llywela: peacock in front of Cardiff Castle Keep (Castell Caerdydd)
I really love walking to work. Sure, it takes a bit more effort and organisation, pushing myself to leave the house earlier than normal, but after a difficult or upsetting week, there is nothing more peaceful and relaxing than a gentle stroll through almost three miles of unbroken parkland right at the heart of the city.





Okay, there are a few more tents and fences along the route just at present than would normally be the case, thanks to the football next week, but still. It’s a beautiful walk - and this morning, basking in the sun, really felt like summer! And at the end of the walk, for now, we have this guy - still my favourite thing about the Champions League Final coming to town next week.
llywela: (flower-blossom)
Here, have some wild garlic along the Taff Trail

Last spring I very naughtily dug up a clump (shhh - but it won't be missed, the trail is thick with the stuff!) and planted it at the bottom of my garden!

Okay, tree. I'm looking left. Why am I looking left?
llywela: (Cymru-CastellCaerdydd)
Over the spring and summer, I've been walking to work a fair bit. Now, once upon a time this would have been normal, but I live much further out from the centre now, which makes the journey that much more of an effort, so I can only really do it now when I'm really organised in the morning and leave the house early. The walk takes over an hour, but I'm really lucky in that most of it is through parkland or along the river trail - I find it really soothing, first thing in the morning, with no one else around except for runners and dog walkers. And I've taken loads of photos, so I'm going to picspam them now for posterity - warning, this post is going to be long!

Picspam behind cut, because of length )
llywela: (flower - bluebell)
It's bluebell season! Well, actually, it's the end of bluebell season, which means it's high time I posted some pictures of bluebells.

These were taken on a walk around the Wenallt Hill, which is an old Iron Age hillfort just outside Cardiff, today designated as ancient woodland and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Protected as such, and popular with walkers, because - so pretty!

Of course, I took my bluebell walk just a couple of days after a torrential rainstorm, so a lot of the bluebells in the more open areas had been squished flat by the sheer force of the rain


Deeper into the woods, though, they were more protected and preserved - some beginning to go over, while others were just coming into full flush, depending on how sheltered they were



There's something kind of magical about a bluebell wood



Pretty bluebells!



And after the walk, we had lunch at the Deri Inn and then popped across the road to a little mini garden centre, where I succumbed to temptation and bought plants, including a little fuchsia called Ernie. I'm a real sucker for plants with funky names, which is why I already have fuchsias called Lottie Hobbie, Annabelle and Paula Jane, as well as a rose called Harry Wheatcroft, aquilegia called Dragonfly and Red Hobbit and a ranunculus called Brazen Hussy. To name just a few!
llywela: (flower - bluebell)
Here, have some pretty bluebell pics to celebrate May bank holiday - these aren't quite in full flush, but almost there



It's been a bit of a funny weekend. Chelsea's gone to stay with Deb and Ray in Kent, so I went with Mum and Dad for the trip to Reading to hand her over because they'd decided to take in Bowood House Gardens on the way back - rather than the full shebang, we just visited the rhododendron garden, which was in full bloom. And it was a lot drier in Wiltshire in Saturday than it was in Cardiff, so we planned that well! Then yesterday there were a lot of panic-stricken phone calls because Chelsea was having a spot of bleeding, so Deb had to take her to the hospital to be checked out. She ended up having her second scan in a week, but the upshot is that the baby is fine - the sonographer said she was dancing in there. The bleeding they think was caused by a hormonal dip, and just to keep a sharp eye on her for now. She'll be coming home tomorrow.

I would post some more pics of the Bowood rhododendron gardens, but that would mean sorting them out - another day! Instead, here are some pics I took at Swansea last weekend, when I went for a meet with [livejournal.com profile] welshdreamer and [livejournal.com profile] bagpuss1966 and some others, for a lovely meal and a hike along the coastal path from Mumbles point, and then a trip up the Meridian Tower followed by ice cream!




This is the view from the Meridian Tower - not bad!


