Lletty's Blog

Croeso! Welcome to Lletty Cottage a lovely five star holiday cottage for two in Carmarthenshire

February 24 Tumbling Along! February 24, 2017

After Doris Day yesterday when the winds blew and the rain  bucketed down  any walk was going to be rather damp and muddy! Our leader, Pam, had recce’d the walk earlier in the week and assured us that the pathways were good and mostly surfaced  with a few inclines and even fewer muddy patches. We put our trust in her and she proved to be spot on!

We shared a car   from Llandeilo and drove  through Cross Hands and arrived near Tumble about 20 minutes later. We parked in the  car park alongside the community run 1930’s vintage cinema. My grandparents used to run and own cinemas   so it was lovely to see such a beautiful Art Deco  building in such good condition and being used to show films three times a week  and on occasion  providing live entertainment too.

 

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The start of our walk was just around the corner from the cinema . It was  National Cycle Network 47!

DSC08255.jpgAs Pam had told us, the paths were  surfaced  and  good for walkers and cyclists.  A number of cyclists passed us on our walk  so the route is well used. After the gales yesterday there were a number of branches  down  which were easily cleared away  and made safe for all the dogs  and walkers that we met…all friendly…thank goodness!

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We left the cycle path and  walked down one of the many paths. This was leading us to Mynydd Mawr Woodland Park. This park covers 270 acres  and  the Gwendraeth Fawr river  flows along its northern boundary. This area used to  be an industrial , noisy  hive of activity  with  a colliery and railway which transported the coal away.   In 1960 with a workforce of 378 miners they produced 53,371 tons of coal . The colliery closed in 1962 and the land was left with industrial waste  and spoil heaps.    Nature has recolonised the area   and  pine trees have been planted to soften the landscape.

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Bridges have been built and boardwalks over the swampy land  add interest to the walk.

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We met more walkers with their dogs. Everyone was in a happy mood enjoying the bright blue sky and the warmth of the sun on their backs. Dog walkers are particularly friendly folk, who like to share the ‘story’ of their dog lives  with well behaved listeners!

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The planted areas of woodland were lined with gorse   but were impenetrable due to the brambles.

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One could tell that Mother Nature still has some more work to do to claim back some parts of the spoil heaps. There was an honest beauty in this landscape and thoughts of all those miners who toiled here over the decades. It’s our history.

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We followed a track back to the cycle path  and after walking up an incline we had completed our circular walk.

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Of course this meant that we had to find a cafe! Luckily, the owners of nearby Cwmcerrig Farm Shop fly a great big balloon over their premises so that it’s easy to find.

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After a well deserved coffee and cake we thanked Pam for organising the walk and introducing us to a new area. There were so many other pathways through the woodland that were being developed  and places of interest to explore that I  will look forward to returning  to the Woodland Park again. DSC08304.jpg

 

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February 10 A Mosey Around Dinefwr February 10, 2017

DSC08001.jpgShall I, shan’t I go walking today as the forecast was dry but very chilly?! Pleased I chose to go  so arrived at Llandeilo station with my pal, Jane,  wrapped up warmly ready to start with everyone on our walk around Dinefwr. We set off  crossing over the railway line and down through the muddy pathways   crossing under the Heart of Wales line again before we climbed the hill back  up into Llandeilo  getting  some great views over the Towy valley on the way.

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In the future this view might be dominated by a bye -pass which has  recently been given the go ahead after many years of promise. Still not sure of the route but this may be one of them!

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At the top of the climb we reached St Teilo’s Church.The church building  was completed in 1850 and  the tower is late medieval.

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Across the road from the church was the kind of bike that I understand!

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There was  some activity on the church  roof. I kept quiet…well tried to….as I didn’t want any accidents to be blamed on me!

DSC07988.jpgWe continued  down the road  passing many colourful houses  and  the excellent fruit and veg shop stopping briefly to look inside and say hello to Gerwyn.

