Henrhyd Falls

The Ancient Briton and Henrhyd Falls Part 1

Stan (the father-in-law, not the cat) turned on our TV  whilst waiting for tea to be served and sighed.

‘Pearl! [the mother-in-law], Pearl, I hope you’re recording this! Oh no! We’re missing it!’

‘Missing what?’ Pearl chirped back.

Stan shook the remote control at the TV as if to prompt recollection. ‘This!’ he cried.

‘It’s fine. I’ve apped it on iPlayer,’ Pearl replied reassuringly.

‘Yes! Good job! Will the apped version work on a… what d’you call it Sean?’

‘App,’ I replied.

‘That’s it. Have you apped it then?’


Technology is hard to keep up with isn’t it? Only the other day, somebody asked me if I’d watched a certain program on telly and I’d replied, “No, but I’ve taped it.” Before you know it, even “downloading” will be as archaic as “taping the Top 40 off the radio.”

But you can’t keep chasing forever. Sometimes you need to stop and take a breather. When your quarry is the latest technology, you’ll need to take a lot of them, and the best way to do this is to clear off to Wales and become a Luddite for a couple of days. If you can combine this with some exposure therapy for any irrational fears you may be harbouring then it’s a win-win situation…

‘You’re not too keen on waterfalls are you Ruthie?’ I asked over tea.

‘No I’m not. Why?’

‘Nothing really. Just wondering.’

Ruthie pointed a fork at me aggressively. ‘If you think we’re going traipsing half way around the country just so you can have a laugh at me trembling with fear then you can… well… frick off! You didn’t like it when I made you walk across Barmouth Bridge did you? Remember what happened there, dear?’

My grip tightened around my cutlery. I was doing a Uri Geller but with muscle, not mind. Yes I bloody well did remember going across Barmouth Bridge.

‘I was perfectly fine! Until I saw the ground between the slats. But look, how often does one have to go over a bridge?’

Ruthie sighed.

‘See? If you don’t confront your fear of waterfalls you’ll never be able to go anywhere near a river ever again.’

I placed my knife and fork down as if to complete my argument. Ruthie said nothing. Sometimes you just can’t argue with good old-fashioned logic…

Anyway, I’d already decided. We were to go and see the largest waterfall in the British Isles – Henrhyd Falls in Pen-y-cae, Wales.

I asked Ruthie to organise the details.

‘For therapy,’ I explained.

Ruthie remained silent. Some moods can last a bloody long time can’t they?
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Harvest Time at High Offley

Harvest Time at High Offley

August! Time for the Harvest – and a musical shindig at The Anchor Inn, High Offley with Canal Mal…

Here we were back where it all began. The field where we met a Bohemian looking guy with a sharp knife and a penchant for lopsided hats. The guy who bought his Mazda Bongo on ebay. The guy who told us to do so too. The guy who changed our life (because we did as we were told).

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St. Bartholomew at Richard's Castle

Nature’s Fury at Richard’s Castle

Just over 5 miles south of the historic town of Ludlow lies the peculiar village of Richard’s Castle, straddling the border between Shropshire and Herefordshire. The actual castle is no longer there – the only remains being a bit of a wall and some foundations…

Richard's Castle remains

We’d stopped off here on the way to Ludlow, after having spent a great weekend camping at Home Farm in the nearby village of Bircher. But not to see the castle. We came to see the Norman Church of St. Bartholomew, some parts dating back to the 12th Century… Continue reading

Yatton Hill Common

Yatton Hill and Yarpole

In my last post, I described how, being cheap-skates, we’d avoided paying the £17 entrance fee to Croft Castle in Herefordshire, simply by not going. Our frugality had been rewarded by the discovery of a fossil at Fishpool Valley and a friendly tête-a-tête with some aggressive squirrels. Now, as we battled against time, we found ourselves at the top of Yatton Hill Common, wondering whether it was feasible to grab a pint in The Riverside Inn at the nearby village of Aymestrey and still make it back to our camper van Betsy, pitched at Home Farm Caravan and Campsite, before dark…

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Fishpool Valley, Yarpole

I Found Something at Fishpool Valley

Ruthie was at it again.

She was trying to be discreet but, as I passed by the closed bedroom door on my way downstairs, I could hear the old familiar noises emanating from within.

There were sighs. Occasional gasps.

But it was the sporadic rustle of paper that told me she was looking at maps. I tutted, shook my head, and made my way into the kitchen where a bowl of cereal awaited my attention.

I looked down into the bowl and leered disapprovingly at the contents, like a bipolar tea-leaf reader on a bad day. I tutted again. They still haven’t learnt. Even after the phone call…

Year: 1999

I was on the phone to the Complaints Division at Kellogs.

‘Kellogs Complaints Department?’ the voice said on the end of the phone.

‘Hello, yes, I’d like to make a complaint,’ I said politely.

‘OK, what seems to be the problem?’

‘It’s these Choco Krispies. They do something weird to the milk.’

‘Really? What type of weird?’

He’d hit me with a stumper. ‘Well, you know… it, I mean the Krispies, they -‘

‘No I don’t know. Would you care to tell me more?’

Here we go. Following the Complaints Procedure routine without actually listening to what I was saying.

‘What are you saying, exactly?’ the man on the phone asked.

So, the precocious little shit reads minds now does he?

‘These Krispies… They-‘

‘What about our Choco Krispies? Have you been sold an out-of-date box?’

‘No, not that. They -‘

‘Have you found a foreign object in the box’s contents?’

‘No… ‘ (deep breath), ‘It’s just that -‘

‘Did you buy the Choco Krispies from a reputable retailer? Are they genuine? Have you got the barcode and a receipt of purchase? We offer a full money refu-‘

‘NO!!! They keep turning my milk … erm … “chocolatey”.’


‘Hello?’ I asked.

‘Oh My God!’ the voice on the other end spewed, ‘That’s fuckin’ genius!’

The line went dead.

A couple months later and Kellogs had changed the name to Coco Pops and the rest is history…

Back to the present…

[Note: To protect myself from a lawsuit, the above conversation did not happen, I never phoned Kellogs, I've made it all up just to get a cheap laugh and to lead into the following...]

Ruthie appeared in the kitchen with a beaming grin. I stirred the contents of my cereal bowl around thoughtfully as the chocolate slid off the “pops” and dissolved into the milk.

‘Do you think if I just bought normal Rice Krispies and put them into a bowl of chocolate milkshake it would taste the same?’ I asked.

‘What!?’ Ruthie barked, perplexed.

I shrugged. ‘Never mind, why the big grin? I thought we were going out in Betsy this weekend?’

‘We are!’ Ruthie boomed, ‘We’re off to The Borders! Load up Betsy, we’re leaving in an hour!’

And so, within the hour, we were off and heading towards Home Farm in the village of Bircher in North Herefordshire. Just south of Shropshire, just east of Wales…

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