May has always been a month of change for me. Perhaps it's the gentle turning of late spring into early summer, and the weather recently has certainly felt like it. As I said in my last post, I've decided to return to part-time work in order to devote more time to writing and, as of the 5th of next month, I'll be working three days and writing the rest of the week. And that isn't all! I've been lucky enough to get a position as visitor experience manager in one of Wales's most beautiful and historic places, Lake Vyrnwy - Llyn Efyrnwy in Welsh - in the heart of Powys.
The lake, owned and run by Severn Trent Water, was formed in the 1880s by the creation of the first stone-built dam of its kind in the world, and it's still pretty impressive today. You get a real shiver down the spine driving across the top of it to the visitor centre and RSPB reserve. Surrounded by dramatic hills and farmland, it is remote but totally idyllic, and a great day out. There is a lot to do at Vyrnwy, not just bird watching from the hides, but
also walking the trails, exploring the sculpture park, cycling around
the 12 miles of the lake - or even boating on it - or just browsing the craft centre and enjoying a cup of coffee in the sun and soaking up the tranquility of the place.
The RSPB runs a large organic farm at Vyrnwy and is in the process of re-establishing the ancient heath and blanket bogs up above the lake to provide habitat for declining birds like black grouse and curlews. The reserve is also home to endangered raptors like hen harriers, merlins and peregrine falcons and in the oak woodlands can be heard pied flycatchers, redstarts and wood warblers. Right outside the shop, on the feeders, there are a host of more familiar birds such as sparrows, chaffinches, siskins and even a rather magnificent male pheasant.
I'm still hanging on to my dream of one day giving up the day job altogether and becoming a full-time writer, but in the meantime there are worse places to work. And I'm really looking forward both to my new job and to getting back to doing some consistent writing as opposed to the 'start-stop-start all over again' kind!