Tag Archives: Wales

That Was The Week That Was (II)

22 Aug
The Hub in pre-rabbit days

The Hub before he was brutally savaged by a rabbit

The story so far: one broken husband and one disdainful rabbit combine to make one weary of constant Ow-ow-ows from the Hub.


Monday 11 August

My monthly visit to Write Out Loud at the art gallery, an open mic poetry night.

The Hub refused to go to A&E.


Tuesday 12 August

Tea and toast with Friend Pam at Olive Café in Edgeley, a joint-church venture which is doing remarkable well.

The Hub refused to go to A&E between his groans.  I began to feel a tad irritated.


Wednesday 13 August

The Hub refused to at least visit the doctor but had me feel up his swollen shoulder.  I began to plot ways of making his suffering even worse.

Spud went out to a pre-results party with his friends so they could all be nervous together instead of in their separate homes.

DSCF1367The Hub and I went to church. 

Yes, you did that read that right – the arch-atheist Hub and I went to church.  New Chapel in Denton where, the Hub had discovered via the magic that is the internet, his great-uncle John Ellor, who died in Egypt in 1918, had his name on the Sunday School Roll of Honour for those who died during the Great War.

A wonderful couple – she works as the church secretary – called Christine and Barry pulled out all of the old records and we found lots of relatives from the Hub’s father’s side – and his grandparents’ 1927 marriage certificate.  To actually touch their signatures was emotional even for me, who has no blood connection.  It’s the first time the Hub has had a good time in church since he married me 29 years ago.

Ah!  Just realised why he’s never been back…

2:15 a.m.

I woke up to hear the Hub creeping downstairs…on his way to A&E to get his swelling checked out.  He was in agony and unable to sleep.  It was worth going in the middle of the night to avoid the I-told-you-sos, and because it took less than an hour for the Hub to be checked over, x-rayed and told that his scapula might be broken but he was so badly bruised that it was impossible to tell.  Take ibuprofen and try not to be too smug in your wife’s face or you might end up back here with  a definite broken scapula.


Thursday 14 August


Made with love

Made with love

Results day.  Spud arrived home exhausted but too excited to sleep; and starving.  He had a breakfast of 2 eggs and 3 toast followed by 6 lots of cheese and crackers.

Spud slept all day.


Spud’s friends arrived for drinks-before-the-real-boozing-starts-in-town (Manchester) celebration.  We have known most of the boys for the last seven years and they are a lovely lot, so we cracked open a bottle of champagne with them, drinking from paper cups because Spud insisted.  Then we went off to bed and they went out about ten p.m.


Pre-drinks before the real drinks

Pre-drinks before the real drinks

Friday 15 August

6:05 a.m.

Spud crept in.  Spud slept all day.

9:15 a.m.  I went out for the day to Llandudno, on the church charabanc. 

I went on a boat!  A three-year old girl loved it; her older brother screamed the whole time. 

I went on the beach as the tide came in.  So I wasn’t on the beach for long.

A beautiful Welsh beach

A beautiful Welsh beach

I went on the country’s longest pier – a mile and a half, I think. 

I went on the tuppeny slots, just like I did on Welsh holidays as a child. 

I discovered you can’t slice a scone without a knife but it tastes just as good when buttered, creamed and jammed with a spoon. 

I got home at six-thirty and I was in bed thirty minutes later.*

If I'd had the money, I would have bought the boys - all three of them - one each of these onesies

If I’d had the money, I would have bought the boys – all three of them – one each of these onesies

Saturday 16 August

Tory Boy phoned: I’m at the hospital with suspected appendicitis.


Come back soon for the final, exciting instalment – is Tory Boy fit to burst?


Joke 548

22 Sep


From Will & Guy.


NWalesJul09_038 (Photo credit: Richard Sz)

An American farmer was on holiday in Wales.  He could not resist exploring the hill farms north of Aberystwyth.  At lunch time he dropped into a pub and fell into easy conversation with a Welsh farmer.

“How big is your spread?” asked the American.  

“Well look you, it’s about twenty acres,” the Welshman said.

“Only twenty acres?” the American responded.  “Back in Texas I can get up at sunrise, saddle my horse and ride all day; when I return at supper time, I’ll be lucky to cover half my farm.”

“Sure, sure,” said the Welshman.  “I once had a horse like that, but I sent him to the knackers’ yard.”


No Water Falls And Waterfalls

22 Aug


Thursday was peculiar: it didn’t rain at all.  No dampness, no water.  

Naturally, the first thing we did was go find some.

