Archive for the ‘Wales’ Category

Neglected Blog

We’ve been so busy enjoying ourselves lately that I’ve run out of time to write about our trip.  Must get back to the blog because I know we’ll all enjoy reading about our trip when we’ve returned to our “normal” lives!

Recycled Jewellery August 2010, Wales

We had a fantastic week in Wales, as you can see from Bede’s post and the lovely poem I got from my birthday.  Camping beside the Centre for Alternative Technology was a perfect birthday gift for me.  I was inspired by the gardens and technology, I think my next project will be to go one step further than our solar hot water and get some photo-voltaic cells on the roof.  This used to be a very difficult and expensive business because of the batteries to store the energy produced, but these days it’s easy to just wire back into the National electricity grid and be paid for your extra power on sunny days and then buy it back when the weather is not so good.  Our solar hot water heater was purchased with a government supported interest free loan and paid for itself within three years – when in NZ we pay for no hot water in summer and very little in winter, even in the rather wet Palmerston North, so I suspect PV cells will also be a good investment financially, not just in the future of the planet!

The kids loved the really steep funicular up to the CAT centre and the fantastic children’s programme.  I’m sporting two beautiful necklaces made from recycled paper beads and we donated the basil plants they have been growing to Merrill since they weren’t going to get through customs after we leave here!

Willow Tunnel, CAT, August 2010

After leaving Wales, with plans to catch up with our new friends once more before we leave the UK, we headed to Langholm, in Scotland and were treated like royalty by Merrill and Dan (and Merrill’s mum Helen) and got to meet Keiran and Miller.  We did lots of reminiscing about our university days ten! years ago and ate lots of yummy food.

We have spent today in Edinburgh, mostly at a lovely fair trade craft fair and in the city gardens, right in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle.  We are off to explore the Isle of Mull tomorrow, one of the parts of Scotland our family has roots.  We’ll probably pitch up somewhere pretty remote for the next week – so it might be a while till you hear about it!


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We cooked our dinner on a fire for three nights.  The first night it rained as though Zeus wanted to kill someone and it was difficult to keep the fire going.  I liked the the potatoes and the Quorn sausages we cooked on it.  We made a mud slide under a swing so when we went down it with a move that I invented called “skiddy widdy woo” it was really fast and we did tripple spins and landed like we were snowboarding.  We got muddy and mum was angry because we were leaving that day.

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In 2010, not far from CAT

A family from New Zealand by the fire sat

They had travelled the world and seen many things

When our two families met by the river and swings.

They were five and we were seven

And the kids all felt they had come to heaven

A flowing river, a rope in a tree

Toasting marshmallows, children filled with glee.

We discovered great hideouts and built a raft

We swam in the river and laughed and laughed.

When the sun came out, our smiles grew bigger,

When the rain poured down, we began to shiver.

A moment in time, many stories told

A great new friendship has begun to unfold.

Best wishes to Anna, on this your birthday

Three cheers to you all, hip hip hooray!

love from Phil, Maggie, Joseph, Toby, Jacob, Alex and Daniel

New Friends

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Blanco the white VW is a hit with our family!  No more hitches in our travels.  Pity about the trebling in cost involved in hiring rather than buying our camper, but we are all agreed we still like the lifestyle.  We’ve had two night camping in Wales.  First in Bala, where we took a train ride in a steam train round Lake Bala and watched people braver than us swimming in the chilly water – we’ve been spoiled by Asian and African beaches with very warm water.  Emmett made friends with James and was off as soon as we arrived.

Last night we stayed at the gorgeous Valley of the Rocks campsite at Holyhead.  We were a little nervous about getting to the ferry on time having taken three hours to pack up the awning and camp beds yesterday, but we were a streamlined team this morning and had no trouble being at the ferry by 830am.  Emmett, Florence and I walked a couple of miles last night to find the beach, which we could see from the campsite but not reach by going through the fields.  So we wandered down a little country lane and found a lovely beach.  Emmett built castles and they played in rock pools till Florence fell in and got very cold!  She came home wearing Emmett’s hoodie while he bravely faced the wind in just a t-shirt.

I think we could spend the nest 8 weeks camping in Wales alone – the scenery was stunning.  T

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