Lletty's Blog

Croeso! Welcome to Lletty Cottage a lovely five star holiday cottage for two in Carmarthenshire. www.llettycottage.co.uk

April 6 Lovely Walks and Visits April 6, 2018

Interesting fact to start my loooong post! 5000 snail species living in GB ….and I think they are all in my garden!

DSC07058How refreshing to feel a bit of warmth in the air and feet on dry land instead of sloshing through muck and mud…today our Walking Well walk was certainly that…a  lovely amble through the country lanes  around  Dryslwyn Castle…thank you Philip!

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Being nosy, looking over garden fences, it’s amazing what one can see…it’s the Flower Pot men but no sign of Little Weed!

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How wonderful to see all the shadows from the trees  on the lanes and signs of spring flowers in the verges. First time this year to see the wood anemone  shining out amongst the celandine.

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We followed along  the lanes and their ups and downs and finally came to the castle mount. From the lane to the  castle was quite a climb but well worth it for the view…..but unexpectedly,  it was very windy on top! The result of the recent rain could be seen in the flooded land below. Over to the west the forecasted afternoon rain could be seen  approaching in the darkening clouds heading our way.

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Time to make a hasty retreat downhill to our cars and wend our way to The Cottage Inn, where we all enjoyed a hot drink and some indulged in a plate of chips too!

Over Easter Jim and I  took ourselves off for a day out…again! We drove to Penderyn Distillery ( an hour away).We drove through the Brecon Beacons passing Pen Y Fan ..highest peak  in  South Wales …which then was still covered in snow. There were numerous cars and walkers and climbers everywhere all wrapped up against the bitter wind and all looking cheerful!

 

We went on a tour at the distillery and it was excellent …so too was the whiskey sample! We just had to buy their  newly designed bottle and contents….well it was only fair after such a good tour!

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Later that day we drove on to the National Trust at Aberdulais for lunch. The old tin plate works hold a fascination for me with its wonderful history, racing water and old buildings.

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Climbing up the steps gives a great view of the works.

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The  views  and sounds all around are amazing so it’s no wonder that famous artists …Turner for one.. used to come here to capture the scenes.

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We enjoyed a delicious lunch in the school room, where children, who used to work in the mine …7+year olds…received  some schooling after work.

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Yesterday, with the forecast being SUNNY and WARMER another outing was planned! Brecon, only 40 minutes drive away through beautiful countryside  was our choice of destination!

We parked the car next to the river Usk and found the Promenade. This is a beautiful footpath alongside the river leading to a  weir  and a cafe!

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We sat outside the cafe,  in the sunshine, enjoying our coffee and   the perfect view across the river towards the Brecon Beacons

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We followed a different path  along the river  back into Brecon and found   the path was called The Captain’s Walk and very beautiful it was too!

Brecon is full of lovely surprises with  an excellent bowling green, quaint cottages, a splendid statue of Wellington and some beautiful bridges!

 

Also on the top of the hill there is the magnificent cathedral.

After a  delicious lunch in The Pilgrims Restaurant, at the cathedral, we returned home ..still in sunshine and hoping for more days out in the warmth very soon!

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March 25 Llangadog Walk and Classic Car Show March 25, 2018

It wasn’t raining, it wasn’t snowing and it certainly wasn’t freezing cold so it must be Philip waving his magic wand again  to give our Walking Well group pleasant enough weather for our walk around Llangadog.

We all met on the bridge overlooking the Sawdde river.

DSC06770DSC06769We followed the road around the perimeter of the common where all the sheep roam freely  and passed through the village of Felindre into the fields beyond.

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There must be a new initiative to sign walks which are near the railway station  and the Heart of Wales line. Hopefully, these new signs, showing the Cynghordy  Viaduct   will help walkers to keep to the track and not get lost!

Passing  on through kissing gates…(no kissing allowed!) and through farmyards with cattle in barns and lambs in fields  we reached a stopping point outside a lovely old farmhouse.

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All beautifully behaved animals …even the lamb helping  to put out the washing!

