On Sunday, after buying some new water lilies for the pond at Railway Nurseries – our ducks seem to have decimated the original ones we decided to go for a drive over Capel-y-ffin.
The hills were really alive – everywhere you looked there were cars parked up and people donning boots and striding off up ridiculously steep inclines! There were masses of mountain bikers out all trying to avoid the wandering sheep and mountain ponies who seemed to want the attention and had come down to the narrow winding mountain road.
We stopped in Capel-y- Ffin and looked around the tiny and very simple St Mary’s medieval church where David Jones painted the landscape and Eric Gill lived with some notoriety in the former monastery. Bruce Chatwin, an old friend of mine, who wrote On The Black Hill also took the farm here as the farm in the book but changed the location. My particular interest was looking at the wonderful 18th century carved grave stones – many by The Brute Family of stone masons who travelled all over the Black Mountains carving ornate grave stones with a very particular cheeky and delightful cherub.
Then on to Llantony Abbey for a simple ham sandwich and a pint lunch, sitting in the sunshine at The Abbey – I felt just like a tourist! – but beware always make sure you are good at reversing before attempting that road back to Abergavenny and home.