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Aber Bucket List #9: achieved

6 May

Firstly, {and this won’t mean anything to people who don’t watch British TV or don’t care about nature} Spring Watch is coming to Ynys-Hir.

Yeeeaaah! That’s our patch! So excited!
I’m totally going to end up stalking the presenters around Aberystwyth like a FREAK!

Anyway …the real reason for this post is our Aberystwyth Bucket List.

Strata Florida Abbey was originally founded in 1164 and was a pretty influential place for hundreds of years. Nowa days it’s just a ruin but I’ve wanted to go and visit for a while now and last week we managed to make it out there.

It’s such a beautiful spot and if you ever get the chance to visit, go! It was so quiet and there were birds everywhere. We got great views of Redstarts as there must have been about 8 individuals flitting about.

There is also a grave-yard there which I was pretty excited about visiting. Dafydd ap Gwilym is buried there BUT I was more interested in…

The leg grave. Duh duh duuuuhhhh…
{Can you tell how thrilled Josh was at me making him pose? haha}

Apparently some guy had to had his leg amputated in the 1800s and so he had it buried here with a stone, inscription and picture of his leg. Amused me greatly.

We then headed up into the mountains to walk to the Teifi Pools.
On the way we met this little guy.

I haven’t had such good views of a stoat before so this was very exciting.

It was SUCH a beautiful day and we had a lovely time walking up the valley to the pools. Definitely worth being on the bucket list.
One down…nine to go;

Josh and Rachel’s Aberystwyth Bucket List

1. Watch the sun rise from Pendinas {the hill above the town}
2. See the submerged forest in Borth
3. Visit Soar y Mynydd
4. Buy a love spoon
5. Walk from Llanfair Clydogau to Tregaron
6. Have a bonfire and BBQ on the beach
7. Have a meal at the Harbour Master
8. Go dancing with all the gang
9. Visit Strata Florida
10. See Aberystwyth from the sea

I’ll leave you with this sheep. Notice anything weird?!


Aberystwyth Bucket List

28 Apr

Last week I realised that I’ve only got eight working weeks left before we start packing up to leave Aber. We’re not quite sure when we’ll be moving to the big city yet, but we won’t really be around in Wales much during our summer of fun, so these are really our last chances to make the most of living here.

With that in mind Josh and I have been compiling a list of things that we want to do before we leave Aber. Some are things that we haven’t done before and some are things we love and want to do again.

We’ve laid down the challenge to ourselves to achieve each one of these things before we move, and to blog about them too…

Josh and Rachel’s Aberystwyth Bucket List

1. Watch the sun rise from Pendinas {the hill above the town}
2. See the submerged forest in Borth
3. Visit Soar y Mynydd
4. Buy a love spoon
5. Walk from Llanfair Clydogau to Tregaron
6. Have a bonfire and BBQ on the beach
7. Have a meal at the Harbour Master
8. Go dancing with all the gang
9. Visit Strata Florida
10. See Aberystwyth from the sea

We’ve actually already achieved one of these things today…so stay tuned for a post about that tomorrow.

In other news – I’m on a winning roll! I won a photo competition over at Little Somethings today. Horray!

Hope you’re having a great Thursday people. Are you celebrating the Royal Wedding tomorrow?

More exciting post

27 Apr

This week I’m happy because I’m ON HOLIDAY! And thanks to Will and Kate I only had to take three days off work to get a nine day holiday…whoop!

So far we’ve been having a great time. Josh’s parents and sister were visiting over the weekend and yesterday we went out for lunch with some friends.

Today Josh has been working so I’ve had a deliciously selfish day and have read in bed and gone shopping {shhh…don’t mention the New Years Resolution} and pottered round the house. It has been looovveely.

I’m also happy because I got more exciting post today…and it included CHOCOLATE.

The lovely Erin sent me some sweet Easter treats all the way from Canada.

…including some mini eggs {my absolute fav!}.


I have eaten FAR too much chocolate this afternoon – but that’s what holidays are for? Right?

Thanks for my great Easter package Erin. I loved it!

