This blog is mainly a rambling kind of diary of the transition from smallholderwannabe to smallholder.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Back at work again.  We did get away for two nights at the end of last week and that was great.  Our daughter and family had gone to the farm where we stayed in February half term.  They had to leave earlier than planned so they suggested that we went down on Thursday and we all squash in for a night and then they would leave and we would have a day to ourselves.  However, granddaughter was having such a great time helping with all the animals that they didn't leave until 10pm on Friday night and we had to be out of the cottage by 10am on Saturday morning...

We arrived for lunch on Thursday and went for a walk (4 miles-ish) over the moors.  That was lovely.  The sun was shining and the ground was really springy underfoot so it was a very pleasant walk.  On Friday, we went to the Elan valley and the plan was to park at the Visitor Centre and walk around the nearest reservoir.  Well, we started off along the designated foorpath but then we had to leave the edge of the lake because of a river coming in.  This river used to be dammed into a smaller reservoir and was blown up in 1942 by Barnes Wallis as part of the trials for blowing up a major dam - remember the Dambusters film?  Anyway, we had a disagreement as to where the path went at the top of that hill.  Obviously the first part of the path is well used but then people look at the gradient of the next bit and go back to the Visitor Centre for a cuppa instead, because the path is less well defined. So we took the path voted for by the majority of our party.  They were wrong!  We went up and down every little valley for every stream and river that flowed into the main reservoir instead of ambling along the top of the hills...  I'd tripped over a root up on the moor the day before so it was not long before my back was protesting loudly.  I was so grateful when we stopped to eat lunch because I could sit on a nice rock and take the weight off my feet.  The view was fantastic and we could see very clearly where we should have been walking.

Where the reservoir narrows, there is a road bridge across and my husband and I said we would take the short(er) route back, leaving my daughter and her husband to go on round the original route.  So we split up.  We walked about 3-4 miles back to the car and they did about 8-9 miles.  We walked downhill to the bridge and then back to the car along a level cycle path - absolute bliss for my back after all those steep ups and downs.  They walked on the steep paths and then on the cycle path for the last bit.  I was getting slower and slower and they got back to the car just 20 minutes after us!  We had a flask in the car and that cuppa tasted like nectar.  Had we gone on the intended path, it would have been so much easier.

Granddaughter did not come on either walk, nor on any of her parents' outings - too busy helping with the animals on the farm.  She was so busy on Friday night that she did not come back for dinner until 9pm and they left at 10pm to drive back home. 

On Saturday morning we woke up (having slept very well) to find that it was snowing heavily and that the snow was laying.  So we packed up quickly as we had to leave by 10am because there was another family coming in later that day.  We stopped up on the moor for a cuppa for a last look at those wonderful hills which look absolutely fabulous with snow on them and the sun shining down.  Then we drove home after stopping again for a sandwich up on Clee Hill to admire some more views.

Then it was home and feed the animals and unpack and my husband went over his sermon for Sunday morning.  Our minister had taken a group to Spring Harvest and my husband, being the associate minister, was taking the service.  In the afternoon, after a very quick sandwich, we went to the big Tesco where we struck gold - also known as yellow reduced stickers.  We got there as they were reducing the already reduced things.  I got 24 portions of meat at an average price of £1.20 per kilo as well as lovely bread at 10p a loaf.  And I had a £5 off a £40 spend voucher too.  The freezers are groaning now.  We went to that particular branch of Tesco because it is on the way to my friend's farm where we were going to see how the lambs were doing and to see the 3 little calves born that week, one just the day before and still all wobbly on his legs.  They have black Dexter cows and had borrowed a red Dexter bull last year.  This produced three fine bull calves, two black and one absolutely beautiful red one.  Being bull calves, they are all destined for the freezer but it doesn't stop them being very cute.

A really good break from school - lots of jobs done (not enough but still lots achieved), Easter celebrations, a mini-holiday away, an incredible Tesco shop, a visit to the farm.  The two weeks went by too quickly but I have some good memories to store up.



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