November and doing nicely. Peas take up a lot of room and carrots always get nobbled at some stage of their growth. Oh, and the last two years Blight has done for my tomatoes . . . Courgettes will go in, and lots of ridge cucumbers and some spring onions and pak choi, and that will be it I think.

Anyone else busy in the garden yet?

Friday, 24 February 2012

Things were going so well . . .

The photos bear NO relation to the post today, but I just wanted to relive a summer memory. I am so sick of winter, and no colour. These was taken in the grounds of Abergavenny Castle.

You know that negatives always go in threes. We had two pieces of negative post this morning. Those we will have to deal with as best we can. The third negative concerned cutting firewood. We have been working on a large fallen ash tree which has been down about five years now. It's atop a steep bank, and was a tree of about 125 years old which had split in growth, so once the double top trunks had been cut through, we were left with a 25 foot length of double thickness trunk, slowly tapering thinner. My husband's been cutting angled slices off it for the past couple of weeks, and they have burned really hot, following a day's drying beside the wood burner.

All going well then . . . Until today. It was the third "thing". I am the "gofer", collecting the slices of wood as they are kicked down the bank to me. I then pick them up and stack them in the wheelbarrow. We had reached the part of the trunk which my husband could just about saw right through with the chainsaw, providing he did half from one side and half the other. He cut a 2 foot length of the trunk and then told me to move the wheelbarrow down the hill, as he was worried that the entire trunk might roll off the slope and flatten me - and the barrow . . .

Making sure I (and the wheelbarrow) were well out of the way, he gave the cut length of trunk a good push to set it on its way. It rolled slowly down the bank, gathered speed, hit the road, bounced . . . and landed on the front wheel of our 3-times-mended rusty wheelbarrow - and flattened it. I had only been thinking, minutes before, about a friend whose wheelbarrow had bitten the dust recently and thinking of the price of replacement wheelbarrows (you would think they were solid gold, as they are £45 for the cheapest and £100 for a good sized one!) That moment of premonition should have galvanized (sorry, no pun intended!) me into action . . .

Just at that moment, the biggest tractor and trailer belonging to Next Door (farmer) hove into view, coming towards us up the hill. I managed to manhandle the chunk of trunk and roll it across the lane onto the verge the other side, just before the tractor reached us. Then we had to call D down from his attic eyrie to come and assist. He carried the wheelbarrow back, and the sack truck was called into action to bring back the trunk.

OH is currently looking for fresh bits of angle iron to call into service to mend the wheelbarrow wheel support which got flattened. A replacement one isn't an option - mainly due to the mail first thing! It never rains, but it pours.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Keeping in touch with blogging friends

I just wanted to put a short note on here as Blogger seems to be messing things up (Blogger has broad shoulders, I'm sure it can cope with one person's blame). Denimflyz - I can't get through to your blog any more as Blogger denies all knowledge of its existence. I know you are still out there, because I saw your comment on Leanne's blog. If you read this, let me know if you have changed to another server please.

Lynn (in the States) - I wish we could make contact properly too, ref. the Arthurian books - plus I have a teensy Welsh recipes book I found for you at the weekend (as a gift) and I would like to send it to you. If you go to my C&C shop blog, I have left my hotmail account details there for you.

Well, I am just SO tired this evening. Having overslept till gone 9 a.m. this morning, I took myself up the hill this afternoon to get some fresh air. I was only out for about 45 minutes, but you would think I had walked all day, so tired do I feel now. I just can't wait to fall into my bed! No photos - it was an afternoon of low cloud - so low I couldn't even see across the valley. It is supposed to be warming up from today onwards, so I am hopeful we may even see a glimpse of the sun, so fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Baking is Good for the Soul

Today was baking day in our house. I needed to make a cake to take to friends when we visit them tomorrow, so I quickly made a blackberry and apple cake, using blackberries from the freezer and grating some small apples which nobody seemed to be eating but needed using. I hate waste. D had a work-free day and requested fairy cakes, so I made him a batch of those, and then used up some of the nectarines I cooked up and froze last summer in a fruit crumble.

I had fun looking through a few of my - many - cookery books for inspiration for the cake, but fell back on a tried and tested recipe from the Country Harvest book. The fairy cakes were based on the recipe for vanilla cupcakes in the Hummingbird Bakery book, but without any icing on.

There is something very satisfying and rewarding about baking. Far more so - to me at any rate - than making an evening meal. I enjoy the process of looking through my books to see what I shall make. As I am working I think of my grandmother doing the same - she was a very skilled cook. Sadly it seemed to skip a generation in my mum! I enjoy turning a cake out onto the cooling rack and stripping off the used greaseproof paper (which goes up with a roar on the fire) and putting the cooled cake onto a pretty plate ready to give as a gift to friends (more appreciated as the lady of the house doesn't herself bake and thinks I am a magician!) I like to think that everything I bake is cooked with love, so perhaps that is why it feels so good when I have a baking session.

