The Ffynnon Cadno Blog
Hello and welcome to my blog page.
My name is John Wall and together with my wife Jill we run Ffynnon Cadno as a small, friendly Guest House.
I hope to enter details of events that are happening in the locality, give details of places to visit and tell you about the many varied birds, animals, flora and fauna in the garden and in the surrounding area.
1 March 2014 Happy St David's Day to all my readers. Just walked around the garden and the ponds are full of frogspawn. I little bit earlier than last year probably due to the mild wet weather.
I have had a new lens for my camera and here are a couple of photos I took yesterday in the garden.
18 February 2014 We survived the latest storms OK but lost another tree. the good news is we have plenty of fire wood. Looked out of the window this morning and the first pair of Mallards have landed on the pond. Hopefully they will stay and nest.
28 January 2014 Saw a very rare sight last night while driving through the village. A pine marten crossed the road in front of me. They are normally only seen in Scotland although they are known to exist in this part of Mid Wales. Certainly a first for me and a treat to see.
14 January 2014 Aberystwyth is back to normal and open for business as is Ponterwyd and the Cambrian Mountains. I am busy decorating upstairs. The back bedroom has had a makeover and the twin room is next.
5 January 2014 Happy New Year to all my readers. Well you have probably seen in the news that Aberystwyth has had a rough couple of days with the storms. I have lived in the area for over 45 years and it is the worst storm I can remember and more is forecast tonight. That having been said the weather in Ponterwyd has been much calmer than on the coast and apart from the tree mentioned before be have come off quite light. Have you been watching Hinterland on BBC1 Wales if not try and watch it or wait until it is on BBC4. Set around this area it is very good.
30 December 2013 Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and best wishes for a prosperous New Year. The weather is very wet and windy and one of the biggest trees in the garden has blown down and landed in the big pond. A logistical nightmare to get it out and sawn up but at least we will have plenty of logs for the future.
23 November 2013 The first real frost of this Winter last night - 4.6 at 8am. We are down to one hen now. Mr fox called recently and we only have the Derbyshire red cap left. I want some more but senior management says no. On of our grandchildren had his seventy birthday yesterday and has had some chickens and a pen for his birthday. Well Charles we know where we can get some eggs from now on!
29 October 2013 The attached link is a really useful article from Richard Smith of Cambrian Safaris suggesting trips in the Cambrian Mountains close to Ponterwyd.
25 October 2013 Managed to get some time off yesterday to visit The Elan Valley, a round trip with stops of about 2 hours. The colours at this time of the year are fantastic and well worth the journey. Some photos are on Ffynnon Cadno Guest House Facebook page if you would like to have a look
1 October 2013 Jill went for a walk in the woods recently and there are all sorts of fungii growing there. don't worry however as they are not being used for guest's breakfasts.
19 September 2013 Last night we had one room with guests from USA and two rooms with guests from Australia. Nothing unusual in that except that the Australians lived within walking distance from eachother in Adelaide. A small world! (but as somebody once said to me it might be a small world but I wouldn't like to have to paint it)
13 September 2013 Aberystwyth students start returning this weekend and it will be nice to meet returning parents again and hopefully meet those bringing students to Aber for the first time. Aberystwyth is slowly joining the 21st century with Tesco delivering shopping to us for the first time (from Newtown). The only problem is that the first available slot if I order now is next Wednesday!!
8 September 2013 The children have gone back to school and the weather is still good for September which is often a very busy month. Ceredigion Council have produced a very good TV advert. The Discover Ceredigion advert can be viewed here https://vimeo.com/73693022
29 August 2013 Although I have not seen the otter since I have seen its spraints between the ponds so it is still around!! I am also happy to report that there are still some fish in the big pond.
2 August 2013 An idea for a visit whilst staying at Ffynnon Cadno would be to visit the Butterfly House
The Butterfly House is located in the Rheidol Valley, 15 minutes outside Aberystwyth. Visitors can walk freely among some of the largest and most colourful butterflies in the world. It differs from other similar attractions in that it is run by biologists and many of the butterflies are bred on site. A lot of people use us as a rainy day attraction but it's just as good on a sunny days. The butterflies fly best between 10.00 and 14.00hrs.
If you require any additonal information please visit their website at www.magicoflife.org
28 July 2013 The weather has broken hopefully the rain will just be in the night and everybody will be happy. I have got my sit on mower working at last so cutting the lawns should be a lot easier from now on. Reports from Nant yr Arian yesterday indicated that there were in excess of 200 kites feeding which is a lot at this time of the year.
18 July 2013 Lots of butterfly's in the garden I think they are mainly Ringlet's which are medium sized and dark brown. The beautiful weather continues and everything in the garden is growing fast especially the weeds.
8 July 2013 What fantastic weather and a promise of the same for the rest of the week at least. Good news I have seen 3 large fish in the big pond so there is a chance the otter will return!!
24 June 2013 No more sightings of the otter but have just seen a Redpoll feeding with the Siskins and Goldfinches on the feeder.
22 June 2013 Another first except this time much more exciting. I looked out of the Breakfast Room this morning to see an OTTER entering the big pond. Now I know where my fish have gone.
20 June 2013 For the first time in many years I have just seen a grey squirel in the garden. The last one departed many moons ago under the wheel of a car on the road outside!!
