Monday, July 03, 2006

Camping, Hairy-style; UPDATED

Hi, kids! Do you want to know all about my camping trip? Do you? Of course you do!*

Well, aside from the larengytis and food poisoning, it was grr-eat! (Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?)

Friday at work I had a bit of a throat tickle, but I wasn't about to let that bother me, so I didn't say anything.**

I make it sound like I didn't have a good time. Actually, it was wonderful. We left on Friday afternoon after I got out of work, car loaded up boot, backseat, and roofrack. (You would not believe the amount of crap 2 people need to survive for 2 nights in the middle of civilisation.) We headed west, drove right off the end of the M4, and kept going 'til we could go no further without falling into the ocean. We stopped in St. David's, Wales, and got a campsite right on the ocean, on top of a cliff, where we fell asleep listening to the waves crash on the rocks.

This is the view from our tent on Friday evening, after we had dinner. We sat outside dinking tea and watched the mist roll in from the sea. I felt inspired to recite much poetry by E.A. Poe. These things happen.

Friday night I went to bed (by bed I mean air mattress, double size, that I had to inflate by hand, and by 'hand' I mean by 'mouth.' Yeah, that inspired a few wise cracks from the other half) with a scatchy throat. Saturday I woke up unable to utter a syllable. I had completely lost my voice.

After establishing that there was nothing seriously wrong with me, ie my i didn't have a fever, wasn't coughing, my head wasn't congested, i wasn't achy or run-down, and I felt completely fine save my inability to communicate vocally, Hairy proceeded to make all the obligatory cracks about the girlfriend not being able to nag, finally some peace and quiet, etc. It was rather comical. So I beat him soundly. Goddamnit my mom used to make those same cracks when i was a kid. Grrr.

But I felt fine, so we drove into town (St. David's, famous for being the only town in Wales that does not have a "y" in its name, and consists of a hitching post, rain barrel, general store, cathedral, and 3 chartered boat companies) to see what there is to see. We visited the cathedral, booked a boat cruise for the following morning and did a bit of wandering in St. David's and other tiny hamlets in the area. After we ate lunch in a pretty little outdoor cafe' by a river somewhere in a town called Llanyyclydybryyyy-y-bont (the thing is, I'm trying to take the piss, but that still looks entirely probable as a Welsh name, good lord), we went for a hike along the costal path, which is a couple hundred miles through National Park. It's gorgeous.

Sunshine, coastal breezes, birds (yep, i'm a birdwatcher. The binocs never left my neck, and though I know it annoyed the Hairy Man when I would stop and spend 10 minutes flipping though my book in an attempt to figure out what the hell had just flown past me, he never said a word, bless), and lovely company. We stopped for a break on top of a high, rocky, isolated promontory, off the main path. It was pleasant and secluded, there was a large patch of soft grass, no one but the crashing waves and the gulls...

And do you know what happened next? You think you do. NOTHING. NADA. ZIP. See, we aren't the viagarad bunny nymphos you take us for. Ha!

That evening Hairy wanted to do a bit of kayak-surfing, so we drove to a nearby beach that is famous for its good surf. I took my pod and planned to do a bit of Chariots-of-Fire style jogging on the beach while the Man took to the waves. But alas, there was no surf at all. The water was completely flat.
So we held hands and walked along the beach in the evening light. Can you believe it? We walked on the beach at sunset, holding hands! Oh the CHEESE! The SMALTZ! Can we say "Hallmark moment?" Gag me with a game show first date formula. You know I loved it. He doesn't think he's romantic at all, but that makes it even cuter.

Are you ready to hurl yet? Good.

But wait, there's more!

For dinner we (that's the Royal "we," meaning Hairy) cooked curry. With home made popadums. While camping. You should have seen the looks on the other campers' faces. That's the only reason he does it. We'd both be perfectly happy with sausages and beans, but it's just too much fun to show off. Mango chutney and everything. The works. Hehehe.

Sunday morning it was up early, stuff some tea and welsh cakes in the gob, and be off for...

a whale-watching cruise! We figured if we were in Wales, we should fucking see some whales, right? Right.
We didn't see any whales, but we did hook up with a pod of Atlantic dolphins, about 30-strong. They were very playful and sociable. We saw a couple porpoises, too, but they didn't give a shit. Didn't even stop to say "hello." Very rude, porpoises. Dolphins, on the other hand, are the picture of charismatic megafauna. They see a big inflatable raft with a dozen goofy mamals in oragnge vests and binoculars and go (in, Ellen Degeneres's voice) "Hey! Tourists! Hey, everyone - look! There's tourists over here!" And over they all come, flipping and splashing and smiling as only dolphins can.
They really do. They're just that cool.

