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Tuesday, March 12, 2013



It’s misty and rainy as I write this but last year was very dry so I’m thankful for the rain.

Rainy days and Mondays don’t always get me down – generally they just put me in mind of other times, other places I’ve been in this kind of weather. I often joke - when it rains for days on end - that I should move to Seattle. The weather may be soggy there too but at least the view is better.

Clouds touching the ground
It was a wet, rainy August day as I drove through the Brecon Beacons in Wales with low, rolling patches of gray clouds interrupting the view. The locals felt bad for me that I wasn’t able to see the beauty of their lovely landscape due to the bad weather and although I was sorry to be a little shortchanged in the scenery department I honestly had no idea what I was missing so I enjoyed it all the same. And it was lovely even in the rain. I drove along country roads, where rolling green hillsides were dotted with white sheep and purple heather, the colors popping in the overcast lighting.

It was pouring rain by the time I stopped at Penderyn, Wales’ only distillery – where they produce the smoothest wysgi on earth’. I dashed inside, just in time for the last tour of the day and enjoyed a brief respite from the rain, surrounded by bright lights, sparkling bottles and friendly people.

Back in my car, I made it safely to the Coach House Inn where I had reservations for the night. The dining room was closed so I asked for a recommendation and was directed to a pub ‘across the bridge, up the hill, turn left and go down the alley.'
The downpour had let up so I grabbed my umbrella and headed out on foot, leaving my car parked by the road. It was a quiet evening in Brecon. There were few people out, and fewer cars. The alley I was directed down was narrow, barely wide enough for my open umbrella, and with a little trepidation, I ventured in. I’m from Chicago - I’m not used to going down dark alleys, especially alone, at night. After a couple of turns that had me wondering if I was in the right place, I came to a large, open patio with a conservatory. I had arrived.

Inside it was dry, busy, and filled with the friendly noise of many conversations. The host hurried some elderly gentlemen on their way so I might have a table. I ordered fish and chips, but the damp evening was perfect for a bowl of soup so I ordered the soup of the day - a creamy vegetable soup that was so delicious I asked the host if it might be possible to get the recipe. The cook was flattered and although he was busy, he wrote down the ingredients and some tips on making it. I was grateful.

I took my time on the way back to the Inn. It had stopped raining and the wet pavement glistened with the reflected light of the street lamps. Stopping on the bridge to watch some ducks I listened to the water gurgling as it rolled along beneath me and I wondered - when was the last time I took a walk in the rain? When was the last time I could walk alone at night and feel safe?  It was like a brief visit back in time to a gentler place. A place with no cares. A place where someone takes the time to write out a recipe for a stranger.

Today is that kind of a day – damp with rain, quiet and contemplative. A day with no cares. Those can wait until tomorrow.  Right now I think I will go make some soup.
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