Andrew on Snowdon 2004

The two words for the weekend were hard and tacky.

For those of us who are not in training, Snowdon presents difficulties. First, it has several very steep bits. Second, the terrain is rough on the feet. I was in the throes of gout, and whilst going up was pain free, coming down sorely tested the fit between my inflamed digit and the front of my boot. We’d planned to come down on the train, but failed to check times and destinations prior to departure. For some reason, it was not going to the summit and the cafe was closed, a disappointment with which Andrew masterfully coped. We then missed just where the train was going to stop and suffered the whole up and down experience. Its a symptom of where we are in life – disorganised and in some pain.

The tops were in mist, but there was enough of a view half way down. The slate quarries at Dinorwig rather spoil it, more awsome than picturesque. Andrew lost it when he realised we’d missed the train, but after thirty minutes it was out of his system. He was into how he would tell the story. The difficulty. The fact we didn’t quite make the top because of severe weather. The clarity and clean taste of the mountain water. A number of walkers gave him a wide berth whilst he was expressing his feelings. Sheila took most of it. I needed to keep a rhythm going to help foot pain. Well I needed something to have a break from Andrew. ‘Not a happy bunny’ was how some of those who overtook me described him.

We were partly accompanied on the way up by a team of unicyclists – we didn’t ask, but surely nut cases.

Back at the car park we could have done fried eggs on my big toe.

Then to the tacky bit. The Prince of Wales Hotel and Caernafon. Both looked like some of the places we lived in the 1950’s. I’d this romantic image of Caernafon as a twee place where Charles was invested. Its actually a dump, populated by people of any age trying to get drunk as quick as possible. The hotel had not been decorated since his investiture. Huge bath, loads of hot water, clean sheets, an adequate breakfast for £25. No more than you’d expect, except Andrew had to pay £35 – odd. All the bits that could be removed from the TV had been. One electric point. You’d to turn the TV off to have a coffee. The TV aerial nearly broke every time you moved the box. No phone. And noisy. Andrew gave up eventually and went downstairs to join them (he informed us at breakfast). Two pints of coke and several games of pool later he considered himself sufficiently tired. He’d done the spadework for the restaurant – asked the barman whilst I was having a few restoratives. ‘The Honour’ – cantonese and well full. Wish they wouldn’t put so much gelatin in stuff. £50 the lot and well full.

Ireland won the triple crown and France the championship. We’re rebuilding.

The following morning we set out via Bangor. The town centre was tatty too. Went across one bridge to Anglesey and came back across another. Didn’t know Llanfairpg was there. Quick tour of the untatty University.

The brief encounters with the welsh speakers reaffirmed the perceived stereotype that Welsh is used as a way of excluding. It’s clear it is the first language, but the perception is still hard to ignore. Normal unthinking everyday behaviours that we accept in England as being rude or arrogant or whatever, over there are put down to being north walien.

Got home to a mess. Chris had a few friends in who proceeded to be sick in various places. More tat.

Andrew’s idea for a weekend, and pretty typical. Hard and tatty. No change there and not disappointing.