Weekend Away & Being Snowed in Again.

Dorstone and snow 016

Dear reader,

I do like Herefordshire, the red exotic earth, the lanes that lead to many walks and the way it meanders with Wales along its borders and the city of Hereford is very pretty. John has family there too. We decided to spend a weekend at Dorstone, Herefordshire in January but due to John being ill we cancelled and changed the date to March the 2nd, day after my birthday. However, the Beast from the East and storm Emma came calling and we were snowed in with the claws of the above at our front door, conservatory and veranda. After many emails to Booking.Com (who I will never book with again) explaining why we could not make the said dates and Booking.com responded by not allowing us to change the date saying we still had to pay. Also Booking. com misled us by saying the Pandy Inn and Pandy B&B were the same building when they are separate and giving me the number of the landlady of the Pandy Inn (Lisa) who from the many messages I left thought, I was a mad woman). We eventually had contact from the lovely Magdalena the owner of the Pandy B&B and we rebooked.

Dorstone is a beautiful village and is situated between Hereford and Hay on Wye, surrounded in farm land, black mountains and shelter from the Brecon Beacons. The Pandy B&B was built 6 years ago, is made from solid wood and inside looked and felt like a very comfortable log cabin. The building was built by a local architect from Dorstone. The room where we stayed faced South and we had a balcony with stunning views. Photo of the  sunset on Friday evening taken from the balcony.

Only yards away from the beautiful log type cabin building is the 12th century pub “The Pandy Inn. Which is well run by the lovely Lisa and her bar-staff Nicky and Megan. Photo of John, with the very tasty Pandy real ale brewed in Aberdare, which he had many of and the food at the pub was excellent too.


I awoke 5am on Saturday morning to snow, the view of Mill Hill from our balcony.


After a delicious breakfast that Magdalena cooked, we walked to Merbach hill & Arthur’s Stone. The north wind was in our face, snow flurries kept us company. We were in no rush and took our time.Came across a sunken lane, after we crossed over the bridge over the river Dore.


The red Herefordshire earth reminds me of the time I walked part of the Camino Northern Spain (I walked from St Jean to Pamplona)


We stopped and looked back the views were stunning.

Walking past lambs teating their mams.

At the top it was breathtaking and very cold but we were wrapped up and wore sensible clothes. You could see the Skirrid,  Brecon Beacons, Clee Hill The Malvern Hills and Hay Bluff. (I love walking Hay Bluff, I first walked it when I did Offa’s Dyke and was where I saw my first red kite, that was many years ago now. I see the red kite most days) See photo below.


Because of the weather we walked the lane- way back.


Back at the cabin we watched Ireland beat England, Ireland deserved to win. Later we went over the Pandy Inn to watch Wales. John and I were  the only ones in the pub who stood up and sang our national anthem. Chwarae teg all the others in the pub supported Wales. It was a tough game and the French played hard but after much nail-biting we won. Another delicious meal, washed down with fine wines and real ale.

Sunday March 18th, my grampy Jim’s birthday he would have been 104. I woke to silence and a white out. Photos from the balcony, surrounding area and the wonderful pub, the Pandy Inn.


I am an avid reader and I took the book “One woman walks Wales” by Ursula Martin (Thank you to Dan and Rhiannon Hill for buying me the book for my birthday) John had his suduku and one of his ‘die next week or die now’, thriller books. We were snowed in and would not be going home that morning. I sensibly booked Sunday lunch the day before and at breakfast (which was in a lovely mystical wooden cabin, with a wonderful woodburner) We  booked with Magdalena to stay another day. I was restless and felt I needed to venture out. However, before I ventured out I put a bottle of white wine to cool on the balcony. (How the other half live) see photo below.

I walked towards Mill Wood hoping to capture photos of the black mountains and Hay Bluff. Half way it was not good. I was knee-deep and not wearing waterproof trousers. I turned around and walked back to our wooden Cabin.


