When I was a teeny, I had an English penpal and her family had a holiday cottage in Pwllheli where I was taken to one fine summer. Since, I felt to 'belong' to Wales.
Some thirteen years ago, EG brought me to Wales, it was some kind of blind date. The company I worked for, sent me to a very special training course in the middle of London and EG invited me for a 3 day weekend escape to Wales. Those days were among the most important in my life - happy moments when we both became determined that we did not want to live anymore without each other. He tried then to show me Bodnant gardens but unfortunately beginning of November, the gardens were already closed.
We now planned to visit the gardens before the annual winter closure. The weekend before was held the 'Brocante du fil' in Sprimont and as it was announced that it would be very frosty over the coming days, I cut all the late flowering roses and put them in the house:
At the haberdashery fleamarket it was, indeed, very cold but also very crowded.
However, I enjoyed the fair and came home with some nice fabrics and bits and pieces.
The journey North to Cheshire went fine and we stopped over at Warwick because of Rémi's recommendation for this town. From what we saw in the dark, it was nice and we certainly will go again when the shops are open.
First day, we went down to Shropshire, Ludlow and Bridgenorth. EG needs a Shropshire fix from time to time and so far, we have never been disappointed and never get tired to go there.
It was funny to see that these services are also required there:
Once the market stands were done, we needed a rest in this nice pub
One ceiling was full of whisky pitchers
the other had coronation cups
Exactly my cup of tea ;-)
The fire was burning and I made this picture which took the attention of a nice gentleman
He came up with a magazine where the very fire place was featured together with two lovely springer spaniels in front of it.
We had a fantastic meal in this pub called the Rose and Crown and it had been rightly featured in the magazine.
We then went to 'our' butchers Wall and son and bought plenty of pheasants, ducks and other nice pieces of meat.
EG was searching for special wooden supports for our vintage light switches and we were sent from the ironmonger to a shop opposite the post office.
In this shop one can find anything what a vintage heart may wish for.
Then Bridgnorth welcomed us with its usual friendly face but there again, the days in November are short and the shops close early.
The next day we hit the road for Wales and arrived early in Bodnant.
Too early, and once again we had this big sensation of disappointment in front of the closed gate.
Luckily, a nice lady indicated us the way to the farm shop down the road which was open for breakfast. That was a stunning discovery! It had only been recently opened in July by Prince Charles and Camilla.
This is how I remember 'my' Wales
We spent quite a while in this wonderful farm shop and I regret now not having bought more of the delicious organic lamb chops or free range chicken etc. How lucky people in this area are to have such a superb farm shop!
Then we eventually started to visit the garden.
The right time of the year, the right sunny day and EG even found ET!
Here are some of the many many pictures I took whilst wandering around.
I find what follows is not a visual overkill but the pictures pay tribute to this unique garden. Click on picture to enlarge.
Even a HAHA
Every single tree or shrub is labeled.
The climate is certainly milder here than in our regions and the first frost had not yet hit the flowers.
Usually, I am not fond of Pampas grass, perhaps because they grow too big for in too small gardens? But here in Bodnant, I found they were looking right at their place.
We then followed the path down into the valley. A truly magical place and I imagine that there are elves and fairies living there.
We tried to be still to not to disturb the special atmosphere.
Suddenly, in the toilets there was a warning written on a piece of paper to not to disturb the bat which is hanging from the lamp
On the way up towards the house we encountered two young gardeners and had a chat with them. They told us how lucky they felt to work in such a great place and I only could agree with them that it must be a privilege, indeed.
We also investigated where to find the famous Viburnum bodnantese. We heard that in fact, there was none left as it would not grow well in Bodnant garden itself. :-O
In front of the house are two very old strawberry trees, one has particularly bizarre forms.
Could one ever get tired of that very view?
Finally, the garden cat!
But this time, no compost heap in sight.
In love with all the details of the orangerie
For who has been able to follow until now, here is the well deserved reward:
On the way back, we had to stop for me to take those last pictures with snow on top of the mountains. 'My' Wales as it will always stay in my heart.