Eating Out for England

After weeks of repetitive lockdown cooking and washing up in Wales I was excited to return to London, where the restaurant world was doing its best to operate normally. The weather was mild and sunny and most places had outdoor tables, strategically placed so customers could easily distance. Some were extending Eat Out to Help Out into September, offering enticing … Read More

Summer Trundling 2020 and the Power of Friendship

Beyond 5 Miles The relaxation of the 5 Miles rule in Wales on July 6th and the opening of the tourist market on 13th July brought far more freedom as travelling to and from England became possible. It was time to leave the village of Maentwrog and head for London. Time to reflect a little too. And to contemplate how … Read More

A Place of Refuge

When we first returned to Maentwrog in March it felt like a place of refuge. Not just from Covid 19, but as a quiet and beautiful haven from sadness after the recent death of my mum. Since then Wales has been in lockdown and restrictions remain tight, in comparison to its more flighty neighbour. Nearly everything is closed. Yet life … Read More

May Day in Maentwrog

After seven weeks here, except for the saddest day trip to Staffordshire, my routine is so set, that I sometimes get it muddled up. I put my door keys in the coffee pot and my lipstick in the bread bin. I fill my hot water bottle just as I am due to go for my morning walk. Mostly though I … Read More

The Strangest Spring

Three Weeks and Counting The sun has shone every day for so long that I can’t remember when it rained. I have rarely known such wonderful weather here in North Wales. Today is a glorious bonanza of blues and greens, yellows and pinks. There are clusters of wild violets and primroses, blazing red rhododendrons, early bluebells and creamy blossom, fluffy … Read More

Verandah Life in Maentwrog

Four years ago, when I smashed up my leg while out walking here in Maentwrog, I spent hours and hours and hours and hours sitting on the verandah looking at the scenery. I was lucky. We have a beautiful view of Moelwyn Bach, the mountain which appears and disappears according to the weather. The Ffestiniog Railway train usually chugs across … Read More

Can’t Stop Las Fallas

Joan Ribo, the Mayor of Valencia, just announced that Las Fallas would be held this year, Coronavirus or not. In many other places this could be seen as a risky decision. There’s only been a few confirmed cases in the province, but it’s easy to imagine the virus spreading like wildfire during the city’s mammoth and most important festival. Packed … Read More

El Cabanyal Celebrates the Day of the Kings

On the 5th January, The Three Kings arrive at Valencia’s Marina by speedboat and are then whisked to the city centre in a flashy car. They drive through the streets throwing sweets into the crowds and this joyous ritual is possibly more important than Christmas for the people of Spain. The 6th January is the final day of the Christmas … Read More

Play at Heath Street

Art for All in Hampstead The Heath Street Baptist Church in Hampstead is an admirable example of how a church can enrich a community. With free classical concerts, Jacket potato ceilidh nights and and delightful singing and music sessions for children, it has an appeal which stretches far and wide. Hampstead feels more homely here, bohemian yet friendly. For the … Read More