He could smell the wool, almost taste it. Even from several feet away.

Alison put her arm around him.

“Don’t fret my love. I know that it’s hard for you, but you did the right thing. No-one could have expected you to carry on by yourself. It wasn’t possible.”

Less than twelve months ago, Gavin Hughes had been a fourth generation mill owner. His forefathers had passed down the tradition through the years, instilling the love of the fibres, bestowing upon him the skills and secrets learnt over scores of years, until it all ended. With one son running a successful construction business in Australia, and the other studying a PhD in Genomics at Cambridge, there was no-one to take on the heritage. No-one to be the fifth generation. No-one.

Alison would tell him that it was not his fault that neither child had seen a future in wool, that other factors left the business untenable, but Gavin had a strong belief in “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. He knew that he hadn’t done enough to encourage Mathew, whose love of anything mechanical was ideal for keeping the Victorian machinery working. But the boy was more interested in fast cars and local girls, and too many heated exchanges had burned that bridge. Owen was too bright to be tied to the Teifi Valley. That was clear from an early age.

The local wool museum had offered apprentices, but Gavin’s stickling for tight timekeeping and short temper resulted in a high turnover in staff (unlike the sales) and the supply of willing volunteers ran dry.

As did the Teifi, several times a year. Perhaps those loony-leftie tree huggers had a point about global warming thought Gavin. A watermill cannot run without a water, and if there wasn’t a drought, there was a flood, overfilling the mill pond and spilling past the head race. Feast or famine. Drought or flood. Not biblical proportions, but enough to wonder if someone up there had it in for you.

As a child, Gavin had been fascinated by how shaggy fleeces had been turned into soft blankets of many colours. The willowing, turning the washed fleece into fine wisps like the hair of the angels. The fierce looking carding machines, aggressively drawing the wisps through an intricate route around their enormous drums. The click-clack-thwack as the shuttle shot across the loom, only to be returned with equal ferocity, then back again.

But now there was only silence. The fleeces were gone, the machines had been sold as scrap and the shell of the mill awaited the property developers. They said the conversion would be sympathetic to the history of the area. Gareth didn’t care. He had betrayed his ancestors and deserted his trade. He would live a comfortable but troubled retirement in Beaumaris, and never return to the Teifi.


Ref: Writing101, Day 9 Prompt: A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.


The Creator

Two adults please.

Grey-blue twinkling eyes greeted me and asked if we’d visited a model village before.

I explained that I used to live near one in Southport and had been taken there several times as a child. Nostalgic eyes smiled as he referred to as a particularly special collection, which he had visited on numerous occasions too.

We discussed various locations where fine villages could be found before the smile-wrinkles appeared again. With a mischievous grin, he asked if we would like to complete the treasure hunt. Yes please!

Walking round the from the ticket booth to be given directions, we were joined by a lean man who we estimated to be in his mid-sixties, dressed in tidy blue engineer’s overalls. Just one small smudge of grease on the front.

With muted pride he advised the best route and told us to watch out for the two model trains which ran at regular intervals.

We set off on our adventure, duly noting our answers on the quiz sheet. At the end of the route we were met by someone who introduced himself as the second in command.

The boss has gone to work on a spare motor for the windmill. He’s a perfectionist you know.

We enquired as to whether he had built the village. Yes, from scratch. And the trains. He used to be a cabinet-maker and couldn’t settle into retirement, so bought the land and created the village.

All by himself?

Yes. Pretty much. At the same time he renovated an out building which is now a holiday let.

Looking back at the village we were given an insight into the soul of its creator.

The paths were clean and free from weeds, as were the colourful flower beds which surrounded each tableau.

A lot of thought had gone into the character of each setting, right down to the contrast between the music playing from some. High Church of England hymns in the steepled church, quieter and more melodic praise from the Chapel of St Mary, while candy flossed barrel organ melodies rang out from the fair.

