The Welcome in the Valleys

There is a house, in North Wales, that I like.  I have spent only a handful of days there, but it has me, and won’t let go.

I first visited last year, with expectations and a long drive ahead of me.  I wrote of it then, but did not tell the whole story.  For it is a house of magic; and it weaves spells.  It wasn’t just me.


Oh no, it wasn’t just me who yearned to go back, to the house, with the same people.  It seemed unlikely, but it happened, and I am entranced all over again.

The house itself is not without notoriety.  It belonged to Lloyd George, who has his final resting place just across the road, in the woodland.  Literature Wales have it now, a Writers’ Centre.  And it is wonderful.

From The Lighthouse Window, as it became known to The Sleepy Sparrow, that one on the first floor at the rear, the view extends above the foliage at the end of the garden right across the bay.  And from the floor below it is the garden itself that captivates; alive with birdsong.  Said Sparrow upset a pheasant in the shrubbery.  But the robin pecks away by the door, by those moss-grouted cobbles; and the blackies greet the dawn.

On the road down to the foreshore, which may be on the muddy side at times, there are surprises that creep up on you.  There has been scurrying across the path, before the concrete set, furred rather than feathered.  After the concrete comes the mud.  It is good mud; the type that should be felt between the toes; Welsh mud.  Standing Stones emerge, and after you cross the rail line, a palm tree leaves you wondering.  Wondering where it came from, among the gorse hedging, a distance from the road or the farm.


On the beach there may be cormorants, drying their wings, and a turnstone pondering the ripples round the rock.  And all around there are mountains; rugged; and jagged.  Old.  A vanilla ice at Cadwaladers may set you up for the walk back to the house, though, it has be said, it is clear that the Italian community of the West of Scotland may have by-passed Wales on their travels.  Good, yes, but not quite.

There is a rich black Welsh stout too, and a dram, from Penderyn, which even a Scot with a taste for the Irish stuff might enjoy.  The whiskey and the stout, that is.  Welcoming, warming, enveloping.  Like Ty Newydd, in a bottle, or two.

But the house; the gathering.  Old friends, once strangers, meet up, bonded by a common thread and an experience shared, a special one.  Some return.  It is still there, the magic.  They all write about it, in their different ways.

And the house will pull them back again.

You can see more of these fine shots here, for they are not mine.  I stole them from Mr Hankey, and he knows it not, yet.  The Sleepy Sparrow will tell you more of the life outside the kitchen window than you will ever learn here.  Many of the books that fill the shelves may be talked about over at The Bike Shed, when Mark’s not blethering about eggs, or ugly pottery.  And he knows a turnstone when he sees one.

And the road home from Wales now, is calm, free of emotion this time.  For I know it is a one-way journey no more.



Filed under Farrago, Travel, Trips & Traumas

2 responses to “The Welcome in the Valleys

  1. Fine writing, Keith.

  2. Very lovely Keith. I especially like ‘moss-grouted cobbles,’ your description of the mud (should be felt between the toes), the palm tree that leaves you wondering and the pondering turnstone. Glad you had a ‘calm’ drive home this time. Here’s to the next reunion…

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