It was the Friday of our first week by now, and the weather didn't show any signs of improvement: it was raining when we got up, and still raining after we'd finished breakfast.
Still hoping for a break in the weather, we waited, and waited, but as nothing happened we had to admit defeat and visit one of our other wet weather options.
Scolton Manor is a traditional Victorian country house set in 60 acres of park and woodland, 5 miles north of Pembrokeshire's county town, Haverfordwest.
The house was designed and built by a local firm of architects, and finished in 1842.
Until it was acquired by Pembrokeshire County Council in 1972, it was home to successive generations of the Higgon family.
With the rain still in evidence, we roamed the mansion's rooms, experiencing Victorian country life above and below stairs.
In the meantime, the rain had abated, which we took advantage of by exploring the grounds.
It didn't take long for it to start pelting down again, this time in earnest, so that we made a hasty retreat to our car.
It was on our way back to Cardigan that we had to stop for a herd of cows crossing the road.
On Saturday morning, it was still drizzling on and off, but we had plans!
We'd seen a notice in Coast to Coast, the yearly magazine published by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, that there was a vintage fair in Newport, a small coastal town less than half an hour up the road, where we hoped to spend a couple of hours browsing the stalls.
Imagine our disappointment at finding the venue closed and the fair cancelled!
Suffice to say I was in a foul mood! We moped around the small town, thinking on our feet on what to do instead.
As it was nearly 12 o' clock by then, we drove down to Newport Parrog, one of the town's beaches, and had our picnic sitting inside a shelter, taking in one of our favourite views, towards Dinas Head (the obvious, rounded headland in the distance), ripples tickling the gaily painted boats bobbing up and down in the small harbour.
Then I remembered a garden, which was in the neighbourhood, but which we'd never visited before, hoping it had stopped drizzling by the time we got there.
It was a 15 minute drive down to the garden, which is nestling in a valley on the outskirts of the town of Fishguard.
The rain had virtually stopped by now, but slate grey clouds were still in evidence, threatening more rain without a moment's notice.
Dyffryn Fernant gardens is a wonderful surprise, a hidden gem of a garden, its 6 acres set just below the Preseli uplands, watched over by the rocky outcrop of Garn Fawr. Its owner, Christina Shand, started the garden from wilderness in 1996.
The area around the delightful cottage is a riot of colour, provided by tender things such as dahlias, pelargoniums, salvias and agapanthus, from which the garden gradually makes its way to the wilderness beyond, by way of fernery, bog garden, wild marsh and pond.
Everywhere, the flotsam and jetsam of every day life are used to enhance the casually (to the eye, at least) planted up areas, garden rooms, if you like, separate but forming an organically grown whole.
Then there are the cleverly placed works of art, which are dotted around the garden, focal points amid the lush planting.
Sitting places are abundant, too, inviting you to take in the garden from all angles, or just to simply sit and be, perhaps getting lost in a daydream.
There's even a library for garden visitors, with a wide selection of books on gardening and art, with a table and chairs to browse them at ease while having a cup of coffee or tea.
We came across an old cat asleep on a bench, who started following us around, meowing loudly. As we sat down near this clever water feature (top right), its gentle gurgling a soothing sound, she demonstrated its use as a drinking fountain by delicately licking its sides.
Water crazy Phoebe would love this!
After we were finally able to tear ourselves away from this oasis, we took a scenic route through the Gwaun Valley, a verdant, steep sided valley created during the last Ice Age, with a unique atmosphere and plenty of prehistoric sites.
The people living in the valley's hamlets uphold a special tradition: they still celebrate New Year's Day or Hen Galan on 13th January according to the old Julian calendar!
While trundling along, we passed The Dyffryn Arms, which is not just your run of the mill pub. Prehistoric it may not be, but it's definitely a time capsule of a bygone era. Owned by Bessie Davies for more than 35 years, and known locally as Bessie's, it is a simple room in the front of her house, and the beer is served through a hatch straight from the barrel.
We didn't get to see Bessie herself, though, and as we don't drink alcohol, neither did we taste the ale, but we wouldn't have missed the experience for the world, chatting to a couple of locals, one of them even taking our photograph, even though this wasn't without its hiccups!
En route again, we passed signs to Pentre Ifan, a fine example of a Cromlech, which we followed through a maze of country lanes basking in the sun, which had finally made an appearance.
Returning to the main road, we were suddenly faced by a ford which, following the example of the car in front of us, we were brave enough to cross!
