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Castles and Mountains of Pastoral Wales!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


The Castle Coche
The Easter Weekend saw us in Wales---a beautiful place to be in!!!The Coach took us past the pastoral beauty of the rolling Hills,Dales,Fields and Meadows of the English/Welsh Countryside as it bore us towards Cardiff in South wales--also a capital City of this tiny Country!!It was the typical English countryside that I'd been longing to see---something that connected me instantly with my childhood Books---Black Beauty,The Famous Five and many more---mostly by Enid Blyton---books I still read today in my approaching second childhood!!!The beautiful and idyllic countryside was exactly as I had pictured it in my mind---the Hedgerows bordering the Road lined with deep Ditches in some places---spilling over with sprays of sweet scented tiny White Flowers of the Hawthorn Trees and Bramble Bushes in full bloom---patches of Daffodills dancing in the Breeze-----and tiny Snowdrops peeping through shyly in the Undergrowth-----the Hawthorn and Bramble Bushes interspersed with Silver Birch,Beech and an occasional Willow Tree besides the usual Ash and Rowan Trees interspersed with Pines,Firs and Scots Pines.While I gazed through the window fascinated by all this lush green Countryside---Sayali dozed beside me--completely oblivious of all this beauty passing by!!!!
As we passed Stud Farms,Riding Stables,lush Meadows dotted with Sheep and beautiful Jersey Cows-----as well as the fertile Fields I just drank in the sights with thirsty eyes---this was what my father had described to me----and what I'd read about--this was the English Countryside I'd wanted to see!!!This was a more gentle and manicured Beauty compared to the Wild and desolate Beauty of the Scots Countryside--but extremely appealing all the same!!!As we drove into Cardiff we passed beside the ancient Cardiff Castle---parts of it built 2000 years ago by the Romans!!!Reaching the Marriott in the City Centre we refreshed ourselves before venturing on to the paved City Centre----all well laid out in an area where vehicular Traffic was completely restricted to facilitate walking in comfort.The narrow cobbled Streets brought home the advantages of our modern paving blocks--these are darned uncomfortable to walk on!!!
The next day we did the Castles---Coche Castle--built by the Marquis of Bute in the mid 1800s as a Weekend and Holiday Retreat.This looks like the original Fairy Tale Medieval Castle as it rises up from it's surrounding Forest---reminding one of the Castle where Sleeping Beauty lay waiting for her Prince!!!The next was Caerphilly Castle--then Cyfartha Castle--and after that the only Welsh Whisky Distillery at Pendaryn and finally the Pen y Fan Mountain---it's top and slopes still holding the vestiges of Winter Snow.For me the main thing was the Caerphilly Castle----with a beautiful leaning Tower and it's still existing Moat---filled with Birds and Water----the huge Halls and winding,narrow spiral Staircases----- leading to breathtaking views of the Countryside below!!!Cyfartha Castle was interesting for the Musuem there gave an insight into the brief rise of the Welsh during the Industrial Age--thanks to mining of Iron Ore,Coal and Welsh Gold---but the decline too was equally swift---due to the exhausting of all the natural resources!!!The most interesting surprisingly was actually the visit to the Pendarryn Distillery-----since Whisky is something that doesn't really interest me.Maybe because Sudhir was a teetotaller and though my father enjoyed his I never really paid much attention to what Liquor he drank during the 17 years before my marriage!!!Needless to say I was tempted enough to buy a bottle as a Gift for Suresh--Sudhir's Brother-in-Law who recently celebrated his 75th. Birthday----and a bottle of Welsh Cream for Pushpa and Ritu who both enjoy Bailey's Irish Cream--though this one is made not with Whisky but with a mixture of the pure distilled Spirit and Welsh cream!!!The day ended with a drive through misty Valleys into the thickly wooded Brecon Beacons National Park at the foot of the Pen Y Fan--the highest mountain in Wales
The next morning we took a Train to Chepstow--to see the Castle----and what a Castle it was!!!Populated by people dressed in ancient Welsh Costumes of the Norman period of 1066--1180 A.D. we were shown how the Food was cooked,the Smithy,the Carpentary and also Archery of the period before being given a guided tour of the reconstructed Earl's Chamber--complete with the Furnishings,Drapery and Costumes of the period!!!That done we wandered off further into the Castle--with even me climbing up to the Battlements----and at one point feeling completely helpless about climbing down the narrow spiral Staircase to the Terra Firma below---because it was almost vertically steep!!!In retrospect---because all's well that ends well---it was extremely foolhardy of me to even climb up at all!!!The View however was definitely worth the discomfort-----and the later Panic attack!!!
The Cardiff Castle was definitely a wonderful Sight--specially the narrow round Keep---originally built by the Romans and fortified by the Normans to keep the Celtic Tribes out!!!Here too I climbed up despite Sayali's vociferous remonstrances---and was so pleased with myself that she took a picture of me smiling at her triumphant and flushed with pleasure after the Climb!!!The guided Tour of the Apartments occupied by the Marquis of Bute and Family--the last owners of both this Cardiff Castle and Castle Coch----was very fascinating and enlightening too.Both Castles were gifted to the people of Wales in the 1960s and have since then become fabulous Tourist Sites to see!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NITAINMN 4/10/2012 4:11PM

