Seven Get Wet in Wales

July 31st

Long car journeys: 1.  Gigantic scary suspension bridge: 1.  Horrid car accident hold up: 1.  Ambulances: 2.  Fire engines: 2.  Police cars: 3.  Grotty burgers in service station: 2.  Current weight: 147 lbs (if take into account wishful thinking and fact threw out scales months ago.)  Calories eaten: 5,000 per day, mostly due to industrial supply of Tesco fruit pies (£1 each!)   Fruit pies eaten: 5. Total plates and bowls washed up: 1000.   Gigantic pots and pans washed up: 18.  Total cups of coffee imbibed: 21.  Walks by the sea: 4.  Walks into the sea: 0.   Alcohol units consumed: 1 ½ .  Number of rainy days: 7.  Number of almost completely sunny days: 2.   Mountains climbed: 1.  Near death experience: 1  Gigantic TV watched twice, even though crap satellite signal, so can’t make out picture or words but gigantic TV cannot go to waste, as included in cost. Climbing boots bought: 1 pair.  Number of ice creams: 9.  Number of aches and pains: 26.  Number of road rage incidents: 1. Number of Bridget Jones’ novels read: 1  (Is also Harry Potter’s birthday.)

Have returned from week long holiday in Wales.  Self, the husband, 3 sons and 2 gf’s, holed up in self-catering Airbnb place.  4 bedroom’d 1930’s bungalow, with bathroom, 3 loos and super-long bedroom in loft, featuring exciting en-suite shower, actually in room (no doors or anything) which meant husband forced up at ungodly hour and ejected from room, so self could have glorious, private en-suite shower.  House all wooden floors, Ikea type furniture, white painted walls, wooden worktops, gigantic Aga and cushions.  Was kind of house I now want to live in but damn it, have already spent  year re-plastering and re-painting our upstairs and  hall, in muted shades of  Hint of Bile (yellow),  Twinge of Envy (green),  Lunar Falls (cream) and Rustic Cowpat (brown) – only one of those is actual paint colour.  Maybe go with whitewashed beach house look downstairs.  Are white walls in vogue?  Must pick up copy of Homes and Gardens when next in town and develop interest in interior design.

Husband packed fishing rods, model aeroplane and surfboards. Found Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy in Airbnb host’s bookcase.  Read it over 2 days as wasn’t mad surfer.  Had not previously been BJ fan but now find self unable to write, except in BJ diary form.

House opposite was farm so, instead of being greeted daily by lovely dawn chorus, instead got un-lovely dawg chorus. Farm yard dogs barked and yapped incessantly, slightly spoiling peaceful and quiet ambience.

Son No.1 and gf (1) did cooking, which is good because, according to son No.1, self can’t cook.  Cooking done in exchange for husband buying all food (son No.1 is wily and clever.)  Son No.1 and gf (1) bought enough food to feed army, because son No.1 and gf (1) follow boot camp lifestyle.  Son No.1 and gf (1) also follow Lean in 15 eating plan, whereas husband and self follow Die by fruit pie plan.  Meals v.v. good and v.v. healthy.  Airbnb house’s all white theme continued in crockery – 8 white bowls, plates and mugs. Must discard all rubbishy, bourgeois, floral crockery at home and replace with classy white.

Rhossili bay stunning but mostly deserted due to vertiginous path to access beach. Bay surrounded on all sides by cliffs from Middle Earth and all signs in Elvish (proposed to young people that Elvish is, in fact, Welsh and read signs in suitable Middle Earth accent – son No.2 impressed.)  Gf (2) had not heard of Middle Earth so genius Elvish theory partly wasted.

