I’d decided it to be a good idea to travel to the shadow of Snowdon, to the pretty village of Beddgelert, surrounded by the largest mountains in Wales. The weather forecast predictably took a turn for the worst the hour after I booked the camp site; what had once been predicted to be fine partial sunny weather suddenly changed to rotten rainy weather, and because I am a cheapskate I booked at a cheaper price but with the inability to alter the days of the booking. A campsite nestled in a meander of a babbling brook flowing downhill from the mountains with crystal clear sweet tasting water, it could be an advert for the Welsh Tourist Board, with a slogan something like,
“Come to Wales, it’s just like this”
How little did we know that this 3 night break under canvas, we’ve got a bell tent, but I hasten to add have had it for nearly 10 years so have been consistently ahead of the curve. I might also address the fact that I was wearing sarongs way before David Beckham deemed them fashionable, I dress for comfort, him I suspect not so, and for a whole there I imagine he probably doesn’t dress himself, or tie his fucking shoe laces, but he’s a good role model, etc, etc.
So as soon as we arrived the rain began and within 15 minutes was torrential, but withing 30 minutes we had the tent up and the event shelter (a 3m by 3m gazebo) as a front porch to the already sopping wet tent. Canvas tents seem to catch the rain without allowing any in apart from through the open door which my son seems incapable of closing and from the small amount of clothing we had with us, which was diminishing in usefulness as the day wore on. Thank christ we found a communal sort of hut, which had heaters, which I pretty quickly worked out how to turn on and on our first night we sat in there playing cards, drinking beer, wine and apple juice while my bobble hat rested on an upturned bench which we fashioned to make a temporary clothes horse. Next door was a little cafe, which sold cold drinks and freshly cooked food, curries, pizzas, etc. Which looking back at a post of last week were most of the things I said I was going to try and cut out, so safe to say the new regime is maybe a little slow getting off the ground.
As the rain poured and the river raged ever noisier as the night grew older, I slept soundly on a, i’m pleased to say, rather sturdier blow up mattress than the ones we usually end up keeping for a year or so before they puncture, which i’m sure is the main driver behind the business plan of such mattress makers, the shysters. At 4am Mrs T woke me up to ask me if I had seen how high the river was, to which I replied that I hadn’t due to my deep slumber. Turns out the river had risen by about a metre in 12 hours of a constant barrage of the fresh wet Welsh water, which doesn’t make it any more palatable, wet rain is wet rain and with the wind screaming and the river booming downhill carving itself a ever deeper channel, its safe to say the other 2; Mrs T and T junior were looking to get hold of some ear plugs at the earliest opportunity.
As this whole poorly judged misadventure was to celebrate T junior’s birthday and as T Not so Junior had taken one look at the weather forecast in the weeks running uptown this she decided aged 16 3/4 she would be staying at home and having a small gathering while we are getting trench foot in the mountains. A wise move some may say but we took this opportunity to travel to Forest Zip World; In a world of Zips… This was a ride through the forest on individual carts on a rollercoaster track which they haul you up mechanically to the top. You get 3 goes each for an astronomical amount of money and then get to scream your way round hairpin bends and switchbacks at 25mph. Not fast in a car perhaps but fucking terrifying on one of these little carts. I have subjected myself to far too many fairground rides in these last months and must stop it, I really don’t like to do this. After the cart racing we were strapped into a harness and dropped a million metres through a trap door vertically down, travelling with gravity. A little bit of wee could well have come out, but I couldn’t tell you as my shorts were soaked by my jacket being still soaked from the morning giving me the look of a person who may have well had a rather substantial accident. The running theme on this camping accident was the pretty much constant wetness of anything we chose to wear. Everything wet, all the time, as I developed gills and crawled back into the water.
Got back to the camp site, with roads closed due to massive flooding, landslides, shepherds huts next to lakes were overcome with water, up to the pitch of the roof and beyond. Jesus I have not seen such rain since Delhi in 1991, where the main bazzar flooded and we had to stand on taels in the inundated roads while stray electric wires dangled around us, sparking and buzzing. Happy days.
The internet was really poor too so I missed being able to blog anything, that and the keyboard dying under the strain off the rain.
Portmeirian was pretty cool, lots of queuing, but not as much as under normal circumstances, but social distancing was not really observed but it didn’t rain, so I was starting to dry out and with a slight chance of good weather for the day we were to leave we were in a slightly better not wetter state of mind. Guess what, when we returned to Beddgelert the rain came down again, unremittingly so, just wouldn’t stop, and what little chance we were hoping to have of packing in the rain was pouring down the drain.
Portmeirion was pretty cool, could probably do with a lick of paint and served up a lovely pork pie for me for lunch whilst sitting at a table under some Greek style pagoda. I met a man called Spencer who asked me about my Pye Corner Audio T-shirt which I was sporting. I explained and gave him some other musical tips, he was silent and said to me;
“I can dig it”
then he walked off, leaving us as firm friends and with a new catch phrase.