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We admired the beautiful bridge over the river Towy  and then crossed the road to continue into Dinefwr Woods.

DSC07995.jpgFollowing the path through the woods we could hear the sound of woodpeckers but sadly no sight of them.

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The charming little Llandyfeisant Church is hidden amongst the trees, brambles and bushes and  has a wonderful history. It is still standing but needs  attention. The  small churchyard has much to admire and holds great interest for folk who enjoy finding  out about the past and looking at the flora and fauna.

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One of my missions today was to  try to photo  the different trunks of trees. In  an art group I belong to we have been experimenting  with  techniques  to use mixed media to produce   woodland scenes with different textures which means lots of gluing  and sticking …bit like being back at school…in fact a lot like being in school!

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DSC08042.jpgAfter passing through the lovely woods which are still littered with the fallen leaves of autumn we saw the silhouette   of the proud  Dinefwr castle on the brow of the hill  overlooking the scene below.

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Downhill  we  skidded now…actually I was the only one who skidded on the mud- but it was  rather a spectacular skid which was only stopped by a fellow walker…thanks!

Walking in front of Newton House  we spotted some deer in the distance  and even I could see  a couple of deer with huge antlers. We decided to stay on the path!

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We stopped to admire the new cowshed  for The White Park  Cattle and as luck would have it the gate was open so we could actually talk to the  inhabitants  to ask them what they thought of the new facility!  They were most impressed and very happy with their clean, fresh and new accommodation.

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‘We are in a race against time to save the future of our famous White Park Cattle. The cattle have been at Dinefwr for over one thousand years, but we now need to urgently raise £36,000 to buy a new bull and introduce new females to keep the bloodline alive and #SaveTheHerd.’

Our White Park Cattle are a living link to our very distant past with records of them at Dinefwr dating back to the year 920 when they were referenced in the laws of Hywel Dda (Hywel the Good), who codified the laws of Wales.

With just 750 breeding females left in the world, these animals are rarer than the Giant Panda.’  copied from the National Trust website Dinefwr Park

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They are such amazing animals that I hope enough money will be raised to buy the new bull. They are very photogenic  and show their best side to the camera at all times!

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Leaving the cattle behind we passed  near some  dells when we espied something moving in the trees…was it a bird? No  Was it a plane? No   Tree surgeons climbing to the very end of not very strong branches…hope they didn’t need the help of  medical surgeons later in the day!

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We met some very pleasant walkers on our way round  many of them being taken for their walks by their dogs.

DSC08046.jpgWe were very fortunate to be accompanied all the way  on our walk by the sweetest, smallest dachshund ever, who was as brave as a lion when meeting other four footed friends  and as   cuddly as a teddy  when he wanted carrying.

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Toasted teacakes  and raspberry cakes with iced toppings were our choices on cakes today in The Works cafe. After our wonderful 4 and a half mile walk we felt we  all deserved a treat  – so we  had one!

 

February 1st New Openings February 1, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 5:30 pm

DSC07869.jpgI had such plans for today as the weather forecast  said it was going to be the best day of the week and dry! After the torrential rainfall during the night I foolishly thought that there  couldn’t be any more rain left! How wrong I was!

The builders who help us on all large and small projects turned up  this morning ready and raring to go on putting in three new gates for us, re-roofing my ‘Wendy House’ and finishing off lots of jobs that we’ve left uncompleted!

It all started well and I went and took some photos of the plants in the garden and the holes being dug out for the gate posts.

The snowdrops are doing well down our drive and the Tenby daffodils are flowering all over the garden.

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Lovely flowers starting to blossom  everywhere.

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The window boxes and wall trough are still all doing well too.

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The plants in the gravel have given a splash of colour all through the winter,

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The Pond Field  was  sodden when I walked across it to have a look at  the pond and the lime tree. DSC07892.jpg

 

Now the clouds were starting to darken and the wind beginning  to blow so I beat a hasty retreat to look at the work going on with the  gate posts. Amazingly the holes had all been dug out and all the posts cemented in – now they have to be left to harden off . These two gates will make it much easier for me to take all the garden bits and bobs to the compost heap and the midden as I won’t have to walk the  long way round!

