(The Secret Seven driving along the A470 towards Caerphilly.)
S-J: Where does uncle Gary live?
S: In Caerphilly.
S-J: Is he the same colour as us?
(6 of the secret seven, mouths open suppressing a giggle.)
S-J: Is he peach?
My observations: my family in action.
On Friday last we took a leisurely drive from London to our cottage on a working sheep and cattle farm out among the hills, hedges and narrow roads surrounding Monmouth. A converted barn was the only place that could house seven of us. Every morning we are woken up with a dawn chorus of bleating sheep, which, when you really listen to them, sound like an indistinguishable, but hilarious bunch of moaning villagers all trying to outdo one another in the volume of their complaints.
On the way, we visited Tintern Abbey, the railway museum, had a ploughmans lunch and went on a little adventure down an obscure dirt path along a bank of trees to find the abandoned railway tunnel that my hubby and his cousins used to play in many years ago. We found it and traversed it, all the while imagining scurrying rats, human bones and hidden treasure in the dark crevices – hence our new collective name.
I continue to wonder at children in all their quirks, enthusiasm, loudness, chaos, stubborn determination, bargaining, affection and humour. They have kept us entertained and hopefully we have kept them entertained too.
South West Wales à la Secret Seven:
Tintern Abbey, the old Railway Museum, car boot sale, a farmer’s market that never was, sheep, cows, a red kite, The Big Pit, Rumney Brewery, National Showcaves Centre for Wales – Dan-yr-Ogof, Cathedral Cave and Bone Cave, the Dinosaur Park, the outdoor premiere of ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ at Chepstow Castle, Raglan Castle, Caerphilly Castle, tea with Uncle Gary, dinner with my hubby’s aunt as well as a demonstration of how her four beautiful black labs retrieve on a shoot, lots of ‘pad kos’, a morning of charity-shop-wondering in Monmouth, a near head-on-collision with another car on a very narrow road, pork pies, lots of tea, braais on the farm, flies, drizzle, rain, sun, some wrong turns, Brecon Beacons National Park, a chug in a canal boat along the Brecon and Monmouth canal and much much more.
Tonight we are watching the other half of ‘A Passage to India‘ and packing. Big drive tomorrow to Cheddar, Salisbury and Chichester (or maybe The New Forest).