I did not sleep well concerned about the roads and our work commitments. I watched the snow fall and my belly fell too. The the wind picked up, creating ghost shapes with the fine powdery snow. Monday 19th March, I can say the roads from Dorstone, to Peter Church and Pontrilas were well gritted and clear. Driving through Herefordshire we spotted three badly damaged cars, cordoned off with police tape. On the way home along the A465 and the Rhymney Valley, we saw another three damaged and abandoned cars. I was relieved we did not try to drive home on the Sunday. We will go back to Dorstone to the lovely Magdalena’s B&B and Lisa’s fab pub. A real community was found at Dorstone AND John finally had his life long wish to be snowed- in, in a real ale pub.

Remember life is for living.



Walking with my Thoughts.

Winessing a sun set Feb 19th 2018 010

Dear reader,

Lately  I have captured some wonderful, spectacular sun rises and sun sets. I do like this high pressured cold, bitter windy weather.  My house faces east and west and from my window I have a wonderful view and can see for miles plus a sunrise and sun set. This mornings sky is pastel shades of blues, lilacs and pinks, a hazy horizon and a scattering of yellow, catkins, daffodils and  pussy willows. It looks just like  a summer’s day.

Then, I open the door and the smell of wood smoke fills my nostrils the North Easterly wind is biting, the bare black branches remind me it is still winter. I am going on a walk and I take the beauty of the desert, Syria with me and Eastern Ghouta and I feel a deep sadness. Then I think on ‘KFC’ (I have never been in a ‘KFC’ or ‘Macdonald’s’) Why some people were fuming, bordering on hysteria because ‘KFC’ had run out of chicken and had to close their doors, some adults phoned the police to ask why ‘KFC’ was not open. Inside of me I rage but my feet walk me away from the anger.  Regardless of age, sex, creed, or colour, something is missing in a lot of people. Inside all of us is an ancient  well, a deep well that is full of love, compassion, empathy and wisdom. Sadly some of these wells are blocked, contaminated or are closed and can never be open. Syria took part in a demonstration called the ‘Arab Spring’ the young and students stood up for their rights. The intellectual government who lacked wisdom did not approve and violently over reacted. The West including Russia looked on and rubbed their hands together and thought on  the essential commodity called GAS and who was going to have the monopoly on the GAS.

The ground beneath my feet is frozen, hard mud and deep animal prints are iced over. You can easily break an ankle or a leg on paths like this.  So I keep mind to feet.I hear the liquid sound of the Skylark, it is back and I see its helicopter performance and I happily sigh. In the distance a farmer feeding her pregnant sheep. Wild ponies huddle together. I have my binoculars with me and I spy two Kestrals in the sky and wish my eyes and nose would stop running.  Behind me I see a man with a dog as he draws near, I know it is ‘Doberman man’ with his dog. I have seen this man for many years and we often chat about this and that.  I still do not know his name but the dog is called Sam.

I am slowly leaving social media behind I do not feel comfortable with FB and the like and will eventually take the poetry open mic that I run for the past 4 years off FB. I hear unfamiliar sound, “titch titch”  take my binoculars and see a Corn bunting holding on to the swaying reeds, what joy and then the rogue ruddy red kite, it is such a majestic bird that I never tire of looking at.

Walking to work I noticed Hawthorn blossom, yet the Holly holds onto its berries. I had a fall while walking between my work. I fell while walking behind Llancaiach Fawr. Some  of the foot paths and right of ways in Caerphilly Borough need looking at and fixing, alas lack of fund do not allow this. I landed in mud and my right leg below my knee smacked a large thick branch that was embedded in the earth. I lay then for what seemed hours but was only seconds my leg screamed in pain. I swore and told myself to get up. I gingerly limped towards home. I swore and cursed some more and then my body began to shake and I felt nausea. I never fall and it really shook me up. The following day my throat was like a bag of rusty nails, my nose and eyes streamed, trying to distract me for my the pain and the massive swelling and huge bruise that was spreading down my right leg. I was truly unwell and very frustrated. Because on the weekend I should have gone on a CAG walk and a book reading event at Griffin bookshop in Penarth. On the Monday was the Poetry open mic that I run.  My body, mind and wisdom said cancel. I tried to contact our guest readers, one did not respond they other was already in my town. I made my way to the event, and not many turned up, some had commitments others were ill.  Because I foolishly did not listen to my mind, body and wisdom. I became very ill and could not go to work the rest of the week and being self-employed I lost a weeks wages. I see things like this as a teacher and I thought in future I must put myself first.

