Lletty's Blog

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

February 27 Watery Garden and Out of the Box Brecon February 27, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 11:33 am
Tags: , ,

The weather seems to dominate our lives these days. The garden has been sodden to say the least but the sun has come out on occasion to try to dry it all out…but to no avail! However, the forecast is brighter and we should have a few more drying days coming up next week so fingers crossed!

Looking out of the kitchen window at the rain is brightened enormously by seeing the birds on the bird table.

Some new bird boxes have been added to the sparrow town and the wren street is slowly taking shape.

A local walk, around our local Marlais loop, with a lovely friend cheered up a windy and wet day.

Walks around our garden have taken place daily checking on the water levels and trying out my new wellies. The leak in my welly had been mended by a cycle repair kit but that too had leaked. I’ve always worn Muck Boots but was astonished to find out how much they had risen in price since I bought the last pair years ago! I’m trying out a cheaper pair now!

We have had some beautiful hours of sunshine though and the spring flowers have done their best to cheer the place up. Best of the bunch though are the hellebores…even with their heads pointing down! Good to have the farmer’s sheep back in the adjacent field. They are always very interested in the antics of Rufus!

Rufus amusing the sheep and trying to keep his feet dry in the wet garden and then relaxing on the settee in front of the fire!

A change of a food shopping venue to Brecon on a sunny day was wonderful. The walk along The Promenade by the River Usk in the sunshine was just what was needed and it was lovely to see all the signs of spring springing and to hear the roar of the weir and the birds singing in the trees.

The nights are much lighter now and with March 1st on Monday being the start of the meteorological spring..things are looking up! There’s the rugby this afternoon and St David’s Day soon! Hope life is cheering up for everyone!

 

February 12 Walk and Present February 12, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 5:39 pm

Twelve years ago on February 6 2009 I started this blog! I’ve just looked back at my early posts and they were short and sweet and to the point! I shall try to slim these later posts down! 12 years ago it was a snowy scene around here and the birds were queuing up for their food …so nothing much has changed there, however, the garden photos show blank lawns, no borders, no veg plot and hardly any trees and shrubs. It looks like over the years I have created more work for myself…keeping all those newly created borders tidy!

On Big Garden Bird Watch weekend the birds flocked to the bird table and feeders as it was a chilly weekend. There wasn’t a space on the recording sheet for this visitor though!

Looking out the upstairs window movements in the Pond Field caught my attention! A buzzard swooped down and caught something in the grass at the same time a heron flew in and gobbled up a frog!!

It’s very like groundhog days at the moment . Our walks are staying local and life just seems to pootle on. A visit to Llandovery for my jab became a highlight of the day and an evening visit to Carmarthen for Jim’s jab was quite exciting! Freezing cold and icy…but the stars were good to see!

A walk around Llanwrda down to the station was enjoyable but the wind was so chilly that we made our walk shorter than expected!

Gate to Llanwrda Village Hall

A fine afternoon with sunshine, although still bitterly cold, found us walking around the Millennium Wood again. The puddles which had been iced were melting in the afternoon sun so it became very muddy underfoot but still lovely to be out in the open air. The footpath which has been totally overgrown is now almost clear! Whoever is doing the cutting back is making an excellent job of it. It will be wonderful when the path is cleared as we will have a circular walk again! Thank you Mystery Person!

Back home the houseplants are still alive and bringing colour to the rooms!

There’s still some colour and interest in the garden and it is struggling to stand up to all the different weather conditions that are being thrown at it! Rufus likes to check all is in order on his daily walks. He only stays out 10 minutes …far too cold for a superior cat like him to stay outside!

Jim’s birthday present from me arrived in the post today! Amazing what you can order these days! Anyone from Hanley will know that any occasion will be made special by the addition of oatcakes! Happy Birthday!

