Lletty's Blog

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

September 12 Botanic Garden of Wales, Tregaron, Strata Florida, Betws Y Coed September 12, 2020

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What’s the weather like? Dry and bright and we’ll definitely go out somewhere, damp and chilly…well there’s always housework!! Cloudy and dull… a visit to the Botanic Garden which is great in any weather ! Can’t wait around for sunny days for too long!

At the Botanic Gardens a walk up to the Great Glasshouse passes examples of many rocks of different periods and gives a good distant view, over the meadows, of the Butterfly House.

Some new bridges have been installed in the Gardens. Walking through a lovely woodland area we reached one new bridge but it was fenced off and won’t be open for walkers until later this year.

Lovely to see all the colourful autumn flowers in the borders still standing upright even after all the wind and rain.

Another new bridge in the Gardens spans across a wetland area which is just being replanted. It was very muddy! Children would love it!

On the way home we stopped at Pont Felin Gap, which used to be another entrance to the Gardens. Now it is all closed off and one can only peep ( I had to scramble up a wall…wish I was taller!) at yet another new bridge. This one looks quite rustic. Looking forward to when visitors can walk across all these new bridges and see the new features easily.

Dry and bright on another day and we drove to Tregaron…50 minutes away.

We parked the car in the carpark where there was still free parking. That’s one of the great benefits of lockdown…no parking charges! Hope it lasts for ages. The town was buzzing and full of trailers and people…it was the start of a hunt!

A hunting we will go!

We left them to it after a tickle on each nose and a whispered ‘Sorry’ !

My Dad came from Tregaron and Welsh was his first language. It’s a pretty town with a river running through it and a good pub and art /craft gallery.

We headed to the art/craft gallery where there was the usual collection of all wonderful crafty things that I wanted to buy! Also a lovely coffee shop where we sat outside chatting to some bikers and enjoyed the view over the church.

There was an enjoyable guided tour of new art work by Welsh artists led by Philip Huckin. He is having an exhibition in the autumn in Fine Art Gallery Llandeilo….looking forward to seeing it.

Painting by Philip Huckin

Not far from Tregaron is Cors Caron Nature Reserve. A marvellous area of raised bog and on a sunny day the best place to visit ever!

First ever slideshow….Tregaron Bog!

Whilst walking along the board walk there were numerous Common Lizards warming themselves in the sun. The butterflies were out surfing over the heather, the cotton grass was blowing snowily in the bog and the ponies were keeping an eye on us!

As we were near Strata Florida we popped in to see it again. The abbey was established by Cisterian monks in 1201. It became the most famous church in Wales after St Davids. It is the final resting place for generations of medieval Welsh princes.

A day drive up to Bethesda in North Wales for a dear friend’s funeral was ended by a stop off on the way home at Betws-y-Coed…prayer- house in the wood.

The town was packed with tourists and with the sun shining we walked around and over the bridge and enjoyed the view of the river. We also enjoyed the tastiest Welsh Rarebit in the world courtesy of the chef in The Royal Oak Hotel. The drive through the Snowdonia mountains was breathtaking . Wales is such an incredible country with so many wonderful natural beauties to enjoy and all so near!

There was also a selection of old railway carriages to enjoy at the railway station and a fine collection of railway dioramas and model engines in an exhibition.

Back home the garden continues to grow wildly and my secateurs , shears, hedge cutters are now all at the ready to start cutting everything back! Then something new begins to flower to give delight ( especially the flowering ginger!) and everything stops again and I take time just to enjoy the garden and all the creatures in it.

Thank you for reading. Having to wear face masks in shops starts in Wales on Monday…something new to remember again…as well as my shopping list, keys and purse!

Thank you especially Quiet Solo Pursuits!

 

August 28 Myddfai, Craig y Nos, Dragon’s Garden. August 28, 2020

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Bank Holiday weekend and hopefully it will stop raining for a day or two! All those people on holidays need a bit of sunshine before they all return to work!