There was a pleasantly childish sense of humour in some of the signs, in Llangefni High Street you could visit from “Dan Druff’s Hair Salon”.

There was a keen eye to detail in the scale and architecture of the buildings, all based on local landmarks and surroundings. It was clear that he was as passionate about living on Anglesey as he was about his work.

And yet he was humble. Did he deliberately step into the workshop to avoid praise at the end of our visit?

We were surprised to hear that he was over seventy, and that he had decided to sell the enterprise. This could be our last visit to one man’s miniature Anglesey.

We hoped that someone would take it on and continue in the spirit that it was created, but if you read the original post relating to our visit, we also wondered whether this type of attraction is still popular.


Ref: Writing101, Day 6 Prompt “Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?”

On The Island, Day 3. Could I Have My Rock Medium-Rare, Please?

Today was our first day without the crowds. When it really starts to feel like a holiday for us, and not the world, his wife, children, campervan, dogs and canoe.

After a fairly leisurely start we set off towards one of the prime target from our holiday research, Llanddwyn Island. An island off the island.

To be accurate, it is a tidal island, but only at high tide.

After yesterday’s Watergate, we had packed fourbottles in the picnic bag; two to take with us and two to quench our thirst after the walk.

With nervous excitement we drove through the forest, paid the road toll, discussed whether I was sending us the correct way and arrived at spacious and well organised car park, complete with toilets, which would be very welcome after our planned water in-take.

We booted up and realised that we had created Watergate Two as we had left the picnic bag back at the cottage.

Undeterred, and given the cloudy skies, we set off. Initialy across soft sand which is a workout all of its own. Then through the edge of the forest, where my navigation was again called into question. There were not many other walkers about and we enjoyed our stroll towards a geocache, chatting about nothing in particular except failing memories.

The cache was tucked away, a little off a marked path, its position being (we both agreed) in an ideal caching location. Much Beloved’s opinion was probably based upon being near to a path, so with the illusion of remoteness but without the trek, and having good muggle visibility. I just thought it looked like several of the drawings used by groundspeak.

After leaving the forest and heading across another sand-gym, we were on the beach proper. Despite the haziness, the views were wonderful, from the outline of Snowden to the mountains behind Aberdesach. We soon reached the island and started a gentle ascent. Even the cattle notice didn’t phase MB, although my attempts to convince him that sheep were cattle failed. He’s an expert on his phobias.

Llanddwyn Island is a little gem. It offers good panoramas and a variety of wildlife, including choughs, ravens, oystercatchers, ponies and little birds. There are also many cormorants, but I prefer to point at one and ask “shag?”.

It is also has an interesting geological history, much of which I have forgotten, but which resulted in some very interesting rocks. This is where the beauty of the earth cache comes in. Had we not been in possesion of a GPS loaded with caches, we would not have known to head towards a particular beach.

And had we both not started to embrace the “lets just go and see” approach to apparently pointless paths, we might have decided that we could not reach said earth cache, because we thought that we had to walk along a thin high wall.

What we found was more views and this…

Or Is That Well Marbled Steak

Or Is That Well Marbled Steak

… who would have thought it? Betroot coloured rocks. And in such interesting formations. We could see where hot lava had pushed its way though and where two types of rocks had been pushed together.

The range of colours were amazing from lilac to near blood red – one rock looked like well marbled steak.

There was also bluey grey.

Almost a Tri-Colour

Almost a Tri-Colour

Incredible. We have a little research to carry out before claiming the cache, but we’ve left an on-line note to do this.

The beach was busying up as we left Llanddwyn.

Before returning to the car, Simon broke the prime directive and possibly
gave a cockle motion sickness when returning it to the sea.

As is often the case, when your mind knows that it is completing the final stretch of a walk, your legs pick up the message and yet another sand-gym had to be crossed to reach tarmac. Plus the clouds had cleared which didn’t please MB. Fortunately water was available from a burger van in the car park, so good humour was returned and we continued on our way.