Criss-Crossing Wales: Escaping the Manor House

After dancing around the issue several times, we finally managed to convince our host at the manor house to let us try a bit of limestone restoration, which had been the whole reason we came to volunteer here...
Taking proper precautions while touching up walls with lime mortar
Awkward John working on lime pointing, which is basically filling in tiny cracks and holes with lime mortar
But we quickly found that our host was not an eager teacher, and had mistakenly expected us to do more menial tasks for a week or two (or more?) before the mere possibility of moving on to more specialized tasks. Facing this, we followed our guts and sent out a search beacon for a more-understanding host.

This trip is too short to spend time with people who aren't willing to understand that John and I are volunteering to learn, and we have already learned the skill of weeding for days on end.
While working on this wall, John uncovered an old flue that we assumed to be a small wood-burning area
Being creepy in our room
 
But before we officially move on, I'll mention that the best part of our little foray at the manor house was that my dad had come to visit and was with us during our first couple of days there.

I think that despite the blog, many of our friends and family members still don't quite understand this whole "work-for-free" thing that we've been doing for the past year, so it was fun to give my dad a taste of it all, even though it ended up being less working and more eating and sight-seeing.
We're so stately!
From one of the inner terraces at Castell Coch
During his visit, the main work we did was to clear out a storage room filled with wood in Cwmdu (fun!). After that, we headed south to Castell Coch, a fairy-tale castle reconstructed in the 1800s, and spent the rest of the day exploring Cardiff. After that, we made our way to the manor house and dad was able to spend a couple leisurely nights there, an experience that you just can't get staying in hotels.
fairy room caslte
The Castle was restored in the late 1800s with a nod to Victorian "fantasy" by architect William Burges. You can see that fantastical tone here with the animal motif on the ceiling reminiscent of Aesop's fables.
The banquet hall, done in "Gothic Revival" style
Decorations in the drawing room....and one angry baby.
And so with mildly conflicted (but mostly eager) hearts, we fled the manor house after about five days and headed off to greener pastures.
calendar house
Farewell, 30-roomed home. Too bad things didn't work out better...

Next up, our new hosts (and saviors) by the coast in Southwest Wales!

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