A 6 year old, a 7 month old baby, two adults developing colds and one sitting a major Uni exam in 7 day’s time holed up in a tent in the middle of tornado conditions in one of the wettest valleys in mid Wales... were we utterly mad?
It’s fair to say that the weather could have been better. High winds when we arrived had the farmer guffawing at our efforts to erect our Vango uber-tent in his camping field though I’m at pains to point out that Karen and I achieved this assignment so singularly that ours was one of the few tents in Wales not to be blown out into the middle of the North Atlantic by the end of the day.
When we asked the farmer what the forecast was like for the rest of the week he smiled and nonchalantly replied “first the wind, then the rain”.
And he wasn’t bloody wrong.
Anyone who’s ever sat in a tent while the wind howls around them outside knows how oppressive and claustrophobic such an experience can be. However, we could just about cope with that. The kids were fine and we were definitely getting lots of “fresh air”. The torrential rain on Monday evening however was the last straw. Karen and I were feeling decidedly rough by this point and just could not get warm. All our plans to walk the hills had gone for a burton and we just couldn’t face another few days sitting miserably on a plastic ground sheet listening to the deluge outside fall at a 33 degree angle in an attempt to perforate our tent defences.
We either had to find an emergency B&B or bite the bullet and head home.
Our one and only stroke of good fortune saw us locate possibly the last free B&B in the area – another de-camped family tried literally 5 minutes after us and were turned miserably away. I admit I took sadistic pleasure in their disappointment knowing that we had secured the one-and-only room for ourselves.
Ah. What can one say about a proper bed and a television? A sofa and an en suite bathroom? Cooked breakfast and no washing up? Such things are worth killing for. Honestly.
The rest of the holiday was alas a bit of a wash out – 2 of the museums we went to turned out to have closed down and the weather was still too inclement to risk a walk in the hills. So we mooched around Machynelleth, Corris and Betws-Y-Coed and took comfort in the fact that the weather was ineffably worse back at home in Leamington Spa.
Ho hum. Another Great British Holiday experience notched onto the old umbrella handle.
We got home Thursday afternoon and I then had to get my head around some last minute revision for my Uni exam on Saturday. Poetry In English Since 1945. And what a bitch it was too. One of the toughest exams I’ve ever sat. I had to answer 3 questions. Normally I run through the list of questions at the start and put an asterisk next to the ones I feel competent enough to answer. By the end of the list I’d earmarked just one.
I had to find 2 more. 2 more!?
Suddenly being stuck on a hillside in Wales with a tornado shredding my sleeping bag around my legs seemed a much healthier place to be...