My Beautiful Disaster

Happy Wednesday 🙂

Springing into the rest of the year

21 Mar

I love those moments in the year when you can just tell that the season has changed. Spring has been just around the corner for a few weeks now, but last Thursday as we climbed Plymlimon we could just sense the change: spring has finally sprung.

I love the area around Plymlimon and Nant-y-Moch. It feels so wild and isolated. We would occasionally just stop and listen and hear nothing except the wind moving through the grass and the geese on the lake below us.

As we climbed higher (without coats for the first time this year!) we heard a sky lark singing high above the moorland. Surely that must be a contender for one of the best sounds in the world?! Perfect.

Gradually the track levelled out and we reached a series of pools where we could hear a chorus of frogs calling to one another.

It all just makes me so excited! I love winter for many reasons, but there is just something about Spring that promises potential for the rest of the year.
It has spurred us into action for planning our summer break and this week we’ve organised and booked quite a bit.

So far we’ll be visiting the Lake District before spending a few days hostelling in Glencoe.
Then we’ll be travelling to Knoydart. I’m so excited about this leg of our journey! Knoydart has been called the last wilderness in Scotland because there are no roads to it. To reach it you must hike 18 miles over the mountains or by a 7 mile sea crossing. Eeek!
We’ll then be spending a week on Skye before meandering our way back down South spending time in Devon, Wiltshire, the Cotswolds, London and the Lake District again.

My problem is that I’m an administrator through and through. I love to achieve things and tick them off my list. It’s not just office things – I find that I do it in normal life too. Even as I’m doing something, my mind is often on the next thing to be achieved.
However, I don’t want to be like that with our last few months in Aber and with the time we’re taking off from work. I want to try and enjoy each day as it comes and make the most of it because I know it’s going to pass really quickly. I’m not very good at sitting back and letting things happen, but I’m working on it!

Sunsets and Starlings

5 Mar

Two of the (many) highlights of living in Aberystwyth can be experienced within 3 minutes of my front door.

Firstly, with nothing to the west of us except sea we get the most wonderful sunsets throughout the year.

Secondly, we are so lucky to have one of the most amazing natural spectacles taking place every day right next to where we live throughout the winter months.

Every day thousands and thousands of starlings come into roost under the pier and form the most beautiful aerial displays. Having several hundred birds swooping down around you as they dive under the pier is something that must be experienced!

I’m trying to etch these memories in my mind for when we’re stuck in the city!

Oooo. Mae’n gas ‘da fi dosbarth Cymraeg!

10 Jan

Hello friends. I sit here with a tired mind, as I’ve been struggling with my Welsh revision for the last couple of hours. I don’t really talk much on the blog about our Welsh lessons, probably because I try to forget they exist from week to week!

Every Tuesday, for the last year and a half, we have been going to intensive Welsh lessons. Four hours a week of torture in my opinion.

Although I love to learn I’ve never really got on with the lessons for two reasons:

–          I’m not very confident in front of a group of people and I just freeze and panic like a rabbit in headlights whenever the teacher asks me a question. I almost always get it wrong because I panic which makes me feel stupid and embarrassed.

–          I don’t have the motivation to do work outside of class. It’s an intensive class so we move on quickly and I need to be doing work at home to keep up. As a result I don’t feel very confident and the gap between people who do their work and the slackers like me is getting larger and more obvious.

Ugggghhhh…I really hate going and I really, really wish I could quit –but I don’t because I’m so stubborn that I hate admitting to myself and everyone else that I’m bad at something!(I’m pretty sure that’s not a good trait!)

Every week I tell myself I’ll work harder and that I’ll do revision, and that I know I could be good if I just applied myself. And then every week I procrastinate and find any opportunity not to do my work!

Well…now I’ve made myself accountable. I’ve put it on the blog! I’ve also contacted a friend to try and organise some extra-curricular practice sessions. She’s about the same level as me and I’m thinking that if we have sessions together the competitiveness of keeping up with her will spur me on to do some work!

