Our final day involved a stop at Petworth House and garden. The house contains extensive selection of Turner, and Van Dyke, amongst many other, and particularly in Covid times, were concentrated in just a few rooms, giving a very intensive and easily digested tour. Notably two William Blakes were “hidden” in an archway, easily missed and as if saying they were the least important of the collection!
On round the “garden” and deer park, I certainly remember well going there but the details of the park eluded me. However it was great to see, at a distance, the dear, already rutting and bellowing across the park!
After a blustery night we set off for the Open Air Museum www.wealddown.co.uk But got distracted as we passed Goodwood Racecourse and stopped off at The Trundle, which we duly climbed despite the wind.
After this The Open Air Museum, last visit ?35 years ago, Ying reckons she’d never been… Its a bit difficult to describe but consists of a wide open valley and wooded areas with historical houses dotted around in the woods and grounds. The houses are all taken from Sussex, Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, and The Weald, dismantled, then renovated and rebuilt on site. Pictures likely tell a thousand words…
Onwards to Bosham, and reminiscing about painting with Edna, I am not quite sure what age but I suspect 7-8-9. There were two subsequent painting trips, one alone painting a river/wier, and the other later at Bewl Reservoir with Ying along as well
Today we walked round the inlet at Bosham and found the causeway across and to my recollection walked across it and back for the first time.
Due to other plans being cancelled/delayed, we decided on an ad hoc trip centred around Chichester, where I spent about 10 years, from 1963 to 1973/4, leaving soon after starting secondary school to go to Cornwall.
Although not intended purely as nostalgia it seemed appropriate to revisit some of my memories for the first day at least. Approaching via Petersfield (very nice town, lake, town square, sax busker!) we parked just below South Pallant and headed south over the railway line to Kingsham Avenue. We visited the rather sprawling School, and the boarded up Chi High old grammar school, looking rather sad unfortunately, then on to Kingsham Primary, through the tidied up but previously slightly intimidating ( to a 7 yr old!) cut through to The Whyke and across to Willowbed Avenue.
All pretty much the same, though double glazing, and the garage had been bricked up. Ying endured tales of burglers, my fascination with the bitumen between the concrete road blocks (don’t ask!)
Onwards past my Scout hut obviously updated but essentially unchanged, then finding a way along Whyke Lane, over the bridge to St Pancras Church and The Hornet, and back into town.
We visited The Pallants, and one of Dads offices then on around the Cathedral.
We then headed of to the campsite, but not before regaling Ying with amusing tales of Bitumen, the Ash tree at the end of Willowbed (no more), the houses of long forgotten friends, competitions with Michael Toops, and meeting his mum at a GP practice visit!, seeing Belstone Fox at the cinema with Edna, etc.
Perhaps the most important to me, and one Ying had heard before and thankfully remembered! was of a shopping trip with Dad to Sainsbury’s pre barcodes etc. I guess I was about 8-9 or so‘ pre decimalisation (1971). I added all the purchases as we went round (possibly 20-30???) and when we got to the checkout, my total was about 1 and 6 more than the till… Dad turned to me and asked if I was sure, then got the checkout lady to tally the whole lot up again, and confirm I was right, ending up having to pay the extra money. If memories stay with you, then let them be those❤️
After that we drove down to Bognor seafront via a fish and chip shop for supper which we ate on the promenade, before walking the pier at sunset. A bit blustery but a good day was had by all
After a lazy breakfast followed by a lazy lunch in Brecon, we wandered the town, very nice, randoms shops in random streets, Sally picked up a lovely top in the Red Cross Charity Shop, and then we were on our way home.
We travelled down the A465 and A4042 roughly along the River Usk, which looked lovely and worth putting on the future “hit list”. All in all, with the variety of stops and places it felt like we’d been away for ages and done a lot. I hope that feeling continues into the next trips.
We drove East through Lampeter, possibly nice but completely shut on a Sunday, and stopped for a while at Dolaucothi Roman gold mines, unfortunately closed but a nice little walk down to the river.
On to Llangadog to meet Sally and Gary at The Goose and Cuckoo pub for a nice Sunday lunch. Suddenly the village was hit by a flood of sports cars from “The Cannon Run” with Ferrari’s, Mclarens, AMs, and assorted other big engined cars roaring through. Our presence (and a combine) seemed to unsettle them as we broke their steady stream of cars and the second half missed their turning and set off in the wrong direction… probably still stuck down an unmarked track somewhere🤣
A few miles further we got to Llandovery (RFC) where we pitched together and chatted the rest of the afternoon, finishing with an assortment of olives, Hummus, and sushi!!!
Sally then treated us to a tour of the town and Roman / Norman castle and pretty little town centre, and back to site at sunset
It started a bit blustery made more worrying by the number of recently fallen trees, and then started pouring, scuppering our plans for Portmeirion en route. However we zigzagged down western Wales visiting
Porthmadoc – raining
Dolgellau – rather grey but possibly nice with a crowd, Covid seemed to have done its thing there…
Past Cader Idris – looking imposing, one of dads favoured walks but we didn’t feel able to tackle it today.
Down its glacial valley
and on to Aberdovey, fairly windswept today as you can tell. We happened across and bought a very eco runner for the hallway, half wool, half recycled plastic
And wound our way down to New Quay and Tyr Ffynnon campsite. Pretty remote but with views out to the west over the sea, with good walks beckoning tomorrow down into New Quay
Today we took a leisurely 10km walk from the park through Beddgelert Forest in a big loop taking in views of Snowdon
The Forest was amazingly lush (i.e. dripping wet) with moss covering almost everything that didn’t move
At the top we were greeted by Llyn Llewelyn (lake) where we stopped for pate sandwiches and wished we had brought crisps and apples to turn it into a feast. Clearly the conifers were past their best and many had fallen or been felled to make way for…?
Don’t look too close Lynn…
Back to the van and delicious Chorizo pasta, then cleared the awning in anticipation of strong winds in the morning, and then off to New Quay (possibly Portmerion on the way weather permitting)
Today stayed put at Beddgelert Camp Site, after a rainy night we found we’d pitched on what turned into a river. Luckily our neighbour opposite upped sticks and left a dry and level pitch for us to move into.
We then decided to walk into Beddgelert village itself, about 4 undulating km away. Part forestry commission paths/roads, part gravelled path through fields with glorious views across to Snowdon (it’s the one hidden by this little hill !)
Beddgelert itself had recently been flooded as evidenced by houses with carpets strewn across gardens and several businesses closed due to floods but provided us with baguettes and coffee for the return walk, only after seeing the Beddgelert to Caernarfon Steam Train leave (supposedly with one family per carriage!
En route we saw this lovely stream with mossy banks and imagined fairies and goblins dancing around…
Back at base (new dry one) convinced we saw a nuthatch on tree next to our old pitch (sadly no photo) but Ying thinks it was a green woodpecker through the binoculars
A lazy breakfast of slow cooked bacon rolls (Cadac BBQ still not mastered) then walked along the canal, part of Christleton and looped back.
Drove Off along A55 coastal road planning on stopping in Conwy, but noticed Conwy RSPB nature reserve and tried that instead. Lovely views across the estuary and lakes there, seeing redshanks, and grey herons, cormorants and egrets as well as terns and ducks etc. I had to explain to Ying that only flightless Emus remain in Africa, the one overhead was the migratory Emu… Well worth the accidental stopover.
Unfortunately as we turned left, Menai Straights and Puffin Island across the sea, it started to rain, right through to the campsite. Maybe the clue is in the lush vegetation around the site…