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This gate will make it easier for us  and all the visitors to Lletty Cottage to get onto the field for a walk.

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Now I’d taken all the photos  and opened the potting shed to don my gloves and waterproof trousers for another good session at clearing the garden – the rain started! Not a tiny trickle  but a full on downpour! So here I am writing a blog post  when I should be gardening  but at least the  builders have achieved their goal today- fantastic!

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January 27 Visiting Prince Charles’ Estate January 27, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 6:01 pm
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Now the title may be a bit over the top but today’s walk did take us through the beautiful estate of Prince Charles!  Again, the weather was very pleasant, chilly but dry,and  considering it’s the last weekend in January  we felt very fortunate not to be soaking wet and knee deep in snow! Our  Walking Well group met up in Mydffai Visitor Centre carpark to begin our trek through the Llwynywormwood ( Welsh: Llwynywermwd) estate owned by the Duchy of Cornwall.

DSC07648.jpgWe set off through the village passing the beautiful church and all the lovely cottages accompanied by a wake of red kites flying low overhead and looking very interested in all we were doing.

DSC07649.jpg Sadly my  photos don’t show the red kites at all just specks ..but they were there…honest!

DSC07657.jpgLooking back down the  road there were  beautiful views  all around  showing the  magnificent Brecon Beacons.

DSC07667.jpgApparently this is a broadband box! Here it is right out in the countryside bringing high speed broadband to all…not to our house yet but we wait in anticipation!

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Stepping from the road over a stile onto  the Duchy of Cornwall land the views are more parkland and all looks smart and tidy even the sheep!

DSC07677.jpgIn the distance one can see the residence of Prince Charles- an old coach house   which has been restored and renovated in traditional style. He wasn’t at home!

DSC07679.jpgThe old, deserted, derelict  and now quite spooky looking  country house that  stands nearby  was the home centuries ago of a relation of Ann Boleyn. The estate was also linked to the Physicians of Myddfai , the 13th century healers , who lived in the area  and maybe they used the wormwood plant , which grew on the estate, which in those days  was used  as an antidote to poison.

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We followed the well worn path down over a stream  and through some fine gates   and passed some lovely trees.

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Prince Charles must enjoy honey on his toast as there were a number of bee hives tucked away in a spinney and surrounded by some structural dead hogweed plants.

DSC07688.jpgOne doesn’t usually come across a sentry box in the middle of  a walk but alas there wasn’t a sentry  on duty so we passed by without giving a password!
DSC07691.jpg DSC07692.jpgDSC07693.jpgDSC07700.jpgEvery which way one looked there were silhouetted trees against the vast  darkening skies

DSC07714.jpgA walker with the group gave me some much needed advice on  taking  photos   and  using the  photo software to change colours etc- which is why there are now black and white photos on this post…tah dah! Never too old to learn  but unfortunately too old to remember!

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Post boxes are fascinating- there they are stuck in a hedge on the side of many country lanes and emptied by the postman usually twice a day except Sunday and they are a heritage that should be protected. This postbox had an unusual cipher on the box and I looked it up and it is the cipher of King Edward V11 1901-1910. Over hundred years old and still standing upright and tall  very guard like. Maybe it should be placed in the sentry box!

DSC07734.jpgEvery good walk with friends ends with a coffee and cake. Today was no exception. Myddfai Hall has a wonderful cafe with all sorts on offer soup, jacket potatoes  and of course the yummy cakes! There’s also an amazing shop with Welsh gifts, ranging from jams to paintings. The free range eggs sold there are the tastiest ever – that’s supper sorted tonight then!

