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The Grainery is full of people and because I’m tired having been up since 6am in Paris to catch the early Eurostar to London, then another train west, to Wales, I am not sure where we even are, but I pack us into the eatery scanning for available seats. We brush past a crowd standing in the doorway; they smile and apologize. But, we were the ones who …  hmmm. Everyone is so nice. Maybe it’s the bright blue sky, the warm sun, which is unexpected. Days before our departure, I’d gone out and bought wellies for us all, this area the wettest in the U.K. We flop down in seats and I look around. Bright white walls, black and white stenciled bicycle graphics, coolness-factor alert. Patrons still smiling, all pink-cheeked, glowy, like they’ve been out walking in morning meadows, afterwards tucking into scones and cream. I’m just happy we didn’t miss our trains and we seem to have managed to get here with all our bags.

For the Spring holiday, we’ve decided to go walking in Wales. And from what we’ve seen so far, we’ve apparently arrived into a land well-nourished. Our lunch arrives, big plates of quiche, salad, soup following up with chocolate bars. Our village sits in the Wye River Valley, surrounded by meadow-land where sheep graze as far as the eye can see. Really, we can’t get over how many sheep there are. Everywhere you look, bits of white fluff. (which of course, reminds us of the great white thing back in Paris. (Skye, our dog, a.k.a. Sheep!)) The meadows rise up toward hedge-rowed hills, so that from afar, the land looks like a soft undulating green quilted blanket. So cozy, it makes me yawn writing this. Oh yeah, and signs are in Welsh, which is an old language that has a lot of undulating vowels…

A variety of walks leave from the village square so we’ve got our choice. The first morning, the girls are up at an unusual hour, and to my surprise, wake me, asking for breakfast. I figure out the oven and toast the homemade sourdough we got before the store closed last night. Also, local butter, local jam. Since the path to the river is just outside our door, it’s our first choice to get familiar with the town and the lay of the ole land. It’s chilly out and the path is muddy in places. We run into people in wellies, sure enough, and wool sweaters over baggy pants, sodden dogs. We’re in our sneakers, but don’t want to go back and change, as it’s sunny after all. We follow signposts thru field after field, thru gates at the hedge-rows, until finally they complain that we turn around. We trail back to the river, down to a pebbled beach, where we’re all happy enough to skip some stones for a while. It’s a great mindless (or maybe mind-full?) kind of activity. Communing with nature by throwing stones in water. The girls are determined to get the hang of it. They do.

Check in next week for more sheep starring in Walks in Wales.