Wednesday 28 April 2021

After The Rain Came {and my first hill}

Hello Friends!

Though April showers may come your way
They bring the flowers that bloom in May
So if it's raining, have no regrets
Because it isn't raining rain, you know, (It's raining violets,)

It's been an odd April.  We've had hardly any rain, and most of us who garden have had to begin watering by watering can or hose in the last week or two.  It's also been bitterly cold for the time of year.  So, imagine the collective sigh of relief to sweep the country as we see rain in the forecast.  Truly, I never expected so many of us to be saying how happy we are to see rain at the end of April, surely normally the wettest month.

One morning, almost at the end of April, I awoke to that long awaited moment of blissful petrichor on the air.

The rain came in the night, silent, gentle and refreshing, yet not nearly enough but it's a start.  Although it's cold today, and I awoke early to a grey sky kind of day with scudding layers of clouds, the world is brighter, greener, slightly more lush and verdant, sparkling as it does only after fresh rainfall.

My return to walking begets more walking, and my desire to do so is growing daily now.  I have not been around my beloved, green valley since February of last year.  How my heart has missed it and my feet have yearned to tread those steps so familiar to me,  where my forebears also walked.  Although I never knew him, I always think of my Dadcu {grandfather} who walked this way many times daily, for he lived {with his daughter my Mum, and his wife my Nanna} in the grey stone house on the hill by the cemetery at one end of the valley, and he worked in the Cathedral at the other end of the valley.

As I began following the old, familiar way down, I turned to take a photo of some picturesque stone cottages

and the wall, opposite, covered in bluebells, white garlic flowers, valerian, and more

Just around the bend is Ty'r Pererin an old Victorian school, now a pilgrim visitor and education centre

I continued on my way, and suddenly I was more than half way down the hill, the point of no return ahead, for now the only way home is to turn around now, or go forward and up a hill.  Naturally, my planned route is the longest, steepest hill.  Decision time!

Onward, and downward I go.

The hill leading down to the valley

I have put it off, and put it off for one reason.  The hills.  Going down is not so bad, but coming up is another thing entirely! It's a long and steep climb from the river up to the Cross Square!  Still, with views like these, it has to be worth it; it has to be done, right?  I got this.

The bridge where my Dadcu would stop and light his cigarette,
before climbing up to his home on the hill.

The lichen smothering this tree looks like a fuzzy fluffy coat!

A lone dandelion clock!

I love mossy banks, covered stones and walls.  Here's one of my favourites 

How Green is My Valley?

Folk lore says that the higher up in the branches the rooks build their nests, the finer the coming summer will be.  I think we're in for a pretty fine summer from the height of these nests, don't you?  Any higher and they'd be out of tree!

Of course, no walk around my valley would be complete without a view or two of our magnificent mediaeval Cathedral.

and as I started my climb up the hill, I  paused for a moment where one of our greatest Welsh actors, Sir Anthony Hopkins, stood just a week before.  Congratulations, Sir Anthony, on your recent Best Actor Oscar {I like to think he picked Wales over Hollywood}

This is what he saw

If you ask me, that's a view that beats anything you'd see in LaLaLand.  Maybe I'm a little bit {a lot} biased.

I got there just in time to catch the Call to Worship bells ring out to bring the faithful to Wednesday morning worship, but had no idea how much the wind was battering me until I played it back!  {hope it works, if not I've shared to Twitter and Instagram}

You know it's cold out when you come home and wash your hands {Hands; Face; Space washing of hands} and as you run the cold water through, your hands are so cold that the cold water feels warm.  I should have worn gloves, but they hamper my photography.

Until next time
Stay Safe, Stay Well

Tuesday 27 April 2021

Fun in the Fresh Air

Hello Friends!

Before we step outside for some fun in the fresh air, let's get the wildlife safety business end of things out of the way.  

I don't want to get all preachy, but it's important information. Carelessly discarded face protection causes severe and painful harm to wildlife.  If you use disposable face masks, please dispose of them responsibly.  This means taking them home to dispose of properly, and must include cutting those elastic straps before binning them, much in the same way you responsibly chop up four or six pack plastic holders.  Face masks that are being discarded in the wild or on the street can not only spread the virus, but  without the straps being cut pose a very serious and dangerous threat to wildlife that can get tangled in them.  

There's just so much to do if you enjoy the great outdoors.  As lockdown eases and things slowly reopen, just be respectful, be mindful of current guidelines; remember to phone ahead to see if you need to book even if it's only a car parking space, or if your chosen place is open; and continue to practice Hands; Face; Space.

Me, I'm a walker, and there are plenty of walks to take, from short circular ones of a mile or so that can be done in well under thirty minutes, to longer, all day hikes or half day rambles.  You can chose from uneven coast paths to smoothly paved roads, or half hidden byways and secret trails.  There's sea side and rugged hills, wide open moorland and small wooded valleys.  Just take your pick.  It's now recommended you carry hand sanitiser to use if you have to touch any gates or handles while out and about.  And please, take only photographs, leave only footprints.  Take your litter home.

