Thursday, 31 July 2008

Broneirion 2008

It's been a busy week. Here too - have there really been 3,000 of you visiting me in my absence? I must go away more often!

The problem with Wales is it's a long long way from there to here. Obviously not as far as it would be for many of you, but in our small island, it still feels like a long drive.

Bus loaded, friend and fellow quartermaster inserted along with assorted luggage, we chugged our overloaded way through villages and towns and over county borders until after 5 long hours we were greeted by the sight of this
Broneirion Lodge. Up past the lodge and round to the housewhere we paused to enjoy this view before finding our campsite.
Having stopped for a lengthy lunch driving break, we assumed the girls might have beaten us to the campsite, especially since they were taking the motorway whilst we had gone the scenic route. However, we were greeted by the site of an empty field, and news that the Guides were just passing Birmingham. Since we can usually hit Birmingham in a little over an hour, the news that they were still there over 5 hours later wasn't the best we'd ever heard.

We made coffee.

One lone Guide came to join us in our splendid isolation; her family had been holidaying in Wales so they dropped her off with us, handily staying long enough to refuse coffee but help pitch a tent against the threatened rain. Several hours later, a coachload of hot, tired, but still smiling Guides arrived and set to work turning an empty field into something dotted with loads of these:

As Mog's doctor had vetoed camping this week, we got to spend the nights in comfort. We stayed at Trewythen Farm, where the friendly Mrs Davies not only provided comfortable beds, but cooked up a stupendous breakfast each morning to insulate us against the rigours of the day!
Excuse the mess; it's ours not hers. Little Fish was rather taken with her brass bedstead. And we made the handy discovery that if Little Fish sits on the floor of an ordinary shower cubicle, she can hold Mog's head for me as I shower them both. I suspect this is a technique which will only work for this year though - tis a bit cramped inside the cubicle with all three of us. The advantage of staying on a B and B at Guide Camp is that you can shower every night. The disadvantage is that you become fully aware of how badly you stink, having spent the day cooking over wood fires. Still, Mrs Davies was very kind and didn't point it out.

Little Fish was quite taken with the bedwarmers. I was less taken with the stairs, considering that I had to carry both girls up and down them each day. But how thankful I am that we live in a flat. I have friends who until very recently were still carrying their disabled 14 year old up and down stairs regularly; I have not been sufficiently sympathetic towards them up until now. So, down the stairs and into the dining roomLittle Fish was an absolute star, sitting nicely at the table, using a knife and fork, asking for more toast which she actually ate rather than crumbling onto the floor, and making friends with the granddaughter of the house, who was the same age. And I got to enjoy fresh coffeewhilst also enjoying the view across the hills. Mog got to enjoy a comfortable post-medication doze each morning before being hassled by the hounds of death* on our way out of the farm.

Once safely into the bus and on the road (no photos of the yard due to said death hounds) we got to meander up into the hillsand down again
on single track roads past a 1692 cottageand over little rivers and streamsbefore arriving at the campsite usually just as the girls were finishing their breakfast. An excellent time to arrive - none of the morning nagging to be done, just flagbreak and activities. And coffee.

And what activities! We spent one morning sending the girls on a wild goose chase circular incident hike Indiana Jones style. So whilst the girls and I got to sit and enjoy views like this,
the Guides came ambling through in patrols, having been abducted and made to create new clothing from plastic bags, tested on first aid for snakebite, moved stepping stones to cross a river, picked their way across a bog blindfolded and finally recovered treasure without setting off an invisible forcefield. Our job? To point them in the direction of the next evil dictator Guider.

Another day, we went into Llandinam, the local village. There was a show in the village hall which we visited briefly before exploring the village itself, walking past pretty little cottages
before ending up at what may just possibly be the playground with the finest view in the country
Mog thought so, anyway.
Another day we took a trip to Aberystwyth Where we enjoyed the views from the top of the 1277 castle
and then enjoying the view over Aberystwyth from Constitution Hill, via a ride on the funicularThe Guides enjoyed time on the beach, but salt water and sparkly new wheelchairs don't mix terribly well, so we gave that a miss.

