ww11-04April has arrived and the fields are bursting with lambs. Watching the lambs skip and bound around the fields does remind me of how lucky I am to live rurally and that spring has truly arrived. The girls are more eager than ever to go for a walk up the field as they live in perpetual hope of petting a lamb, but the lambs have very different ideas on this matter and scarper as quick as they can.

ww11-03I spent Sunday tackling the garden and finally I am beginning to see some progress. There is still a long way to go, but I now have four raised beds ready for planting and I am proud of my slow but sure assault on the weeds. As I dig in-between cups of tea and chuntering I am spurred on by the thought of planting up and reaping the reward of home-grown vegetables. I love tending to plants and vegetables, but I can’t say I am a great fan of digging.

ww11-07With the warmer weather comes my desire to explore and get out and about. I often think that we often don’t fully explore the places we live in and I am very lucky to be surrounded by history trails and tourist attractions. With this thought on Saturday I started my exploration of my local area and pottered off to the Vale of Rheidol Railway. Once a working link between local lead mines and the harbour, this railway now runs a steam train service through the Rheidol Valley for visitors. ww11-02I boarded at Aberystwyth and enjoyed a wonderful scenic journey to Devils Bridge. The train journey really did provide a perfect opportunity to relax and just take in the wonderful scenery. As it passed through the valley on the hour-long journey, the train provided excellent views of the beautiful countryside. The route is notable for its narrow gauge (the rails are just 60 cm apart) and sharply winding curves, indeed the journey was a meandering one and is definitely a journey for admiring scenery and not reading a novel.

ww11-05The railway was built in 1902 to provide a link between the lead mines of the Rheidol Valley and Aberystwyth’s harbour, this narrow-gauge steam railway was the last steam railway operated as part of the national rail network, before being sold in 1989. It has required a lot of work to bring the railway and building up to the well kempt appearance that greets you today. The commitment of full-time staff as well as a dedicated team of volunteers is evident in the appearance of this well-loved railway as well as its friendly and jovial atmosphere. ww11-06This was a thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable day, although according to Hattie the best part was the ice cream at the Two Hoots Café on the platform at Devils Bridge, well that’s a four year old for you.

This week I shall continue to dodge the April showers as I carry on tackling the garden. I shall also be busy in the kitchen as I sort out my entries to The British Pie Awards and I hope to explore the art of Welsh quilt making.

Well those pies won’t cook themselves so until next week a fond farewell from West Wales.
Da bo ti (good bye)
Seren

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About Seren Charrington-Hollins

ABOUT SEREN-CHARRINGTON-HOLLINS Describing my work through just one job title is difficult; because my professional life sees me wear a few hats: Food Historian, period cook, broadcaster, writer and consultant. I have a great passion for social and food history and in addition to researching food history and trends I have also acted as a consultant on domestic life and changes throughout history for a number of International Companies. In addition to being regularly aired on radio stations; I have made a number of television appearances on everything from Sky News through to ITV’s Country House Sunday, Holiday of a Lifetime with Len Goodman , BBC4’s Castle’s Under Siege, BBC South Ration Book Britain; Pubs that Built Britain with Hairy Bikers and BBC 2’s Inside the Factory. Amongst other publications my work has been featured in Period Living Magazine, Telegraph, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Great British Food Magazine and I write regularly for a variety of print and online publications. I am very fortunate to be able to undertake work that is also my passion and never tire of researching; recreating historical recipes and researching changing domestic patterns. Feel free to visit my blog, www.serenitykitchen.com