Fortunately we chose a relatively dry day to visit Myddfai and its Visitor Centre. A village not too far away with a lovely cafe, which was open, and an easy walk around the village lanes. The village is well known for its connection to the Physicians of Myddfai, a medical tradition that dates back to the 13th century often relating to herbal remedies.

The ‘Physicians’ apparently used many of the wildflowers and herbs growing locally to treat many ailments. Walking around the village there were a number of wildflowers in the banks and along the verges. Not sure if they used any of these in their treatments.

A look into the Visitor Centre shop is always enjoyable as they have lots of interesting goods for sale most of them locally made.

Thank goodness for all the information signs as a low grassy mound in the adjacent field might be a moated medieval homestead…I’d never have guessed!

On a visit to Carmarthen to visit the dentist…where I had a tooth out…we stopped for coffee, before going to the dentist, in the new cafe that was once the Magistrates’ Court in the 240 years old Guildhall! We sat outside and looked at the monument in front of the building from the back and then the front!

The coffee and cake were fine and afterwards we had a sneak upstairs to look at all the paintings displayed on the walls and to see if we could peep into the old court room…we could!

The first of our local village walks around the Loop started up again recently. It was very enjoyable to be walking out again with friends and we were able to stay socially distanced and yet keep up a steady chat all the way round!

Creativity seems to be the norm in our village, Llansadwrn, as an enterprising villager has turned an old stable block into a wonderful book shop. The setting in a glade, with a market garden attached, off a country lane is quite perfect….a shop of delights.

Listening to the weather forecast earlier this week the words ‘ dry with sunny spells’ sounded out loud and clear! Another visit out was definitely on the cards! Just a short hop over the mountains (40 minutes drive) brought us to Craig y Nos Country Park .

Craig-y-Nos Castle and grounds were once the estate of the celebrated opera diva Adelina Patti who during her lifetime ( 1843-1919 ) became one of the worlds most famous and highly rewarded entertainers.’ 

The walk around the park and round the lakes was most enjoyable even when it began to rain!

Sadly the castle where weddings are frequently held looked as though Covid had caused problems as it was all closed up.

Driving home we enjoyed the sight of the heather covering the vast expanse of the hillsides …wish the sun had been shining though!

Back home the garden has received a severe flattening with the storms, wind and rain but it’s fighting back and still giving lots of colour and enjoyment!

Thank you for reading and I hope you have a lovely, dry and sunny Summer Bank Holiday. Next 2020 Bank Holiday is Christmas Day!

 

August 15 Tredegar and Aberglasney August 15, 2020

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Good to be back on the computer after all the amazing thunderstorms we’ve had locally and lightning flashes, one of which , zapped our router! BT were very good and replaced it very swiftly! It has been very hot and humid and as it was too hot for the beach or the mountains, a visit out to a town seemed on the cards!

An artist friend of mine has just painted a great portrait of Aneurin Bevan and Derek, our Weatherman Walking, had visited Tredegar, where Nye was born in 1897, so using the information from the Weatherman Walking website we set off! Only an hour away and a town we’d never visited before so although hot outside, the air conditioned car seemed the best place to be! A very welcoming entrance to the Park.

We started our town tour by visiting the lovely Bedwellty Park. The paths were lined with a range of trees which cooled our short walk up to the house and cafe where we enjoyed a socially distanced and Eat Out to Help Out snack!

Tredegar town has an industrial and cultural past. To mark the people who helped shape the town there are a number of stainless steel artworks placed around the town to tell their stories.

Following the paths through the park we stopped at a large building which houses the biggest lump of coal in the world!! It was huge and wouldn’t have fitted into any coal house I know!

The coal should have been shown at the 1851 Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace but weighing in at 15 tonnes it was too heavy to transport so came to Bedwellty.

Also in the park was an icehouse, a grotto and a large kitchen garden with an ornate gate to enter by …so lots to see and enjoy.

