Friday, 26 June 2015

A Trip Through Mid Wales

Brian kindly invited me to go with him and the dogs for the day, for a tour of charity shops and riverside walks up as far as Llanidloes.
I hadn't been to Llanidloes for years, though at one time I went up once a year to see the big quilt fair there, so of course I said yes.
We started off in Llandrindod Wells, home of the Victorian festival in August - this year they're embracing Steampunk, and Professor Elemental will be there, entertaining with his unique brand of patter song/rap on Victorian themes. It was market day in the little car park between Aldi and the railway station, and ladies were selling jam and marmalade in the covered walkway where the new shops are.
We picked up a few books there, and went on to Rhayader.
We started to see red kites wheeling over the fields. The red kite feeding station is just on the edge of Rhayader. I was taken there one year for a rather splendid birthday treat - we had lunch in the country hotel close to the feeding station, saw the kites feed, and had a walk in the woods.
There's a lovely riverside walk with a car park down a side turning to the rugby club. Not that they're playing rugby at the moment. The pitch is unmown, and being left as a wildflower meadow to encourage butterflies, shrews and voles, and hunting barn owls. There's also a bit of a sculpture trail by the river. We spotted a man up a tree (made of metal), an owl, a dragon and a bat which was also a bird box.

On, then, to Llanidloes, which is a pretty little town, once well known for flannel production. One old flannel mill on the edge of town has been converted into flats, with little balconies over the river - you can still see the archway at the bottom of the building where the water wheel which powered the mill was. It also has a rather fine market hall:

There's a museum on the upper floor dedicated to timber framed buildings in the area and their construction, which is quite fascinating.
We had lunch in the vegetarian cafe (I think it was the Old Oak) - Brian had a jacket potato with lots of pasta salad and coleslaw, and I had the tomato, pesto and pepper soup, which were lovely.
We also got to see the end of the Wool and Willow Festival in the Minerva Arts Centre. This is the place I used to go to the quilt festivals, but this time they had clothes, and rag rugs and willow baskets and felt pictures, and the biggest cardigan I've ever seen! It's a cardigan for Cardigan, and was a community project with many knitters taking part to create a collage of the historic buildings of the town, with ships on the sea, a little coracle on the river, and all sorts of lovely little details. It hung from the ceiling so people could walk round it. I think it was on display at Wonderwool earlier this year.
We had moved from the River Wye to the River Severn, and Llanidloes is quite close to the headwaters of both. In the park by the river, we found this:

the goddess Sabrina (the Roman name for the Severn) with fish around her skirt hem and a bowl in her hands - full of copper coins, as if the locals give her offerings.

On the way back, we stopped at Rhayader again for afternoon tea at the Old Swan tea rooms, right on the central crossroads. Rhayader has a very simple format - being basically a crossroads with the streets named North, South, East and West. The treacle tart and Victoria sponge, both with ice cream, was delicious!

No comments: