Saturday, July 28, 2007

July break

We have just had a break away for 5 days in flood wrecked Gloustershire. We had been invited to the wedding of two of the people who worked with Martin when he was out on conversion so decided to make a bit of a midweek break of it.
We booked in at the Wyndham Arms in Clearwell for two nights as the couple were having the whole thing at Clearwell Castle and this hotel was in walking distance, meaning we would not have to worry about drink/driving or taxis.
Then we decided that since we had never been to the Forest of Dean we would go down on Monday (wedding on Wednesday) to have a look at some of the tourist sites. So we booked a nights stay in B&B at Symons Yat.
We were a little concerned when reports of the flooding started to come in but not enough to have the sense to phone ahead and make sure our accommodation was still available. To be honest, although not taking anything away from any of the many many poor people effected by the disaster, it obviously wasn't as widespread as the news reports would have us believe. The way it was being reported, the whole of the county was underwater but we drove round most of the Forest of Dean, Monmothshire and the Ross/Wye valley and only saw one flooded road sign, which had actually been left up from the month before when the river had broken its banks locally.

Fast flowing water but no flooding

The heavens opened and continued to rain on us for most of Monday so we didn't actually get to see any of the attractions we wanted to see, but our B&B was brilliant, we were the only ones staying there and so had very personal service, a really comfy self contained room and a fab breakfast with heaps of trimmings. The sun shone for a bit so we did the self drive tour of the Forest and then went off to the Wyndham Arms on the Tuesday.
OK I am sorry if anyone knows anyone from the WA's but Martin reckons it was the worst hotel he has ever stayed in (and he's been in a few while out on conversion for 18 months) so take what you can from that and I shall say no more about it.

The conversion team

The wedding was lovely but very long, there was food and more food and even more food so we were stuffed full and very tired by the end of the day. It finally stopped raining for the fireworks - although I had given up with the camera by then so didnt get any pics of them, and Martin's friends were good company.
On Thursday we had arranged to travel into deepest darkest Wales to stay with my friend and former TA Judy for the night, not realising just how far it was. 3 hours later we arrived at her gaff. 6 years ago her and her son and daughter-in-law bought a cottage, which consisted of little more than 4 walls and a rotting roof intending to do it up. It is really out in the sticks, just this one house, no bus route, no more than a mile long muddy lane to get to it and fields, flora, sheep and a river for company. Sadly circumstances mean the place still hasnt been finished, most of the interior work still needs doing, and I think Martin was a bit taken aback by the 'rough' and 'ready' way we had to live for that one night, but Judy really loves the country life. I take my hat off to her because as a woman the wrong side of 60 she is out in all weathers, chopping her own firewood and dragging it home from the woods, fighting the wild woods for her little veggie plot and living the kind of hard life many of us left behind with the computer/techno revolution.
8 hours to get home because of the amount of accidents on the M20 and the comfort of our own bed makes you wonder why you go away but when I download the few photos I took I know there are going to be lots of good bits to remember and enjoy reminsing about.

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