On our last full day in camp we spent the afternoon doing some backwoodsy style cooking. Cakes baked in oranges were a hit with nearly everyoneand sausages and fish baked in newspaper seemed to go down ok too. We'd not tried these before - the sausage recipe came from our South African Guide, and the fish technique from Foxlease.

To cook fish in newspaper, take one fillet of fish. Wrap it in newspaper, tie it with string, and soak it in a bucket of water. Squeeze all the air out and throw it onto the fire (nb - embers work best!). When the newspaper blackens, the fish is cooked.

To cook sausages in newspaper, take a sausage and wrap it in a large sheet of newspaper. Throw it into the fire. When it looks like thisit's done! The fish and sausages didn't hang around long enough to be photographed, sorry.

If it looks wet in these photos, that's because it was.

Baked apples were a hit when spread on the Welsh cakes and scones baked in a foil wrapped box over a barbecue were quite successful too.
We were honoured to have the Chief Commissioner for Wales join us in our cookout; her office is in the lodge we passed on our way into the campsite.I hope she enjoyed herself! The girls were pleased to have someone else to cook for, anyway.

Then sadly it was time for the girls and I to disappear back to our farm house for the night, to swap the great outdoors for showers and bed. Meanwhile the Guides sent songs echoing across the mountains as they had their final campfire.

And in the morning, we watched as the field emptiedbefore loading up our own bus and trundling back over the mountains and home again. Back to the local Guide Hut, to apologise to waiting parents and explain that the coach driver had gotten lost, and the girls would be at least 3 hours late home. Then back home properly, to the always pleasant discovery of a fridge door left open all week. But let's not be too real shall we? The girls (mine and the Guides) had a lovely week together, and the leaders can't have had too bad a time, as we are already planning our winter weekend away.

A mammoth catch up. Hope you are all enjoying the many giveaways going on this week, not just my own - do go and take a look at some of the other things on offer.
Have a good evening,

* A working farm has working dogs. It is somewhat disconcerting however to be greeted by five sheepdogs intent on herding the bus into the correct corner of the yard. It is even more disconcerting to have said dogs leaping under the bus to bring it to a standstill. Little Fish does not like dogs and shrank into her chair a bit more each time we encountered them. Mog found this immensely entertaining. I counted limbs each time we made it safely through the pack and realised by the end of the week that just possibly, seriously violent dogs would not be a sound business proposition for a farm house taking paying guests, and that therefore the bark was more likely to be bluster than threat. We lived, anyway.


Sarah said...

Wow, looks like you had a fab time. Guess the illness was a blessing in disguise really (or would you rather have been in a tent?!). Anyway hope the girls both stay fit and healthy for the next couple of trips away :)

p.s. we've been on holiday in Abingdon this week!

Doorless said...

As always beautiful pictures and thanks. UGH on the frig and the stairs. Yep a flock of dogs would not instill a sense of safety to me.
Enjoy being home.

Anonymous said...

You are amazing person !!
I read your blog and Im proud of, that on this world is a person who help children :) kisses and hugs

Aga from Poland

Jules said...

Great week by the looks of things...
Your photos of Aberystwyth gave me an instant feeling of homesickness..or should that be Wales-sickness...

Happiest 3 years of my life were spent in Aber.... oh to be a student again:)

MOM2_4 said...

Thanks for taking me camping with you! Looks like a lovely time.

The B&B looks lovely as well. I can understand the stairs. I know Josh is not as heavy as the girls, but the stairs get old very very fast. Besides the stairs it looks like a lovely place, so glad you were able to make arrangments to stay there!!

Hugs & Prayers

Anonymous said...

Good Day!!! is one of the most outstanding resourceful websites of its kind. I enjoy reading it every day. rocks!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin