Brigid and I met through our children. Her son is the same age as my younger son, her daughter is the same age as mine. The kids all went to the same school, played in the same park and went to the same birthday parties, so in the early days we bumped into each other all the time. Reading groups were very popular around this time and to stave off the mental atrophy that full time mothering can cause, I decided to start one. Brigid was a founder member and so even when our children went to secondary school and were no longer in need of lifts and constant supervision, we maintained our friendship through the once a month meeting of the book group. I’ve already covered the importance of the book group in my life (lunch 19 with Morgan) so I won’t bang on about it, suffice to say that the group and Brigid, are both much valued.
It’s funny how you can live in a place for 20 years, train for several marathons around it (lots of 10 mile plus runs) and be a regular cyclist, and yet still not know about a particular part of it. Since visiting the Wildflower Cafe with Brigid, I have mentioned it to several people who all knew it well, liked it and were surprised that I hadn’t found it years ago.
This is a delightful little cafe on the edge of Gower. It has a decent selection of snacks and a nice little craft shop, but is very much enhanced by having a nursery attached. It’s just a few miles from my house yet is surrounded by fields, sheep and wild ponies. It feels like it’s in the middle of the countryside, but it has good coffee and a decent road – for a town girl like me, enamoured of rural life but deeply suspicious of it, that makes it perfect.
10 May 2015
Wildflower Cafe, Blackhills, Swansea
Given more time, I think it might be possible to walk to the cafe from my house – it’s on the north side of Clyne woods and we are on the south, which means that as the the crow flies it’s no more than three miles. I don’t know if there is a footpath through the woods and I assume Brigid doesn’t either, so was very happy to be driven there in her car. By road it’s considerably further so I was glad to be offered a lift and as I love being driven (it’s something of a luxury for me) we were off to a good start.
This was one of those days in early May when the sun is shining but there is a vicious wind blowing and it is simply not warm enough. It was hot inside the cafe however, so we thought we would try one of the outdoor tables and chose what we were told was the most sheltered. We ordered, settled down and were surprised and pleased when it turned out to be not only warm enough but positively hot. The garden around the cafe is a delight. There are a number of well stocked bird feeders which were constantly being visited by small birds all the time we were there. We could hear a blackbird singing loudly nearby and there were also three chickens, obviously well used to the public, who wandered around hoovering up any seeds that the wild birds dropped.
Lunch was good – Brigid opted for salmon and dill fish cakes but as I am not a salmon fan I went for a spicy chick pea burger. The portions were very generous, mine especially was probably twice what I would normally eat for lunch. This is not a criticism of course, they aren’t to know how much food I want and I would certainly be the first to complain if the portions were too small, but I don’t like waste and always feel uncomfortable about leaving lots of food on a plate.
The venue, food and conversation were all great, so we decided to soak up a few more rays of the unexpected sunshine and have another cup of tea. We could have gone for a health giving walk in the Gower countryside of course, but sometimes sitting still, chatting and watching the birds feed is what’s needed.
After lunch we had a look at the plants and after acknowledging that neither of us actually needed anything, bought quite a large number. Lots of the plants had obviously been chosen for sale because they were insect or bird friendly. They were very healthy, had been grown a few yards from where we bought them and were amazingly cheap. I was quite excited with my purchases and was keen to get home, but the icing on the cake was that the route home, along a single track lane at the top of the woods, had such a spectacular view of Swansea that I asked Brigid to stop the car so that I could take the picture below left.
I know very little about gardening but am a dab hand at growing salad leaves, so I was able on the way home to show Brigid my rocket, lettuce and spinach bed and to give her some seeds. She was very impressed, which together with the plants I had bought, inspired me to spend the afternoon digging and planting. How lovely to think that if my plants take root, and I have no reason to think that they won’t, I will have a reminder of our lovely lunch every summer as my cornflowers, chaenorhinums and ox eye daisies come into flower.