Two Countries Separated by a Common Language and Pork

Two Countries Separated by a Common Language and Pork


I see no pigs

I taste ham and cheese with butter, cucumbers, and tomatoes from the garden. I taste lots and lots of pork and see no pigs; I see tons of sheep and rarely find lamb on the menu.
Wales has a population of approximately three million people.
The population of sheep in Wales is four times greater than the Welsh population of humans.
Lamb was on the occasional dinner menu, but less often than you might think. We walked through hundreds of sheep every day, everywhere!

Two Countries Separate by a Common Language

Two Countries Separate by a Common Language.The origins of the quote are a bit fuzzy but can most arguably be attributed to Bernard Shaw.
“England and America are two countries separated by the same language.”
And you can quote him on that, because he also has been credited with saying, “I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.
As I’ve mentioned before our accommodations came with breakfast. Whenever it was time to order breakfast, usually the night before, it was always ham and bacon that gave us the most issue. We’d say ham meaning bacon they’d look confused, who eats ham at breakfast? The choices for breakfast are bacon or sausage.
Clear as mud,
In the UK bacon is more like our “country ham” and streaky bacon is what Americans think of as bacon.
Then there is the sausage. I’m a southern girl, sausage is Wamplers, sausage patties fried in a cast iron skillet.
Wamplers Wamplers, it’s farm sausage. Their sausage is a large thick link, not “sagey” and peppery, but more like what we have on a bun with mustard and onions.

Care for a Butty?

Did you know?
Butty is a Welsh term for “sandwich” and slang for “friend” or “buddy.”
Another difference in culture is evident in the way sandwiches are prepared. 
Not mustard, sometimes mayo but always butter.
Wonder why this is?
I was told it forms a barrier between the fillings and the bread. Makes perfect sense.
Order a ham and cheese you’ll likely open your lunch bag to find a  shredded cheese and butter along with a ham and butter butty!
Ultimately pork is featured at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, even though we never saw a single pig, in 182 miles! Did we eat them all?

If you enjoy these sensory storylines pin on Pinterest it helps me out so much!

Painting #11



#11 #30in30paintingchallenge! purple-mtn-cliff-walk

Vegetation Observations Along Offa’s Dyke Path

Vegetation Observations Along Offa’s Dyke Path

4 Sensory story nettlesDesert of Wales

I am not sure why the earth sometimes feels squishy, under my feet, perhaps it’s the “aeration” made my the weight of the livestock that roams the land. The moorland has a high rainfall and much of it is covered by peat overlain with moor grass.To me, the ground feels like it’s squishy from the elaborate maze of roots of the heather, bilberries, bracken and gorse. Like there is no soil near the surface, just the roots. 

The term Desert of Wales has been used to describe the area since at least 1860 when the following was written:

The locality we were now traversing is one of the most untamed and desolate in either division of the Principality; it has indeed with perfect truth been called the “great desert of Wales.” Vast sweeping ranges of hills with round tops, add to the dreary aspect of this nearly unpeopled region…[2]

Travel is limited to narrow roads, forestry tracks, footpaths, and bridleways. It is a sparsely populated area, consisting largely of rolling hills, gorges and steep valleys with ancient native Welsh oak forest.
The area has high rainfall and much of it is covered by peat overlain with moor grass

 Damn Nettles

The Heather, bracken, and gorse are very common vegetation along the Offa’s Dyke Path. The other vegetation doesn’t look like much, but it will make sure you remember it. Stinging nettles seem to be at every kissing gate, stile, narrow path, and place you need to be. One touch and you’ve got a stinging and itching red spot for at least an hour, or if you’re  a fair-skinned redhead it might be four hours.Those damn nettles!
I here people make tea from these mean plants. Just can’t see putting those needly greens anywhere near my mouth! Even CRAZIER!
#5- #30in30paintingchallenge!


Paintings # 4 and 5 of 

#30 in 30 Painting Challenge!

I had a bit of an issue with uploading my photo for the other day, so I’m catching up with this post.
The first is a young, shy, draft horse. He was very deft at hiding behind his mother but finally did catch a quick shot while he was distracted by all the attention, the nearby shetland pony was commanding, of other hikers.I love how long and narrow his legs are and how big and clunky his feet are, much like a pre-teen. 
Painting number five depicts a typical scene, the rolling hills covered in wheat and the shifts of color. I need help to find a name for this one. Any suggestions?
I need a name for the one.

I need a name for the one.

Sensory Storylines and the #30 in 30 Painting Challenge

Follow along each day of September  I’ll be adding a sensory story, inspired by a few sensory storyline prompts, I wrote to take me back to the time and space where the reference photos were taken. These stories may not jive (coincide) with the day’s painting. Hopefully, these sensory stories will give you a better sense of the place, of our experience, and of walking across Wales.

