The idea was for Sweetcornbread to play a five hour set at the Ceridwen Centre's Alternative New Year's party, which was being held on their farm in Carmarthenshire. They had played there before as the band have friends that live and work at the venue. For once, I didn't have the usual pre-gig strops from my bassist boyfriend, this should have been my first clear indicator that it was going to be a little special.
The five hour drive was killer, I'm not going to lie. Most of it was in the dark and being squashed up in the back with the instruments and our supplies for the weekend didn't do much for comfort. At one point we stopped at a Welsh service station and I feel like I could be forgiven for thinking we had landed on Mars - who knew Mcdonalds chips could get any thinner? Why do they have a completely different version of the cheese bites? We arrived at the Pen-Y-Blanc farm in the pitch darkness - all I knew was there was a lot of steep hills to traverse and we were going to be staying in The Old Dairy.
We were welcomed warmly and shown to our space. I've shared with the whole band and their girlfriends before and it was tight and noisy with a very intimate feel to the toilet so I was expecting the worst. I needn't have worried! The Old Dairy had lots of room for us, the farm owners bought double mattresses and there was water, snacks, tea and coffee on tap as well as under floor heating and some beautifully equipped, far-away-from-the-living-area washing and toilet facilities. I wish I had taken a picture of the ENORMOUS stack of giant floor cushions in the room because they were literally the cosiest thing ever!
I started to notice other little things. The signs in the toilet, the biodegradable toiletries, the recycling bag - the farm operates on an extremely green basis and they have a green septic tank - I fell a little in love. I had a brief chat with the owners son-in-law and he said the farm has solar panels and various recycling and green facilities and continue to work to improve their sustainability.
We spent the first evening in a local pub, the John Y Gwas. I have to say our hosts were a dream and the pub itself was exactly as you may expect from a village that seemed to cling on to the side of a mountain. The toilets were something out of Stephen King's It and the locks were on the outside of the doors - only in Wales! We made plans to visit the beach the following day and retired to our cosy Dairy.
I took quite a few photos at Poppit but my favourite part of the beach trip was the 20 minute drive through tight, winding Welsh villages. At the time we went my phone was out of action but I must make a note to try harder to get candid snaps of things I want to blog about - a goal for 2018!
Back at the farm and we got ourselves ready for the night, with the band resting and some of them downing double Lemsips to counteract the bastard flu everyone seems to have now we are back (I've avoided it so far, but I tend to be the last to the party anyway) At the Dairy, wafts of the most fragrant lamb tagine were starting to drift over from the kitchens and I set upon a large bottle of gin - it's a blur from then onwards...
Dodgy panorama of the band trying to sort out their set list, mostly I've included this because Jim's head looks hilarious.
One of these individuals was determined not to have a nice picture with the band *eyeroll*
We loved the photobooth - I got pretty attached to this red wig at one point.
I've popped some photos of some of the farm and accomodations below but their website is definitely worth a look if you are looking for a green (or just beautiful) venue for your wedding - click here. They have all the facilities you could possibly want for your big day - including a stunningly private mountainside wooden hot tub, fired by logs and with incredible views over the valley. I really wanted to give it a go but we didn't start the fire off early enough and we had to leave - I would have been more than happy to spend another few days soaking in the cooked breakfasts, fresh air and genuine warmth of Simone and Roger and everyone at Ceridwen. Thank you so much for showing me that New Years Eve doesn't have to be rubbish when you step out of your comfort zone.
The hot tub of dreams
Gypsy caravan under winter storage - I believe this is used for the bridal suite for weddings - so romantic.
Thank you all at the Ceridwen Centre for an amazing weekend!