April may be the cruellest month but February ran it close. February is also according to The Guardian Weatherwatch, the cruellest for weather, often heralding the coldest days. So through rain, snow and the occasional sunshine I've been up and down the M6 motorway and along the trunk roads of Wales. Travelling. And not with hope. But in amongst the sad times there have been bright spots and friendly faces, sometimes on strangers. And when you feel sad it's good to gather together, share food and remember the good times. Revisiting sites of happy memories, making new discoveries and taking comfort from small pleasures. A lovely bowl of parsnip soup, or poached egg on toast, homely comforts from The Hours cafe and bookshop in Brecon @TheHoursBrecon; a Ploughman's from the FelinFach Griffin @Felinfachgriff and a pint in the warmth of the Angel, Abergavenny @LovetheAngel.
Ploughman's lunch at the FelinFach Griffin
Places which made Dogstarke welcome were very important, as was Dogstarke, in her new role as "Assistance Dog" - assisting us in feeling better
One of our new favourite places was the Bear's Paw in Cheshire, @The_Bears_Paw. First discovered as an alternative to a soulless service station for a M6 lunch stop and later as a very comfortable overnight stay, where the staff made sure that hungry travellers arriving late didn't go to bed without their supper.
Bedroom at The Bear's Paw, rodent a toy! (Dogstarke is a terrier after all).
Ready for their close up, Dogstarke and Ratty.
And no worries if you're not a pet lover, cleaning standards are excellent, no traces of previous pooches; those sheets were certainly clean.
And lastly for this post, a birthday which needed celebration, one guest sadly missing. The Hardwick,@The_Hardwick, near Abergavenny, where the fantastic food and atmosphere helped us remember the good times.