BLOG TO BE CONTINUED IN THE SPRING 2024
Autumn is now with us. The weather has been so mild, we were able to swim in the sea until just last week.
Apart from the obvious signs of Autumn, the leaves turning their colours and a profusion of seasonal berries, red wings have arrived and so have the long tail tits. Red Wings gather in flocks, mainly on berry trees, gouging until the tree is emptied, then they move on.
We have been inundated with apples from our friendly neighbours.Also, we are enjoying the last of the tomatoes, lettuces and delicious rhubarb.
Guests have lessoned although we are now already fully booked for the New Year's Eve.
So the rain keeps coming. It is hard to ignore how the seasons are disappearing. We have had hardly any summer this year. The wind has been constant so even swimming in the sea has been challenging.
However, there is always a however, the rain brings apples, rhubarb and many lettuces faster to fruition. My only apple tree has found a new lease of life. The lawns have become healthier which means the cows in the adjacent field are having a grass feast.
This year I volunteered ro run weekly football on the village playing fields. To my surprise, they have become a success. Both boys, girls and some adults, turn up every Monday eve to kick a ball or two on our lush and impressive sports field.
What with this, the BnB, my gardening jobs and my teaching, I am quite busy just wish the weather was .....
Well, July has already made up for the lack of rain. What a miserable few weeks.
Still , musn't grumble - rhubarb loves it, as does all my lettuces and butternut squashes.
Spending some of my time working on other people's gardens. Love working outside in all weathers, healthy and a supreme fit provider. Something about earning cash then, popping into town, buying some provisions, going for a swim and then treating oneself to an ice -cream - simple pleasures.
We have had quite a diverse group of guests in the last month. French, Indian, Canadian and Moroccan. I love finding out about them and always pleased when they compliment the Welsh countryside.
We now have 2 Michelin star restaurants in our locality and the most fabulous Middle Eastern cafe called Medina. This cafe has become very popular with our guests as they provide high quality vegetarian/vegan food at reasonable prices.
Today is the 12th June. Today is our first rain for 5 weeks. The weather has been wonderful, a little windy at times, but slowly getting warmer.
Vegetarian Penrhiw works so well in the summer. Warm rooms and, if needed, a cool breeze.
Fire In the Mountain was a big success. House full of guests of course. We were lucky to see one of our favourite artistes – Martin Carthy. Considered to be the god father of English Folk Music. He was certainly responsible, with others, of resurrecting hundreds of almost lost traditional folk songs. He did not disappoint.
The sea for swimming is now bearable which adds interest in visits to our local seaside town, Aberystwyth.
Clearly, the garden has taken a beating with this dry warm weather. However our Sardinian rocket loves it. A simple recipe of olive oil, lemon, rocket, cheese and pasta makes a lovely lunch or light supper. Discovered some rogue lettuces in my other patch, watered generously, they have blossomed a treat.
Guided walks have been popular this year. The valley road up to the next village is now closed to cars- a land slip. Open to walkers so, a dreamy wander by the adjacent Ystwyth river and a gradual climb, via waterfalls, to the wonderful view on top of Grogwynion Castle. A serious wow factor to be had.
May already !
This has to be one of the best months of the year. The Welsh countryside, the village and my garden, all looks spectacular. My early year's hard work has paid off. Primroses on all my banks and edges. The hedgerow is full of flowering sloes, laburnum and lilac. Below, blue bells and white bells stand proud in the warm gentle breeze.
The pic above is what I call Celandine Alley. A right of Way. A carpet of yellow flowers that appear and disappear in a matter of a few weeks.
The farm next door have a record 9 calves. All babies clinging to their mother's teats.
Cherry trees abound and my favourite, the apple blossom showing off in the spring best !
We may have guests this week end -hope they don't want to watch the Coronation...
It has been a long long winter but now.... Spring.
Each year always surprises, the colours, the light and the warmth of the sun.
Our Easter guests this year have been rewarded with all three.
I have a carpet of primroses in my garden. The Yellow Lesser Celandine is everywhere and the usual profusion of dandelions. Daffodils still swinging in the breeze. Pink and silver white blossoms sprouting from our bushes. Laburnum showing off and, even the recently planted baby Cherry Blossom, is starting to reveal it's true colours. Honey bees must be in their element. Well, those that have been aroused from their winter slumber.
Living deep in the countryside, we can't help being influenced by our seasons . When Spring arrives, we now can breathe out, throw off our coats and just...enjoy !
Summer is slowly coming to its end. I say slowly as the fine weather persists even though the nights are swiftly drawing in.
Fine weather, but the occasional very heavy downpour. Not enough to satisfy the ground but enough to send my runner beans through the metaphorical roof. Over loading and falling over. Propping them up with a couple of ladders is not a pretty sight but,needs must.