 

January 13 Botanic Garden of Wales Waterfall and Woods Walk January 13, 2017

http://www.llettycottage.co.uk

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Windy, damp and rather chilly  for our first walk of  2017 but lovely to meet up with everyone  and catch up on news.  We’d been promised storms, snow, sleet and gales  and through the last evening and night we’d had all of those  but the morning dawned with no icy  or snow covered roads so the walk through the Botanic Gardens was on! As January has free entry to the Gardens and new  leaflets  detailing the walks it would be silly not to go!

The path took us around the lakes which are hopefully going to be restored  in the future when funding has been raised. The bull kept a watchful eye on us all as we passed by. Love this bull not like the others we have met on previous walks!!

There were dramatic skylines wherever one looked and far in the distance  the snow covered mountains added  a further dimension to the vistas.

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So many suitors for this mallard…poor thing!

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We walked through the fields, through a flock of sheep and through the mud and entered the woodlands. Crossing bridges  and following  leaf strewn paths  amongst  the oak and ash trees  we came to Pont Felin Gat waterfall, which was made 200 years ago as part of the Middleton Hall Regency Park . Beautiful!

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The woodlands hide some of the features that were present many years ago including this spring entrance .

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Crossing over one of the bridges we set off on our return walk through the woods giving us new views of the tumbling water.

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Plans to restore the lakes to their former glory would mean removing all the silt that has accumulated over the years.In the future this would be a viewpoint over one restored lake…can’t wait!

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As we are all children at heart…well I am! …a trek through the Fairy Wood is must!  Something was definitely watching us as we passed through the gate into the ‘magic world’ of fairies!

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Of course, in La La Land boys will be boys and very musical they were too!

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Back in the Gardens we headed passed the  Great Glasshouse to the…you’ve guessed it…the cafe!

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Coffee and delicious cake later we  walked through the double walled garden, another feature of the Regency period,  to the Plas Pilipala -Butterfly House! A wonderful steamy jungle  of a place but a tricky place to keep ones glasses from clouding over! Everyone oohing and aaahing  at the  beautiful butterflies fluttering by and I’m still trying to wipe my  specs dry! I did manage a few shots though..the leaf on the banana  flew away after this shot!

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Another great circular walk completed- steps counted on iPhones , calories used etc. …all to no avail as that chocolate cake was just so delicious!

So no calories or weight lost but a walk in fresh air with pals  in a beautiful garden is all the health  benefits I need!

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January 9th Aberglasney- Ninfarium January 9, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 8:52 pm

http://www.llettycottage.co.uk

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Yes, it’s damp, dismal and dreary outside   but my weekly Sunday visit to Aberglasney , as a volunteer, is always  dry, bright and beautiful!  Many years ago when I started volunteering I offered  to keep  an eye  on the Ninfarium.  I have continued to do this although these days there’s nothing really I do there as it is always in tip top shape. However, it does mean that I am always in the dry whatever the weather!

The Ninfarium is an indoor garden that was created in 2005 when  a glass roof was placed over the back of the mansion where the roof had long since collapsed and the walls were tumbling down! The garden was created along  the same lines  as the gardens of Ninfa  in Italy, where plants had been planted  amongst  the ruins of an ancient village.  In the space created   in the Ninfarium a marvellous array of plants were planted  including banana trees.

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So many textures, patterns, plants to see  and admire all set in the remains of old kitchens and other rooms.

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There’s even a well!

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Tiny bananas growing up high in the canopy of the banana tree.

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Beautiful buds showing  promising signs of colour to look forward to later this month.

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So after I’ve had my time ‘meditating’ in the Ninfarium, loving the atmosphere  and talking to the plants I go into the gardens for a walk in the fresh air.  I just think how unbelievably fortunate I am to see the  wonderful sights all around and especially this weekend to see the daffodils in bloom!

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Of course, a visit to Aberglasney wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t have a coffee and cake in the tearooms.  I love Aberglasney, I love the Ninfarium, I love Maryellen’s Tea Rooms…what a great start to 2017!

