Sunday, 24 June 2012

No **** ups this week ....just a few hiccups

A fairly uneventful weekend. 
Thursday 20th :Arrived Thursday to find our Pen y Lon guests had left a day early due to a poor weather forecast. As it happened, the weather wasn't too bad. Oh, and there had been no hot water from that morning. Got good old Stuart came out to diagnose the problem. He fixed the burst water pipe but needs another electrical part. Good job there's no one else coming into PYL for a fortnight, except us. Still, no heating or hot water in PYL beats staying in the caravan!
Our other guests in Y Popty and Y Llaethdy had all lasted out the week, despite mixed weather, and enjoyed their stays. 
Friday 21st: Tom arrived at lunchtime, armed with lots of photography equipment to take photos inside the main house. Looks very professional! Can't wait to see the results.
Got the cottages cleaned , and our first guests for Y Llaethdy arrived around 3pm- a lovely couple who're going to be house hunting in the village all week.
Old dishwasher in the house had finally given up the ghost last week so Mike replaced it with a new one. Freezer had also packed two weeks ago and new one not arriving until Monday but main house can use the one in Y Popty this weekend. Why does everything go at once?
Tom was just leaving the house as the main house guests arrived, we then had our obligatory game of table tennis( which I won 2:0), a  quick tea then went off to Tywyn to watch The Dictator at The Magic Lantern (3/10), was funny in places but wouldn't recommend it. It was a beautiful evening as we drove back to the village.

Saturday 22nd : A dry morning so got on with various jobs around Pentre Bach, including staining new garden chairs and weeding the fruit garden and veg garden. All the rain has certainly made our weeds flourish! The nettles were taller than the raspberry canes.
Fitted in another game of table tennis, despite the all the balls being dented (I won 2:1- had to let him win one game!).

A quick shower then set off ,just as the rain was starting, for a meal at Helen and Peter's house. Had a lovely meal and lovely evening, before walking back again in pouring rain.

Sunday 23rd: Our house guests reluctantly left by about 11.20am , just as the sun was coming out and the clouds were disappearing. What a shame.
Made a start at cleaning the house. Now thinking about going out for a walk. Not going back to Macc this week as have a week of workmen coming and going, appliances being delivered and main house guests arriving mid week. 
Looking forward to watching England taking on Italy tonight. Let's hope they play a whole lot better than they've played so far or it could be very embarrassing!

Well we went for our little stroll..........remind me never to let Mike lead the way again! We set off towards Cae Du campsite but took a short cut down towards the sea, and ended up walking along the railway line for a couple of hundred yards, managing just to scramble over a gap in a wall into the campsite seconds before the train came of our teeth job! 
Then we had a very pleasant walk along the beach by Salt Rock and past Glwndwr's Cave, then onwards towards Tonfanau. Decided to head inland, scrambling up some sea defence walls, through a jungle-like, extremely overgrown 'path' and ...........back onto the railway line!!!! Another swift walk of about a hundred yards, keeping an eye open for passing trains then over a fence and into another field , with no path in sight, just a suspiciously military-looking type high wall in the middle of the field. Got the other side but no gate so had to climb over a barbed wire fence. Walked along a fairly safe road until we took a left turn onto part of the Wales Coastal Path, across some marshy ground and through a few gates until we came to a field that contained what looked very much like a bull sitting in the middle. I walked a lot quicker at this point but  fortunately the bull didn't take any notice of us and we managed to reach the other side of the field without any further incident. Phew! Reached the road, then kept to the road, thank goodness, until we got back to the van.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

A weekend in the lives of Mike and Wilma ......with a little bit of a **** up!

Thursday14th June -Arrived at Pentre Bach early afternoon , unpacked our stuff into Pen y Lon and set to work cutting grass, making beds, etc. in preparation for guests arriving Friday. Managed a few of games of table tennis. Mike won 3:0 I think.

Friday 15th - Rained all day! Gerald arrived and we finished off all cleaning and preparations in all cottages. De-camped to the caravan. The main house, Y Popty and Y Llaethdy were hosts to a large group celebrating a 50th birthday. The first guests arrived around 4ish then the rest of the party arrived in dribs and drabs until the birthday boy arrived to be be met by exploding paper fireworks in the drive. To be fair , some people tried to clear up all the mess but we've been picking up bits of shiny curly paper for days since! For some reason this group tried to break the record for the number of vehicles that could squash into the parking area next to the house. They managed 9 cars and a motor bike! Anyway they all had a great time over the weekend.
Meanwhile our Pen y Lon guests arrived around 7ish, just as we'd started eating our curry- but they weren't to know!

