This week we took advantage of lockdown restrictions easing in Wales and took a short break in a remote part of mid-Wales. We were very lucky, and it definitely helped recharge batteries. I felt very inspired and creative. I did have a couple of things to finish off due to deadlines, but I didn’t mind. It was a pleasure to work in this garden and look at the views.
And safely chat to the odd passerby. I guess it was my choice to do so, which helped! And the fact that the cottage had at least some broadband. Cue the meme which did the rounds recently about updating Maslow’s needs to include wifi.
I think I had what might trendily be called a “workcation” although to me it was just keeping things moving along. But as it was not for long periods I still felt very recharged by the situation. I’m looking forward to working out in the garden a lot this year. And plenty of exercise helped. I’m hoping to maintain a pattern of walking / running for at least an hour a day now.
One thing which is a pretty common sight in mid-Wales is the red kite. An old bird book in the cottage, printed in 1971, states the book is very rare and on the verge of extinction. Thankfully, no longer. The red kite is a common sight now, I have even seen it driving along the M4 near Llantrisant. It is one of those flagship species which gave hope that conservation schemes could be successful. So an emblem of hope I guess, as well as being rather beautiful.
There are hidden signs of Wales’ industrial past though, even up here. There are discarded lead mines in this part of Wales, and a Roman gold mine (still sadly not quite open for visitors). I imagine it is the reason why the Romans came to that part of Wales. But the most impressive sight is closer to home, near Caerphilly. My sister and I had a good long walk yesterday over the mountains to these… The pyramids of Wales…
I don't think the photo does complete justice to them. Due to the geography of the site, they are hidden from view until you get up close, and certainly not obvious from to the town below. Its remoteness is the reason why it still stands, as most of the similar sights have now been relandscaped and repurposed. It is hard to comprehend the scale. And this was just from one pit. Abandoned 60 years ago, they took around 80 years to be created. One of the striking things is that nothing grows on the pyramids. It is still an inhospitable climate up there, not somewhere I would want to work. It says something about the lack of opportunity at the time that people flocked to such dangerous and insecure employment.
And finally, it made me wonder if our pollution was still so up close and personal would we be more motivated to do something about it.
Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell
This was a good read and easily digested, as with Gladwell’s other books. I picked it up as it was in the cottage. It was very interesting tackling tropes about anti-semitism and a standout section is at the end when he talks about his mother’s experiences of colourism as a woman of colour from the Caribbean. I’m not quite convinced that honour culture, as demonstrated by the American deep south, has its origins in the north of England and Wales though. But for those of you interested in communication, I loved the section on Hofstede’s Dimensions. Do you have a transmitter or a recipient orientation when it comes to imparting information? Do you an individual or a collective approach to decision making? And how much uncertainty avoidance is present in your culture? Great questions to be asking if you are part of a group.