The other activity I enjoy, which goes well with walking, as you know, is photography.  This is me, with my ridiculously long legs, taking a photo of the evening sun {behind me} turning the land to gold.

Often, as I walk along, I see others enjoying what the countryside has to offer, and we greet each other, total strangers, with a cheery "Hello!" as we pass each other on our travels.  Now, of course, we step to the side, socially distanced, and seldom stop to chat aimiably as we might have done pre pandemic, to exchange a few polite comments on the weather, or as to what we've seen, or exchanging recommendations of things to look out for on our bimbles. 

An early morning walk and many are out exercising their doggy pals before the beach gets crowded with families who want to sit on the beach, explore rock pools, build sandcastles, or just sit and enjoy the view on a hot, summer day while eating ice cream.


or even go for a quick dip in the surf ~ brrrrr! Rather him than me.

or, you might prefer to pootle along on the bus, watching the countryside roll by the window

looking at a patchwork of prettily painted cottages, row on row

Why not visit an ancient castle, the birthplace of a future King, steeped in history at the historic market town of Pembroke?

Maybe you'd prefer something much more adventurous, such as a professionally guided Coasteering expedition!!  Not for the faint hearted, and do not do this alone or without proper supervision.  Do you see the jumper?  A lucky catch on my part, but I prefer to look at the geology than sit and watch the brave souls plummet.

or maybe you'd rather be on the water, paddling along at a leisurely pace in a kayak?

Perhaps you'd enjoy a day's sailing instead?

or to hop aboard an early morning fishing boat, out to sea, to try to catch your supper?  

Why, you can even go paragliding in a motorised little seat, if you are brave enough, of course.

Whatever you enjoy, there's always something for everyone to get out and have some fun in the fresh air.

Until next time
Stay Safe, Stay Well

Tuesday 20 April 2021

It's Superglue, Don't You Know?

Hello Friends!

Thank you to all of you in our lovely online community who made the time for me, who read and then to share your kind and generous words and thoughts of support after my last post, especially to the many of you who unexpectedly contacted me privately.  It seems I voiced the fears and concerns shared by so many of us, and remember we are not alone. Together we can get through this. To those of you who said this helped, then it has made my effort very worth the while. 

I must add a caveat.  If you think you need professional help, seek it. Ask. Phone someone, anyone, talk it out, or call your GP or the Samaritans.  Don't suffer in silence.

I am continuing to rebuild my strength for walking, but am starting to wonder if I will ever make it out on to my beloved coast path again, for it is so hard on my knees and back. I am not complaining, I am, for once in my life, being sensible and looking after myself.  It's not so much the up and down, but the rocky rough patches, the loose stones, and the uneven stretches that give me cause for concern. Distracted by a view, a flower, or a bird, it's oh! so easy to turn your ankle, or slip on a stone you didn't see. As we get older, simple injuries seem to be easier to come by, and take oh! so much longer to heal.  I know that the paths are very different from the last time I traversed them. Bits have fallen off into the sea, and general errosion from countless pairs of feet pounding along has taken it's toll on some sections.  A bit like me!  Time will tell.  I promise I will not do anything rash and will proceed cautiously. 

The stretch of path where this was taken no longer exists.  It has slid into the sea for eternity to be but a memory.

It's been over five years since I did any serious coast path hiking.  I did get out on a short stretch in 2019, which I documented here, and paid the price, for the very next day I woke up with a bad back, angry and aggravated from the uneaven and stony ground I'd traversed.  The pain lasted a week. Why, in one spot the access had become so erroded I found no visible track and I had to slither down on my bottom! Most undignified, and I hope no one saw me.  This is why I say the path will be different from what I remember it was.

I found myself typing a version of this, the other day:

I love where I live, and where I live is the glue that holds me together.

or, as my lovely Twitter friend Kim replied to it when I shared my words with some photos on Twitter, "that's what I call super glue!" and it's the title of this blog, so Thank You, Kim! 

I have been looking through old photos, there's so many happy memories of days out and about, and until such time as I can get properly out and about again, here are a few of my favourites.

Gorse in full bloom

Gorse looking along the Coast Path

Coast Path view

A lovely day for a hike or a sail along the bay

A bucolic landscape

A welcome spot to rest a while

An early sea fog begins to settle along distant islandss

A golden glow as the sun sets to the west

Across the fields

Meadow, sea, and sky

One of my favourite seats to take a spell

and the view from that seat {fantastic vantage point}

Thrift with barbed wire

The setting sun at close of day

And here are a few taken this week.  The weather, although chilly, is dry and gloriously sunny.  I can live with that, especially as I'm not a fan of the heat anyway.  I'm not going far, still doing baby steps, but going further each time I feel I can add some more in.  I met a lovely couple, we stopped for a socially distanced chat, they told me where they were heading.  They've a long day on the coast path hiking in front of them, about nine miles.  Should take about five hours if they don't stop, but it all really depends on how much time you spend taking in the majesty and splendor of the views.  Oh, to do that again.

Until next time
Stay Safe, Stay Well