Lletty's Blog

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

April 25 Visits to Porthcawl, Dinefwr and Aberglasney April 25, 2021

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This post should start with a reference to April showers, ” April showers bring May flowers” …so the saying goes, however, showers have been sadly lacking over the last weeks! We have been blessed with frosty mornings , sunny days and some chilly winds which has all resulted in getting the watering can out earlier than usual!

The sunny days have meant we have enjoyed some visits out! We haven’t been to NT Dinefwr in Llandeilo for months so with news that the take away cafe was open …we went!

Newton House looked as formidable as usual but being surrounded by pleasant pastures filled with the famous white cattle it’s a great place to have a lovely walk. There are many different paths to follow and every one is enjoyable.

Over lockdown the parterre has had some work with the yew trees having a severe haircut. The box hedges have box blight so work to be done there too. Around the park there were signs of the result of last winter’s storms with many trees having been blown over and left….all good for the creepy crawlies to come and get their teeth into. Other trees seem to have been cut down as they looked diseased or in danger of losing branches and falling on visitors…who knows!

I always think of Macbeth when passing these trees!

A visit to Aberglasney Gardens is a weekly adventure as there is always something new to see and enjoy. The gardens look wonderful any day of the year but they really sing in the spring!

On another sunny day Porthcawl was our destination…a lovely seaside town just over an hour away. We took the scenic route over the Black Mountain and stopped to enjoy the views back over to the other side of the valley where we live.

In Porthcawl we walked around the little harbour and breathed in deeply enjoying the sea air, the sound of seagulls and the lure of coffee brewing in the harbour cafe!

After coffee and the most enormous tea cake ever we walked along the promenade …it was all perfect!

A rock pipit kept us interested by its diving movements in to the rocks and then sweeping skywards again before hurtling to earth for another scrabble in the rocks for food!

Our garden has managed to survive the morning frosts without too much damage. The tulips are doing well and lots of other flowers too!

Bird life in the garden has had its ups and downs. On the positive side the mallards have had ten ducklings, the Canada Goose is sitting on her nest on the island and the male is a constant companion on the bank watching over her waiting for those eggs to crack!

There have been many visitors to the bird feeders but now there is the bird disease Trichomonosis in the locality and advice is to stop feeding the birds for at least a month….thankfully it’s spring and there’s lots of natural food around in the garden.

The farmer has brought his rams back for spring feeding in the next door paddock. It’s lovely to look out of the window and see them enjoying the grass!

This is what they think about Trichomonosis!!

Life has been busy with building works on the house! The chimney stack is being removed. It lets the water in!! It is being replaced with a stainless steel pipe…hope it looks OK in the end! Six tons of dressed stone now lies in our patio area…it looks a lot more stone down on the ground than it did on our roof!! Thank goodness we have amazing builders and skip deliverers too!

Another visit to Aberglasney today…just to end on a high note…the Gardens were amazing! A walk around with two wonderful friends chatting and putting the world to right is the best tonic in the world. The bluebells were just flowering and looked beautiful.

A fine and subtle spirit dwells
In every little flower,
Each one its own sweet feeling breathes
With more or less of power. 
There is a silent eloquence
In every wild bluebell
That fills my softened heart with bliss
That words could never tell. ….Anne Bronte

Thank you for reading. Next post it will be May! Where is the year going? Hope you have a wonderful May Bank Holiday!

 

April 9 Aberystwyth, Narberth, Lawrenny Visits and Llansadwrn Walk April 9, 2021

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Starting on a positive note and not mentioning the weather…. just yet…. is an effort to look at all the benefits of the easing of lockdown in Wales. We have been able to travel the highways and byways again and visit the seaside and other favourite places.

Our first away day was to the lovely town of Aberystwyth. The sun was shining, the crowds were gathering and there was a lot of bare skin to be seen on many of the walkers along the promenade! T shirts, shorts and other scanty wear seemed to be the order of the day for all the youngsters and not so young! I sensibly kept on my thermal vest…there was a brisk wind!

As the day progressed the crowds and the queues for coffee and snacks grew but everyone was in jovial mood and we had a lovely time.

Walking along side the harbour it was sad to see all the fishing boats moored up and all the fishing gear and lobster pots tied together unused through the lockdown. Hopefully they’ll all be put into action again very soon.

