2014 – Day Six

Wales. The land of the unusual language that challenges any
attempt at pronunciation with almost no vowels and only streams of
constants. In a stroke of interesting timing, I am presently reading
Richard Burton’s diaries, one of the most famous Welshmen of
recent times. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the private life of a very
public man. He and the lovely Liz were the Brad and Ang of their
time. The public and paparazzi could not get enough of them.

Three fat squirrels greet us this morning. Not quite tame enough for
hand feeding, but tame enough to know when a treat is in the
offering. They flitter about getting close enough to steal the nuts on
offer but not close enough to pat.

After squirrelling about we set off for Tregegar House, a National
Trust property that’s in walking distance. The house and grounds
have a 600 year history with sections of the house dating back to
the 1600s, whilst other sections were modernised and added to as
late as in the Victorian period. The last owner was a confirmed
bachelor …who married twice. How bewildered those new brides
must have been. His mother was an interesting character. Eccentric.
When you’re wealthy, you’re eccentric…when you’re poor, they lock
you up and call you mad. Apparently she used to build nests. And
sit in them. And declare to all who cared to know, that she was a
kingfisher. So there.

The house had a myriad of uses over time. A private hunting lodge,
private home, refuge for armies over the decades, a girls’ boarding
school for a few decades in the 1900s and then back into the private
care of the last owner until it was left to the Trust. There are four
walled gardens, a long red brick orangery that boasts an enormous
table made from a single piece of oak, an ornamental lake and a
rather impression driveway linked with oak trees. Pity the M4 cuts it
short at the top of the hill. Coming over the top of the hill to see
that drive and the gilt gates would have been quite something in its
time.

The interiors are interesting. Each room has quite a unique
character. The downstairs rooms are grand, one is called he gilt
room and lives up to it’s name. The upstairs is much more Victorian
in their style and reminiscent of their last owner’s style. One room
has been preserved as a school room and has many photos of girls
from that time. How teaching has changed. The blackboard is
smaller than some TVs. As always in these houses, the downstairs is
the most fascinating. This house like others we have seen has
extensive kitchens with special rooms for meat and small goods, a
larder for dry goods, a pastry room and a dairy room. The original
copper boiler is still intact and shiny. Fabulous.

On the way home we say hi to the ducks in the ornamental lake and
spot a giant acorn sculpture, and then moments later, a squirrel.
Would very much like to get a picture of that squirrel on that acorn.
Now that would be a shot!

A quiet day. That’s all we manage. And I’m grumpy. Might build
myself a nest.

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