Before heading back to our cottage, we drove on to Poppit Sands, a large sandy beach backed by dunes, at the mouth of the Teifi Estuary. With the tide out, we walked across the large expanse of sand towards the sea, warmed by the late afternoon sun and with a gentle sea breeze ruffling my hair.
In the distance, near Cardigan Island, we spotted a cloud of playfully dancing kites - there was a Kite Festival going on - patterning the sudden blue of the sky.
Looking back, the ever watchful coast guards' hut nestling near the dunes looked like a discarded child's toy, shrunk by distance and all but lost in the landscape.
Looking all wind blown, but oh so happy, a perfect ending to a perfect day!
Ugh! Too bad about the canceled vintage fair....but kudos to you for making the best of it!!ReplyDelete
Walking along an expanse of sand towards the sea sounds like the perfect day!! You look fabulous as usual!!!
Here's hoping the thrifting gods bestow their benevolence upon you, as a consolation prize for missing that fair!
Happy thrifting ;)
The thrifting gods have been kind to us in the meantime, and have more than made up for the missing fair! xxxDelete
No vintage fair could measure up to the lovely day you ended up having-and what an adventure.ReplyDelete
At least you didn't lay on your horn as the cattle crossed the road-I've seen people do that and in the end it just takes longer rounding them up. I don't miss country living. I could however see myself living in that country estate!
I think we had a far better day than we would have had at the vintage fair! As for the crossing cattle: we weren't in a rush, so enjoyed the view, which certainlhy beat being stuck in traffic back at home ... xxxDelete
oooh! That garden looks delightful. You certainly did make the best of your day. XReplyDelete
We loved that garden, and wouldn't have missed it for the world! xxxDelete
two perfect days!! sooo much to look at and marvel over!!ReplyDelete
is this the garden you mentioned earlier? it is totally fabulous with the just slightly tamed wilderness. and the manor the day before with all that old furniture and things..... sigh***** is there a meaning with jos looking out of the owl house? ;-)
love the pic of you happy at the beach!!!! xxxxxx
Indeed, that's the garden I mentioned, Beate. I'm glad you liked it. Oh, and the owl house was just there when it started to rain. There's another photo of me looking out of the window which has the Welsh version of owl house ... xxxDelete
You found two real gems; Scolion manor manages to look very cosy and Dyffryn Fernant gardens are beautiful and quirky.ReplyDelete
You managed to find somewhere to picnic and the view of the boats from your picnic shelter was perfect!
Love the photo of you in the last frame. xxx
Thank you Sally. We'd picnicked in that shelter before, which is why we knew where to go ... xxxDelete
Gosh, the Dyffryn Arms sounds like the sort of thing people would've had a few hundred years ago - quite literally a Public House.ReplyDelete
It would have annoyed me too if I'd gone to a fair that had been cancelled. Well done to you and Jos for having fun anyway.
I'd read about the Dyffryn Arms, but we'd never made it there until now. Quite an experience. I loved it that it's mainly frequented by locals, whose first language clearly was Welsh! xxxDelete
More wonderful photos!! Ypu visited some gems (not been to Scolton, that was closed for winter on our last trip West). I like the sound of the garden very much. Grr about the fair, hate it when that happens xxReplyDelete
Thank you! Scolton Manor is lovely, but they are refurbishing some of the rooms, so it's better to wait with your visit until it's finished ... xxxDelete
each picture is so beautiful wales is such an absolutely stunning placeReplyDelete
Thank you Kate! xxxDelete
I just love that cat drinking from the water feature, she'd have more than made up for a cancelled vintage fair!ReplyDelete
You had a wonderful day despite your plans going awry! xxx
It was a perfect day, and in the end we forgot all about the cancelled fair. That cat was so sweet, and I'm sure Phoebe would love a mini version of that water feature! xxxDelete
despite the rain it looks like a lovely day. Dyffryn Fernant gardens look like an absolute treasure, made all the more desirable by the fountain licking cat - what a beaut!ReplyDelete
Dyffryn Fernant gardens is one of the loveliest gardens we have visited in a long time. I could have wandered for hours ... xxxDelete
Oh, your mention of the ford brought back so many memories! When I was a kid and there was a journey to be made on holiday, we'd look for routes with fords and always found them so exciting! We had a vw caravelle as we were four kids in the family, occasionally there'd be enough water - and my dad would hit it at just the right speed and angle - and the spray would reach pur windows. Joy!ReplyDelete
I'm glad to have brought back those delightful memories for you! xxxDelete