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Monthly Review: April 2024

Submitted by Bethany on Tue, 04/30/2024 - 10:00

April started with Easter Monday - which is a holiday here in the UK! There was an event going on at the castle so we wandered down to see what was going on. There were stalls selling handmade items, food trucks, and some bouncy castles for the kids. The sun was shining so we wandered around a bit before buying some food to take home and eat, then spending the rest of the day playing Dominion and watching movies. 

I always try to take this week easy even if I don’t take it off, as I need a little extra downtime after the chaos of Easter. On Wednesday I had a morning meeting in Newport, but I had Joel join me so that when I was done we could go out for lunch and to see the Ghostbusters movie. We tried Harvester for the first time because Joel was craving ribs, and we are now sad we waited so long! The food was excellent and we even bought two of their sauces to take home (Spiked Maple and Kickin’ Garlic.) 

On Thursday I got a haircut - again trying a new person at a new salon - and this time I struck gold! I have finally found my hair person in the UK! Emily at Carter Ireland knew exactly what to do with curly hair and she gave me the best haircut I have had in a long time. I am finally wearing my hair down again and plan to go back every about every other month so I can keep it at this perfect shoulder length she gave me. Somehow I don’t have any pictures of this so instead I’ll share this snapshot of how I spent my evening - watching the Eras Tour (Taylor’s Version) in our cinema room!

Oh, wait, here’s one! Joel took a picture of me with my new haircut (hard to tell though) and my snacks for Era’s Tour viewing - a drink in the cup I got when we saw it in the cinema and the popcorn bucket Joel bought for me on Ebay. 

On Friday we frolicked with Steve at the Wales National Botanical Center. It was a bit chilly and windy for wandering around outside so the inside bit was my favourite. 

Joel’s favourite part was the outside - especially this man-made waterfall that were part of the grounds. 

And Steve…well, Steve did this. We found this bench overturned from the wind so Steve just had to pose for a picture!

Then we drove just a little bit to find a tower we had spotted from the garden grounds. This is Paxton’s Tower and was originally part of the Middleton Estate (which is where the gardens are now.) It was a banqueting tower and the views while having dinner here would be amazing!

On the way home, we stopped at another castle but I was exhausted so I took a little nap in the car while the boys explored. They hiked up a huge hill to the castle and then discovered that it had an underground cave system as well. We will be back to explore more of Castell Carreg Cennen!

After that fun week, it was back to work full on so I don’t have much to report. I am trying to be very well organized as I step into my new role as superintendent - and part of that means doing some major planning ahead. I have printed monthly calendars through December 2025 so I can plan all of the meetings for the circuit, my churches, staff meetings, etc as well as making sure I actually schedule myself some time off. I’m quite enjoying this part of it!

On Friday the 12th we spent most of the day in Newport waiting to get something fixed on our car - don’t get me started on the car place that had us bring the car in at 9:00 and then didn’t even look at it until after 12:00… But that gave us a chance to get some shopping done and we discovered that a game store had opened in the area! Then that night we went to Amy & Ben’s to play games and they introduced us to a new one called Everdell.

Monday the 15th was a beautiful sunny day, and in between a funeral in Penycaemawr and a pastoral visit in Monmouth we went through Usk so I could drop off some paperwork. Thankfully that takes us right by our favourite burger van - Mr. T’s! Burgers for lunch it is!

On Tuesday I spent most of the day on Zoom for more Superintendent’s Training - we’ll have these about once a month through the end of the year. 

Then that weekend we took a little weekend trip to England. We were scouting castles for an event we are hoping to do with our friends next summer, although in the end this trip helped us realize that we would rather do it at our “home castle” in Caldicot. Still, we enjoyed exploring the Guildford castle grounds. The tulips on display reminded me of our trip to the Netherlands this time last year! 

I was beyond excited to discover that Guildford had a Chipotle. Believe me when I say I know that Chipotle is “mid” Mexican food in the US but here it is top tier! This is the best burrito I have had on this side of the pond! It was glorious and now I’m obsessed with the idea of trying to make my own tortillas so I can make a good homemade version. 

We stayed at the Guildford Manor Hotel which was quite lovely. There was a feral peacock living on the grounds that liked to sit on the roof at night and scream. That sounds terrible but it was actually quite funny. 

On Friday we drove around looking for castles and didn’t find any good ones, Wales is better for castles - but luckily we had the new Taylor Swift album to keep us company. Driving around in the rain was the perfect way to listen to the double drop of The Tortured Poets Department.

On Saturday morning I enjoyed having the pool and hot tub area to myself before we headed back home! 

The last week of the month was pretty slammed with work, including two funerals. Which is unfortunate as my oldest friend, Mandy, was in Paris with her two daughters for the week! I really wanted to find a way to hop over and see them, but I just couldn’t make it work in my schedule. So what could have been a very exciting rest of the month was, in fact, a rather dull one. 

On the very last day of the month, Joel got a new phone - needed since his old one has been acting up for a long time. Then the next day we ended up getting me one too - not as needed but I couldn’t resist after Joel started bragging about all the cool things his new phone could do. So next month my pictures should start looking even better! 

XOXO, Bethany
 

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