• St David’s Cathedral…more than just a religious space

    I recently visited St Davids Cathedral. A place I haven’t been to since I was a child-on a school trip. A Cathedral set in an idyllic valley within the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

    What a lovely place to visit, it is full of history as well as being an active place of worship-it descibes itself as ‘A place of beauty, peace and pilgramage’, with a tag line of ‘Turning visitors into pilgrims’, which based on my experience, describes it quite aptly.

    St David, settled on this spot as place of worship in 600AD, and since then, for 1500 years this space has been offered for worship. The Cathedral has around 250,000 visitors per year and holds daily worship services. It is generally open from 7.30am-7pm, and there is no admission costs, they rely on donations from visitors. They recive no state income and are totally reliant on the income from the shop and donations.

    St Davids Bishops

    Music draws people apart from the historical significance and the Cathedral Choir sing daily in services. To maintain a choir of their standing from a village of 1500 people is quite a feat, especially with the commitment of daily attendance.

    They hold a music festival at the end of May annually, the information for which is released on March 1st- St Davids Day, each year. Details can also be found on their website www.stdavidscathedral.org.uk

    In 2012 they restored the shrine of St David and local artists created 3 images and a canopy, which now provides a focal point for pilgrimage. In the summer they offer Pilgrimage walks around the St Davids Penninsula.

    They also have art exhibitions from time to time and at the Gallery area of the refectory, there are reguklar exhibitors in this gallery space.

    The Refectory is run as a franchise for hospitatlity, they use as much local produce as possible and have been awarded the Pembrokeshire Produce Mark by the local council-Pembrokeshire County Council. They are open all year round and serve a great bowl of Cawl, as proclaimed by Aled Jones!

    The clock on the tower is due to be fixed this year at an anticipated cost of £150,000. Due to it’s proximity to the sea and the weather we enjoy on the coast, the wear and tear it has endured has taken it’s toll. The people of St Davids have been lost without this, as many used it as their main means of time telling!

    Remains of St David

    The advice from the Cathedral is not to visit on a wet day in August, as this is when everybody is visiting and the peace of the Cathedral is hard to find when so full. My advice would be to take an official tour….without our excellent guide I would not have come away having such a fantastic experience. The history that is linked and has made the Cathedral is the mind blowing part of it for me- the tomb of Edmund Tudor- father of Henry VII(born in Pembroke Castle), grandfather of Henry VIII are here for all to see- some time ago they exhumed his body, which was still in it’s full armour, with the very shockingly red Tudor hair still visible for all to see. I find this of particular interest to myself, as I am currently working my way through the Philippa Gregory books about the Tudors, so it really does feel as though history is coming alive!

    Tomb of Edmund Tudor

    I could give you many interesting and fascinating facts about the Cathedral and items you will find inside, but I think I will leave these for you to discover for yourselves when you take a tour…and please do!

  • Farmhouse Breakfast Week

    It’s Farmhouse Breakfast Week this week folks. This week was originally devised to highlight crop farmers in the UK and to promote a healthy start to your day.

    I LOVE cooking on my (now 64 year old) Aga!! I cook all my breakfast ingredients without the use of any extra added fat, my sausages are homemade by my butcher and have a high meat content and the Aga does a great griddled egg (similar to a fried egg but no fat is used), so you can truly have your Full Welsh (we are in Wales!) with a guilt free mind!

    Aga

    I am proud to offer as much local produce as I can, which means that I am able to provide the absolute best quality for Breakfast, as you can see from the lovely guest comments on Trip Advisor!

    Soaked Yoghurt Muesli

    However, going back to the crop farmers, I also make my own Granola and, on request, I offer a fabulous homemade yoghurt soaked Muelsi-which is divine. You can feel the well-being flowing through you with each spoonful!
    Full Welsh

    And, you may remember, in April I was the proud recipient of the Pembrokeshire Tourism Award for ‘Pembrokeshire’s Finest Breakfast’, for which I was given a fabulous Steve Robinson piece of art, that proudly now stands in my hallway for all to see! A piece of art from Steve has been on my ‘wish list’ for quite a while, so as well as the recognition for my breakfasts, I was delighted to recieve such a beautiful piece!
    Award

  • Do your Christmas Shopping while you stay!

