Friday 30 July 2021

Pig sick . . .


I just couldn't resist that title for today's post.  We had a brief outing to Hay yesterday, and wore our masks, which was just as well as The Granary has had to shut because two members of staff have Covid.  Rob (just across the road) was starting to get twitchy!  I was delighted that trader Ian had a BIG earthenware planter for sale - just what I was looking for, so that came home with us.  Now to decide what is going to live in it . . . probably another rose.

    These photos were masks for sale in The Flaming Lady of Hay - their (oversized!) business card has a brief biography of Matilda de Braose, who lived in Hay and was starved to death by her thug of a Marcher Lord husband, William de Braose - he who invited the Welsh princelings to Christmas celebrations at Abergavenny castle, and slew the lot.  Read Barbara Erskine's brilliant first novel, Lady of Hay for the full story.

Aren't these gorgeous?  I must have a bed of flowers just for cutting next year.

Below: up on the motte, and looking back towards home.

Late afternoon, Tam and I decided that we would finally climb up to the castle in Builth.  Sadly, this was completely and utterly raided for stone to build the town and all that is left are deep ditches and ramparts and the motte in the middle, all dreadfully overgrown despite the appetites of a flock of Balwen sheep who are currently turned out there.

Today was my volunteering day. I slept badly - woke at 4.30 and couldn't sleep after that.  My head felt like it was full of porridge, and I felt sick.  I don't like to let people down though, so I took a Panadol and set off for the Minerva Arts Centre at Llanidloes and although I arrived late, I felt better as the day went on and survived to tell the tale!  The current exhibition is a sort of Make Do and Mend one - Quilters - Recycled fabrics in quilts, plus an excellent exhibition called "Curious Creatures" by Gwyneth Rose, a textile artist from Rhayader.  One was made from suit fabric samples, a couple more from pretty patterns which had once been flour sacks in America and Canada, others literally any fabrics they had cobbled together, and mis-shapen. One had a main quilt in one lot of fabrics, and then it was widened using a totally disparate half dozen squares of material, narrowing towards the bottom as they had nothing else.  I forgot my camera - hardly surprising as I wasn't with it and twice found myself driving towards Llandod - totally the wrong direction!! 

Have a good weekend all.

Wednesday 28 July 2021

A short walk from last week - and a dead body!

 Last Thursday afternoon, Tam and I drove up the valley a little way and parked up for a short walk down to the Church of St Davids' at Llanynis.  It was ok in the shade but walking in full sun was an ask for me and I was absolutely melting.

Anyway, enjoy the photos.  Sorry this is a make-weight post but I'm still getting over the Bug-From-Yesterday which knocked me sideways - I was asleep most of the day, slight temperature on and off  and despite being asleep for hours in the day, slept deeply all night.  I am glad to say I feel more with-it now, and Tam and I went to Brecon for the shopping as I needed to go to B&M for cheap fat balls, so we got the shopping at Aldi and a few bits from Morrisons.  It was nice to get out - went different routes there and back as usual.  BIG black clouds piling up as we neared home - got everything unpacked and then the heavens opened and it chucked it down.  One of us will have to brave the ladder tomorrow and unblock the gutters though as big hillocks of moss from the roof had dried off and fallen into the gutter.  I looked at them this past week and thought, must get those out . . .

Above and below: the pond we walked past on our way to the Church.  There were hundreds of tiny froglets and toadlets leaving the pond and we had to pick our way through for fear of squashing them.  Unfortunately a little further on beside the river, there were also horse flies and Tam got bitten 3 times, through her stretch trousers.

Rocky shallows on the River Irfon.

Looking up to the Eppynt range.

Nothing is wasted by farmers here - they took a few bales of hay off the churchyard at St David's, Llanynis.  I don't blame them.

The view downstream.

This is the ford along this stretch of the River Irfon.  Thinking back, it is very likely that this is either where Prince Llewellyn crossed back in the 13th C or his murderers.

Splish-splash - Tam had sensibly brought along her trainers for water.  There were skads of tiny minnows or similar, and a bigger - young trout? - about 10"/25 cm - long.

Looking upstream from the little stone beach we sat on.

Oh yes, the dead body.  It was away up the field, and I was convinced, from the lane, that this was a dead body - someone crossing via a footpath - and I was worried because it was such a hot day and if someone had collapsed there, they would be in a bad way (or dead).  Tam was equally convinced I was a sandwich short of a picnic! Seems that she was right . . . I think it's a fally-down scarecrow!

Tuesday 27 July 2021

Getting sorted


This rather splendidly threatening sky was encountered on the Llandovery road yesterday, as Tam and I headed towards the Irfon Forest for a short exploratory walk.

Looking across to the Eppynt range.

It was a short walk (just about 1 1/4 miles) starting at White Bridge, through the trees and beside the river.

We got back to the car before it began to spot with rain, although there was thunder and lightening (about 10 miles away) as we walked. 

This is a good swim area - it's called the Wash Pool, as it's where they used to wash the sheep before shearing.  This practice continued long after it was necessary, but the worry of losing 1/3 of the value of because of the fleece being unwashed was  a worry.  Nowadays, when farmers are paid less than 50p a fleece, some farmers burn the fleeces.  When you think - England's wealth was born on the back of sheep farming in Medieval times.  Nowadays a ball of good wool is as much as 10 times the cost of the entire fleece! Crazy.

