Iím watching a perfect sunrise over the field.
The mist from the river is cloaking the valley like spilt milk
oozing across the landscape.
The sun, not yet visible, is advertising itself with a fanfare of pink
and purple colour strikes across a petrol sky: ĎSoon to be showingí.
The grass is silver grey with chilly dew.
Geraint is on good form. Heís beginning to understand the concept of
independent perambulation and its advantages thereof.
Iím sowing the seed with lots of sessions on his 'motorbike' and 'wheelie dragon'.
Oh look, if I push my feet I can get out of here and in there! Fantastic.
OK Iíve had enough, letí s have a cuddle with my sleepy sister instead.
Chance for mum to ring Al. Heís asleep (was) in truck, waiting to deliver a load of fresh Welsh milk
to Oxford. Iím tackling the laundry.
We sympathise with each other. Hey it is Sunday after all.
Yesterday was another day in paradise. After Elaina had been out shopping and lunching
with her dad, we purchased a picnic from the Welsh Bakery
in town and headed off to Landshipping.
Ridiculous really, the weather forecasters keep telling everyone Wales is on flood alert.
No-oneís bothered to tell Pembrokeshire so itís gloriously hot and sweaty.
Alís been doing groundwork with the JCB all day and now we have a small avenue of clear ground
between the rows of trees and a huge pile of junk has gone from the front of the house.
Alun explains his plans for making the area drier and clean.
Sounds great. The sweatís running off him.
Time for tea.
Dr Rob has set himself up for a spot of painting outside the wall but I drag him in for a cuppa and a chat.
Elainaís coming down from her hyper day and wants to sit in the car but is coaxed onto the boat
where she can sulk and make tea, all at the same time.
Rob says heís been painting in Tenby all day and that half-term holidaymakers were sunbathing
and swimming in the sea.
Four white swans fly overhead, making an incredible noise.
They look close enough to touch as I stare up at their undercarriage.
Richard arrives, showing us his undercarriage too, and we all wave as he takes a few turns
over us in his little plane.
This guy drives a van full of bread all week, but hey, days like today must make up for it.
He disappears of to buzz Bev up-river at Big House, Hook.
Alun and I unload the van and talk while Elaina cuddles bruv.
Iím feeling quite at home and loving it.
Later I sit on the wall with the dog and watch that crescent appear to light the sky again.
My swans are heading back, this time even lower and the sound of their wings beating is incredible.
I think of that story about the wild swans, my favourite story of childhood.
They do look like they have other-worldy knowledge.
Not human, far too graceful for that. Thatís why swans represent the most perfect ballet, perhaps.
Iím reminded of the point of this magical place when I walk down the muddy slipway to pull the dinghy in.
A car pulls up, and stressed out London type spills out onto the hardcore.
ĎExcuse me whereís Brickyard cottage, weíve been travelling for hours because the M4ís been closed all day.í
Yikes what a nightmare.
I can feel the anger coming off her despite her polite approach and I feel sorry for her.
Grace arrives and gives out instructions and off they go to desperately live the life they want to live for a few days
before heading up the concrete superhighway to hell.
As they disappear up the lane, Grace says
ĎWell I hope they know theyíve got to pick up the keys from the mill or
they wonít get into the cottageí. Oops.
Grace is a great one for acting up to her Ďcountry bumpkiní credentials.
Despite being a well-travelled and remarkably experienced lady of youthful appearance
(I guess sheís mid-60ís but sheís very fit).
Grace has no problem fulfilling othersí expectations of her.
E.g.: they had a London camera club visiting a couple of weeks ago, and one of the ladies was
overcome with emotion when she arrived at the Big House.
ĎIs here a secret garden?í she asked Grace.
Oh yes, here it isí says Grace and off they go through a gate to one of the walled gardens.
ĎIs there a ghost?í
ĎOh yes, the ghost of our horse can be seen in the ruins of the Big House.í
Wow. So, I enquire, secret garden, eh, and whatís all this about a ghost?
ĎNot really, I just made it all up to scare her off!í comes the reply, with a very naughty laugh, 'the place is cursed though, but enough about that'.
Alunís staying over to wait for Cleddau King to float, so he can moor her in the channel.
He may be out with the divers next weekend and wonít have enough tide to get the boat out
if he leaves it until then.
So I take the kids and spaniel home for tea mark II and finish off archiving pictures taken in yr2000 while
Geraint stands up on his motorbike watching tv until way past bedtime.
Iím doing the laundry when an exhausted Alun appears.
He jumps into the shower and onto the settee for a kip before heading off at 2am to do some
freelance truck driving.
Itís hard but he wants to get some regular money in to allow me to concentrate on him and the kids and our new life.
I pack him some food before clocking off at the end of another busy day.
I saw the Big House programme which raised a series of fascinating but sadly totally unanswered questions. The house was built with the profits from the appalling employment conditions of the men women and children who worked and died in the mine. If those profits had been put back into the mine to improve those working conditions instead of being wasted on that folie de grandeur maybe those pit workers need not have died. This is a microcosm of the why British industry failed and continues to fail: it's called asset stripping. If, as an historian, you had looked at this issue the programme would have been considerably more interesting.