We needed bread, so I made a plaited loaf 2/3 white and 1/3 wholemeal flour. I had planned pizza for tea, so made another batch of the same dough, and let it rise as I quickly defrosted some ratatouille mixture, also made last summer with some of the courgettes from the garden, which was the topping for mine. My fussy menfolk turn their noses up at anything with tomato/onion/peppers etc in (all the more for me!) and just had bacon and cheese on their pizza, as someone had eaten all the ham! Pretty - not. Tasty - very. Some left for tomorrow night's meal too, and a portion of ratatouille to top some pasta.

Below is a beautiful but ravaged embroidery I found at a car boot sale near Aberystwyth a couple of years back. It was framed and I paid more than it was worth, so I could save it. At some point it had been in a damp shed and this had made the backing material very discoloured and frail. Someone had also just cut through all the embroidery to make the picture "fit" the frame at some time in the past. Anyway, I decided I would try and redeem it a little, and reframe it, but first I have cut away the stained and tearing back, where I could, just leaving the embroidered area. I have carefully sewn this to a stout backing of beige Irish linen, using nearly invisible stitches. I now intend to embroider in the flagstone pathway, and carefully matching the silks, carefully put in a few new stitches at the edges so I can blend it in better and hopefully make it look less like a bodged job. It's going no further than me, and I can live with imperfections, and I can also enjoy the mass of flowers sewn onto this piece - probably in the 1930s. I'll post another photo when it's finished.

Books from the Charity Shop

If you double-click on the photos, they should enlarge.

Well, our little wander round the charity shop this morning (killing time whilst D was at the dentist having a chipped tooth repaired) bore excellent fruit!

My husband found two books about the Isle of Man, and as he has Manx roots, he swooped on them straight away. I found England's Thousand Best Houses by Simon Jenkins (after we had to leave its partner England's Thousand Best Churches behind in Swansea last week), and then I discovered The Kent and Sussex Weald by Peter Brandon, which also had our name on it. When we came to pay for the books, the lass at the till mentioned another book about the Isle of Man, which had "beautiful pictures". She went and found it for us, and that has come home too. It is STUNNING.

I have never been to the Isle of Man, though we plan to remedy that when we - finally - move. My husband hasn't visited for many years, though his family visited regularly when he was younger. Our eldest daughter visited last summer, and felt very much at home.

Looking at the illustrations in this book, it is not hard to imagine how life was for the family whilst they were still on the island. Orphaned young, my husband's g. grandfather and his sister went to live with their mother's father, and g. grandfather was taught the tailoring trade.
My husband's ancestors left in Victorian times - having married and lost a son in infancy, his g. grandfather and his wife tried to leave poverty behind them and start afresh in England, taking tailoring skills to Manchester. Poverty waited for them there too, and Tuberculosis took more family members, including the Manx wife, and a daughter just 17. In turn, he taught his surviving son. The big cutting out shears were still in the garden shed until they finally rusted away.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

When things speak to you . . .

Inanimate things that is. Books. Pictures. Hand-sewn textiles. China sometimes. Two little pictures spoke to me a the car boot sale this morning. I was immediately drawn to them. I looked, and loved them. Then I looked at what else the woman was selling, and thought, hmmm, they won't be cheap. She was deep in conversation with someone else, but when I caught up with K, I mentioned the pictures. "Where are they?" was his question, so I showed him. I got the woman's attention and asked the price. "£5 the pair". Oooh - cheap then! We offered £4, and they came home with me! £2 each is not too much of an indulgence!

As I said, some things just seem to speak to you. Once it was a box of china and house clearance oddments at an auction. No good for me, but gosh, I sensed the previous owner was very angry that her treasures had turned up via the house clearance of her effects.

In Hay-o-Wye, on one occasion, I was browsing the horsey books and one particular one seemed to draw my hand towards it. I had a brief look at it and saw that it was a little autobiography, and the author had kept a lovely little Arab stallion, amongst other horses. I put it back, as I wasn't really looking for that style of book. But my hand was irrisistably drawn back to it, and when I opened it this time, my eye fell on a paragraph where the author mentioned that he woke in the night, and had the strongest feeling that his favourite mare was in trouble, and was in desperate need of his help. He dressed and ran across the pasture, to find that she had caught her hoof in her headcollar when she was drinking in the pond, and had drowned before he could reach her. (One good reason for never leaving a horse with a headcollar on). The fact that his horse communicated with him meant that the book came home with me, as I have had similar experiences (especially with Fahly when I had him).

These little pictures seemed to remind me of my past. The farmhouse looked so like one on the Surrey/Hampshire border that I knew when I was doing my BHSAI training (assistant riding instructor) near Liss and it was such a comforting picture . . . The bridge doesn't evoke the same feelings, but is a nice little picture all the same.