In other news, Poldark's first season came to an end. The cinematography was gorgeous throughout and the actors gave it their all, but I was slightly more disappointed than delighted by the adaptation as a whole - I found it quite superficial, skating over the heart of the story and over-simplifying many of the themes, to their detriment. The show set itself out to tell a hero's tale about Ross Poldark, but then had to twist to achieve it (undermining some supporting characters and sub-plots considerably) because Winston Graham's books are not a hero's tale - Ross is not the hero of the story, but the central protagonist in a broader tale about the ups and downs of life in Cornwall in the 1780s, which really isn't the same thing. Still, it was entertaining enough as Sunday night viewing, and inspired me to both read the books and invest in the 1970s adaptation to rewatch.
llywela: (Cranford-boating)
So my sister (the elder) had another appointment with her 'specialist' yesterday - a very last minute appointment, they rang in the morning to say they had a cancellation if she could come in, so of course she moved heaven and earth to get there, she's waited months for this appointment already. The upshot is that the last lumbar puncture she had showed up abnormal results, including oligoclonal banding, which is a possible indicator for a number of things, such as the meningitis they keep ruling in and then out again, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia, none of which are good possibilities. The specialist wasn't happy that her GP has taken her off the medication that's been keeping her symptoms in check, so has put her on it again, and has ordered more tests, because three years down the line after a frustrating merry-go-round of waiting for tests, waiting for appointments to discuss the test results, discovering that the test results have been lost, ordering new tests, waiting for new tests, waiting for appointments to discuss the test results, discovering that the consultant hasn't read the file, etc, we're still no closer to an actual diagnosis of what's wrong with her.

Never be ill in Maidstone, that's the moral of the story.

On a brighter note, I went for another winter's walk on Saturday, a four-mile cross country hike in the Newport area this time, setting out from the Fourteen Locks Visitor Centre at Rogerstone and taking in the Allt-yr-Ynn nature reserve, Wern-ddu wood and Ynysyfro reservoir en route. It was a beautiful day, bright and crisp and clear - cold enough that I ended up with a headache, but still a lovely walk...if a little muddy in places. I think I might have to invest in slightly sturdier walking boots!

The picspam is behind the cut )
llywela: (sunrise-treeoflife)
So yesterday the fella and I decided to make the most of a spot of January sunshine with a walk in the country - a bit boggy still underfoot, perhaps, but we were all kitted out for it. We decided to try out one of Derek Brockway's 'weatherman walking' routes, and selected a gentle 6 mile hike around Dyffryn in the Vale of Glamorgan, taking in the villages of St Nicholas and St Lythan's en route.

Starting in the tea room at Dyffryn House itself, the walk was muddy but beautiful, taking us across fields and through woods.
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Our journey also took in not one but two Neolithic cromlechs, ancient burial sites dating back some 6,000 years - that's a millennium older than Stonehenge.

The first we visited was Tinkinswood, a megalithic burial chamber which was excavated in 1914, when restoration work was also undertaken, including the insertion of a pillar to support the dolmen capstone. The burial mound itself is badly eroded, but the shape of the barrow is still clearly visible.
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Tinkinswood is close to the villages of St Nicholas and Dyffryn, and just along the road again is the hamlet of St Lythans, which boasts a beautiful 12th century church
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We passed through St Lythans at rush hour - three cars and a bike all on the road at the same time!

Also at St Lythans is another long barrow, marked by a prominent dolmen. This site has never been properly excavated, the field used mostly for pasture, the long barrow beneath remaining undisturbed.
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All in all, a good day out!
P1110985
llywela: (SN-ontheroad)
Yesterday, to celebrate the stunning combination of no rain plus reasonable temperature (i.e. not too hot) and no other plans, I went for a walk up the Taff Trail from Llandaff to Tongwynlais and on up the hill to Castell Coch.

That's about 14 miles in total, most of it uphill - not counting a rather lengthy detour to Asda at Coryton for a tea break. It took about 5 hours altogether, including three breaks along the way (at Llandaff Cathedral before hitting the trail proper, at Radyr for a picnic and at Coryton for a cuppa).

Here are some pictures I took along the way:
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Once I'd recovered from the hill (after 13 miles I was fine until that gradient hit me on the last stretch!), I went all over Castell Coch, which is basically a Victorian folly built as a summer retreat for the Bute family on the remains of a 13th century fortress.
P1110008 P1110007 P1110006
But the view from inside the castle apartments is stunning - you can see clear across the city to the Bristol Channel and the Somerset coast beyond.
P1110005

And then after all that exertion it was a quick downhill trot back to the village to catch the bus home, because I'm not that mad!