    With Christmas approaching, why not combine our Weekend Walker Offer with a bit of Christmas Shopping?? We have for sale at Fields Lodge many local crafts-excellent porcelain pottery by Sheila Hickey, fabulously priced handmade jewellery by Rhiannon(and she can make to order any style or colour you would like), handamde occassion cards and Christmas Cards by Rhiannon, bottles of our very own Organic, aromatherapy, locally made toiletries and our ‘I’d rather be staying at Fields Lodge’ mugs!

    Enjoy a peruse through these lovely things with an afternoon tea, including our lovely shortbread mince pies, infront of our cosy, cwtchy real fire! Come on, what are you waiting for????

    Xmas 1

    xmas 2

    xmas 7

    xmas 6

    xmas 5

    xmas 4

    xmas 3

  • Mark & Howard’s Videos of their Pembrokeshire Coast Path Walk

    Mark & Howard stayed for 2 nights whilst on their Pembrokeshire Coast Path Walk. They were a pleasure to have as guests, and so enjoy their own quirky take on their journey! I have included the 2 videos that cover the parts of the path immediate to us here, but of course, there is much more easily accessible from Fields Lodge. It is possible to walk all the way to St Davids and still come back here to stay, should you so wish!

  • Lovespoon Workshop

    I’m ashamed to say that it is only recently that I have discovered we have our very own Lovespoon Workshop in Pembrokeshire!

    It is a father and son enterprise, where ‘Dad’started making Lovespoon Workshoplovespoons in 1969-the very first one he made was as a wedding proposal (which was accepted!) and since then, one special lovespoon has been made each year. These are all displayed on the walls around the workshop, and you can touch and feel these fabulous creations and understand the meaning behind the designs.

     

    There are some truly fantastic pieces here, and one of them is the longest Lovespoon in the world! And all made out of a single piece of wood!

     

    You can peruse all the lovespoon designs and choose one of your own that will then be engraved with either a date or initials as you require to make a truly personal gift. Lovespoon

     

    Bramleys cafe at Grandiflora Garden Centre isn’t too far away for you to have a coffee and  some nice home made cakes too!

    Address for Lovespoon Workshop:

    Inwood, Cold Inn, SA68 0RP. Open Monday-Friday 10am-4pm, closed for lunch 1-2pm

     

     

     

     

  • Morning Visitors

    We were surprised one morning this week to have a heard of cattle join us for breakfast! They had obviously heard that we had just won another award!

    The decided to have a close inspection of the rooms, giving some of the guests a bit of a shock when they opened their blinds and they also had a good taste of our lovely shrubs and flowers! They inspected all around by standing on the top of the Pembrokeshire bank, looking like the bulls you see on the Spanish mountains(if you’ve been to Spain, you’ll know what I mean!).

     

    Not content with one part of the garden, they decided to have a good rummage around everywhere! Luckily, I was able to escape, leaving Rhiannon to hold the fort, and dash down to the farmer to alert him! The farmer was a star, ushering all the herd out single handed, with me just stopping the cattle going up onto the main road, doing my mobile scarecrow impersonation!Cattle on lawn

    So, the poor garden looked a right mess, and the gardener was here yesterday digging up the small conifers that were trampled and snapped in two. So, we have a few gaps in the border now!

    The upside though, is that we had a few blooms to make a nice flower display for the lounge. I don’t like cutting flowers to bring them inside normally, but as the cattle had done the job for me, it would’ve been a waste not to use them as they looked so lovely!

    Flowers

  • Eating Out

    The Harbourmaster marina photo

    I ate out this wekk at The Harbourmaster on Milford Marina. For a Thursday night, I was surprised how busy it was-good job we had booked a table! It happened to be ‘Curry Night’, and although you could still choose from their standard menu, and their specials also, I decided to try their Chicken Balti (which comes with a free drink too!). There were plenty of people enjoying the evening sun on their large terrace overlooking the boats.

     

    We had a thoroughly great night, my friends chose Fish & Steak and their meals were good also and we had great service from very pleasant staff. Check out their website www.theharbourmaster.co.uk for a look around the premises and a sneaky peak at the menu!

  • Another Award!

    I am delighted to report that, this week, we have received another prestigious award from Pembrokeshire County Council-the Pembrokeshire Produce Award for ‘Best Use of Pembrokeshire Produce in a Hospitality Outlet’..woop, woop!

    I was presented with the award at a Breakfast Reception held on the second day of the Pembrokeshire County Show-the 2nd largest show in Wales. It was a typically Welsh wet day but this didn’t spoil the fun of the reception or the show!

