Thursday, 4 May 2017


That's right; Wales, the country, not a mis-spelt Whales as in the sea mammal. I am in Wales :) Home of the red dragon, sheep - sooooo many sheep - and some of the most spectacular scenery in the British Isles.

So, J dragged me away for a week to a 400 year old cottage in the middle of nowhere. It wasn't completely isolated for it was attached to another cottage - the people who own the property and land - but aside from us the next nearest house and civilisation was 3.5 miles away.

We had just 4 TV channels, no phone reception and very intermittent slow internet (on a good day) :) It was the perfect place to unwind, relax and chill from the hassles of life :)  The private swimming pool for our use only was a definite bonus :) 

Saturday 22nd April

I was up and ready to go by 7am - not that I was excited to be getting away, or anything :). J arrived to pick me up at 09.45 (the agreed plan was 09.30 - 10.00 so he managed it smack bang in the middle). The look on his face when he saw how much stuff I had to pack was priceless; he had to go back to his car, unpack what he'd already put in himself and re-arrange it all to get my bits in (not that I had a lot for myself, considering I had all the food/drink and accessories we will both needed to take along with me also - he had just his camera and clothes). 

Our journey was really good, the lack of traffic surprising me. We talked about going via the motorway all the way (M40, M4, M5 etc) but the toss of a coin took us down through Wiltshire, Somerset and over the bridge from Bristol into South Wales where we made our way through the Brecon Beacons heading to the cottage. We stopped just the other side of the bridge for a coffee and I had to sit in the shade where the sun was beating down on us; the weather was very good to us all week. Our only other stop on the way was about 40 miles from where we were staying. As we came around a bend J suddenly pulled the car over to the end of a driveway, for flying above our heads were at least 100 Red Kites. One thing with me and him is every time we drive up the A34 he will tell me I'm guaranteed to see a Red Kite, for us to never have seen any, so for my first ever view of one he gave me hundreds :) He was out the car with his camera like a rocket, snapping away like crazy. The excitement and happy look on his face was priceless :) I did chuckle when we got 30ft around further around the bend after leaving there we saw a sign for the Grigin Red Kite Centre, which would explain why there were so many flying around. 

Oh my; the road to the cottage. After turning off the main road we found ourselves on a single track lane, which lead onto an even smaller - almost pathway width - lane, with a 2ft ditch one side, a 40ft drop the other. This went on for just over 3/4 mile before the edges widened out a little bit giving us the chance to move over a bit if we were to meet a car coming the other way. The whole stretch of lanes from the road to cottage just over 3.5 miles. However, when we arrived at the cottage the iffy road was so worth it. Nestled between hills with a small inlet stream to the back of the cottage, a wider one to the front, it is possibly the warmest (in a friendly welcoming way) place I've ever stepped foot into. There was an odd sensation of "coming home". That feeling never left. The super huge comfy sofas and equally comfortable beds just added to the whole comfort feeling of the place.

After unpacking we headed out to the nearest town 'Machynlleth' which was 15 miles away to pick up some extra shopping to get us through the week - we'd taken only the basics with us. From there we went back to the cottage and had a lovely chilled evening. I took myself off to bed at 23:00. Go me, on holiday and living it up :) 

Sunday 23rd April

I didn't sleep for long last night, but the sleep I did have was solid and when I got up at 06:30 I felt refreshed - something I've not felt for a long time. 

J was already up by the time I'd showered and made my way downstairs, and he had a cup of tea sitting on the table waiting for me - sometimes he can be a sweetie. 

As I cooked us a decent breakfast (on holiday it's almost like it's the law to eat a proper full English) he had a wander around outside finding himself some photographic spots. By 09:30 we were on our way to Mount Snowdon.