Feel free to share this project on your favorite social media sites.Please add the hashtag #30 in 30 Painting Challenge!

Typical Day along Offa’s Dyke Path

Typical Day along Offa’s Dyke Path

Sensory storylines

Achy Joints Lose Out

I feel my joints aching and a desire to reach the top as soon as possible for the next view. Just a Typical Day along Offa’s Dyke Path. Most days, it would take a good hour of hiking, before I could stop thinking about how my hips, knees, and ankles ached, from the previous day’s walk.  I have always had issues with my joints, very much exercise and they start screaming, good or bad I love to push my limits. That’s why I love these walking trips so much, how far can I go? Can I climb that next hill? Can Igo that extra mile? The answer is always, yes. Such a great metaphor for life.


Typical Day along Offa’s Dyke Path

typical day starts with a full English breakfast, around 8. Then it’s time to fill the bladder of our hydration packs. The bladder holds four liters. Try to finish the day with it empty. Time to say goodbye to our hosts and find the first acorn. Offa’s Dyke is a national trail, so it very well marked, by black and white, or carved acorns, and sometimes the Offa’s Dyke coin symbol or A carved post reading OFFA’S DYKE PATH. Easy peasy. Well, sometimes the vegetation has overgrown the signs. Scum buckets steal the emblems for a souvenir. Other times the livestock have rubbed the post clear out of the ground,so one must guess which way the arrow is facing. So you may not see the markers clearly or right away, this is part of the adventure, part of the sense of accomplishment. There were times when we would cheer to see those acorns.

Not all Distances Feel the Same

Most mornings the four of would walk together until lunch and then each couple would find their comfortable pace for the remaining miles. The average mileage was around 12 a day, for this trip. At home, I can walk 12 miles in a little more than 3 hours. We would generally stop for lunch around 1. If we were walking strong we could have between 7 and 8 miles in that four hours! This is nothing like walking at home. Uneven surfaces, unsure direction, stiles to climb, hills where your heels can not physically touch the ground, and the downhills on slippery footing slow you way down. Not to mention navigating around the sheep poop!
Offers Dyke Path, Wales -

John contemplating the next hill

Home for the night.

The afternoon’s walk was a test of our strength, though refueled by a hand packed lunch we had renewed energy. Most hosts packed a lunch for a small fee. Usually, a sandwich that always in included butter, chips, a piece of fruit and a seat treat. Some we more elaborate than others but all of the lunches tasted great, after four hours of exercise.
The last couple miles we are more cautious about directions, as at this point we really do want any backtracking. 
Celtic Trails provided us a special sheet with our lodging for the night’s map, directions from the trail and a photo. Some place a phone number was necessary to arrange a ride to the home or inn that was miles from the trail, others we walking up to the door and rang the bell or stumbled into the pub and stopped for a cold hard cider.


Offa's Dyke Path, Wales -

Another Gate along the trail

The End of the Day

The End of the Day always concluded with a recap of the struggles and joys of the day over a couple pints. Kathy, Charley and we would share dinner and stories of the day, the people we met along the trail, the times we got lost and the incredible views and unusual sites we passed along the way. 
By nine the bed would be calling me, I would fall asleep with a deep sense of accomplishment and smile of gratitude to be able to have such an experience.
Follow along each day of September  I’ll be adding a sensory story, inspired by a few sensory storyline prompts, I wrote to take me back to the time and space where the reference photos were taken. These stories may not jive (coincide) with the day’s painting. Hopefully, these sensory stories will give you a better sense of the place, of our experience, and of walking across Wales.
Feel free to share this project on your favorite social media sites.

Painting # 3 –#30paintingsin30days! Painting 3-Cock of the Walk #30paintingsin30days!

I had my hands and iPhone inside the pen when Charley said, “they can be aggressive”. I had visions of a cockfight, with sweaty men all around cheering and jeering! That was it for photographing Roosters.

Day 3 September Painting Challenge

Day 3 September Painting Challenge sensory storylines

A New View Around Every Corner

Funny how the most deeply felt “sensory story” is the hardest to put into words. Maybe that’s why I wish to paint the landscapes to make an attempt to describe the breathtaking beauty of the area.` 

ancient buildings - Offa's Dyke Path #30in30paintingchallenge

Each day, each corner, each climb over a stile, each hill we summit, it seems, holds a picture perfect photo op.

