Thursday, 11 August 2011

Holiday Highlights

Hello all! I have not been "here" for two weeks...  Just very busy and also we squashed in a week away in the Wye Valley.

I have had a stack of book orders to deal with - and I still have seven in the pipeline!  Making books for custom orders, along with preparation for our holiday kept me quiet beforehand and books, more books, laundry piles and housework have kept me pretty busy since our return!

Frankly, I think I need a holiday to recover.... lucky that we have another few days away towards the end of the month - we're off to our favourite seaside haunt, to stay at the youth hostel for a few days.  If the current pace keeps up, I will soooo need that break!

However, the holiday last week was very nice and I'm glad we went.  We were so lucky with the weather too - the general fly in the UK holiday ointment - as we had dry weather all week, except for Thursday morning.  We even had quite a bit of sunshine - we seem to have chosen one of the best weeks of summer, weather-wise!  Here, in the Eastern part of England, it actually got pretty hot (for UK), reaching 28-29 celsius, but in Herefordshire and Eastern Wales, it only got up to about 25 degrees, which was easier to cope with - especially as there was always a light breeze to freshen everything up!

We stayed at Symonds Yat West, a small village that's popular for water-sports, as the river Wye at this point has just the right depth, width etc for canoeing, kyaking and other river-sports.  There are even some rapids downstream, which more experienced people can use. 

We had a little bungalow for the week:

There was a nice little front garden shared between the row of bungalows.  Each had its own table and chairs, with plenty of room to sit and enjoy the view.

Our view from the front garden - a nice meadow and the hills 
The meadow - the river is beyond that line of trees at the bottom of the field. 
We had regular visits from various sorts of wildlife, especially birds.  This was a juvenile green woodpecker.
A nice place to sit in the evening, with a glass of wine, watching the swallows flying lower, to catch insects for their supper (they're so quick, it's hard to photograph them at all - this was my best shot!)
You could walk along the riverside in both directions.
At the local inn, there is a cable-pulled ferry, which takes you from the West side of Symonds Yat, across to Symonds Yat East. 
A walk in the other direction takes you to the village, where there is a camping and caravan site, a garden centre and various nice things, such as this cafe, a crazy golf game,
a butterfly zoo,
and a PuzzleMaze.
Once you've reached the centre of the maze, you can walk through to a maze museum and climb up to a viewing platform, where you can call helpful and encouraging things to your friends and relatives, who are still wandering around inside the maze (or you can put them off and send them the wrong way, if you're rotten like that!).

So we had enough locally to keep us busy.  We paid a visit to Ross on Wye, which was a few miles up the road, where we did some shopping and had a nice wander along the riverside.  It's a pretty little town - worth a visit if you're in the area.

We also went here:
This is Clearwell Caves, an ancient iron mine, which is still mined today, for Ochre, that is used for paint pigments.  It was fun to explore the old mines and caves.  This pool was actually created by the miners, long ago, to collect water for them to drink while they were working. There are quite a few pools throughout the mines. 

On the same day as Clearwell, we also visited the wonderful Tanglewood, which is nearby.  It's a unique ancient woodland, full of ravines, rocks, paths on all sorts of levels, lots of places to explore and get lost in.  We had our picnic lunch there, sitting amongst all the weirdness...  They also have a garden there, with animals, a maze and playground and a cafe/shop, so we had lots to look at (though we're all a bit too old for the playground these days...).

That was another nice day out.

* * *
However, the real highlights of our holiday were the two Visits we paid to People!

Wednesday 3rd August -  Wells, Cathedral City, Somerset

We drove to Wells for the day on the Wednesday, to meet a very special person who, I will add, we had Never Met Before! 


Well, I had sort-of met her before... In fact, we have known each other for about over a year-and-a-half now... Thanks to good old Shimelle and her Blogging for Scrapbookers course....

Of course, many of my blog readers also know this person and you probably read all about it a week ago, when she posted on her own blog!

Woo-hoo! It's Jo from Curlyscrapbooker!

We all met up at the car park (not very fancy, but easiest), then went to Jo's favourite cafe for some lunch.  If you think I look a bit hot and bothered in this photo, it's cos I'd just driven 85 miles and needed lunch and a cool drink!!
We had a lovely lunch, with lots of chat and laughter.
A certain Boy had hot chocolate, despite its being the hottest day of the holiday (around 27 degrees I think!).  He did enjoy it though - it came in that nice little pot, along with his own dish of marshmallows, to add as he pleased.