18 June 2013 Completely out of the blue I have been told that Ffynnon Cadno has been placed 4th in a list of the best Bed and Breakfast's in Gt Britain for walkers. The list is in the July 2013 copy of Country Walking Magazine. Quite an honour for us and one that we are very proud of.
13 June 2013 As you probably know I am a keen photographer and artist and I have been told of a brilliant piece of software for manipulating photographs called Sketch. My friend Brian was raving about it so I decided to have a look myself. Well I agree with him, it is very very good and so easy to use. There are many different ways you can manipulate your photographs to represent paintings, sketches etc and well worth the money. Below is an example of a sketch I made using the software of the woods behing the house taken from a colour photograph..
The software can be found at www.akvis.com and is well worth a look. you can download it free on a 10 day trial and if you like it can then buy it.
9 June 2013 A lovely sunny day and phase 2 of painting the outside of the house. Just heard 2 cookoos singing across the valley. A lovely sound and quite rare nowadays.
29 May 2013 The fish are finally getting used to their new envirionment and the warmer weather helps. Lost another hen this morning so we are down to just 3. Despite what Jill says I think we need to buy some more. Family of Blue Tits fledged on Monday hopefully the first of many new arrivals in the garden.
18 May 2013 We have got otters in the river Rheidol close to us and now it is proposed to introduce beavers as well next year.
17 May 2013 There was snow onthe hills during the week but it soon went and the grass is growing and the trees are in bud. I bought some fish for the ponds which arrived yesterday. Mirror carp, goldfish and sticklebacks! They are in the small pond by the patio. How can 90+ fish disappear overnight, they must be there somewhere.
The Ospreys are back at the Dyfi Osprey Projet. Have a look at this link for live streeming, fantastic shots.
24 April 2013 just been up the garden to let the chickens and ducks out and heard the cookoo for the first time this year about a week earlier than last year.
15 April 2013 Sitting in the conservatory having a coffee and three swallows passed the window heading West, three days earlier than last year. Something however is taking fish from the pond by the house. We had 23 golden orfe a few weeks ago now there are only five!! A heron or an otter perhaps?
5 April 2013 Another rare sighting today. I looked out of the conservatory window this afternoon and there was a long tailed tit in a tree on the lawn. I looked towards the garage and a tree creeper was climbing up another tree !!!
4 April 2013 The snow has gone and with better weather forecast it is work in the garden for me. Looked out of the window this morning and saw a wild mallard duck on the pond. This is the first I have seen in the garden for a long time.
31 March 2013 Guests saw the fox again this morning. It is becoming a habit!!
28 March 2013 Jill has been on a chocolate making course and mugins has had to prepare breakfast for the guests yesterday and this morning. I looked out of the kitchen window and couldn't believe my eyes. A fox was trotting down the garden path towards the breakfast room as bold as brass!! I ran into the conservatory and said have you seen a fox only to have the offending animal pointed at by the astonished guests. In 11 years at Ffynnon Cadno this is only the second fox we have seen in the garden and a fine example he was too. The photo isn't the best but this together with the red kite taken over the garden yesterday are quite special.
23 March 2013 Spring is here and so is 4 inches of snow! A big contrast between the photo taken in February and the one taken this morning. The road is open however and we are open for business. Great weather for a walk.
10 March 2013 We returned from holiday on 9th to find frogspawn in the ponds and some dafodils in bloom. During our hols we lost both cockerals on has gone on a permanent holiday to a smallholding near Cardiff and the other has been killed by either a stoat or polecat as his head had been severed!! Anyway we are now cockeral less so it will be safe to walk around the garden again.
2 February 2013 I thought I would share a panoramic photo I have just taken with my Iphone. I used a free app called Photosynth to create it and it works really well.
12 January 2013 There have been two programmes on the BBC this week showing the area around Aberystwyth. Griff Rhys Jones visited the sourse of the rivers Severn and Wye just up the road from us and Michael Portillo travelled from Welshpool to Aberystwyth on his train journeys around Gt Britain. Both are available on iplayer and are worth a watch.
10 January 2013 Happy New Year to all our friends and guests be they past or future. Well 2013 has started well with bookings coming in steadily from all over the world. The wonders of the internet. January also sees a busy period for us decorating the rooms ready for the coming season. The 4 poster bedroom and en-suite have been done and as soon as we have a couple of free days the other bedooms and landing will be done.
21 December 2012 The shortest day and only a couple of days to Christmas. All the family are with us this year so we will have a house full. A very Merry Christmas to all our guests both past and future an a Prosperous New Year.
30 November 2012 Another month gone but a very busy one. We have been on holiday for a couple of weeks and are now fully refreshed and ready to start decorating the bedroooms before next season. We have been on a cruise from Dubai to Singapore visiting Muscat in Oman, Cochin in India and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. It was a fabulous cruise and in a party of 9 people was great fun. We saw some wonderful sights and got some much needed sun. With the wonders of modern technology we took several booking for next year and 2 for this year in the middle of the Indian Ocean. If somebody had said that a few years ago they would have said you were mad.
We lost 3 ducks during the holiday. They were put away at night but somehow disappeared, either Mr fox has been around during the day or they have decided that the grass and water is greener elsewhere!
