A few years ago now, my brother moved to Anglesey, in Wales. He has visited multiple times since then (clearing out the cupboards every time – it’s like being visited by Huns) but I’ve never had occasion to schlep over to Wales to visit him. He insisted I take a weekend to come see him and take him to their wonderful local lobster restaurant. And to bring my wallet (of course – little brother and all that).
Beloved was most excited, he’s never been to Wales before. Which was amusing to watch because he seems to have this odd idea that absolutely anything will be different. You’d think we were going to distant climes but he was insistent it would be Different. He also expected it to rain all the time. I said he was silly and that was just a ridiculous stereotype.
And Loki heard me.
Road trip was uneventful (“it’s getting hilly isn’t it?” “yes, they’re called the Pennines.” “oooh Lancashire, aren’t we supposed to hate them?” “No, I am, you’re a southerner and don’t get to take part in our ridiculous, centuries old petty grudge.” “I’ve lived here for over decades now!” “And you’re more than 2 decades old – southerner.”) there was lunch, there were views, there was a bloody WIND because it was November in the Penines.
Then we crossed the River Dee and DARKNESS DESCENDED.
Literally, we had to turn on the headlights. It was like 2:30 in the afternoon and we had the headlights on. And it RAINED. I don’t just mean rained, I mean RAINED. It was the kind of rain where, if your cracked the car window you risked drowning in the deluge. This was maintained for the entire duration of our stay.
Beloved decided that Welsh was a great language for casting spells, at least from the little he gleaned from the road signs, and is still spending an inordinate amount of time chanting “Arath! Ysgol! Canol y dref! Ildiwch! Cerddwyr” rather dramatically (which sounds impressive by means “slow, school, town centre, give way, pedestrian” and probably not the chanting of some mysterious Merlin. Unless Merlin doubled as a lollypop man)
My brother dragged me round the sites – and by sites I mean “shopping” (and guess what that meant?) which included Llanfair PG (no, I’m not typing the full name, google it) which seemed to be a) a tourist hub and b) a tourist hub based entirely on its name.
What I did like was the terrain. It reminded me a lot of the North Yorkshire moors in a way – not that it’s similar per se, but that it has an incredible, stark beauty. Pretty to look at (and rainy, did I mention it rained? Because it rained. A Lot) but probably a hard place to farm. The terrain and the restaurants convinced me why this area is a holiday hot spot (or wet spot. Did I mention the rain?)
The lobster place was fabulous, my brother was right. But I’ll never be the biggest fan of lobster. I like it, don’t get me wrong, but I’m always left with a feeling of “I like it more than crab, but I don’t like it twice as much as I like crab – so why am I paying twice as much?” They also had nice oysters – but same applies. I like oysters but why are they a squillion times more expensive than mussels? Especially in Britain where we harvest metric fucktons of shellfish – then sell it all abroad.
It was nice to get away from it all for a couple of days, and it was probably my reluctance to relinquish the peace that led to my purging of annoyances (which I don’t regret and am glad something spurred me on at last). Even if we did get stuck in a traffic jam due to an accident and the Sat Nav redirected us to the UNMOVING ROAD above the road we should have been on flowed, slowly, but still flowed. I can only assume everyone had a Sat Nav like ours and they all said “ZOMG AN ACCIDENT! SLOW TRAFFIC! Let us now filter 8,000 cars on a country track designed for goats! SLOW GOATS!” resulting in it taking us 6 hours to get home.
I brought lava bread home with me, not sure what to do with it. And Welsh cakes. Which are like rationed fruit scones – where fruit and sugar severely rationed and no-one’s heard of baking powder or eggs.
Or, as I remarked, they’re like scones if Beloved baked scones. This may result in him defiling my kitchen.