DSC06793Lovely to see buildings like this alongside  fields full of  sheep and  lambs  and a grazing horse, who was not over impressed with seeing us all.

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The track led us on through the farm fields. In  the distance the railway bridge over the Towy river could be seen and a couple of Canada geese flew overhead as a sort of flypast to acknowledge our walking accomplishments!

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Of course no walk led by Philip would be the same without a bit of mud. However, this time he did offer us a rest on a bench!

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The river was flowing rapidly  and  some sharp eyed walkers saw a kingfisher swooping by….I didn’t…maybe I should stop talking and start looking!

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Thank you Philip for a lovely walk that we all enjoyed.After such a  springlike walk some walkers returned to our house for a coffee and biscuit.

Yesterday  we caught the 5.39 train from Llangadog to the NEC Birmingham …again!

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Coming into New Street station at Birmingham we passed a train pulled by a double headed Class 37 Diesel  locomotives  with everyone on board enjoying a Rail Tour. (Thought you’d like to know that detail!!)

This time, at the NEC, we were going to the Classic Car & Restoration Show…as one might guess not my idea  even though I do love cars. Years ago my heart was set on  a Triumph Vitesse with a V8 engine!! Over the years we have  owned a Sprite, Midget, Morgan, Mini, BMW …..etc… and to see all the wonderful cars on display in the Show and all the restoration work going on was really great and interesting.

There were a few  classic bikes too.

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…there were even classic caravans. I’d love one of these! The teddy bears on display are the exact ones that my brothers and I had as children ….maybe we are classics now!!

‘The Morris Minor was the first British car to sell a million units and as that milestone approached, BMC decided to create a special edition car – a common event now, but a rarity in the 1960s.

So the Minor Million was created. Mechanically a standard 948 Minor 1000 this special edition of 350 cars was distinguished by vivid lilac paintwork. 350 ‘Millions’ were produced in December 1960. Every showroom had a car on display on the official launch date -4th January 1961.
The actual millionth car rolled off the production line on 22 December 1960′.

Everyone used to own a Morris Minor…our family did and we’ve still got one! Wish it was one of these lilac millionth ones though…they are worth a fortune!

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Even the police used minis !

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Special treat was to see, hear and smell some amazing traction engines…our grandparents used to own similar…wish we had them now!

DSC06915 Never liking to waste a moment on our days out we stopped off on the train journey home at Shrewsbury to spend a couple of hours.  Such a lovely town full of character and  interesting shops!

 

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The guns are pointing into town from outside the regimental museum.

 

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Even the pretty flower borders were laid out in a very organised and orderly fashion!

 

 

Shrewsbury has much to offer with all its  shops and history. The statue of Darwin outside the library is really  special.

Travelling back to Llangadog later on the Heart of Wales line we missed all the wonderful scenery as it was dark. Even though we were rather tired after our days excursion we remembered to turn the clocks forward  so I’d be up early and chirpy for my visit to Aberglasney to see David Cowdry’s  Art Exhibition and the display of spring flowers. Both were wonderful and the garden in the spring sunshine was beautiful.

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Wish there  were more hours in each day to fit in all the things I want to see and do….but this weekend I think I’ve filled in every second…thank you for reading and sharing the weekend with me….a great start to Summer time!

 

 

March 18 All in a Day March 18, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 3:30 pm

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Don’t know where I bought this ‘daffodil’ bulb but it is so pretty and a bright way to start a snowy day! What a difference a day makes!

5.39am is not a time that I am usually acquainted with but yesterday there we were on Llangadog station awaiting the train to zoom us off to Birmingham. The train didn’t exactly ‘zoom’ us it was more of a diddly- dum sort of ride but it was on time, it was nearly empty and it was taking us through the beautiful countryside of Wales on the Heart of Wales line.

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The first part of the journey was in the dark but as  the countryside awoke R L Stevenson’s poem just became alive!

‘Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle,
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.’

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We arrived at Birmingham International right on time at 10 and set off to the Education Show  where we were meeting our daughter, who had a stand.