22 October 2012 A 5 day forecast without rain on it! A lovely time to visit Elan Valley with all the trees changing colour and water spilling over the dams. We live in a lovely part of the world. We had a static caravan delivered last week which we will use for additional storage and sleepovers for the grandchildren. They have already allocated their bed spaces. It is down by the garages out of the way but close enough to keep an eye on them.
3 October 2012 Since I wrote last I have had a 3 day event hitting the ripe old age of 60 and celebrating with a hogroast and party in the garden. Richard my son in law provided the hog and cooked it on the spit he recently bought and it was delicious. There were about 70 friends and family housed in a marquee on the top lawn and it all went very well. September was quieter than usual with the B & B and we had a week off and used our share in Broadsword a 62 foot canal boat to travel the length of the Llangollen canal which was great. October is turning out to be a better month and we are quite busy.
23 August 2012 I have just been sent a link showing the Butterfly House in Cwm Rheidol which is quite close to us which you might be interested in looking at.
8 August 2012 All well and good with the animals although they ae not laying as well as they should be. I have found a very good video on Youtube produced by Pentir Pumlumon which shows off Devils Bridge, Ponterwyd and the local area very well and is worth a look. The link is below
17 June 2012 The ducks are doing well and have joined the others outside. The first day we let them out and they found the top pond they were like big kids squarking and diving under water. The two hen chicks are also out in the chicken run and will soon be roaming free with the other chickens.
We survived the terrible storms last week without any major problem unlike some of my friends in Aberystwyth and Taltbont who were flooded out. The water came and within a day had disappeared but left a trail of destruction behind.
The cookoo is still around but I am sure will soon fly off.
28 May 2012 Just watched our weatherman Derek Brockway walking around the Hafod Estate which is quite close to us here and thought you would like to see it as well. Hopefully this link will take you to the right place.
27 May 2012 Ducks are doing well and are outside in a run. We had a couple of chicken eggs hatch, not as good as I had hoped but the youngsters are doing well. A busy weekend in Aberystwyth this weekend with the Halfords Cycling Tour in town for a race on Friday and the Olympic Torch relay tonight. The official opening of the Silver Mountain Experience yesterday and the first public performance of our own Male voice choir last night in the George Borrow Hotel and I must admit they were good.
9 May 2012 I rescued 6 eggs from the duck nest on the island not expecting anything and put them in the incubator with the hen eggs. To our surprise 5 have hatched and we are the proud parents of 5 lovely call duck chicks!!
5 May 2012 The call duck has deserted her nest, only one egg hatched in the incubator but I have heard the cookoo again and have just seen a wood warbler and an orange tip butterfly. Another 12 eggs in the incubator so hopefully these will be more fertile.
1 May 2012 Serving breakfast this morning and herd the cookoo for the first time. Later than last year but at least they have arrived following their long journey from Africa.
18 April 2012 Saw the first swallows of the year this morning but no sign of a cookoo yet.
10 April 2012 A hectic busy Easter is over and a lull tonight beore another busy few days. Sunny today with a few showers much better than yesterday with continuous rain!! The call duck is still nesting on the island and a redpoll bird seen in the garden for the first time.
5 April 2012 After the snow of yesterday (the first this year) today is bright and sunny, ready for Easter. I had a mini digger in the other day and we are building a path around the bottom ponds as an extra walk around the garden. The ducks have eaten all the frogspawn and one of the call ducks is nesting on the island!! We also have put som fertile chicken eggs in the incubator so hopefully in about a month we should have some light Sussex hens to add to the flock. I saw a Redpoll in the garden yesterday a first for Ffynnon Cadno. It was hapily feeding with the siskins and I managed to get some good photos of it.
2 March 2012 If you look on the second page of the website you will see that I have put a video/slide show of Ffynnon Cadno and the garden. I hope you enjoy it.
29 February 2012 Have just seen the first frogspawn of 2012 in the bottom pond. Later than last year but earlier than 2010. Might hava a dafodil in bloom on St David's Day tomorrow to go with the snowdrops which are giving a lovely show this year.
24 February 2012 We have returned from holiday and luckerly missed the worst of the cold weather. The chickens have started laying again and we have been given two call ducks who follow the Indian Runner ducks around as if they are tied together!! The snowdrops are out and daffodils are in bud, Spring is here.
22 January 2012 The weather is still mild although it is supposed to get colder this week. We are still busy decorating the bedrooms ready for the season. I also painted our lounge and managed to spill a pot of red paint over our light coloured carpet!! We had the carpet cleaned within a few hours but the stain is still there. Luckily it is near the fireplace and a rug has covered it.
4 January 2012 A Happy New Year to you all. We had a quiet Christmas and now the festivities are over the never ending job of decorating can begin. We hope to update all the bedrooms before the season starts in ernest. Good news is that we have had an overnight stay from Visit Wales and we have retained our 4 star classification for another year and Jill acheived 5 stars for her Breakfast!!