Rhossili landscape mostly covered in fern and thick mist, which crept across Middle Earth every day, to be followed by incessant rain.  Husband surfed, as said was going to get wet anyway.  Gf (1) is splendid Amazonian feminist, who eats multiple breakfasts hobbit-style, is v.v. strong and effortlessly wrestled son No. 1 to ground. Was top surfer (though never surfed before) carrying husband’s gigantic surfboard back up vertiginous hill, which left husband full of admiration and gratitude; as husband could barely lift board off roof rack.  However gf (1) also cooks, tidies, is motherly and giggles lots, so GOOD feminist and not SCARY BAD kind.  Son No. 1 did not like surfing or cold, cold sea, instead attempted to bury himself in wet, wet sand, demanding that self take photographic evidence.  Self and gf (2), (who is like splendid porcelain doll but with equal Amazonian ability to stride up vertiginous hills, and walk about in hiking boots for ever) sat on rock hard sand, in jumpers and coats, watching mad surfers, contemplating whether approaching black storm clouds would pass over and reveal uncharacteristic bit of sun, or would soak piles of clothes, bags full of pringles and begels,  gf (2) and self. Fortunately gf (2) had umbrella, which kindly gave to self when began to pour – rain, gale force winds and umbrella – was average British summer – as National Trust volunteer litter collector remarked whilst passing.

Due to young people’s propensity to hike and climb mountains, developed sudden urge to buy walking boots and make effort to join in – £50!! (husband had sudden urge to mislay wallet.)  Now have blisters on top of blisters and am like runt of Amazonian family litter.  5 of us crossed causeway to Worm’s Head.  Thought causeway would be similar to flat concrete footpath (not much experience of Nature) but instead was stretch of evil, jagged, sharp rocks and evil slippery rock pools.  Some rocks more evil than others, at 4 feet high. Son No.1 and gf (1) raced ahead.  Son No.3 led self and husband to avoid high rocks and slippery places.  However, Son No.3 ill equipped in Clarks’ casual footwear and fell into gigantic rock pool.  Took v.v. long time to reach Worm’s Head.  Kept checking 55 year old pulse and monitoring for chest pains.  On Worm’s Head was bell by sign in Elvish.  Must ring bell continuously, sign said, if stupid enough to ignore tidal times and get marooned on island.  Tempted to ring bell anyway so didn’t have to walk back.  Self also imagined ghost of marooned person ringing bell in middle of night to annoy coastguard.  Son No.1 and gf (1) said ‘let’s climb to top of Close Encounters type mountain in middle of Worm’s head.’  Self, husband, son No.3 collapsed and said ‘go on then.’  Son No.1 and gf (1) ran up mountain.  Was mysterious one man tent pitched at side of island.  Thought, if get stranded on island can all squeeze into one man tent?  After 10 minutes said, ‘let’s go back as basically just a rock innit?’  (must be more appreciative of Nature.)  Trekked back, nearly breaking ankle in process, then climbed up 7 foot evil rock face, followed by climb up dastardly vertiginous hill.  When had got breath back, checked pulse rate and monitored chest pain, agreed was v.v. spectacular Middle Earth scenery and well worth knackering self for.

Son No.2, gf (2) and self later strolled up vertiginous path to right of bay.  They reached the top when self was about half way up unable to breathe.  Son No.2 assured self was not very far walk, taking in top of mountain range (Welsh stand-in for Everest) then curving back round at side of bay.  On top of mountain was howling, freezing gale and gigantic horse flies which only attacked self.  But was also strange Middle Earth type concrete ruin.  Turned out was World War II radar station kept by National Trust.  Self contemplated turning back at concrete ruin (or lying in heap on ground weeping) but Son No.2 urged aged parent onwards.  2 hours later self back where started, dripping in sweat, whinging, chest pain and pouring volvic water bottle over head.  Son No.2 and gf (2) entirely unaffected – like race of super-people.

Journey back home marred by road rage incident, which has self thinking will probably never go out in car again.  Husband slowly turned out of 30 mph narrow country lane, in unfamiliar territory, when giant 4×4 appeared, as from nowhere, speeding down road, hooting ferociously at husband.  No thought to slow down or behave in reasonable, rational manner. Overtook husband and stopped, barring our way. Husband and self stunned, wondering what would happen next.  Gigantic bloke exits 4×4, strides towards us, husband lowers window: ‘sorry mate didn’t see you’ – self gives grovelling apology (musn’t escalate scary situation, son No.3 in car.)  Bloke grunts, walks back to 4×4 and speeds away.  Self lost remaining miniscule amount of faith in human nature.

Musn’t let RR incident put dampener on entire holiday.  Husband already wants to book Airbnb place again for next year and is thinking of retiring to Rhossili, opening a tea shop and flogging £1 Tesco fruit pies as homemade, for a fiver.




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