Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ziggy Starlight and Bibi

What a pair!  Ziggy is big, broad and black.  Bred to be a work horse.  Bibi is petite, red/brown and dainty.  Bred to be a play horse.  Ziggy is the leader.  Bibi makes suggestions.

The day the hounds met over the hill, both horses were hyper.  They thumped their stall doors.  Didn't co-operate when we were feeding them.  Whinnied repeatedly.  On the walk up to their pasture, they pulled and shoved and generally were a pain.  We had hardly gotten their harnesses off, when both of them took off running.  Down to the barn, turn, back towards us at full tilt!  Then Ziggy put all four feet down and slid on the wet grass.  Complete halt, followed by a pirouette as graceful as any ballerina's.  Looked briefly in our direction, and yes, I think she smiled, before taking off again.  They were having a ball!

By time to let them out into the bigger pasture, they had calmed down.  Both went to bed that night with no fuss and the next morning were their usual calm selves.  That's what noisey dogs do to you!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Horses at the Knighton Fair

They walked up the street to the start of the parade.

Their feet looked as if the hair had been blow dried.

Then they walked back down the street in the parade.

The First Place winner in the Big Horse Competition.  Bill says they were called Shire Horses, but the horses were all really big.

The Reserve Champion of the entire competition.

The Grand Champion and winner of the Perpetual Cup.

The gray horse did not want to be loaded on the trailer.  No one ever wants to leave the Fair early.

Knighton Fair

The last of the summer Bank Holidays is a weekend for festivals and fairs.  Knighton's Fair started with a parade.  Knighton isn't very big, so everyone in the parade knew everyone watching the parade, except for us.  Nothing fancy about the floats or costumes, but boy were they having fun!
First came the Band.

Little Princesses

Baby strollers, and babies, decorated for the different holidays.

Hawaii comes to Wales.

The pilots, Moms, with their airplanes.  Each stroller was a different company.

Who are these guys?

This group reminded me of the Rodeo parades with Redding Co-op Preschool. 


Drum corp.

How did that Saguaro Cactus get to Knighton?

This band had a militay insignia on their shirts.

More Saguaros!
I don't know what the theme of the parade was, or even if there was a theme.  There did seem to be alot of Americana involved.  Cowboys and Indians.  Cowboys and Saloon Girls.  Indians and Teepees.  Hawaii.  Walt Disney World.  No matter, they were having a good time!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

No Rain, No Rainbows

The day had turned cold and wet.  The horses came running, a first, when we called them to come in.  Clarence and his hens had put themselves to roost.  Inside, I shed my raincoat, removed the wet shoes and socks, then sat down at the computer.  I looked out the window.  Wow!

The sun was below the cloud cover and produced this magnificent rainbow.  It filled the whole eastern sky, so Bill had to take two pictures and put them together.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Offa's Dyke

Offa's Dyke from Springhill.
Offa's Dyke is Britain's longest archaeological monument.  It is 80 miles long going from near Wrexham in North Wales to the Severn extuary near Chepstow.  It was built by King Offa of Mercia in the late 8th century.  They aren't sure why it was built.  It may have served as a barrier between Mercia and the kingdoms that existed in Wales.  Or maybe Offa just like to dig.  Either way, it is quite a piece of work.  There is a bank up to 25 ft in height with a western ditch.

We parked our car and Bill walked out to take the picture.  The Dyke stretched off across the horizon.

 If you are feeling energetic, there is a trail you can hike, Offa's Dyke path, that follows the ancient earthwork for about 30 miles.  The entire trail is 177 miles, crossing the border more than 20 times, so one gets to see beautiful landscapes in both countries.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bill Meets The Rayburn

Bill and his newest toy,  The Rayburn.

Everyone knows Bill loves to cook.  Everyone knows Bill loves to cook over a fire, although it is usually charcoal in one of his Webers.  Meet The Rayburn.  A wonder really, as it cooks your food, warms your water and heats the house with radiators.  It also burns wood, but can work with peat or coal, as well.  A very versatile stove.

The cooktop with the cover down.
There is also a propane burner off ot the side for when you don't want to build a fire. 
You know, on those blistering hot days!

Covers up, ready to cook.
We heated our house for 18 years with a wood stove, so hauling wood and  building a fire was not a problem.  What has taken getting use to is starting the fire early enough to get the stove to cooking temperature.  We've had several loaves of bread that were done, but not browned.  Oh Horrors!

Inside the oven.  The firebox is the other door.
Last evening, we didn't use the Rayburn, since we had left overs that warmed on the burner.  What did that mean?  The water wasn't hot enough this morning to wash the breakfast dishes.  No worries, they are rinsed and stacked waiting for this evening when Bill will cook something with the stove and there will be hot water.

They have a little firewood, just in case.  This is only one very small section.
There are two other wood stoves in the house. One is in the dining room, the other in the lounge  The lounge stove is connected to the radiators in the barn end of the house.  Everything stays nice and cosy.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Oy Yea! Oy Yea! Oy Yea!