16 December 2011 First snow of the Winter last night, not as much as predicted but still a covering. The ducks havn't seen the white stuff before but seem at home with it and waddled onto the pond as usual. Nearly ready for Christmas and then the big decorating puch to freshen up the bedrooms before next year. We had our Annual visit from Visit Wales last week to check on our grading and everything went OK. Hope all our readers have a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
5 November 2011 A lovely day with wall to wall sunshine and perfect for letting off some fireworks for the grandchildren. The garden is looking Autumnal and there are lovely views in the Elan Valley this time of the year with the changing colours on the trees. The chickens have realised that the nights are getting longer and are not laying as well now.
27 September 2011 Runner ducks are fully grown now and the other juniors are getting there. One of the Derbyshire redcaps is definately a cockeral so we will have to see how he gets on!! The weather forecast for the week is very good so hopefully we are going to have an Indian summer. We are still busy which is very good and it was nice to see familiar faces bringing their children back to University last week.
6 August 2011 The second incubation wasn't as good as the first. We bought 6 Rhode Island Red eggs and incubated 2 eggs and our friend gave us 12 eggs of which another 2 incubated. So we have 4 chicks almost ready to go outside in the Ark. Good news the 3 Derbyshire red chicks and the 3 ducks are doing well. The ducks are Indian Runner ducks and are black and white and spend all day on the top pond going in with the chickens at night.
Business is going OK with a lot of foreign guests staying with us. So far over the last few weeks we have had guests from Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Russia, Italy, Netherlands, Ireland, France, Spain, Canada and UK.
11 July 2011 Second lot of mallards have left and it is the garden birds who are breeding now. So far we have had families of blue tits, great tits, robins, house sparrows, siskins and dunnocks in the garden.
We went to the Smallholders show at Builth Wells at the end of May with the intention of buying some chickens and or ducks but came away with an incubator and some fertile eggs. We bought 6 mixed fertile duck eggs and 6 Derbyshire redcap chicken eggs. We have had a 50% success rate and now have 3 baby chickens and 3 ducklings. They were kept under a heat lamp until last week and have now been relocated to a new chicken run in the garden. There are another 18 eggs in the incubator which are due to hatch this week.
13 May 2011 Bad news 6 then 5 then 4 and now 0!! It is possible that Mrs duck took the remaining 3 chicks down the stream out of the way. Good news is that another pair of mallards are around the pond a lot so hopefully they will breed soon.
The BBC Springwatch programme is coming from Ynys Hir reserve this year which is quite close to us so the area should have some good publicity and just up the road from there a female Osprey is sitting on 3 eggs for the first time.
2 May 2011 Kitchen is finished and the old units have been installed in the utility room, so we are all back together. The cockeral had to go!! He attacked Jill and she ended up in the stream at the top of the garden. We were woried about the grand children so it has gone on its holidays up the road. I heard the cookoo on 10 April which is much earlier than previous years and we have got willow warblers in the garden and swallows flying overhead.
Our runner duck had been sitting on eggs but has given up and Mr Duck has disappeared!! I don't know whether a fox had him or he just packed his bags and waddled off but he has gone. A bit of good news a wild mallard has bread on the pond and she has got 6 young ducks with her. Lets hope the chicks survive.
22 March 2011 The house is in turmoil. We are having a new kitchen fitted. The units are in and everything is now working but the walls are still not plastered and hopefully that will be done tonight. All being well we should be ship shape by the weekend!!
Another new addition to our stock. Paul and Hoppy arrived last saturday with a box containing a beautiful Maran cockeral. He is a hansome beast but evil with it. We have had words and if he doesn't toe the line and stop attacking me a box of sage and onion stuffing might be useful!
21 February 2011 2 red kites have been seen regularly in the garden in one of the larger trees!! Thinking of nesting perhaps. A first in the garden yesterday was a pheasant around the bird feeders and I have just seen frogsporn in the top pond a full couple of weeks earlier than last year.
2 February 2011 A belated happy new year to you all. All the snow has gone and so has the heavy rain that followed. There are signs that Spring is arriving. The snowdrops are peeping through as are the dafodils in the planters. The chickens are starting to lay more frequently and we have got the occasional mallard on the pond. It has been reported that a Golden Eagle has been seen near Pontrhydygroes and some friends are sure they saw it yesterday in Ystumtuen which is less than 1 mile from here. I hope that it will fly over here. It would make a change from all the Red Kites that we see every day. We have put a feeder with nyger seed in it and there have been as many as 12 goldfinches and siskins on it since.
Some other interesting wildlife seen recently include a stoat running across the lawn and a pair of otters seen by a friend in a field across the road.
24 December 2010 I love snow but enough is enough. We have had about 10 inches and it is still hanging around after a couple of weeks. Everybody is in the same boat of course and we are lucky that we are on the side of the main road which is always kept open. Anyway I would like to wish all our guests past and future all the very best for the festive season.
18 October 2010 Duck replaced and chickens starting to lay regularly. Have just been on the canal boat for the last time. We owned a 1/12 share in NB Sylph and it was decided at the AGM of the group yesterday to sell the old girl off. We will miss her but we had 4 good years at various locations on the waterways system and saw a lot of Britain we would not otherwise have seen.
31 August 2010 Disaster, went for a walk up the garden to have a look at the chickens and ducks only to find two dogs attacking them as they fed outside the run. One dead duck and two dead chickens. I think I know who the dogs belong to so I will be having words with him. That aside we still have 8 hens and they are starting to lay.
