Tuesday, 27 October 2015

A Celebration

We were invited to a special celebration on Friday past. A mainly family celebration with some special friends as well.

The celebration was held in Montalto House in Ballynahinch. We had exclusive use of the house for the entire evening! It's such a beautiful location and the house is absolutely stunning. As it says on their website: 'You can become the Lord or Lady of the manor with the attention of your personal butler, the scrumptious food of renowned chefs and the hands-on management of one of Ireland's most respected hospitality professionals.' This was certainly borne out to be true as the meal and the service we had was second to none. And yes, we had our very own butler! A younger and much more handsome butler than Downton Abbey's Carson! He has worked in Hillsborough Castle and attended there when the Queen was visiting.

So what were we celebrating? We were celebrating the appointment of my cousin Denise as a high court judge. She and another woman are the first women to be appointed as high court judges in the history of the Northern Ireland judicial system. As you can imagine, we are all extremely happy for her as she has worked very hard. Her mother, my aunt Ruby, is ninety one years old! She broke her hip a few years ago but managed to walk into Montalto House on Friday evening with just a helping hand from her daughters. Denise is the next to youngest of eight daughters and one son. They were all there with their families on Friday, so delighted for Denise's success.

Well, this is just a very quick post without even a single picture of the event. I just wanted to enjoy it all without stopping to take photos of all that was going on.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Happy Campers

Back at the beginning of September I told you about going to a wedding and staying for two nights in a hotel in Bournemouth. Well, after that we drove back into Wales and spent two nights camping before heading home again. Let me explain. I know camping isn't anything strange but it's been years since we camped. In fact, the husband was clearing out the garage and issued an edict: either the camping gear is put into use or it is dumped. Of course we couldn't just dump it all so it was brought out of the garage and cleaned up ready for this short trip.

For our two nights in Wales we stayed in the Nantcol Waterfalls Campsite in Snowdonia. It was very good; nice, clean facilities and plenty of room to pitch the tent. It was also right beside the waterfalls and river so very picturesque.

The first place we went to visit was Powis Castle and Garden. As we are National Trust members we were able to get in for free. It was a really beautiful day so, after visiting the castle, we took our time going round the magnificent gardens. I'll not tell you about all the photos (there are a lot of them) but just a comment on some. This horse's head was for sale in the castle shop. Way too expensive for our budget, unfortunately.

These yew trees had been featured on the Country File programme a few weeks earlier, showing them being cut. They are massive!

I loved this tree; you could actually get inside!

The husband will never let me take his picture so I have to try and snap him any chance I get! Just to prove he actually was at Powis Castle.

This picture below really shows how tall the yews are.

After a very enjoyable day out we headed back to the campsite. Thankfully the weather was so good that I was able to cook dinner outside using the two tiny gas stoves you can see in this picture. Don't know what we would have done if it had been raining!

Each pitch on the site had its own fire pit so we bought some fire wood and lit up.

We lit the fire a bit too early, really.

It didn't take long for the wood to burn away and we had to resort to burning any wee bits of twigs we could find! Then we started getting anything we could possibly burn out of the car!!

We got a good blaze going but soon the cold beat us and we had to go to bed.

The following day (Tuesday 8th September) we went for a drive through Snowdonia National Park. The scenery is magnificent; in some ways a bit like the Lake District. We stopped in several of the little towns to look round craft shops and get coffee.

We stopped in Betws-y-Coed, quite a big town, for some lunch. And there we found this rhino, filled with plastic bottle tops.

After re-fuelling with our sandwiches and crisps (I very, very rarely eat crisps!) we went to visit Penrhyn Castle, another National Trust property.


I didn't take as many pictures at this castle (obviously!) and none at all of the railway museum that we also visited there.

That was all we had time for on our mini holiday. We drove to Holyhead, taking our time to see as much as possible of Anglesey. This is where we waited until it was time to go for the ferry.

Look, here comes our ferry!

Just appearing past the harbour wall.

So we're back to being campers; very happy campers. We've been for another short trip (I'll tell you about it soon) and we've been upgrading our equipment a bit. One very important thing was to get a warmer sleeping bag for me. The husband doesn't feel the cold! The other, probably equally important thing, was to get a tent that is high enough to stand up in. We're too old to be crawling about in a tunnel tent on our hands and knees!

Hope you enjoyed the photos and didn't give up. If you're at this point then you must have stuck with me.

All the best for now. I'm in the throes of ripping out my Aran coat and it's not going well. Worse even than I anticipated. Oh well, I just need to get enough out of it to make my poncho. And, if all else fails, I can buy more of the yarn (but don't tell anyone, please). The poncho crocheting is going very well except that I now need more yarn from the not-ripped-out coat. I'm enjoying the crocheted cables so, so much!