    I am so envious of you! ;-) Wish we were doing this together....my college books also remind me and vividly bring this view and scenery to my mind's eye! Glad you are exploring and doing quite a bit of sight seeing, Komal. What a wonderful and caring daughter you have. emoticon

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BOVEY63 4/10/2012 12:40PM

    Would love to see it!

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FERRETLOVER1 4/10/2012 7:13AM

    Wow - sounds wonderful!

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Highlands View

Thursday, April 05, 2012

















  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NITAINMN 4/10/2012 4:15PM

    Awesome photos Komal! Glad your dreams are coming true.....though, I too wish Sudhir was with you. Isn't it amazing how we Indians still dream of wanting to visit England, Scotland, Ireland, etc. - influence of the books we read as young adults! emoticon

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XXMILAXX 4/10/2012 2:29AM

    I love these!

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OVERWORKEDJANET 4/8/2012 7:15AM

    You look so relaxed in these pictures.

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BOVEY63 4/5/2012 9:12PM

    Breathtaking, and you look wonderful!

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SAASHA17 4/5/2012 6:02PM

    amazing pictures...and i love the cute little chick:)

take care
Manasa

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Scotland Pictures

Thursday, April 05, 2012


The Afternoon Tea

The Dome above our Table

The Edinburgh View from Waverley Place

The Edinburgh Castle in the background

The Gorse on Calton Hill

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NITAINMN 4/10/2012 4:11PM

    Lovely pictures of you and for a change you truly look happy and in the moment!

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Comment edited on: 4/10/2012 4:16:25 PM

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XXMILAXX 4/10/2012 2:27AM

    Nice!

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SONPARI1 4/9/2012 12:50AM

    Great pics Komal, love that engaging smile :)

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OVERWORKEDJANET 4/8/2012 7:09AM

    You've made me happy. I loved the gorse flowers when I first saw them in Ireland.
You look great. emoticon

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BOVEY63 4/5/2012 9:11PM

    It looks so beautiful there ~ I love old buildings and that dome is awesome!

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RAIN454 4/5/2012 6:04PM

    You look stunning, Komal. I wish I could be in your shoes in that first pic...those tea "treats" looks soooo delicious! :)
When do you get back home?

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GAL7288 4/5/2012 4:59PM

    I wish I could go to scotland, thanks for posting at least I got a glimpse of it, lol BTW those pictures are great, looks like you had a lot of fun!

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Thinking---About Everything and Nothing !!!!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

