Wednesday, 20 August 2014

AWOL

Well here we are back after an absence of over 2 months : plenty of developments largely centred around getting Mum moved safely over to a new house in Shropshire where I am delighted to report she is very happy and has settled well in to a friendly and supportive community on her small estate.
The sale of her old house was an unnecessarily protracted affair thanks to unacceptable delays by the legal teams on both sides but we could not have asked for a better family to deal with and hope they will be very happy at No 22.
Thus I also have new contact details but my email and mobile remain unchanged and can be found in the profile section of the blog.
The van and trailer proved up to the job of moving furniture and posessions to the new house or new owners and is now a few hundred miles short of notching up 300,000 miles. It has been good to get away for a few days here and there with the HUBB event proving a memorable success. Plenty of old friends were met during a weekend of useful displays and inspirational presentations and I enjoyed meeting new faces during volunteering stints - a huge thank you to the organisers and in particular the techie guys and gals who helped my humble presentations appear on the big screen.


After the concrete pour north of Brecon two days of hard work saw a spacious and elegant summer house installed at a friends under the watchful eye of the Major. It took some care and ingenuity to get 8 heavy and cumbersome roof panels in place but the end result was well worth it and indeed a few weeks later Mum and I were royally entertained in its cosy confines.


A few days in North Wales with perfect weather saw a return to Caernarvon and the fascinating National Slate Museum - well worth a visit. With luck I will be in Snowdonia again in early September for a week of walking the tops once the schools have returned.

A very enjoyable weekend in Somerset started with an evening at Thornbury Sailing Club where we watched a couple of races cope with somewhat tranquil conditions against a stunning backdrop - a cycle over the original Severn crossing earlier had been superb on a glorious day.


A group of us enjoyed a ride around the Somerset levels - now recovering from the winter floods I had witnessed from ground level and the air earlier this year. The lanes were quiet and the old peat railway provides a good link heading west out of Glastonbury to various bird reserves. A nostalgic night at the Hunters Inn near Priddy was a reminder of old times, a late phone call from a neighbour in Coventry a reminder of the issues still to be resolved. Fortunately as it turned out the alarm which had gone off at the old house proved to be a false one on my arrival on Sunday - apologies to the neighbours who had to sleep with windows closed on one of the hotter nights of the year!

Anyway things are now settling down and I have plans in hand to get back on the road in early October with a ferry to France followed by a relaxed journey down to Portugal where I will spend a couple of weeks farm sitting and enjoy the chestnut festival in Marvao before returning for a few weeks to check all is well and then returning to Camping Asseiceira for Christmas. Early January should see us heading across to  Morocco with the intention of visiting some old favourites and an area in the far south that I deliberately left for a return visit. 

Before then I will give the van a good service and see what the MOT throws up, assist with the 2014 Breon Beast, spend a week in Snowdonia, farm sit near Brecon for a week and prepare for a winter away so have plenty to do.

In between I shall no doubt continue to thrash around the hills of Mid Wales - recent highlights have been a completion of the lengthy and challenging Epynnt Way, various moorland circuits in the Elan Valley, thrilling rides in to most of our bothies and just last weekend a superb ride following the Monks' Trod that links the abbeys at Strata Florida and Abbeycwmhir. This latter ride was the prelude to another memorable work party at Lluest Cwm Bach where we limewashed the walls to brighten the interior. A hard working team achieved a great deal, enjoyed two barbecues and shared a host of laughs and memories from what for some of us is almost thirty years of involvement with the Mountain Bothies Association : congratulations to Martyn for organising the occasion and it was good to see Tony B active again after a summer which has seen nearly every regular volunteer break something - none of which I hasten to add as a result of bothy related activities!

Just before the work party a highlight of the summer came in the form of a trip in to the old lead and silver mines of the Ystwyth valley. Two novices joined three old timers on two excursions in to these extensive and absorbing workings - the dramatic surface ruins a portent of what lay below. From a series of levels various deep shafts headed off above and below to the further limits of the workings that date back to Roman times and provided a fascinating few hours of exploration. Chris and Craig coped very well with deep water, exposed drops and a couple of tightish pipes under the supervision of Kingsley who at 75 is something of an inspiration! Having mastered the Go Pro I am building up a collection of videos that enhance my recording of various activities but for now the piccies HERE will have to suffice.

So with much to look forward to I hope to post again shortly so watch this space.