May Day in Maentwrog

May 1, 2020 European Travel, Features, Travel Blogger Jane Lovatt's Holiday Memoir

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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 am on automatic, moving through the day according to schedule.

Wake up at dawn, listen to the bird song, go downstairs, say hello to the mountain, make a lot of coffee, try not to look at the headlines but read a book instead, stay in bed a bit because it’s cold, have a shower for as long as possible because it’s hot, eat a banana, go for a walk, hope to see people, so I can talk to them and acknowledge how grateful we are to be here…and then return to spend as productive a day as my attention will allow. Writing, reading, gardening, cooking and sorting through my mum’s last few possessions for as long as I can bear it.

Today though I am purely celebrating the arrival of the month of May. One of the most beautiful of the year, especially here in this greenest of places. The purple bluebells are growing thickly in the woods, dotted with red campion, the hawthorn is beginning to appear, scenting the lane where I walk each evening.
There are bursts of sweet-smelling lilac, clusters of shiny buttercups, and some early honeysuckle. There’s abundant wisteria and clematis in the village gardens, yellow azaleas with their honey aroma and golden Welsh poppies, growing next to the pale blue forget-me-nots.

The seeds I planted a month ago have grown about three cms high. I am so delighted by them that I will be scared to let them go into the big world of the ground, in case they perish. Like trusting a child to go to school on their own for the first time.

Soon though I will bravely transplant them and hope that the radishes and courgettes, cabbages and broccoli will not be eaten by slugs. And that one day we can eat them and feel proud that something has been achieved.

In this glorious month, when the days stretch out from 4.30 am to 10pm I will make the most of being here in the mountains, by the river, in the woods and by the lake, where the cuckoo calls out all day long and the baby lambs are sadly getting bigger.

I will focus on the projects I have wanted to complete for so long, hope I don’t put coffee in my hot water bottle and try not to ask people who they voted for in the last election when they boast about how loudly they have clapped for carers.

Then as June approaches, if all goes well, I can tentatively pack my trundle bag and find a way to head to the big dirty city, for a little while at least. And I can look back and cherish the month of May, spent in Maentwrog, enjoying each day.