We also saw a ton of sea birds. I thought this was great. We visited a nesting colony of gannets. That's the gannets, there. That's not snow on that island, that's birds. And bird crap. The entire island is white from bird crap. It really was like walking into the pages of a National Geographic magazine. Besides gannets we saw Manx shearwaters, Green cormorants (also known as Shags), Great black-backed gulls (agressive predators, G b-b gulls have been known to fly off with Yorkshire terriers, no shit), Razorbills and Guillemots, both members of the Auk family, and... (are you ready for this?)... POOFINS! Well, Puffins, technically, but I call them Poofins. They're very stoopid. They look cute enough bobbing around on the water and you think "aww, how cute." But then they try to fly, and all you can do is laugh. I'm serious.
It's like wathing the lovechild of a penguin and a hummingbird. They have these fat little bodies and small wings which they therefore have to beat really really really really really really fast in order to stay aloft. It's not possible to watch one without sniggering. They're just inherently funny. Like pengins and platapi, they have no dignity whatsover. Actually, they look rather a lot like this:
Clearly my boy Wiley knows his puffins. Poofins. Whatev.

And then it was time to pack up camp and come home. (By this time I had regained some of my voice, and sounded like a two-pack-a-dayer. Or like one of Marge's sisters. You know the sound.) So we came home, got into Brizzle, unpacked the car, went to fix dinner, and pulled an Old Mother Hubbard. Yep, the cupboard was bare. So we went to the pub. And that was where I got the food poisoning. (You'd forgotten about that, hadn't you?) I think it was the fried mushrooms. That's my punishment for not being healthy. I never should have succombed to the temptation of beer-battered, deep-fried happiness. Those puppies lubed up my G.I. tract and shot right out the other side. Oh, yeah. Mind, it took a few hours for the works to get under way, during which time we had totally amazing sex, so that was ok. 2 minutes after he fell asleep I ran for the loo and went 12 rounds with the porcelian god. I lost. The man was very, very sweet about the whole thing. He manages to be tender and comforting without condescending, something I have difficulty with myself. So full points for looking after me.

And then I woke up (not really, i didn't get much sleep) and then it was monday. Land the rocket, climb down to earth, back to reality, Houston we have a job to do and all that jazz. So that's it. There you go.

OMG I can't believe I forgot to post the uber-cute picture of the two of us at the cathedral!!! Aahhh! Here it is: (click for full size)
Are we cute, or what?

*egomaniac: n. someone who believes that everyone around them actually gives a shit.

**genius: n. someone who can see the locomotive coming, but likes the view from the tracks so well that she refuses to move. see also "deer in headlights," "osterich with head in ass," and "La la la la la la I can't heeeeear yooooou!"


Timorous Beastie said...

You know, frightened by people I had met from "the valleys", I've never been to Wales. But that looks bloody lovely.

First Nations said...

you got the puffins perfectly. we have them here on puget sound too and they are the goofiest little bottomusses to watch trying to take off from the water! lord, you watch birds too. ever seen a sea eagle??? (so jealous if you have.)
good timing on the hershey squirts, eh? woulda been really suck if, um, yeah.
glad you had a great 4th!

hendrix said...

Lovely post CB - feel like I've had a weekend break myself. Hope your feelign better now!

Billy said...

"For dinner we (that's the Royal "we," meaning Hairy) cooked curry. With home made popadums. While camping."

Show-offs! :)

ZB said...

'St. David's, famous for being the only town in Wales that does not have a "y" in its name'

Apart from Cardiff, Swansea, Neath, Llandudno...?

Chaucer's Bitch said...

FN: never heard of a "sea eagle." did some capture and release work with osprey, which are also known as fish hawks. v cool birds. effing lethal.

HC: took some drugs, got a good night's sleep, feeling much better now, thank you.

Billy: exactly. that was the point.

ZB: fuck off. you know perfectly well i was being sarcastic. how's by you?

hendrix said...

"took some drugs, got a good night's sleep, feeling much better now" yeah usually works for me too!
ZB. Actually Cardiff and Swansea are cities and not towns so you got that wrong.

(although apparently St Davids is also a city - the smallest in Europe)

ZB said...

Oh. Sarcasm. Right. I don't understand the concept...

rockmother said...

Looks great! I was made to eat puffin in Iceland once. I couldn't refuse as the dinner was in our honour. Poor little puffies. Had to smoke loads of dope to take my mind of it. The guy I was with was in the middle of having a nervous breakdown at the time and just kept staring into space and/or trying to leave. Quite possibly one of the most bizarre experiences of my life.

No Shit Sherlock said...

I see your curry and raise you a complete English stew. With dumplings. In a windy muddy field somewhere in the peak districts. Lovely.