Leaving the park we walked up to the town keeping in the shade of the houses and passing newly decorated businesses on the way. Very smart!

The centre of Tredegar is dominated by a fine town clock. The tablet saying how the money was raised to build this magnificent clock made me think that Mary Davis definitely knew how to run a money making bazaar!

Mary Elizabeth Davis

Aneurin Bevan (1897-1960) was a Labour MP, who in 1948 implemented the National Health Service. He’d been inspired by a local society which provided healthcare to miners and ironworkers, who paid into a subscription. He said in Parliament:  ‘We are going to “Tredegarise” you’. And he did!

He gave up his seat for me! What a gentleman!

Good to see that our Chancellor of the Exchequer is highly thought of in Tredegar!

Leaving the town centre we visited the other park in the town, Parc Brynbach, which had a splendid lake plus wildfowl and a cafe with icecream…we were sorted!

Earlier in the week we had visited Carmarthen to collect my new lawn mower!

We crossed the Towy river over the Pont King Morgan pedestrian bridge and stood and watched in one direction the new rolling stock chug into Carmarthen station and in the other direction there was the three span bridge that we were heading for. This bridge had replaced the seven span bridge in 1937. There’s a good view of the Carmarthen County Offices from the bridge. The lawn mower shop was nearby and all was in order so collection was easy in the car!

I might have mentioned before that I rather enjoy my visits to Aberglasney Gardens!! My visit last week was with a number of good friends from an art group I belong to. There was a great deal of social distancing and lots of coffee, chat and enjoyment!

Back home it’s becoming hard work saving the garden from becoming a jungle! The hot humid weather followed by lots of rain are just the perfect conditions for growth!! The veg garden has been productive and we are now enjoying many dinners with runner beans, peas, turnips(!) courgettes, leeks, tomatoes, cucumbers and spinach! The apples and pears are coming along well and the birds think so too!

During lockdown I made up some hanging baskets just using ‘old’ begonia tubers. They have turned out to be very easy to grow, no maintenance just watering and they are colourful…so I’ll plant them again next year!

Thank you for reading this post. Hope this helps you plan all the places you can visit whilst staying in Lletty Cottage when it reopens next spring.

 

August 1 Pinch Punch, Colby Woodland Gardens, Amroth, August 1, 2020

I haven’t a photo of a white rabbit to start the month ( maybe you don’t say ‘white rabbit’ or ‘pinch punch, first day of the month’ but I do!) anyway, I do have a photo of the new occupants of the field in front of the house!

The weather has been up and down or rather wet and chilly or dry and hot!

We’ve enjoyed a couple of visits out and recently went to NT Colby Woodland Gardens where we found free entry! ( We are NT members but in case others aren’t check before you visit!) 45 minutes from home!

The cafe was open so before we set off anywhere it was a treat to have a proper cappuccino and cream scones with strawberry jam! Sadly the wasps were out looking for a treat too!

After a wonderful walk through the woodlands we strolled down the driveway towards Amroth and the beach.

On the way we passed ‘the money tree’! I wonder if anyone has ever thought what they will do when the trunk falls down!

It wasn’t too long after passing through the woodland we caught the first sight of the sea over the rooftops of the houses.

The sun came out so we could enjoy a walk along the front where visitors were trying hard to socially distance themselves from others! A tricky walk across all the pebbles on the shoreline to the edge of the sea was worthwhile …just to sit, listen and watch the waves crashing in and then receding over the pebbles with all the gurgling, drumming, splashing and rolling of pebbles that was made.

Every pebble on the beach has a story to tell. Love looking for fossils in them all!

Further along the beach there is a reminder to take litter and plastic home. A good use of the plastic has been made by the artist Gideon Petersen creating an installation made of plastic and filled with plastic bottles etc.

What comes downhill must go uphill once more so we headed back up the drive to Colby after having an enormous icecream each! We needed the walk to use the calories that we’d eaten in the day…Boris would be proud!!

