Thursday 11 April 2024

Biting the Bullet

Hi there everyone 😀

The garden is feeling daunting this year. The weather hasn’t helped. It’s mid-April and I think we’ve only been out there twice so far. Once to remove all the pot saucers from under the pots … as everything was saturated … and once to clear the strawberry bed.

We haven’t even had a proper leaf clearing session … though the grass has had its first cut … not by me I hasten to add.

Looking at what needs doing it’s hard to know where to start … sheds need painting … pergola needs treating … arbour needs painting … fence needs painting … lots of patio needs jet washing … lots of pots need emptying or replacing … grass needs scarifying and that’s before we even start on weeding the borders.

We normally have a bit of a plan of attack to make sure we get through everything but last year, with spending so much time away, lots of jobs didn’t get done so are in dire need this year.

One job that has been on the cards for about three years now is to replace the raised bed which is pretty rotten and definitely at the end of its life …
We did make an enthusiastic start a few years ago when I emptied it of planting … but nothing has happened since and it is now full again of self set foxgloves and verbena … and plenty of weeds …
This week I had a bit of an epiphany and decided that if we waited until we had done all of the routine jobs, before starting in this bed, we would never get round to it.

So … in a break with our normal gardening programme … I decided to leave everything else and make the bed the priority.

It took a while to build up a bit of enthusiasm from Martin … as it will be a big job and not something that either of us feel that confident about … but after an afternoon of measuring and planning and then remeasuring and replanning we had at least decided on an approach …
We have decided to build the new bed, in the same footprint, with oak sleepers … in the hope that it’s not a job we will have to repeat in our lifetime.

As it is such a big job with lots of steps I’ve broken it down into sizeable chunks with the first being to remove all the plants we want to save and get rid of the weeds … a task which is easily within our gift …
The second step is to empty the bed of dirt … so a call was put into one of our friends to see if we could borrow some big bags to store the soil in whilst we go through the process of rebuilding the bed.

He turned up the following day with these so we really had no excuse for getting started and set ourselves the objective of at least emptying the bed before we next go away … which is about a week and a half away.

After a pretty busy week Thursday and Friday were looking good on the weather front so Thursday was the day to finally bite the bullet and get started. 

We managed to salvage lots of verbena … pots full of the stuff …
We also managed to replant all of the foxgloves around the garden and the phlox in a pot … and we soon had a nice bed free of plants and weeds …
It was then time to start breaking down the bed. We decided to take the front off which we hoped would make it easy to shovel out the soil …
This worked really well and, with a few rest stops, we managed to empty the larger part of the bed …
… and completely break it down …
We were both really hot and tired by then so decided it was time to tidy up and leave the rest for another day …
We’d done really well … nearly completing all of our preparation steps in one session. Another couple of hours and a trip to the tip and it will be time to order our sleepers …

… but not before our very good at measuring, and planning, friend Phil has had a look over our measurements 🙈

😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀

Wednesday 10 April 2024

Lodge Life :: March 2024

Hi there everyone 😀

The first of March, St David’s Day and, by my reckoning, the first day of Spring and we were packed up pretty early and heading over to North Wales for our first visit of the new season.

The weather forecast was grim, with lots of rain and, even snow, forecast for our journey … so we opted to take the route via Welshpool and Dolgellau, hoping to avoid the worst of the weather in the mountains.

It actually wasn’t too bad a journey, though we did see plenty of rain, some sleet and a tiny bit of snow. There was plenty of the white stuff on the mountain tops though … making us glad we’d opted for the route we had …
Once we’d arrived the well organised machine soon kicked in and unpacking was done, water and heating on, beds were made, a few rogue flies were vacuumed up and we were settled down for a week of chilling out and a bit of wet weather exploring.

Saturday was our first full day and, surprisingly, we were up early and greeted with a lovely bright and sunny day so we decided to make the most of it … starting off by heading to Trefor for a short walk along the beach …
I think Trefor was the first place we visited after we’d took ownership of the lodge and it’s somewhere we usually try and take any visitors. There’s not a lot there but we really like it. It’s just a tiny harbour area and beach … backed by the mountains … with fabulous views over to Anglesey. It always really feels quite mindful …
From Trefor we went on a bit of a drive … looking for snow capped mountains …
… before ending up at the cafe at Tan y Bwlch station …
On Sunday we had a breakfast date with friends at our favourite local garden centre before just chilling out back at the lodge for the afternoon and on Monday we didn’t go far at all. Just a quick visit to our favourite garden centre with a stop off at the Glynllifan Park cafe on the way back, where the hellebores were looking beautiful … 
On Tuesday the sunshine was back and after a quick visit to Asda for supplies we had a drive to Nefyn for a walk along the beach to the harbour and back …
It’s only the second time we’ve done the walk along the beach since we’ve had the lodge but it was just lovely. The tide was right out so we had plenty of time to have a slow wander and a good explore of the tiny harbour …
… followed by a sit in the sunshine before heading back …
From here we decided to call in at one of our favourite, and most visited spots, on the way back. We love Nant Gwrtheyrn … the old quarrymen’s village, now the Welsh language school.

This was a strange visit though … as all of the pine trees, lining the zigzag road down to the village, were in the process of being felled. It all looked so different. It was very open and without the trees some of the mystery of what is to be discovered at the bottom has gone forever …
We understand that the trees were unsafe and at the end of their lifespan, with lots already having been the victims of storm damage over the years. They will be replaced with native Welsh species so in the years to come there will be a new woodland … but we will both miss the sense of driving the hairpin bends through the pine forest.