 

January 1st 2017 Happy New Year! January 1, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — lletty @ 10:19 pm

Gosh- not only do the days go quickly but the years seem to gallop by too ! Christmas week came and went in a happy blur with daughter and grandson home for the special days and lots of merry Face times  to the family and twins in Canada! How fortunate I am to live in a time when such family get togethers via the internet are possible- still find it difficult to comprehend how I can be sitting in our study and watching the twins  opening their Christmas presents so far away and be part of the conversation with them…brilliant!

When the house was left quiet and  feeling empty when our grandson left it was fortunate to know that a walk  was planned for later in the week.

Our ‘leader’ had just returned  the night before our walk from his Christmas excursion to Germany  but he’d planned the walk in advance…how thoughtful! We met at the usual place and piled into his car ( not many turned up) and  he drove to Caio, a pretty village not too far away. After parking in a forestry carpark  we  met up with fellow walkers and  set off on  a rather murky and mysterious   forest path.

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Large parts of the path verges were covered with a whitish lichen with tiny, tiny mushroom like growths growing in it. Apparently this lichen is quite luminous at night too!

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There were some magnificent fungi growing on the mountain of logs

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Trouble with stopping to take photos of creepy crawlies  and moss is that I’m usually at the back! The larch forest was very atmospheric, still and peaceful …until I nearly tripped over!

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Trees covered in velvet like moss where they had been blown by a storm lay on their sides rather spookily looking like giant monsters emerging from the undergrowth!

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Regimented tree planting!

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The figure of eight walk  left us feeling  happily exercised and   rather thirsty so the next stop was the village pub, where we enjoyed a  welcome drink and further chat in very pleasant surroundings.

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The feel-good factor of being out in the fresh air  meant that I decided to go on a mystery car drive with Jim, the very next day after my walk!  We jumped in the car and we drove to Carmarthen  before any decision had been made to where we were going! The day again had started very cloudy and damp so when I saw a patch of blue sky in the distance we followed it! This led us on to Haverfordwest and the decision made to visit St Davids.

However, to get there we had to  drive through some beautiful villages   and now with the sun shining brightly we stopped at Newgale to enjoy the stunning  views and the fresh sea air! It  was totally breathtakingly beautiful and good for the soul!

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After a walk along the pebbles watching the surfers we returned to the car and drove on to the next village, Solva, which is so pretty that one just has to stop and have another walk!!

Note that passage to America in 1840 was £4  in a boat sailing from Solva- what an adventure!

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The hills overlooking the quay where bright with the yellow gorse all in flower such beautiful sights all around.

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After a walk along the quay to the Solva Sailing Club where we enjoyed a coffee and cake we returned to the car for a final go at reaching St Davids before dark!

However, we stopped again at the Visitor Centre where there was a fascinating exhibition ‘Reading the Rocks The Remarkable Maps of  William Smith ‘. Huge maps of England  and Wales  displayed on the walls showing the first nationwide geological maps made by William  ‘Strata’ Smith , who was an English geologist in the 1800’s. DSC07268.jpg

Also on display was  this Auroch’s horn, which only the day before I had read in the paper that scientists are close to bringing this extinct 7 ft cow back to life!

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There was a fine display of books for sale in the shop and some excellent art books which I was very interested in! I’ll have to wait  to save up some pension pennies   and return!

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I’m not sure why Jim always says it takes me so long to focus  on one thing at a time!! At last we drove into St Davids and parked by the cathedral- such a magnificent building.

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Along the side aisles in the cathedral there are  many tombs. This is 14th century effigy reputed to be Lord Rhys ap Gruffudd died 1147. Many of the tombs have had the faces of the people chipped away and we think that was done in the Reformation – defaced?

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After a coffee and a delicious  cake in the cathedral refectory  it was dark and time to head home and  one and a half hours later we were toasting our toes in front of our  fire  and looking forward to welcoming in the New Year!
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Hope the New Year brings you all good luck and good health and lots of good times. Thank you for reading.

 

 
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