Our neighbour had mentioned Dyserth Falls, just a couple of miles from the camp site.  It was lovely.  If you fancy a visit to a pretty sight, it’s worth the 40p donation, which is all they ask.  They trust you to drop it in the box on the way over to the waterfall.  

Waterfalls are boring, unless you are a photographer.  We – the children, the dogs and me – left the Hub doing his thing and climbed the steepest steps I ever met outside of one drunken night in 1986.  Great view of the countryside; none at all of the top of the waterfall, which was well hidden by trees, for safety.

We went back to the Hub, still doing his thing, and waited.  Waterfalls are pretty but boring.  Photographers are pretty boring.

Eventually, the Hub heard our whining and joined us for bacon baps on the bench, from the little shop/café that serves tourists.

The Hungry Tamed

The service was outstanding.  We wanted to buy a couple of sausages for the dogs (they were also on holiday) but they couldn’t be sold without the buns and that would have been a waste.  When the woman came with a huge bowl of water for the dogs (which Toby managed to fall into), she brought two date-expired sausage rolls, not fit for human consumption but perfect for slavering pooches, free of charge (we gave them the meat only; no pastry.  They might have been on holiday but we still watched their waistlines) .

Dyserth Falls: definitely recommended.

Next, we went to Rhyl so the kids could spend their money.  I bought something unnecessary and frivolous, which I haven’t done in years.  A scarf with rings, butterflies and things, for a fiver.  I’ll have to take a pic for you, when I wear it.  I may never wear it because it’s not really something I would ever wear, but I really liked it and I don’t regret the purchase.

Frivolity: definitely recommended.

It’s fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A, to the annoyance of complete strangers

Finally, a bit of culture.  We visited Rhuddlan Castle, meeting a lovely lady (M.B.E.) on the desk, who chatted to us for ages and admired our many and polite children.

Up on the ramparts, we spotted our shadows way down on the ground and the kids did an impromptu rendition of YMCA, leading another tourist to mutter ‘Pillocks!’ under his breath.  He obviously didn’t read the frivolity memo.

The kids compounded their crime by enthusiastically chasing and catching a runaway Labrador, to the owner’s gratitude; playing quoits with no skill whatsoever (the Hub put them to shame even though he was furthest away from the pole); and rolling gleefully if somewhat painfully down a steep hill, where it is entirely possible logs steeped in burning oil were once rolled to see off invaders.

Childhood: definitely to be enjoyed, even when you’re sixteen.

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Camping: The Art Of Staying Wet Indoors

21 Aug


Day Two (Night): Torrential rain, non-stop.

Day Three (Morning): Sun and strong winds.

Day Three (noon-six p.m.): Torrential rain, non-stop.  No stopping. Constant, pounding, ongoing, perpetual, unchanging, relentless, monotonous, uninterrupted rain for six solid hours.

The woman camping alone next door in – I kid you not – a child’s pop-up tent, complete with the necessaries: beer fridge and TV, packed up and went home because she was flooded out.  Our gazebo died and the boys had to disassemble it.

We had a back-up plan for entertainment: lunch, cards and Rhyl Sun Centre. RSC is an indoor pool with slides and waves and things.  In any other country, an indoor pool with slides and waves and things on the beach front would seem daft, but we are talking about Wales.  Wet, wet, wet Wales, where everyone wears cardigans over their bathing suits in August.

The Hub dropped the kids off then came back and dropped off.  

I dogsat and read my Kindle.  I started three books and couldn’t get in to any of them.  Hundreds of books on my Kindle and I couldn’t find something new to enjoy.  It was like having literary cable.

I thought for a moment: I was alone in the wilderness (the Hub was en route); there was little food left; I didn’t know or trust anyone around me.

Time to re-read The Hunger Games.


Shock Sighting In Wales

20 Aug


We had never seen anything like it.

The sun came out.

It made the mud caused by twelve hours’ rain the previous night become less muddy mud – enough to squelch and spray within a ten metre radius; not enough to lose a shoe.

Way hey!  Way hey!  Off to Rhyl for the day!

Rhyl has a beach.  We did beachy things, including trekking back up from the sea to the bin with dog dirt.  Twice.  I’m sure I lost weight.

We ate junk food, over-priced takeaway food, and our words –  we didn’t want to anger the sun so that it got into a huff and disappeared.  And it didn’t, until the rain took the nightshift.

The kids wasted their money in the arcades and the shops, as every child born since the advent of the railway allowed cheap seaside excursions has done.