 

January 29 All the LL’s for Local walks! January 29, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 9:01 pm
Tags:
Hellebores from garden in my mum’s best dish

Living as we do in the beautiful Carmarthenshire countryside we are very fortunate to have walks all around us. Over the last weeks we have walked around Llangadog, Llansadwrn and Llandovery! Lots of LL’s in lovely locations!! Stop it that’s enough of trying to be clever!!

Anyway maybe you can sense a bit of madness in this writing…or maybe it’s always like this! Trying to stay abiding by the Covid rules can drive one a bit potty when the weather is also trying to drive one mad at the same time! We have had every sort of weather thrown at us…indeed it felt like buckets of water being thrown when the rain came down! After the rain came the floods, then the ice followed by the snow and in between some splashes of sunshine!

Our walks out have been the best thing to keep us going and talking! On our Llangadog walk we crossed over the road bridge into the small hamlet of Felindre where track and trace was in force….the kite kept us under his watchful eye the whole time!

Leaving the houses behind we followed the road along the lanes and came to a junction splendidly marked by a copse of fine pine trees. We followed the lane on to look out for lambs in the fields but were disappointed! We were also disappointed that if we looked across the valley we could see sunshine lighting up the fields…just where our house is! We were chilly in the damp and windy side of the valley!

One constant in all the weather changes has been the never ending flight of birds to the feeders especially during the cold. The birds are getting very good at sharing!

After all the rain the valley became flooded. We took the opportunity to look at the floods from above and walked up to Llansadwrn Forestry where one gets great views along the Towy river below. We were surprised to see that only a day or two later after the torrential rainfall someone had pulled the plug and the floods had receded! Across the valley the Carmarthen Fans were covered in snow.

We continued on up the forest track reaching the top of the hill after passing a wall full of interest and then we had more lovely views over the valley. Right in the distance was Pen Y Fan (45 miles!) and captured using zoom on my camera !

Back in Llansadwrn the sun was still shining.

Our garden is still there but mainly under water! Not sure how the bulbs and plants are going to thrive after the continual wet! However, there is still colour and lots of evergreens which I love! They are such good doers and give that structure to a garden and the all important colour in the winter.

My one and only ‘posh’ snowdrop …half eaten by ? Can’t remember where I bought it but delighted that it’s flowered!

As we had to drive to Llandovery to collect our prescriptions from the chemist we felt it was fair to take advantage of the situation and go for a circular walk from the town. We walked on the road, under the Heart of Wales railway line, down tracks, over bridges and back into town. Very enjoyable!

After the rainy days came the frosty days which changed the countryside from damp and dismal into frosty shimmering sparkle when the sun shone!

On a stroll from home we saw these odd tracks in the snow. Maybe it’s s stick that rolled along the ground but they were next to the fox prints and the bird prints and they went on for quite a way ending by a stream!

News this evening that Primary schools in Wales may open after February half term if virus numbers continue to fall…that’s great news. Also a maximum of two people from different households will be able to exercise outdoors together, as long as they maintain social distancing. They can take exercise starting from and finishing at home but they still can’t drive anywhere to take exercise! The world has suddenly become my oyster again!

Fingers crossed the vaccine rollout continues at pace here and worldwide and we can start planning for the future again. Yay!

 

January 15 2021 Llanwrda Walk, Llansadwrn Walk and Stars of Hope January 15, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 4:54 pm
Tags:

This afternoon the skies have cleared and the sun has tried so very hard to make an appearance….it worked to tempt me out for a walk around the garden. The temperature has raised to a balmy 2 degrees so it was a quick walk! Signs of spring are definitely appearing. Buds on many of the bushes are swelling and spears of leaves of crocus, daffodils and others are pushing up through the wet soil just perfectly placed and tender and juicy to be nibbled by mice and squirrels!