Doing some research on line, I found that Wilfred Williams Ball (b. 1853 in the East End of London and died of heat exhaustion in Khartoum, Sudan on 14th February 1917.) He painted landscapes and marine pictures and was widely exhibited, including at the Royal Academy, and was President of the Society of British Artists in 1886. He always had a close affinity with the counties of Sussex and Hampshire (there is a beautiful painting of Romsey which I would love to buy the print of, as this was my mum's home town). He published two books of paintings on these counties in 1906 and 1909.

Some of his work can be found here, along with a potted biography. Here are some more of his paintings, including the Romsey market place one.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Sex-starved Frogs!

How many frogs can you count?

Building a wildlife pond was one of our better ideas. From day one it has drawn in the local wildlife. First to arrive were pond skaters, then little black whirligig beetles which flew in from somewhere, then the damselflies and dragonflies, and suddenly we noticed newts too. It's been established about 14 years or so now, and last year we had the most amazing quantities of frogspawn laid. Considering we'd had a very long and very cold and snowy winter, I was surprised that any frogs had survived to mate.

Anyway, some seemed to have survived and returned to procreate again, and I can honestly say I have never seen quite so any frogs all in one place before! I think there are upwards of about two dozen! They have already laid quite a quantity of spawn, but judging by the canoodling going on out there - right through the daylight hours too (in the past I have only been aware of them at night, as it sounds like the African savannah, with Bullfrogs making a racket).

Now it looks pretty quiet - everyone has just disappeared out of view after Lucky had a drink from the pond.

Above and below: This is the result of them spotting me 15 feet up at a window with my camera!

The frogspawn so far - all laid in the past 4 days.

Thursday, 16 February 2012


Over the land freckled with snow half-thawed
The speculating rooks at their nests cawed
And saw from elm-tops, delicate as flower of grass,
What we below could not see, Winter pass.

Edward Thomas, 'Thaw'

I couldn't resist these few lines from my favourite poet. I have been out in the garden this week, trying to get to grips with the winter-grown weeds before everything grows frantically and gets away from me. I have been grubbing amongst the herbs in the herb garden, and enjoying the scent of Sage, and Mint, and Lemon Balm and Rosemary as I brushed against them. The Elecampane is still keeping a low profile, the Bronze Fennel nowhere to be seen yet, and the Thyme is looking rather sorry for itself (so is the one-leafed! Sage, come to that). The Sage looked even more battered after Gypsy had mistake it for Cat-Nip and rolled all over it!

Today I have been clearing the greenhouse pathway of weeds, and ripping back the grass which has draped itself over the edging stones. It is so satisfying to put things to rights, though I have a long way to go before even this little patch in the paddock is sorted out. After the stretching and kneeling and to give my back a rest, I have been standing and fielding slices of long-dead ash tree as my husband removes them with the chainsaw from the big double-trunked tree which fell about 5 years ago and now makes excellent burning.

For relaxation - reading Mathew Hollis' biography of Edward Thomas ("Now All Roads Lead to France") and I have just blown the dust off "The Muse Colony" (Dymock 1914). An Edward Thomas season then.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

A River of Stones moment

On our way back from dropping middle daughter off in Swansea, the sun lit up the mynydd . . .

Behind the moor,
Rainclouds black as anvils
Devour the bleached horizon
In stubble-tinted bites.

The photo shows the same bit of moorland several years ago, well, the top right horizon is the same, and the dead grass shows you how light it turns in the winter, especially with the sun on it. I wish I'd had the camera today, for the contrast between the moor and the black skies.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

I shall never complain again about the cold . . .

At the moment, I just seem to be wishing the winter weeks away, and the weekend's routines mark another step nearer to some sunshine and warmth again (I am hoping for a good summer).

At the car boot sale this morning, we found a book on the Welsh Borders, with lovely illustrations and excellent snippets of local history, folklore and interesting facts. I was reading it earlier on and came across the following, which I have read elsewhere a while back, but it is worth repeating here (and I shall never moan about the cold again, I promise!!!). The author is talking about a walk on the Long Mynd in Shropshire.

In fine weather its beauty has an oppressive quality; in winter, as the Reverend Donald Carr found out back in 1865, it can be deadly. Mr Carr was the rector of Woolstaston, north of Church Stretton on the eastern side of the Long Mynd, and was also responsible for the remote outlying village of Ratlinghope on the west side, 4 miles away from Woolstaston. On 29 January 1865 he set out through the snow on horseback to take the afternoon service at Ratlinghope. The fallen snow was deep enough to force Mr Carr's servant to take the horses back home, but the clergyman went on alone, crawling on hands and knees through the drifts, to reach the lonely village on the moors and take a short service in the company of a handful of people. The Journey home was a different matter entirely. Back on the heights, a furious gale had blown up. Mr Carr was at first confident that he was on the right track, but soon realized that he had lost his way, with darkness coming on and the blizzard getting worse all the time. Then he fell down the side of a ravine . . .