A lovely day out - if a little tiring!

stuff

Dec. 9th, 2013 02:54 pm
llywela: (Cranford-boating)
As some of you know, my Small Sis (who will be 18 next year and therefore is no longer quite so small as all that!) works on a small community farm as a volunteer. It's a placement that we found for her just this last year, privately arranged after the council decided that she isn't quite autistic enough for them to want to continue paying support for her and various other organisations failed to find a suitable placement for her. Clive, who runs the farm, is brilliant with her. He's an older chap, a family man, who invested £25K in this little patch of land on the outskirts of the city because he wanted to set up a smallholding that he could use for the community. The facilities there are very basic but he takes on disaffected/disadvantaged youngsters like Small and long-term unemployed from the job centre and gives them occupation and an outlet. For Small it is absolutely vital de-compression time - she is autistic and finds daily life incredibly stressful, but working on the farm allows her to relax. She has a real gift for working with animals and gets on like a house on fire with Clive. It isn't a long-term solution for her, but it's exactly what she needs right now.

Except that there's a problem. The local authority has decided to re-designate that patch of land as a conservation area, which will force all the smallholders there to relocate their animals and tear down any structures they have built - basically putting them all out of business. There aren't many of them, but they all bought their land in good faith, have invested their hearts and souls into it, utilising traditional farming methods to transform derelict land into working, productive land. And the council is trying to take it away from them.

They've put up an online petition - here. It isn't terribly well worded, but it is born out of desperation and love of the land they face having taken from them. So please take a look and if you can find it in your hearts to sign the petition, we'd all be incredibly grateful.

In Other News, on Saturday I went along to Westonbirt Arboretum near Bath, to see their festive Enchanted Wood display, which they run through the weekends running up to Christmas - a spectacular one mile illuminated trail, highlighting the striking structures of the arboretum’s trees illuminated against the winter night sky. It is absolutely gorgeous - the pictures below don't come close to capturing how magical the display is.

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Image-heavy picspam continues behind the cut )
llywela: (sunset-africatree)
Phew. It's been 29-32oC and a consistent 62% humidity in my stuffy little attic office all week - and that with both windows wide open and two fans on full. The joys of working in a listed Victorian building. At least we can't say we haven't had a summer this year! It does come as a bit of a shock to the system, though, after so many washouts - last year we had one glorious week in March and then it rained for the rest of the year!

Tomorrow we are taking our Sunday School to the seaside at Barry for the day. It's been planned for months, we go every year, but...usually at this stage we are afraid of being rained off, this year we're panicking about sunstroke!

Boss Mine has been off sick for the last two days. Not gonna lie, work has been much more pleasant and relaxed without her, although I am concerned that the stress is really getting to her now. But on the bright side, I've got next week off, yay! I don't have any plans for the week - I had leave to use up and a clear week in my calendar with no meetings, so I booked it, randomly. Chances are the weather will probably break, since the schools will be out by then, but such is life and the Great British summer! If it's dry and not too hot, I might take myself off out and about - or I might just hibernate for the week and potter about the house and garden! The only thing I really intend to do is have a good rest, because I desperately need it.

The most interesting thing to happen in work this week was when I was covering reception the other day and had a long conversation with a business school post-grad from Durban, South Africa, about Welsh and Zulu phonetics!

The other Saturday, I went on an afternoon excursion to Bryngarw Country Park, which sits along the Afon Garw, at the mouth of the Garw Valley, Bridgend. On a baking hot day, the woodland walks were cool and lush and green and glorious, and I took a bunch of photos, so stand by, here comes an overdue picspam!

Starting off with the one picture I took in the formal gardens
P1080820

And then rambling on into the woodland and the riverside footpaths
P1080826

More pics behind the cut )
llywela: (scene - seascape rainbow)
I'm not entirely sure just where this last week or so has got to - I'm sure it was here a moment ago...

I had a very lovely fannish few days last weekend when Sue and Carol came to stay - and Marnie also popped down to join us for a bit. We watched many, many DVDs, and some of them were even The Professionals. We also visited St Fagans for a glorious sunny spring day out. I didn't take any photos, though - but I have still got a few holiday photos to share, so here, have those instead.

During my week in Wroxham, I took to taking a stroll along the tow path every day, sometimes with the dogs, sometimes on my own, just because it was so peaceful and pretty. I took a stack of photos of the views along the riverbank, so here's a selection.
P1070525
More behind the cut )

In Other News, Flickr has massively increased its allocation of filespace for free accounts, which means I can start adding images to my long dormant account again... (not that I, you know, needed new places to show off my photos, but what the heck).

