A dash of history to lighten our load

Last week we were thrilled to meet Antonia, whose mother was born in the Manor just over a hundred years ago, and who owns land which adjoins the rear of our land. She related some of the details she recalled her mother sharing with her about life in the manor, including that a pool had been blasted in the river for her use. This information was just too tempting so Mike and I, together with Jane and also Paul and Shaun (a local historian) got out our machetes and tried to find the path to the river at the back of the land. We had uncovered slate steps that run about half way down the hillside last autumn, but this time we were brave and slipped and skittered down the hillside below until we rejoined the flight of steps near the river.
As you no doubt know, it has been a very dry spring, and the river level is astonishingly low at the moment. Perhaps it was this that helped us find the pool

Anyone for a dip?
Anyone for a dip?

The view of the river from this pool was magical

The intrepid explorers...
View of the river…

and stunningly undeveloped. At this point, as you look around, you can see traces of the Lledr Hall adventure area, and the wall that stops the A470 falling into the river, but otherwise could be forgiven for thinking you were in a completely natural location.

The intrepid explorers
The intrepid explorers

The return to Plas seemed steeper than the journey down and by now our leg muscles were weakening…

The terrain needs a little attention, but the potential is there
The terrain needs a little attention, but the potential is there…

We look forward to welcoming Antonia and/or her son next time s/he is in the area to hear more of the history whilst sharing the Manor and the pool with them (hopefully after we have stabilised the path down to it!) She is looking out photos for us, one of which apparently will show Edwardian ladies playing tennis on a court which used to be in the area now covered by the labyrinth.

My passion continues as we continue to work to strip the dead (and some not-so-dead) rhodo stumps from the rock. The routine is: I clear the junk from around the roots and then, for the larger ones, having loosened the soil, call in the strong chaps to do the heaving. As you can see, Mike was keen to help…

The stump is finely poised and about to roll.  Do you think one more kick will do it?
The stump is finely poised and about to roll. Do you think one more kick will do it?
yes, that was the one that did it!
Yes, that last one was the one that did it!

To remind you, the hill used to look like this:

This is the hill side we are currently trying to upgrade, as the new apartments will all have a view over this hill
Before we started work

We thought you might like to see the overall effect, now that we have down about 60% of the clearance work:

Quick shot of the rock in the sunshine
Quick shot of the rock in the sunshine, starting at the top of the hill…

rock face continued
…and now closer to the building

Meanwhile, Mike’s passion is also still being pursued. In the last 3 weeks we have replaced about 24 panes of glass within three sets of French doors and four sets of windows, stripped all of the old paint away and sanded them. We have primed all of these externally (many also internally); undercoated about half, and top coated two sets of windows.

Just to prove we are still working on the building
Mike priming the last of the doors – just to show we are still working on the building

As we are coming to the end (according to the forecasters) of this unseasonably dry spell, we are trying to finish the external painting and some of the rock clearance before the rain arrives.
I thought I would end this post with photos taken today to remind you why we are trying to complete this work, in this location.

the view from the picnic area looking towards Betws y Coed
The view from our picnic area looking towards Betws y Coed

and looking towards Dolwyddelan
and looking towards Dolwyddelan

Not a bad view from the office…

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