24 August 2010 Fresh eggs from our own chickens !!!! We have converted the barn at the top of the garden to house chickens. They have got a run outside and plenty of room inside to roost and shelter. One of our friends bought 35 ex battery hens and now they have got some feathers on them we have rescued 10 of them. They arrived yesterday and are settling in well. To date we have had one egg but I am sure this will increase as they settle down. To keep them company we also have bought a pair of Indian Runner Ducks which are also in the barn but hopefully will eventually reside on the island on the lake.
8 Aug 2010 Capel Bangor Show was on yesterday. I was unable to go as I was taking my good friend to see his daughter who has just undergone a big operation in Stoke. As usual I entered some photographs and Jill phoned me to let me know that I had won the cup for highest number of points in the photo classes. Ponterwyd Fete next week and then Talybont Show at the end of the month. Hopefully I will have some more success in these shows as well.
I was surprised to find out the other day that we are on Trip Advisor. If anyone would like to write a review of their stay with us I would be grateful.
27 July 2010 You may have noticed that we now have a booking option on the website. We have joined Mid Wales Tourism and there is now a link to Mid Wales Tourism from our website. This will allow you to see our availability and reserve rooms on line.
5 July 2010 So far we have had a busy season and the weather has been better than for several years. Long may it continue.
I have been away for the weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed which was fantastic. I had a shock on my return however as Millie our lovely Miniature Schnauzer had been run over on the road on Friday. She was only 18 months old and a fantastic bitch full of character and a great favourite of our guests. She will be greatly missed by us all.
22 April 2010 Just heard a cookoo !! Weather is fine cold at night but lovely during the day. All the grass got cut today and I brought my Morris 1000 traveller home from the bodyshop where it has ben rebuilt.
11 April 2010 Since last month we have had another drop of snow which caused some problems on the road but I am glad to report that it has all gone and Spring has arrived. The temperature outside yesterday reached 18 degrees and I cut the grass for the first time. I saw my first swallow this morning which is 2 days later than last year. Hopefully the next sighting will be a cookoo.
11 March 2010 There are still pockets of snow on the hills even though we havn't had any fresh snow for a couple of weeks. Spring is around the corner though and the conservatory is boiling hot in the sun during the day. The lack of trees has certainly helped in that area as well as giving us a fabulous view.
Another sign of Spring is the first frogspawn of the year which I have just seen in the bottom pond and the daily visit by the pair of mallard ducks.
We have become associate members of the AA and proudly display there logo alongside the Visit Wales 4 star logo which we have just had renewed with higher points than last year.
11 February 2010 Happy New Year to all our readers and apologies for not writing the blog for some weeks. Well we have been on holiday and with Christmas, the New Year and everything else the time has flown by. We are over the worst of the weather I hope and although it is still cold outside the snow has melted and the sun is pouring through the conservatory windows. We have just returned from the Far East where we went on a cruise from Hong Kong to Vietnam, Borneo, Brunei, The Phillipines, Singapore and China. As you can imagine it was fantastic and well worth the long flights. We even took bookings for B & B in the middle of the South China Sea, a wonderful thing technology is.
Now we are back it is down to decorating and sprucing everything up for the coming season.
8 December 2009 We had a phone call on Sunday from Christopher Somerville who stayed with us earlier in the year while exploring Pumlumon for an article he was writing for The Times. He phoned to say the article had been published and we had a mention. If you would like to read the article the address is :-
I am getting old. I have bought a 2004 Rover 75 automatic to replace the SAAB, joking apart it is a very nice car with all the toys one could want including a TV!!.
There has been a dipper on the pond for a few days now and this is a first for the garden. I never realised they swam and dived having only seen them before bobbing up and down on rocks.
29 November 2009 The trees have all been cut down now and we have much more light in the garden. The views across the valley are fantastic and we see many more red kites now. Work on the Morris 1000 is progressing slowly. All the welding has been done and it is now very sound underneath. The body has been renovated with new inner wings, sills, new front wings and guttering. The next job is to paint it. After much thought I have decided to paint it in Trafalgar Blue which was the same colour as my first car back in 1969.
I was returning from Evesham at the end of October with some parts for the Morris when I had my car written off by a Peugeot 106. You wouldn't believe how much damage it could do to the rear of a SAAB 9-5. I stopped to let a lorry cross a narrow bridge but the peugeot behing didn't!! Over £10k of parts needed on the SAAB so it was written off. I have bought a Rover 75 to replace it which I should have on Tuesday.
There is a dipper on the pond which has been there for several days. A first in the garden as far as I know. It seems quite contented so hopefully it will stay.
12 October 2009 Where has the time gone. We have been very busy over the August/ September period but I hadn't realised it had been nearly 2 months since I entered anything into the blog. Well the country fete was a great success and you can see the photos on smugmug (the link is shown below). Last Wednesday Jill and I became grandparents again with a little girl for the first time. Both Emma and baby Ella are doing well. Work on the garden is progressing slowly but in the right direction.
The Riley car has been sold and replaced with a Morris 1000 traveller which is currently being restored. Hopefully when completed it should be a useful classic. Another bit of good news is that the trees opposite the house are being cut down as I write this and we should have a lovely view across the valley when the work is completed.
