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Ninth visit to Penpont house- another great success.

Waiting for the coach to arrive. Chris the driver had taken a scenic route which took longer than expected. I think he was hoping for snow again.

‘This is always a very popular trip ‘, Thanu said, ‘Please try for the biggest coach that you can!’ She may have regretted her words when on Friday 20 potential participants dropped out for various reasons!

However , whilst  celebrating Sri Lankan New Year with her family , she managed to replace the drop outs and the coach was full on the day! So on the  14th April about 30 Ukrainians, living around south Powys and 60 people from Swansea  seeking sanctuary and  many volunteers and supporters had a lovely day out in Penpont.



The weather was sunny and although it was cool, people enjoyed wandering around and exploring. Those who had been before showed others their favourite places and some spent hours in the  maze. The queue for pony rides was as always long and eventually the ponies rebelled and decided they needed to go home! But by this time most visitors had spent time with them…Thanks, as always, to Fiona and friends for patiently walking to and fro  with very excited riders. As usual, children enjoyed throwing stones into the river and gravel into the water in the courtyard.

It was great to see George, coordinator from Swansea Asylum Seeker Support and have a chance for him to experience the wonders of Penpont and also to swap notes.


This exceptionally patient dog coped with many little children sitting and stroking him






























As we’ve come to expect,  the kitchen team and kind supporters ensured that everyone had plenty to eat with a large range of hot and cold vegetable dishes, amazing cakes and fruit and tea and coffee freely available.

The quilting table was  popular . People enjoy sitting and chatting whilst stitching. Hilary and Harriet made kites with many and it was lovely to see so many  kites being flown. Face-painting was on offer with many beautifully decorated faces leaving at the end of the day. Ad hoc football matches on the lawn and plenty of people strolling and chatting throughout.

A beautiful kite that was much admired. Hilary sent me a video or a child running with a similar kite but I don’t seem able to share that here



























It was lovely to catch up with Martha who came to Talybont and tells me this is now her favourite place on earth-‘Is it Paradise?’ We looked at  tulips and the  topiary elephants and discussed  how her life has changed.

She has refugee status now and recently managed to find a home for her children and herself. She is job hunting but seemingly her vast experience of Educational Psychology in Cameroon counts for little here. Let’s hope that common-sense prevails and she finds work commensurate with her ability-  and soon.

Meanwhile she, of course, wrote  a poem  for us with the elephants being given ownership of the estate!  She says that she had the idea from

‘Yesterday while we were doing the quilts? I was asked why the elephants have no tusks….then I was told that Wales had many wars in the past. Immediately I thought the tusks could have been sold  to ivory lords. Hahahah maybe they fell in the river Usk while they were drinking hahahaha ‘.


Barbara and Martha discussing Tulips

the elephants of Penpont

Penpont of the tuskless green elephants
In thy herd is might and authority
Protector of the environs
Trumpeting by the silent waters of the Usk
And replenishing thy thirst in ease
Oh that thy tusks be not in the Usk
But thy arborist reaped thy ivory
For in his imaginative artistry
The past did him haunt
Let thy size be not thy judge
But thy worth and resilience
For amidst the freshness of the air
The breathtaking scenario
The sweet smells of flora
The flavours and aromas of thy kitchen
The richest and finest spices
And mouth watering cuisines
Cakes of no measure in colour and taste
This uniqueness of style
Portrays the might of your size
Great relics of your ancestry
So blessed to walk in these paths
One hundred and thirty-five years old
That today we do look in awe
The talents of gold.
To celebrate memorable horse back rides
On the green fields and slopes
Amidst tulips of varied hue
shapes and sizes
That litter the environs
 As sprouting roses
Announce the wailing of spring
Weary daffodils creep in silence
To quit the scene for summer
This blend of colours and shapes
Whose perennial feet do crawl

For the cycled beauty of nature.

`Martha and Ailsa in front of Penpont house

Lo!  today I tell a tale
Of legendary ship lords and ivory merchants
Of the tuskless Penpont elephants
Whose ivory the wars did harvest
Yet do remain in good shape
With hope to rejuvenate in ache
For the loss so huge
Whose tree surgeons did not justice







A visit to the church with Luidmila and Michael was a great opportunity to wander further and see the wonderful stained glass and examine the organ.












And all too soon it was time to go. a photo opportunity in front of the house was too good to miss and a photo of Gustavo pretending to drive the bus was also worth having.
















Thanks to Vina and Gavin for being wonderful hosts,To Jackie and her team for kitchen duties and to the people who made tea and coffee throughout the day, To Philip on reception, to Virginia with raffle tickets and to Fiona and team on horses, Emily and team on Quilts to the face painters and Hilary and Harriet for Kites. Thanks also to Michael for photography.

Heartfelt Thanks from Ludmilla

I have just come back from the regular Welcome day at Penpont Country House. And I cannot help writing some feedback about this event organized by Hay Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees. 

 It is the third time we have met at this beautiful place. And each time we have an opportunity to find some necessary things for our household,  some clothes and toys for children,

Ludmilla in Yew tree in Churchyard.

various interesting activities, delicious food and meetings with our friends and other refugees from Swansea.  That’s why I want to acknowledge Gavin and Vina for their hospitality.

 It is important for us to meet from time to time in an informal atmosphere for a chat and to exchange information, to let our children play with each other and have lots of fun, to meet new friends, to find contacts and to learn more about local culture, traditions and cuisine. So we all are very grateful to Ailsa, Lawrence and the other volunteers for their understanding, support and organizing these Welcome days.

We have been in Wales for two years already and we have met at lots of interesting places. Each meeting is always well organized. And each time we are introduced to something new, something interesting,  something  unusual. For instance excursions around the local surrounding and churches,  competitions between groups of teenagers and kids, horse or pony riding, various handicraft, national folklore, a portable planetarium and even  manicure,  massage, reiki, etc. It’s amazing, but even the weather has been friendly and kind to us during such meetings! 

 We are all looking forward to the next Welcome days. A big thank you from the Ukrainian community living in Powys.

 Ludmila Souproun, on behalf of South Powys Ukrainian community


THANKS from Swansea.

Good morning. Yes, we had a nice day for ourselves and the children.
Thank you so much Mrs Thanu I really appreciate this day .Good job and all the best.
Thank you very much, for that great time we spend today on that trip, we enjoyed a lot.
Thank you so much for everything. It was really enjoyable day for my family.I really appreciated about halal foods.It was really amazing. Thank you so much one more time.
Thank you so much for everything and that was an amazing day I have ever had. I’m really appreciate you 😊
We enjoyed a lot thank you very much, we had a great time there.
Good night