By Marilyn Leach
Why should I describe Wales as an evening gown? Perhaps because in mid-November, just four months ago, I attended a wedding there where gowns and tuxedos, fairy lights and a seventeenth century hall, gave it such a romantic feel. It was the stuff of fairytales.
My nineteen-year-old niece and I stayed with English friends whose daughter was getting wed. We left Southwest England, crossing into Whales on the Severn Bridge, and skimmed the south coast through Newport and Cardiff-on-Sea. We clipped the edge of Swansea and headed into the lush and remote beauty of the Gower Peninsula.
We traveled for miles across green leas dotted with sheep, sometimes the road so narrow my friend had to beep before entering a curve.
When we approached the tiny village of Reynoldston, we came upon a ribbon of white washed structures with dark roofs snuggled into a rill, a typical Welsh countryside sight.
We stayed at the King Arthur Hotel where a warm fireplace greeted guests in the front hall. After getting settled in our rooms, we scooted into the seventeenth century pub and guzzled hot Welsh tea, a welcomed treat in the cool Welsh afternoon.
The next morning, the day of the wedding, a substantial bleating awakened my niece and me. “Is there a sheep in the room?” I asked my niece from my cozy bed. I peeked out a nearby window and there they were: grazing the hotel property as if they owned the place.
In reality, they did. All across Wales, sheep have free-grazing. In Reynoldston, all common village land, as well as unfenced private, was occupied with sheep who seemed little bothered by us humans.
We were told the best Welsh lamb for the dinner table grazed the salt marshes along the coast line of the peninsula. We happened to drive through one of the many salt marshes, and we got a fleeting camera shot as we left. We saw no sheep on this one, but never mind. The salt marshes are a beautiful sight in their own right. The smell of sea air, plus low clouds, only added to the delight.
The wedding and all the trimmings went well. It was a glorious event.
The next morning, we had a fine breakfast in the hotel’s dining room where the dark wood wears centuries of wood smoke and beams of ancient strength. Sadly, it was the last hurrah before saying good-bye to our fairytale.
I can’t speak of Wales and leave out the North, which I visited several years back. The same scenic landscape, more mountainous, abounds.
When in Wales, if you look closely, you may see a knight charging across the hill, princess a waiting. Or maybe it’s just the impression the striking Welsh countryside gives, dressed in its beautiful gown.
Marilyn's Newest Book:
Enigma of Fire
As the season of Pentecost approaches, Berdie Elliott's husband, the vicar for the Aidan Kirkwood village prepares for the Whitsun Long Weekend Regatta boat race. But one amongst them is in a van explosion that puts Berdie right in it. Who would think that business vans, one heroic dog, mistaken identity, an evocative book, and enduring friendships could help solve the crime? Will the enigma of fire be laid bare? This mystery sizzles.
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