We moved to our present house from Cardiff in 1975 in order to be closer to my work, thereby significantly reducing the daily each-way commute from 20 miles to 4, 45 minutes to 8. The reasoning was that out of 24 hours each weekday 8 were spent in work, 8 asleep so why spend a minimum of 1½ out of the remaining 8 hours sitting in the car in traffic. And, with a sharp increase in the world-price of petrol at the time, it was a lot cheaper.
The wrench of leaving friends behind soon passed as we made new friends and discovered the pleasures of having the countryside and mountain range as a playground on our doorstep. The house is a mere 100 metres or so from the southern tip of the Brecon Beacons National Park with the landmark Folly Tower half an hour’s stiff climb to 300 (1000 feet) metres and the top of the ridge a further half hour away and 125 metres higher.
This meant that rather than having to get in the car and drive to the mountains we could just step out of the door and be on top of the local world whenever the mood took and circumstances allowed. A gap in the clouds, a brief sunny window of opportunity, the exhilaration of getting high in a thunderstorm, the prospect of a breathtaking sunset, a heavy dump of snow, or a shower of freezing rain meant the same walk was rarely the same.
And it still isn’t. Confined indoors over the Christmas period by low cloud and dismal weather there would have been no appeal in having to get into the car to drive to a mountain but waiting for the right moment, I put my boots on on the doorstep …. and was gone. Cobwebs blown away, blood pumping through the body, I was back while the bread was baking and the fire still glowing.
In Grey Britain a great place to live.