I'll be honest, it wasn't anywhere near impressive as I remember it. We discussed climbing it but J wasn't really up for it (I think he was tired from the drive yesterday and all the fresh air - which really does make you tired) so we had a mooch around a lake at the bottom instead (I got a wee bit sunburned) before climbing back in the car and heading to Caernarfon where we were going to visit the castle - or so I thought. Turns out he just wanted to take some photo's of it from the outside, but there isn't really the option of doing such a thing; I think the only way to get a good shot is from inside but he didn't want to do that so we headed off again, finding ourselves out at Lake Vrynwy. J wanted to scope out the best spot for some sunset shots while there. We found just the one that would work after driving the whole circumference of the lake. Did find the worlds largest picnic tables on the opposite side to where he planned to stop. I'm saying the worlds biggest and they may well not be but I have never seen anything as big. You could have sat 40 people around one with no hassle at all. J sprinkled some bird seed onto the one we sat at so we had some visitors join us. I tried to get some good photo's but wasn't really sure what I was doing :) 

En route to the lake we stopped off at a lovely little cafe/gift shop just outside Dinas Mawddwy called Meirion Mill; well worth visiting if you're in the area. The staff were super friendly, the prices really good and the triple chocolate cake divine 😜

Not wanting to drive all the way back to the cottage before heading all the way back to the lake for the sunset, we decided to grab some dinner in the hotel situated on the edge of the lake and at the top of the road from our chosen spot. The staff were - how shall I say this? - not the happiest of people in their job and didn't seem that keen on people who weren't staying at the hotel eating there, but we got ourselves served and sat out on the terrace enjoying food and a glass of wine (at least I had wine :)). 

After eating we headed to the chosen spot which would give us a good sunset shot with the little building thing that juts out from the water - I can never remember what it is or for so please excuse my ignorance in giving it a proper name. Having seen many people doing those squishy photo's where it looks as though they are holding onto a building in which is small I asked J to take some of me squishing the building thing. He took plenty, but in each and every one he took the piss and made me look like a right fcuking idiot, for not one of them lined my hand up with the building. He found this hilarious (and even over a week later is still laughing about it) and while it was funny (in a way) and I don't mind people taking the piss out of me (good job really or I'd spend my life in tears) I was a bit upset he didn't take one sensible one. He proceeded to share them all on facebook too so I then had his friends taking the piss as well. Still, it was nice to see him laugh for he had been very quiet and subdued all day - even, dare I say it? a wee bit mardy. I asked if he was ok at one point and he nearly bit my head off snapping that I was being aggressive with him. We all have those days where we think it's everyone else, so maybe it was me, although I'll be honest I felt as though I was trying really hard to lift his mood so don't think it was me. I usually know too if I'm in a bad mood. He told me if I asked him again is he was ok (I'd asked him just the once) then I would really piss him off. I love him dearly but there are times when he can channel Roger quite well. In fact, at times, aside from the vile malicious and nasty lies that Roger tells they could in fact be the same person. He talks like him, dresses similar and very often behaves like him also - thankfully he's not got the vile streak to him. He did complain about how hard the driving is and how much he's done which is also what Roger would do to me. This does upset me a little for I always say about taking my car and I'll put him on the insurance so we can share the driving. I have never once asked him to drive, he always says he loves to drive, doesn't want to sit with me as I drive and that it's not an issue for him to drive. When he then complains I do get a bit grumpy with him  so maybe that's why he was a bit "iffy" with me too.😠 But these things are to be expected between old friends.

Just as the sun was about to set 3 other guys from 'oop north' joined us. My goodness I could have happily taken one of them home with me  πŸ˜œ He most definitely gave me the odd tingle 😜  He also taught me a few tips and tricks for taking a good sunset photo. Sadly at that point I'd not learned about ND filters; had I understood about them I may have taken some photo's I liked.

We got back to the cottage about 21:30 where I poured myself a glass of white, sat on the big comfy sofa and had some 'me' time while J uploaded all his photo's laughing to himself often at the piss taking ones he took of me. I did try to upload my photo's but had only my google book with me (never thought to take the macbook) and I have no idea where they went but they uploaded to somewhere. 

Monday 24th April

Aside from the hour I was awake in the middle of the night (bloody hormonal hot flush) I slept like a log and didn't wake up until 08:10 - unheard of for me. I love the cottage we are staying in. 