     

    Pembrokeshire Produce Award 2013

    It is really great when you are recognised for going the extra mile to ensure you provide the best of things for your guests, as it is so easy to take a cheaper, simpler route-but that is not the road for me and my offering! The reception finished and I was whisked off to do an interview on Pembrokeshire Radio and had lots of photos taken(me in fancy dress as a drowned rat!) for the local paper and various other groups. I was delighted with the award, and the 2 bottles of Cwm Deri produce (one in the photo) that came with it! I have found an idea for Christmas Presents there, I think,-they’re lovely little bottles.

     

    The county show was great, if a little wet, and I spent an enjopyable time watching an Angela Gray demonstration of an unusual brunch dish that was very tasty indeed! Maybe I can add it to my breakfast menu???

    Angela Gray 2013

  • Pembrokeshire Fish Week Opening @ Milford Docks

    Yesterday saw the start of Pembrokeshire Fish Week, voted one of the best food festivals to visit in the UK! The opening day is held at Milford Docks, an appropriate venue to start  the week, with all the history Milford has with it’s fishing and trawlers.

     

    The atmosphere was brilliant, and thankfully the rain had cleared by the opening, resulting in a day for sunglasses. There was food galore and I was able to stock up on my favourite Caws Cenarth cheese and at last ‘Gethins Cyder’ from Haverfordwest now produces their cider in bottles, so that was a treat! Fire & Ice from Narberth were there with their alcoholic icecream & sorbets and Cafe Mor, who now have a resident hut in Freshwater, were there offering fabulous lobster and cockle cakes, amongst other things. There were plenty of places to buy your fish and contrary to the title of the festival, it’s not all about fish-there’s plenty of meat there too!

    Kippers

    The Fish Plaice where our superb Kippers for breakfast come from!

    I enjoyed watching a few food demonstrations by the lovely celebrity chef,  Angela Gray-I am lucky enough to be going to a course at her cookery school in August. Angela had her work cut out though, as she was sandwiched between the Samba band playing one side and a motley crew singing sea shantys on the other, so i think she must’ve had a sore throat by the end of the day!

    Sea Shantys

    Sea Shantys Galore here!

    There is plenty going on across the whole of the county in this week, either check out the website on Pembs County Council or pick up a leaflet to find something near you!

     

     

  • Picton Castle – a quest for afternoon tea!

    I am attempting to find the best ‘afternoon tea’ locally, following a request from a forthcoming guest-‘ideally with nice gardens’….so Picton Castle came to mind!

    I am slightly ashamed to say I have never been here before, other than for a wedding, and at that point I really didn’t see anything other than the wedding venue!

    So, I collared my friend Gill into accompanying me on my quest….

    Picton Castle is great, the gardens are fantastic and my ‘snaps’ do not do it justice! Plan to spend at least 4 hours there, I would say. The gardens cover 40 acres, there is a magical Walled Garden, with herbs you have never heard of, there’s a pond and a fantastic bluebell walk, which we just caught the tail end of.

    Picton Castle walled garden

    There’s interesting things along the way to entertain children, young and old alike (Gill playacting a Hobbit!)

    Picton Castle Hobbit

    Unfortunately, we missed the Castle tour-the last one is at 2.15, so be mindful of this (good excuse to go back again!)

    Anyway, let’s come to the reason for our visit-Afternoon Tea…Picton Castle do not do afternoon tea 🙁

    There is a very nice cafe there, and we enjoyed fantastic Tapas in the sunshine and we followed it up with a scone, cream & jam, but no traditional Afternoon Tea- you know little dainty finger sandwiches, 3 tier cake stand, loads of different little cakes, tea in a teapot…you get the idea??

    So, Picton Castle DEFINATELY worth a visit, cafe definately worth trying but the quest for Afternon Tea goes on!

    Picton Castle1

  • Want to try something new??

    I spent a morning at The Big Blue Experience  (Tel: 07816 169359 )  this week. I met up with Ollie & Flora and they are based at Newgale (look for the Sands Cafe at the far end of the beach, north side-they’re just a few doors up).

    Newgale

    They offer a fantastic service of catering what you would like to do, activity wise, to the weather and your capabilities-that’s reassuring for someone who’s as unco-ordinated, nervous and unfit as me! And they can offer you a mixture of Kite Surfing, Kite boarding, Paddleboarding, Coasteering, Zap Cat rides (funky rib type boat!) and Power Boat courses! They will look at the wind and wave conditions and then communicate with you about the best places to go and things to do to make sure you have a fantastic day! They have all the equipment you need, just turn up with swimwear, sunglasses and a towel! The photo above is the north end of Newgale beach, a lovely sunny day and just look how much space you have…imagine zooming along here!!

