Hi everyone ! Great to be blogging again. I really enjoy it. I am so pleased that so many of you are reading about our life transition from County Durham to Anglesey. From townhouse to smallholding. My previous blog had about 300 clicks over the first couple of days. Amazing. I’d really like to broaden the readership – could you share this blog, please ?? It would be great to try for around 500 clicks this time !
In my last post, I explained how Ron helped me start our first artisan business – making and selling Welsh slate placemats and coasters. Might sound a bit tame to you, but it was life changing to me – having a business where you got paid ONLY if you sold a product at a profit !!! After being used to my local authority salary appearing in my bank account regardless of the number of hours I worked, it was shocking, surprising but very motivating to earn money from your own ideas and hard work.
Anyway, this blog will tell you about how we ended up at Bryn Celyn ……. on Anglesey…… on a beautiful, beautiful, unspoiled, wild, small-holding…….a place where stillettos never reach, where make up is irrelevant, where things go “grunt” in the night …….. compared with where we were living until then ……
…. a commuter village where you polish your green wellies before you leave the house, and the only sound you hear at night is the distant buzz of the traffic on the A1 !
And how did we end up at Bryn Celyn ? …. A dog took us there …….. but not just any dog. Buster took us there…. Our staffie cross ! The dog which we found in a rescue centre with a badly scratched nose and who looked like he had been in a fight with every cat in County Durham……. and lost every match !
A dog – repeatedly thrown out of his home, as far as we could find out – and left to fend for himself on the streets of Easington – the village that I was brought up in, and the village which you know from the film Billy Elliot.
Our Buster. Who came to us depressed, lost and confused. Our wonderful, affectionate, darling, beloved Buster. We moved to Bryn Celyn because of Buster.
Buster had arrived in our lives around 2009. Ron and I had been walking on the beach in Seaham, County Durham one Sunday morning ……. enviously watching other couples walk their dogs. Now my family has always had dogs. My parents bought me a dog when I was three. My father place Sheba, a boxer puppy, on my bed one morning. You don’t forget memories like those. We were inseparable for years.
So, Ron and I decided that we would have a dog.
But not just any dog. A dog no one wanted.
So, to find our dog, we signed up for voluntary work at the local dog rescue……. and there we found our Buster.
When we came across Buster, he had been in the shelter quite a while. He was scruffy and ponged a bit. He wasn’t the most attractive staffie cross. He was stocky, dark-haired and walked with a funny, stiff-legged gait. Ron was smitten. So we brought him home.
The first night, he was almost taken back to the shelter. Buster chased one of our cats over a six foot fence – yes, he jumped a six foot fence. We had to go and ask our neighbours: “Can we have our dog back, please ?” They said: “You haven’t got a dog”. Ron said, “We have now!” I was unnerved about this. But, we persevered and after a few days the cats and I loved him, too ! As did the all of the children on our estate. Children would stop us when we were out walking with Buster, so that they could give him a cuddle. They used to love it when we dressed him up as a werewolf at Hallowe’en……..”That’s not a werewolf! That’s Buster!” they said.
So, back to the story….. as time went on we tried various kinds of slate to make the coasters. The best slate came from Anglesey. So every few weeks, Ron would make a trip to Anglesey to pick up as many slate tiles as his Astravan could carry. On one occasion, he suggested that I join him. So, we booked a weekend in one of our friend’s gorgeous dog-friendly cottages at Bodwarren Farm ….
And I fell in love……. with Anglesey.
We are people who make decisions quite quickly. Within a couple of weeks, we had decided that suburbia was no longer for us – we wanted to move to Anglesey……… so we started to look for a property…….
At that time there were lots and lots of properties for sale on Anglesey….. We looked at properties near Trefor, near Amlwch, all over the island. Then, one day, we had an appointment to see a small-holding called Bryn Celyn, at Dulas. It was a cold, damp, dreary winter’s day. We pulled up to the entrance to the property. I stepped out of the car and immediately put my foot into a puddle of muddy water which soaked my shoes. “Put your boots on”, Ron said. We spent the next hour walking round the property with Buster off the lead. Buster was having a great time. He ran round through the wood and by the Afon Goch with the owner’s five dogs. The natural beauty of the property was breath-taking. Then, Buster disappeared. Suburban dogs stay on leads ! They don’t usually have this freedom – and Buster had disappeared !! But, then he came running out of one of the stables absolutely covered in horse sh** and smelling awful. “Mum and dad ! I like it here. Can we live here ?” he said. And, of course, the rest is history.
Buster enjoyed Bryn Celyn for four years until cancer took him from us.
Next time, I’ll tell you about how we sold our first pork pie. We have my mother to blame (or thank) for that.
Bye for now. Speak soon….. If you know of anyone who you think might enjoy my blogs, please would you forward the link to them – and I’ll try and get 500 clicks.