Once lunch was over, the boys went off to do their own thing and me & Jo went wandering around Wells, nattering our heads off and exploring some of Jo's favourite places.
The city centre, with all the quaint shops and old buildings.
This gateway leads to the gardens round the Bishop's Palace.
The Palace has a walled garden, with a moat round it.  A nice place to take a stroll, under the cool trees.  Jo bought me an iced-lolly (I'm not allowed ice-cream), which was very welcome on a hot day.
We walked round the back of the gardens - where there was a lovely view of the Cathedral.
The Wonderful Jo herself. 
You know, I was sooo pleased to meet her at last! We did have a lovely afternoon. 
After exploring the little streets around the town centre and walking round the market, we came into the large area at the front of the Cathedral.  It is a lovely building.  No time to explore inside, unfortunately, but I will be back again and plan to spend a couple of hours there.

After all that, we needed another drink, of course... so off to find a cafe and have a rest.  Unfortunately we ran out of time after that, and had to go and meet up with the boys again.   Still, it was a very enjoyable afternoon.  I will definitely make plans to go back - besides, Jo wants a book-binding lesson!

Thursday 4th August - Tintern Parva, Gwent

We paid a special visit to Tintern, to see my favourite cousin, Terry-Ann and her husband.

We had a lovely lunch with them, then relaxed at their nice little cottage.   They've been there about 20 years now and have made it so lovely.  As we hadn't been there for quite some time, the various "new" changes gave us plenty to discuss!  We also hopped over the garden wall, to have a stroll in the village playing fields (and playground) that is next door. 

Me and my very special Cousin Terry!
Tintern is a lovely place to live.  This is the view from the bedroom window!

So, overall we had a really nice week away.  It was good to go away from everything for a while and have a change of scenery and a few adventures.

Hope you enjoyed my story - it was a rather long post, so I'm impressed if you made it through to the end!


  1. How lovely to finally meet her for real.

    Looks like you had a fabulous holiday.

    Good luck with the books

  2. Wow, no wonder you need a rest after packing so much in. Lovely photos Lizzie.

  3. I am having a 'the grass is greener on the other side' moment Lizzie. When we go on holidays we have wide open spaces and beaches and glorious outdoors, as do you, but we do not have the same architectural history and the proximity to so many interesting cultural places to visit. Thanks once again for your detailed travel account, Jo's part of the world is certainly on my list of places to visit .. one day!

  4. Tintern Abbey is so beautiful and the Wye lovely one of the places in the UK I could easily live!!! But... the darn rain... hmmmm.... think I'll stay in Southern Spain :o)) Although I always think the UK would be such an easy place to be an artist, so many outlets... but maybe that a case of the grass always being greener... and it sure is! Sounds like a great break Lizzie..... have still not had time to do anything about your comments on my website, and they were GREAT comments, as I forgot the darn passowrd at home for my admin site.....grrr.... hug, Mariann

  5. That's terry Wogans joke isn't it?
    Two yorkshire men in a car driving down the Wye Valley. One says to the other
    "Tintern Abbey"
    The other replies
    "Tis, its a big church"
    this has to be read with a yorkshire accent. We say that joke every time we pass the abbey which is several times a year! I am going to Puzzle Wood one day, just as soon as Mr M has a good day with his knees

  6. Looks like a great holiday.

  7. Glorious photos and how lovely to see you and Jo together! We honeymooned near Symond's Yat :). Welcome back!

  8. Looks like you've had a lovely time lovely to have met up with Jo
    Alison xx

  9. I loved Ross on Wye. My DH and I went there many years ago. Nice memories! It sounds like a wonderful (and slightly exhausting!) vacation. I always need to sleep for a day after we get back from one of ours (in between laundry rounds). :) xox Pam

  10. What a perfect vacation - peaceful but still some interesting sites to see. Thanks for sharing,

  11. Sounds like a wonderful holiday! Great photos!

  12. i think it is great when you get to meet people and on holiday too when there is no rush or stress!
    the photos look fab.
    if you are ever in turkey i promise to show you some of the historic sites there too..
    thanks for popping by earlier

  13. Those photos are so pretty... the countryside is beautiful!


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