I haven't been to many other countries but I'm sure that there's no better place than Wales, at least not for me. After a grueling 2 days and nights without any sleep (can you spell last minute planner?) I finally touched down at Heathrow (and I must say that American Airlines pilot performed absolutely the best landing I've ever experienced - it was like a teeny tap and smooth sailing; sheesh, sometimes it seems like you'll bounce to the moon when you hit the tarmac). It was 4 am before I reached the farm where I stay and that bed looked most inviting! It looked like some tornado had hit my room during the six months I was away, but I'll soon put it right. The next couple of days I was pretty well in la-la land and avoided too much real conversation since I was talkin' out my head, you know? But finally by last night up at the pub things started to come together for me, especially after I had 4 or 5 servings of port (I'll admit they're kind of small but they seem to get you high nevertheless) in one of those teeny little dainty kind of glasses (I'm such a lady) where you feel obliged to stick your pinky way out even if you're not normally the pinky-sticking sort. Mmmm...it was fine. And the pub was just as I'd last seen it (isn't that refreshing!) with Marion behind the bar with her wide, welcoming smile and Richard back there flying around the kitchen making our steaks SOOOO good and a big table of my hunting pals with their usual unrelenting banter....it was like I'd never left and I like that.
Earlier in the day I followed a local hunt as they exercised their hounds and let me say those hounds and horses and the people clinging to them for dear life had some exercise and fresh air to boot. We were up and down and all around and even the folks like me that follow the hunt in Land Rovers and cars out in this wild, open land as they exercise hounds - well we just enjoy seeing horses and hounds run across a moor or up a forbidding hillside, down some bottomless dingle and up sheer cliffsides, "followers" as we're called...well, we just like to get out there and witness these awesome sights, take along a ploughman's sandwich or a sausage roll, a thermos of tea, and thrill with the sight of streamlined horses and hounds with the incomparable Welsh landscape as a beautiful canvas on which their movements are fluidly painted.
I could go on and on and I may but for now let me just say that I am SO glad to be back and yes, it does feel so good to be back here in the land of my ancestors. In the coming months I may include a few photos from time to time but for now you'll just have to imagine the things I share. It's good exercise.
Oh, and the good news is that I'm going to get another pair of hound puppies to walk. Now if you don't know what that means, stay tuned (or you can go way back to my May postings and see my last pair - Hobbit and Helix as they survey the Welsh landscape). One of the great joys in my life is raising these wonderful hounds. Folks who don't know about hounds sometimes believe them to be cruel but that couldn't be further from the truth (unless you happen to look like a tasty morsel to a hound...) - they are about the sweetest creatures you could ever leave to play with your five-year-old (they do tend to lick toddlers to death in their young enthusiasm). Some of my best memories over here in Wales involve two hounds, two young Welsh girls and some beautifully-hedged fields, a stream, and two small coverts. We go walking and exploring and the hounds always guide our tours and provide us with plenty of mischief.
So stay tuned to Tales of the Hounds from over here in the place back in time that I always dreamed of....it's here (and I've been told more than once that I should work for the Welsh Tourist Board...)