It is rare to write of a passing, before the passing. Obituaries are supposed to be written after the event. But this is different.
The Brabners and now the Suters, but still family, have run Gliffaes since 1948, and three generations have made this the most special place for as long as I have lived. I first discovered the hotel when my parents would make the day long ride that it was in the mid sixties from Surrey, to visit their first born, a boarder at Christ College in Brecon, for half term, now known as an exeat.
What do I remember back then? Well the peacocks, obviously, and the lovely nine hole golf course adjacent to the A40, which I would pester my Dad to play with me on. But not too much else, other than the scale of the building which is the hotel, the expansive grounds, and the grand trees and colourful gardens. And the glorious River Usk flowing through Gliffaes’ generous grounds.
But recently James Suter wrote to his and Suzie’s long list of loyal clients with the sad news that Gliffaes will close at the end of September…the hotel we all love has been sold to a buyer who plans to make it his home.
The thrill of arriving for a long weekend enjoying the daffodils of early Spring, the azaleas a little later, looking for a car space as close to the front door as possible in case it rains on one’s partners coiffured hair will be no more. Lunch or tea on the terrace listening to the river below, a thing of the past. Enjoying the most comfortable bedrooms (our favourites were Rooms one and six). Re reading the catch books to see what I caught in 1992…
Gliffaes is a place where memories are made. Fishing the evening rise on middle beat, Jimmy’s infectious laughter, scrutinising the flies selection to try to learn which were the catching flies of the moment, scanning the back copies of Trout and Salmon, enjoying the photographs in the bar with a glass of Welsh whisky to hand.
One of, if not THE, best fishing hotel in the UK will be no more.
But thank you to the Brabners and James for letting us all stay at your home, for, in my case, fifty seven years. For Peta, James and Suzie and your two daughters, wherever you go next, good health and good fortune.