Easter in the UK is our longest holiday. For most people it’s a chance to get away over the 4 day weekend from Friday to Monday and with the weather this year being so spectacular the timing was perfect for me to go down to mid Wales and spend a little time at my friend Romy’s country cottage with her and Jeffrey. It was the first time we had been together again since we traveled to India together in 2004.

I awoke on Saturday morning to the sounds of sheep and cows outside my window. I tried to drift back to sleep and perhaps dream that I actually lived here, in a place where the sounds of car or people were rare and replaced instead by the gentle song of nature’s springtime morning symphony.

“This is the life,” I thought to myself as I sat up in bed and looked out of the window at the hills of Wales separated with fences that weave their way across the blanket of green grass and woodlands. Could such a view ever get old, I wondered? Surely not.

I was in mid Wales to spend some time with my friend Jeffrey and Romy at Romy’s farm cottage near the village of Knighton. The easter weather was being unusually kind, treating us to blue sky days on this Easter holiday weekend.

Romy’s cottage is beautiful. The sun floods in through old windows, their frames casting shadows that make the rooms resemble something that might seem more familiar in a painting of years gone.

The day was getting off to an unhurried start and as Jeffrey and I engaged in the kind of chit chat one has when the minutes are as unimportant as the hours that keep them.

A little while later Romy had joined us and we had brunch outside where the stillness amplified the sound of distant sheep, birds and the buzzing of bees that seemed louder than I have ever heard before.

“Do you suppose bee’s have beeways akin to our highways?” I asked. “What like flight paths?” Inquired a smiling and relaxed Jeffrey. There then followed a pondering nonsense conversation about the possibilities of bee’s having to stay on defined flight-paths as they went about the business of being a busy bee.

Sat next to us, also basking in the sun, was Romy’s dog. A husky by the name of Qimmiq that she was given after she travelled across the North Pole by husky sleigh. That story alone gives you some idea of what kind of person Romy is. She’s quite simply one of the most compelling people I have ever met. If her life were a movie I’m quite sure that would be a movie worth watching!

Jeffrey and Romy have been friends for years and their differing personalities compliment each other like wine and cheese. Jeffrey positively oozes Englishness and when he talks about food, a subject in which he is a true expert, his descriptions make you feel like you are watching some off the wall cookery program that you would watch even if you weren’t at all interested in cooking. His radio voice makes everything he says sound like a commercial, and his gift for story telling makes any time with him enjoyable.

After brunch plans were made to drive somewhere in Romy’s fantastically French car and go for a walk. The twenty one year old Citroën 2cv only has a 600cc engine. “If we encounter any steeps hills I’m afraid you boys will have to get out and walk.” Warned Romy who at one stage bravely attempted (and failed) to drive up an unmade road while Jeffrey and I stood beside the road watching.

It seemed the ‘Frenchness’ of the vehicle had somehow rubbed off on Romy who charged around in it like a true French lady might. I’m not sure what I base that on though, I neither know any other 2cv owners nor any French ladies, but if I did I suspect they would drive just like Romy did.

It’s lambing season so newborn lambs were everywhere. They’re cute little things and brave in their newborn stupidity too it would seem. One little lamb decided to run up to us and say hello as we walked through a field of sheep. The presence of Qimmig the husky didn’t deter the fearless little lamb. Eventually it went back to its very concerned mother who I would imagine gave it one hell of a telling off. “Don’t you ever do something like that again, do you hear me! Just wait until I tell you father!”

It’s on days like this when I can see why someone called this country Great Britain. When you look across the green hills under a beautiful blue sky it’s not hard to see what’s ‘great’ about Britain. Sure, we’ve got problems like any other country, but in moments like these those issues fade away leaving you with nothing but the land and the echoes of the history nobody wrote about.

Les, the old Welsh farmer, took this picture of the three of us. It’s about as far removed as it’s possible to be from the other picture I have of the three of us taken at a gypsy village in Tamil Nadu, India, around Diwali time in 2004. I like this new picture of us just as much though. I think I’ll get it printed and pin it on my office notice-board next to the other one. There’s a story to both, if only for the three of us.

[Video] Romy tries, and fails, to get her car up a hill
[Video] Citroën 2cv parody commercial
Our trip to India (Part 1)
Our trip to India (Part 2)