Living With The Jones’s

3 Jun

As I sat down to write this today I noticed Simba, Lisa’s Norwegian Forest Cat, taking a lot of interest in the couch.  Or more specifically, some noises coming from behind the couch.  On investigation I found a small rabbit staying well out of the way of Simba whose bulk prohibited him from going in after it.  Lucky for the rabbit I managed to poke him into a corner with a broom and reach down and grab him.  He did not appear injured but he was very shaky on his feet when I put him out in the paddock.  I have no idea how he ended up inside.

The bunny just before release.

The bunny just before release.

Now back to what I sat down to write.  We have been here just over a week and we have a good routine with all our co-residents – the two dogs, Fennel and Gwen; the two cats Martha and Simba; and the ten geese.  Part of that routine is having to get up at 06h00 everyday to take Gwen for a walk, let the hens out (since the automatic door on their box went on the fritz) and let the geese out of their box and feed them.  I guess I am most pleased with how the geese have accepted having me around.  They are friendly and look just hilarious when they come running across the paddock in response to a call to dinner.

The sun doesn’t set until nearly 21h30 now so it is light until after 22h00 which is a trap that I fall into every day not realising how late it is, especially after a relatively early start.  So I do admit to taking a few afternoon naps of 90 minutes or so.

Monday was a Bank Holiday, not that these things usually affect us very much.   So we went to the International Book Festival at Hay-on-Wye.  The only ‘event’ we got in to was a presentation on the art of Titian – Diana and Callisto, Diana and Actaeon, The Death of Actaeon.  Perhaps I was having and off day, but overall I found the festival to be underwhelming and Hay to be a dull town without much in the way of interesting architecture or nice streetscapes or squares. Besides, how can they be serious when they are a medium sized town and they have thousands of visitors for the week and they don’t even have basic cellphone coverage in the centre of the town or the festival site?  Let alone 3G data.  It is just a joke.  We were relying on using cellphones to meet up with some people but we had to drive halfway back to Crickadarn before we could make a call.  If the locals are too apathetic to push the network operators for a decent service then the festival organisers should at least get a temporary base station in place to service the site for the week.  My conclusion is don’t go to the festival, they don’t deserve your patronage.

The weather has had its moments.  Tuesday was a bit miserable and I ended up spending  big chunk of the day sorting out my Flickr accounts.  Long story, two accounts, bit of a mess.  It’s much better now, I just have to get brave enough to delete the old account.

We stopped at the Wheelwright’s Arms in Erwood on our way home from a drive on Thursday.  Half a dozen locals in there were entertaining to listen to.  A couple of them were the same guys we had see here each time we’ve been in.  One of the regulars walks up to the bar, “Dave, I better get home but I’ll just have another pint for the ditch before I go.”  The Welsh version of ‘one for the road’?  This is the same guy who pronounced, “I come here for a few pints after work to quench my thirst and so I don’t cry when I get home!”

The weather on Friday was great – sunny and warm, without much wind.  We sorted things at the house and set out for a drive ending up on a big Common on the other side of the River Wye.  It was a very nice day out.

Saturday was pretty quiet and on Sunday we went for a visit to Builth Wells and Llandrindod Wells, some photos are included.

This is the sort of countryside we are surrounded by - gorgeous when the sun is on it!

This is the sort of countryside we are surrounded by – gorgeous when the sun is on it!

The three goslings from the second clutch on the morning after we arrived aged 5~6 days.

The three goslings from the second clutch on the morning after we arrived aged 5~6 days.

Out walking the dogs.  Gwen is on the lead and Fennel is standing behind.

Out walking the dogs. Gwen is on the lead and Fennel is standing behind.

The sunny side of the cottage, south facing.

The sunny side of the cottage, south facing.

Thankfully there is an English translation.  All these Welsh signs and place names is making French look pretty comprehensible.

Thankfully there is an English translation. All these Welsh signs and place names is making French look pretty comprehensible.

For me this was the highlight of the Hay-on-Wye Festival - some overpriced asparagus.  I am afraid I could glean no inspiration from the event at all really.  Leanne mildly enjoyed what we saw but was not terribly excited about it either.

For me this was the highlight of the Hay-on-Wye Festival – some overpriced asparagus. I am afraid I could glean no inspiration from the event at all really. Leanne mildly enjoyed what we saw but was not terribly excited about it either.

On Wednesday the little goslings graduated from the laundry to the glasshouse and they seemed chuffed with the move.  I cut a piece out of the end of their box and put a tray in place as a doorstep and they took themselves to bed under the heat lamp at night.

