On the Road to Abergwaun

My previous post on Wales was Walking the Coastal Path.

For Thursday we had planned an outing to Aberystwyth.  From Aberystwyth, meaning “Mouth of the River Ystwyth” – I need to  interject here – harking back yet again, to It’s OK, They Speak English, the pronunciation of Aberystwyth is given as: æbəˈrɪstwɪθ – now I ask, it that really helpful?  To continue … from Aberystwyth we planned to take a ride on an old steam train on the Vale of Rheidol Railway that would take us on a “nostalgic journey through some of Wales’ most spectacular scenery”.

But for this day our plans were less ambitious and we headed in the direction of Abergwaun, meaning “Mouth of the River Gwaun”, or, in English – Fishguard.

So again we set off at 10.30 a.m. – this had become our norm; we just couldn’t seem to get moving any earlier – and we motored north along the A487 … but before long Continue reading “On the Road to Abergwaun”

Three for Three

I read a post on Dear Friends about the lessons we give our children.  I say “give” because our children are always learning, even when we aren’t teaching.  And it’s important that what they learn by watching us is what we actually want them to learn.

The first time I looked into the face of my first-born child I recall so very vividly, and with panic, wondering how I would ever Continue reading “Three for Three”

Walking the Coastal Path

My last post in this Wales saga was All things come in threes

Just two miles from our vacation apartment in St-David’s lies Whitesands Beach on Whitesands Bay.  It is said to be the best surfing beach in Pembrokeshire and one of the best tourist beaches in the world. In fact, this October day, we saw Continue reading “Walking the Coastal Path”

Changing Gears

win badgeChanging gears a bit – I will return to my Wales saga tomorrow …

Seven years ago I began participating in a different kind of writing program – it’s not a creative writing course and there are no critiques.  It’s purpose is to encourage us to write our life’s stories.  We all have stories.  “J’écris ma vie” was started by Olivier Fillion, a Frenchman in Quebec.  The seed for “J’écris ma vie” (literally, “I write my life”) was probably planted during his years in public relations where his work included meeting with retiring staff and writing something about their life.  From that Fillion went on to develop an outline for tapping into one’s memories to produce family stories for the next generation.

He developed it as a two-year program, meeting every two weeks to share stories.  At each session a guide or ‘prompt sheet’ is distributed with questions – it is not intended that we necessarily write on every point; they are merely an aid to help nudge the memories loose.  The program starts with the early years, looking back to our ancestors, values and beliefs, brothers and sisters, and moves through childhood, adolescence, love and romance, parenting and family life to retirement and the golden years. A member of our community took it upon himself to translate Fillion’s program into English and W.I.N. – Write it Now – came into being.

A ‘”two-year” program that has kept both me and my husband engaged with an interesting, fun, humorous and sometimes sad, sympathetic and empathetic community of new friends for seven years.  It re-awakened my joy in writing and gave structure to my jottings.

A simple prompt from the first sheet, The Early Years: “What early memories do you have of your grandparents?” prompted me to write the following: Continue reading “Changing Gears”

All things come in Three’s

Yesterday had been a day of rest, speaking in whispers

Monday, we were refreshed and our chosen  destination was Dinbych-y-Pysgod … harking back to It’s OK, they speak English, I really have no idea how to pronounce that but the good thing is it is well-known by the name of Tenby.   This was the day, it turned out, that had the most annoyances – all travel has its little hiccups and petty annoyances, some one’s own fault, some not. Monday was our day … Continue reading “All things come in Three’s”

More Whispers

Floor tiles

St-David is the patron saint of Wales, born in what is now St-David’s in Pembrokeshire in west Wales. His place of birth and the cathedral built in his name became one of the most important shrines of medieval Christendom – two pilgrimages to St-David’s equaling one to Rome.[1]

Croeso i Ddydew … Continue reading “More Whispers”

There will never be another Jaxxon

An anniversary today, a sad one.  It’s been a year since we lost our dear, sweet Jaxxon.  Man’s best friend? Yes.  A comfort?  Yes.  Home-grown amusement?  Yes.  A frequent topic of conversation?  Yes.   A warm and fuzzy?  Yes.  A loving companion? Yes.  Do we miss him?  Yes, yes, and yes again.