On Wednesday there was even more sunshine and with the promise of a low tide at the right time we decided to head over to Anglesey … where we were hoping the tide would be low enough to walk out to the lighthouse at Penmon.

We were up and out early so had plenty of time for a stop off in Beaumaris for a wander and lunch …
We arrived at the lighthouse at bang on low tide and for a while we thought we were in luck …
Sadly it was not to be … it’s the lowest we’ve seen it but not quite low enough to get right up to the lighthouse without getting very wet. At least we now know it needs to be a very low tide … we will definitely be trying again …
We didn’t go far again on Thursday. We just had a ride to Caernarfon for a look round my favourite houseplant shop and a very nice chilled lunch in The Four Alls …
Our last full morning was spent just hanging around the lodge … a bit of packing … a bit of cleaning and a bit of lunch. We did venture out for a couple of hours in the afternoon, which was still bright, but a bit blustery.

We had a ride to Criccieth for a last wander along the beach before warming up in a cafe that we hadn’t tried before …
It was then back to the lodge for our last evening and a chippy tea. 

We managed to get back again later on in the month, this time for Easter. We arrived just before the heavens opened on the Monday before the Easter weekend and were soon settled in and warm and toasty.

As the forecast was for more rain we didn’t venture far on our first full day. We just had a ride to an antique ‘emporium’ in a hunt for a medium sized birdcage I could use to house one of my spider plants.

Whilst there were plenty of interesting bits and pieces we didn’t find what we were looking for so decided to try out the cafe at Caernarfon airport, where we had some very nice breakfast sandwiches whilst watching some very small planes taking off and landing.

We then headed back to the lodge … with one last stop off at a bit of a craft centre we’d noticed lots of times, but never actually called in … so today was the day.

We didn’t do much on the Wednesday or Thursday either … just a pop into Pwllheli for a few bits and pieces and lunch out at Nant Gwrtheyrn on the Thursday … where the removal of the pine forest was still in full swing and we could clearly see the difference since our last visit …
On Good Friday it was Martin’s birthday. The weather wasn’t brilliant but we had a drive to Porth Ysgaden, hoping for a bit of a walk. Sadly the weather was against us so we just took in the view from the car before heading back …
To celebrate Martins birthday we met up with friends at Bombay Joe’s … our favourite Indian restaurant in Nefyn. 

The weather forecast for the Easter weekend was good and we really did make the most of it exploring some really beautiful new places for the first time. 

On the Saturday we headed for the Dorothea Slate quarry and had a really good walk and got to see some fabulous views …
It was a really lovely spot and I will tell you more about it in a separate post. We finished off our day with a quick call in at Y Felinheli, where we just had a bit of a short wander …
Easter Sunday brought lots more lovely warm sunshine and we headed over to Menai Bridge on Anglesey, where I wanted to have a look at the ‘church on the island’, which did not disappoint and is, again, definitely worth another post …
Easter Monday brought us into April so I will save the last few days of our stay for my April lodge life post. 

It was a good March really … we did see plenty of rain but the month started and ended with glorious sunshine, we got to see and do lots of our favourite things, and we were both really happy with that ☀️

☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️

Saturday 6 April 2024

A Visit to Anglesey

Hi there everyone 😀

On the Wednesday of our first week in North Wales this year the weather forecast was for sunshine all the way.

Low tide at Penmon Point was also at a very sensible time for us … 1.10pm. As we both really wanted to be able to walk out to the lighthouse … which is only possible at low tide … a visit to Anglesey was definitely on the cards.

We were up and out pretty early for us so, after a very quick and unfruitful visit to Dunelm in Bangor, we made our way across the Menai and along the coast to Beaumaris.

The plan was to have a bit of a wander, maybe some lunch and then head on to Penman in time for low tide.

It was a glorious day and I had Martin stop on the way in so I could capture some photos of the brightly coloured houses …
… and the view across the Strait …
We were soon parked up and heading for the pier in the warm sunshine. It was lovely … but then Beaumaris always is … especially when it’s nice and quiet and the weather is just right …
The sun wasn’t in the best position for photos along the pier and it was quite hazy over the mountains but it was still pretty stunning …
By the time we’d finished on the pier we were both ready for a comfort break and lunch so managed to get lucky and find a table in Beau’s … a lovely quirky and cosy tea room in the High Street …
We both opted for the Welsh Rarebit …
… before sharing a piece of the most tasty Battenberg cake ever …
There was just time for a quick mooch round a few of our favourite shops before heading off to Penmon to catch the low tide …
We parked up and, whilst you can’t actually see how low the tide is from the car park … it was looking promising … we’d never seen as much of the red bouy or Puffin Island as exposed before …
This is the path that takes you down to the lighthouse and we were excited to see what we would find …
The tide was certainly the lowest we’d seen it …
… it wasn’t quite low enough to actually get down to the lighthouse … not without a very good pair of waders anyway. Whilst we had been really hoping to get closer it was impossible to be disappointed … it was still beautiful …
Whilst we are not experts at understanding the tides … low tide on this visit was 2.7m. Later in the week it did get to -0.4m. We can only hope that means that it does get lower and next time we will leave it a couple of days and hopefully catch a low, low tide …

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