When last we spoke I was in the not so wilds of Wales, eating a cream tea on Garth Pier in Bangor, overlooking the turbulent waters of the Menai Straight. To get home we had a drive of about 170 miles, not on American style freeways but over hill and dale on a two lane route. We could have found an easier route, well I could, as I’m the navigator on these trips, but where’s the fun in easy?
So we travelled through the northern edges of Snowdonia and back in time as well. My parents loved this area, as they were hikers and Youth Hostellers for all my childhood. Strangely, at an age when most people were upgrading from hostels to hotels, they bought a tent and expanded their explorations into Europe, which was considered pretty wild and not entirely respectable in middle England in those days. My dad, especially, loved the Welsh hills; he considered any landscape that was flat was no landscape at all, so these wild ancient hills really appealed to him.
So I planned our route home via Bethesda, Capel Curig, Betys y Coed , Ruthin, out of Wales and home across the Penines, through Congleton, Wildboarclough and Buxton. I hadn’t visited the Welsh bits in over 40 years and the memories came flooding back. I could hear my plaintive voice, “Are we nearly there yet, Dad?” or “Is it ALL uphill? Don’t they have any flat bits?” and then, with much more excitement, “Can I go and climb on those rocks?” For some reason, climbing on rocky outcrops was much more fun to 12 year old me than walking on paths and lanes through rolling country.
The whole place is a geography/geology lesson unfolding before your eyes, with glacial valleys, tarns (called llyns in Welsh), ribbon lakes and aforementioned rocky outcrops that can be sedimentary, metamorphic or igneous, depending on exactly where you are. And it was beautiful that day we came home, with bright sunshine, a warm wind and scudding clouds; everything in shades of mossy green, mixed greys and vivid blues of sky and the water reflecting it. And, in spite of it now being the school holidays and some of these villages being tourist hotspots, remarkably empty of people. Wonderful.
Wales is an odd country, apart from having a language that uses up all the spare w’s, l’s and y’s that the rest of the world doesn’t want. It’s not huge in area but, like the rest of the UK, it fits an amazing variety of landscape into a small space and it’s the same with the architecture. Apart from the recent monstrosities of industrial estates, which appear to be inescapable wherever you go, there are little squat cottages huddled into sheltered nooks to avoid the worst of the weather; Victorian double fronted residences with the obligatory monkey puzzle tree in the front garden; medieval castles dotted on crags here and there, crescents of Regency style houses strung out around seaside bays, now mainly converted into hotels, and ancient, I mean really ancient, as in older than Stonehenge, temples or burial sites. I love it.
You may have noticed that there are no photos from this journey. This is because I was too busy checking the map at every turn in the road, of which there were many, to try and take photos and the loved one was clinging to the steering wheel, occasionally with white knuckles and a determined expression on his face.
Since we got home from our adventure, it has not been what you would call quiet. A couple of days after we got back I had a Zentangle session at our house, where some friends and I practised a couple of patterns before using them to decorate the front cover of a notebook. You can see a couple of them further up the page and this is mine
And then there’s the crochet. I finished the two blankies for the twins to be and my daughter gave them to her friends. Judging from the messages I got back, they were very well received.
And then I said I would make one, a bigger one, for my adorable Ben, who is very touchy feely with toys. It’s sitting on the sofa waiting for him to come back from a visit to his Auntie, her dog and her chickens. I’m hoping he likes it when he gets in. The eyes look a bit startled at the moment – wait till they see Ben!
We’re trying to fit a lot in while they are up here, so we have been to the park, had his cousin round to play, and watched a load of films so far.
A family friend who dotes on him is coming to see us tomorrow and on Friday we head for a country park nearby with his three year old cousin too.
In the meantime I continue with the Little Summer Project and some swap tiles I received to complete but have done nothing with so far. And then the Diva Challenge, with its guest blogger, comes around…
And it’s my friend Suzanne Fluhr, whose blog Boomeresque is well worth a visit. She has invented/deconstructed several patterns and she asks us to use one of them for this week’s Challenge – Aloha. I like this pattern and wonder why I don’t use it more. this time, the tile is serving a dual purpose, as it is going to be the front of a thank you card to some friends of ours we are going to stay with next week. (No doubt I will tell you aaaaalll about it when we get back.) Anyway, here is my take on Aloha, mixed with Henna Drum, which I suspect will not have been an original idea but there you go. And I will finish with that for now. Until we meet again world, be good -ish.