Good or bad we make the world with our own thoughts and sometimes we should take comfort in being quiet. Let our thoughts pulsate leave the past where it is and enjoy being in the now. Maybe intellectual people who are in power should have wisdom too. if not, there will be more Hitlers in power than good leaders who are sage like.


Walking past history


Walking past History

The industrial path is iced, warming my body and breath,

you squawk above, your sound belies your colours of the jay.

Yellowing on the wing the dipper glides over the river.

Piped  whistled song,  rustic red,  pale blue-black feathers of the bullfinch.

You sing from the top of it all,

 speckled spun gold to sugar brown, thrusting your song of the thrush.

Sparkled clear air punctures  the light, capturing the sounds,

Pussy willow waits to be found.

Among the green sponge they glitter in the sun

 long silver slender shaped

   the moss weeps icicles.


Poem by Julie Griffin Pritchard and photo’s too





Jackdaws & my friend John.

Jack daws and Jack frost 006

Dear readers,

I would like to share this true story with you about my dear friend John. When I first met John he was in his late 70’s, he was  physically unwell, and was waiting for a heart bypass. He had a very easy-going nature and was a man of principles. The heart bypass was successful but there was no operation for hardening of the arteries to the brain. John smoked heavy most of his life and held a sedentary  job. This might have contributed to the hardening of the arteries to John’s brain. From this John was diagnosed with early stages of Alzheimer’s.

Many years ago I worked and was in charge of a  mixed Psychiatric Geriatric  wing, working with Alzheimer’s, Senile Dementia and Syphilis. Some of the residents were old sailors and when young some contracted  syphilis, some  never had the syphilis treated. ( Years ago Syphilis left untreated lays dormant,  and can attack the brain when  older, today there is a cure)

To provoke a memory and a happy thought, I would play Glen Miller LP’s and sing other songs from that era like, “Knees up mother brown” “There be Blue bird over the white cliffs of Dover”  Encourage them to sing along, this led to wonderful storytelling. I included short strolls and craft making. The persons dignity, well-being, and the relationship with the family and friends was paramount.

(In my opinion to sit an elderly person, a baby, or child in front of a television all day as a form of stimulation, is abhorrent. It is form of abuse and does not do anything for the individuals well-being)


I had a vast amount of experience working with John regarding his Alzheimer’s. I would visit John at his home and opposite his house were two large copper beech trees, and in the summer sunlight, they shone like bronze, in the autumn the tree became a red tarnished beauty, in winter stark, bare black branches. John would notice a single Jackdaw sat on top of the tree, this made him feel sad, and would often say. “That poor bird needs mate”.  We would laugh and say we will have to find him a wife. I would take John out in the car, and to the many country parks that were dotted about. He would tell me many family stories. We would call in a cafe for a pot of tea and we would people watch. He loved children they fascinated him. Then we would survey the surrounding beauty, the trees,  bird life  and the sky. We made shapes with the clouds and  we would laugh. John became child like in his wonderment of nature and he became a good teacher for me. I worked with John for four wonderful years. John died in a care home, the very thing that he feared.

Open space beauty & Jackdaws

Where I live my house faces east and west I see a sun rise and a sunset. I live on the edge of an open space beauty called Gelligear and Merthyr Common. I am a keen  walker and I walk  this area often, and in all weathers. Gelligear and Merthyr Common and the surrounding beauty that nature holds, has inspired a lot of my poetry.

Since John passed on, the jackdaw has found a mate and has made a family. I can see the copper beech tree from my house and the park too. I wait for the “Tchack” sound then the gathering that leads to a  wonderful display, of ink black on steel grey, breathing in and out. Shape changers in the sky. Sometimes their shape are like ‘runes’ in the sky and I think on John and our friendship and is this a message, and then I smile.