As you can see we did get some rain, but not for long enough.  Overcast here today and a little rain overnight.

    Today a local company are coming to sort out the wasp nest.  Money well spent.  It became a priority as yesterday we also had a visit from the carpenter who is going to do our sash windows (cords need replacing).  He is quite possibly going to slot us in later this week (it's just a day's work) and it is hardly fair to expect him to work beneath a wasp nest.

        I'm not feeling my best this morning (hence the short post) as I slept badly so I'm back to bed now.

Sunday 25 July 2021

We have Lodgers! and welcome guests as well.


Yes, a Wasp Nest.  Absolutely lovely to look at and I could ignore it except we are having a chap here next week to give us an estimate for doing the sash cords on the back windows.  He won't be pleased to see this!  Can't deal with it ourselves, as Tam and I don't do heights, and Keith, who does, can't do ladders these days.  Can't get to it through the window - as it doesn't open!

This is another "I've never knowingly seen it before" plant - growing (x 4 on the bank in our new garden.  It is fairly unusual.  It is a Broad Leaved Helleborine. Mostly gone to seed but hopefully there will be more next year.

Above and below: this Fritillary is one which has been hurtling round the garden in the sunshine this week, but never stopping until today, when it was sat on the Marjoram,  happily feeding.  It's a male Silver Washed Fritillary I have been told.


"Tess" loves the sunny position in our yard. Now I need to get some trellis up as she's a climbing rose.

Ebb Tide has also been flowering really well.

Gladiolis from two packs I bought very cheaply in Morrisons earlier in the year.

The homestead under gloomier skies today.  The wasp nest can just be seen under the apex of the biggest upper window (a bit of tree over that dormer).  My new herbaceous border is all planted up - I just have to straighten the edges as a little out of alignment. You can see from this photo that the bottom windows are in alignment with the lawn. Some folk wouldn't like this but I love having the birds on the lawn just outside. The cats also like to come in when the window is open!

Friday 23 July 2021

Church-crawling thwarted - Cascob, Discoed and Cregrina


Well, Eldest Daughter and I had a disappointing afternoon church-crawling yesterday.  As we were heading up towards Presteigne, I found a number to phone to see if Cascob church would be open.  Chap not sure - but Discoed would be, and that was just a couple of miles down the road.  We decided to chance it but unfortunately the Church was locked, and when I went across the lane to the cottage opposite to get the key, there was no reply (though cars outside).  A notice said to shut the gate, as sheep were grazing in the churchyard.  Here is one of them.

We particularly wanted to see the interior of this church because of the ABRACADABRA witch spell.  There is a link HERE which tells you more, but no illustration.  The church is dedicated to St Michael by the way.

The Yew tree here is rather special, and probably a thousand years old.  It's female, and was one of a pair but sadly the other fell in a gale in the 1990s although a sapling has been planted to replace it.  The girth of this one is 762 cm (25 feet) in circumference.

The church probably dates from the 13th C and this mound has been considered to be either a tumulus or a Norman castle motte in the past but is more likely to be rubble from a collapsed/rebuilt church tower.

As we knew Discoed was open, and very close by, we paid that a visit next.  As you can see from the view below, it's in a very rural setting.  It's another one dedicated to St Michael.

This stunning stained glass window is dedicated in memory of Judy Hiam, and installed in 2017.  One of the nicest stained glass modern windows I've seen.

At the other end of the church was a more traditional window - the sun streaming through made the colours so beautiful.

It wasn't an ornate church - no pews and a new floor and  the socially-distanced chairs set out gave it not a great deal of atmosphere.

Not a poet I had heard of - though he lived in the Fens most of his life until suddenly upping sticks and moving to Wales!  You couldn't get more difference in scenery.  HERE'S a link, if you're interested. 

This is a stunning Tudor manor house, recently traditionally restored.  Thank heavens that the oak is the colour it should be -sun-faded to grey and not painted black (I hate it when timbers aren't left as nature intended).  It is called Upper House and HERE is a worthwhile link to the restoration work with amazing photos.

An even more venerable Yew tree here, which is an amazing 5,000 years old and is one of the five oldest in the British Isles.  It has a girth of 37 feet and is male.  There is a female tree elsewhere in the churchyard. The fact there is a spring at the gateway to the church suggested to Tam and I that this was a place of ancient worship, far predating Christianity.  

Finally, on the way home we had noticed that Cregrina Church was just 2 miles off the main road, so we headed there.  We couldn't get in and thought the door was locked but apparently it is never locked and you just have to give it a hefty heave with your shoulder . . .  It was once on a main cattle drover's road, and is largely 13th C  and dedicated to St. David.

This morning the chap from the Council is coming to test the water for the 4 properties which are on it.  This could be interesting!  Whilst our supply comes through a UV filter, which we maintain, there is still a lot of sediment and we were left instructions to "boil all drinking water" by the previous occupant.  It should have been tested in 2019, but wasn't, and couldn't be tested before we bought the house last year because of Covid restrictions.  Fortunately the charges are shared between the 4 properties.