Friday, 9 August 2019

Prean’s Cottage (Bwlch, Wales)

On the 6th I left London by train and traveled to Abergavenny, Wales to meet Prean. I had one stop in Newport, Wales and purchased the final leg of the journey of 23 minutes that would take me to Abergavenny. Prean’s cottage is located in Bwlch near Crickhowell on the edge of Brecon Beacons National Park.

It had been 7 months since I’ve seen Prean so we had a lot of catching up to do. He bought a van for his business and he drove us from the train station to Waitrose to buy food for the next few days then to his cottage where I had stayed last Christmas. He showed me the improvements that he made over the past few months and his plans for future updates. We then drove over to his friend’s business, Beacons Farm Shop. Neither Elaine or Andrew were there so we drove to their home which is within walking distance of Prean’s place.

I remember Elaine and Andrew’s home from last Christmas. Because Prean didn’t have all of the equipment to host a Christmas Dinner he asked Elaine and Andrew (who were away at the time) if he and Viktor could borrow a few items from their kitchen. Well, it turned out to be more than a few. I finally got a chance to meet them in person today. We had a terrific chat before we drove back to Prean’s for our dinner. We may see them the following evening.

We had bought a few items from their store and had a small dinner in front of a fire that Prean built. It is a little cooler in Wales and a fire was certainly the last thing I expected after being in a warmer climate, especially in August. I managed to stay up until 10:00 but was tired from traveling and was looking forward to exploring more of the area tomorrow.

On Wednesday, the 7th, we drove to Hey-on-Wye, Wales and walked around then town then had tea at a local shop. Prean knew a few of the people who worked there. We then poked our noses in a few shops then drove back to Elaine and Andrew’s to check in on them. They were expected guests for dinner and invited us. We gladly accepted.

They were getting together with friends that now live in New Zealand and another local couple. Elaine has two stoves, one an AGA, and she pulled several dishes from each and we had quite a feast once it was all laid out. Andrew kept the wine flowing and we had a great time. By the time we got back to Prean’s we were both tired, but he built a fire and we sat and talked until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.

On Thursday the 8th, after breakfast (and a phone call with Viktor), we drove to Talybont-on-Usk where we found Elaine and her grand-daughter playing with some friends. We visited for a little bit then walked over to The White Hart, a local inn and enjoyed a pint of beer. From there we stopped off at Elaine and Andrew’s who invited us for a beer with their friend Phil, a local farmer. While at their house I was offered a few leftovers from the night before as a snack. I’m glad I did because we didn’t have much to eat while we drank at TheĀ Felin Fach Griffin in Felinfach. When Prean and I returned to his cottage he made a large helping of country fried potatoes which filled us up. Of course he built a fire to enjoy while we ate our meal and talked.

On Friday the 9th, after breakfast, Prean drove me back to the Abergavenny station where I caught a train back to London. It will be Christmas when I will see Prean again and hope Viktor will be back from Russia by then.

In London, I checked into the Doubletree in Islington where I’ve stayed several times. Was able to meet up with one of my friends who had been out of town and then finally got to sleep. It had been a long day.

Not sure what I’m doing tomorrow, but I know that I need to double check my plans for visiting Ireland. I leave for Londonderry, my first stop, on Tuesday the 13th.

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