Passing through the centre of the town one expected to see tumbleweed blowing through the streets! The shops were all closed( open April 12…yay) but many were closed permanently…some large retailers had shut up shop and gone! Let’s hope many more smaller independent shops step in and take up the mantle and open up their shops so all the visitors can enjoy a walk through this lovely town and enjoy their shopping too.

It was interesting to see our villages Llansadwrn, Llanwrda and our local caravan site Aber Marlais marked on a Saxton 1579 map on show in a Aberystwyth University display on the prom…we’ve obviously always been very important!!

Another sunny day saw us driving through Carmarthen and on to Narberth. A very popular busy, little town with many small shops, cafes and restaurants to tempt one. Only the food shops were open and a cafe with take away coffee- which was just perfect! We had a good walk around the castle, the churchyard and down some country lanes. On returning through Carmarthen Jim called in for his second jab…done and dusted…. and I only need my second jab now for us to be sorted.

I love estuaries…everything about them ticks my boxes! However, I’m the only one who likes them so it was a treat just for me that we ended up in Lawrenny on the Milford Haven estuary of the Cleddau river. I walked along the shore enjoying the sights and smells all around whilst he who doesn’t like the sights and smells sat on a bench and tried hard not to like the sunshine!

Returning home from the outing we saw our local AdClad hot air balloon enjoying the views over our garden and then flying off into the distance!

Of course no post would be complete now without some photos of Aberglasney Gardens. It is wonderful that they are open again so everyone can enjoy the colourful spring borders with their trilliums, magnolias, hellebores, fritillaries in the meadows and lots more besides.

Great friends shared a morning with me at the Gardens and we enjoyed our take away coffee and hot cross buns before our saunter around the gardens- a wonderful way to spend a morning.

Back in Llansadwrn, my kind friend invited me to go on a local walk. The views from her home over the Carmarthen Fans were beautiful as always but now they were covered in snow as well!

We walked along country tracks admiring the statuesque trees, the fields of nature, the tumble down long deserted farm houses and carefully trod through the woods carpeted with wood anemone and bluebells in waiting. It was all delightful.

At the end of the walk I was even given a wonderful hand made gift. …..a peg woven sheep’s wool cushion. perfect for rolling up and taking on walks and putting down to sit on and keeping those parts of the anatomy dry! Thank you. Rufus has other ideas about keeping parts of his anatomy dry and warm!

Only now will I mention the weather! We have enjoyed some really sunny and bright days but we’ve also had wind, snow and very chilly days as Wally my wheelbarrow mate shows!

How the garden has kept going I’m not sure. Yes, there are frost burnt leaves and some withered stems but the garden is fighting back! The Canada Geese are settled on the pond and Mrs Goose is sitting on her nest on the island. She went to sit on exactly the same day as last year!

Thank you for reading. Hope your gardens and lives are now recovering from frost and lockdowns! Lots to look forward to …tulip time and bluebell wood walks….can’t wait!

Early morning bluebell

 

March 27 Exciting Times: Llangadog Walk ,Nursery Opening, Rugby! March 27, 2021

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Weather! Such an influence on life! Happily the last weeks have brought some sunshine into our gardens and lives. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when the sun is out: window sills get painted, lawns get mown, plants get planted and time is taken to watching the Canada geese settle into life on our pond with their friends the Mallards and the Moorhens- sounds like a the start of a soap drama!

Watching our regular visitors also takes time!

The mention of chill winds, sleet, dark ominous clouds and heavy rain over the last couple of days will not interfere with the general feeling of relief that spring is here and we are on our way to the easing of lockdown. Just today ‘stay local’ has gone and we have been set loose and we can go anywhere… in Wales…the choice is ours…the rush of blood to the head is overwhelming…so we’ll take it slowly – step by step – and stay in today but tomorrow…tomorrow a return to Aberglasney Gardens! www.aberglasney

Last evening there was a thrilling evening of rugby with Scotland playing some wonderful rugby and Wales winning the Six Nations…all very exciting!

Other exciting news is the opening of a garden nursery just down the road! We called into see all the preparations going on for their opening over Easter. Callers are welcome now and it was such a pleasure to walk round and see all the colourful plants on sale. There will be an onsite cafe too and lots of sitting areas outside to sit in the sun and enjoy your coffee.

