Return visit to Wales!

We loved the Conservation Centre where we held the Pilates retreat so much that we went back to stay in "Owls Roost" in the Eco Lodge in the last week of  May for a whole week of chilling. (Next retreat June 17th-19th 2016)
Next Pilates retreat June 17th-19th 2016 click here for details.
These are images from the lovely river walk we did on the outskirts of Lampeter. 
We saw herons, damselflies, plus a lone Red Kite circling above us - being harassed by a crow actually! We were surprised these majestic birds were bothered by something much smaller than themselves, and that the crow would dare to do it. In fact we saw this happen a couple of times during our stay. Does anyone know why this happens?
There were some amazing reeds with white flowers flowing (and growing!) in the river reminding us of "Ophelia" painted in 1852 by the Pre Raphelite John Everett Millais.

                                                                               So peaceful. 

                                                                               So peaceful. 

River weeds
                                                                                                And here she is - Ophelia herself. Can you see what I mean?

                                                                                                And here she is - Ophelia herself. Can you see what I mean?

River flowers Lampeter

Another day we went on a wonderful coastal walk from Aberaeron towards  Newquay (the Welsh one of course!). I love the wonderful coconut smell that the gorse  always gives off. Sometimes coastal paths can be gruelling, but this one was just right with spectacular views, and a lovely kind of "dingle" halfway along. Here we rested on soft green grass, studded with wildflowers,  enjoying the river trickling through the small valley into the sea.

19 seconds of our walk!

                                                                                          A boat presented itself at the just the right time!

                                                                                          A boat presented itself at the just the right time!

                                                                             Feet up on the Eco Lodge verandah  outside "Owls Roost" after a nice long walk. Aaah bliss!  

                                                                             Feet up on the Eco Lodge verandah  outside "Owls Roost" after a nice long walk. Aaah bliss!

 

Sunday

Another peaceful night."Bonding" was going very well -discussions and laughter peppered the final class of the weekend. The session was also punctuated by the farm cat catching a mouse outside. The cat was spotted trotting along with a steely, determined eye, full of feline pride, the poor mouse clamped firmly in its jaws -but -despite all that, the mouse got away, disappearing into the bushes.

Still blessed with sunshine, our Sunday lunch was served outside - all very civilized with tables and chairs, no balancing plates precariously on laps for us. Our chef excelled himself and sent us off with a bang, with his absolutely heavenly, melt in your mouth, slow roast lamb, with crisp roast potatoes and homegrown greens. (The vegetarians among you would also be in for a treat.) Home made apple pie followed and he persuaded (!) us to try some home made icecream made with hedgerow blackberries and cherries from an old variety grown in their orchard.

As the  afternoon drew to a close,  a keen knitter in our group discovered that she was able to buy some home produced natural wool, courtesy of our hosts sheep, so she went off very happy. Others went away with jars of the tasty jam and chutney also made on the farm. Contented, well nourished- in all respects - and inspired by the breakthroughs made in their Pilates practice, our group said their goodbyes, rather regretfully, and decided to look forward to the next weekend.

Saturday

After a very peaceful night, far away from light or noise pollution, we drifted in for breakfast, enticed by the smell of freshly baked bread and coffee. Yoghurts and fresh fruits were on offer, and a cooked breakfast -if we could manage it! Morning Pilates started at 9.30. The sun poured in through the the barn's floor to ceiling windows, the huge door wide open, letting in the glorious September day.

New things were learnt, and people were gently challenged, discovering that they could do exercises that they had previously struggled with. Everyone left feeling inspired, and that they had done a good thing for their body/mind!

Post class, people went off to explore the area, relax in the garden, or in their rooms.

As lunchtime approached, some of us strolled through the fields and lanes to Crackington Haven cove, while others arrived by car. We made our selves comfortable on the secluded beach, and bang on time, Gary, our very talented, self taught chef arrived with our picnic -if you can call it that -banquet more like! Like excited children, we unpacked salad after salad, home made cakes and other goodies, feeling thoroughly spoilt. This was definately the life. The beach was peaceful, with only a few others dotted around enjoying the calm sea,  the low key shop and a couple of laid back cafes. A siesta helped lunch go down nicely, while some of the group went off to nearby Boscastle and Tintagel. At 5.30 everyone assembled for our third Pilates class of the weekend, eager to start again. More progress was made and new Pilates "toys" played with, birds gently twittering their approval in the background.

7pm brought further gastronomic delights, eaten in front of a crackling fire.

Some of the group went next door to the sitting room and gathered around yet another roaring log fire  to watch "Strictly Come Dancing"! Strictly optional!

And so to bed.

Pilates weekend Cornwall

Our Pilates weekend in Crackington Haven, Cornwall started off on the right foot -sunshine and a homemade cream tea!

Friday afternoon found us arriving at the farm, which is tucked away at the end of its own valley.

Peace descended on us as we sat outside, sinking our teeth into warm fluffy scones and homemade jam (not forgetting the cream of course - dairy free option provided!) We relaxed, drinking  in the tranquillity, along with our tea.  The most glossy, healthy looking hens i have ever seen, bobbed around us, clucking gently.

I couldnt believe my luck, as, being someone who avoids eating wheat and dairyproducts, our hosts baked wheat free bread, cakes and scones every day, as a matter of course. I was in heaven.

Our rooms turned out to be cosy and comfortable and fellow guests had plenty to chat about.

We had our first Pilates class of the weekend at 5.30, allowing the scones to go down first.

The group was small, so everyone benefitted from individual attention.

All our classes were held in the converted barn, which had beautiful views through its  huge windows, and a large glass door which could be swung open by an ingenious pulley system.

7 pm saw us gathered round the dining table in front of the open fire, amazed by the spread that was waiting to be eaten. Our host handed round home made ciabatta, studded with fresh rosemary and sea salt -again wheat free - although you'd never know it!

Our meal was washed down with more relaxed conversation and laughs. We retired to the  sitting room for a little light television watching by another open fire, before drifting off to bed.