Over-catering, as always, for when friends came round. I bought Tam a copy of "Making Winter" by Emma Mitchell for Christmas. It is a lovely book and I may treat myself at some point in the year to come. The Plum, Orange and Ginger cake came from there and Oh My Goodness, it is GORGEOUS. I will put the recipe up tomorrow, as it's too good not to share. I made Ham & Cheese Pinwheels too. Years since I last made those, but it was good to revisit them - they are so tasty. Just puff pastry, spread thinly with mustard and then chopped ham, and a good covering of cheese. Roll up and slice into pieces, brush with beaten egg and bake in a hot oven until golden brown. However, I am going to have a break from baking for a while now. We have a Fair at the end of the month, but it's not the one where I bake and share with everyone so I shall just do some muffins of some description.
It was a grey and gloomy and wet day last Friday. Tam wanted to check out a couple of properties as she and her partner intend to move back to Wales, and it looks like Carmarthenshire is top of the list - which means we probably won't go as far as Herefordshire now when we downsize and will either stay in the county or just over the border in Breconshire or Monmouthshire. We love Crickhowell in the Usk Valley. Such a beautiful area.
Anyway, this was property number one - a derelict chapel, with 2 acres of land but no planning permission. When we saw it, we could see why it didn't have planning - we suspected the owner was a farmer and he hadn't applied for planning as the risk of it being turned down was probably quite high and it would have been a waste of his money. The views were lovely, but views mean you are high up and Tam thought this was too exposed. Also, a big chunk of masonry had fallen from the wall since the Agent's photos had been taken, and what you hadn't seen from the photos was that the altar end of the chapel had half the wall removed so that sheep or cattle could go in for shelter and to be fed. Hmmm . . . at £120,000 it was overpriced by a long way. Plus it was really in the middle of nowhere.
As you can see, ripe for conversion!!! Though quite into what, I can't say . . .
Here are a few photos of the beautiful countryside on the way from property A to property B. Probably about 7 - 9 miles from the nearest town (Llandeilo) where the nearest shops are. The nearest Junior school probably at Talley, although the secondary school would again be Llandeilo. A lot of driving around.
Above: I played around with one of the gizmo's on my camera (don't know what I pressed to get the short cut to it though!) and was able to highlight the greens in this picture.
We made it to the second property in the higher Cothi Valley. It was one of a small development of farm outbuildings - barn conversions. Unfortunately, to see it close up, it would have been a bit like driving into a close and then out again, which we didn't care to do, as the other properties were all occupied. It was clear that the river was very close to the whole development, and perhaps the risk of flooding (even if it had never happened) was the reason why this particular property hadn't sold at auction, even with a very tempting come-on price (not much higher than the ruinous chapel). It was in a beautiful setting though, and there was a little family of Bullfinches along the trackway (you can just see two males in this picture).
Now Tam has gone back home, and we have a day off today to play catch up. Home Economy of course, now that the tree is out and the decorations down, and beds used over Christmas need stripping and laundering. But first . . . I want to try and finish my Twister table topper this morning, so watch this space.