Just how much can a man do in 3 days?
So, here I am, shattered and sat at home after my 3-day holiday to North Wales. Watching the weather on Sunday night, I was to expect the worst as wave after wave of heavy rain and high winds were to move in across Wales. And I was going camping in a trailer tent. Me? Mad??? Someone even said to me "it might miss you." This is Wales. Rain has never known to "miss" Wales.
So, up early Monday morning, and we leave home later then expected at 10:30. We are expected in Llanberis late lunchtime, hopefully between 1 and 2pm and so we take the hard slog north. The reality was everyone that wasn’t capable of driving more then 30 mph seemed to be out. One f**king annoying twat in front of me for the best part of 25 miles with a brand new Land rover, and the inability to take his foot off the brake, even when he wasn’t braking. And to make matters worse, a lot of the time he was only driving at 20mph. Yes, he was old. Yes, he had a flat cap. On the way up, I spotted a bargain CD, namely M-People’s latest "best of" collection. On it was listed the theme music to the London 2012 Olympic bid "Proud." Then it occurred to me, that for this theme song to be accurate and the Olympics being held in Stepney, it was spelt wrong. "Praad," followed by a deep sniff would have been more apt.
The trip was spent visiting old haunts. Caernarfon seems to have improved, but I don’t remember it being as labyrinthine as it is now. My old school has been knocked down, which was a shock because it should have been a listed building. I avoided Bangor town centre, which I must admit I still think was a good idea. We took a long walk through Llanberis village centre, shopping for this and that. I once got a wonderful poster of Snowdon summit in the snow looking down on a sunny day, and has since become forlorn. I decided to visit the gallery that I got it from, only to be told the only thing I can buy now are prints. I don’t want a painting, so I left it. The wall now has a space on it for a photo I no longer have. A delightful meal was had in the pub called the Antelope, overlooking Menai Bridge. The even more delightful 18 year old waitress stopped to chat, and I think she realised just how lucky she was to be working where she was.
Doing the touristy bit, we decided that Electric Mountain seemed like a good bet. This building on the edge of Llanberis is a relatively new building, dating back some 20 something years. I remember visiting when it first opened, and I was introduced to the wonders of the Dinorwic Power station, housed some 2 miles away in a mountain. Thinking John would find this interesting, I plumped for that. Imagine my surprise when I get there to find that the exhibition isn’t actually in the building anymore. No, it’s actually 100 times better, and is a tour into the mountain and it’s 6 miles of man made tunnels. The quiet (not a job for a load place in a mountain) Eirlys, tour guide and scary woman from a kid’s point of view, reeled off one staggering statistic after another. The only downside to the entire tour was the lack of cameras allowed. Normally this gap for having memories stored is filled in the local gift shop where you can buy postcards showing the machinery, maps or whatever for extortionate prices. But not here, where they had nothing but pieces of slate, "I’ve been to the Electric Mountain" pencils/bookmarks/sheep, and the largest collection of fragranced incense sticks.
The bad weather came on Wednesday night. It got windy, it got wet, but through some careful planning (and a damn big windbreak bought in Caernarfon) we survived. It really wasn’t that bad at all. The tent had even dried out by Thursday morning when it became time to pack up and go home. Another full day was spent dodging one slow driver after another. Some fuckwit, this time in a Seat Cordoza managed single-handedly to cause a tailback of some 40 cars behind him, by driving no more then 35mph. When straight roads appeared and nothing was coming, people took the opportunity to overtake and so before long I found myself directly behind him. Now I’m in a car with ample power for overtaking when it’s not towing, but with a trailer weighing close to a ton, I don’t stand a chance in hell. I feel bad because I can’t overtake, and gawd knows what the people behind me felt.
I eventually get home, and after successfully negotiating the trailer down the hill ("No! The other left!!!") into my back garden, the skies darken and the heaviest hail storm for months, if not years, falls. I get the feeling someone didn’t want me to unpack.
Still, weary and nostalgic, I still enjoy the visit, and this time next year I’ll hopefully be back.
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