These last 3 Weeks have been very introspective----being by myself has made me sort out quite a few things which perhaps I wouldn't have back home--where I have been surrounded by other people constantly!!!!Back home in Mumbai there is very little Time to just sit and look inside my mind---as I used to do when Sudhir was still alive.Those days my entire day would be filled with constant activity and these early morning sessions were a way to touch base with my inner Self.Everyday I'd wake up before him--45 minutes or 1 hour or so earlier--and that time would be used to be on my own--to communicate with myself and to generally sort things out mentally too!!!It regenerated my Energies and kept me going throughout the day.After he passed away last October I haven't really been left alone as such----being constantly surrounded by my Family and Friends---people who love me and for whose unflinching support I'm truly thankful -----but this constant companionship made me all the more dependent on the comforting warmth of their presence in my day to day life.
My sisters--particularly Ritu and my sisters-in-law as well my very dear Friends Pushpa and Shamim---all have been a Tower of support for me.Since Ritu---who's been living with me for the last few months----works and leaves home around 8.30 a.m. each morning I barely manage to finish Breakfast before the Telephone begins to ring---it's either my sisters-in-law just calling to say "Hi" or if not them it could be Pushpa or Shamim!!!It's become one of those things that insinuate themselves gradually into one's daily routine--and it helps to keep loneliness at bay!!! By 9.30 a.m. my Hira Bai arrives--fetches the Fresh Vegetables from the Corner and the Field next door--mainly the Greens----and while picking the leaves on these talks nineteen to the dozen---discussing local Gossip for an hour till 10.30 a.m.--that's when Vanita and a little later Chhaya Bai arrive and the day begins in earnest!!!From 9.30 a.m till 4 p.m. I'm constantly surrounded by my domestic Staff--Chhaya Bai and Vanita and we keep ourselves busy cleaning out the various nooks a crannies in the house and cooking the Noon meal.After 4p.m. my neighbour Anuradha--a proxy daughter to me--drops by unfailingly to chat for an hour---after which I leave for my daily walk accompanied by 4 of my friends.Evenings are spent in the Condominium Compound with my large group of Friends---chatting and Gossiping about nothing in particular---the main objective being eating the wonderful Snacks prepared by one of us!!!!After Dinner by 8.30 p.m. I'm in bed by 9.30 p.m.---not being much of a T.V. buff---except when there are live Musical Programs being Telecast!!
When I landed in London on a Friday Sayali was home for the Weekend and on that first Monday---because I was Jet lagged!!!From the next day I was on my own after she left----around 8.30 a.m.----and there I was without a clue about how I was going to cope with the next 9-10 hours on my own!!!I cooked a little and being still Jet lagged slept a little--read a bit and blogged too---but then despite doing all this I still had Time hanging on my hands!!!So I decided to review my Life--and weigh the Rights and the Wrongs---acknowledge the mistakes--intentionally or unknowingly committed and try to make amends wherever possible.I have now begun to do this regularly----it helps to come to terms with the Facts of one's life--and by accepting one's faults and making peace with one's Conscience does help to calm both--the Mind and the Soul!!!Hind sight does help to give a clearer view of the Past--and also changes the perception about the way one sees certain Incidents from the Past----it does become easier to understand grievances better---though not particularly easy to forgive and forget!!!
This Introspection has once again brought home to me about how blessed my entire Life so far has been and how very lucky I have been to have come in contact with so many people who have given me their love and loyalty----apart from those bound to me by ties of Blood and Family ---that today when I need support I get it--instantly and unflinchingly from everyone I know!!!I have been blessed too in the manner in which Sudhir died--instantly and painlessly---without any discomfort of any lengthy Sickness or Disease---something that used to worry him as he grew older.It was always present in my mind too--for he was a very hyperactive person--constantly pacing about the house--the only time he'd be still or stay in one place was when he was asleep!!!I have also been enjoying the happier Memories--of our marriage and our children and laughing a bit too about how Sudhir and I still reacted like children to bickering with each other over inconsequential issues----these are my fondest memories of our marriage----and can make me smile each time any one of these surfaces in my mind----and believe me these are in plenty!!!
Acceptance of Sudhir's death has taken some time to sink in--the process has not ended yet and the worst part about this is to accept that I'm still alive--despite Health Issues I'm hale and hearty and surviving alone---when earlier I used to think if anything happened to him I'd die instantly of shock in the next moment!!!That has not happened and to survive in this World alone I have to make myself emotionally strong---and having sorted that out in my mind--it will have to be put into action--hopefully soon!!!When--only Time can tell!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRANSFORM_IN_12 4/12/2012 3:15PM

    Sometimes, at least for Westerners, it is not clear how to comfort someone or what to say. Sometimes, it is assumed the person who is grieving will wish to be alone in privacy to have a time to think and deal with deep emotions of loss, anger, despair etc. So, it is really interesting to see how in India the person who has lost a dear one is instantly surrounded with loving family and friends. Here too, if someone has lost a dear one, we surround them and offer condolences, offer to help and bring food so the widow does not need to cook. But if it seems she wishes to be alone, we give her that privacy for a time, later to come again and offer support. From an Indian standpoint, this might seem colder or less friendly but each culture has a different way. I'm glad there were many loving people to be there for you and also now that you have a little time to be by yourself and just feel and think. I am sorry for your loss...truly so. You have really great memories! I was always told God let's the stronger partner live...the one who can better cope with the loss for if He left the weaker, that one would be in too much misery. You are indeed very strong. Thanks for sharing this process. You have a beautiful soul. Take care and best wishes. emoticon

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NITAINMN 4/10/2012 4:28PM

    You are a strong person, Komal! I am glad for it. Yes, India even of modern times is still filled with social life and caring people. I have seen this even here in the United States. For some reason, my caucasian friends do not automatically offer as much support as Indians tend to. My American friends of many years hesitate from assumed privacy reasons while Indian friends of a few weeks jump to help and pitch in, be it emotional or physical support. Totally different cultural attitude.