On Wednesday the little goslings graduated from the laundry to the glasshouse and they seemed chuffed with the move. I cut a piece out of the end of their box and put a tray in place as a doorstep and they took themselves to bed under the heat lamp at night.

Crickadarn is our nearest village, only about a mile away. It has roughly 6 houses, two churches, two cemeteries and a telephone box. This was apparently the ideal qualification to be used for some scenes in the movie 'An American Werewolf in London'.

Crickadarn is our nearest village, only about a mile away. It has roughly 6 houses, two churches, two cemeteries and a telephone box. This was apparently the ideal qualification to be used for some scenes in the movie ‘An American Werewolf in London’.

Just to the left of the church, two of the six houses in the village. By the way, what's the difference between a hamlet and a village? In Britain a hamlet is defined as generally smaller than a village and it does not have a church.

Just to the left of the church, two of the six houses in the village. By the way, what’s the difference between a hamlet and a village? In Britain a hamlet is defined as generally smaller than a village and it does not have a church.

View to Wern Fawr from across the valley (on the other side of the River Wye).  It is the 6-acre block in the centre of the photo, including the paler paddock and the two small woods above the house.

View to Wern Fawr from across the valley (on the other side of the River Wye). It is the 6-acre block in the centre of the photo, including the paler paddock and the two small woods above the house.

Llanbedr Hill was the closest landmark I could identify on the Ordnance Survey map.  This walk was across the Common that occupies this entire plateau across the Wye River from our housesit at Wern Fawr.

Llanbedr Hill was the closest landmark I could identify on the Ordnance Survey map. This walk was across the Common that occupies this entire plateau across the Wye River from our housesit at Wern Fawr.

The Common is quite swampy in places with small lakes dotted all over.

The Common is quite swampy in places with small lakes dotted all over.

Plenty of horses and sheep roaming.  Not sure if these horses are wild or just free  range domestic.  The sheep were certainly farmed - they were ear-tagged and most had blue or red raddle markings.

Plenty of horses and sheep roaming. Not sure if these horses are wild or just free range domestic. The sheep were certainly farmed – they were ear-tagged and most had blue or red raddle markings.

The vegetation on Llanbedr Hill Common was mainly less that 300mm high and was mostly a mixture of heather and this berried bush.  The berries are about 6-8mm in diameter.

The vegetation on Llanbedr Hill Common was mainly less that 300mm high and was mostly a mixture of heather and this berried bush. The berries are about 6-8mm in diameter.

The route of our walk on Friday on the Llanbedr Hill Common.

The route of our walk on Friday on the Llanbedr Hill Common.

It was just a beautiful day for such a walk - warm sunshine and a cool breeze.

It was just a beautiful day for such a walk – warm sunshine and a cool breeze.

The road down from the Llanbedr Hill Common which is on the right in this photo.

The road down from the Llanbedr Hill Common which is on the right in this photo.

Being elevated, the road down from the Llanbedr Hill Common gave some great views over the farmland.

Being elevated, the road down from the Llanbedr Hill Common gave some great views over the farmland.

This 1922 suspension bridge just east of Erwood crosses the River Wye.

This 1922 suspension bridge just east of Erwood crosses the River Wye.

I was too slow to notice these few sheep being driven along the road past the house and they were almost gone by the time I got outside.

I was too slow to notice these few sheep being driven along the road past the house and they were almost gone by the time I got outside.

This row of houses is at Erwood and just looked cute in the late afternoon (i.e. 19h32!) sunshine.

This row of houses is at Erwood and just looked cute in the late afternoon (i.e. 19h32!) sunshine.

The first clutch of goslings are really growing fast now… well, except one who has been named 'Mini' and is one week younger than the other four (31 days cf. 38 days).

The first clutch of goslings are really growing fast now… well, except one who has been named ‘Mini’ and is one week younger than the other four (31 days cf. 38 days).

This is the goose - she came and sat right against my leg when I sat down after leading them out of the run and into the paddock for the day.  She sat with me for ten minutes or so while the gander and the goslings all sat about 2m away.

This is the goose – she came and sat right against my leg when I sat down after leading them out of the run and into the paddock for the day. She sat with me for ten minutes or so while the gander and the goslings all sat about 2m away.

This is the largest of the three goslings in the second clutch, now ~14 days old.  They usually squawk vociferously when picked up but this time he was quiet - Leanne was feeding them dandelion and he had a mouthful that he didn't want to lose!

This is the largest of the three goslings in the second clutch, now ~14 days old. They usually squawk vociferously when picked up but this time he was quiet – Leanne was feeding them dandelion and he had a mouthful that he didn’t want to lose!

According to the local we meet on the path, the tower is 10th century and is much older than the church itself.  I don't know how many churches there were in this small Victorian spa town but from where this was taken I could see four.  Builth Wells is also an ancient market town.

