Thursday, 26 March 2009

Hobby Farms & Horse breeding

Welsh cobs are a significant breed of Welsh horses.

Our owners of Bedw Cottage in the Cambrian mountains, Carmarthenshire and The Hayloft on the Pembrokeshire coast are very successful Welsh cob breeders. These properties would make ideal holiday destinations for horse lovers.

The Hayloft is just minutes away from the Pembrokeshire coast and is near the St Brides Bay beaches, coves and harbours.
An added attraction at Bedw is a new breed of hens who produce colourful eggs for your breakfast.

Always expect the unexpected on a holiday in rural Wales.
Leonard Rees

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Erwood Station Craft Centre

On route from Crickhowell to Newtown I stopped off at the Erwood Craft Centre for some refreshments. Situated on the banks of the River Wye at the old station it has a gallery, coffee shop and resident wood turner. There were walkers and cyclists (the Wye Valley walk & national cycle route 8 both pass through here) sitting out in the sun having tea and cakes.

There were also some conspicuous guests enjoying the spring sunshine.

Brecon & Monmouthshire Canal, Llangattock.

What a glorious day it was in Crickhowell yesterday. There were people sat outside the "Bridge End" pub in Crickhowell at lunchtime. The canal wharf at nearby Llangattock was ablaze with colourful barges and smiling passers by enjoying the sun.

I was in the area photographing on the hillside above Llangattock village. The uninterrupted views of the Black Mountains ( including Table mountain and The Sugar Loaf) are stunning to say the least.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Spring in Harlech

Llandanwg Beach
Lovely spring like morning here in Harlech today. I have just been for a walk on Llandanwg beach - tide coming in, lambs frolicking in the fields, birds singing and daffodils everywhere. Highly recommended for early morning walks for guests staying in the Harlech area.

Nell stayed last week and viewed 21 of the new properties but was unable to see 4 more as they were already occupied. To fill the gap she saw the Lodge and Green Edge both have improved, she was particularly impressed with
Green Edge. More photos needed, perhaps Polly could do them when she comes to photograph Anglesey beaches.

We can recommend The Ship Hotel in Edern near
Morfa Nefyn - an excellent gastro pub directly opposite Rhianfa and 1 mile from Morfa Nefyn properties. The Bull in Beaumaris was also excellent, delicious sea bass - no complaints from Nell so it must have been good! Note anyone staying on Anglesey do give it a try.

Cooking Sunday lunch now - 5 vegetables and sticky toffee pudding, another walk after lunch I think!


Friday, 13 March 2009

The first Advert for the Grove Hotel, St Davids 1869

" W. Williams beg to inform the Nobility, Gentry, Commercial Gentlemen and the Public generally. that the Commercial Hotel is now closed. having removed the establishment to a more convenient premises in the same (High) Street known as the GROVE HOUSE, where he trusts by strict attention and moderate charges to retain that liberal patronage bestowed upon him for the last thirty years. and thereby gratefully returns his sincere thanks. An omnibus leaves this Hotel every Tuesday and Saturday at 6 a.m. for the Mariners Hotel Haverfordwest returning at 4 p.m. Close and open carriages, post horses and livery stables.
Grove house September 6th 1869"

After some 140 years this picturesque family run Georgian hotel is still going strong in the centre of the little city of St Davids. Whether one stays in the hotel or in a welsh holiday cottage a good meal can be had here. Hearty pub food is served in the bar as well as Welsh Brains beers, continental beers, premium spirits and excellent wines. There is fine dining in the restaurant with the menu changing daily to reflect the availability of locally sourced produce. Nibbles and grazing platters are available from early evening.

Brunel Cycleway part of the Celtic Trail National Route 4

My bicycle was unceremoniously dragged out of storage. It hasn't seen the light of day for a good few years. It looks rather neglected covered in rust, spiders and cobwebs.

It was originally sold to me by a man who claimed to have sold Moses his first bike. I was persuaded by him and my (male) friends to get a man's bike. "They are much stronger and more fit for purpose". I'm not quite sure what purpose they thought I had in mind but here I am the not very proud and a little bit scared owner of a man's bike.

There is a free car park at Neyland Marina. The cycle path runs from here to Haverfordwest. The easy route is popular with families.

We renewed our acquaintance on the Brunel Cycleway. A wonderful 14 traffic free miles of well surfaced and almost level route from Neyland Marina to Haverfordwest. It passes through Westfield Pill Reserve a sheltered inlet from the Cleddau Waterway, haven to wildlife and rare plants. Indeed the whole trail runs through quiet open countryside with glimpses of the river much of the way and just a few welsh cottages dotted here and there.

I went early in the hope of spotting otters. My dad has seen them on several occasions during early morning rides. I wasn't so lucky. Probably the creaking and crunching of my protesting bike demanding more oil and grease before the next trip warned the creatures to stay out of sight.

After such a glorious trip though, I think I might just indulge it and try again next weekend followed by breakfast and fresh coffee in the Brunel Cafe at the marina.
Anne I

Extract from a Thank You Letter.

Dear Leonard,

Angela and I would like to thank you for such a wonderful weekend in such beautiful and comfortable surroundings.

