Home in Wales, 8th May - 9th July 2013

As usual our time in the UK was a whirl of activity with the six grandchildren. Too much fun and too little time (and energy sometimes!). The trip didn't start well with a cracked windscreen on our car on the first trip to buy groceries. The rain held off long enough for the friendly Autoglass man to come to our home and replace it. He did have concerns that maybe the windscreen was all that was holding together our car but all went well and we were soon back on the road and on a trip to Techniquest, a belated treat for Polly's birthday.

Dodo, remind me why we're having a picnic? It's freezing and my sandwiches are blowing away”.

James 11th Birthday

A spot of fine weather had us out and about hiking around the area. The cold spring meant we got back in time to enjoy the bluebells. Gareth went camping with the Beavers (mini-cubs) and was disappointed not to be old enough to camp overnight. Crazy step grandmother to the rescue and camp was set up with two borrowed tents in the back garden! Temperatures dropped to just above freezing during the night!

Bluebell Wood

Enjoying the “campfire' before retiring to the ten – am I mad?

Good weather was timed perfectly for the Crickhowell Art Trail, where local artists opened their homes/studios to the public. Having visited our friend Gwyn's forge, James was keen to have a go at blacksmithing himself and Gwyn kindly obliged, helping James to make a hook for his bedroom door.

The school half term holidays brought a flurry of activity and visitors. First old school friend Janet, Dave and daughter Hazel stayed for a couple of nights. While the grown-ups were busy visiting the Hay on Wye Literary Festival, Hazel and Polly worked hard all day, rehearsing a magic show for us to enjoy later. Polly had more playmates with the visit of 2nd cousin Clare and her two daughters. Clare and Christine were last together about 35 years earlier and it was wonderful that they made the long rail trip from Manchester, to be reunited. For a quick taste of Wales, of course they had to visit a castle!

Blacksmith and apprentice

Post show pictures with the magicians' fans.

Raglan Castle

Cousin Clare and her girls.

Chef James' Sushi Creation.

James' birthday treat trip to the impressive Blue Planet Aquarium in Ellesmere Port was our next adventure. It was a wonderful surprise to be greeted on a short notice visit to Shrewsbury, on our way home, by an impromptu cream tea with cousin Richard and Rose.

Didn't think there were any sharks in the restaurant!

The shark tunnel of terror!

Strange Guitar Shark

Back in Wales we learned from friends that the local Glanusk Estate, had opened a permissive footpath through their property for hikers, so we took the walk to investigate. It was a stunning walk, so good, it was repeated in the opposite direction a couple of days later. Even cousin Richard and Rose were keen to take the walk at a later date with Christine in the pouring rain. Phil sensibly volunteered to stay home and cook dinner ready for the return of the drowned rats!

Walking to Glanusk

Glanusk Estate Welcomes You.

The next big family event was grandson Eben's first birthday party, followed the very next day by Gareth's preemptive birthday visit to the Zoo in Bristol.

Eben's 1st Birthday

At the Zoo.

Needless to say, after a nine week whirlwind of small people, we needed a holiday. Time to head back to the airport, just as the heatwave hit the UK!

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