We passed the NT cottages which are let out …not sure if they are opened as yet.

A visit into Carmarthen to buy a new stand for our water butt led to a bit of disappointment when we found that Wilko had sold out that morning! A walk to the park and round the velodrome seemed a good option to cheer us up!

The large barn in the park shows a fine example of English garden wall bond…three courses of stretchers and one header. There isn’t a Welsh garden wall bond…maybe someone could design one! Maybe this wall has a bit of Welshness about it as the courses of stretchers varies ! It’s just beautiful.

Spurred on to make our walk last a little longer we left the park and headed up the road to the Picton Memorial. We pass this monument many times whilst driving into Carmarthen but we’ve never walked up to it before!

There’s a plaque commemorating the Rebecca Riots.

There are some lovely villas overlooking the memorial – a fine entrance to the oldest town in Wales- Carmarthen!

My post wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t mention Aberglasney. The wildflower meadow is still blooming brilliantly but now the hydrangeas are trying to overshadow the colours of the meadow- they are lterally the flowers of many colours!

The robins keep their watchful eyes over the gardens for all!

Back home the garden just continues to give pleasure with wild flowers, birds and all sorts everywhere!

I’m not going to play my Flanders and Swann record ‘A Song of the Weather’ ….( given to us by daughter at Christmas)

‘In July the sun is hot

Is it shining? No it’s not

August cold and dank and wet

Brings more rain than any yet!’

I’m going to play: Summer Breeze – Seals & Croft…..

We were in the early years of marriage when this song was released and lo and behold we are still together and talking after lockdown! Love the song and my man!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsW8rXPcnM0

Thank you for reading and enjoy your summer!

 

July 18 Aberglasney and Seaside Wishes Completed! July 18, 2020

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It’s a jolly good idea to have something to look forward to in life and my wishes over the last months in lockdown have been to visit Aberglasney and the seaside again and see our family. Just like Aladdin two of my wishes have come true already…the third wish to see our family will have to wait a while until next year …so it’s good to keep something very special to look forward to!

Aberglasney is looking amazing with borders brimming over with plants that have just been waiting to show themselves off to visitors. The cafe is now also open with a limited menu and sitting outside under the canopy with social distancing in place is perfect.

The wildflower meadow is a highlight in the garden at this time of year and this year it is the best!

The Sunken Garden is looking beautiful too!

Alongside the pool there’s a pretty view of the border leading to the cafe.

Elsewhere in the garden there are delights around every corner for everyone to enjoy.

After some visits to the Gardens it was time to be granted my second wish of a visit to the seaside. On the day the sun shone we headed for New Quay, which was much quieter than normal for this time of year. The holiday makers are returning to the area now so businesses will be feeling happier as they hope for more sunny days to bring in the visitors.

New Quay has a delightful harbour and usually one can see dolphins and seals out at sea when one walks along the harbour wall…but we didn’t see any!! We did enjoy looking at all the rock formations and the crushed shells on the beach though.

New Quay was one of the stopping off places for Dylan Thomas as he moved around locations and it is said that New Quay was the basis for his “Under Milkwood” 1954 radio drama….it certainly has all the features and characters…even now!

Interesting to read the tolls and charges that were applied years ago and to see the memorial erected to commemorate the men/women lost in the WW1 and 2

The National Trust have just started opening up their properties properly in Wales but some of the places have kept their walks available. We enjoyed a walk around Llanerchaeron woods which were open but the cafe is closed .

Back home the wild flowers are still bringing colour to the Pond Field.

Sadly we didn’t have any swallows nesting this year but we did have a little wren who has made good use of an old swallow’s nest under the carport! We do have numerous swifts though…we reckon there are at least six different nests under our eaves!

The garden keeps me very busy with trying to stop it turning into a jungle! I haven’t succeeded! The weather with its alternating rain, humidity and sunshine creates a perfect combination to make the grass grow and plants to expand!

