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Wednesday 13 May 2009

The Things We Do to Amuse Ourselves!

I was sorry to have missed the contact with my fellow bloggers during my recent absence - truly I was. My only excuse is that I was enjoying myself. We, Doreen and I, with two mutual friends from my college days, Judith and Bill, usually aim to have a few days away together each year. This year Cardiff had the honour of our presence - well just outside Cardiff, actually, in a rather splendid Country House Hotel tucked away (though we did manage to find it, eventually) beneath a mountain and with a magnificent view looking down on Cardiff and beyond it to the Bristol Channel and further still to the North Devon coast.

Dragging ourselves away from the temptation to stay and do nothing, we spent much of the first day exploring Cardiff's regenerated waterfront. Particularly interesting to me was the Norwegian Church, dismantled, shipped across to Wales and reassembled piece by piece by the Seaman's Mission for the use of Norwegian sailors using the port. Roald Dahl was christened in it. It now contains a cafe (everything in Cardiff contains a cafe, bar or restaurant) and upstairs an art gallery showing some quite respectable works. But equally as interesting was the lightship, now permanently moored and open to the public. Surprisingly for such a small ship, it boasted a mess room serving snacks and drinks (well, that wasn't surprising, I suppose), a library and a chapel.

The following morning things began to go slightly downhill when Doreen's mobility scooter shed the main bolt from its steering column (called a tiller).A very obliging hotel maintenance man tried his best to effect a repair, but without success. From then on our choice of activity was somewhat curtailed. There followed a fruitless search for a spare part in Merthyr Tydfil, during which we came upon the wall painting and whilst photographing it was approached by the artist who told us proudly that he had painted it nine years ago.We then decided to take a ride on the Brecon Mountain Railway, only to discover that we were using an out-dated timetable and it was closed. Instead, we took ourselves off for a drive through the Rhonda Valley.

We did eventually ride the mountain railway, but that was the day I forgot to take the camera...! In addition to which, I have to say that I have ridden on more exciting mountain railways. Come to that, I have ridden on more exciting Welsh mountain railways. Very pleasant, though.

Bill and I did also get to take ourselves off to Castle
Coch (pronounced Cock), an accurate reconstruction of the original thirteenth century castle - at which there was a wedding. I make no further comment, but include a photograph.

Circumstances prescribed that the highlight of our days away would be the hotel, but what a highlight it was!


Karen said...

Dave, I always find it refreshing to get away, if only for a few days. Somehow, everything looks different when I return. Sorry about Doreen's scooter. That must have been disappointing and a burden on her feelings. If the hotel was wonderful, that's a great way to make up for the circumstances.

Glad to have you back, too.

Rachel Fox said...

My next post will be about a Roald Dahl book! Excellent timing.

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

Welcome back Dave..........I am much in need of a holiday myself!!
Awwww...........poor Doreen and her scooter. Cardiff is lovely though, no? Our 20 year old works in Cardiff for Coca~Cola and I think it's a lovely place to visit.
Now...........when can we expect another of your fantasic poems my friend?

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Mary Ellen said...

Getting away is always a good thing - and I'm so impressed that you made the best of your limits. I'm often tempted to check into a little B & B somewhere, all by myself, with my stack of must-reads! Lovely photos!

Anonymous said...

It is nice to get away even if it's only to return with funny stories.
I didn't know Roald Dahl was from Cardiff.

Unknown said...

Hi Dave,

Even a short break can do wonders in helping us to feel rejuvenated. Pity about the hiccups! Do you suppose the wall artist has been loitering there for nine years hoping for plaudits?

Unknown said...

Glad you had a nice time despite some difficulties, & thanks for the tour!

Marion McCready said...

Sounds like you had a nice time!

Tess Kincaid said...

I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about your trip! I just returned from some traveling, myself.

Aniket Thakkar said...

Few things give more pleasure than the company of old friends.

Nice to see and read that you had a great time Dave.

Welcome back!

Shadow said...

that sounds like a great break. i don't fault you in the least for your absence.

Frances said...

Hi Dave - I'm not surprised you were unable to find spare parts in Merthyr Tydfil - I'm only surprised you were able to find anything in Merthyr Tydfil.