In reality

The flocks are larger, because during the autumn and winter months they join up with rooks and Carrion Crows. Still the elastic display is mesmerising and I do like the way they all sit on the roofs of the houses in my street and houses opposite, then swoop into a feathery cascade. I find comfort in these wonderful clever birds. In my research I found out this. Although wild birds are protected under ‘Wildlife Countryside Act 1981’ Jackdaws may be killed under a general licence provision by authorised persons.

Mental Health and if we tolerate this then our children will be next.

My concern today is not Alzheimer’s or Senile Dementia but the young who smoke cannabis and Skunk. The way it is freely smoked outdoors, at train stations, bus stops and parks, hoods up, bone thin face etched in despair.  I have a family member who regularly smoked Skunk she is now a schizophrenic and is on medication for life. Treatment for this addiction  is a massive drain on the NHS.

However I am for cannabis being used for medicinal purposes but not for dulling the senses, messing about with the brain, by taking reasoning  and  your free-will away from you. Yes, we talk back to the opium days, the Gin dens, psychedelic years. Skunk is a real ticking time bomb waiting to go off and when it blows lookout.

Shortest day, Silence and Maggie’s Ireland.


Dear reader,

20th December 4 40pm. Just got back from walking Gelligaer common and witnessing the sun setting on the shortest day. Silence is truly wonderful to listen too. I stopped by the kissing gate and saw the last rays of the downing sun. When I spied from the corner of my left eye, a robin bathing in a puddle. A black bird sang above and a bat flew over my head. I thought all bats hibernated???

My short novel titled Maggie’s Ireland  that has taken me 7 years to write, rewrite, research and hours of painstaking writing (I am dyslexic) Is going to be published by Cambria publishers Llandeilo.

Maggie’s Ireland is a true love story of my grandparents Maggie and Dick. I write about Ireland and Wales, spanning nearly a hundred years. The photo below is of my grandparents wedding day. May 19th 1921. This photo will be on the inside cover.

“Ah, did I tell you about Kevin Barry” A tear would fall and I captured her memories and gave them life.

Monday 18th December I walked the Ely trail, well part of the Ely trail. I left the car in Fairwater / Pentrebane. Caught the bus into town, called in a few book shops. I do enjoy bookshops, Ironmonger’s and garden centres. I am a bookolic and I bought several books.

I walked from the center of my old town Cardiff, towards the docks making my way towards Ferry road. Ferry road brought back memories of a date I had in the great Cardiff flood of 1979. Barry the DJ was taking me on a date in a speed boat (James Bond eat your heart out) To my favourite pub called the Red House. The Red House was demolished and replaced with a flyover and a pub with no history or character. I am a keen walker when I say keen. I mean hill walker, long distance walker, wilderness walker, but not a pavement, tarmac, raging, racing, road walker. 3 miles in I found the beginning of the Ely trail. Once I was on the trail I saw there were only pockets of the river  Ely, my Barry island without the waves.


Natures sounds were drowned out by the Ely bypass. The Ely trail is designed  for cyclist not walkers. By the time I reached Waun Gron Parc, Fairwater. I had enough of the roaring traffic and though wearing good walking boots. My feet were playing a Black Sabbath tune and it was painful. From Fairwater the trail takes you where I played as a child. Birdies lane then the outskirts of  Plymouth woods onto St Fagans. When I was younger and for culture days out. I often nicked in St Fagans hide under the ancient bedding and would shout boo at the tourist.

It is that time of year, the insincere time of year. When some get into debt, buy stuff no one wants or needs. Where the cathedral shops open their doors and people come in droves to worship at the alters of merchandise. No one knows when the good, hebrew man, Jesus was born. But hey another money-making scheme designed to exploit the working classes. Thanks to Saul who later became Paul and the old Roman leader Constantine who saw Christianity as a political foothold for themselves. The wealthy landowning Germans, Saxe – Coburg- Gotha (later changed their name to Windsor) brought the tree, the cards and presents.

I enjoy the winter season, the changes in the light between dawn and twilight. Trees stare back, bare and ink black. The sky comes alive with its many colours and becomes the landscape.

The snow came the other week and I followed the fox and the silence was breathtaking what a life!!!!!


