Our nearest big supermarket is at Carmarthen, 45 mins away, but for a wider choice of large shops, we’ll go to Swansea, an hour and a half away. If you’re travelling that distance, you might as well make an occasion of it. Our first stop, for a really good cup of coffee, excellent cakes and jolly staff, is the café in the unlikely setting of… Dunelm Mill, the home furnishing store! What my younger self would make of this, I dread to think, but during the whole nightmare of house renovations, it’s been enormously satisfying to eye up the curtain fabric from the mezzanine floor over a cappuccino and a bun. Not very rock and roll, but there we are.
Swansea market is always worth visiting for the food and the characters. There’s always something good to buy from The Market Plaice, but for eating in try Punjabi Tiffin; exquisite cooking and the best cup of Chai I’ve tasted. Lunch for two for about £7.
Last weekend, on Tom’s birthday we went to St David’s for a look round the cathedral, lunch in the refectory and a trip to a very chilly Whitesands Bay. It was our second visit to church that week, so for a couple of atheists we were doing very well. With some time to play tourists, we’d finally got round to visiting our historic local church, Llanifhangel-ar-y-Bryn – St Michael’s Church on the Hill. Apparently its circular churchyard means there are no hiding places for the Devil. I was also interested to see that romantic novelist Allen Raine is buried there. I have no wish to join her, but I wouldn’t mind catching up with her sales of more than 2 million books!
Jeez! The relief of – more or less - reaching the end of the renovations! We’ve also got round to putting up some of Tom’s paintings and suddenly that unfamiliar, raw freshness of new décor is transformed into something that feels personal. After a hectic year it feels good to sit back and enjoy the place at last.
|Mince pies and Nigel Slater's chocolate flapjack|
As I write this, it’s still pouring with rain, but I’ve got two new poetry books to dip into, Gillian Clarke’s Collected Poems and Owen Sheers’s Skirrid Hill.
Thank you for taking the time to visit Home Thoughts Weekly. May your Christmas be merry.
Painting is Christmas Morning, High Preseli, by Tom Tomos