February arrived with snow and ice here in the Preseli Hills. On the first day of the month our driveway and lane were treacherous with ice so, although school was officially open, the bus didn’t come. Our driveway is sloping with a bend in the middle; getting down it is a mini bobsled run in those conditions, and getting back up is impossible, so we had a snow day. The thaw was quick this year, though, which was a relief after last year’s frozen daffodil days during the Beast from the East.
The second week of the month brought frisky winds and a flock of chattering long tailed tits to the bird table. These delightful birds nest locally, but aren’t regular bird table visitors. They are diminutive yet exuberant birds and look like little feathered teaspoons clinging to the nut feeders.
I made my first visit to the new £3.4 million library in Haverfordwest. It seems astonishing that in a time of libraries being closed due to financial cutbacks that our local council, in partnership with the National Library of Wales has built a fabulous new cultural centre in the county town, including a library, information centre and art gallery. The Glan-yr-Afon centre is a tall and glassy building and it is hoped it will help to boost the economy of the town centre. The building also houses a new National Library of Wales gallery which will showcase all aspects of the library’s collections. At the moment there is an exhibition of The Story of Pembrokeshire and another commemorating the centenary of Sir Kyffin Williams, Kyffin: Tir a Môr/Land and Sea. The exhibitions are well worth a visit and there was a happy buzz inside the building. The children’s area is decorated with images by St Davids-based artist Jackie Morris and there are little nooks with tables and a river view for reading and working, and a cafe, which we haven’t sampled yet. You can’t really beat coffee, books and art, so I hope it will be a huge success.
The month continued with cold, rainy weather until half term when an unseasonable mini summer happened. We enjoyed a peek at an whopping snow moon at night and sweltered in sunshine and temperatures of 14° to 16° C (57-60 degrees F) during the day. This will make those in warmer climates laugh, but 10 degrees hotter than normal makes a huge difference! Inside the polytunnel the mercury hit 30° C (86°F). I’m not sure what that will do to my plants; it was lovely and worrying in equal measures. Freak weather is never good news on a global basis. But the saying is that you should make hay while the sun shines, so we picnicked at the beach, ate the first ice creams of 2019, took our lunches at home out to the garden and planted the earliest of the seeds – sweet peas, spring onions, onions, radish, broad beans, peas (for shoots) and lettuce.
The temperature got back to normal for the end of the month and we dodged rain showers for a family day out to Tenby with a visit to the museum and art gallery, a brief stroll on the beach (to admire St Catherine’s rock which was used as a filming location in Sherlock) and then a bit of lunch and shopping.
SEVEN LOVELY THINGS
- Discover guinea pigs in jumpers: A vet sent out an SOS and knitters answered
- Watch a craftsman at work: This is twelve and a half minutes of astonishing skill and it’s unexpectedly beautiful and enthralling
- Listen to Mark Steel’s in Town in Aberystwyth (on BBC Sounds until March 16th 2019) his impression of bi-lingual seagulls is sheer joy
- Eat purple sprouting broccoli which is in season now, delicious, packed full of vitamin C and very good for you
- Read all about no dig gardening for fewer weeds, bigger harvests and less wear and tear on the gardener (especially if, like me, you have a back problem)
- Grow pea shoots for delicious salads. Quick and simple and any pea will do (even the ones sold dried in boxes for making mushy peas)
- Drool over the cakes at Loafley Bakery in Tenby. Their Instagram account was one of the reasons we went to Tenby and the cakes lived up to all expectations (even those of the our resident vegan).