To say we felt  as though we were in a parallel universe  surrounded by people from another planet is an under statement! One forgets  how we used to live  before our retirement to the countryside when crowds and noise were part of our daily routine. At the NEC not only were there hundreds of people going to the various exhibitions but one of the exhibitions  was  the MCM Birmingham Comic Con! We were surrounded by many people dressed as characters from all the comics  etc…very surreal!

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The storm troopers let us pass and we found our daughter and her stand.

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Not sure where she gets her computer genius from …but it sure isn’t me and  she has such amazing ideas.              is wonderful!

After   one and a half hours at the exhibition it was time to head back to the station to  catch the train home.

Couldn’t wait to get back to seeing the countryside again!   Interesting brickwork and castle silhouette  to see from  Shrewsbury station, where we waited when we changed trains.

The snow had gone from much of the countryside so there was time to keep up to date on  my iPad with the rugby matches and to stop taking photos! Well I did take a few!

But the rugby was excellent too! Well done Scotland, Wales and Ireland on their special St Patrick’s Day.

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We crossed over the Knucklas  (Welsh:  Cnwclas, meaning “green hillock”) viaduct with its spectacular 13-arch span which  was completed  in 1865.

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We arrived back at Llangadog safe and sound and on time  just as the snow fall became heavier!

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Through the night the snow continued to fall and the wind to blow. This morning everywhere   looked beautiful  but the birds were annoyed that their feeders had been  empty yesterday!  After filling the feeders and putting seed on the table it was soon gone and had to be replenished frequently. I think Senior Citizens should be given  a bird pension to help feed the birds as it is a very costly hobby …but one that gives the greatest enjoyment and pleasure.

Hey…go away …I’m not feeding squirrels too! Well just this once then!

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March 2nd Mystery Garden Bird and Pro Climbers March 2, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 8:35 pm

Just a quick post to wish everyone a belated Happy St David’s Day. We were going to celebrate with Leek soup for lunch  and Welsh cakes for tea but the weather intervened! The bitterly cold wind blew and blew and the temperatures dropped  and dropped and our pipes froze! The house is warm and toasty  but no water meant cooking was  a bit of a waste when there wasn’t enough water to wash up…. and I’m a VERY messy cook!

Anyway,  we have  fortunately missed the really bad snowstorms  but the wind has caused real problems for all the little birds. They have found it difficult to land on the feeders!

Today we have had an assortment of different birds  and I’d like to know what this one is. It’s the size of a puffed up song thrush and sat for a long time outside the kitchen window. There have been redwings in the garden today  but this one looks different …any ideas?

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These are the redwings today.

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The wagtails were busy finding worms in the frozen ground and staying well camouflaged on the  snowy grass.

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Just on the branch under our mystery bird hopped  the tree creeper usually seen running up and down the fence or tree trunk.

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The nuthatches were out in force today with at least four fighting for food at the same time.

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Blue tits, Great tits, Marsh tits, long tailed tits and coal tits all visit the table but not when my camera is handy or when I can get them all in focus !!

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No bird table would be complete without our robin.

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tel:01550779245   Proclimbers

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February 23rd Caio and Cilycwm Walks February 23, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 9:28 pm

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Thought I’d start  with a daffodil flowering in the garden as next week it’s St David’s Day.  With the forecast being freezing cold, windy and maybe snow maybe the flowers won’t be standing so upright on March1st! However, today although it was  windy, blowing  from the East  and the temperatures at 0 it was beautifully sunny and dry. Of course it was…it’s our Walking group day and with Philip in charge  he’d worked his magic yet again to make the day perfect for a march around Caio forestry. I say march as he set off at a good pace to keep everyone warm!

In the gaps where the sun shone through the trees there was even some warmth in the sun but in the shadows there was ice and frosty paths- all beautiful.

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The trees were still bare and no sign yet of buds breaking   but moss covering the ground and up  over the tree trunks  showed how wet everywhere had been.

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Signs of autumn cones still lay around on the broken branches that lay across the verges. Storms though the winter had whistled through the forest snapping many branches off   but today all quiet  and special.

 

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A short drive after the walk to the Brunant Arms  in Caio  gave us our much needed hot refreshments of coffee and crisps.

