The restorative power of Welsh rocks........
Nearly all our family holidays when our sons were young were in Wales. In a specific area of Wales where we kept a caravan for many years beside this, which was endlessly interesting for small and even quite large boys and their father.
I liked it, too.
Tywyn boasts not only the Talyllyn Railway, but also the only working Wurlitzer organ in Wales. What a place! There are beaches and rivers, waterfalls and mountains, sheep, rain, sun and honey ice-cream.
There is a timeless magic about most of Wales.
The rocks and the beach in the photo above are not the same small area, but are the same small country with the same wind and rain and sun and restorative powers and I watched my son, daughter-in-law and grand-daughter (in her back-pack) walking across the pristine sand. My son was warming up after a quick swim in the roaring surf, his first for ten months.
It's been a tough ten months for my daughter-in-law, both sons and for me by transference and maternal anxiety. Some very painful things have happened, but they are all still smiling and being wonderfully positive. I am so proud of them all for their courage and strength - and I don't just mean by wading into a foaming sea when the temperature is in single figures.
My daughter-in-law is an excellent organiser. She is keen on a company called Under the Thatch and organised for us to have a few days in a charming farmhouse high in the hills. So high in the hills, so windy, that when I arrived I had real difficulty in opening the car door.
Inside the house was warm and there were spectacular views over rolling hills. We could watch the lashing rain in comfort. Then the sun came out, as it nearly always does, and there was a magnificent rainbow, arching low over acid green fields.
When the rainbow faded we could watch lamb Number Seventy force her way through the wire fencing into the house garden where the grass was even more lush. No other lamb could do it, but Number Seventy did it at least once daily, and got back in time to butt her mother off the ground in a demand for milk.
We did things.
I did my daily drawings. I drew sheep in the rain, more sheep in less rain and multiple studies of different aspects of sheep. Then I drew a castle.
We read the leaflets in the house. We could have gone to a watermill to have a tour and then to watch the process of wheat being ground into flour. We could have gone to a woollen mill to have a tour and buy a blanket.
We did other things. We visited a National Trust house and garden and discovered that even a Barbour is not totally impervious to Welsh rain.
We walked beside a river in sunshine and saw a castle and some beautiful beaches before the rain started again.
But the best thing of all was seeing and hearing six-month old grand-daughter helpless with laughter at the sight of a log-fire and the sound of logs going 'pop'.
You can't get more restorative than that.