Sunday, 28 June 2015

Pembrokeshire break, Holiday Cottage letting

The Farmer & I have just managed to grab 3 days away from the farm and spent our time, when not lying prone on sofas getting through a backlog of books, experiencing the delights of Pembrokeshire in June. The wild flowers were wonderful with the hedgerows full or overflowing with foxgloves, red campion, honeysuckle and the glorious cream slabs of elderflowers. We stayed near Solva and had lovely walks through dense lush woods filled withe the songs of thrushes, blackbirds,and wood pigeons, down to the sea. One evening we sat above the cliffs and watched the gulls floating on the thermals created by the cliffs, they soared in the silver light of the evening sun reflecting on the calm sea. A small yacht lay anchored in a sheltered cove looking just like something out of a romantic chapter of a Daphne du Maurier novel.

On the farm things are on stop today as it is raining and so silage work cannot continue. The Sons & the Farmer use days like this to catch-up on maintenance of equipment and paperwork. The working out of bills & invoices for the farms where they have been working in the fine weather takes a lot of time checking hours and acres.

The holiday cottage is pretty full though it has been a very slow season and there are still a couple of weeks in July vacant. It seems that it is a general trend throughout the country for holidays lettings to be slower than in previous years. No-one can quite pinpoint the reasons for this... some thoughts are that is so very cheap to go abroad,people are taking more short breaks and booking much more last minute. Another aspect is that there are so many more holiday lets available in an area such as this but without the increase in tourist numbers to fill them all. I think too many pepole move to an area with the intention of setting up a holiday cottage or b&b without researching how much provision is already available and not realising that the market is very well supplied for the numbers of visitors. Having been running our cottage for well over 20 years we have seen changes in the flow of visitors to this area but the numbers have not increased enough to keep pace with the amount of accommodation available.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Gardening & Gardeners, Gwili Steam Railway

This is my large garden in former days when it was still under control...this year thanks to the broken leg it is no longer quite so tidy, so I have treated myself by employing a gardener & he's wonderful. The luxuriant rampaging brambles have disappeared, bare earth is now visible though it will soon be hidden by some new plantings and shrubs are able to breathe again. I'm thrilled. The beginning of April was just about the worst time to injure myself as the gardens were full of the joys of spring and everything was growing like mad and needed to be kept in check, especially bramble, docks creeping buttercup and the dreaded couch grass. I still can't get out there to work so a gardener was the only answer. As well as dealing with the big stuff F. is also prepared to do fiddly weeding and also discuss changes and planting ideas which I'm pleased about as the garden neeeds to be taken onto its next stage of development for which I need as much advice as I can get. Do we go all out for giant rhododendrons in dark corners or other less dramatic shrubs that just fill a space and do we take out a couple of trees that are struggling? Also digging up enormous clumps of irises and splitting them and planting the smaller clumps in new places creating a more varied palette of colour in the established beds. When the Farmer has time we shall go our local excellent nurseries and have bit of a spree. I particularly want to get more Japanese anemones which are so lovely for late summer and lots more irises and roses but also smaller low growing plants such as anemone blanda to plant at the foot of the box hedging. Also fuschias which do well here and then some more hydrangeas, the thugs of the garden but well worth their bullying tendencies. I have some interesting hellebores waiting to go in and some lavenders, so all in all it is quite exciting.

The Sons are still busy with silage-making around the neighbourhood and as we got ours done last week the pressure is off a little. When they are not driving silage kit around they are spreading slurry on the newly mown fields to encourage good growth for the second cut.

The summer weather has arrived and our holiday makers are enjoying sitting out of an evening after spending the day entertaining their small grand-son at various attractions in the area. The favourite seems to be the Gwili Steam Railway near Carmarthen(), real steam trains puffing their way through a lovely wooded valley alongside a small river, all very attractive. The Gwili Railway is run by a team of railway enthusaiasts and is one of the very good attractions in the area.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Cottage with Roses round the Door, Silage Time Again

A glorious sunny morning and this is when I think the holiday cottage is so lovely with the rose Maigold gleaming with its butter-yellow flowers so beautifully scented at the front door and with the sun streaming into the kitchen/sitting room and lighting up the warm rose-pink walls with a cheerful relaxing and with the birds singing in their summer joyfulness it's just perfect. There are still a few dates available for the summer so book now and come to enjoy a peaceful break in the lovely Welsh countryside.
In the farmhouse we have a different light but just as cheering as it pours into the kitchen and lights up my pots of scarlet geraniums on the window sills which with the smell of fresh coffee and toast is a great start to the day.

Nine weeks on from breaking my leg and things are improving all the time...I no longer use the crutches but still walk very slowly & carefully and with a considerable degree of pain but apparently that is quite normal so I was told by the excellent physiotherapist I saw a couple of days ago. So, I still can't take the dogs for their walks or go very far at all but potter gently around the house. Standing ironing bed-linen proved a bit of a challenge as standing for any length time is very uncomfortable and painful. However, it is all getting better as the days pass.

On the farm the Farmer & the Sons are very busy as with the advent of the lovely weather so comes the silge harvest and with the long hours and keeping a constant eye on the weather. The boys are out contracting much of the time but should be doing our own silage any day now. This is always such a busy time of year (but then when isn't?!) and with the very long days running into the late nights everyone gets tired though because they enjoy it all so much they do stay cheerful apart from when machines break down which hopefully won't happen, or if it does it is something simple that can be fixed quickly. This year we have anew front-mounted mower which together with the back -mounted one makes the job even quicker. To think that when the Famer & I were first married silage took about four days now it is all done in one!