Thursday, 23rd September, 2021

[Day 556]

We slept in a bit this morning which is quite unusual for us, so not waking up until 7.30 we had a bit of a scramble around to get ready in time for breakfast. I also need to write a formal letter for my son to process so I was delighted that I had this MacBook with me (generally used on a desk in the lounge so that I can multi-task by listening to the TV, as well as talking with Meg and blogging) When we got into town, we enountered some strange weather conditions – the weather forecast had indicated that we eventually we were going to have a really sunny day but first thing this morning, we were presented with a kind of drizzle hanging around in the air which made us don some weatherproof clothing. After a certain amount of Googling last night, I discovered the location of the local Information Centre which you would imagine would have a really prominent position and easily accessible psition on the High Street. Yesterday, we found one of those ornate brass finger posts in the centre of the town but it pointed to the information Centre by indicating the middle of a building. We did locate it, rather hidden down a sidestreet and rather difficult to find – however, the sole person staffing it went out of his way to be helpful. When we complained (mildly) the Centre was a little difficult to find, we got the observation that the local planning commitee would not tolerate a more prominent signpost to it. I think I smell some dirty politics here – but there is a rival National Park Information Centre some way away in a little village called Libanus. Methinks that that is the place to go to get spectacular vies of Pen y Fan, the local ‘highest’ mountain and, I suspect, the start of some good walks. We discovered a completely delightful teashop decorated with a light and modern decor and friendly staff next to a huge town car park that we knew nothing about. So we had our customary elevenses but I had a hot chocolate which was really hot and delicious. We also indulged in a local teacake before girding our loins for another visit to the cathedral which was about a kilometre away up a steep hill. We enjoyed our second and more contemplative visit to the cathedral. On this occasion we stopped to admire the huge 12th century font dated to about 1150 but filled with symbols such as a ‘green man’ which might date the font back to celtic times. We avoided some of the military stuff although some of it is quite interesting e.g. the original colours brought back from the Rorke’s Drift Battles in January 1879, when 11 VCs were won by men from the Brecon area. There is also said to be a sharpening stone where the archers (many from the Brecon area) sharpened their arrows before the battle of Agincourt (but we didn’t happen to see this)

We made our way down the hill back to the same cafe where we had enjoyed our elevenses earlier on. We had taken the opportunity to examine their lunchtime menu and they seemed to have some excellent light lunches which we thought we might try. However, neither of us were particularly hungry so we decided to avail ourselves of a carrot and coriander soup accompanied by a scone. Having a chance to examine some of the maps of Brecon (now that we have visited the Information Centre) we now know that there is a huge car park just behind some of the main shopping streets with a supermarket at each end of it. This we knew nothing about until today. On our first day, on Monday, we followed the signs for the first carpark that we saw which had spaces for about 20 cars and have used that one ever since, as we knew it, not knowing or appreciating that evidently all of the locals use the large car park to the rear. We have noticed before, and Brecon is no exception, that you might have stayed in a place for a day or so before you really get used to the ‘systems’ in place for that particular town. Now that we have discovered this huge, and accessible, carpark we shall use it for the rest of our stay here. On our very first day here last Monday we had gone round an almost deserted Market Hall. This we intend to go round again before we leave because they are selling some local delicacies (I fancy the venison and herb pie) as well as a shop that was selling some good kitchenware at unbelievable prices – and I have my eye on a particularly good skillet pan, as it happens. This afternoon we had a lazy time in our B&B bedroom but, as I blog, I am enjoying watching for the second time the journey of the ‘Flying Scotsman‘ along the Severn Valley Railway line (of which our son knows every inch)