It looks as though life is resuming slowly so I can see that I will be making a few more wishes soon. The mermaid at New Quay certainly looks as though she is blowing all her good wishes to everyone…thank you for reading.

 

July 3rd Damp but getting Sunnier Soon! July 3, 2020

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Life motors on just the same as the weeks before….but definitely a feeling that it’s getting slower and slower! I feel like the little tortoise on my garden table…happy and safe in my home but a bit of a plodder! I’m sure energy levels will be revitalised when the 5 mile limit on travelling is lifted next Monday…I’ll be off then …hopefully in the week to a beach and the promise is fine weather too! Also on Monday Aberglasney Gardens are reopening and I’ll be back to volunteering on some days…hooray!

After keeping up with our local walks the most exciting thing we have done is visit our recycling centre in Ammanford…over 5 miles away! After booking a visiting slot online we drove there and found it all very organised and a relief to leave our rubbish behind.

Checking through our rubbish before we left home I discovered that Jim was discarding his metal toolbox as it was broken. This was swiftly removed from the pile and after a bit of remedial work it is now a lovely plant container!

Although there have been some periods of sunshine it has also rained and been chilly. Flowers have been unsure whether to fully open or stay down-headed and closed!

I’ve always like gates and little pathways and luckily I’ve a few in our garden to enjoy. ( Just found our again how to do circles!)

Our house plants are enjoying a break in the fresh air although they have complained about the cold wind!

The veg garden is at last beginning to speed up after the loss of so many plants in the frost. Some lovely friends brought some extra plants and they are doing well. The peas show lots of promise…hope the pods fill out soon!

The garden keeps surprising me with flowers that suddenly bloom and flowers that just keep on going and going!

I wish the garden was as tidy as all the above photos imply …it’s all a jumble really…very cottage garden with overflowing borders and many lovely weeds/wild flowers and trees. The lime tree is absolutely buzzing with bees and the self heal has covered all our lawns…so pretty.

After the weeks with no rain, a couple of months ago, when the water levels in the pond dropped, pond weed has taken over. Now there’s enough rain to top it all up the moorhens are happy again!

Thank you for reading.

 

June 13 Abermarlais Walk and Garden June 13, 2020

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Another fortnight has somehow passed since my last post and life seems to be in a very gentle groove! Pottering around in the garden and house and going on pleasant, quiet, circular local walks has filled my days. The lockdown has been slowly, slowly eased in Wales ( too slow for some, just right for others!) and visitors are allowed in the garden! So great excitement when we had some visitors and it was wonderful to have face to face conversation with them all. Missed the hugs though!

Other visitors to the garden have not been so welcome!

Birds are always welcome in the garden even if they are eating everything!

The swifts which have nests all round our house, in the eaves, are always screeching and screaming around the place. One nest is right above our bedroom window so we hear the chicks calling out for food…all the time!

Not a good photo…the swift was too swift for the camera to catch it entering its nest!

June has arrived so it’s hay time! As soon as the farmer turns up with the tractor to cut the grass the buzzards and red kites appear overhead watching carefully for any sign of movement in the cut grass that would mean a tasty lunch for them!

Just down the road from us is Abermarlais. There is a caravan site in the grounds of ‘an old high status dwelling’ long demolished! As the caravan park is closed as are all holiday accommodations in Wales ..including Lletty Cottage … the site is empty but looking wonderful. It is primed ready for the return of visitors as looking at its very best and prettiest. http://abermarlaiscaravanpark.co.uk

Back home the garden is now settling down after all the changes in the weather and flowers and vegetable garden are all doing well.Love all the foxgloves and the teasels that are shooting up!

The roses all seemed to want a friend with them!

The clematis are climbing and covering all before them!

The orchid in our front lawn has finally flowered and it’s beautiful and the patch of ragged robin from last year has only produced one flower so far!

As I write this there is an almighty thunder storm happening! I have been advised to switch the computer off!!! Therefore, dear reader, I am ending this sharpish! Thank you for reading and keep staying safe and enjoy the new easing of lockdown wherever you are!

