Archive for the ‘Wales’ Category

Barry Island (said with a Welsh Accent)

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Claire had to go back to work today (boy did she moan about it), so once she’d gone Maria,John and I packed and tidied up. As the weather was nice but the forecast was not good we decided to set off.
We had nowhere particular to go so we decided to visit Barry Island. I was brill, full of candyfloss, seaside rock, fish and chips and doughnuts.
There were some great looking rides but saddly we were too early and they weren’t open yet. Maria and John didn’t seem too keen on hanging around to wait.
I looked in all the arcades but saw no sign of Nessa, which was a shame. Maria and John kept going on about a ‘blast from the past’ and ‘the seventies’, just how old are they?
We had a smattering of rain so decided to head off. We drove through the Rhondda. Some beautiful scenery.
We were just wondering what we were going to have for tea when we a sign for a venison centre.
I loved the carved deer in the car park.
We bought some lovely venison for tonight and some pasties for lunch.
It’s good to get back home, it’ll be nice to sleep in our own beds, but we had a lovely break and it was nice to see Claire.
Maria and John are off to the Chelsea Flower Show later in May and they’re staying at the Park Lane Hilton, so if they think I’m staying at home, they’ve got another think coming.

Second sock syndrome

Monday, April 27th, 2009

We woke up to some miserable weather this morning, grey and wet. Maria and I were up first (about 8-ish), so since the other two were still snoring away I suggested this would be a good time to teach me to knit. Avoiding John and Claire butting in with conflicting and irrelevant advice.
I felt it would be a pity to use my lovely posh wool for my first attempt so Maria let me have some of her cheap sock yarn.
She’s not a bad teacher but can get a bit stroppy and her instructions can get muddled. Luckily I’m a quick learner. We tried following the pattern. I don’t know what sort of bear it was designed for but it was far too small, and I have dainty feet. Happily I have a very logical mind and with a few (not always helpful) suggestions from Maria I managed to adjust the size.
By the time Claire and John got up I was more or less done. Not bad for a first attempt.
John wanted to buy some laver bread and cockles, we needed some bits for tea, Claire and Maria wanted some more rings for Dorset buttons and I fancied some ice cream. So we decided to brave the weather and go out.
Did you know laver bread is nothing to do with bread? It’s sea weed!!! And who ever first though to eat cockels? John offered to share but we all politely refused, however we did buy some beautiful king prawns for tea.
We then drove to Mumbles for some ice cream at Verdis, the other three wanted some lunch as well so I nibbled on a bit of garlic bread to keep me going until they were ready for dessert.
What I was really there for is the ice cream.
The weather was still pretty so-so, so we decided to go back to the flat and potter around.
Maria decided to make some more Dorset buttons. I offered some helpful suggestions but she didn’t seem appreciative. Claire made a nice chocolate dessert for tea but didn’t need anyone to lick the bowl. Frankly I was getting a bit bored, there was some suggestion I should knit the second sock, but having done one I don’t fancy repeating the same thing again. Apparently there is a name for this feeling, it’s called ‘Second Sock Syndrome’.

Dorset Buttons

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

So off we went again, at least this time John was with us and he wasn’t over excited.
We had a few bits and pieces of food to taste and at lunch time John sneaked me some cider. I think it was pretty strong ‘cos next thing I knew I was sitting on a tray with some lobster and prawn. Luckily I got away before the octopus got me.
Wonderwool Wales-2
Apparently Maria and Claire had booked onto a class making Dorset Buttons (I had no idea what they were) in the afternoon, I was so bored by then that I decided to join them.
Wonderwool Wales-1
Rather surprisingly I really enjoyed it, and was pretty good at it. Even the official show photographer took my photo, he felt it would be really good publicity for next year.
By the end of a couple of hours I had a pretty good collection of buttons.
Wonderwool Wales-3
Perhaps there’s more to this working with wool than I thought. When Claire found a small ball of wool and a sock pattern for a bear of my size, I persuaded her to buy it and Maria has agreed to teach me to knit.
Wonderwool Wales-1
I don’t know what we are doing tomorrow but I do know Wonderwool is finished so it will be something different. John said something about going to see red kites being fed. I hope they don’t fancy bear to eat, they are blooming big birds and I’m not sure I could fight one off on my own.