In Other Other News, I am still having to keep the house permanently spotless because of Viewings. Another one this morning. Fun and games!

In Other Other Other News, congratulations to my cousin Gareth and his partner Nina on the birth of their 3rd child, Lara, a sister for Luca and Evan. So prolific, my family is. In the last 17 years we've averaged at least one baby a year, sometimes two, between all the many branches of the family tree!
llywela: (Cranford-boating)
Well, since arriving home from holiday on Saturday, I have managed to strain my elbow and developed conjunctivitis, so returning to work after rest and relaxation is clearly bad for the health! So I shall soothe my aches and pains with another holiday picspam, again centred around the River Bure. The house we stayed at was situated at the marina, and came with a small motor launch attached, so we spent a fair bit of time pootling around on the river. We never went very far - well, you'd be hard put to go far when the maximum speed limit is only 5 miles per hour, and that's only away from the built-up areas, where it's down to just 1mph!

Imagine living in one of these waterfront houses, each with boat and boathouse attached and their own private jetties...
P1070533
Cut to spare your f-lists )

Last but not least - here's our little Ruby making the best of being forced to come boating with us!
Ruby1

stuff

Nov. 26th, 2012 10:53 am
llywela: (Cranford-boating)
1. Apparently the Cornwall Crowd were all flooded out of their homes over the weekend. Hopefully they'll be dried out soon.

2. Deb and Ray took Mum and Chelsea to Disneyland Paris last week - lucky them! It seems that all the characters flirted with Chelsea, because they are all teenage boys underneath the costumes and she's a very pretty 16-year-old! Less happily, Chel had a cold all week that must have turned to an ear infection without her realising it - because of her glue ear, she lives with earrache every day of her life, so takes it for granted - and as she travelled home through the Chunnel, her ear drum ruptured! So she is now rather poorly and sorry for herself, poor dab.

3. Have a picspam of some of the places I've visited in the last couple of months, since I've been lazy about posting pics before now.

First up - Caerleon )

Next we have Tintern )

Symonds Yat )

Last but not least, Usk Castle )

4. Is anyone else watching The Secret of Crickley Hall, the Beeb's current Sunday night mini-series? So creepy! Next week's third and final installment looks like it's going to be a real thrill ride - I can't wait!
llywela: (scene - gwawr ar y cantilever)
I spent last weekend having a very fandomy few days with Pros friends up in the village of Blaencwm, right up at the top corner of the Rhondda Valley. We had a lovely time - eating, talking and watching the most random, cultish DVDs we could find to bring. We also took in a massive car boot sale in Resolven, and in between bursts of heavy rain we found time for a couple of lovely (albeit slightly muddy) walks up the mountain, since it was right there outside the front door. Seriously - Marnie has this right on her front doorstep:


Picspam behind the cut! )

Phew! Picspams are much more labour-intensive now that LJ has brought in the new Scrapbook! Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] galathea_snb for help with the technical jiggery-pokery!
llywela: (scene - gwawr ar y cantilever)
I spent last weekend having a very fandomy few days with Pros friends up in the village of Blaencwm, right up at the top corner of the Rhondda Valley. We had a lovely time - eating, talking and watching the most random, cultish DVDs we could find to bring. We also took in a massive car boot sale in Resolven, and in between bursts of heavy rain we found time for a couple of lovely (albeit slightly muddy) walks up the mountain, since it was right there outside the front door. Seriously - Marnie has this right on her front doorstep:


Picspam behind the cut! )

Phew! Picspams are much more labour-intensive now that LJ has brought in the new Scrapbook! Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] galathea_snb for help with the technical jiggery-pokery!
llywela: (scene - gwawr ar y cantilever)
Spent most of yesterday afternoon hiking up in the Brecon Beacons - we decided to ring the changes, for once, and explore the waterfalls around Ystradfellte. We didn't manage to get to all of them, since we started late and aren't in good enough shape to get around the full circuit, but we made it to two, which were beautiful enough to be well worth the effort.

Absolutely knackered today, mind!