Thank you for sharing your daily life with us. Glad you had this kind of company to help you when it was needed the most. Yes, this is a good time to do some private thinking in a neutral atmosphere and introspection is the only way we can all move forward. All the best and hope you too turn more spiritual and have God as your best friend. :-)

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OVERWORKEDJANET 4/8/2012 7:14AM

    You are taking good paths. emoticon

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BOVEY63 4/5/2012 9:10PM

    emoticon

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*MADHU* 4/5/2012 10:45AM

    emoticon emoticon

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SAASHA17 4/5/2012 8:05AM

    emoticon

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Loch Ness--A Childhood Dream come True!!!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

I first got hooked on the Loch Ness "Monster" Nessie when I read about it in an old Issue of "The Reader's Digest"-----embellished by an old grainy Photograph--today called the "Surgeon's Photo"!!!I must have been about 5 or 6 years old then--and being an avid reader of Enid Blyton and other Fairy Tales this caught my Imagination---and my fascination grew with each little snippet of News that I could lay my hands on---till it became one of the places I just Had to visit!!!Therefore you can imagine my delight as the Coach rolled into the Village of Loch Ness----the very Air had magic in it!!!
It was a clear bright,sunny day and the Loch with some of it's steep sides--like the Norwegian Fjords towering into the Sky from the Lochside were strewn with streaks of "Morraine" and covered thickly with Heather in places.The Cherry Island---an island made by the Picts--the ancient people of Scotland---is today barely a few feet wide---but at one time was a huge landmass measuring more than 180 ft wide------all of it man made using ingenious methods of Marine Engineering-----built almost a thousand of years back!!!There was the deep Loch--an incredible Blue reflecting the Sky---- stretching into the Horizon--and carrying the largest amount of Water possible---more than all the Water in entire U.K from every other source!!It's depth too was treacherous a few feet deep at some places and dropping suddenly into a depth of 200 ft just a step or two away!!!It's deep Waters hid one of the World's biggest unsolved Mysteries----a pre-historic Being----Nessie!!!
As we boarded "The Royal Scot" a beautiful boat fitted with two different types of Sonar to map the icy depths of the under Water scene-----very clearly outlining deep pockets in the bottom as well entrances to underwater Caves--perfect places for Nessie to hide in!!!We were also told that the tiny White blips on one of the Sonars meant Freshwater small Fish--Yellow Blips meant Salmon and Trout--which grew to much larger size here in these Waters and a large Red Blip meant Nessie!!!The finding of schools of Arctic Char in the 1980s meant that these could very well sustain Nessie--as these too had adapted themselves from living in Salt Water to Fresh Water!!!We were also shown a clip from the Sonar saved on the Captain's Cell phone--showing a huge Mass more than 1 metre thick passing under the Boat the previous Week!!It seems that this Mass was swimming in the opposite direction of the Boat and swam away from under it--being captured by the Sonar as it went by!!!We also saw a report of this in the Newspaper-----this being one of the 40-50 odd occasions on which Nessie deigns to put in an appearance!!!
Later after the Boat Trip we drove along the Coast---a beautifully scenic drive along 24 miles of Loch Ness Shoreline--drinking in the magical and indescribable beauty of the area--the Gorse scented Air,the deep Blue of Loch Ness--the Sunlight glinting and winking on it's ripples and waves---it looked like so many dazzling Diamonds had been scattered on the gleaming Water!!!I was literally drinking in the Beauty of my surroundings---and for the first time in months as I shared it mentally with Sudhir--connecting to him like I used to when he was still there with me---and suddenly I felt he was there with me---in my heart and in my soul!!!A deep feeling of Peace and Rightness filled my heart---and I didn't feel that alone as before----Loch Ness has helped me to reconnect with my Beloved--in a most wonderful way!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NITAINMN 4/10/2012 4:29PM

    I see you have been busy blogging while I never got any notifications. Yet, you were sweet to visit my blog. Thank you Komal! I have re-subscribed....let us see if it works! Glad to read about Loch ness!! :-) Amazing description of the boat ride. emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/10/2012 4:32:57 PM

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Q8PRINCESS 4/4/2012 11:21PM

    It's a lovely area. When we drove past the loch, I'm sure Nessie popped up to say hi. Scotland is really pretty.

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BOVEY63 4/4/2012 1:47PM

    How wonderful for you!
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It really does sound so beautiful there. Thanks for sharing it with us!

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COMEONMA 4/4/2012 1:33PM

    Thanks for sharing your story. Sounds like a beautiful place visually and spiritually for you.

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MILLISMA 4/4/2012 8:40AM

    Such a wonderful experience you had. Sudhir will always be there with you....in your heart and in your soul. So happy for you.

hugs....Mary Anne

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SAASHA17 4/4/2012 7:48AM

    Yay Loch ness...Nessie is not a monster...hehehe...I believe she existed...lol...Im glad u made this trip..

Manasa

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SACRED-HAVEN 4/4/2012 6:38AM

  pleased you had a good trip loch ness is a lovely place but come on nessie don't exist there has been no factual proof happy thoughts xx

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