Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The Allotment

No longer are allotments the boring place your grandfather goes to. Allotments are now pretty cool and very sought after. I've had mine for 6 years or so and this year I have finally put a lot of effort in to tidying it up and growing enough stuff to make it pay for itself. It's a typical sized plot (approximately 7m x 15m) and I've got a polytunnel and a greenhouse to increase what I can grow.

A general view...note the weeds and plastic sheeting in the foreground - still plenty of work to be done in certain areas.

Broad beans in the polytunnel. A pumpkin and courgettes in the foreground and a few tomatoes to the rear.

Climbing French Beans.

Cherry Tomatoes, Melon and cucumbers in the greenhouse (free from a friend of a friend!)

Onions (Red and standard)

We have a continual source of chipped bark and wood provided by a the council landscapers and it makes a great path mulch where I dont have slabs.

First Earlies and a few weeds!! Plus the Greenhouse, Shed and Tunnel in all their glory!

Monday, 30 May 2011

More Black Mountains

I'm making use of the torrential rain outside to get around to posting a few pics and a short report of a mini-horseshoe walk in the black mountains a few weeks back. Five of us managed to get up early and be walking by 7:30am. starting at Llanbedr, we did Table Mountain above Crickhowell, Pen Cerrig Calch, Pen Allt Mawr and then returned via the 'mini ridge' that points directly back South east to Llanbedr.

As well as Chopper and Nicholls, we had Carlo and Shagger with us for company. What became apparent, on the initial ascent of Crug Hwyel, is that you do need a decent level of fitness to be able to participate in mountain walking! 4 of us were absolutely fine, Shagger was knackered within 200 metres of the steep uphill.

This is him...

And this is....

He eventually made it to the top of the ridge after threatening to go back to the car twice (using some excuse about pins and needles in his feet - are you reading Shag??:) but we convinced him to continue.

View back along the ridge towards the Sugar Loaf...

Descending Pen Allt Mawr with Waun Fach and Pen Y Gadair Fawr in the distance...

The views were a bit hazy, but as one of the lads pointed out, it beats the s*** out of lying on the settee watching football am and/or Saturday Kitchen! How very true.
Back in the house by 12:30 with the rest of the day free for other stuff. Perfect.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Ruperra Castle

"Ruperra Castle was built in 1626 by Sir Thomas Morgan, who was knighted by King James 1st. It was a typical Jacobean courtier’s house, an example of the ‘Great Rebuilding’ of the 16th and 17th Centuries. King Charles 1st stayed there in 1645 raising support after the Battle of Naseby. A deer park was recorded in 1684 when the Duke of Beaufort feasted there and there were viewing points through the trees and beautiful grassed rides up to the summer house where the family took tea at this time."

So described at http://www.castlewales.com/ruperra.html. We took a family walk in the forestry commission nature reserve near this castle today and 'snuck' in for a nose. It's a very eerie and atmospheric place and quite dangerous if you venture into the buidling itself, as it is in a serious state of disrepair. The house and outbuildings behind the castle are in a better state and show signs of habitation, with curtains, furniture and even a pair of wellies, looking like they'd been used recently, stood on the floor in one locked room.

This was a strange mural on the wall of a downstairs room in the house to the rear of the castle.

The walk surrounding the castle is interesting, with a 360 degree viewpoint from an iron age hill fort that has had many different structures and uses down the ages. The weather wasn't playing ball today though...

There were also sculptures dotted about in a very pleasant conservation area walk.