Heather on the moors - Offa's Dyke Path #30in30paintingchallenge

Many times the amazing view was behind us. - Offa's Dyke Path #30in30paintingchallenge

The fields laid out like  colorful artistic quilt blocks, the trees bring to mind fairytales and the classics in literature, streams and rivers, buildings that have stood the tests of time, and the wildflowers blowing in the wind, are a feast for my soul. - Offa's Dyke Path #30in30paintingchallenge


Day 3, Painting #2

#2 30 in 30- - Offa's Dyke Path #30in30paintingchallenge

Go Easy On Yourself

This second painting was really challenging for me. I would like to paint it again. I don’t feel like I expressed the beauty in this simple posie, backlit in the morning sun. A key point to finishing this challenge is to remember that it’s all about experimenting, improving my skills by painting each day and not feeling like I need to paint a gallery worthy painting in one day. Go easy on yourself, Challenges are intended to be hard, to stretch our abilities, embrace the challenge!



to arouse or stimulate especially by presenting with difficulties <she wants a job that will challenge her>


Painting Offa’s Dyke Walk, 182 Miles in the Welsh Countryside

painting Offa's Dyke Path, #30paintingsin30days

The trails stretches across the moors of the Black Mountains.

Offa’s Dyke Walking Holiday

I have big plans for painting Offa’s Dyke Path, #30paintingsin30days celebrating the completion of our walking trip in Wales. In August John and I joined walking partners and travel experts Charley and Kathy Woods for another long distance walking holiday in Wales. This time, it was the Offa’s Dyke Path from the south coast of Wales to it’s northern coast. This national trail follows along an earthwork hand-dug & built over 1300 years ago, commissioned by King Offa of Mercia, to divide his kingdom from his rivals. Over 15 days we covered 182 miles, and then some. The official trail sites 177 miles, the signs at each end post 182. We never felt the mileage was accurate it felt so much much further. We had a huge misconception that walking a dyke would be fairly level. The elevation gains and losses are more than that of climbing Mount Everest!

Elevation Chart of Offa’s Dyke Path 

182 miles of the Welsh Countryside

This was our third “walking holiday” and possibly my favorite. We had near perfect weather over the two week period. With it’s 500+ stiles, kissing gates, and acorns; 8 border crossings,spread over 8 counties, and covering three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty the Wye Valley, Shropshire Hills and Clwydian Hills; countless sheep, cattle, horses and pheasants, our interest was peaked around virtually every corner.
The trip was booked through Celtic Trails, the walking company arranges lodging, dining where necessary and transfer of your luggage. A packet comes in the mail with the necessary maps and instructions to find your lodging each night.
painting Offa's Dyke Path, #30paintingsin30days

The halfway point marked at the top corner of a cow pasture.

What I love about Walking Holidays

I find walking holidays to be the bee’s knees! The list is quite long and includes:
  • A huge sense of both physical and mental accomplishment.
  • A closer relationship with my husband, because we worked as a team.
  • Mostly unplugged from tech gadgets and computer screens, instead engaged in nature
  • No better way to be immersed in an area and it’s culture.
  • See things you would never see from a car or in a big city.
  • All that exercise means you can eat & drink like you’re on vacation yet not gain weight.
  • Much, much more

30 Paintings of Wales Coming Your Way

I would love to come back and do this walk again. Next time I would hike a day and then paint a day, but one day of painting wouldn’t be enough! Do you know how many beautiful scenes you can see in a 13 mile stretch of Wales?
“The landscape is always stunning, from the riverside meadows of the Wye and Severn valleys to the peaceful rolling hills of Shropshire and Powys and the dramatic heather clad uplands of the Black Mountains and the Clwydian Range / Dee Valley.”
Lesley Saeta’s 30 in 30 painting challenge is, ON, the month of September, I have signed up to participate.  I have chosen for my theme: 182 miles, small studies showcasing the Wales countryside. Narrowing the thousands of photos, I took, down to 30 was a big challenge already. I have been researching artists of Wales and this has me so very excited! Painting Offa’s Dyke Path will be exciting for me, to relive the experience. Challenge accepted!

I tried this challenge once before and was simply overwhelmed. My strategy is better planned this time and I have more motivation too. This time around, I have outlined my strategy in Evernote and hope to share more about this with my fellow artists very soon. With this system in place, I won’t be wasting time searching for the photo file or deciding what to paint and my blog posts should be a snap to post.

painting Offa's Dyke Path, #30paintingsin30days

you lookin’ at me?

Wales now holds my heart.

It was an experience we’ll remember for a lifetime and as a result, a country that now holds my heart. 
Thank you to all who followed along on Facebook ad left encouraging words, they really did lift our spirits when we would get so very tired.
I’ll tell you lots more about the trip and Painting Offa’s Dyke Path, the 30 in 30 project in my newsletter, coming soon.
Watch for my sensory prompts and daily painting throughout the month of September celebrating this incredible experience.I plan to post progress both here, Facebook and on the challenge site.
Leave a comment if you would be interested in a walking or walking/painting holiday in the comment section below.