Thursday 16 May 2024

Cows Out At last!, Time Away in Mid-Wales, Ancient Welsh Churches

At last the cows have gone out! A month later than usual due to the atrocious weather last month and the fact that we had a significant amount of silage to be eaten before the pit was empty ready for the next cut of grass. The cows had to finish the silage before going out onto fresh grass otherwise they would not have wanted to eat the silage having had a taste of the real thing! So, today was the day and the girls were very happy to be heading in a rush up the lane to our top fields and to have space to run about before settling down to the serious job of ingesting lovely fresh green grass. The milk yield will go up almost immediately and the flavour of the milk will be wonderful. The Farmer and I have been away for few days. We went up to mid-Wales and stayed in a cottage in a remote valley with the most stunning view across the hills of Powys. The countryside of Breconshire and Radnorshire is quite breathtaking and at this time of year the ancient oak woodlands were carpeted in bluebells making great lakes of azure in the vast areas of many shades of green. The fresh verdant gold of the oak leaves and the rich lettuce green of the new beech leaves interspersed with the creamy blossom of the may-trees canopied by clear blue skies was heart-lifting after the endless greyness of the past few months. Everywhere were ewes and lambs grazing on new grass or dozing in the sunshine under wind-sculpted old hawthorns in fields edged by hedges full of red campions, bluebells, some late primroses and gleaming buttercups and dandelions.
The past few weeks have been busy with family occasions, several birthdays, and two wedding anniversaries (the Farmer & I have reached the unbelievable milestone of 40 years wedded bliss!) and so there were gatherings of the clan at various intervals. All lovely! One reason for our trip up into mid-Wales was for the Farmer to seek out a couple of very old churches he has been reading about. They were both renowned for the wood-carving of thier rood-screens and the intricate woodwork of the ceilings. Once we found them in their hidden corners of the Welsh hills it was well worth the journey. The first one at a remote place called Llananno, had a magnificent rood-screen with a row of 25 figures, Christ and 24 saints, all beautifully carved in the 16th century and still standing in their elaborate wooden niches above the main body of the church, despite the Reformation and the Civil War. Apparently there was school of woodcarving in mid-Wales during the 16th century which is why so many old Welsh churches have the most extraordinary and beautiful rood-screens. One of the finest is in the church where the Farmer & I were married, Llanfilo, near Brecon. It is a very pretty church and the carvings in it are exquisite. We are very fortunate as a family to be connected with such a beautiful building...we have had weddings, baptisms and funerals there and there is another family wedding to be held there in 2025. (Unfortunately I do not have any photographs of the church in my archive but it is easily found on the internet.)