You happened upon the area where I grew up - the Cardiff docks regeneration was very much needed. You wouldn't have wandered around there sight seeing 30 years ago but its great now.

I have to take you up on your pronunciation of Castle Coch - it does not rhyme with Cock at all. But there is no English phonetic equivalent so you'll have to accept my word for it!

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Dear Dave, I visited the coast of central Wales with friends who had a farm there. It was 2005. And the poem I wrote about their memory of this farm has been very dear to me, I'll probably post it. I have never been to Cardiff. But when I think about Wales I always feel attracted by Manafon area where I would like to go and Holihead: R.S.Thomas's places.

I mentioned your name in my latest post considering the successful bounty of comments you receive here!

All my best, Davide

The Weaver of Grass said...

Have just returned from holiday myself, Dave, so I know how it refreshes the parts other things cannot reach! I too have come back rested and fatter, from the hotel goodies! Glad you enjoyed the break in spite of the hiccups.

Rosaria Williams said...

WElcome back, and thanks for sharing your vacation with us.

Sarah Laurence said...

Welcome back. I love your excuse! It does sound fun. I’m a big Roald Dahl fan.

Dominic Rivron said...

I think it's an interesting part of the world - and I say that having not visited (yet) any of the places you mention! (The Epstein in Llandaff Cathedral is worth a look).

When we go to Wales, we usually go to the other end - Portmadog, Snowdonia and the Llyn Peninsula.

Andy Sewina said...

Hi Dave, love the holiday snaps, I've been to Caerilion, Idylls of the King, springs to mind!

Mary-Laure said...

Thanks for taking us along on your trip, it's great!
I always adored Roald Dahl, BTW. I'd love to visit his house some day - but the church where he was christened is good, too.

Girl Tornado said...

What a lovely getaway, and I agree with Karen, one always looks at things differently when one returns. Sounds like you guys had a wonderful time.

And thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment, I really appreciate that! :-)

Hannah said...

Hi David,

I've read your blog post and even your comments to other blog sites. I find your writings very interesting, I love your idea and I adore how you express your thoughts.. I would appreciate it so much if you can visit my blog site as well and leave me a comment.



A Cuban In London said...

Welcome back, dave. Fantastic photos and good commentary. But, mountains, in Wales? Have you not seen the movie 'The Englishman Who Went Up a Mountain and Came Down a Hill' (or is it the other way around?)?

Joking aside, I've always wanted to visit Wales. My wife was there many years ago an she has fond memories of the place. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Jinksy said...

The thirteenth century castle is a joy to behold - but I wonder what the dark, 'humpback dromedary whale(?)' is doing in the foreground?!

Dave King said...

All Apologies for the delay in replying. Blogger wouldn't let me on yesterday. All I got from them was apologies - which I now pass on to you.

Karen Good to be back, and yes, it was refreshing. The disappointment was soon gotten over.

Rachel Glad to have been of service!

Midlif, menopause, mistakes and random stuff We actually didn't see much of Cardiff except the traffic and the waterfront. What were lovely were the people, everyone we encountered was friendly and helpful.
There is a poem on the stocks.

Mary Ellen That would do me very well, a few days with my stack of must reads! I actually didn't do much reading, but what I did do was very enjoyable.

Dedene I'm not sure that he was from Cardiff, though he must have had some connection with it. I shall have to research the story.

Derrick I did wonder that myself, but didn't like to mention - in case I'm getting too cynical in my old age!

Sorlil Very. Thanks.

John Thanks for the comment.

Willow Thanks for that.

Aniquez de los mil luces Thanks for the visit and the welcome.

Shadow Thanks for that! Yes, it was a great break.

Frances Thanks for the local info'> I was just repeating what I was told punctuation-wise! I think they were too realistic to try to give me the real sound! Your remarks explain one small detail. When looking for the mobility shop we called in at a "Community Information" office. The young ladies explained in great detail the route to take (we were on foot at this point), and finished by saying Take the little alley beside Car Phone Warehouse... it's okay, it's an open alley, you'll be okay!Tommaso Much thanks for the comments - and for the mention in your post. I am very appreciative.

