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An itinerant observer and thinker about life in general, sharing some moments of wandering and wonderment.

Monday, 25 March 2013


<<< This was the scene that met me on Saturday morning as I slowly got myself over to the Post Office. It seemed like a Christmas tree, three months out of season and with only a week to go before Easter. But we have been lucky over the last few days compared to so many other areas of U.K. 1000's of folk without electricity, the weight of snow causing damage to homes, roads totally blocked and airports closed. The countrywide  scenes on television and in the newspapers have been quite awesome and my heart goes out to all those that have really struggled and to the very many emergency services and technicians that have tried their best to ensure that folk are safe.
We have been O.K in this part of Wales, though no doubt the farmers have had a rough time with lambing.

But ... there are those further north who have already lost valuable stock under drifts of snow over 20 foot deep.
Last March was so very different to this, it was so much milder than this. My heart goes out to all those who deal with livestock in these bittter, winter, wind biting conditions. 
And of course there are our wild birds too...
After a lousy spring when blossoms got knocked of the trees with heavy rainfall, there were hardly any berries and fruits to keep them going through autumn and this winter.
I recently heard the sparrow chicks chittering in the eaves outside my bedroom window.
The jackdaws have been nattering vociferously in the trees by the quarry behind me.
I have yet to see lots of lambs bouncing about, as I've not managed to get out much and
being post stroke ... I am banned from driving until the Doc gives me the all clear to do so.
Luckily we have a Post Office in the village and a very substantially stocked local shop.
I've just heard on our local news that though we may not get much more snow, the very low temperatures will mean that there is little chance of melting for Easter time.
It has partially melted here on this south facing mountain side where we get sunshine.
But out at the back of the house where my bonsai trees are sheltered, it's a long slow melt.
Methinks we may see a lot of Snow Bunnies & Snow Eggs built around Easter time!

Friday, 22 March 2013


Hello folks. Welcome to Spring here where Dafad is managing rather well despite the very uninspiring Spring weather. The Vernal Equinox date was  in the diary for two days ago.
A good friend of mine had migrated from the Fenland Flats to stay with me and take in the healing air of the Welsh mountains for a few days. We decided to celebrate the start of Spring by going up to the trig point on top of the mountain for some "very fresh" air!
On the way up we noticed that (our national flowers) the daffodils in the verges along the mountain road were in bud, though not yet in bloom ... St David's Day was 22 days ago!
The sky moody
This hardly seemed like the approach of Spring ... on the mountain ground was snow!
Since that day we have had almost permanent rain but ... more snow is forecast. Blimey!
I feel so sorry for the local farmers who are struggling with dealing with lambing at the moment. Lambing can be hard at the best of times, but this weather just makes things worse. Cold bitter nights, keeping a check on ewes that seem to be struggling. Hard times.
Where we had parked there was a site of fly tipping, womble me, rescued a womble but more on that later. We were so cold that we headed for home but stopped on the way ...
My friend had never seen the lovely old church.
<<< St Illtyds churchyard looked beautiful in the late afternoon sunlight. Despite the hand-biting cold, it looked warm and inviting. The daffodils against an old stone wall were just beginning to flower and there were cowslips already in bloom. It seemed so very different from being on the mountain top as we stopped on our journey down for a short break before returning to the warmth of home.
But it had been a good thing for my friend from the Flat Fenlands to see just where I live, to take in the mountain air and be able to see 360 degrees around the area we live in. It can be, like drink, intoxicating and addictive. But back to the wombling side of my nature ... I have for many years been a "wombler" of fly tipping and as such have come home with ... "rescued items." That Womble is now safely warm, out of the Spring snow has been washed and dried and has a new home. 
The tiger is another rescue >>>
What you see is a bed spread that Dafad rescued some years ago. It was dumped on the mountain. I took it to the Dry Cleaners and lo and behold ... a seemingly brand new bed spread! Complete with a womble!
And with that for now ... I will say goodnight. this womble will fight to live another day and no doubt recycle other peoples rubbish in the future. Here's to "wombling" throughout the years ahead.
Meanwhile ... all across the U.K. more snow is forecast and I expect to wake to a white world. This is a really cold start to spring which will make what is left of the lambing even tougher for all our farmers. 

Wednesday, 13 March 2013


As the day comes to an end, what a day today has been in both personal and world ways.
Though for these ewes on the commons, I guess they've not heard that there is new Pope!
Over 2000 years of Christian history have seen a change yet again. There have been 266 Popes at the head of the Catholic church and this is the first to be named Francis after that gentle monk of Assisi who has a fascinating history (too detailed to go into here, but please do google him) but he is also known as the patron saint of animals and the environment.