This morning it was a quick drive to Llandovery to our wonderful Coop for a weekly shop! For once I had timed my arrival to coincide with the delivery and the filling of all the shelves. Lots of fresh veg and fruit were on display to tempt one! We were advised to ‘keep going’ as due to Covid advice they were keeping an eye on the number of people in the shop and a queue outside was forming. Some shelves were bare due to non essential items being removed…again Covid advice. I wonder who decides what is non essential! I think shoes are essential and the local shoe shop is shut!!!

We’ve been fortunate and had some really bright days and we have tried to make the most of them by enjoying our local walks. We did drive two miles to Llanwrda to start one walk much against Covid advice but all other walks were from our front door! In Llanwrda we parked in the car park and looked up towards the farm that we were heading for. We followed the footpaths through the village and discovered some steps leading down into the river…they led nowhere!

The village has a lovely church which looked even lovelier with its smattering of snow.

This bird of prey had a perfect position to view the hill over the road and keep an eye on the flock of sheep there.

Reaching the farm we could look back to where we’d left the car and then walk through the farm and listen to the flock of starlings on the barn roof and trees and admire the chickens, the sheep, the wonderful gate posts and the beautiful views all around of the Carmarthenshire countryside.

The circular walk back to the car through the village was tried to be done at a faster pace as the afternoon was getting chillier by the minute, however, care had to be taken as the roads were icy…so slow and steady instead of fast and reckless became our motto!

Although we have days when we don’t have many birds in the garden when the cold comes they all come flocking back!

Another regular walk around Llansadwrn is another loop…through the Millennium Woods. It’s been a while since we did it as the paths have been under water but now with mended wellies…a patch from a cycle repair kit….puddles are no longer a problem!

On the way back the ducks hadn’t moved!

From the top of our drive we have a view over the Black Mountain which should be renamed in winter to the White Mountain as it looks amazing when covered in snow.

Back in the garden the fruit trees are covered in lichen and some of our fences are only staying upright as they glued together by moss!

The borders still have colour and interest and it’s growing!

This morning there was a bright sunrise to welcome the day.

Down the drive the first drift of snowdrops are beginning to blanket the soil telling us that Spring is not too far away. This year these little ‘stars of hope’ bring us all hope for a brighter 2021!

 

January 1st Welcome to 2021! January 1, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 8:00 pm
Tags:

Thank goodness 2020 is over, Brexit is done and dusted (except for the bumpy road ahead!) , vaccines are on their way and we are getting 2 minutes 7 seconds of extra light a day now….so lots to be cheerful about!

In the last weeks of December instead of the usual crush at the Christmas Fairs and markets there were the quiet, chilly evenings standing alone the garden, looking up to the skies, to see Jupiter and Saturn get close and the last full moon of the year. Too cloudy for the planets but camera OK for the full moon, sunrises and sunsets!

Being that the weather has been variable is not actually covering the situation! It has rained…rather a lot, it has been chilly….rather a lot and it has snowed…quite a bit recently so gardening has been confined to the indoors! I have to be careful, as every year around this time, I turn my attention to indoor plants and actually look at them and water them too much…which quickly prompts them to shrivel and die!

Of course I do go in the garden to take Rufus for his walks! It’s like having a child to look after!

He was unsure about the snow! He’s such a wuss he didn’t want to leave the back door!

There’s still quite a few plants giving their all in the garden even though it’s so wet, damp and cold!

When the snow arrived it turned the garden into a wonderland of sparkle and beauty…love how a blanket of snow covers over all the not so tidy bits of the place!

Although the amount of birds visiting our feeders seems to have dropped this year the number of blue tits has doubled and the numbers of nuthatches have increased too. Many birds reappeared when the cold and the snow came so maybe with the ‘warmer’ winter there are still too many seeds on the trees to keep them fed and happy.

On Christmas Day we did venture out in the car for a 10 minute drive away to the Dolaucothi Estate. Such a treat to be out somewhere different -Wales is in Tier 4 lockdown and staying at home is advised.

