poached eggs isn’t poached eggs unless it’s been stolen in the dead of the night
Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
This week I had a golden ticket to stay in Roald Dahl’s house!
Roald Dahl was born in Wales, in Llandaff, Cardiff 101 years ago. In 1918, after the family grew larger, they moved to a little village called Radyr, just about 8 miles outside of the city, to a large estate called Ty Mynydd.
Ty Mynydd was, as Roald Dahl described in Boy:
a mighty house with turrets on its roof and with majestic lawns and terraces all around it. There were many acres of farm and woodland, and a number of cottages for the staff….
It even had a Peach House in the garden!
The Victorian mansion of Ty Mynydd was sadly demolished in the 1960’s. Ty Mynydd Lodge is the only remaining building of the former Dahl estate. And the owners have opened its doors to overnight guests.
As I slept, in a deep deep sleep, in the middle of the night, a brilliant moonbeam slanted through a gap in the curtains. But when I awoke, I found no suitcase-carrying giant had whisked me away. For breakfast, I half expected snozzcumbers, bird pie and three-course chewing gum. Instead I was greeted with a massive platter of fresh fruit, cereals, yoghurts, pastries and fresh coffee. Plus a huge “Bore da!” and “Croeso!” by Lisa, owner of Ty Mynydd Lodge and a fellow welsh-learner.
Lisa reminded me of the sad turn of events which took place whilst the Dahl family were living at Ty Mynydd. Just two years after they had moved to Radyr, Roald Dahl’s eldest sister, just 7 years of age, died of appendicitis. Then, just a few weeks later, his father also passed away, from pneumonia- and possibly also of a broken heart. I can’t imagine what this would have felt like, especially for Roald’s mother, Sofie, pregnant with a sixth child. She longed to return to Llandaff, and sold the estate the following year, leaving Ty Newydd to its eventual decline and disappearance.
But the magic has been restored. Subtle reminders of the spellbinding storyteller-to-be are tastefully hidden around Ty Mynydd Lodge. You can relax in the lounge with one of Roald Dahl’s books- in English or even some translated into Welsh.
I grew up reading these imagination-inspiring, tummy-twisting and sometimes totally terrifying tales. ‘Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes’ was a commonly used cookery book in our kitchen. His adult stories are hysterically horrible and cringeworthyingly clever.
When I have to travel, for work or holidays, I love having amazing adventures. I will always try to stay somewhere with a story. And Ty Mynydd Lodge has so very many stories behind it.
People ask me how I find these magical places. I think Roald Dahl, that superb human bean himself, explains it best:
…watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.
Roald Dahl, The Minpins