The whole purpose of the weekend was to plant a tree in rememberance of Pat and Eric. The ceremony was moving and it was good to see so many friends there to share some pleasant times with us. I am sure Pat and Eric would have been pleased with all that was done and that others will be able to sit and wile away some time taking in the sights and sounds of such a beautiful spot. Reggie is often in my thoughts and I am pleased that all three of them will be remembered together.

It is over 50 years since we first came to Pembrokeshire and so much has changed. But Cerbid remains as it always was - a quiet, tranquil beautiful place, a place that makes you stop and appreciate the good things in life, far from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Angela and I stood on the bridge in the lane and just stayed quiet for a good few minutes, appreciating the stillness and wonder of the valley, the river and the wildlife all around us. It is not until you leave somewhere like Cerbid and return to the city, that you realise what peace and quiet is.

With every good wish
Angela and Michael Waterston

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

"The Bridge on the River Wye"

Monday, 9 March 2009

The Sunday Ploughing Match

Controversy continues regarding the choice of Sunday venue for the local St Davids & District Ploughing Match. This up until 1952 was an area of 99% Sunday observance in agriculture.

Even more challenging was the committee's choice of front piece for their brochure - The Cathedral with a team of horses ploughing a paddock owned by the Cathedral -

I bet that was not allowed on a Sunday.

In view of social and cultural history it would be fascinating to hear the take on this subject from the new Bishop of St Davids - the former Dean the Rt Rev Wyn Evans - locally rejoined as one of the more enlightened and broad minded clerics in the city of St Davids.

Here is the Bishop parked outside some welsh cottages in St Davids.

He is reputedly very supportive of the flourishing commercial activity - shops and restaurant all open 7 days a week at the Cathedral.

Better the day better the deed.
Your 'Posts' and 'Comments' are invited

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Elan Valley. Powys, Mid Wales

On my way to work this morning I stopped off at the Elan valley. It was a glorious morning and the powdery snow on the hills and the reflections in the water made for some spectacular scenery. The visitors centre in Elan village will be open again in a fornight. There are lots of interesting things to join in with here, like photographic courses, art & crafts days, group walks in the surrounding mountains, children's nature trails and of course the cycle trail from Rhayader which is all off road and a great way to get close to this magnificent countryside. There are lots of holiday cottages in Wales for those who would like to visit for a few days.


Unexpected snowfall - Rosebush in the early spring

Rosebush is a small village at the site of a former slate quarry - years of excavations were mainly hidden from view by the extensive pine plantations which have now been felled and cleared. This gives a view that was lost a long time ago and my recent visit revealed the extent of the enormous 'step-like' quarrying.

In previous years I had wandered with our dog in this unusual landscape and had taken visiting friends to see the 'hidden' lake - amongst the heaps of discarded slate was a pit, maybe an old shaft that had collapsed. Here the rainwater had collected over the years and now filled the void with crystal clear water where dragonflies darted during the warmer months. Nature has regenerated in much of this barren space, hawthorn and blackthorn not daunted by lack of soil. Amazingly there are bilberries sweet on the tongue when picked during the summer.

On my visit yesterday I was due to lunch at the Tafarn Sinc - an unusual hostelry with much memorabilia on walls and ceilings. Warm and inviting the sawdust on the floor is a regular feature but the building itself is in fact a 'shed' situated alongside the platform of the former railway station. The tracks have long gone, probably when the quarry ceased, leaving the shed a well-known landmark not least of all because it is made of corregated iron! Tafarn Sinc translates to Tavern of 'Zinc'. Food and ale are available here throughout the year.

The surrounding countryside is amazingly beautiful. Wild and remote there are few welsh cottages to be seen beyond the village which is set on the lower levels of a valley where the rain off the hillside feeds down through the Gwaun valley and runs into a reservoir supplying most of Northern Pembrokeshire. Today the unexpected overnight snowfall had dusted the fields and hills leaving them white though areas exposed to the sun had melted away to reveal the spring - vivid colours, trees in bud and spring lambs new to the world.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Erenie's Boiled Cake Recipe

Now you know who keeps us all going at 'Cerbid' . This is Erenie in the Quality Cottages big farmhouse kitchen. Every Monday she fills the office with the smell of home baking as she prepares our lunch and other goodies for the week.
1 pint of milk + 1 glass of sherry
½ lb margarine
½ lb brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon mixed spice
2 teaspoons marmalade
2 packets raisins 1lb (500g) each
1 box cherries
3 eggs
1 lb SR flour
Place milk, sherry, margarine, marmalade, sugar, fruit and bicarbonate of soda in a saucepan Bring to the boil
Allow to cool to blood heat
Add eggs, flour and spice
Place in a greased loaf tin
Bake for 10 minutes at 180 C
Turn oven down to 150 C
Bake for 1½ hours

Erenie's Chocolate Fudge Cake Recipe

4 oz margarine
4 oz vegetable oil
8 oz water
4 oz milk
2 eggs
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3½ table spoons cocoa
12 oz caster sugar
8 oz SR flour

Place cocoa, margarine, oil and water in a saucepan, bring to the boil
Remove from the heat, allow to cool a little
Stir in sugar
Stir in flour
Beat together the eggs, milk, bicarbonate of soda & vanilla essence
Fold into the mixture in the saucepan
Place in a greased 2lb loaf tin
Bake for 1½ hours at 150 C