I must congratulate myself on the amount of tomatoes that I have grown. Well over a 100 of juicy fresh beauties. My friend has provided me with a constant supply of cucumbers so Greek salads are made on a weekly basis.
This year my sloe bushes have been profuse. So much so, they have been over hanging with the weight of those bitter tasting deep purple berries. An hour of picking and they are ready to be mixed with sugar and gin for the end of year festive occasion! Sloe Gin !!
It has been a busy month here at Vegetarian Penrhiw. The peak of summer has resulted in many guests staying which is wonderful. I am tying that in with some work at the Arts Centre. Hard work to keep both running at the same time but win win both for my guests and...me !
The dry weather persisted for most of this month climaxing in 35-36 C on some days. Fortunately on the beach a lovely breeze swept across the bay making it perfect sun bathing and swimming weather.
The sea has been unusually warm this year which is both lovely and worrying - what are we doing to this planet??
One afternoon a sea snake was spotted crawling up the beach. These snakes are only seen in tropical waters and now one is in Ceredigion Bay !
We have a wonderful abundance now of rhubarb, tomatoes, beans, courgettes, lettuces and beetroot. And apples, pears etc.
What's happened to the weather??
Global warming forcing the jet stream in another direction. Result? Some very long hot sunny days. It's mid July now and no rain this month. My garden looks bare and the vegetables are so thirsty. Lettuces in abundance but my toms require some TLC , as do my runner beans.
I am keeping an eye on the tree I planted last November. The Prunus Haku. Yes, it survived a rather blowy wet winter but will it survive this heat?
The south side of the house is surrounded by Elm. They provide cover from the strong SE winds in winter. But, their growth is phenomenal. Twice a year I clamber up to cut down all the new shoots that seem to grow 3-4 feet over a period of a few months.
Our Veg bnb was full over the Fire in the Mountain festival but since then, fairly quiet. I am surrounded by serious competition. Still, the Eisteddfod 2022 is upon is soon , all good for all our businesses.
Summer is nearly upon us. As is the longest day. The beauty of this time of year is the length of the days. Here in West Wales where our v bnb is located, the sun rises just after 4 am and does not reached it's horizon until after 10 pm. So, we have and extra half day. Whether we make use of it is another matter.
May was the "no mow month". We at Penrhiw have quite a large garden, most of it lawn. So, in the month of May we did not cut it. This is to encourage insects who thrive on blossoms and flowers that would not grow there otherwise. Of course, this now being June, it has to be cut ! Quite laborious of course, but the subtle perfumes emitting as I ran the mower through this foot of grasses - perfection.
We are getting ready for the Fire in the Mountain music festival.
A wonderful time in a beautiful setting. Music from all over the world on many stages.
Busy here of course with guests and campers at our veg bnb. Exhausting for us but hey -so much fun!
The weather has finally broken, but gently. A high pressure has been over the UK for the last 2 weeks bringing dry, sunny weather here to our bnb in Wales.
Perfect climate for long walks in the perfect time of the year.
All wild flowers have benefitted from the clement weather. The blue bells have just flourished , as have the primroses, gorse , forget-me- not, violets et al.
The rivers are very low and the sea has warmed up. A few brave souls have ventured in, without wet suits but, for me, a few more weeks.
We have a busy time ahead with more Bank Holidays this year and, of course the cycle & music festivals.
Easter approaches and the weather forecast is warm and sunny.
We at our veg bnb have lots of jobs to do. More importantly we are getting ready to welcome our guests.
So many activities , so many choices and it's now after 8pm until it gets dark.
The rivers are quite low, the sea perhaps is a little chilly so, a coastal walk is the best option.
Llangranog to Newquay is the finest in Ceredigion. Tuck in to a sumptuous breakfast at Vegetarian Penrhiw and off you go.
A truly great day out.!
We are now in the middle of March. The contrast with February is stark. Glorious dry and sunny weather. I sometime call this the yellow month what with the primrose, celandine, gorse &, of course, the Welsh daffodils, all in yellowy bloom. What a wonderful few weeks.
The lambs and their Mums have finally been released into the fields. A joyous sight seeing these bundles of wool leaping and playing.
Am enjoying exploring the uplands above Pontrhydygroes, a village further up the valley. These are mainly voluptuous grasslands with a selection of clearly defined bridle paths that can take you as far as the eye can see. A decent 2 hour ascent to the tops, some wonderful panoramas, looking north to Plynlimon and Cadair Idris or NW across the Cardigan Bay to the Llyn Peninsula.
Somewhere near here is a bothy, I must find it one day!
Spring has sprung.
Very early this year , or maybe this will be a continuing pattern?
Blue tits nesting in the bird box in the garden. Snow drops peeping out of their winter covers. Saw my first Lesser Celandine today as well.
Half term coming up so our veg bnb, Penrhiw, needs a spring clean. Ready to welcome our first guests to the spring dawn.