Wishing you a peaceful healthy new year.

Turn down the noise and hear yourself think.

Stay true to the real you and breathe deep and become beautiful.


At the end of the day is it about land and money?


Dear reader,

Walking this morning December 9th, on the first fall of real snow in the Rhymney Valley for many years at this time of the year. I left my house at 7 55am and walk the ice cake white and fruity brown path.

I look back and catch the sky on fire.


My boots make a soft crunching sound and I leave my foot prints behind.

I walk towards my open space beauty Gelligaer & Merthyr Common. The pools are still frozen and there is no bird sound.

I think on politics and the DUP, DUP has bitten the Tory hand that fed it a bribe during the last election. This is not new the DUP have always taken bribes for votes from the Tories. Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU and so did I but I live in Wales. Northern Ireland is part of Ireland and a sea away from the UK. It was divided by Churchill and that Welsh sneak of a man Lloyd George. It beggars belief that The DUP thought they could call the shots because their back pockets are full with money, while Wales and Scotland struggle financially. Arlene Foster is leader of the DUP not of Northern Ireland. It does not surprise me the way money can add distance from reality. Leader of the DUP, Arlene Foster lives in a very dangerous la la land. I am not going to go into the history of Ireland, people who know me know I am supporter of a united Ireland. The Republic of Ireland is already in the EU. And for democracy sake maybe Arlene might want to think on what the people of Northern Ireland actually voted for. They voted to remain in the EU.  instead of instilling fear giving the press shite news to broadcast and write about. The stories of going back to the old ways the border lines that did nothing for both sides of Ireland. Sometimes its more than land and money. Sometimes its about humanity and the politicians doing the people’s bidding and not their own.

As I walk I come across fox foot prints and in the distance a flock of Starlings sitting on the wire of anticipation. I follow the foxes prints. I have seen a vixen with her young, in the summer just gone I saw foxes playing and they often walk across the green in front of my house in the early hours. I do like the musky scent of the fox too.

It is that time of year again where some go mad, in a frenzy to get into debt and shop until they drop. Know one knows when the good man Jesus was born. The Christmas tree came from the wealthy German landowners Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.  So did the christmas card and presents. (They changed their names to Windsor after the First World War. The War that ended bugger all) All this nonsense is designed to control the masses. Religion should be a personal choice and taken out of schools and left at home. Religion should be replaced with Philosophy, teach children as young as five to debate. All my schooling was faith-based Roman Catholic, all caustic Catholicism taught me was guilt. Why can’t people believe in themselves and not in icons. Why can’t they find inner peace instead of finding safety in judgemental numbers. We all have a god inside of us and the trinity is in us called body, mind and soul. Compassion, love and empathy should be in us all.

I see a flock of Canada geese and I stop and there before me the red kite. What a teacher  this bird is for me. The bird teaches me to stand still and become awe-struck.


In the land of milk and honey Jews and Arabs lived side by side peacefully for centuries. Why can’t this happen today?  Is it money and land? People can not strive and thrive without humanity compassion and empathy. No land can grow on radical religion and you cannot create happiness on greed. You certainly cannot take your money with you.

Gaza, Syria, Iraq, parts of Africa is about money and owning essential commodities. Like gas, oil, water. However, those who are in power, disguise it and call it land and religion.

Beautiful jackdaws give me a display four times a day

I stand still in utter silence and feel the north wind on my face. I see farmer John rounding up sheep and I spy a rainbow in the reeds.

I follow my breath and see the marks of snow on my favourite tree.


On the 20th December I will walk onto my open space beauty to witness the sunset on the shortest day. Embrace nature and fill my heart with compassion empathy and love.

The world is a bridge walk across but do not build any house on it.

Wishing you all a peaceful & healthy 2018




Auburn is the colour of Autumn



Dear reader,

I do not own ear buds, a laptop, iPad or a kindle. I have noticed when I am out walking, people with their ears jammed in with ear buds. I smile, say hello, no response. I see bus drivers, taxi drivers, cyclist and shoppers wearing ear buds.  I like to hear voices, laughter and even a good moaner. Most of all I enjoy the sounds of nature, the wind, leaves rustling, rivers flowing, bird song. I often see and hear the speckled song thrushes, greenwood peckers, long-tailed tits, bullfinches, black birds, lesser spotted woodpecker and the robin. Not only the beautiful sounds but these birds add colour to the bareness of the trees.