    Paddleboarding

  • Morning Walk along the Nature Trail

    Ollie boy and I took a walk along the nature trail off Milford Marina. The trail takes you to Lower Priory where you can then pick up the cycle path, that will take you, traffic free, to Neyland and the BRunel Trail-which goes all the way to Haverfordwest- it’s a great cycle route and goes through some fab woodlands and green fields!

    Ollie boy on the nature trail

    The woods are carpeted with bluebells and campions, and in the river below,  some swans have built a nest, right in the middle, away from the dangers of foxes. The path was quite deserted in the morning apart from 2 other dog walkers. It was a joy to be peaceful and just enjoy the birdsong along the way. Ollie found a large enough piece of wood to make him feel very proud of himself and her carried it all the way, most reluctant to drop it to get back into the car!

    Bluebells wood

  • Eating Out this week

    Well, this week I was host to two ‘old’ colleagues of mine from my banking career-Mike & Peter, who were walking a piece of the coast path. I took them to Buccibar Indian, a new enterprise on Milford Marina. I can highly recommend this- 5 star surroundings, not your usual Indian, pleasant staff and no rush to get you out to resell the table. All the usual suspects on the menu and some new ideas too! I was a bit worried, as Peter is a bit of a curry expert, but he did say it was the best curry he had had!! Praise indeed. Great surroundings being on Miford Marina-put it on your list of places to go.

    Pickle Tray Buccibar And just look at the pickle tray, not your usual stainless steel job!

    And then last night, I was out with Gill for a catch up after her holidays, and we ate at Martha’s Vineyard-again at Milford Marina. Here I had the 4oz fillet wrapped in ham and topped with cheese-fabulous! So, again, another place to visit. Then just to top the week off, I am off to a Musical Sunday Lunch at Wolfscastle Hotel with my parents- so I shall report on that next time, although I am already expecting this to be stupendous! So much for my diet, but it’s all in aid of guest research-I can’t recommend somewhere unless I’ve tried it, can I???

  • A Bay to Remember

    This week I went with a friend in search of Dolphins in the Cardigan Bay, with a company called ‘A Bay to Remember’ In their literature it stated that on the hour trip I was doing that we had a 50% chance of seeing Dolphins..so here’s hoping!

    While we were out, Pembrokeshire suffered a huge storm, thunder & lightening! We didn’t see that-just the rain-note to self-next time wear waterproof bottoms as well as a coat!

    Tony, our boat Skipper was a very conscientious driver and made easy work of the swell and did his best to keep us out of the rain. The boat that came in just before us had seen a large pod of Dolphins that gave them a good show of jumping and blowing, but for us, I think the rain had sent them far away-not a dolphin in sight. We saw a solitary Gannet, and got excited for a while, but no luck! We were given some excellent commentary from the experienced second in command, who gave us all the history of Holm Island and the birds there-on.

    After searching in vain, we were then treated to a large group of seals enjoying an afternoon sleep on one of the pebble beaches. It took me a long time to realise there were seals there, as they just looked like big grey boulders but they were so nosey, they all started to come into the water to have a look and then reminded me of Meerkats standing up on their back legs to get a good view!

    The geology around the bays was fantastic and we drove into 2 caves for a closer look. I wish I’d taken more notice of my geology lessons in school!P1020179Dophin

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    An impersonation of a Meerkat!

     

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  • Pembrokeshire’s Finest Breakfast

    Steve Robinson trophyI am delighted to announce that Fields Lodge has won the Pembrokeshire Tourism’s Award for Pembrokeshire’s Finest Breakfast. At the last count (according to Trip Advisor) there were 310 B&Bs in Pembrokeshire-so to be declared as the ‘Finest’ is superb!!

    A very lovely Steve Robinson piece of glassware was the trophy (see pic) and this now has pride of place in the hallway for all my guests to admire. I hope this enthuses them to visit Steve’s gallery when they are visiting St Davids. He does some splendid work-Aga bespoke splashbacks are superb, I am coveting one of those, but that will have to go on the back burner (haha!) against the other purchases I would like to make for the comfort of my guests!

    I am looking forward to welcoming more guests to sample my breakfasts and I am always trying out new recipes to give an alternative to the traditional ‘cooked’.