Sunday, 23 May 2010


This weekend we've brought the caravan to a small temporary site just south of Bala. This is a site we've never been to before, and there's always a worry when coming to a new place, especially on a Friday night when the bail-out alternatives are limited (and we've had a few of those in our time). Needn't have worried though, the site is good one, very quiet, feels remote – even though it's only a half hour walk into the town of Bala.

And look at the view!

We're up on a hill looking out over the lake, and it's the kind of place that you don't need to leave to find entertainment – it's fine just to sit a look and enjoy.

But that's not what we did this morning (Saturday) – we walked into Bala, coffee in the coffee shop, mooched around in the Welsh book shop (and spent fifteen quid on books, mine's a small press near-future SF novel set in North Wales, it's in English, not Welsh, and I won't name names until I've had a chance to read it) then a spot of lunch and back to the caravan. Doesn't sound a lot but today it is hot hot hot! Last time we felt a sun so fierce we were in California. Is this it? Is this the start of the summer? Our first summer in England for three years? I hope it lasts because Hay Festival is next weekend and weather like this would be wonderful.

Monday, 3 May 2010


This weekend we've brought the 'van to Llangollen, to a temporary site beside the canal about 20 minutes walk from the town. The site is run, through the Camping and Caravanning club by the friendly folks of North East Cheshire DA, and we've been coming to this one for the past six years. Why? Because it's less than an hour's tow from home, it has all the right lay-lines and once here there is no need to ever use the car, so it is way more eco-friendly than staying at home, The weather has been okay, despite dire forebodings from the BBC (we've long since learned to ignore these), apart from a bit of rain on Saturday and a cold day Sunday.

So what do we do here that brings us back every year? Llangollen has two things that draw us like a magnet. It has coffee and tea shops in abundance, and it has one of the best second-hand bookshops for miles. True to form I staggered back along the canal, on Saturday, with a bag-load of books that I can add to my growing pile of must-reads. (I really must train myself to read quicker). And NECDA do a picture quiz each year that we've never won (no exception this year) but its fun to do. There's a theme, this year was pop bands, and you have to draw a pictorial clue for your particular band (pulled from a hat) that you display in the caravan window. Then you grap a pen and paper and wander round the site looking at every other clue to try and figure out as many as possible


Today we've been up to castel Dinas Bran. It was the perfect weather for it, fluffy clouds and good visibility, and I was pleased to get through it without knackering either of my knees, which is the way I usually start the summer. Here's me and Sarah on the top sharing bodily warmth (because the wind was a bit nippy up there). We came down into Llangollen and found a coffee shop, not easy on a Bank Holiday Monday because Llangollen was chocka. But here's the nice thing about temporary sites – there's no pressure to leave by a certain time. We'll have tea here then a leisurely pack. By the time we hit the road the Bank Holiday traffic will be back home watching the telly.