We got Jax because of my husband – never had a dog that was just his, wanted one, we got one.  I was more hesitant. I’d had ‘my dog’ – Continue reading “There will never be another Jaxxon”

Tickled Pink … or green

The Versatile Blogger Award
The Versatile Blogger Award (Photo credit: nhighberg)

Tickled pink was an expression my father ,used to say and it fits the situation.  Fellow blogger Madhu nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award – now, I mean, how cools is this?!  The first time I hit that ‘publish’ button not yet two months ago I did so with great trepidation and a last thought of Continue reading “Tickled Pink … or green”

It’s OK, They Speak English

Back to motoring our way through Wales … click here for previous post.

My husband had said that we didn’t have to worry about getting lost, they speak English, just ask.  Well, it wasn’t he who was going to have to get his tongue wrapped around Llandovery, Aberystwyth, or Penycwm[1].   Or P·w·l·l·g·w·a·e·l·o·d for heaven’s sake.  Happily our destination and residence for a week was the easily pronounced St-Davids.  As for the rest of it, we can’t really tell you where we’ve been because we can’t pronounce it.

We had spent our first night on the road in Llandovery, ‘the church amidst the waters’, at the edge Continue reading “It’s OK, They Speak English”

I’m embarrassed to say just how dirty the mop was

Ever have those days when you find yourself up to your elbows in some project that you hadn’t planned for the day?

Today I have spent more hours than it is to my benefit to admit house cleaning.   True, having a doglet that sheds doesn’t help.  He walks through the living room and a thousand hairs Continue reading “I’m embarrassed to say just how dirty the mop was”

Tintern Abbey – a photo essay

Tintern Abbey is situated in the beautiful Wye Valley in the southeastern corner of Wales.  This Cistercian Abbey sits near the A466 north of Chepstow and is said to be one of the greatest monastic ruins in Wales, founded on … I’m not sure how they know this because it is pretty exact … Continue reading “Tintern Abbey – a photo essay”

The question was …

Following on my last post

So we had booked a car with Hertz.  The question was, which one of us was actually going to drive it when it came time to leave the lot.  I asked Deb if she had prepared herself for driving and she said, in effect, ‘hell no, I was just going to deal with it when it happened.’   OK, so that’s not too reassuring.  The alternative of course, being me.  I, however, had being trying to psych myself up for it, imagining driving on the left, remembering those high-hedged, blind-curved, very narrow bicycle paths of rural Cornwall they call roads.  I figured I was as ready as I was going to be.  And it had been my idea, this motoring in Wales, so what could I say?

After we had resolved the insurance issue we got the keys to our brand new Ford Focus.  We stowed our luggage, which filled the boot; checked the interior for head room and leg room; had the agent show us the controls; got new and shorter directions to reach the M4 roadway … and then we walked down the road for a coffee.   This required a jolt of java .

Fortified, we returned, adjusted the seats, belted ourselves in, turned key in ignition, revved the engine, and with the Hertz agent guiding us onto the roadway, we took a deep breath, and we were off, with the agent’s last words trailing away Continue reading “The question was …”

Newport, Maine?

click to enlarge
From Black Mountain

Back to Wales, the trip in celebration of friendship.

We originally planned to use train, coach and local transport during our Wales sojourn.  But as I began my research using GoogleEarth and transport schedules on the internet it became clear to me that this was going to involve some early risings, a lot of hurry up and wait, and, in some cases a response of “you can’t get to there from here”, at least not in October.

So I tentatively broached the subject of renting a vehicle.  Deb, to my surprise, was interested and game for the adventure.  Then came the trepidation—we knew what we were in for.  Deb had been to Britain once already that year and I had spent two weeks the previous year being chauffeured about the back roads of Cornwall by my brother-in-law.  Deb’s friends were aghast at the idea.  Not to be intimidated, we booked a car with Hertz.

The way to Carreg Cennen

Our initial plans were to spend our first night in Newport and so our original booking was with the Newport office, although later changed to the Cardiff outlet.  Deb checked with her insurance company to see if additional coverage would be needed and was advised, no, she was fully covered … until Continue reading “Newport, Maine?”

Below 40, there is no law

We have heard that Captains of cruise ships must take nine years of training and then earn huge salaries as they sail to all the world’s faraway places … why?  Because there is a Cape Horn.

Cape Horn sits at the south tip of the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego and Tierra del Fuego sits of the south tip of South America.  There isn’t a whole lot between Cape Horn and Antarctica. The Drake Passage around Cape Horn forms part of the Southern Ocean.

The Southern Ocean from about latitude 400 south to the Antarctic Circle has the strongest average winds found anywhere on earth because there is less land mass to slow them down; they just blow around the world almost uninterrupted by land.  The latitudes between 400 south and 500 south have been dubbed the  Continue reading “Below 40, there is no law”