After the celebrations of Debbie’s 60th birthday party I thought it might be a good idea to have a short break away in Ceredigion in West Wales with Emma and Molly, leaving James and Hamish behind.  As James secured his new job in Morrisons he had to attend new hire training in their Cwmbran store so he couldn’t go with us unfortunately.

To be honest it was an experiment with Molly as she’d never been away with us on holiday, we’d always put her and Hamish into the Royvon kennels together and had done so in the days just before and after the party.  Being brutally honest though we felt the need to have a brief rest from the mad Scotsman and his bark and he’s very close to James anyway so we didn’t feel too bad leaving them both behind.

So last Tuesday we left Llanfoist in the Galaxy with a bemused Molly in the rear in her basket surrounded by suitcases, Emma in the rear seat surrounded by shopping bags and Debbie and I in the front.  We left as late as possible mid afternoon so as to minimise the time Hamish had to spend in his crate awaiting James’ return from Cwmbran.  My sat nav predicted a two hour journey without stopping which proved accurate as we headed past Brecon on the A40 and onto various twisty A & B roads towards our destination.

The cottage I’d chosen was called Cartref Bach which is Welsh for “Small Home” in the small hamlet of Llanrhystud.  It was a little Tardis like downstairs at least as the living room was quite large as was the adjoining kitchen diner and utility room, leading out to large gardens.

When searching for a suitable place to stay I’d looked for an enclosed rear garden for molly so she could wander outside freely to explore and do her ablutions, had a log fire in the living room to snuggle up by, be close to the coastline for walking and a pub for refreshments.  Cartref Bach ticked all those boxes along with off road parking on Church Road and a local small supermarket combined with a sub post office so we were very well served.

We arrived with it still being daylight after an uneventful and uninterrupted journey and for once the sat nav took us straight to where we were going and I pulled the Galaxy into the narrow entrance to the cottage.

Llanrhystud has hills separating the village from the sea as you can see to the rear

The instructions which I had to admit to having not read properly before arriving told us entry was not before 4pm to allow time for handover and cleaning which was fine, although finding the key safe through the wooden doors to the right of the cottage and attached to the door frame of the adjacent tool house was more challenging although the code was very easy to remember!  I won’t mention it here in case they don’t change in regularly…

Keys secured we made our way inside and immediately Emma bagged the front bedroom with the attached bath and shower, something I didn’t realise until we left as our rear facing bedroom overlooking a field full of sheep and a large hill obscuring the sea just had a curtained off toilet/shower area attached!

Still it was very cosy especially when Debbie got the log fire going and I read about there being further supplies in the shed located in the large rear orchard to the rear of the property on the right.  The weather though was pretty wild with strong winds and rain making the outside rather cold but that only contrasted with the snug warmth inside.

Don’t take my photo in my PJ’s!

Settled in we watched TV and some episodes of TV Burp 3 on DVD before eventually retiring for a good night’s sleep with Molly in her basket next to our bed in the rear…

Where’s Hamish and James?

The following days we spent relaxing, popping into the local shop where I was given a ginger cake free of charge that was going out of date the following day which definitely generated goodwill with yours truly as I purloined newspapers, wine, bread, baking potatoes, tomato sauce, yogurts, chicken curry and rice with mango chutney etc. to add to the emergency vegan shop in Waitrose we’d done prior to leaving!

This patio is all mine!

Molly seems to love exploring out the back although very skittish in terms of noises from the local sheep and bird population.

The orchard too!  Extra logs are in here Dad…

With the two human ladies of the party staying behind in comfort Molly and I ventured out twice during our four day stay, both times following the same route to the pebble beach closest to the property.  The first time however Molly turned back just before getting to our intended destination due to the blustery conditions of the strong wind coming off the shoreline.

Turn right outside Cartref Bach and you pass this Church dedicated to Saint Rhystud

With our second attempt though we passed through a deserted caravan park and made it to the bleak shoreline without a trace of human or canine company where Molly looked rather bemused at the expanse of sea water.  Being more of a freshwater River Usk lady, she came, she saw and conquered & returned to the cottage fairly promptly much to my relief.


The cottage was well equipped with DVD’s and games which we all enjoyed and it’s warmth and comfort led to only two short expeditions outside by car during our short break.

The first was a rather brief seven mile journey south towards the picturesque fishing village of Aberaeron which according to our local guide book in the cottage could only be described as a Welsh “Tobermory” however sadly on this occasion it was not to be due to the fact that as soon as I parked up Molly threw up in the rear of the galaxy and started shaking so we beat a hasty retreat back to the cottage.

Having decided that Golden retrievers, like Molly’s predecessor Tom, travel on light stomachs it was decided prudently to dispatch me alone towards Aberystwyth which 40 years previously had been on my UCCA interview list of potential University places to study planetary and space physics!

Sadly visiting on my own seemed even less attractive than back in 1978 so when I spied Morrisons on the outskirts I gratefully pulled in to do some emergency shopping of tofu stir fry for Emma and I along with some requested treats for Debbie back at Cartef Bach.

Before we knew it the days passed and it was time to leave our cottage and head home, fingers crossed with no further stomach troubles from Molly, although we minimised the risks by refusing her breakfast until we were safely back home…


Mind you as I napped in our bedroom after a two hour journey back to Llanfoist I suddenly awoke to a rumble where the bed and whole room shook for about five seconds as magnitude 4.4 earthquake shook Wales as a true welcome home surprise! 🙂