Oh Dear !
3 consecutive storms put paid to half term visitors. Horrid weather, powerful winds and pounding rain, By the end of the week turned gorgeous of course.. Revisited some fine local walks with clear sparkling views across to the Cambrian Mountains. Plymlimon, the highest peak in the area, speckled with snow - always a lovely sight.
This month has flown by,
Spent part of this time upgrading my kitchen and a spot of spring cleaning - exciting eh!
As luck would have it, found those elusive porcini mushrooms (Penny Loaf), some on the Hafod Estate and some on the hill behind the house. Also, went for a wander beneath the foothills of Cadair Idris massif on a ridiculously warm sunny day, walked through a larch forest and bingo - Larch Boletus!
Oh joy of joys.
Swimming since June have been in the sea. Such wonderful exercise. Hate it when I go in it for the last time . I say last time, Kayaking trips usually mean I will often get a splashing!
August into September has been the busiest month ever here. Covid has forced travellers to look nearer for their holidays and we, Wales, have benefitted. I say we, guests are always pleased with the luxurious rich landscape here so it really is a win for all of us.
This has helped by September being a warm and a dry month. The rivers have been very low and the landscape has started to look sparse. Not a good time for sheep and cows clearly.
Had a bumper crop of purple and green beans. Lettuces also but my tomatoes - what happened ?
Mushroom foraging as per usual this time of the year. Chanterelle are profuse but my fave, the boletus, has been elusive. Still time to look further.
The Hafod Estate, very popular with walkers, is a place I have frequented recently in search of the elusive cep. Such a pretty place even though I tend to prefer the more remote corners of the Ceredigion countryside.
As expected, the weather broke this month and the nights are coming in sooner. Am trying to keep my pecker up 'cos I know we have 2-3 months more of the wonders of nature.
Swimming has become a habit now-a good habit. The sea water is warm. Tourist laugh but it is. One does not have to swim for 20 minutes before gaining ones breath back. Can be luxurious if the sun is out. Tan Y Bylch Beach is the quietest but the South Beach has its charm and, of course, its cafe !
Not sure what's happened to my tom plants this year. Small and not many. Had big success with lettuces, beans and my purple green beans.
Still walking regularly. My fave is just simply walking up the Ystwyth valley from my house to the foot bridge and back on the other side. Of course it is scenic and flatish and takes 90 mins. Have also met up with a friend from Nth Wales where we share a passion for Snowdonia. I think you could walk every day in Wales and find interest, such variety here.
Gosh where did June go??
Unlike May, June was a wonderful month living in Wales. We have dry sunny and warm weather. The sea, river & lakes are now all warm enough to swim in. Revisited the gorge I discovered from last year. At sunset , the sun shoots straight up the Ystwyth. Sparkling light as we swim in this cool dark place.
Hedgerows have gone bananas as have my tomato and runner bean plants.
The Euros have been on so, watching first Wales and then England strut their stuff. England better than Wales this time , which makes a change.
The evenings are gloriously long making a each day feel like a day & a half.
25th May and it's been the wettest May for ....well since the 1940's!
Thankfully, with the Bank Holiday this week, the forecast is warm and sunny.
The options for what to do when it's fine are so numerous here. So, lots of fresh air, exercise and treats by the sea.
We, even at our veg BNB, love to wander the hills or the coastal path and then treat ourselves to an ice cream on the beach in Aberystwyth or further down the coast at Llangranog or, the picturesque Aberaeron.
We are now open and have welcomed our first guests of the year!.
It's been quite a while and we are now looking forward to welcoming our guests. Most of our guests who have stayed here before are here to enjoy our beautiful rural countryside and spectacular coastline.
It is now light until 9.00 pm + so, if you are up early, a day and half can be had.
Spring is in full swing now.
April was probably the driest on record. Personally, I was able to walk and access remote places normally left well alone - hidden valleys north of deepest Plynlimon for example. The beauty of this location is that you feel that you are the only person on the planet. You have this lush green landscape almost to yourself. I say almost, there are the ewes with their babes, the cows with their calves and, of course, the majestic Red Kite.
Just get the OS map out , choose a route, whether on foot or bike, and go....have an adventure....get lost even....relax.......enjoy!
A sudden explosion of colour.
The lambs are all settling in nicely .It is surprising how quickly they grow, some are even starting to graze. Others are hanging out in gangs, literally leaping in the air as they chase each other up and down the field.
There has been an explosion of further spring colours. The canary yellow primroses are now accompanied by displays of the the buttercup yellow Lesser Colandine. The spiky gauze bushes all look fresh and alive. Caught sight of the hedgerow's favourite, the Red Campion. In the woods the bluebells will be appearing soon.
All looks so much more optimistic after the year of gloom and doom.
Getting ready for the May 17th opening.