We're just back from a week in a lovely cottage small holding in the Cardigan Bay area of Wales with my dad, and my sister and her better half. The cottage, very kindly lent to us for a week by some friends of my dad, is pretty much in the middle of nowhere with very few other houses around and, even better still, no mobile signal. The Internet was also pretty patchy (as in it only seemed to work at about 6 in the morning), but that was a good thing for the most part. A week of enforced digital detox was pretty damn good! Days spent reading actual paper books and doing a bit of wood gathering, and nights spent either barbecuing and sitting around a bonfire, or gathering together to eat on the picnic benches outside the kitchen. I could really get used to living like that...
The sea was a 15 minute walk away, and there is a large stream/small river (?) running through the property, so lots of splashing about, and a bit of open water swimming. I've always been a fan of that sort of thing, but have kind of gotten out of the habit in the last 10 years. Stumbling across several articles about the wild swimming movement and series of books has sparked the memories of how much I enjoyed it, prompted the purchase of some very snazzy neoprene swimming shoes, and seen me seeking out ridiculously cold water to hurl myself into at every opportunity!
The plantlife in that area of Wales is amazing. Everything is so green and healthy looking. The garden in the cottage was fantastic - the ornamental stuff was very relaxed and natural looking. Alchemilla sprawling all over the place, foxgloves appearing wherever they felt like it, evidence of aquilegias, and honeysuckle and roses clambering through trees and bushes all over the place. And ferns. Masses and masses of ferns. These are among my favourite plants, and seeing them forming great colonies all over the place was brilliant. This theme continued out onto the country roads surrounding the cottage with more ferns, foxgloves and honeysuckle picking there way through the crowd of vegetation in the verges.
The cottage also had a very impressive little vegetable garden which served the dual purpose of showing me how it should be done (I'm clearly being over cautious and putting too little stuff in) and reinvigorating my urge to grow food, and supplying us all with masses of fresh salad with pretty much every meal. The veg area of my garden will be seeing some serious rejigging after this.
I'm a bit of a fan of a, shall we say, spirited drive and the combination of fantastic windy country lanes and very little traffic made every trip out an absolute joy. One of these trips out was to the seaside town of New Quay.
We had a brilliant week, and really didn't want to come home. Starting back to work yesterday after two weeks of sitting around enjoying the sun was a very unpleasant shock to the system! But all things must come to an end. We can take away the memories of the week, and look forward to hopefully doing it again.
Many thanks to our kind hosts!