We were the only car in the carpark when a bounding, happy dog raced towards us and jumped in our car!! He was wishing us a Merry Christmas obviously! He was a dog to be recognised easily! He did leave his mark in the car though!

Anyway it all added to the day’s experience and made up for the quiet day that we had expected! We loved the walk though the wood and spotted an amazing amount of hair ice ( Thanks Mr T!)

There were many miniature gardens to spot on walls and tree trunks… who needs Dark Materials when you can find a new world just by looking.

On our walk we found this ‘well’ under a tree and protected by a large tree trunk. It seemed appropriate on such a day to find a cross with The Lord’s prayer engraved on it.

We enjoyed our Christmas dinner ( turkey and veggie!) after watching the grand present opening of gifts by the grandchildren in Canada and England via Facetime. Later it was wonderful to catch up with my brother and niece in Australia and loads of relations everywhere all by Zoom! How amazing !

Just received my first seed catalogue through the post! Now that really does give me something interesting to read and to start planning the garden for the fascinating year that lies ahead…it will be different from 2020 but what will it throw at us? We’ll be ready!

Thank you for reading and Happy New Year and enjoy all those extra minutes of light at the end of each day!

 

December 19 Staying Safe but Out and About December 19, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 8:58 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Although Christmas is now going to be a very slimmed down affair for many it hasn’t changed our preparations as we had already planned to be home alone…plus the cat! We are very fortunate that we can get out and still go for lovely local walks.

Following the footpath through the local caravan park (Aber Marlais) is a favourite especially when the river is in full flow under the little bridges. It won’t be long before the banks will be turned white with the drifts of snowdrops carpeting the woodland floors. (Roll on the spring as well as the vaccine!)

The track is an old Roman road and the hedge posts at the side look as though the Romans put the fence in! Lovely lichen! Little cities on top of posts.

Passing down the track sheep and a goat in the next field hurtled towards the gate to see us. After a quick scratch on their heads I hid in the bushes to watch the goat to make sure he could get his head & horns back through the gate! He could…easily!

The track lead down to the main road the A40 which if you follow it right to the end brings you to London! Recent roadworks have caused days of traffic lights and a diversion. …..just had to investigate especially when the sign said ‘Wildlife Crossing’! After chatting to a very kind gentleman I was told that a culvert under the road had been replaced and indeed it was to help any wildlife who found the entrance a safe way to cross the road as well as being a drain for the small stream. Hope the badgers can cross safely now!

Aberglasney is now closed due to lockdown but I managed a quick visit before the gates were shut!

The weather over the last few weeks can generally be summed up as ….wet! However, some days the sun has managed to put its hat on to give some splendid sunrises and sometimes even cold enough to freeze ones toes!

Enjoyed a few visits to lovely Llandovery to get a pre lockdown haircut (very short hair now) and to do some shopping. The shops had made such a special effort to decorate their windows and to bring cheer to all but it was all so quiet!

Also enjoyed a drive in to Llandeilo and a visit to a new shop! Davies and Co !How exciting to open a new business at this time. The shop is based in an old warehouse that has been transformed into a furniture and coffee shop plus lots more. I loved it …can you tell!

Back home in the garden everything is still under water but a few plants and lots of birds are still trying to brighten things up. The long tailed tits are very nervous. As soon as I lift the camera up in the kitchen to take a photo through the window they fly off…I shall keep trying!! They know they are cute!

On a walk up the village this week I spotted a buzzard in the tree. It flew right over me and I ducked so I didn’t get a chance to see it in flight! The village has new road signs…30mph…which is so sensible. The signs are on all roads leading into and out of the village and I discovered even on a track. Does that mean that it’s 60 mph when you leave the 30 zone?

I visited the church to see their Christmas display in the porch. It was beautiful.

I look forward to starting the New Year with lots of positivity, lots of new plans (visit to Canada in summer to visit grandchildren- fingers crossed!) and lots of hope that life will get better for everyone.