The Weaver of Grass Nothing like it, is there? Glad your experience was also good.

lakeviewer And thanks for stopping by to comment.

Sarah Me too! (Roald Dahl, that is!)

Dominic Yes, we have visited the north of the country once or twice, but only once the south before - The Gower Peninsular. Really worth a visit. The mountains are great.

Andy Glad you like the snaps that's all they, I'm afraid: no art work involved!

Mary-Laure Yes, I didn't know it was there before I went. We were looking for a place to park, saw one - and there was the church.

Oz Girl Thanks for our visit - I really enjoyed mine to you.

Hannah I will surely do that. Thanks for visiting and for commenting.

A Cuban in London The best one I ever heard was on Countdown (I think), a contstant was telling about a mountain in Ireland, said it was the second highest (I think it was) in the country, then added that it should be even higher, but it's standing in a hollow

Dave King said...

Karen I have been to your post a couple of times, but don't seem able to leave a comment. Mystery?

Aniket Thakkar said...

You didn't recognize me either it seems. Its Aniket here. :D

The new blogger name is courtesy Joaquin, who gave me the moniker.

Art Durkee said...

Several comments about Castle Coch come to mind, but I'll be nice for once.

Haven't been to Wales since I was in college myself, when my men's glee club won the Eisteddfod at Llangollen. Not bad for a bunch of wild young Americans, I suppose.

Roxana said...

sounds like a lovely holiday, and i am grateful for the pictures! i have travelled a lot in Europe but never across the channel, this has to change one day :-)

Conda Douglas said...

Hi Dave,
Glad you had a good vacation, although with some problems. I visited Wales and Cardiff as a college student and I really enjoyed the memories reading your post brought back, although of course, it has changed somewhat.

Madame DeFarge said...

Glad you enjoyed yourselves. My visit to Cardiff was confined to going to the Welsh Assembly building and the train station. I am a well-travelled civil servant....

Cecile/DreamCreateRepeat said...

Dave, I'm glad to hear tidbits about your holiday. I would love to go to Wales someday! I'm sorry to hear your wife had a bit of a disappointment with transport while on vacation. I'm sure that was frustrating.

How lovely to have such long-time friends with whom to share pleasant experiences.

Helen said...

Yet another little bit of insight into the man we all love to read! Glad you had a grand time.

Anonymous said...

It sounds ever so perfect! Good friends, beauty, history! So glad you could have this time away with old friends and your wife. I love times like these the most!

LR Photography said...

Oh Dave... I amuse myself with so many things!

daijoji said...

Hi Dave! :-) Today just sending warmth from Poland, and I will be back to read your interesting work later. Have a very nice weekend! :-) Bye, bye.

Dave King said...

Aniquez/Aniket? I was confoosed - happens at my age! Senior moments and all that... The penny dropped when I went to your blog, of course, but still not sure which moniker you want me to use.

Art Amazing that, I would say. Well done you and them! Are you still as wild?

Roxana Yes, it was a great few days in spite of everything.

Conda Yes, it has changed, quite obviously, although I didn't know it from before, so can't say much about that.

Madame DeFarge I saw the Welsh Assembly building and the train station, though only their exteriors!

CecileDreamCreateRepeat Yes, thanks for that. The good things rather swamped the bad, I feel.

Helen Don't know about the first bit! Thanks for the second.

The Things We Carried Yes, times like that are dificult to beat.

Adrian Don't we all, though. Thought I ought to draw the line...

Magdalena Many thanks for that. I shall be returning the visit soon.

Aniket Thakkar said...

lol. You can easily take down a 1000 my age with your words any day Dave. :D

And well, Aniket would do just fine as its my real name.

Aniquez is just a temporary show-off thingy. :)

Art Durkee said...

Oh, probably much, much wilder now. Or perhaps, Wilde-r, although I'm not really decadent, I'm just decaying.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I am happy to hear you have an enjoyable holiday! Having never visited Cardiff, I was interested to read about it and see your photographs. Especially the church. Is it the same as one of the Stave churches of Norway??

Lucy said...

Enjoying yourself? That'll never do!

I was at university in Cardiff; it's changed a bit since then mind!

Anonymous said...

I about it still heard nothing

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Can you recommend a good disco?

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