Black Mountains Diary

This is the story of two people who left London seven years ago for a different life in the country. Or to be more precise, the gorgeously photogenic and peaceful edge of the Black Mountains on the slopes of the Sugar Loaf between Abergavenny and Crickhowell.

Although the town is only four miles away, it’s a very quiet part of the world with just the sound of wildlife (and the odd farmer’s quad bike) by day, and by night, amazingly clear ‘dark skies’ with the hooting done by owls rather than cars.

I often say it was Carol who brought me here, kicking and screaming, but then people see the grin on my face.

Carol was originally from Newport, about a 40 minute drive from where we now live. In her teens, her dad (and my future father-in-law) Baz decamped the whole family to Kent and she then spent the next 45 years planning her escape from the south east.

There is a word I came to know over the years and that is the Welsh word “hireith” which loosely translates as “longing”. To cut a long story short (for the moment) Carol always had a yearning to return to Wales – yup, the old one about you can take the girl out of Wales but you cannot take the Wales out of the girl.

And me? Well after living in South West London for many years and with the kids old enough to have long flown the nest, I didn’t need much persuasion.

The countryside seemed to be the sort of relaxed way to go. We wanted to make the most of a clean break, fresh air, and a simpler life, and so that was what we went for.

The clean break and fresh air we got, the simpler life was a bit harder, as you may find out – if you care to read on.

Slow ways

It's painted on every road in Wales. "ARAF" means "SLOW" in English. In Wales it applies to not ...
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A diversion on Welsh names

It is a law in Wales that everyone must have their names shortened if they possibly can be ...
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The Grey Box in the road

Before we moved, friends often asked how I was going to work? “Ha!” I would reply with nonchalance, ...
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