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Published: March 22nd 2017
Woolly says – the windy lanes took us further and further from the winds of Aberystwyth and firmly into the uncharted territories of South Wales and our home for the next six months. The bright yellow daffodils waved as we flashed past, the lambs bounced across the fields and Jo seemed to be driving on the wrong side of the road! It seems to be tricky remembering which side to drive on but the hour and a half journey on small lanes didn’t help much. Woolly says – Having stopped to gather supplies for a few days we were finally approaching Tanylan Farm and my new job as Woolly the Warden, after a warm welcome from the owners and having unpacked my belongings I was eager to set forth and explore, the women however were still emptying the twenty six suitcases and boxes that we appeared to have acquired. I paced up and down the living area and considered the town that was a short drive from our new base. Kidwelly, is in Carmarthenshire, South West Wales, lying on the River Gwendraeth above Carmarthen Bay. Dating back to the
Normans, who had left a rather good looking castle, it grew significantly during the industrial revolution when a large brickworks and tinworks opened and brought prosperity to the area. Fearing that the unpacking would never end I decided to sing to pass the time, strangely this quickly resulted in coats being donned and hiking boots laced up. Anything to stop the noise! Back along the windy road and having spent 10 minutes driving round the small town it appeared that shops were few, although the mammoths ears did prick up as his trunk picked up the smell from the Indian takeaway. Woolly says – hmmmm maybe a quick snack! My attention was quickly transferred to the beautiful mott and baily castle that we had arrived at. It looked wonderful and having forgotten that the car window was closed my exit from my seat resulted in a rather flattened pair of tusks, having shaken myself down I galloped up the slope and across the drawbridge. The present remains of the castle date from about 1200 to 1476,
created as a defence against the Welsh, the castle fell to the Welsh several times in the twelfth century. It was unsuccessfully besieged by the forces of Owain Glyndŵr in 1403 with assistance from soldiers from France and Brittany who captured Kidwelly town. The castle was then taken by a Norman army after just three weeks. I trotted into the gatehouse as the girls caught me up, doorways to the left and right led me into the inners of the curtained wall and left me trying to jump high enough to see through the arrow slits...... one of the problems of short legs. Taking pity on him I helped him onto one of the deep window sills and held onto his tail, just in case! Woolly says – the view was lovely and having narrowly missed a puddle on my way into the next room I encountered the dungeons, the cold, dark and damp rooms didn’t make me want to linger, I paused to glance into the dry well where lots of money had been thrown but before I could contemplate getting through the grid I heard
Jo approaching and hurried into a small guards room that gave some interesting facts about the town including one of the things we had already commented on, the black cat. The black cat was, apparently, the first creature seen alive after the great plague hit the town. It was therefore honoured as a symbol of salvation and deliverance and subsequently used as Kidwelly's heraldic symbol. Storing this information for later I wandered into the sunlight and the square inner bailey, it was magnificent. Slimy green steps led upwards to the constable, and in his case, keeper of the castle, apartment’s where huge windows gazed across the river and green lush fields. I sighed happily before racing across the green grass to the first of the four towers. I chuckled to myself as his over excitement led to him run straight into a large and non to shallow puddle, he looked around, shook himself and hurried off again Woolly says – Nasty wet stuff! Each of the towers were different shapes and as I peered through the remains I was glad that I wouldn’t have to climb any steep staircases in the dark.
I gazed around me and set off to inspect the kitchens. Having found myself on the ramparts after a short climb, imagine my utmost delight in finding my very own throne. Decorated with jewels, fine paint work and intricate carving, I was just considering the choice of a ruby red cushion to sit on, when the others arrived and dethroned me before I had time to protest or splutter my indignation at their bid to take photo’s of themselves.... so selfish! Seeing his disappointment and knowing that an argument could be brewing on his ‘need’ to take ‘his’ throne with him I suggested a fish and chip dinner by the sea. Woolly says – My ears pricked up and as my tummy rumbled I put the problem of how to acquire my throne to rest, thinking on a full stomach is always better I find. I took one final look at the lovely castle and decided it was time to impart my piece de resistance of useful information, looking up at my companions I cleared my throat, ‘you do know they filmed the starting sequence of Monty Python and the Holy Grail
here, don’t you?’ I was met with two faces of disbelieve and astonishment as I turned and trotted back to the car. Sometimes he completely floors me! Woolly says – We sped along the costal road admiring Carmarthen Bay, giving a quick wave to our new place as we motored past, the bay looked tremendous and as we pulled into the tiny town of Ferryside, I was eager to feel the sand beneath my paws, I was not disappointed and the next half hour passed in total enjoyment as we walked together, admiring the views, picking up the tiny pearl shells whilst wondering what the next few months would hold for us.
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