A Town Cryer ready for the competition.

The Ancient and Honorable Guild of Town Cryers held a meeting and competition in Knighton, Wales last Saturday.  Everyone was dressed in their best.  The competition was fierce but friendly.  One could tell where the Cryers lived by their closing statements.   If from England, they ended their speech with  "God save the Queen!".  If they were from Wales, "God bless the Prince of Wales!  God save the Queen!" 
Many of the men were accompanied by their lovely Ladies.

"God Save The Queen!"

This gentleman was one of my favorites!

The competitors watching the competition.
This is a truely English happening.  Where else would they have not only a Town Cryers Guild but a competiton to see who was the very best Town Cryer?  I'm glad we were able to be there!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Powis Castle

Powis Castle as seen from the Gardens.  The building in front is a pavilion used for entertaining.
Built on the top of a hill, the first thing that struck me was the color, Red.  Of course, it's a rusty red, but red none the less.  Powis Castle started as a medieval fortress, then over time, thanks to the owners, the Herbert family, it became a home, albeit, very large and formidable. 

The Herbert Coat of Arms, an elephant and a dragon.

Everyone should have a statue in the front lawn.
The gardens were the idea of the 1st Marquess of Powis in the 1680's.  It is considered to be the best example of a Baroque garden in England, something the Welsh are very proud of.  Violet, the Countess of Powis can be thanked for reviving the garden in the 1900's, while maintaining the original style.

The yew trees at the top are part of what make this such a unique garden. Most are original to the garden.

The second "layer" of the garden.  They are terraced down to the playing fields.

The gardens just go on and on.  A view of the lower gardens from the terraced area.

Inside the castle, while very elegant, was extremely dark.  This is due to dark wood paneling, dark paintings on the walls instead of wall paper, and all the curtains being pulled to protect the dark paintings.  All in all a bit gloomy.  The Grand Staircase, which took 13 years to build, is off limits to our feet, but still very Grand to behold.  We weren't allowed to take pictures inside, even without a flash. 

Entrance to the Castle.
The castle is also home to the Clive Museum, which houses the treasure that Clive of India brought back after subduing that nation for England.  Clive worked on a percentage, so he made out very well.  One hooka must have 400 rubies and emeralds decorating it.  Clive wasn't a Herbert, but when he married the daughter, he brought his fortune with him, and was given a title, too.

The door knob on the main castle door is a dragon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fos-y-Rhiew Part 2

Window into the dining room with beautiful roses blooming.  There is something in bloom everywhere you look.
The house at Fos-y-Rheiw has ownership records going back to the early 1700's.  Before that is was part of the Powis Castle lands, so they aren't really sure when the house was built.  Let's just say it's very, very old.  The kitchen has large stones for the floor, probably originally installed with dirt between, but now they are grouted.  The focal point of the kitchen is the Rayburn stove.  It will have a post of it's own.  The walls are over a foot thick throughout the building.

The range side of the kitchen.

The rest of the kitchen.  The stone floors show well in this photo.
The end of the house with the lounge, our bedroom, the back storage area and the shower room, and the loft and master bedroom, were originally the barn.  House and barn were built under the same roof when this was new, now it's all house.
The dining room with the original fireplace where cooking was done.  Now it has an efficient wood stove to keep us warm.

Stairs to the master bedroom and the loft with the lounge area underneath.

The lounge, the stairs lead to the dining room.  The split door to the left goes to our bedroom.
One of my favorite rooms is the main bathroom.  It has all the usual items of a bathroom except for that large slab of slate with the trough etched in it to drain the blood from when you slaughter the pigs.  Did I forget to tell you it was originally the room where the pigs were butchered and salted?  David, the homeowner, tell us it is difficult to keep paint looking good from all the salt content still in the walls.  Now that's a problem I bet you've never had with a bathroom!  There is also a small door with a large step down into the room.  Look at the pictures to see what I mean.
Standing on the floor of the bathroom, with the large step in front of me.

Standing on the step, but behind the doorway.  My head is up against the beam in the room and behind the doorsill.

Now I'm in the dining room, standing in front of the door.  I'm about 5'7" so you can tell it's a very short doorway.

Jude, the homeowner, put pictures of the Dali Lama and Queen Elizabeth on the door. These are two people she admires.  She jokingly says this is so you will remember to bow before you walk through, thus avoiding cracking your skull on the doorframe.  Such a sense of humor!  
At some point the house end was brick faced, leaving the barn end original stone.  This was also done at Powis Castle, so maybe the brick was left overs from the Castle's facelift?  Sounds like a good theory to me.
The brick end is the original house, with the stone end the old barn.  That's a climbing rose on the wall.  It smells really nice.
Between the wonderful house, all the animals and the beautiful country, this is going to be a fun housesit!

Doune Castle

Doune Castle was rebuilt by Robert Stewart, the Duke of Albany, a man who was the power behind the throne as Regent for James I of Scotland,...