Saturday 16th - Torrential sideways rain nearly all day. Stayed in the caravan (even resorted to cleaning it!!) until about 5.25pm  when it seemed to let up a bit so we ventured out to catch the 5.35 train to Bamouth only to watch it go past as we approached the station! Rushed back to the car and drove to Fairbourne Point to watch the yachts emerge from the harbour to start the Barmouth to Fort William Three Peaks Yacht Race out in the bay. Not a great evening to start a yacht race. Rather them than me!

From there we drove up to the Cross Foxes beyond Dolgellau for a lovely meal. Nice spot!

Sunday 17th - Woke up to a beautiful sunny morning. Hooray! The large party were vacating Y Popty and Y Llaethdy so we set to work cleaning those 2 cottages and preparing for guests arriving later that day and Monday. Finished Y Llaethdy, moved our stuff into Y Popty, had lunch and decided we had time for a walk before Y Llaethdy guests arrived. Drove to Llangellynin church then walked up the hillside above and over the top, walked a little bit of the coastal path and back down to the road to come back to the car- steep at first but had amazing views.

Got back just in time to welcome our new guests into Y Llaethdy- turns out that Mr ****** is a keen photographer so might be able to send us a few photographs for our website.
Played table tennis again- 2:1 to Mike then settled down in Y Popty to watch telly and make tea. Just sat down when we noticed a yellow car draw up outside. Uh oh ....... it was the *******s . They were arriving on the 17th , not the 18th!!! Why hadn't one of us spotted this?!!!
Mike ran out to tell them that the cottage wasn't quite ready so could they give us another half hour. Fortunately they were fine with this and went off to the pub. More than three hours later they arrived back but we'd only taken 20 minutes to move all our stuff back to the caravan and finish off cleaning Y Popty. So...... another night in the caravan.
Had a knock at the door at 10.45pm asking how to get the telly in the house to work. The joys of running a self catering cottage business!

Monday 18th - The birthday group left the house by about 11am., Julie arrived and we set to work cleaning.  Tom called round to discuss photographs and videos and we even managed another couple of games of table tennis- 2:0 to Wilma !!!! Brought the hanging baskets out again now that the worst of the weather was over.  Left for Macclesfield around 5 ish.
Will be back on Thursday to start all over again.

Friday, 15 June 2012

What to do and where to go when its wet in West Wales!

Occasionally it rains in West Wales so what to do........?
Here are a few suggestions:
  • First a suggestion from Gerald- drive to pretty Welshpool (about an hour's drive through beautiful countryside) and have a wander round the shops, indoor market and cafes. Nearby is Coed-y-Dinas (Charlies) country store and garden centre. Charlies sells everything from cookery equipment, toys, plants and fish to tractors! There's a cafe and play area for children.  Virtually opposite is Powis Castle, well worth a visit! If that's not enough you could always drive back via the beautiful Lake Vrynwy. 

  • The Magic Lantern cinema in Tywyn (only a 15 minute drive from Pentre Bach- a lovely original old style cinema, recently refurbished and new bar added.  01654 710260 Stalls - £5 for adults and £4 for children!
  • The Butterfly House at Aberystwyth- 'a tranquil tropical sanctuary'.

  • King Arthur's Labyrinth- an underground adventure- where 'a mysterious hooded boatman sails you underground, through a waterfall and back across a thousand years deep into the caverns of the labyrinth.'
  • Llechwedd Slate Caverns, where you can 'travel deep into the world of a Victorian slate mine to visit spectacular caverns and a subterranean lake'
  • Dyfi Osprey Centre, Tel 01654 781414
  • .You could always spend an afternoon in a hide at the RSPB's Ynys-hir reserve (where Springwatch is filmed) trying to spot nuthatches, goldcrests and lesser spotted woodpeckers.
  • Bendigedig indoor activity centre, Talbot Square, Barmouth, LL42 1AD. Tel  01341 281523
  • ................and of course if you're already wet, why not have a go at surfing, windsurfing, gorge walking or coasteering?!!!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Eating out in and around Pentre Bach

All our kitchens in our cottages are well equipped to cook anything from beans on toast to a full 5 course dinner. However, if you've come for a holiday and a rest, why not take advantage of some of the many eating places within a short drive of our cottages? Here are just a few.

