On the way to Crickhowell (Crug Hywel)

Today, I had a little jolly with Liz to Crickhowell. Unfortunately, we got terribly turned around and confused on the way. Missed the turning that would take us to Crickhowell via Llangynidr and ended up having an adventure along Hafod Road above the Clydach Gorge.

Neither of us knew where we were going, but as the road rose, we left the fog behind and drove into bright sunshine. That was soon followed by the glorious view of fog shrouding the valley below.

It was amazing! The photos don’t capture how it roiled and caught the light with subtle changing hues. Nor did they capture some fog starting to seep down the side of the hill from behind us a little further along the road. It was beautiful to take some time to stop and watch the wonder and gloriousness of nature. I wish I had the photographic skills to capture it better. However, these will serve to jog my memory of the feelings I experienced – wonder, gratitude for seeing such a sight, the warmth of the sun, the beauty of the natural world, and more I can’t put into words just now.

We found our way to Crickhowell with the help of the satnav. But, fair play, the satnav outperformed itself today in terms of a lack of logic. Sometimes, I think all the satnavs I encounter are possessed by little, mischievous imps!

Fog veiled the sun as we completed our journey to the little market town at the edge of the Brecon Beacons, not far from Abergavenny (Y Fenni).

We visited a little shop called Natural Weigh – Zero Waste Shop. Loads of products, all organic! I picked up some face moisturiser, and Liz did a good shop of all kinds of raw ingredients.

Next, it was time for brunch/lunch in the cafe at Book-ish. As well as a pot of tea for me and a coffee for Liz, we both had the Book-ish dhal – a sweet potato, cauliflower and spinach dhal served with natural yoghurt, a lemon wedge and a toasted flatbread. It was lovely if a bit unusual, for my breakfast (even though breakfast for me is often at lunchtime for others!).

Eventually, after much chatter, it was time to move along. So, into the Book-ish bookshop, we went. I could hold off buying any stationary or chocolate, but I couldn’t resist buying The Sad Ghost Club 2 book. That will be read later today, no doubt! I may have to get the other two volumes in the series so far!

So, after a little wander around some lovely shops, it was into the Latte-da Cafe and Kitchen for tea and a piece of a rather delicious carrot cake that we shared. It was very light, with plenty of raisins and nuts in it.

Then it was time for the drive home, in bright sunshine.

A nice few hours out, for sure.

The Old Barn Tea Rooms, Ponsticill

This photo of The Old Barn Tea Room is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Not all journeys involve a lot of travel. We often forget to visit or mention places of interest that are close to home. We think they’re ordinary, uninteresting, familiar, but to others they may be of great interest.

Today was one of those days where a short trip was taken, around 25 miles in total.

I needed some time with Liz to sort out details of our journeying around the Yorkshire Dales, so we decided to meet up for lunch and went to the Old Barn Tea Rooms at Ponsticill, Merthyr Tydfil.

The drive there was lovely, in bright, golden autumn sunshine along tree-lined country lanes once we left the main roads. Part of the trip was along the edge of the huge Ponsticill Reservoir and we had tantalising glimpses of the water through the trees that lined the road.

A little earlier in our journey, we’d driven over the road that goes along the damn that holds back the water that forms the reservoir; I always feel a little nervy as my mind worries that the dam may fail with me in a car on it. There was a fab view of the water treatment works from this road, however; something that can fascinate a pair of retired science teachers!

The Old Barn Tea Room is, as the name says, in an old converted barn. The decor is simple and charming, in fitting with a tea room in the countryside

We were greeted as we entered the door and given a menu and asked to choose a table and someone would be over soon to take our order.

As a vegetarian I was heartened that there were some interesting choices for me. When our waitress came to take our order I inquired about the fresh, home-made soup and was told it was carrot and parsnip, so I plumped for that along with a hummus and roasted vegetable sandwich along with a pot of Assam tea.

Later on, I indulged in a slice of lemon cake, which was very light and had just enough lemony yummy-ness to make it totally delicious.

Liz went for their lighter afternoon tea and she had half a tuna sandwich, a plain scone with cream and jam and Welsh cake. She had a cafetiere of coffee.

There was a group of three men there, one of whom played the harmonica from time to time and the others sang softly. That was rather nice and atmospheric.

We were not rushed at all during our visit, which was great as I needed Liz to help me name the places I took photographs of as well as mentally retracing the tyre-tracks of our daily journeys around the Dales.

I even managed to do a little knitting as we finished off our second pot of tea or cafetiere.

It really was a lovely setting for a tea room, off the beaten track, set in the countryside and today it was nicely quiet.

My sat nav took us on a slightly different route back home. We had a fantastic view of the face of a quarry, the old limestone streaked with dark grey and flashes of white.

As we made our way back along the A470 we passed Trago Mills opposite the Cyfarthfa Retail Park. Liz said it was on her list to visit out of curiosity. I asked her if she wanted to pop in and had the time to. She said, ‘why not!’. So we did.

We both ended up with more knitting yarn and we had a wander around completely perplexed by it all. However, we can both say we’ve been there.

I will be making more posts about our Yorkshire trip, once I get it all sorted out in my head (and with the photo labeling and editing too).

The Journey Begins

happiness is a piece of cake close up photography

“Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter.” β€” Izaak Walton

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – JRR Tolkein

β€œHe found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.” – JRR Tolkein

Thanks for joining us on our blogging travels.

The seeds for this were sown just over a year ago while driving from Bradford-on-Avon to visit Avebury and the West Kennet Long Barrow, all in Wiltshire in the UK.

On the way up Cherhill we spotted an old petrol station that had been converted into a cafe named Divine.

We had to find out if the cafe lived up to it’s name. It did.

We both choose a raspberry and lemon roulade that had just the right balance of sweet and sharp. The meringue was light and not overly sweet as well. It was refreshing rather than sickly and laying heavily in the tum.

If I remember aright, the tea was Assam, chosen from a wide range of available teas.

It was while we were oohing and ahhing over the delicious cake, still laughing about a funny incident with a police car.

We were both surprised when we passed all white police car with just the words and badge on. The car lacked the chequerboard pattern of blue and fluorescent yellow that we’re so familiar with where we live in South Wales, UK.

I knew there was a name for that pattern and that it was a type of cake. I was absolutely convinced that it began with M. It was driving us a little nuts as we drove through the roads wending their way through the Wiltshire plains. I spotted a police station and was quite tempted to stop and ask them to put us out of our misery.

Suddenly, as we were talking about something else, it came to me.

‘Battenburg! That’s what the pattern on the side of police cars is called,’ said I.

Liz quipped, ‘ Oh yes, that cake that famously begins with an M!’

‘Yes, it does actually,’ I quickly responded, ‘Mmmmmmbattenburg!’

‘Good save,’ was Liz’s response as we collapsed into a fit of giggles.

As we laughed about that, and the fact that there was no Battenburg cake on the menu at Divine Cafe, thank goodness, I made a throwaway quip about us creating a blog to record our little travels.

Our travels that seem always to involve quick visits to interesting places with our wry and silly senses of humour. Visits that always seem to involve cake. Or ice cream. Or cake and ice cream.

It’s taken a year for the seed that was planted again to sprout in the form of this blog.

Neither of us quite know how the blog will develop and grow. What we hope is that you will enjoy sharing our journeys with us.