Tuesday, 21st September, 2021

[Day 554]

Meg and I spent a good night in our temporary abode last night. The TV and its reception quality in the hotel bedroom are of excellent quality which is also a bonus. In a wakeful period in the middle of the night, I used our iPad to listen to a recording of Brahm’s A German Requiem which I always enjoy hearing but I hadn’t played it to myself for some time. The breakfast arrangements in the Boarding House have been refined to a fine art in the light of the COVID regulations. The proprietor has guests organised into an earlier and a later time so that the breakfast room is not crowded out with individuals and we can keep our social distancing. Meg and I enjoyed a ‘Full Welsh Breakfast’ which was the traditional B&B/boarding house standard and all of the ingredients were locally bought (common for Wales) and beautifully cooked. We will probably have a lighter breakfast in the days ahead but it is now nice to enjoy the full fare on our first day. We remembered the following little story that we recounted to our host after breakfast. The proprietor of the B&B in which we always stayed when we visited family in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, has written a book about amusing incidents tht happened in the course of his catering career. Meg and I figure in one of these incidents and it goes as follows. Meg decided to have some boiled eggs for breakfast and enjoyed dipping slices of toast, cut into thin strips, into each soft boiled egg after which they are known as soldiers. As the propreioetor was clearing away the breakfast dishes and asked Meg if she had enjoyed her breakfast, there was a natural lull in the conversation over which Meg’s clarion like voice could be heard exclaiming ‘It’s a long time since I enjoyed having so many soldiers for breakfast‘ (after which the whole restaurant guffawed with laughter).

After breakfast, we knew we would have a gentle toddle around the sunny streets of Brecon which we did, making the highlight of our visit a trip to a ‘Savers‘ as we knew that we needed a good few toiletries for our story. For a start, the room is not serviced as part of the COVID regime so we knw we needed some shower gel and hair shampoo, not to mention the toothbrushes which, believe it or not, we had actually forgotten to bring with us (we did find one, extremely low quality NHS toothbrush which we carry round as an emergency in our toilet bag) Still, Meg managed to buy other things such as hair grips and lipstick, without which, of course all modern women would look like Gorgons (dictionary definition: A fierce, frightening, or repulsive woman. …)

I had consulted the internet last night to work out a good eating place for our meal in the middle of the day. We located where this was (at one end of the one of the principal streets) and then went off for a coffee and tea cake for our mid-morning prandials. As we were a little laden up with shopping, we walked back to the car, Sat-Nav’d the restaurant and then let it take us there. I had a magificent glass of local beer (starting with a half and quickly translated to a pint) followed by a chicken, leek and ham pie with mediterranean vegetables whilst Meg had a similarly good lasagne. We felt as though we had dined extremely well, as well as reasonably – on another occasion, we might go back and have a starter and a sweet foregoing the main course.

After lunch, we visited Brecon Cathedral which was a real treat. When we first arrived the Cathedral was unfortunately closed but we ran into a couple of the local cathedral volunteers who opened it up for us. The cathedral started life as a Benedictine Priory and is now regarded as one of the arhictectural masterpieces of mid Wales. The chancel is a superb example of Early English architecture, while the later nave is primarily Decorated Gothic in style. One gets the overall impression of beautifully uncluttered early gothic and we may well go back to enjoy some of the extensive walks around the grounds (about two miles altogether through beautiful woods but a bit much for the late afternoon) and now we know what we are looking at, a second visit to the cathedral and its shop and its tea-rooms might be very much worth while. We could always save it for a rainy day, if we have one.