It's been absolutely ages since I did a proper picspam, so here are some pretty waterfall pictures for you to enjoy!
Picspam behind the cut )
llywela: (scene - gwawr ar y cantilever)
Spent most of yesterday afternoon hiking up in the Brecon Beacons - we decided to ring the changes, for once, and explore the waterfalls around Ystradfellte. We didn't manage to get to all of them, since we started late and aren't in good enough shape to get around the full circuit, but we made it to two, which were beautiful enough to be well worth the effort.

Absolutely knackered today, mind!

It's been absolutely ages since I did a proper picspam, so here are some pretty waterfall pictures for you to enjoy!
Picspam behind the cut )
llywela: (scene - seascape rainbow)
Okay, so I took a few days off work last week. I booked these days completely randomly, over a month ago, because I had annual leave allocation that needed to be used before the end of September, which I hadn't managed to take any earlier because of work being manic and desperately short-staffed and whatnot, so I just looked at my calendar and randomly selected a few days when I had no meetings. And then those few days arrived and turned out to be absolutely glorious and a terribly unseasonal heatwave, and boy did I feel good about randomly selecting them for random days off work!

To celebrate having time off work in a glorious heatwave and absolutely nothing better to do than indulge, I went to the seaside two days running. On Wednesday I went to Penarth, which is the next town along the coast from Cardiff and has a fabulous Victorian pier and a shingle beach and coastal walks and all good things. I took a friend and a book and plenty to drink and had a lovely day, relaxing in the sun. I mean, seriously - look how glorious for the end of September!



More pics behind the cut )

Then on Thursday, I went to Barry Island to meet up with an old school friend who lives there these days. And once again, it was an absolutely glorious day - with temperatures of around 28oC and glorious sunshine, you'd never dream it was the end of September!


More pics behind cut )

So there we have it - two glorious days at the seaside...at the very end of September. Recorded for posterity, as I'm sure it will be raining again soon, and the sunshine will once more be a mere memory!
llywela: (scene - seascape rainbow)
Okay, so I took a few days off work last week. I booked these days completely randomly, over a month ago, because I had annual leave allocation that needed to be used before the end of September, which I hadn't managed to take any earlier because of work being manic and desperately short-staffed and whatnot, so I just looked at my calendar and randomly selected a few days when I had no meetings. And then those few days arrived and turned out to be absolutely glorious and a terribly unseasonal heatwave, and boy did I feel good about randomly selecting them for random days off work!

To celebrate having time off work in a glorious heatwave and absolutely nothing better to do than indulge, I went to the seaside two days running. On Wednesday I went to Penarth, which is the next town along the coast from Cardiff and has a fabulous Victorian pier and a shingle beach and coastal walks and all good things. I took a friend and a book and plenty to drink and had a lovely day, relaxing in the sun. I mean, seriously - look how glorious for the end of September!



More pics behind the cut )

Then on Thursday, I went to Barry Island to meet up with an old school friend who lives there these days. And once again, it was an absolutely glorious day - with temperatures of around 28oC and glorious sunshine, you'd never dream it was the end of September!


More pics behind cut )

So there we have it - two glorious days at the seaside...at the very end of September. Recorded for posterity, as I'm sure it will be raining again soon, and the sunshine will once more be a mere memory!
llywela: (DW-11-1)
Hey, guys, guys! Did any of you watch Doctor Who Confidential last night? No? Well, go watch it - at about 32 minutes in, there's a short feature on the chap who was really operating that remote control helicopter the Doctor used to entertain a bunch of children: a little, white-haired bloke. That's Lyn! That's my old driving instructor, the one who builds Daleks and used to always have bits of disassembled Daleks rattling around the car whenever he took me out for lessons! They not only caught him on camera for once, they even persuaded him to say a few words - that's a first. I saw his wife in church this morning and she said he didn't even tell her he'd been filmed.

Also, I'm pretty sure those department store scenes were filmed in the same shop they used for the one where Rose used to work...

In Other News, my Mum phoned the other day and said "we're going to the zoo on Saturday, do you want to come?" and I said "sure", so off we went to the zoo yesterday - well, not really a zoo. We went to Manor House Wildlife Park, which - how many of you Brits remember Anna Ryder-Richardson, an interior designer who never seemed to be off the telly back in the '90s and early '00s? A few years ago, she and her husband bought this wildlife park near Tenby - they've invested their life savings into the place, focusing on conservation, and have joined international endangered species breeding programmes. They don't have a huge number of animals, but those they do have all have space to roam - and some you can get quite close to, like this albino wallaby!


More pics behind the cut )

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