Spud climbed a wall right to the top and was given a free stick of rock as a reward.  Later, the rain warped it and we threw it away.

The dogs loved their six-hour walk.

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The Hub was too exhausted to braai in the evening, despite spending most of the day sitting down on walls, benches and the occasional stranger, so we bought fresh cooked chicken, ham shanks, salad and bread for dinner.  Yummy, greasy finger food: perfect, and not a problem to clean up afterwards – we just stuck our hands out of the tent doorway and let the rain save us a walk to the utility block.

I was beginning to like Wales.


Newsflash: It Rains In Wales

19 Aug


Q: How do you fit two adults, two dogs, three teenage boys, one girl child, a tent, sundry camping equipment including a carpet, TV, and a fridge into a little 1400 Citroen?

A: Don’t be daft!  It’s not a Mary Poppins’ Tardis.  You don’t; you get one teenage boy’s Dad to bring him along, with half your gear.  Thanks, Dennis.

About three weeks ago the Hub said, ‘The weather is supposed to improve; let’s go camping.  Let’s go camping and take the niece and nephew and Spud’s friend. Let’s go camping in North Wales because it’s only an hour’s drive from here and I can just about manage that with my ME.  Let’s go camping and forget our last experience of three days in a tent in October in a gale.  Let’s go camping because the Olympics will be over and the football season won’t start until a week later and I’ll be bored.  Let’s go camping.’

I’m pretty intuitive, and I began to suspect that the Hub wanted to go camping.

He looked online, found a nice camp site about four miles each way from Abergele and Rhyl, and booked four nights, five days for six people and two dogs, reasonably priced.

Come last Monday morning, we loaded up the cars and went off on a summer holiday.  We had no trouble finding the camp site; we were given a good spot – sheltered, near the water hole.  The tent went up in fifteen minutes with all those bodies and because we knew how to do it this time.  The gazebo and wind breaker went up even faster.

We sat; we rested; the children explored and played.  We braaied sausages and hamburgers for dinner.  We congratulated ourselves on our choice of week, weather-wise.

The heavens opened.  We scuttled inside the tent and made the best of it.

The heavens closed, leaving behind a rainbow.  The children, dogs and I went for a walk.  The children played football and badminton.

Night came.  We watched a movie and went to bed, having first scoured the wonderful clear sky for the tail end of the Perseid meteor shower.  Hub and Spud were fortunate enough to see a couple.  Me, nothing.  The one time in fifteen years I’ve had a clear sky to witness it, and I was in the toilet.

The clear sky departed.  It rained all night.

Welcome to Wales.


Holiday’s A-Comin’

17 Aug

The Sun newspaper may be regularly derided and vilified but ten million readers will agree that they have great offers. Page 3 Girl Lucinda Lexicona from Luton declares ‘I asseverate that Sun readers are indebted to the editor’s munificence and much esteem their £9.50 caravan holidays.’

Not having had a holiday together in twelve years (and that was a disaster never to be spoken of again while the Hub and I are breathing…ssh! He’s coming), we thought it might be a good idea to splash out a tenner each for the four of us.

I bought the paper and saved the vouchers and we were all set to go when it suddenly occurred to us that we probably couldn’t take our dogs to stay in Pontins’ holiday flats. We were right. Mightily disappointed but not prepared to send our pets to kennels that cost more per night than we were paying for the week, we put away our sun block (for holding the door open to let in a little rain) and thunk again.

Thinking not being our thing, we were relieved when The Sun rode to our rescue with a fresh plan: cut out these here noo vouchers and you can go camping (at a camp site that allows dogs) for £1 a night. We simply had to phone our chosen camp site, book it, and pay up front.

We upgraded to a stand with electricity and mentioned the dogs and a week’s camping holiday in Abergele with our dogs and however many of our kids can tolerate our snoring in October when it’s turning cold(er) and wet(ter) after this delightful summer of leaky skies, will cost us a grand total of £25.

Now all we have to do is buy a tent.

Boys Moan

30 May

Spud Bud has left me for another woman: his friend’s mother, who makes edible mashed potatoes that he can stomach, though he can’t stomach mine; and who has gone off to exotic places for a week: Trearddur Bay in Angelsey.  This is the third time they have taken him away and I am very grateful, though they will insist on bringing him back.

I had hoped to have a break from his complaints – he’s fourteen: complain and sleep is all they do – but he had been gone only six hours before the first call came, complaining that I had not provided him with bedding (okay; I never said his complaints were unjustified).  I remembered the toothpaste; what more does he want? 

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