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a happy and healthy 2021.

 

December 4 Aberglasney, Amroth, Oriel Llanteglos Gallery December 4, 2020

Winter has definitely arrived but it was preceded by some sunny dry days to bring cheer to everyone. Also brightening up the mood the news that the vaccine has achieved UK approval so it’s going to be elbows out to see who can get first in the queue!

I do try to vary my posts but I always seem to include my visits to Aberglasney …can’t help it as it really is such a remarkable place to visit whether you are outside in the woods or inside in the Ninfarium…an indoor garden using the interior part of the mansion that was left unrestored.

Opening the doors from the mansion into the Ninfarium is like entering the Secret Garden …in fact it is the Secret Garden and quite beautiful.

A sunny day dawned so a visit to the seaside and an art gallery was top of the list. Less than an hour’s drive away is Amroth and the NT Colby Woodland Gardens but before going for a walk there we called in to the newly opened Oriel Llanteglos Gallery. We received a very warm welcome form the owner and thoroughly enjoyed our look around at all the amazing art work on display.

We drove down to the beach as we wanted to save our legs for the beach walk ! Before that we had a tasty lunch in the Smuggler’s Bar sitting outside in the sunshine.It was glorious!

A drive to Carmarthen later in the week for a visit to the dentist gave a chance to have a wander round and find new things to interest!

John Nash has a fascinating history.

On the same day to get over the bill from the dentist we went to Llanstephan beach for a walk and a blow of sea air!

It always seems to happen at the same time first it’s the dentist and then the car needs a service -only to discover that two front tyres also need replacing!

Another visit to the seaside was called for to have another blow of fresh sea air to rejuvenate the spirit!! This time Mumbles where we enjoyed a lovely lunch in the Croeso Lounge.

Back home the garden is now being left to look after itself for a while… the clay is too wet! The birds have kept busy and a new bird on the bird table brought out the bird books. I believe it’s a female Black Cap ( I might be wrong!) and they are usually only a summer visitor. There’s no sign as yet of the male. It’s a very bossy bird and clears the bird table of all other birds so it can eat in peace!

I started this post by saying Winter has arrived and we did have some sleet and cold weather today but Christmas glow has also arrived with our village turning on the lights on the most wonderful and beautiful Christmas tree ever! It is a perfectly shaped Christmas tree and the twinkling lights will surely brighten everyone up. Thank you Llansadwrn villagers.

 

November 20 Aberglasney and Home November 20, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 8:54 pm
Tags:

It is November, it isn’t cold but it’s been wet.

It is November sunny days have been few and far between.

It is November and Wales is now out of lockdown.

It is November and gardening is difficult in clay soils.

It is November and life becomes somewhat repetitious……

It’s nearly December…some good things to look forward to! Yay!

Walks have been limited to local trails and tracks but a visit to Aberglasney was a delight even if it did rain!

A short walk up Bishop Rudd’s Walk passing the stunning colours of the acer trees brings you to the new pergola with clematis planted around the base.

Walking from the top of the Garden passing planted woodland borders and following a rushing, bubbling stream, leads you through the Upper Walled Garden, to the Lower Walled Garden and then …..down to Pigeon House Woods…..a favourite…but then everything in Aberglasney is a favourite of mine!

Just a flavour of the colours in the wood enhanced by the splashy effect of the rain…all done on purpose…of course!

Time for coffee and a dry out! The cafe has moved to the mansion for more space during the covid restrictions. It’s all very welcoming.

Back home there’s colour and variety in the house plants

and colour and variety in the garden too…

Some years ago I bought a small shrub from Farmyard Nurseries – for about £5. This shrub is now a small tree and it’s my most treasured tree in the garden…it has variegated leaves, it’s evergreen, has flowers in the summer and red berries in the autumn and is alive with bees and insects through the spring and summer…it ticks all my boxes!! To top it all it’s so pretty all through the year!