Welsh summer 2018

Long time no post! Yes it’s been a very busy summer for us and I am only now just getting a chance to catch up on the happenings from June. The summer in Wales has been record-breaking hot and dry — wahoo! I’ve mostly loved it except that the British houses don’t have air conditioning so sleeping at night is actually not that comfortable. But hey, I love the sun and warmth so we bought a fan.  Finally — a real summer!  Hurrah!

So back to early June — I was determined that we would all hike up Pen y fan, the highest peak in the Brecon Beacons (the national park just north of Cardiff).  This was the first time Morgan walked up the mountain all by himself.  It was slow going at times but we got there in the end and there was a celebratory ice cream at the bottom.  Well done Morgy!


Here are Dadda and Morgy at the top – nice view right?


Our next excursion was out to see Nic and Liz just over the border in England.   We met them at a beautiful National Trust property called Tyntesfield.


Here are Nic, Liz and Aled in a very pretty orangerie-type building:


The gardens were absolutely gorgeous:


As always it’s great to catch up with Nic and Liz — hope to do it again soon!

The next day we had planned to meet up with an old friend of mine from Wellesley so we found a hotel in the Cotswolds to spend the night rather than drive back and forth.  Here we are in front of Dumbleton Hall — photo taken by a budding young photographer!


The grounds of the hotel were super idyllic:


And then it was off to Bourton-on-the-Water to see Katherine, her husband and her new son Jacob.  First we headed to the famous Motoring Museum:


And then to my favourite attraction in Bourton, the model village.  It’s a stone replica of Bourton-on-the-Water — such a quirky and creative place!  Love it.


Back in Cardiff, we celebrated Morgan’s graduation from his fabulous nursery, Acorns on Oakfield Street.  Morgan has been here since he was about 2.5 years old and I only have high praise for the nursery.


As always, the staff put on an amazing event, complete with a short play, diplomas, and refreshments for parents and children.  Here is Morgan playing a cow in “What the Ladybird Heard”:


I had scoured Amazon for the simplest cow costume I could find — I felt sorry for the children who were in head-to-toe outfits in the height of the Cardiff heat wave!

And here’s Morgy in his cap and gown.  After the ceremony he confided that he “didn’t like that black dress”.  But that he “did like throwing my hat in the air”.  Seeing my son in a graduation outfit brought tears to my eyes.  Now that I’m a mum it seems I cry at any possible emotional moment.  I can’t imagine what I’ll be like when he graduates university!  (A mess that’s what!)


Closer to home, here is Morgan with our good friend Anurag who is kind enough to let our son help close the roof of his green Mini.  I love this pic XOXO

anurag and morgy

In the middle of the month, we had visitors from California: Jesse and family.  Jesse is an old friend of mine from MIT who I haven’t seen since Aled and I drove across the US in 2007.  Jesse manages a team in London remotely but was able to work from the London office for a couple of months this summer.  It was absolutely fantastic to re-connect with these guys and we had fun visiting Cardiff Castle and Southerndown beach.  To finish off their short Welsh experience, we drove down the lanes to Maen Llwyd, our favourite country pub.  For an American driving a manual on the left and down a single-car lane Jesse did a superb job following us!

jesse davis and fam

A week or so later we were off to Pembrokeshire to visit Nanna and Taidi.  It was black currant time at Glan y Mor, which is my favourite time to help with the fruit processing.  Naturally I am improving the production line every year.  As you can see here I have already replaced older members of staff with quicker, younger models.

currants with taidi

It was a nice day on Saturday so we were up in the field with the Land Rover.

taidi landrover

in the field

Look how happy my husband is in Pembrokeshire!  He is practically jumping for joy to be back near the coast.

aled in field

However by afternoon tea…

nanna tea

…we concluded that Morgan had the chickenpox 🙁


At this point, I was heading into my last 1.5 weeks of work and Morgan and I were 12 days from boarding a plane to America.  Aled was also in the middle of a critical project at work.  Needless to say, I was freaking out a little bit — and I was feeling very, very mad.  If you have been keeping up with our past six months of activity, our last 3 holidays have been sabotaged by various viruses so I was really, REALLY fed up with the travel gods.

Thank goodness for Nanna who came with us to Cardiff to look after Morgan while Aled and I were at work that week.  (A million thanks to Ann for her help at this stressful time!)  And poor old Morgy — I had always intended to get him vaccinated because he’s had sensitive skin and I thought the chickenpox would be bad for him as you can see in this picture below.  I think it looks even worse with his super pale skin 🙁  Thank goodness for that Aveeno oatmeal bath stuff — and we also got our hands on some “chickenpox mousse”.  (Things have moved on since the 80s I think!)


The first two days were pretty terrible but on Tuesday the fever broke and he was in better spirits (thank god!!).  As soon as the volcano drawings started up we knew he was on the mend!


Then it was just a matter of resting up to get well enough to fly while I frantically finished up my last tasks at work.  Here I am on my last day in front of my famous session calendar.  That proved to be a super tool to initiate weekly management reporting and key metrics across the division.  (Not to mention the fun rainbow colours.)  Yay!

dianes last day

Although most of the public health sites said Morgan shouldn’t be contagious, I went to the doctor’s the day before we were supposed to fly to get a letter just in case anyone at Heathrow or Newark stopped us.  Turns out I never needed the letter but hey, better safe than sorry!  Here is Morgy on the plane to New Jersey – phew!


I will post about our trip to the USA soon.  Northern Hemisphere people — I hope you all had a nice summer!  And Southern Hemisphere people, you must be welcoming spring.  The days are definitely getting shorter and colder here.  We’ll need to get a pile of wood soon no doubt!  XOXOXO