Sometimes it’s good to just follow your nose and see where the trail takes you. I’ve had a bit of time to do just that, letting the thoughts come and go and trying not to force the direction or pace. So here’s some of the ground, the freewheeling has covered.

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. 



I’ve been catching up with reading, again, following wherever my thoughts lead me. I’ve made a Roman blind for my study – which anyone who read my outpourings on Facebook will know nearly berludy killed me. And I also learned how to switch on the new oven and reminded myself how to bake.
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


Preseli Mags said…
Gosh it's ages since I last went to Swansea. Me and baby H used to meet Bri for lunch when he was working at the Evening Post. I'm still too much in love with the new improved Carmarthen and the Best Multi-storey Car Park in The World to go further afield at the moment. I so envy your finished bathroom. Mine isn't and neither is the kitchen or utility room. A full-time job and a smallholding tend to act as brakes on the DIY. I LOVE that painting!!! If I win the Euromillions tonight would Tom sell it to me?
Jane Lovering said…
And a very merry Christmas to you too, Chris! Although I have to say, your 'before' shot looks better than my bathroom does now... Or ever has done...
Flowerpot said…
I'm hungry now looking at yuour baking Chris! So glad the refurbishments are over and you can relax and enjoy the house and the lovely view. Take care and have a good break. May 2012 be a wonderful year for you. xx
Debs Carr said…
I've visited Dunelm Mills online and love their cushions etc. Your outings sound great fipun and I love the new bathroom and those tasty treats.

(Gorgeous painting!)

Hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and that 2012 is all that you hope it to be.x
Fennie said…
It's a long way to go shopping, that's all I will saym but the mince pies are a considerable improvement on mine. Isn't Aberystwyth nearer? But maybe not for big shops.

Anyway. St Michael's Church is likely to be built on a Neolithic site from the circular description and from the name. If you get bored (well what have you to do now the renovations are done?) try measuring the distances (on the Ordnance Survey map) between this church and other local landmarks and see what you find.
Frances said…
Chris, I love this late December post from you, as it seems to show that you and Tom are now really feeling at home in your new home.

Gosh, you've even made mince pies! I did a bit of cheating along that particular line, by visiting an ex-pat Brit's shop in the Village and buying some traditional mincemeat pies.

It's really been to busy at year's end at the shop to do as much Christmas prep as I would prefer. Tomorrow's Christmas Eve, so I guess I still might have time to find where I stored the glass ornaments that I might add to the greenery I bought ... was it day before yesterday?

Tom's painting is a gem.

Pondside said…
I like this little-of-this and little-of-that post, Chris. Your bathroom is gorgeous - blue and white are my favorites.
Merry Christmas to you and Tom!
Fennie said…
Forgot to wish you and your Happy Christmas - so have a really great time!
Dizzy C said…
Glad to hear you are getting there with finishing the bathroom. Looking good.

That baking looks delicious. Always the way with baking, looks too good to eat.

Happy Christmas, Chris!


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