I have been in Wales for three and a half weeks. I have done a lot of walking in the hills around, up through forests and slate quarries, by the river and fields, making the most of the unexpectedly good weather and taking notes and photographs. Trying to be better at identifying trees, watching the colours change on the hillsides, deciduous larches standing out in shades of ochre against the sombre greens of the coniferous trees. So many beautiful walks all around here and quaint villages and a great bus service. A day ticket is only 6 pounds and the buses are free at the weekend. Maybe I should move to someplace like this? Food for thought.
I have stood again in awe of the detail and scope of the Italian `village`, those amazing replicas in an ordinary garden on the edge of the forest. I have sat at the pool at the `borehole`, a little circular amphitheatre blasted into the side of the mountain and once filled with the noise and activity of slate mining. Now it is an eerie place, a pool at the bottom surrounded by wild vegetation and slowly being invaded by thorn bushes. The cut faces of the mountain rise steeply on three sides, shining blue and silver in the cold autumn sun with dark holes where there are entrances to mines along the cliff face. I have had lovely walks in Dyfi forest taking notes and making all too brief sketches. I am not one for sketching in cold weather..
To the market in Machynnleth every Wednesday and searching out treasures in the many antique and rag and bone shops in the town…to Dolgellau for Meg`s delicious cakes, and of course to the Slaters arms next door and the cafe, Idris stores on the other side for wifi and the fire and company.
And more delicious food, including lots of vegan homemade options.
Despite all this a lot of work has been happening too! Editing and grouping stories for a collection and doing some work on a new story. Making notes. Working on some images, painting, drawing, trying out ideas for monoprints.
Yesterday the charger for my laptop blew up so today has been a challenge, trying to use my iPad to write and upload things.
I have read `Wolf Hall` at last and the wonderful `Grace` by Paul Lynch, Catriona Lally`s funny and quirky `Eggshells`, Mari Gallagher’s interesting observations on adoptive motherhood in `Becoming a Mother`, Julie Burtinshaw`s `The Perfect Cut`, an absorbing ale of teenage self harm and several other books as well as the short s
tories I have dipped in to.
I am heading home next Tuesday, revitalised by the fresh air and the break from the stuff of normal life and swapping tales with my Canadian fellow residents Julie and Betsy as well as Jackie Smith from London who was here the first week.
And I`m looking forward to catching up with all I`ve missed from home, home comforts and Wi-Fi on demand and Christmas ahead. Life is good!