14 August 2009 The Country Fete is tomorrow so I am flat out getting ready for the big day. The talk of the village at the moment is Class 23 Banana Loaf (Men only). I think the whole male population of the village is slaving over a stove this morning making one. The main topic of conversation in the pub is how hot the oven should be and how long the tin should be in the oven. My son in law is even levelling the oven to ensure an even bake!! The oven has been perfectly OK for 5 years for Karen to cook in but now it needs sorting out. We have got a falconry display, laser shooting, vintage parade and the Welsh Pea Shooting championships. All we need now is some fine weather on the day.
19 July2009. The school has a year's repreive so it is up to us all to get new pupils into school to secure its future. I have found a new website to store my photos and you are free to have a look at the albums. I have added photographs of Ffynnon Cadno from when we bought the house to the present time. It shows the garden and the work we have done in it. Have a look and keep looking as I intend to add new albums as time goes on. www.johnwall.smugmug.com should take you to my area.
13 June 2009 7 became 5 and then 2!! As far as I can see there is now only 1 duckling left and I havn't seen that for a day or so. Nature is very cruel sometimes. Mother has flown off and left the chick to fend for itsself. There is an influx of painted lady butterflies around at the moment and I have seen them in the garden. Apparently they have come from Morocco which is a substantial flight in a boing 737 never mind on the wing by a butterfly. There are young families of nuthatches and grey wagtails flying around the garden and the cookoo is still around. The Cabinet of Ceredigion County Council recommended that the school be closed but the decission has been called in by the Scrutinies Committee and they have suggested that we have a year to sort things out. The final decission rests with the full Council on 30 June. Hopefully sense will prevail.
23 May 2009 The mallards are still around but to my surprise this afternoon I looked down at the main pond and there was another female mallard with 7 chicks. They look to be a few days old and by the time I returned with my camera they had disappeared into the reeds. perhaps out luck is changing after all. There was also a cookoo very close to the house today and I saw it fly off chased by a smaller bird. It is Bank Holiday weekend and it looks as if the weather will be fine for a change.
8 May 2009 No sign of the babies for over a day. I saw one on Wednesday with the female but nothing since. There have been several magpies near the pond recently and I have a horrible feeling they have had a feed on them!!! One good piece of news is that there is still a pair of mallards around the pond and he doesn't fly off when he sees me so possibly they are nesting again or there is another pair around.
5 May 2009 Mallards are very crafty. I thought they had only just started sitting but they have been sitting for several weeks. We looked out over the pond this morning and five babies are scurrying about the place. They are very small and I guess they have only just been born. I hope they have more sucess than their predicessors. Arwyn heard the cookoo last week but I still havn't heard it.
3 May 2009 I think there are a pair of mallards nesting on the top pond, there has been a lot of activity over the past week and a drake sitting in the water most of the day - fingers crossed. We have had a few days away since my last blog on Sylph our shared ownership narrowboat. It has moved to Etruria in Stoke on Trent and we went up the very pretty Caldon Canal and back.
The next few weeks will be very busy with plans to close our village school due to lack of numbers. As a school Governor I will be doing my best to persuade the Education Committee to change their mind. We have a fairly modern school with plenty of room to expand, large grounds and a fully equipped kitchen and it is proposed to close it and move the children to either Devils Bridge or Capel Bangor. I admit that the current numbers are under the cut off point to keep it open but with promisses of upto 15 children joining in the next couple of years and 4 new housing schemes in the pipeline for the village including one of affordable housing) there should be plenty of children shortly. Devils Bridge school on the otherhand is old, cramped, has no kitchen and will need a lot of money spent on it to bring it upto standard. It does have the magic number of children to keep it open however !! . It seems that that is all the council are interested in.
7 April 2009 Saw a swallow today, the first this year hopefully the start of a good Summer. We were rudely awaikened last night about 12.30 after a car decided to park in the garden. As you can see from the photo the girl in it was very lucky to escape without injury.
Milly is causing havoc around the house but looks more like a dog now that when she arrived.
22 March 2009 Jill is back and the new addition has arrived. A bundle of fluff called Millie. She is 10 weeks old and full of mischief. We have bought a cage to keep her in and she seems to like it. Mallards are landing on the pond again a sure sign that Spring is here. I have also seen a few butterflies and several bumble bees.
17 March 2009 Home alone!! Jill has gone on a cruise for a week with some girl friends and left me to look after everything. So far so good. She phoned last night from Madeira and there are three other couples from Aberystwyth on the cruise who she knows. The weather is lovely here and I cut the grass yesterday.
We had our annual Inspection by Visit Wales the other day and everything went well. We are still 4 star. The lady who inspected us suggested we got another dog and recommended a miniature Schnauzer as a very suitable dog. We went on epupz website and there was a puppy for sale just south of Aberystwyth. So when Jill returns we will have a lovely bundle of fluff to look after. The house is so quiet without George we had to have another dog.
What are we going to call her?
7 March 2009 A sad day. George had to be put down this morning. He hadn't been very well for some time andthe vets tried various medication which didn't work. To save him any further pain Jill made the decission when she took him this morning. We will all miss him as will many of our returning guests.