J was up again before me and had another cuppa waiting as he had previously. I thought that meant we were in for a good day but he spent all day complaining about his toe and lack of internet. He'd stubbed it last night on his way into the conservatory. There was no bruising or redness to it and the nail was fine so it was obviously not broken and I know a stubbed toe can be painful but I am one of those "get-on-with-it people, so when he complained a few times more than I thought he should, I did get a bit "off" with him  As for the internet, I like the idea of not having any; the whole point of getting away way to chill out and unwind. The world still keeps revolving without the net. Besides at the top of the hill you can get full on 4g. 

I spent the morning sitting in the garden trying to get some photo's of the myriad of birds that were flying back and forth to the feeders the owners fill up every day - check out the levitating one on the top left photo. J shouted at me out of the bathroom window some tips about capturing the right shot - for that I was most grateful 😜😜 J spent the rest of the morning playing with his photo's, moving only when I let him know I had a cooked breakfast ready.

We headed out just after lunch. We had no plans for where to go (I'd decided before we came away I wasn't making any plans or asking to visit anywhere so that I couldn't be disappointed) so we found ourselves in Welshpool (where we didn't stop except in a road on an industrial estate so J could give his sister a ring - the railings around the place we were outside weren't really much to shout home about 😜😜) before ending up back at the lake again. I'd found a walk to a waterfall there that I quite fancied doing but when we got to the car park it was raining (not an issue for I have a waterproof coat, hat and boots) but J pointed out it would be hard going on the legs with the ground being so wet (he made a very valid point) so we decided to put it on hold for another day. On the way around the other side of the lake (we had no idea where we were heading) I spotted a little rocky outcrop with some water flowing over which I  pointed out to him (I really needed to do some walking for I'd spent way too long during the previous 48 hours sitting in a car or on a sofa). The rain wasn't too heavy in that spot so he agreed to stop and have a look. Next thing I found myself sliding down a rocky pathway to the bottom of the outcrop - thankfully I didn't slip enough to get wet and muddy 😜  I was quite happy with a couple of the photo's I took while I was down there - thanks to the guy the previous evening explaining about ND filters to me 😜For my first 'moving water' shots I don't think I did too bad.

After we'd finished there we headed back to the house; I think the fresh air is definitely affecting J's appetite for he does appear to be hungry quite a bit of the time (I've no idea where he puts it all!)🀣🀣🀣 After the size of the breakfasts I've been cooking I could survive 3 or 4 days without food 😜 I really fancied a swim but couldn't get into the pool building (no idea what I was doing wrong). I hoped J might have tried to get in there for me, but he was happily vegging again on the sofa and after the day we'd had I didn't want to disturb him, so I pottered about doing nothing.

Eventually - just as I was about to put dinner on - I spotted the owner so ran out and asked him what I was doing wrong to get into the pool. He sorted it for me (after asking if I was sure I was trying the pool and not the river 🀣🀣🀣) he told me not to worry about locking it up again for the week as we didn't have kids with us so it would be safe to leave open. I went back and told J we could get in to which he said "well, get dinner sorted then we'll go after we've eaten". Which is exactly what happened. We did have a bit of a "moment", or at least I did, for he made a comment about doing all of the driving again; those words are like a red rag to a bull for me, and I had to step away for a while or I might have had a bit of a go at him, which is not what I want to be doing. I know he is having a hard time and has a lot to be dealing with right now. I am trying my hardest to avoid things which will wind him up or upset him; sometimes though he does make it very hard for me to do so.  

However, I think being in the pool bobbing about helped him chill for we had a lovely time and when we got back inside the house we sat watching TV together - something we both wanted to watch; the first time that's ever happened when we've been away. 

Tuesday 25th April

OMG! 😁 OMG! πŸ˜ OMG! πŸ˜

Not really my style of wording, but OMG! πŸ˜

Having been awake since 2am but dozing in between I was fully alert to hear J make his way down the landing to the bathroom (we basically have separate wings of the upstairs as it has a split level landing, but the bathroom is on my landing). He shouted out "have you seen it's been snowing?" I'd not but when he mentioned it looked to my window (the half sky light) and could see what looked like a light dusting of the white stuff on it. This surprised me for when we left the pool last night the sky was as clear as a bell and the stars were twinkling brightly. Because I knew the forecast was for a sunny day I hopped out of bed there and then, grabbed my camera, stuck my coat on over my PJ's and headed outside to snap off some photo's. The photo below is the view from my bedroom window when I first looked out. It got better.

