Saturday, May 29, 2010

Uncle P and Auntie C go to Wales

With 2 weeks to go before heading to South Africa for the greatest show on earth (no, not Barnum and Baily’s Circus, we’re talking about the World Cup of course) we had just enough time to nip up to Wales and spend some time catching up with Lee’s big sis Kylie and her family.

The Sheppard fam consists of husband Huw and little ones James (3) and Eliza (8 months) and they live in an idyllic little village located just outside of Cardiff named Gwaelod-Y-Garth.  Yes, it’s a lot to get your lips round initially but as far as Welsh names go, it’s a pretty basic entry.

The Sheppards

Anyway, we were really looking forward to the visit.  It’s been about 18 months since Lee’s last visit so little James was only a nipper and Eliza wasn’t even a twinkle in her mum and dad’s eyes.  Court has been dying to meet the “babies” for a while now so she was very excited.

The weather was gorgeous for our entire stay in Wales (that’s not a misprint) so we took full advantage by planning plenty of outdoor activities (well, Kylie planned plenty of outdoor activities and we just went along to enjoy them).

First up was a spot of history.  There are a few things on the “must do” list when you visit Wales and checking out a castle is right up there.  The Cardiff area has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to castles so we had plenty to choose from.  We ended up going to the very old and very impressive Caerphilly Castle.  Built in the 13th Century by some ginger chap named Gilbert ‘The Red’ de Clare, Caerphilly is the second largest castle in Britain, the Queen’s digs at Windsor are the biggest.   After suffering several attacks over the next few hundred years the castle gradually fell into disrepair.  Then in the 18th Century the Marquess of Bute began restoration work to bring it back to its former glories.  Quite a bit of work has been done and it looks pretty good these days.

 Caerphilly Castle

James feeding the ducks

I should mention at this point that many of the historical tidbits featured in this blog entry are courtesy of my brother-in-law Huw who it turns out knows a fair bit about Welsh history and castles and played the role of tour guide for the day.  Wikipedia also added some flavor.  So, any inaccuracies should be taken up with them.

The following day we went to Margam Country Park for a picnic.  James brought his bike along and we even had a kick-around with the soccer ball.  His dad kept insisting the ball was the wrong shape but Lee thinks he saw some definite potential.  The highlight of the day was riding the train, one of James’ favorite activities, as we got to watch James try with all his might to contain his excitement.  We also got to watch Lee demonstrate his baby handling skills as he grappled with Eliza who was intent on really putting him to the test with lots of wriggling.  She escaped fairly unscathed as Lee only managed to bang her head on the roof of the train once.

Eliza looking a bit nervous about her uncle's lack of baby experience

The Museum of Welsh Life is an open-air museum of all things Welsh.   It’s actually much better than it sounds and we spent a lovely afternoon there.  There are over forty buildings representing Welsh architecture and various traditional crafts are on display.  There’s even a small working farm with cows, pigs and horses.

The weather continued to hold so we headed for the beach.  We went to Caswell Bay, which is located in the southeast of the Gower Peninsula in Swansea.  Kylie and Huw take the kids there often and it’s a really beautiful area.  We spent a few hours playing on the beach.  James enjoyed splashing in the surf while Eliza enjoyed eating sand.

We really enjoyed all the sightseeing we did but what we enjoyed most was spending time with Kylie and Huw and getting to know Lee’s nephew and niece.   Looking forward to visiting them again after we get back from South Africa in the summer.


  1. And we're looking forward to having you back :-)

  2. I can hardly contain myself! Those babies are sooooo darn cute!! Kyle, you guys must bring them to the states!!!!!

  3. Oh we will, Davida - You can't keep them though! ;-)

  4. I totally understand! But how fun to be able to hang out for a bit with them! And you too!!