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Day 1: 6th July - ‘Sir Winston’ and his entourage go to Wales….!

(We still haven’t sorted out our website so no photos will be displayed on this blog…….so please refer to our ‘gowiththeflow’ facebook page to view our gorgeous photos…..)

Today, we, M&A together with Sir Winston and our friends Jane and Abigail are off to stay in a holiday cottage called Beudy Tawe in the village of Pontadarwe……..somewhere in Wales!

Of course, in usual M&A style we met up at Coffee 1 a few weeks prior to our departure as we felt a much needed planning session was in order due to there being five of us to consider on this holiday. Having spent an hour chatting and having a catch up we spent five minutes on the planning and departed Coffee 1 with our given instructions; Maice was responsible for the food and was being picked up at 10.30am, Jane was in charge of the cash kitty and being picked up at 10.00am, Abigail was driving as she has the biggest car and therefore responsible for the petrol and me, I was responsible for the alcohol and was being picked up at 11.00am! So, all sorted all we had to do now was keep our fingers crossed and hope the good weather we’re currently having lasts for the duration of our holiday.

Two days before we left, Jayne, the owner of the cottage advised us that the cooker wasn’t working and was hoping to get it fixed before we arrived. The dilemma was what to do if it wasn’t as Maice had already purchased the ‘cook in the oven’ food so does she cook it before we go or wait and see if it gets fixed? Oh decisions, decisions. We wouldn’t know until our travel day if it had been fixed or not but hey, it was a deliberation for Maice to deal with what with her being responsible for the food…….!

The morning of our holiday arrived and everyone was busy in their own way. Maice was cooking food in the oven, Sir Winston had a dodgy stomach so Maice cooked him some rice, took him for a walk, did her yoga, packed her bag, packed all of Sir Winston’s ‘stuff’, packed all the food and alcohol, which had been dropped off at Maice’s the day before and waited until 10.30am to be picked up. Poor Sir Winston knew something was afoot and clung to Maice the whole time, obviously not realising he was coming on holiday with us!

Milly had already been dropped off at Purrfect Cattery a few days earlier due to me having new carpets laid. Can you believe that I sat and admired said new carpets the whole of Wednesday evening instead of concentrating on packing so today, not only did I have to hoover the new carpets (the carpet fitters ‘Henry Hoover’ wasn’t working so they couldn’t hoover up the ‘debris’ and I’d forgotten to plug-in my cordless hoover) but I also had to pack my bags and then pop over to Lidl, other supermarkets are available, for some bakery items! Honestly, talk about leaving things to the last minute! Jane and Abigail seemed to fare better than Maice and I although in usual Abi style she too had left her packing to the last minute. Considering we were only going for four nights and Abi has a big ‘boot’, once Maice and Winston’s ‘stuff had been loaded into the car with all the food and drinks there was little room in the car for me and my stuff! However, being the resourceful women that we are we managed to compress everything into the car until there was no available space and before we knew it we were all squeezed into our seats and heading off to Page 26 of the GB Road Atlas 2010!

Of course Abi preferred to use Marsha, her inbuilt Satnav, probably thinking it was more reliable than our road atlas but when Marsha started directing us along some very odd routes we switched her off and resorted to our thirteen year old road atlas? Hey, who needs modern technology when you can map-read your way to your destination!

We’d only been travelling some forty minutes when we felt the need for a coffee fix and some breakfast and with both Abi and Maice bringing a ‘breakfast picnic’ with them we had plenty to go round. We purchased a drive thru Costa Coffee, of course other coffees houses are available and ate our breakfast sat in the car in the carpark admiring the wire fencing! Fed and watered we set off, Abi driving us in the wrong direction on a number of occasions despite being told by us passengers which way to go, but hey, we eventually found ourselves on the M5, then the M4 and all of a sudden we were crossing the Prince of Wales bridge and headed into Wales. On the way over the bridge we notified an unidentified flying object suspended above the bridge canopy. Was it a UFO, was it a drone, was it a bird…..or was it a ’splat‘ on the windscreen? The jury is out on that one! So, we arrived in Wales and it was sunny! Because we couldn’t check into our cottage until after 4pm we stopped off for another hot drink, had a regroup and perused the road atlas. Where did we want to go that was on the way to Pontardawe? We plumped for Porthcawl, followed the signs to the beach, parked up and went for a stroll. It has to be said it wasn’t the most attractive of resorts, it was a typical seaside resort with its amusement arcades, cafes and a big sandy beach which unfortunately for Winston no dogs were allowed. Being a tad peckish we had a quick picnic in amongst the sand-dunes, walked Winston and then drove through the centre of Porthcawl and out the other side. Well, it was like a town of two halves. It was really rather nice with a lovely promenade, lots of lovely cafes and restaurants and a nice beach. We were amazed and it just goes to show you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover!

Making our way to Pontadarwe wasn’t as straight forward as the directions we were given and after a number of u-turns and traversing a number of roundabouts a few times we finally found the correct road in Pontadarwe that took us up to the cottage. We drove up, and up, and up this very, very long, narrow, steep hill until suddenly, there, in the middle of nowhere was Beudy Tawe. It was gorgeous. We did remark however that there was no way we would be walking down to the local ‘public house’ not with a steep hill like that to contend with on the way back up! We unpacked the car, oohed and aahed our way around the cottage, gazed in awe at the huge garden, unpacked and getting our priorities right, put two bottles of Prosecco in the freezer for a quick freeze for our Aperol Spritz. Half an hour later we were sat outside, admiring the view, glass in hand……and it was still sunny! How lucky were we to have found such a lovely cottage in wonderful surroundings. We walked around the ‘garden’, drank another Aperol Spritz then decided to go and explore and see where the bridleway went before a) it got too dark and b) we’d had too much to drink!

We came back having perambulated our way down the track until it got too muddy, too steep and too dark and ended up doing a quiz because we couldn’t get the TV to work. I should state that it wasn’t ‘we’ that couldn’t get the TV to work, it was Maice! No surprise there then! Having pressed the correct buttons on the remote control we sat and watched Andy Murray at Wimbledon. We all concurred that Day 1 of our holiday had been a lovely day and on that note we took ourselves off to our beds; Maice and Jane in separate rooms in their ‘double beds’, Abi and I in one room in bunk beds with Abi sleeping on the top bunk and

Winston, poor luv was downstairs in the kitchen in his grey squishy bed, the child gate firmly in place across the bottom of the stairs due to dogs not being allowed upstairs or on the furniture! Just sayin’!

Nos da……

M, A, A, J and SW xxxxx

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