According to the local we meet on the path, the tower is 10th century and is much older than the church itself. I don’t know how many churches there were in this small Victorian spa town but from where this was taken I could see four. Builth Wells is also an ancient market town.

Bridge across the River Wye at Builth Wells.

Bridge across the River Wye at Builth Wells.

The River Wye in a scene looking very much like summer.

The River Wye in a scene looking very much like summer.

There were a lot of interesting buildings lining the high street.

There were a lot of interesting buildings lining the high street.

Llandrindod Wells is only a few miles from Builth Wells and has an even better collection of Victorian buildings.  It was also a spa town.

Llandrindod Wells is only a few miles from Builth Wells and has an even better collection of Victorian buildings. It was also a spa town.

Built in 1882-4 as the rectory of the nearby Holy Trinity Church for the newly appointed Archdeacon de Winton.  It was set in two acres of gardens with stables and a coach house.  After being used by the Army during WWII, it was refurbished and opened as The Commodore Hotel.  The style of the house is Arts & Crafts a movement which flourished from 1880 to 1910.  The exterior is fish scale terracotta tiling.  Other features include Elizabethan chimneys and on the second floor, the fine example of protruding windows under small hoods, called oriel windows.

Built in 1882-4 as the rectory of the nearby Holy Trinity Church for the newly appointed Archdeacon de Winton. It was set in two acres of gardens with stables and a coach house. After being used by the Army during WWII, it was refurbished and opened as The Commodore Hotel. The style of the house is Arts & Crafts a movement which flourished from 1880 to 1910. The exterior is fish scale terracotta tiling. Other features include Elizabethan chimneys and on the second floor, the fine example of protruding windows under small hoods, called oriel windows.

Streetscape in Llandrindod Wells.

Streetscape in Llandrindod Wells.

Another streets cape in Llandrindod Wells.

Another streets cape in Llandrindod Wells.

We have seen telephone boxes in the most unlikely places in Wales. Miles up country lanes half hidden in hedges and the like. This one was in a 'normal' location in Llandrindod Wells but it was unique for another reason - there was somebody using it. This we had never seen before. In fact, who does not have a cellphone these days. Or perhaps they do but coverage is so bad they can't often use them (see my venting about Hay-on-Wye).

We have seen telephone boxes in the most unlikely places in Wales. Miles up country lanes half hidden in hedges and the like. This one was in a ‘normal’ location in Llandrindod Wells but it was unique for another reason – there was somebody using it. This we had never seen before. In fact, who does not have a cellphone these days. Or perhaps they do but coverage is so bad they can’t often use them (see my venting about Hay-on-Wye).

The Jones reference in the title was twofold in meaning.  The obvious Welsh connection but also around here we keep seeing heavy machinery and vehicles emblazoned with “John Jones”.  He seems to be everywhere and his equipment all seems very modern.  He must be the surviving transport and heavy haulage contractor.  I guess quantitative easing has to be good for some folks, at least in the short term.

I am starting to toy with the idea of making another change to how I present this blog.  My thinking is to perhaps post the photos on to Flickr instead of on this blog site and just do a brief diary here with perhaps only one or two photos.  My logic is that the main thing I use this blog for is to ‘show’ people some of my pictures.  That is just what Flickr is for.  Or maybe I should still put the pictures in the postings but also upload them all to Flickr (I have been uploading a selection there already as a trial)?

I would be interested to hear some feedback.  Just jot your thoughts in a comment below.  Thanks and see you next week.

5 Responses to “Living With The Jones’s”

  1. Oli Senior September 24, 2014 at 02:37 #

    Hi , I was wondering if I could use one of your pics (Road down from Llanbedr Common) as a background image on my webpage? (Under construction) .There wouldn’t be room for me to credit you for it I’m afraid , at least not on the same page.
    Thanks
    Oli

    • bikernz September 24, 2014 at 22:30 #

      Thanks for asking. Can you please send me the link to your site first?

  2. Jeff June 5, 2013 at 23:48 #

    Yes David is right on this one. Easier to have to just browse one site 🙂 Although this one seems to be heavy on photos and light on your normal amusing banter 😉 must have been all those naps in the afternoon puting your brain to sleep!!

    • bikernz June 6, 2013 at 06:42 #

      So it’s two votes here for the status quo plus another by email versus zero for the Flickr option. Looks like a slam dunk. I’ll keep loading up the photos on each post. Thanks to all.

  3. David Grant June 3, 2013 at 09:13 #

    Hi Brian. Leave the photos in this blog so I don’t have to go hunting for them on flicker!
    Cheers
    David

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