Whilst we couldn’t avoid traveling on Good Friday, we could stop off wherever we fancied en route, and today we discovered the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre just outside of Church Stretton. Not only does it have free parking, a museum, craft shop, and a cafe, but it also has a fluffy mammoth at the entrance.


Embracing our inner child, we both decided to have a panna cotta and a coffee for lunch, and then to follow the very pretty ‘Riverside Ramble’ directly from the ‘Roundhouse’. This beats lounging around at a motorway service station any day.

Unfortunately the coffee then necessitated a loo stop at Caersws. As the public toilets and service station toilets were both closed for maintenance, I rushed in to ‘The Red Lion’ pub and offered the proprietor 50p if she would let me use the facilities! I’m not sure if it was my Welsh accent, or the look of desperation, but she refused to take my money, and beckoned me out back.

There then followed a thirty minute drive to Cemmaes and our base for the next 5 nights – Gwalia Farm’s Cabin by the lake. Rich had booked it as a special Christmas pressie, and since then it had been listed in the Guardian’s ‘Places to stay’. Consequently it’s now booked months in advance, and it’s not difficult to see why. The closest we’ve come to staying somewhere like this before was in Quebec, thirty miles down a gravel road. We have our own swimming pond, the cabin is gorgeous, and the Glyndwr’s Way is literally on our doorstep. Oh and did I mention the wood fired hot tub?

After settling in and unpacking, we decided that Rich would be in charge of all things fire, and I’d do the cooking and washing up. Without any cochlears, he finds staying upright hard work sometimes, especially when it’s dark, and we didn’t want to increase his chances of falling off the decking into the pond or stream.

Dee had forewarned us that the hot tub would take 2.5 hours to heat up once the water had been replaced, but thanks to Rich’s hard work, by the time we’d eaten dinner – cooked in the al frescoe kitchen, the water temperature was a very pleasant 38 degrees.

Wearing our swimsuits and wellies we legged it from the warmth of the cabin to that of the tub. After an hour’s immersion we’d psyched ourselves up for the mad dash back to the cabin, but once you’re dry, dressed and drinking hot tea you do feel lovely and warm, and ready for bed.