Which is why I mention all this today, because if there is such a thing as answered prayers then I hope his gentle spirit is looking over the state of our environment and farming today
because after these last few years, our climate is in turmoil and our farmers are struggling.
Now old Dafad here, has been out of touch with my farming community due to the stroke, followed by some short lived bug that knocked the stuffing out of me. But us old sheep are a hardy type and I've survived. I even managed to get on a bus today and get some much needed shopping from our local supermarket. My left side still isn't quite right and I had to use a trolley for relatively few items, and for the first time ever, had to ask the kindly lady to give me a hand with the packing and then taxied back home, feeling quite knackered.
But ... no knackers yard for me yet, thanks to my strong genes I'm made of more hardy stuff than some of those lowland types. I thrive on the Welsh hills, mentally at least and the human vets have indeed, saved me, there is life in me and the mad mutt yet. Sooo ....
I am looking forward to my recovery thanks to a wonderful, post stroke back up team, who I am slowly getting to know. There are tests ahead and physio to go through but there are times in my life when I've been through far worse. Sadly at the moment I am missing lambing time, something that I was so very much looking forward to this year. 
There are stiles to climb over and gates yet to go through, but I am on the mend and intent on getting back on top of the mountain with the mad mutt to inhale the fresh air!

Monday, 11 March 2013


I'm feeling rather fly tipped or dumped on the downs. Well that is what I feel like at the moment, I seem pick myself back up after my time spent in hospital, doing rather well and then  some  other nasty little bug knocks me back, I've had a weekend of coughing,  sneezing and not feeling like eating, which didn't make watching THE RBS 6 Nations as pleasurable as it could have been Humph! Still, I seem to be over the worst now, just a bit drenched out and having to build myself up again the level when I was when I came out of hospital. There is quite a way ahead to go in the months ahead, but with any luck and a lot of determination, Dafad will get there. 
And no We didn't go out playing in the snow, what there was of it, though I have just checked and it has been sneakily snowing more heavily whilst I've been holed up like an old badger face with a racking cough and the poor daft dog looking at me rather sadly.
Still he has been patient all over these last weeks hardly getting out.
With physio to go over the next few months & without more bugs, should be good soon!

Friday, 1 March 2013


Hello folks. Yep Dafad is back in the land of the living and quietly celebrating the fact that today ... being March the 1st is St Davids Day or as is said in Welsh, "Dydd Gwyl Dewi."
Now, it's been brought to my notice that folk have been missing the ramblings on my blog.
It's nice to know I've been missed, heaven knows why, the way I normally waffle on but there has been a good reason because I've not been well for some six months with one thing and another like pneumonia before Christmas, various other bugs were dealt with and the real crunch happened on Monday morning when I woke about half six only to find that my body was split into two. The left side of it had decided to go on strike, luckily I'm right handed so was still able to do some things like call an ambulance, I'd had a stroke.
Not totally debilitating but of concern enough for the paramedic to call for an ambulance and I was whizzed of to A&E at some speed and thanks to Nevill Hall Hospital and the wonderful teams of doctors and nursing staff, old Dafad here has survived and after lots of tests, x-rays, MRI scans etc etc, I was sent up to the Acute Stroke ward and gently nursed back to sort of normality. Not that Dafad's ever been what most folk call normal.
I was released late yesterday evening and picked up by a lovely female farmer friend, whilst her husband was still working late up on the farm. I owe them several drinks and ...
when I have gone through all the tests & physiotherapy that await me over the months ahead, I will be treating them both, to a slap up celebratory meal, somewhere really nice.
So ... worry you all less please I am alive and laughing at some of the ridiculous hurdles I've had to climb slowly over and the diversions I've had to go through. As the old Readers Digest always used to say ... Laughter is the best medicine. How very true that is!
On the ward we all, many much more seriously ill than me (to say the very least) we all ended up making silly, sometimes rather wry jokes about various situations and a lot of laughter could be heard emanating from our six bed room. It was all very healing stuff.
As for those still in Gilwern Ward & there are many of them, I wish you all the very best.
So ... I'm back in the land of the living and celebrating St Davids Day with a few friends.
A Rhymney Hobby Horse Ale for me please. Cheers!
"Iechyd da Dewi Sant!