"I found myself shooting at a fearful pace down the side of one of the steep ravines which I had imagined lay far away to my right . . . I continued my tremendous glissade head downwards, lying on my back. The pace I was going in this headlong descent must have been very great, yet it seemed to me to occupy a marvellous space of time, long enough for the events of my whole previous life to pass in review before me, as I had often heard that they did in moments of extreme peril."

He survived that fall, but shortly afterwards, now conscious that he was completely lost, had another even worse, this time losing his hat and gloves. He still had his brandy flask, but "could hardly get my hands to my mouth for the masses of ice which had formed upon my whiskers, and which were gradually developed into a long crystal beard, hanging half way to my waist."

Somehow he kept going all through the night, continually falling down and forcing himself up and on again, fighting the overwhelming desire to lie down and drift into sleep. Dawn brought no relief, as a dense fog lay over the Long Mynd. Mr Carr found that he had gone snow blind when he could not tell the front of his watch from the back. Staggering on, he found himself at the top of the Lightspout Valley, and in his weakness tumbled over the upper part of the waterfall - somehow without adding to his injuries. Then he lost his boots:

"They do not seem to have become unlaced, as the laces were firmly knotted, but had burst in the middle, and the whole front of the boot had been stretched out of shape from the strain put upon it whilst laboriously dragging my feet out of deep drifts for so many hours together, which I can only describe as acting upon the boots like a steam-power boot-jack. And so for hours I walked on in my stockings without inconvenience. Even when I trod upon gorse bushes, I did not feel it, as my feet had become as insensible as my hands."

At last the exhausted man, "crowned and bearded with ice like a ghastly emblem of winter", stumbled down the Cardingmill Valley and came upon a group of children, who promptly ran away from the apparition. However, help soon came, and Mr Carr made his way home to Woolstaston and eventually to a complete recovery.

Taken from Philip's Welsh Borders, by Christopher Somerville.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

What are you reading at the moment?

Last week, being pinned to the sofa with the chest infection and the side-effects of the anti-biotics, I read my way through "Daphne" by Justine Picardie, from cover to cover. This week I am back into Edward Thomas country, reading the biography I got for Christmas: "Now All Roads Lead to France", with the Annotated Collected poems of Edward Thomas beside me for company. Bedtime reading is Virginia Woolf's "Jacob's Room".

Now we are virtually out of heating oil, we are down to one-room living, although my little office is bearable as long as I have the small oil radiator on when I am at the computer. Curtains are pulled early, a hot bath is the highlight of the day, and regular hot drinks the order of the day! Slipping into a warm - no, HOT - bed at night is bliss. Roll on spring! But then it will be all the outside jobs which cannot be done at the moment, so I will read whilst I can.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

A walk in Brechfa Forest

I had cabin fever this morning, after being confined to barracks last week with my chest infection and the bitter weather. Yesterday's walk convinced me to get out again, and I persuaded K to get the paper from Brechfa for a change, so that we could have a walk in the Forestry. The sun was out, so we grabbed the moment (just as well as it's disappeared again now). Here is Brechfa in the distance, photographed through the car window.

We parked up on a good piece beside the road, so we weren't locking the lane, and walked half a mile or so to the Forest edge. This gateway seemed to beckon me in to take a photo.

From the bridge, looking upstream.

Fallen trees across the river. Further along, a beech had toppled over, but continued growing, with lots of upright branches crossing the trunk.

The track ahead.

The Afon Clydach below us.

This footpath leads you along the bottom of Allt-y-Garth.

Above and below, early morning sun highlighting the moisture on twigs and leaves, as if they were touched with mercury.

Whinberries grow amongst the mosses and small ferns on this wet slope beside the path. Whinberries are a common feature on higher ground here. We used to pick them when we camped on Dartmoor.

Looking across the river from the pathway - a tangle of brambles and Fireweed (Rosebay Willow Herb).
The Afon Clydach scampering away downstream.

These were the colourful mosses I was speaking of yesterday. A different bridge, but same plants and same stunning colours. This is Pont Cymmawr-du.

I was intrigued by this little cabin beside the ruins of a former Hafod or barn. I wondered if anyone used it as a weekend retreat or whether it was a Hippy hideout.

I LOVED this photo (hence it being the new header.) It is the atmosphere of it - sun breaking through the river-mist and the beautiful tangled blackness of the tree boughs. This is our lane home, back down the valley.

Looking back up the valley in the direction of Abergorlech.

Frost still held captive the North-facing slopes and low-lying marshy fields beside the river.

Looking towards home . . .