Caio is a village of charm and history, with a  church and an old school  building that is being modernised. Modern and ancient sit well together  when they are planned  carefully.

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Funny how one always plays Pooh sticks  when you are with a  friend and crossing a bridge!

Little ‘barnacles’ on the bridge and  navelwort growing up in the cracks and crevices! Amazing!

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Taking my friend home after the walk I met her three Exmoor ponies. Iris  showed her best side to have a pic taken! My friend knows EVERYTHING one needs to know about this wonderful horse breed which is native to Britain.  The Exmoor has been given “endangered” status.  It has the perfect coat  for keeping warm in these cold conditions.

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Earlier in the week making the most of the dry and sunny weather Jim and I went for a walk around Cilycwn- a village not far away.In the centre of the village is the lovely early  14th century church St Michael’s.

 

Inside the church there’s a beautiful barrel- vaulted roof and huge stone arcades.

One of the pillars has been cut away to form a font.

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We followed a  circular trail around the village  with splendid views over the countryside.

 

We passed a pound where in the past  they would have kept lost animals. I nearly lost Jim inside!

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Further up the track we passed Soar chapel, where William Williams Pantycelyn, who wrote ‘Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer’, was  a member. The chapel was built in 1786.

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The track led over an old bailey bridge where Pooh sticks were played once more! I won!

 

The path led us over some very wet and boggy fields and at the end the path became too overgrown to continue.

 

Leaving the fields we  found the road that led back into the village passing the now closed and empty school building  and the empty and closed Post office. The pub is open but sadly only on certain days so no end of walk drinks  this time!

Running at the side of the road, at the edge of the pavements, were gulleys. In previous times food had been put in them   for the  livestock  to eat that were being driven to London by the drovers.  So much history in a street that can be missed when driving through in a car!

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Back home the garden is really showing signs of things to come.

Even our very own…fungus looking like seaweed! We have lots!

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Lots of hellebores too. Hooray for the sunshine and spring coming….that is after the forecasted coldest week  ahead  this  winter. They may have got it wrong…hope so!

Happy St David’s Day!

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February 9 Walk Around Dinefwr and Coffee at The Works Vintage Cafe Llandeilo February 9, 2018

Woke up this morning  and looked out  the window over our garden  towards the   snow clad Carmarthenshire Fans  and saw  and heard the  …  wind, rain, sleet and noisy hail. After  a phone call from a walking pal  we were undecided whether to attempt our Walking Well walk around Dinefwr Park as everywhere looked bleak. My pal lives a few miles up the hill  from us where it’s  colder and  in her garden there was lying snow and potentially more to come. With black clouds overhead and dressed in full waterproofs I decided to have a go and see what it was like at Dinefwr Park and whether Philip’s remarkable run of ‘good’ walking weather would hold true today!

Honestly, how does he do it? Cold and damp it may have been but the sun came out, the blue sky appeared   and off we went! DSC05979

We all set off  from the carpark at a steady pace getting warmer by the second. It was noticeable as we went though the woodland area how may trees had recently been uprooted.

After climbing up a number of steps  it was lovely to see a mat  of snowdrops ( not enough to call it a carpet) flowering amongst the curled autumn leaves. Even some daffodils  were peeping through too.   Taking a photo of anything interesting is always handy and a great excuse to catch one’s breath!

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As we emerged from the woodland we saw Newton House in the distance. We followed the pathway over the fields towards the castle and kept up our steady walking speed. I think we were all loving the walk, the views and the company but were mindful of the fact that all that horrid weather wasn’t far away!

DSC05997DSC05987DSC05999DSC06002We overtook a group of nordic walkers…to be fair…they were standing still and doing their pre-walk warm ups. We decided that although it is good to have a warm up before any exercise to get joints and muscles moving, doing warm ups  as well as a walk  might just  be too much exercise for us!

Hope these tree roots are strong and hold these wonderful trees in place for many more years

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Stopping to take photos of Newton House, Paxton’s Tower on the hill  and the deer meant that I fell behind the group so I had a bit of a jog to add to my exercise to catch up with the others!