After running around taking some pics the snow had stopped and so I went back to the house. It was about 06:30 by then and as we had no plans I thought I'd climb back into bed for another hour. I'd just got settled and was dozing off when my door creaked (most odd as it was shut solid and had not creaked before). As I rolled over to see what could have caused it I caught sight of the window and could see there was a lot more snow than there had been and I could also see the huge flakes that were floating down. I can't tell you how excited I was. There was to be no more sleep for me that was for sure. I was off out there again running around like a kid. J had a good view from his room so I shouted out to ask if he was awake and decent (he kind of was) so I ran in to see just how heavy it was before deciding I needed to be outside in it. I had a ball. My inner child was in her element πŸ˜

The very best bit for me though was when I had my shower. Because the windows were half skylights we could have them open as we showered knowing that while we could see out, nobody could see in, so as I stood there foaming myself all over I was looking out at the most beautiful view. Sadly the sun had come out and it was beginning to melt but I think the blue skies just added to the raw beauty.

Did laugh - ish - at J. When he saw how heavy it was at one point he said to me "that could mean we are stuck in today but we can't be as we have no food and need to eat". Again, thinking about food. Not sure where he got us having no food from for there were 6 crumpets, half a loaf of bread, cheese, corned beef, salad, crisps, ham and nibbles; we most definitely weren't going to starve πŸ˜.

I have learned it is impossible for J to put things in the bin. Again, when I got downstairs in the morning his plate, food wrappers and yogurt pot were sitting on the side in the lounge, his cup was there too. When he has taken things to the kitchen he's just left them on the side or shoved them in the sink. He did at one point put some rubbish in the bin - the wrong bin; he put general rubbish in the recycling. I have no idea how he manages at home without someone to clear up after him. Mind you, I think that's a typical "man" thing!

J was very quiet again this morning. I do wish he would talk to me about what is on his mind; I may not be able to help but it might go some way to helping me understand why he's being as touchy as he is. I am trying to be as jolly as I can to lift his spirits, but it's very hard when he's not really giving any good vibes back. I shall persevere though; he will enjoy himself!  We went out just after lunch as J had ordered himself some pillows from Argos in Aberystwyth. He also wanted to head off to the place where he was hoping to get some good shots of the fighter planes that train in the area. We had a list of their flight times (I'd found it before we left and printed it off) as well as the best places to view them (thanks to many other photographers who have taken amazing shots of them). After leaving the town to make our way to the car park we were going to source we stopped off for food. This was a mistake really, for it then made us a bit later than we planned to be and when we got stuck behind several tractors for miles J began to get very stressed. If we'd not stopped for food we would have made it to where we needed to be in plenty of time and would also have been up on the hill to get the best shots but hindsight is a wonderful thing. As it was we missed them (we did see 2 heading towards us over the road on our drive there)!! It was an impressive sight as they both dipped and banked right in front of us; I didn't have my camera or phone ready which I was a wee bit disappointed about, although I think with them going so fast and us moving I'd never have got a shot. For 2 hours though we sat in the car park waiting in case they came back - they never, but at least we have found the good spot for them at a later date in the week.

The hailstones at one point were mighty impressive though πŸ˜

After leaving there J decided we would head back to the cottage via a cafe we keep seeing in the village. My goodness what a fucking miserable bitch there was at the counter when we arrived. You hear all these stories about welsh people being rude to the English yet I have never believed it or experienced it. I have only ever found the people to be extremely friendly, but not in this place. The woman was standing at the serving counter staring at us as we entered, we got to the counter, went to ask for 2 coffees when she turned her back to us and stepped to the side leaning against a unit, at which point a young girl who was making a sandwich came rushing over to serve us. Never in my life have I been treated in such a way. Despicable creature. Thankfully everyone else wherever we have been has been lovely. 

About half an hour after arriving back at the house I suddenly heard what sounded like a jet. I was up out of my seat quicker than I think I've ever moved in time to watch one come over the top of the hill at the front of the house, before flying directly overhead and disappearing over the hill behind. Did I have a camera ready? NO I did not 😠. I did get myself sorted and waited outside for another hour just in case one came back, but it was to no avail. 

