Friday 27 April 2007

The ragrug one

Jo and Colon at Bodran

Well, I’m back and putting my nose very cautiously around the door, wondering if there might be a bag of flour balanced on top or I might be about to tread on a stink-bomb! Crikey, you lot: I go away for a week and what happens? All-out thermonuclear war!

It’s been a hectic week up in Wales. Managed to fire-bomb Asda in Llandudno and Tesco in Abergele before leading a protest march through the centre of Llanwryst about the atrocious amount of lipstick worn by bloggers. Made a pyre out of James’ Easter eggs in the MiL’s back garden before dispatching James off to the workhouse. Divorced Adrian and signed the pledge. So, with all my new free time, as a liberated single woman I spent a pleasant rest of week hunting and fishing (sadly shooting season over).

OR (alternative reality) I spent the entire week logged on as Bill in a cyber-café writing pithy comments about Milla’s curtains.

Of course you know the ‘real’ reality, don’t you? Yup, it involved chocolate, it involved wine, it involved children. Go figure. Luckily no vomit appeared, but instead we got a chest infection (James’ cousin, Morgan) and a troublesome tooth (James) which put paid pretty well to our treks up the mountains and our forays along the beach.
We did, however, manage to get to Bala and Llaneuchlyn to track down Adrian’s grandparents’ grave. And, of course, we made the pilgrimage up to Bodran mountain to meet ragrug. She’s as lovely as you’d imagine from her blogs, with a decidedly slightly naughty sense of humour. Monty was firmly in his field but we saw the damage he’d done to the young trees (bad horse). We met the very beautiful Tye and the six other dogs. Asbo went ballistic.

It’s a magical place – snug against the mountain, bathed in sunlight with the most welcoming embracing atmosphere. The house is delicious – a mix between a Hobbit burrow and an Elvish tree-house – seriously, it’s like something out of Lord of the Rings, with incredible carved natural wood windows; a lion and unicorn facing each other across a beam; a bathroom that shimmers like the sea; stained glass and fairy wind-chimes; huge slate fireplaces with cosy woodburning stoves. She and Colin (sorry, Colon) are so talented – they’ve done all the work themselves (and appeared in Real Homes magazine – if any country magazines want a really great interiors photo-shoot, they should get themselves up to Bodran!)
I had a good old nose down Colin’s eco-loo and he demonstrated its unique ‘flush’. And we marvelled at Jo’s vats of birch sap wine. It’s wonderful having a blog come to life like this – it’s all there (honestly, she’s not a trucker from Liverpool living in a high-rise bedsit). We sat outside, looking out over the valley, Jo lamenting the fact that the mist hid the far-off mountain ranges (if it had been clear I could have at least have SEEN Moel Siabod, even if I couldn’t climb it).

Like all good things, it came to an end far too quickly and we were heading off down the mountain out of a dream. It’s fired me up though and next time we go up I’m hoping to squeeze in one of Jo’s workshops – maybe building an eco-loo all of our own (every home should have one) or learning how to use plants for dyes or how to find food from the hedgerows. I might even learn how to ragrug (if there is such a verb). If you haven’t yet found Jo’s website and you are interested in sensible proactive ways of promoting a green lifestyle (far more sensible than firebombing supermarkets), do have a look at her website and put the word out about her courses. It’s a new venture and needs our support.

I always feel sad leaving Wales – I’m very lucky in that I get on extraordinarily well with my in-laws and it’s real ‘time-out’ from the madness of everyday life.
Now it’s back home to find that the estate agents and solicitors are tying themselves in knots while our buyer is still playing silly B’s… nothing new there.
I’m looking forward to catching up with your blogs and finding out what you’ve all been up to. Please don’t let me down as I sincerely hope it involves absolutely bucketloads of chocolate, wine and vomit. Now, just add poo in there and, to my mind at least, it’s a pretty accurate breakdown of country life as we know and love it!

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