We were out of the house and on our way up the A470 to North Wales by nine thirty this morning, and found only light traffic all the way. The weather was good and everything made for a relaxed and pleasant journey. We stopped for a pub lunch in Caersws, and arrived at Trigonos in Dyffryn Nantlle by three. We noticed once we crossed over the Brecon Beacons bluebells were in bloom everywhere in the hedgerows and mountainsides. Ours in the garden at home were over two weeks ago.
In Snowdonia the visual impact of rhododendrons, mostly purple, is a striking contrast to bluebell blue. Rhododendrons are an invasive species, imported by the wealthy from the Himalayas in the nineteenth century, and now running wild, regarded as an invasive species. In and around Beddgelert, the National Park authority is taking initiatives to curb if not root them out, before they destroy native species which cannot compete with their vigour.
After unpacking, we walked out by the lake at the bottom of the garden at Plas Baladeulyn, saw several ethereal powder blue dragonflies in the long grass, a fish jumping and two white butterflies mating, one of them had bright yellow wing tips. As well as the sound of blackbirds, robins and chaffinches, we heard the solitary distant voice of a cuckoo. It don't think I've heard one since I was last here three years ago.
It's very quiet here, and also difficult to get a phone signal in such a deep valley. Nothing from BT and a very poor one from Orange-EE standing in a corner of the car park. So we have to rely on wi-fi, and for that, a short walk from the main house to the neighbourhood around the estate office. The government talks about improving rural internet services, but in some parts of rural Wales mobile reception is in a worse condition. I couldn't help noticing so many UKIP posters on display in this region, symptomatic of disaffection with the Westminster political elite, and for that matter the Cardiff political elite, for failing to deliver resources which have become critical for economic development and success.