I've got to admit dinner was good tonight. We had steak and my goodness I got it spot on; was most delicious. I wasn't sure about having it with carrots, cauliflower and broccoli (J bought it all for us so I cooked what he supplied) but I really did enjoy it. Made a change from chips and salad πŸ˜

After dinner we hit the pool again; he challenged me to complete 20 lengths - I did 43. Damn right I was feeling proud of myself πŸ˜ For someone like me who is afraid of drowning and not a very competent swimmer that was a massive achievement.  Mind you, it did make me realise just how badly I do want a pool of my own. I know I always go on about having one but I now know I need one, not just want one πŸ˜πŸ˜

Wednesday 26th April

Today was not a good day. I think living in each other's pockets for 4 solid days got to us both.

I woke up in a really good mood and was full of the joys of spring. Sleeping so well at night has been wonderful and really lifted my spirits. The fresh air and being unplugged from the real world I think has also helped and had J been able to relax a bit I think the day would have panned out a lot differently. He was still in bed when I got up, so I made myself a cuppa and enjoyed some time with myself. At 09:30 he came downstairs huffing and puffing and yet again complaining about no internet. When he got out of the shower I had breakfast ready (he did the eggs). He sat, he ate, he walked away leaving me to clear the table and sort the dirty cooking bits out. I also threw away his rubbish from the previous night which had just been left on the kitchen side - at least it had made it to the kitchen!! I did find this a bit upsetting as I was beginning to feel as though I was there only to cater to his needs, but I tried to push that from my mind; we've had a couple of "wobbly moments" this week and I didn't need us to have any more.

When he still couldn't connect to the internet he took himself off and sat in the conservatory. I got comfy on the sofa and took the opportunity of some quiet time to open up a book - it's been so long since I read anything. 3 times he came into the room before I had got to page 5 trying to crack funnies - which were crude or not really funny, although it was nice he was making an effort to converse. He was disturbing me while waiting for his internet pages to load and he was bored at how slow they were. The 4th time he came in he said "I have a plan". Because of his previous "funnies" I was prepared for another such (un) funny so pulled a little face at him. This time however, he was being serious about what he wanted to do for the day, took offence at my pulling a face (which was done in an unoffensive way to begin with) and got in a strop having a go at me for rolling my eyes. He then accused me of being grumpy and miserable because we'd not gone out early. I didn't give a flying fuck if we went out or not. I had no plans and would have been happy to sit in reading the book all day just having a chill so to accuse me of being grumpy for not going out was extremely unfair. I realised then I was in for a "bad day".

His "plan" was to visit an Osprey Centre, the car park for the aeroplanes and then walk to the waterfall we'd found but not walked to previously because of the rain. I wasn't interested in the Osprey, liked the idea of planes and loved the thought of waterfall so got myself ready for when he said he wanted to leave. 

Before leaving he realised he'd left something inside and needed the keys to get back in. I chucked my phone on his seat while leaning into the back to get the keys from my pocket. When he came back to the car he just stood there with the door open (something he gets really shitty about me doing - if I need to get out of the car for any reason I have to shut the door, even if I'm only going to be 30 seconds. He gets quite angry if I leave them open, yet is happy to leave his own open for 10 minutes or more). Anyway, I finally looked up to see what he was doing for him to then gesture at me pointing to his seat. My phone was still sitting on it. Rather than just ask me to move it, he thought he'd stand there waiting for me to look up. When I mentioned he should have told me to move it he got right shitty with me. I kept quiet for the rest of our journey afraid the slightest thing would kick him off and I wasn't in the mood for an argument. The fabulously good mood I had woken up with was diminishing quite quickly though. 

The Osprey place was nice, the people really friendly but it wasn't my thing. Basically we wandered through long reeds to a view point where we were able to get a quick look through a telescope at a nesting Osprey's head and that was it. I did get a photo of 2 Canada geese (we have those back home) and 2 Water Buffalo (we don't have those). That was all there was to it though. Before leaving we had to stop for a coffee and something to eat!

