Sunday, November 24, 2013

A bit of Wales

Ironically, the Wifi in London is less accessible to me than up the mountain in Wales, so posting is going to be sporadic.  I have to take my computer and go down to a pub with wifi in order to check emails and such – and my phone does not work here at all for some reason.  It just can’t find service.  I thought it might be a matter of a different cell network, so I tried to change countries in my phone – there is no England, Wales, Britain, or UK in my list of possibilities, which left me at a bit of a loss.   I did try changing to “Bermuda (UK)” thinking that perhaps a similar cell system was key but with no results and then couldn’t change my phone back to USA.  Most frustrating.  The next day, I turned it on again and got it back to USA, but still no signal.  On the return to London, tried changing again but my hand spasmed and I accidently pressed “Brazil” and couldn’t get it back.  It is finally back on USA, but I give up.  Perhaps Verizon will give me a refund on my “international plan” that didn’t work at all.

My poor guys are probably wondering if I’m still on this planet.

So…  to catch you all up!


We spent much of our time in Wales sort of wandering around the farm and going to and from Llanbedr and Tallybont.  Ben needed to go to Llanbedr for a few supplies for lunch and James and I tagged along – which he thought was quite odd.  I explained to him that WE would see things we never saw, so even though it was “just to the store” it would be more than that to us.  The post office was a tiny place complete with gruff postmaster of few words.  I purchased a few postcards to send home and had to ask him for postage.  We were lucky it was open – the post office is only open three days a week up there.

Next stop was a grocery – very small, with a meat and cheese counter and behind that, a small selection of wine.  James picked up a bottle for later, and Ben got a few things and we left. 

In the parking lot, we found a cat perched on the roof.  I didn’t even realize it was a live cat until James pulled out his camera, at which point it became quite alarmed.  We talked to it as we snapped.  Ben thought us most peculiar.  Of course to him, animals up high aren’t odd.  On the drive down the mountain, there is a wall dog.  He’s chained to the wall he sits on top of and barks when anyone drives by.  Ben said one day the dog got overly-excited and jumped off the wall and was found dangling at the end of his chain.  The chain was shortened so that couldn’t happen again and the dog is now happily living on top of the wall barking at all passersby once again.  And of course, there is so much up and down here with rock outcrops and such that looking UP for an animal is quite normal.  The sheep you’re looking for could well be up on that rock sticking out of the side of the mountain.

My grandmother’s time revolved around meals – tea and dinner, specifically.  Our first night was tea with Jocelyn, then dinner with Ben in a Llanbedr pub (delicious).  The second day, it was again, tea with Jocelyn, visiting, then dinner at Jocelyn’s favorite pub, where I had fish, peas, and new potatoes.  The third day, Ben went and got Jocelyn and we had tea at Glyn Artro with Uncle John, Aunt Pip, Ben, Jocelyn – and through the magic of FaceTime, my parents back in the States.  The look of wonder on Jocelyn’s face was priceless.  James held his Ipad up and showed everyone in the room, then settled in next to Grandma for the duration of the chat.  It was a long one, but both my dad and my grandmother, hungry for the sight of each other were quite satisfied by the end of it.

Dinner that last night was at Grandma’s favorite restaurant, Tony’s.  It’s right at the bottom of her hill, and with her limited travel ability, the place she goes most often.  It’s a little Italian restaurant, perched at the bottom of the street, run by a very affable man named Tony – and he loves to talk.  There is patter and stories for each table and a very pleasant waiter as well. 

I had a plate of spaghetti Bolognese and we all shared a side of vegetables, which consisted of roasted potatoes, peas, fried cauliflower and stewed tomatoes with zucchini.  It was an odd side, but quite delicious. 
 Grandma was insistent on dessert and was quite deflated when I turned her down.  I felt I’d been eating since I got there (it’s what you do when you’re not working) and my blood sugar was going crazy.  She was quite disappointed as she was longing for ice cream and I told her to go ahead – I would have a bite of James’ dessert when it arrived, which I did.  She plowed through her ice cream (gelato, actually) and was very happy with it.

The décor was interesting – a huge array of pitchers lined the walls in the big room.  I got my very own pitcher of water, so I know they are used and not just decoration.  The other room was quite large as well, but the ceilings were low.  I suppose as a rule, Welshmen just aren’t very tall people.  Some of them are big, but not tall.  At the end of the evening, we hugged Grandma goodbye, had our feet attacked by her little dog Cassie (“Oh!  She doesn’t want you to go!” says grandma.) And James and I went up the mountain for the last time.

We had to leave fairly early, as James had meetings in London in the afternoon, so we packed our bags, loaded the car and said our goodbyes to family and the mountain for the foreseeable future. 

The ride back to London was far less harrowing than the ride out.  Traffic seemed a bit saner, the weather better, and James had become accustomed to the car we had.  It was a pleasant ride and we arrived in London, found our way to No. 9 and were let in by Kollyn, who came striding up the street just as we finished parking.  The Wales adventure was over, and the London one about to begin.


Faye said...

I loved reading this post and seeing your pics, Sarah. So glad you decided to make this trip. And how wonderful to be able to give the parents some face time with Wales relative.

I had the same thing happen with cell phone when went to Russia. Made all these elaborate arrangements for international service. Able to make only one call from Helsinki airport--an important one, but nevertheless very frustrating.

Sandy said...

Loved this, Sayre, and loved that your gran and dad got to talk to each other! Technology at it's finest...