My one and only poppy!

 

May 29 Llandovery Walk and Garden May 29, 2020

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What’s not to like about this weather? Sunny, hot and dry when not too long ago we were dreary, cold and wet! Now the sun is shining for many days in a row it brings the problem of keeping the garden watered and the plants alive! Hey ho! It’s just lovely that we can enjoy all this sunshine in our garden during lockdown when others sadly have no garden at all! So no complaining from me!

Lockdown means no visitors but some have called uninvited and querying the restrictions!

The birds, bees and butterflies are always welcome visitors even a hornet can fly in when passing! Nor so welcome are the lily beetles but the brightly coloured spittlebug is OK!

Mrs Pheasant is a constant visitor but where has Mr Pheasant gone!?

The Canada Geese are still happily munching their way through the grass in the Pond Field and on our front lawn and getting larger by the minute!

The flowers in the garden keep on flowering and bring a change of colour, shape and interest. Finding a rose keeling over in the cottage garden meant tying it up to a stalk which was growing up the wall. I lifted my eyes and discovered a truly beautiful red climbing rose rambling through a hawthorn bush…I’d nearly missed it so I’m looking upwards from now on!

Clematis love climbing too and disappear up trees to emerge high up in search of all the sunshine!

We have left the garden and Jim’s workshop for a few visits out! Mainly to the Coop in Llandovery to buy food and then to take the opportunity to go for a walk. Leaving the car in Llandovery car park where the castle and statue of Llwellyn ap Gruffyd keep watch over the town we headed for the Llandovery College playing fields where there’s a golf course, football pitches and of course rugby pitches. The college is well known for its rugby past pupils : George North, Alun Wyn Jones and many many more!

On the way to the fields we took a slight diversion to walk across the pedestrian bridge which leads into town, in the distance there was the 12th century Llanfair-ar-y-bryn Church and below us the River Towy. Under the road bridge you could see the original bridge with its arches.

Crossing the road to get to the footpath is rather hazardous as there’s a barrier to climb over! After navigating the barrier with difficulty…Jim’s knee doesn’t like to be bent(!) we climbed the stile to find we were as surprised as the sheep to find them under the stile!

We followed the path keeping to the side of the golf course where there were two golfers playing on their own. I’ve always thought that golf is dangerous!

We walked along lovely tracks ( I love tracks!) with foxgloves either side and enjoyed the views through the trees of the very quiet Towy and the lovely pavilion on the opposite side of the field.

We reached the far end of the fields and waked under the railway bridge that crosses the Towy.

Following the banks of the river we reached a point where the river had washed our path away! We had to retrace our path and walk back the opposite side of the fields. It meant we had a fine view of the hills surrounding the fields and all the facilities for sports activities.

Back on the road we were just in time to see a train stop at the station and pull away up the Heart of Wales line.

Lots to keep us happy in the garden but looking forward to being able to visit the beach soon!

Thank you for reading. Stay safe and try to remember all the new easing of lockdown information – wherever you live!

 

May 15 Llansadwrn Forestry Walk and Garden May 15, 2020

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Looking through the photos taken over the last fortnight to put in this post has shown the highs and lows of gardening…all courtesy of the weather!

Being blessed with days of sunshine and warmth the sown seeds in the greenhouse sprouted forth and multiplied! Planting out usually takes place on the last Bank Holiday in May…but lured on by the sunshine- I foolishly planted out the peas, courgettes, runner and dwarf beans which all flourished…that is…until …. THE FROST! I really need music to accompany this piece so one can feel the drama rising…or maybe not!. Anyway to cut a long story short…a bit like the plants…they have all gone to pastures new…the compost … so seed planting is starting again!

Before TF (The frost!) the garden was positively blooming although it needed a nightly water to keep the clay soil from cracking open too much.

There was colour everywhere- not in any organised colour combinations- just splashes of random colour brightening the lock down days!