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Carefully avoiding a tractor carrying a load of turnips I caught up with everyone just in time to see the White Cattle being fed in their winter quarters.

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You could  hear them nomnomming  away and  see them enjoying their treat with their head and horns buried in their hay.

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The kites and buzzards were also enjoying the sunny spell and were heard calling in the blue sky above.  The black spot is a kite not a fly on my lens!
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Following the potholed muddy track …well it wouldn’t be a proper walk without some mud… we  made our way back  to ours cars. A  3 mile walk …well nearly…in dry conditions…don’t know how you do it Philip but thank you again. DSC06026DSC06027DSC06031DSC06032The Vintage Cafe, next  to the garden centre in Llandeilo was todays choice for our  after walk refreshments. The coffee and cake were all delicious  and the icing on the cake was enjoying seeing all the beautiful  plants that are  for sale in The Works Garden Centre.

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January 26 Botanic Garden of Wales Walk…Again! January 26, 2018

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One can never have too many visits to the Botanic Garden of Wales,  especially in January, when entrance is free during the week!  Weekend entry in January is only £4 and tomorrow 27th and Sunday 28th  there is an Antiques Fair to enjoy too!

Anyway back to my visit today with the Walking Well group led by Philip. Somehow or other he manages to arrange these walks when it is dry and sunny! The weather over the last week has seen our garden flooded!  Today, however,  with the sun shining brightly a large group assembled in the Botanic Garden carpark to begin a figure of eight walk around the parkland.

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The track led us around the perimeter of  the first lake with the Great Glasshouse,

The largest single-span great glasshouse in the world houses the largest collection of Mediterranean plants in the Northern Hemisphere

looking like something from Stars Wars ( I enjoyed The Last of the Jedi..last week!)  set  up high on the opposite bank.  Wonderful reflections of the trees in the water- good enough to paint!

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Brilliant coloured cornus bushes  shone in the sunshine and the aroma from the fountain of green Sarcococca confuse bushes filled the air…everyone stopped  to catch a closer sniff!

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Passing a desolate farmhouse we walked up quite a steep incline until we reached the top. Here  Philip explained there was a spring  hidden behind a locked door and a pump room.

It was well worth carrying on up the hill as looking back we had the most marvellous view over the beautiful Carmarthenshire countryside, including Paxton’s Tower.

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We walked along the ridge of the hill until we dropped down again  from the Parkland towards the Gardens.  We didn’t take a detour into the woods as we were uncertain what we’d find there!

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It wouldn’t be one of Philip’s walks if it didn’t entail some mud walking and some nature spotting. There’s an excellent exhibition on at the present in the Gardens by Julie Sheridan of the Last Gallery, Llangadog . Her  series of paintings depict the symbiotic nature and pattern of lichen.  She may have been able to identify some of our findings!

 

The Ghost Forest was our next stop!

‘This display of tropical tree roots is one of the most significant environmental art installations to come to Wales

The Ghost Forest has come from the tropical rainforests of Ghana .The oldest tree root is 300 years old, the heaviest weighs 19 tonnes

They’re the inspiration of UK based artist Angela Palmer. She was horrified to learn that a tropical forest the size of a rugby pitch is destroyed every four seconds. Just think how much is lost every minute, every hour………every year.
Apart from the huge loss of species, rainforest loss is contributing to climate change.

Angela Palmer made world ambassadors out of these tree roots. She chose Ghana as it now sustainably manages its rainforests. She brought the tree roots to Trafalgar Square, to the Earth Summit in Copenhagen, to Oxford University and now here, their final resting place.’

Lots of photos as they were amazing  especially against the blue, blue sky!

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Time for coffee and cake in the Glasshouse surrounded by exotic  and some recognisable lovely flowers.

 

Also to view were the antiques. The Rupert annual…one of my favourites  as a child… now classed as an antique!! Help!

The view going down the Broadwalk back to the carpark was  far different from last week when everywhere was coated with shiny icy crystals- this week shiny bright sunshine. I do love our changeable Carmarthenshire climate!!

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Thank you Philip for another happy, enjoyable walk.

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