5 March 2009 Spring seems to be here at last although there are still a few cold snaps. Saw frogspawn in the top pond yesterday, about 2 weeks later than last year. 2 Goldcrests were flying around the garden today which was nice. I see them every year but usually only a couple of times a year. There have also been a few visits by mallards to the ponds, hopefully getting ready to nest and I have seen three woodcocks in the garden. We have been clearing an area at the far end of the garden to extend the woodland lawns and we will be seeding it shortly.
3 February 2009 We have escaped most of the snow that has fallen throughout the country over the last day or so. We have about 2 inches but the wind is blowing and there are a few drifts around. We have been busy getting ready for the forthcoming season and hopefully with the state of the £ against the € and the $ there should be a few overseas guests around. Having been to Venice for 2 days recently and paying £6 for a pint Wales should be a relatively cheap holiday.
26 December 2008 Merry Christmas to all our readers. As my mate Brian in Portsmouth rightly says I havn't completed the blog since October. No excuses really except I couldn't remember the password to get into the blog page. Old age is catching up me thinks. Looking out of the window there is hardly a cloud in the sky and it looks a great day for a walk to get rid of the Christmas excesses. Jill looked out of the window in the conservatory the other day and saw a fox by our bird table. It wasn't frightened at all and after spending a few minutes on the lawn walked up the path and into the wood.Mr Fox in the garden.
10 October 2008 Sorry for not completing the blog for such a long time. We have been busy in the garden and at last have finished the patio area. With all the financial problems around the world we still seem to be quite busy with a steady flow of guests staying with us.
We had a week off last week. Sue our friend had a big birthday (3 day event) recently and Sue and Paul, Jill and myself went on a cruise down the Nile. We had a fantastic week and saw all the main sights from Luxor to Aswan. I also went on a trip by coach to Abu Simbel (3 hours by coach across the Sahara Desert!!) and fulfilled a lifetime ambission by having a flight in a hot air balloon over The West Bank at Luxor.
We havn't been to a wedding for many years but we have got one today and another tomorrow!!. Just like London buses they all come together.
26th August 2008 Ponterwyd fete was held but not on the normal field but in the farmyard and adjoining sheds. It actually worked very well and it is hoped to keep it there next year. The weather actually stayed fine for most of the day but the heavens opened in the evening when we had the barbeque. I won the salva for highest number of points in the photography section so was very pleased with myself. Unfortunately Talybont Show the following week became the victim of the weather so I couldn't defend my trophy from there.
It was my birthday yesterday and I was treated to a day out at the Shrewsbury Steam Fair which was well worth a visit.
10 August 2008 It was Llanilar Show and Llangugig Show yesterday and the heaven's opened all day. Owen our eldest grandson won third prize in the painting competition at Llanilar so was very pleased with himself. It is my turn to enter photos next week in Ponterwyd Fete and on 23rd at Talybont Show where I have won the cup for Best in Show for 2 years. Third time lucky? Today there is a big Welsh Pony and Cob Show in Aberaeron. I havn't been but it is supposed to be quite a specticle. Hopefully the weather will improve this week and we will eventually finish the patio garden.
23 July 2008 The patio is nearly finished and we are busy getting the gardens tidy. Back in the 1960's and eary 1970's there was a full time gardener here and a part time one in the Summer. Unfortunately nothing was done in the gardens since Captain Churchill died. It has taken 5 years to get where we are now and I am sure there is as much work again to bring the gardens back to where they were then. Anyway those who look at the blog will notice that there are some updates to the website and some new photos showing the work we have done.
16 July 2008 Where has a month gone? The Ascot night was a great success and everybody made an effort to dress up.We even had two pamto horses!! turn up. The patio is coming along well despite the weather and should be finished soon. We had a week off earlier this month and went with the family to Turkey. Jill's mother looked after the Guest House and we helped look after the grandchildren. It was a nice break and very hot.
I am busy getting all the stuff together for the Ponterwyd Country Fete on 16 August. As Secretary it is a busy time for me and what seems like complete disorder should turn out OK on the day.
16 June 2008 even more bad news. The pond overflow had become blocked and when I unblocked it I found the remains of two mallards!! The only thing I can assume is that the babies were sucked down the pipe and the parents followed. Enough of the bad news. Everybody in the village is getting excited and preparing for Ascot. Not the genuine one but the DVD race evening in the George Borrow Hotel this Saturday. There are prizes for best dressed lady and gent and ebay has been overrun with the ladies buying their hats for the big day.
10 June 2008 The last blog gave details of all the ducks. Well I am sorry to report that they have all gone!! I found the remains of one of the baby mallards one morning and the following day they had gone. I am not sure whether mother has taken them to another location or possibly Mr Fox has been around. Puddle duck started wandering flying off for a day and returning but last week she flew off and hasn't been seen again. Work on the patio is progressing well and should be finished within a week or so.
16 May 2008 Puddle duck has taken to roosting on the garage roof !! Biggest news over the last few days is the arrival of 4 baby mallard chicks on the pond. I still have no idea where the nest is but mother and babies are doing well. Heard the cookoo a few days ago and there are plenty of swallows around. With the weather improving perhaps Summer is here at last.