Wonderwool Wales

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

It’s been a while since I went anywhere, to be honest I think John and Maria have been deliberately sneaking off without me. Even when they took me with them they left the computer behind so I couldn’t post.
When I heard they were off to Wales to visit Claire and go to something called Wonderwool Wales, I must admit I wasn’t very interested. In fact I was surprised John wanted to go. However I found out what they were trying to keep from me is that Wonderwool was combined with something called Mid Wales Mouthfull!!! Tastings of chocolate, cider, beer, cheese, puddings etc. etc…. and they weren’t going to take me!!! I was totally prepared to put up with a bit of wool and a few sheep for all that.
John has recently had a new car so the drive over was lovely. We went straight to the Royal Welsh Showground in order to meet Claire there. Even though we phoned her from home before we set out and she only had to come from Swansea we got there wayyyy before her. John wasn’t staying so he dropped me and Maria and then swanned off. So of course I had to hold the fort and listen to Maria eulogising about wool and colour and texture….(zzzz..).
Wonderwool Wales-1
At least the sheep, alpacas and angora rabbits were fun to look at.
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Wonderwool Wales-4
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When Claire arrived at least I could take a back seat as far as the wool was concerned. I did enjoy tasting the cheese and the puddings. They wouldn’t let me try the cider or the spirits, something about me being too young.
We hung around until the bitter end, they almost had to kick us out, but at last we were on our way to Swansea.
Then of course they dropped the bombshell. We’re going back again tomorrow.


Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

After a leisurely morning we set off for the drive back home.  Claire decided to take a scenic route through the Brecon Beacons – apparently there’s a whiskey distillery she was hoping for a glimpse of (what is it with them and alcohol?).  Once there we followed the signs to the Dan-yr-Ogof caves as she wanted a break (she’s got no stamina), and look what we saw!!!


They had dinosaurs!!!!  Claire was very disappointing and refused to take me round the show caves as she wanted to get home tonight, but we did have a quick browse around the shop, a listen to a brass band that were playing in the grounds, and a look at the various dinosaurs dotted around the grounds.  There was also a Shire Horse Centre as part of the attraction.  We didn’t see any Shire Horses (Claire being stingy still and not buying any entry tickets), but we did see some llamas and ostriches walking around.


John’s off to Copenhagen in a few days.  If I can get all my washing through I might try and sneak off with him!

Down on the farm

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

I’d only just unpacked from the epic drive back from Hungary, when Claire offered to take me to Wales with her to visit some friends.  After driving across 7 countries in the last week a jaunt across the Welsh border held no fears (and Claire looked lonely) so I packed up again and we set off.

We were meeting up with Caroline and Ruth, who Claire went to university with.  Caroline is now a vet, and lives on a farm in Pembrokeshire.  I lost no time in asking her about some funny twinges I’ve been getting in my paws, but Caroline informed me that she doesn’t have any experience with bears!  Call herself a vet – she’s obviously nothing more than a quack.  Last night we settled in and met Caroline’s three cats.  Two of them are just kittens, and were clearly overwhelmed to meet a cosmopolitan and well-travelled bear such as myself.

Meeting the kittens

We were got up this morning at what Claire refers to as ‘sparrow-fart’ and the rest of the world calls ‘mid-morning’.  Our hosts had been up for hours for the milking, but as guests in the cottage we get to lie in.  After breakfast we set off for the beach at Newgale and some reminiscing on Claire’s part – when she was young (many years ago) the whole family used to come camping here at least once a year.  The campsite is still there, along with the tea shop selling buckets and spades and surfboards.  Once I heard that this part of the country is known for surfing, and I’d learnt what boogie boarding, was I started looking over the surfboards and picking out a suitable one.  As soon as Claire realised what I was up to she pulled me away quickly, muttering that she’d been warned what I was like – cheek!  Instead we went for a stroll and a paddle along the beach.

Strolling along the beach

After Newgale we went for a drive along the coast road through Nolton Haven, Solva, Little Haven and Broad Haven (an awful lot of Havens in this part of the country), all places that Claire had visited when she’d stayed here years ago (she’s as bad as Maria for wittering on about the past), before heading back to the farm for a lovely roast dinner with home grown veg.  After a quiet rest in the garden after stuffing ourselves we hit the road again, this time heading for St. David’s.  I was promised a fun little touristy town, but quickly realised I’d been conned when we headed into the cathedral to look around Yet Another Church!  An interest in old buildings is clearly inherited in this family.

Cathedral at St Davids

Having been dragged around the building I reminded Claire that I’m used to a certain standard of living – in particular snacks in the afternoon – so we repaired to a local chocolate and ice cream shop. 

They call this ice cream?

The others seemed to enjoy their ice cream, but I have to say it wasn’t quite up to the standard I’m used to after my jaunt across Europe.

One final stop today, so we headed off to the Blue Lagoon.  It’s an old quarry that’s connected to the sea, and the water is a bright blue green which is unusual in this part of the world.  It’s a very popular area for coastal sports and we saw costeering, sea kayaking and diving there – and Claire wouldn’t let me try any of them!  Some rubbish about safety regulations, diving with a partner, and not getting my fur wet.

The Blue Lagoon

It was getting late, so we headed back to the farm so Caroline’s fella could drive us into Tenby (apparently the hen and stag capital of Wales!) for fish and chips.