Saturday, 13 May 2017

Things I Miss About Country Living

It is coming up to three years that I have lived in Cardiff and I'd be lying if I said I'm still as in love with this city as I first was. The trouble is, I'm a village girl through and through. I grew up living in small villages in Somerset and Devon. As much as the buzz of the city is fun, it can become a bit tiresome. Sometimes you just want to be away from the cars and people. I have a friend who tells me the smell of silage makes her feel nostalgic - I'm starting to understand this. So, I decided to put together everything I miss about village life into one post so any other country bumpkins can reminisce with me.

The hour walk to the village shop
OK, the shop wasn't an hour away - it was probably about 15 mins at most - but you met so many people you knew on the way that it took that long to get there. Everyone knows each other in a village and they're always interested in how you're doing (or maybe they just want to gossip...).

Summer fetes
The village fete is something that you just can't recreate in a city. The home-made jams, the chocolate tombola, the cakes, the raffle.

Farmers markets held by actual farmers
Before it was hipster and cool, village people got their veg from farmers markets. And they didn't even need to have man buns and ironic slogan t-shirts to do so.

Foraging for fruit
It sounds like something out of an Enid Blyton book but a sunny day spent picking blackberries is the best. I always feel annoyed having to pay £2 in Tesco for a punnet. Also pick your own farms are the actual best ever.

Parties in fields
Sipping Sheppys cider around a bonfire in your friend's field beats clubbing hands down.

Country pubs
Lazy Sundays in the pub drinking cider in the beer garden or munching through a huge roast. Who doesn't want that?

The shopping trip to the big city
You gather your girls together. You all travel to the city. Maybe you have a party coming up or a big date. You make a day out of finding an outfit.

The quiet
I love the buzz of the city but sometimes you just want to go and walk down a little lane beside a stream and only be able to hear the stream and some birds singing.

Everyone knows everyone
Dating someone new? Guaranteed your friend's sister dated his brother and has the low-down on everything about him, his parents, his grandparents, and the pedigree of their dog. The city is scary - these are actual strangers. The closest thing there is to a stranger in a village is when a rival ice-cream van man pitches up in the summer.

Are you a country bumpkin or a city slicker? Which do you prefer?

Disclaimer: don't own this picture.


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

A Very Long Walk To Castell Coch

If you're not from Cardiff then you may not aware that walking from Cardiff to Castell Coch is equivalent to running a marathon or swimming the channel. We walked for two hours there then two hours back. I am writing this a day on and my feet still ache. But we did it! I'm shocked that I even managed it in all honesty.

I can hear you asking 'what would inspire such craziness to spend a beautiful day walking for miles and miles?'. The answer: I had just handed in my final ever uni assignments and I wanted to do something to celebrate. Any normal person would, at this point, suggest going out for drinks or having a night of takeaway pizza and rewatching Orange Is The New Black. Not us. We decided this was the perfect opportunity to get out in the sun and explore our surroundings. And explore we did. Ok, the walk was pretty unspectacular. We walked beside the motorway for about 80% of the journey but it did become the perfect opportunity to introduce my husband to the game 'yellow car'. For anyone who doesn't know this game, you punch whoever you're with anytime you see a yellow car. It is basically an excuse to thump your husband as hard as possible without getting into trouble or being given a restraining order. Perfect, right?

Armed with just a bag of Doritos, Google Maps, and a wealth of 'coch' jokes (I was originally going to entitled this post 'The Biggest Coch In Wales'), we made it. It was like we had reached the Pearly Gates when we finally saw the sign for the castle. The only problem: we arrived at 4:50pm and they shut at 5pm. Oops. So, we didn't get to see inside but the outside was lovely enough. It had mega Hogwarts vibes. I would love to go back with a picnic and see inside though. Maybe I'll get the bus there next time.

There was some lovely woodland around and the flowers were all blooming. I just wanted to lie in them Snow White style but I had to control myself.

We then headed on to the pub we had seen in the village because we had really worked up big appetites. I kinda wanted to just order giant sundae but my husband talked me into getting something a little more substantial. So, in true West Country style, I got the Cornish pasty with chips, peas, and gravy. Gravy and chips, yum! My husband went for sausage and mash. It was 2 for 1 one on selected meals so, including our drinks, it came to just £10. Could you believe it?! I got a mocktail which was just cranberry and orange juice with a slice of lime - it really worked well though!

I would highly recommend taking a little trip to Castell Coch if you're ever in the area. But just don't walk it. Don't do that to yourself.
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