Eating out in and around Pentre Bach

q                   Indiana Cuisine, Fairbourne. Tel:01341 250891
         Run by an ex Bollwood star!
         Recommended by ourselves. Authentic Indian cuisine.
         Takeaways available and they will deliver if the total comes to over £50.
q       The Garthangarad, 01341 250484, in Llwyngwril, is very welcoming. The landlady is called Sue. They often have guest beers and provide pub food in the little restaurant or in the bar.
q                   The Railway Inn, Abergynolwyn.  Tel:01654 782279
         The pub has a large menu with big helpings! Advisable to book.
q                   Caffi’r Ceunant, Abergynolwyn.    Tel:01654 782372 Highly  recommended!
q                   At the top of the Talyllyn Steam Railway. Open daily for freshly produced   organic and locally sourced meals. Can be booked privately for evening meals. Take your own wine. Advisable to book.
q                   The George III, Penmaenpool, nr Dolgellau. Tel 01341 422525
         Located on the edge of the Mawddach Estuary with a fantastic view from the bars and outside terraces. You could combine a visit here with a cycle ride along the estuary starting from either Dolgellau, Barmouth or Morfa Mawddach station (bicycles can be hired either from Barmouth or Dolgellau).
q                   Bwyty Dylanwad Da Restaurant, Dolgellau. Tel:01341 422870
         A bistro with an excellent reputation. Must book well in advance!
q                   Bwyty Mawddach, Dolgellau. Tel:01341 424020
         A converted barn with a spectacular view over the estuary.
q                   Restaurant at Penmaenuchaf Hall, Penmaenpool, Dolgellau.
  Tel:01341 422129
  Fine dining in a Welsh country house (quite pricey!)
q       Restaurant at Y Meirionnydd, Dolgellau. Tel:01341 422554
   Friendly, intimate restaurant in former jailhouse!
q                   Parliament House Coffee Shop, Dolgellau. Tel:01341 423552
  Internet cafĂ© with games for children, newspapers, etc. Set in a former drapers’ shop.
q                   Gwesty Gwernan Hotel, Dolgellau.      Tel:01341 422488
         Situated at the foot of Cader Idris, ideally located for a drink and bite to eat     after coming down from the mountain. Advisable to book.
q                   The Last Inn, Barmouth. Tel:01341 423532 Great   atmosphere.
         The first pub you come to as you enter Barmouth. It’s possible to park at Morfa Mawddach station and walk or cycle over the bridge to Barmouth.

q                   Penhelig Arms, Aberdovey. Tel:01654 767215
         Lunches recommended by previous guests.
q                   The Bear of Amsterdam, Aberdovey. Tel:01654 767684
         Upmarket fish and chip restaurant. Can take your own booze!
q                   Sea Breeze, Aberdovey. Tel:01654 767449
        Has excellent reviews in Trip Advisor!
q                   Walkers Fish and Chip restaurant, Tywyn. Tel 01654 713 999. Huge helpings. Advisable to book.
q                   There is also a Fish and Chip shop in Fairbourne, that will deliver to Pentre Bach if the order is substantial enough. Menus and phone number available in the cottages.
q                   Town and Gown restaurant and book shop, Marine Parade, Tywyn, 01654 711771. This is a quirky little place where you can sit and eat , surrounded by thousands of books that are for sale. There are also tables outside.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Very wet and worse than expected!

Well it started on Thursday night and didn't stop until Saturday morning! The normal little babbling brook called the Gwril that usually flows through Llwyngwril was turned into a raging torrent!
Thanks to Sue Williams for this photo!

Fortunately Pentre Bach and the rest of the village seem to have escaped with no real damage - well just a rain -in problem in the dining room of the main house.
However on Saturday morning the village was for a while cut off as Bryncrug was flooded to the south and Penmaenpool was flooded to the north! Ah well, there was always the railway or a walk across Barmouth Bridge (which incidentally is now toll-free!!!).
There is concern tonight for the village of Pennal, which is threatened by a possible dam burst. Scary times for them.
We feel sorry for all those people further south, whose homes were flooded, and all those campers whose caravans and tents were ruined. Also sadly another osprey chick has died and the last remaining has survived the storm by being fed by volunteers- an unusual and controversial intervention but the circumstances were extreme.
Lets hope the worst is over and we can all get back to normal. Let the summer begin!!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Damp but not as bad as expected!

Well that didn't turn out as bad as we all expected. All the cottages were occupied so it was the caravan for us again!
The weekend started off with beautiful clear skies and wall to wall sunshine and Pentre Bach was looking pretty good with all our pots and baskets out for the first time (ne'er cast a clout till May is out!).
However the weatherman was accurate in that Sunday turned out to be damp and drizzly but not the all day downpour that was predicted!

Not long until the 3 Peaks Yacht Race starting from Barmouth on June the 16th. Looks like they've only got 13 entries so far. Anyone up for it?

Another event coming up in the not too distant future is Race the Train starting from Tywyn on the 18th of August where competitors try to beat the Talyllyn Railway as it goes to Abergynolwyn and back again. The longest race is 14 miles and its all in aid of the Marie Curie charity.

Anyone up for that?