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Summer 2005
Page 1

crab‘The crab walks sideways.
The crab walks sideways.’

This message was sent out using telepathy, it was the only system available to us now that the BBC’s Home Service is no more.

It had the same effect, the clans gathered at base H.Q., somewhere in the East Midlands between Ilkeston and Derby, ready for the agreed hour of departure. But the best laid plans of mice and Men often go awry , Nip was a loose cannon, he was already on his way to Wales, next time we will try the telephone, it might be easier and possibly more reliable.

cottageThe cottage was booked on the internet by Rosie, with only 3 months to go; it was almost too late but we were so lucky, not one but two cottages popped up on the computer, a bijou little residence with an environmentally friendly green roof and a turf floor with a lovely variety of flora and fauna, (seen in the foreground being inspected by Nip and Gill) and the second cottage, at twice the price. It was a hard decision but eventually the chic shabby décor of the first gave way to the picture postcard style of the second, seen above it. The two remaining vehicles were on standby together with their complement of passengers Gagan, Nana and Sally in the Disco and Kirsty, Neil, Sam and Sophie in their Passat together with their associated pieces of luggage.

A diesel and petrol engine burst into life, minutes later the duo cast off their moorings and slipped unobtrusively, into the flow of traffic. We were off once more on the well worn track to Wales, a journey we have not undertaken for a number of years. Our only means of navigation were our instincts, past experience, multimap.com, a road atlas and a GPS satellite system with a lisp and, of course, a great deal of shouting and arguing combined with the traditional multi-circumnavigation of roundabouts.

langWalkie-talkies kept our two vehicles in contact as we battled with the GPS ‘turn left – TURN LEFT - What did I say?? - TURN LEFT YOU FOOL!!! – ‘perform a U turn where possible’. At last we crossed the M6 and the GPS settled down, she began to follow our instruction, almost to the letter. GPS really takes that stress out of motoring. As Lydia says ‘the blame game is a thing of the past.’ Well maybe?

By 12:30 we had had enough, Llangollen loomed out of the trees and our breaks were applied. On observation the town seemed less than modern and not particularly enthusiastic about accommodating us, parking spaces were like gold dust but our persistence eventually paid off and we both squeezed into cracks in the car park.

We almost fell over one another in the dash for the toilet, but the ‘20p each’ sign caused a pile up at the entrance, not a pretty sight.

Next on our agenda was food, there were a few cafés to choose from so of course we choose the most picturesque of those on offer. We sat down in a cloud of smoke, spluttering and coughed for a few minutes then moved to the back room where we perused the limited fair on offer and made our choices, but that was the easy part. Trying to get the staff to take any notice was child’s play compared to getting them to understand the complexities of taking an order but then my poor befuddled waitress lost the list and I lost the will to live. With a mad cackle she asked me to repeat the order “for the till this time dear”.

It took her under 15 minutes to input the prices and of course the ordeal proved too much for her; she lost the money before once more reaching the sanctuary of the till. She attempted to ignore me for 20 minutes more as I leapt up and down and danced on the table, eventually however she had no choice but to find my 3p change and hand it over.

They also lost the sausages, the mushrooms and the salads, apart from the lettuce. We were lucky, they gave the elderly American tourist’s cottage pie away. All things must come to an end and despite everything we managed to tear ourselves away from Llangollen, but only just. Within minutes the peace and calm of the Welsh countryside was rent in twain, Neil’s engine had a serious problem!!!

It took us an hour to crawl through Porthmadog then it was open roads until the GPS inadvertently led us into deepest Wales. We had to retract the wing mirrors:-

gps‘At the next roundabout take the thecond exthit, no I mean in one hundred meterth turn left, no I think I meant turn right, or was it left then right, oooopth – I’m very, very thory, make a U turn when pothible - oh God! I’m tho thorry, find the nearetht toilet, I mean road!!!’

As a result Sam, at the age of 3, after listening to us and the GPS is a back seat driver.

“Slow down Ga Gang, speed up, turn left Ga Gang, no not that way Ga Gang, do a U turn”

As we arrived at our chosen cottage “Gwynfa” Sam was dancing about, he was desperate to get to the beach and sure enough, within hours of arriving at the cottage he made it onto the sand where he “blocked the water”, “I was trying to but it was hard work.” He told us. “I was trying really hard but the sand didn't move only the water.”