Sunday, 6 January 2019

Out of hibernation

So…it’s been a while hasn’t it? July 2017 was the last time I posted something here, there’s plenty I could have written about since then but for some reason actually sitting down and writing just hasn’t happened. Ok, perhaps that’s not completely true as there are a couple of posts lurking in my drafts that I wrote last year but due to not getting around to taking any photos (my house is the least photographic house ever – textured wallpaper everywhere) I just forgot I guess.

Now that 2019 has started it seemed like a good time to get back into blogging as so much has happened since the summer of 2017 that I could write about. I won’t write in detail, but to recap:

Hello Monmouthshire

After selling my house and briefly moving back to my parents in Cardiff, Jon and I moved into our house in Monmouthshire in August 2017. I have a mixed relationship with our house. It’s far from my ideal style of house, what with being built in the 1970s, having a wallpapered ceiling in the living room, every wall being covered in textured wallpaper, and there being next to no storage, but it’s home for now. Having the ability to walk into Monmouth town in five minutes to grab a coffee or go to the pub is amazing for me, I’ve always lived in suburbia with nowhere in walking distance.

Harry Potter afternoon tea

Back in February Jon said he had organised a surprise for me. I felt a bit bad as the surprise was on his birthday. We had stayed at the Celtic Manor the night before as a Christmas present from my parents, after checking out Jon started driving. I had no idea where we could be going, the last time he decided to take me on a surprise trip it was to Westonbrit Arboretum to see the autumn colours so we could be going anywhere. After so long I realised we were headed towards Chepstow, now I was totally baffled as I couldn't think of anywhere in Chepstow that would be a surprise. Then we headed to Tutshill, which for those who aren't crazed Harry Potter fans is where JK Rowling lived as a child. Tutshill is lovely, but I still had no idea what was to come. He parked the car and we headed towards a normal enough looking tea room, but once he opened the door I realised that both customers and staff were dressed as characters from Harry Potter. He had taken me to Toast of Tutshill for an amazing, Harry Potter afternoon tea. It was so much fun, with the food and drinks all Potter themed!

Goodbye nan

At the beginning of January last year my grandmother, and last remaining grandparent, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She died on 4 April and has left a huge hole in the world she has left behind. I’m sad that she won’t get to see me and Jon get married (more on that below) and won’t get to meet her great grandchildren if we have kids. I know she’ll be with me on my wedding day though.

Long hot summer

Summer last year was warm! We got up to lots of fun things, from riding around the Forest of Dean, visiting Powis Castle, taking a walk around the woods around the Kymin, to having a family photo shoot with Sam Thomas.

Wedding bells

I’m very happy to say that back in July last year, whilst sat on a beach in Pembrokeshire, Jon asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes, and wedding planning began in earnest. Getting married was something we had talked about a lot, even fairly early on in our relationship. I remember vividly Jon asking me if I’d get married again after we were together a few months, I guess he wondered if going through what I did would put me off as it does so many people. I told him that I’d definitely get married again, I wanted to be open to all possibilities and not close myself off. I’ll write a post dedicated to all things weddings soon.

Vive la France

In August Jon and I drove through France to Annecy for a week soaking up some sun and as much tartlifette as we could manage. We stayed in the oddest Airbnb apartment, which has been enough to put me off Airbnb for a while… I came away from the holiday desperate for a beach holiday, which is unfortunately a very long way off for us.

Back to North Wales

I am now an official lover of north Wales. The people, the accent, the scenery...all of it. At the end of November we made our (now) traditional visit to the Dolleglau area (we stay at the Dolgun Uchaf Guesthouse) to ride at Coed y Brenin trail centre. Towards the end of the summer I joined the new gym here in Monmouth and by the time we went up north I'd been going to zumba on a weekly basis for almost a year. This all definitely showed and I got around feeling fast and strong with stuff still left in the engine had I needed it. That trip has put me on a path to possibly getting a full suspension bike, which is very exciting.


Christmas seemed really relaxed and chilled out for us this year. We stayed with my parents on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day night, though it was slightly strange not having my grandmother around. After having a few days at home just to chill out we headed to Jon’s dad to see his side of the family, I managed to buy the Barbour coat of dreams in the sale in Leamington Spa so I was a pretty happy chap. The Christmas period felt like solid future decisions were made by me and Jon, I guess when you finally don’t have work getting in the way you get to really think about things. I won’t go into too much here, but in my next post I’ll look at what we have coming up so far in 2019.

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