The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the swallows are swooping round and round the farm yard. I shouldn’t be lingering in bed with my cup of tea. I Should be up and “doing”! GOS was late back last night from a meeting so I stopped up (late for me) watching a very good film on TV. Dame Maggie Smith in “My Old Lady”. Hence, my sluggishness this morning – and, I did undertake my annual pilgrimage to “Llantony Priory” with friends on horseback last week. Three long days in the saddle, which in itself is pretty tiring.
We try to vary our route from year to year to ring the changes. This time we skirted Gwryne Fawr Reservoir ( I have never visited before), which was constructed at the turn of the last century, around the time of WW1, to provide water for the industry in the Welsh valleys. The pool is high, high up in the Black Mountains and even on the warm day we passed by, a strong, cold wind blew off the water; slapping wavelets hard against the dam wall where we stood for a “photo stop”. I find the deep dark water provokes quite a menacing feeling. The horses definitely didn’t like it. So we didn’t stop for our planned picnic under the sparse fir trees by the gates, but trotted on and found a pleasant, sunny beech lined forest glade about a mile further on down the valley at the edge of an enormous conifer forest.
It was very noticeable on our trail ride how the long awaited warmth has at last started to encourage the grass to grow and all around the fields are greening up nicely giving hungry sheep a nice fresh “bite”. We saw several of the first early welsh mountain pony foals out on the mountain. The mares looked very poor after their hard winter and unfortunately there was evidence of those who never made it through to spring.
The views from the high peaks were filled with a mass of different greens from the various trees breaking into leaf; arrable and pasture land, moorland, dark pine forest, blossom filled orchards and gardens, the occasional splash of vivid yellow from rapeseed crops – a patch work of fields and woods in a riot spring of colour. Gorgeous!
My fruit trees at home are thick with blossom this spring – the most we have had for years. So, if we can keep the birds off, we should have a bumper apple harvest this autumn. A hard cold spell is supposed to encourage fruiting. Well, we certainly had that over the winter! In the lanes the grass verges and banks are brimming with wild flowers of every hue and the air is thick with the scent of bluebells.
- It’s when I feel privileged to live in such a beautiful place……..