Until then I will sit here feeling my stomach churning with nerves every time I think about my class tomorrow 😦
I’ll let you know how it goes. Hwyl!

NightLight update

28 Jun

I’ve just been doing the latest NightLight prayer newsletter for church, and I thought it might be good to post a bit of an update here because I know a lot of you have been praying for us faithfully over the last eighteen months.

But first…for those of you who don’t know what on earth I’m talking about when I mention NightLight…

NightLight is a project which Josh and I set up which involves volunteers from many of the churches in Aberystwyth.  It came about in November 2008 after several members of the congregation expressed concern at the state people were getting themselves into drinking at the weekends. We’re a university town and on an average night we can have several thousand drinkers crowding into our small town centre.

We’re out from 11pm-3am every Saturday night, working with the police and the council to patrol the streets and make sure that people are okay. We’re not there to condemn people, but we are there to show that we know of a better way, we’re there to stand with people when they’re sick and all their friends have left them, we’re there to walk people home when they’re lost and confused, and we’re there to comfort and pray with people when they need a listening ear.

So what have been up to in the last 6 months of so?

As always with a project of this kind, the hype and excitement of the project’s beginning has died down. However, I have continued to be so impressed by the volunteer’s willingness to serve and to love continually week by week, even when they’re tired and they have got other stuff going on.

Relationships with the council, the police, doorstaff and licensees have gone from strength to strength, with God doing more than we could ever have hoped for! We’re now welcomed onto the streets when at the beginning we (as ‘the church’) were looked at with suspicion. I just can’t get my mind around how much God has been changing people’s attitudes and mindset…and also just how obvious it has been that God’s love really does change things out there on the streets!

Very excitingly, Josh and I have been involved with helping to set up two other projects around Wales, which are working to the ‘NightLight model’. It’s aimed for small towns so it works well in our area.
It has always been my prayer that the vision would spread across our area and it’s so so so so exciting that it is, and so quickly. AND the police and councils of these places are actively seeking out the churches help in response to the drinking culture which is getting out of hand.

However exciting and ‘successful’ the project is been, it’s often on my mind when I’m patrolling the streets at 2.30am and I’m ready for my bed, that if we have loved one person that evening it makes it all worth while. Even if didn’t have this positive feedback, it would still be important to be getting out there and loving these vulnerable people.

Some excerpts from the incident book:

“Had a chat with some youths on the seafront. After small talk we began to talk about what they thought of Jesus. They were really engaging and we were able to answer some of their questions”

“A girl was lying face down in a gutter. We helped her get up and walked her to a taxi.”

“Inn on the Pier called us on the radio because there was a girl being sick outside. She could hardly stand, wasn’t responding and was in a bad way. She was staying with a friend who was also very drunk, so we called an ambulance to sort her out.”

“Listened and prayed with someone who was crying in the seafront shelter. Planning to meet them and bring them to church tomorrow (this morning!!)”

“Gave flip flips to a group of girls who were walking barefooted. They were happy that ‘God saved their feet!’”

Being the passenger for once

25 Jun

Yesterday was a momentous day because I was able to take this photo from the passenger seat of my car…while it was moving.


And, I was able to do this because this man was in the driving seat.

It was also a momentous day because Josh managed to drive the car for 30 minutes without either of us dying, or either of us filing for divorce.

A momentous day indeed.

Josh hasn’t passed his test yet, but he’s nearly ready. However, rather annoyingly his instructor has decided to retire. How dare he get on with enjoying his life when Josh only needed a couple more lessons before his test!?!?!

Anyway, we figured that it would make more sense for him to be put on our car insurance rather than have to learn with a whole new instructor and car. Let the fun begin!

Also, on another note, is it slightly creepy that I keep taking pictures of other people’s houses and posting them on my blog?

Yes? Oh.

But SERIOUSLY, look how cute this house is.

It’s right at the end of a wooded valley (the same one as the dream house) along a track which is unsuitable for normal vehicles, in its own little glade. I don’t think these photos do it justice – it looks like a fairy house.

Can you blame me for wanting to share our discoveries?!