Only this morning I saw the Raven a beautiful bird, I watched a buzzard soar then heard its call and the jackdaws cawed too.  Watched two magpies harass a crow. Rabbit jumped out and jumped back. More dogs now then ever and MORE DOG POO BAGS DISCARDED SOMETIME HANGING FROM TREES. DOG OWNERS WHO BEHAVE LIKE THIS SHOULD FEEL ASHAMED!!!!

I do like an evening walk

I walked out to witness the sun setting, a flock of starlings gave me a wonderful display. Raven cawed above and outstretched its wings. The cold air stung my cheeks and made my eyes water. I really enjoy evening walks, the scent of the damp earth, shadows and light. The birds going home to roost and sometimes I see the fox. Bats have gone now, I will see them again in the new year along with the swifts, swallows and the cuckoo.

I watched the documentary  Bobby Sands : 66 Days. Bobby Sands was born on the 9th March 1954. Bobby went on hunger strike on my twentieth birthday March 1st 1981. He died 5th May 1981. He achieved many things as a political prisoner at  H- Block. A writer, an MP standing for the Anti H-Block and was the youngest MP. Sadly he never took his seat. He was also a poet, a raw real rip your heart out poet and to me a very courageous man.

Quotes by Bobby Sands

 “Things must come to pass as one
so hope should never die
there is no height or bloody might
that a freeman can’t defy.
There is no source or foreign force
can break one man who knows,
that his free will nothing can kill
And from that freedom grows”

Quotes “Our revenge will be the laughter in our children”

“They have nothing in their whole imperial arsenal that can break the spirit of one Irishmen who doesn’t want to be broken”

The poem The Rhythm of Time  had a profound effect on me.

From his collection titled Prison Poems Haunting Whistling Winds

I have written a novel unpublished, titled “Maggie’s Ireland”. I cover Ireland and Wales over a hundred years. The novel is about  love during the Anglo-Irish War / War of Independence. I write on the social and political history of Ireland and Wales. 1870’s to 1971.

Photo of my grandparents, Maggie and Dick, this photo will be the front cover of the novel.

It has taken me 5 years to write and 1 year to re – edit. My grandmother would tell me stories of her Ireland and I kept them locked inside of me.

“Ah did I tell you about Kevin Barry?” A tear would fall and I caught her memories and gave them life. I believe in “Maggie’s Ireland” so passionately and I know it will be published.

First time for everything

While following the river Rhymney I caught the electric blue wing of a Kingfisher. This was my  first Kingfisher on the river Rhymney. I have seen the Kingfisher on the river Taff many times but in my own back yard was special. Later I stood stupefied, watched my first willow tit pour joy, it is always the simple things in life.

Walked out to a sun rise and the frost, followed the moon, while the sun warmed my back.

Caught a rainbow on my healing garden sun rays glinted on the underbelly of a red kite, reflecting auburn. Liquid sound of the skylark warmed my soul.

Pink shell sky


Downside of walking is not the weather it is rubbish being dumped.

I am a keen walker and yes I often come across dumped rubbish mostly dumped by  the lazy builder, plummer and painter decorator and the car bootie people. Yes I have written blogs on this subject, phoned, emailed, CCBC and their response was good. However, the day I spoke to council workers (who’s job it was to take the dumped rubbish) in person, was a dreadful moment for me. I was called a mental case, loony and care in the community. Yes I complained about this abuse too. But if everyone complained then maybe something can be done. I am self-employed and I know that if the builder, plummer, painter decorator, used the proper services (Refuges) they can claim their money back from the tax man!!! As for the car bootie’s who dump their rubbish shame on you!!!!

Be careful where you put your time.

Take time to listen to sea-shore of your breathing you may find waves of calmness.

Be mindful not mind full.

At the end of the day we all want to be understood.

Always remember racism is the disease of the ignorant.