Hello Wales

Livingroom, 400 year old cottage, Carmarthen, Wales


An early start by yellow shuttlebus on a dark and rainy Paris morning, that awkward disassembling and reassembling of computer, camera, belts and bags through security, a flight to Bristol on Easyjet.

I booked my tickets online. When I looked closely at the times of departure and arrival afterwards, I realised two things; not only is Paris so close to Bristol that the flight only takes fifteen minutes, but I must have inadvertently booked my return flight via Amsterdam (one of the choices offered) because it will take two and a quarter hours to get back again. Oh well, I’ve never been to Amsterdam.

We whizzed along the runway (I love takeoffs) then once we’d breached upper clouds, the captain announced that we would be landing in Bristol in one hour. One hour???
Aha. I see... there’s a one hour time difference between Paris and the UK.
Shucks... and I was looking forward to Amsterdam.

When I landed in Bristol I couldn’t understand the immigration girl at first. As I’ve been doing for the past five weeks, I was concentrating on her face and listening to the sounds waiting for them to crystallise into recognisable words, then suddenly realised she was speaking English. And that I speak English.

A coach from the airport to Temple Meads railway station in Bristol, small train to Newport in Wales with the most spectacular gap between the train and the platform I’ve had to leap since a scary bushwalk in the Warrenbungles, change to another small train to Carmarthen, a phonecall to my niece and new nephew by marriage, and a walk with the one year old Basset to fetch fish and chips and Guinness for supper.

Interestingly, as quiet as the French are on public transport, the Welsh are chatty and animated. And I could swear that same father was on the train last year when I was here, threatening to cuff his freckle-faced machinegun-toting son ( being yellow and orange I suspect it was the water-firing variety...the gun of course)

There’s a wonderful petite bald railway chap in Wales at Newport who steps out onto the platform as trains arrive, rattles off to anybody who needs to know exactly the time and platform of the next train to their destination, then melts back into the station again.

This is the view from inside the kitchen door.

I believe I may wake up tomorrow with the Basset sharing my bed.