Books, History

Llanidloes — a microcosm of British History!

It’s satisfying to read history that you can fit into your own known world, that talks about the way national and international events affected people living in your own area, that mentions the streets and buildings that figure in your own town! It brings the history to life and should definitely be used in local schools where it will render history more relevant to students. But you don’t have to live in Mid-Wales to appreciate this intimate perspective on history — looking at events from the point of view of one small area can increase ones understanding dramatically and, in a world that focuses on centres of government and is skewed by other agendas, it is brilliant to realise that there are patriots, innovators, captains of industry, revolutionaries, artists, religious philosophers and politicians everywhere, in all communities. It seems Llanidloes is a microcosm for what happens in the whole world!

Published in 2010 by the Great Oak Bookshop, ISBN No. 978-0-9524653-1-7

Meteorology, Wales, weather

Not there yet!

Yesterday we went looking for the Spring.

Finding only catkins blowing in the breeze which was ominously easterly.

Deep breath — one sneeze.

No yellow stars twinkling in the hedgerow —

ranunculi, the true harbinger of Spring — keeping their heads down.

We’re not there yet! We awake to 8 inches of snow. The fine stuff that clings to the trees who flex their sinews as you pass to dump it on your head — it’s their only pleasure.

Scenery, unrelieved by scarlet berries

Long ago eaten by hungry birds but not long to go now

It’s starting to drip!

Birds, Ecology


It has been snowing hard all day but yesterday I had lunch with my friends. All three who live here, in the country (rather than the town) agreed that they were starting to have qualms about their bird feeders. Seems we have all created sparrowhawk feeders.

These small, fast predators whizz around the side of the house and bowl over their victims in a whirl of what seem pointed wings — an arial dogfight. The unfortunate tit will be consumed on the grass or caried off. If lucky, or quick, it may drop into the dense foliage of a protective shrub like our box bush. The little birds — the tits, sparrows, robins, siskins and finches — will cower there until one sounds the all-clear.

Every day we see buzzards and red kites, silhouetted against the sky as they soar above us.

Occasionally we see a kestrel.

The peregrine falcons, thicker set, which are common place in Kettering are conspicuous by their absence in Mid-Wales although we saw this one on the flood plain of the Dyfi estuary and have seen one in the Elan valley.

Photos are a boon to bird identification — do you remember this one — I published it years ago. So blinded by rage was I that I failed to notice the most sought-after bird of prey in this area — the majestic goshawk — eating my last bantam cock under the bedroom window! Goshawks live in the woods and whistle in and out, weaving between the trees, gone before you know it! Much bigger than a sparrowhawk and much less commonly spotted — at least this year.

This year is the year of the sparrowhawk.

Prospering from the largess of the kind pensioners who fill up their small bird feeders — Nature red in tooth and claw!


St David — Patron Saint of Wales

1st of March — 1st day of meteorological spring — St David’s day is cause for celebration in Staylittle, Mid-Wales.

A time to meet old friends — here’s Audrey and Gareth.

We were entertained by famous local magician/retired dentist Gareth Jenkins. Sobering to find how apparently easily ones senses can deceive one — except it probably isn’t easy! Thank you Gareth.

We sported our daffs. The real things are a few days late this year. We ate cawl and Welsh cakes. Met new residents —

Here’s Anwen, the newest!

We played stand-up bingo and competed in the darts challenge — no one was injured this year. We nearly all got a raffle prize, I won a large clump of snowdrops to plant on our newly revealed bank and Bill got a birdwatchers mug and gardening gloves — how psychic was that!

The climax of the evening — Nick, who runs the village shop and won the darts challenge last year, defended his title in the final with all the bells, whistles and triumphant hype of the professional darts circuit… and lost to Audrey’s cousin! What a sport!