Monday was a bank holiday here in Wales, meaning that it was one of those Monday holidays that seem to happen every other week in the U.S. But in the U.K., Bank Holidays are few and far between, so everyone looks forward to the three-day weekend.
Our Bank Holiday Monday dawned wet and rainy. There wasn’t a hint that it would clear, even past the horizon, so we resigned ourselves to a day of – of – no! We’re not going there! Forgetaboutit! We weren’t going to be put off by a bit of rain! We’re bold! We’re British (ancestry counts here, doesn’t it?) We were venturing out!
Not too far from our home is Felin Fach. Checking my Google Translate I discovered it means “old mill.” The village is a bit north of Brecon and has a lovely pub we’d wanted to visit. So, a reservation was made at the Felin Fach Griffin, boots and hats were on, we got into the car and told the SatNav where we wanted to go.
Having a mind of her own, Miss SatNav took us on the scenic route! Guess she didn’t grasp the driving dangers of absolutely torrential weather conditions. Over the moors toward Llangynidr we drove. It was bleak. Clouds touched the pavement as we shot through the mist. S-turns, sheep, low visibility — all kept us from plowing through with any speed. We emerged into daylight just in time to cross an old stone bridge, all of eight feet wide. We slid carefully through the stone sidings, over the raging River Usk, and made our way past Brecon toward Felin Fach.
The Felin Fach Griffin restaurant is the quintessential British pub. Low wooden beams, very used wood tables, a friendly hostess and a bar crowd spilling over onto the adjacent sofas. Adding to the ambiance was the Golden Retriever pup sleeping comfortably on the carpet.
Picking apart the menu like I usually do, I found an intriguing ham and pea soup and a small order of croquettes with gruyère. Paul stuck with his lamb cottage pie and both of us finished with clean plates. Gooseberry Fool (layers of gooseberry coulis and cream) topped with shortbread crumble and served with two spoons was the perfect end to our meal.
We left. But the rain hadn’t. Across the street was a long marquis (tent, here in the UK), tiny girls on horses, sheep, and an announcer remarking on the winners of the longest thistle and whitest fleece contests! We couldn’t resist a country fête (pronounced fate) and paid our four pounds to enter and tromp through the mud.
Indeed, inside the marquis were displays of onions the size of footballs (soccer balls), courgettes (zucchini) so large you could carve them out and paddle down the Usk, cakes, cookies, pies, flowers and dozens of samples from Welsh country kitchens — all spread out before us.
Outside, sheep were being judged, cows were poo-ing, antique cars lined up to be envied, dogs raced and the little girls pranced around the riding ring bedecked with ribbons. No one paid any attention to the rain, even as it streamed down from the sky.
We got into the swing of things and happily sloshed through the long, soft green grass laced with mud, remarking not on the weather conditions but on how remarkably soft the grass here in Wales is, compared to the hay that passes for grass in Florida. Had we not filled our tummies to the brim at the Felin Fach Griffin, we’d have stopped for sausages hot off the grill, pasties, donuts and ice cream.
We absorbed every delightful moment of our Bank Holiday Monday and decided that the British have the best attitude. They don’t let the weather get in the way of their plans. And neither did we!