3 May 2008 Too busy during the past few weeks to enter anything in the blog. The greenhouse is up and working. It took two of us over 2 days to erect it and glaze it. The lawn outside the new conservatory has been replaced by a slab of concrete and there are steps going upto the garden. The next job is to extend the patio further and put slabs on it. I bought a Canadian concrete mould to produce Venetian stone slabs. The mould works well and with coloured cement the finish is quite pleasing. Puddle duck is still here and most nights we have a few mallards males arrive.
We have just spent a very enjoyable week on the narrow boat cruising the Oxford Canal. George the westie came with us and managed to fall in twice on the first day!!. The weather is quite warm today and the grass has been cut around the ponds for the first time this year.
6 April 2008 Woke up this morning to a covering of snow. The most we have had this winter but I don't think it will last too long. Now that the conservatory is finished I decided to buy a small greenhouse to replace the one we knocked down to build the conservatory. The footings have been laid and the base fixed. I thought that flatpack furniture from Made For Idiots or the place you have Sweedish meatballs for dinner were bad but nothing like this greenhouse!!! Eventually the 4 sides have been built and now I will fix them all together. 2 male mallards on the pond but no sign of a female. Gemima puddle duck is still with us. A muscovy duck that arrived about a month ago and has decided to stay. We call her Gemima but to be honest I am not sure if it is a male or female. All I know is that she is tame and very inquisitive. When I was building the greenhouse sides by the house yesterday she came up to see what was going on.
27 March 2008 Progress at last. The flat roof and the step in the old conservarory have been completed. I have laid the laminate floor and decorated the room. The plasterer has finished inside the new conservatory and this has been painted and the tiles have been laid. Tomorrow the work will be finished except for rendering outside which can wait.
18 March 2008 A hectic couple of weeks. The conservatory is coming on well, all the structure is up and it is watertight. We are waiting for the plasterers to come in to finish the walls inside and out and then for the floor to be tiled. It will look fantastic when it is all finished. Also the builders have arrived to renew the flat roof over the existing conservatory and take out the old step in the room that was presumably the original porch. Hopefully this work will be finished tomorrow in time for Easter. Then I will have to put down the new laminate floor in the old conservatory. To make things worse we ordered three 2 seater sofas which had a delivery of 4-6 weeks which would have been ideal. After a week we had a phone call to say they would be delivered the following Thursday!!. They look lovely but are still in their protective rapping.
28 February 2008 Still waiting for the workmen to return. Apparently is is the joiners for the roof panels that are missing. We had our inspection from the Tourist Board the other week and I am pleased to report that we have been given an extra star and are now officially a 4 star B & B.
24 February 2008 Things are progressing with the new Breakfast room. The walls are up and we are waiting for the roof glass which was not ordered in time!! We have moved the boiler and started on the electrics. There is still a lot of work left but hopefully it will be finished by Easter.
13 February 2008 Tomorrow should see the brickwork finished. The room is larger and taller than I imagined but looks great. It is like a Summer's day today 17deg and not a cloud in the sky. The birds are looking at the nesting boxes, a butterfly has been flying around the garden for a couple of days and there is frogspawn in the top pond. I found a dead red kite in the garden on Saturday at the bottom of a tree. It had been ringed and I have informed The National History museum in London as requested on the ring.
7 February 2008 Work has started on the new breakfast room which is replacing the old grass greenhouse alongside the house. Evans Windows from Newtown are doing the work for us and they are progressing well. The old greenhouse was demolished by Paul and myself and after 1 week the footings are down and the blockwork upto damp course is in place. I have seen brambling birds in the garden for the first time this week. According to my bird books they shouldn't be this far south but with climate change etc who knows.
28 January 2008 Sorry I havn't added anything recently. We have been away to Spain for a few days and have been busy knocking the greenhouse down ready for the builders who are due this Thursday to start work on the conservatory. Bad news on the duck front. Before we went to Spain we awoke one morning to the sight of feathers and such like on the lawn. I am afraid that Mr Fox has had Mrs Welsh Harlequin!! I am surprised as they seemed to roost on the island and after so many weeks I thought they were safe. Also when we were away Mr Duck went AWOL I don't think he met the same fate as there was no sign of feathers or any fight but I think he has flown off. One good bit of news we are still getting wild mallards on the pond and hopefully they will breed this year.
Yesterday I saw something I havn't seen before. 14 Magpies flying together over the house making a terific noise.
6 January 2008 Where have I been? Well with Christmas and the New Year I am not sure where the time has gone. Anyway Happy New Year to you all. The latest on the ducks is that they are still here and seem content. I looked out of the window this morning and they have been joined by a pair of mallards. The woodpeckers are very active as well with at least 2 visiting the nuts on a regular basis. We are getting geared up for a new conservatory come breakfast room in place of the greenhouse. The builders are due any time now so hopefully the work will be finished before the season gets too busy.
14 December 2007 Ducks are still there and getting tamer. We have also aquired a black cat. George isn't impressed. We have been away for a few days to Belgium to get some presents for Christmas and on our return the cat was there in the garage. We have asked around but so far nobody seems to have lost one.
When we were in Ypres we visited Tyne Cot cemetary which is the largest first War allied cemetary around ypres. 12,000 graves and the names of 35,000 servicemen without a grave. A quite moving experience.
5 December 2007 Rain and more rain,