A walk around Llangadog in the sunshine was also exciting! We followed the A 4069 road to Llandovery out of the village and took the first road off to the left…it was further than we thought! It only takes a minute in a car!! We followed the road round and came back into the village by the old police station. A lovely walk with splendid views of the Fans.

We were the opposite side of the valley to our house.

A farmer passed us on his quad bike filled with feed. He was going from field to field feeding the sheep. One flock thought we were the farmer and rushed to the fence to see us with lots of baaaing!!

A visit to the hairdressers in Llandovery was another exciting adventure! The town looked very pretty and is just waiting for all the visitors to return ….soon hopefully.

Spring has sprung in the garden and it’s all gone very yellow!

Although there are splashes of ginger!

and splatters of other colours all round!

Last exciting news…we had a stoat in the kitchen!!! After chasing everywhere , up and down walls , behind bookcase it managed to find the back door and freedom! Leaving behind a scene of chaos, a bloody finger. (Jim’s..now on antibiotics and updated tetanus jab booked) …moral of tale…keep your back door closed at all times!!

Spring has arrived happily and excitedly, jabs all being given and gardens blooming for everyone…enjoy the daffs but look forward to tulip time which is just around the corner!

Thank you for reading.

 

March 12 Poor Man’s Wood Walk and New Plans March 12, 2021

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Hooray new plans! Hairdressers can open in Wales from Monday so I’m booked in already for a proper cut not just a trim! We are also allowed to go from ‘stay at home’ to ‘stay local’ from next week…not sure what that means- how local is local? Anyway let’s hope that everyone stays sensible and more freedom to visit places and people will be allowed before too long!

As I have neared my total limit of 6GB on WordPress this post will have to be very short and lacking lots of photos! I will have to pay another 48$ to upgrade to Premium Plan and then I’ll have 13GB…so lots more photos then! Computer wise it’s been a rather irritable week as my Facebook page has been phished…I think that’s the word! Hope to sort it out soon!

On the A40 verge

On a local circular walk around the lanes we passed this lovely display along the verges of the A40 main road. Not sure if it’s the council who do these plantings or the farmers who live nearby but they are certainly welcome additions at this time of year.

The lanes are usually clear except for some tractors whizzing by and the hedgerows are full of primroses, celandines and the promise of wild garlic!

The fields were full of lambs and this ewe had rather of lot to look after…I’m sure they weren’t all hers!

On a bright sunny day we parked our car in the local Coop car park and set off down the road to find Poor Man’s Wood. In early 17th century Rhys Pritchard, the vicar 0f Llandovery, gave the wood to the town so the poor could take away a small of amount of wood when needed to use as fuel. We followed a track and then found the interesting entrance gate to the oak wood.

We walked along the bottom of the steep sided hill enjoying the views up through all the oak trees and the beautiful views over the lower fields.

From an information board I learnt that the sessile oak acorns have no stalk but the leaves have long stalks and in common oak it’s the other way round! I try to learn something new every day…but will I remember it….!!!!

I had a feeling we were being watched!

We walked on to the end of the wood following the footpath signs. There were a number of trees which had been blown down by the recent gales. We had to do lots of limboing under fallen trees and crawling on hands and knees through the broken branches but at last we came to the end of the path and climbed a stile into a field.

The field led on to a lovely farm where we asked the farmer about the circular route back. Alas! Although there is a circular route back it was blocked by more fallen trees so we had to return the same way! We will return later this spring when the woods will be filled with bluebells as their foliage was all around already.

Parts of our local circular walk has been overgrown for over a year. As mentioned previously in this blog someone has been amazing and has started clearing the 250+m of this path which when cleared will open up more circular walks for the area. A young friend asked would I like to assist clearing a bit more of this path. Cutting and slashing branches and foliage is obviously my forte as after a few hours work we’d cleared 40m approx! Fortified by gingerbread tea ( brought by kind friend) it was a very satisfying afternoon’s work. Hope they weren’t spying on us from the plane!

Back in the garden the birds are happy, the Canada Geese seem to be relaxed about making a nest on the island, the heron likes the frogs, the flowers are trying their best to grow through the damp clay and my compost is wonderful!

Hope I haven’t used up all my WordPress memory on this post so fingers crossed it gets published! Marks and Spencers have some lovely plants on offer for Mother’s Day! I’ve a new hydrangea and rose! Treat yourself if you haven’t anyone to get you a surprise! Everyone deserves a treat and a surprise in life!

 

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!