From there we continued to the car park for the planes. ALL the way there he went on about how different areas we passed would make better photo spots; I did point out that the planes didn't fly over some of the places to which he said they should because it would make a better photo. The mood he was in I thought it better not to point out that they are not flying for the benefit of photographers.!! I pointed out the place we'd sourced was listed on all the websites as being the best spot to get a decent shot; he wasn't convinced. 

Finding the very last parking spot for the planes he got out and began to fiddle with settings on his phone, testing on moving cars as he did so - outside of the car. As I wasn't up for trying to a get a shot I opened up a game on my phone, leaving him to his own devices. I know if I'm having a bad day I am better being left alone, and as he was obviously struggling with something I figured he would want to be left quiet too. He then decided to keep sticking his head in the window to ask me what the time was. He has a phone of his own to check such things as well as a clock in his car but expected me to keep stopping my game, close it down so I could view the time and tell him. The 5th time he asked I pointed out he was quite capable of looking at his own devices (maybe I snapped a little which I shouldn't have done) and he nearly ripped my head off with his reply. That was it; I was done. I snapped back at him saying I didn't know what I had done wrong (I still don't) but was sorry if something I had said had offended him (yes, that's right, I apologised when I was the one going out of my way to be nice and keep things happy). I also mentioned how nasty he had been to which he shouted "you're the one being the fucking bitch". This pissed me off big time and before I knew what was coming out of my mouth I bit back telling him he was a Cnut and if anyone was being a bitch it was him". He got the last word before walking away as he replied "that's harsh". Fucking harsh? For 5 days I've put up with him snapping at me, complaining, laughing/smiling only when he was taking the piss out of me or making me look stupid, and generally talking down to me; he'd been off with me all morning and I was harsh? What got me even more was he never once bothered to say he was sorry if he'd been out of order. I know he has a lot going on, I know he's having a hard time, and I know we take out our frustrations on the ones we are closest to, but I really was at the very end of my tether. I just couldn't sit back and let him speak to me like it any more. There are times he can be very selfish and he genuinely believes he never does anything wrong; it's always everyone else. I'm not the first person to say such things about him but I will defend him to the end when other's say such things about him to me, trying to let them see deep down he is a great guy, he's just going through a rough patch - a friend will do that - but not any more. In that one moment he was nastier to me than Roger could ever have dreamed of being. Had I not been in such a good mood I quite possibly could have cried but I ended up sitting and laughing to myself, not just because of my mood but because of how immature his attitude had been. He tried to take my good mood, twist it about, stamp on it and turn it all into my fault but I've been down that road before and will not let him be Rogers replacement. I am worth far more than that. Instead, after I'd had my say and he walked away I kept quiet, eventually getting out of the car to climb the hill myself for when the planes flew over. 

Turns out I never even got to the bottom of the hill for I had just begun to walk away when I heard that wonderful roar, looked up to see the underside of one fly directly over head. It was so close I am sure I could have touched it - if I'd had 100ft long arms πŸ˜πŸ˜. I grabbed my phone from my pocket, opened up the slow-mo app and managed to capture the second one just as it reached us. They flew over again but as with the first time I was completely unprepared (I'd tried so hard to make sure I would be ready when it finally happened πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜). 

The plan after the planes was to head to the waterfall but for some reason he took us off to Bala Lake, which is nice but there's nothing to do there. By the time we found our way back to the waterfall it was too late and getting too dark to walk it. It was while sitting in the car park  that he suggested we go out for dinner. We could barely string together 2 words for each other, but he thought dinner out was a good idea.  That's how an hour later we found ourselves sitting in the Taj Mahal in Machynlleth. 1.5 hours and £55 later (that's right, £55)  for 2 people? I can do a whole weeks food shopping for that.

The drive from the lake to the town was phenomenal - as a passenger. Driving it was not so for J as it was 18 miles of single track road around some pretty mean bends. The views I saw though as he drove were out of this world and for once I was glad we had sat nav; we'd not have seen what we saw without it.

We got back to the cottage at 21:30. He put the TV which I semi-watched before I took myself off to bed. It was not a good day. 

Thursday 27th April

Again, I slept like a log waking just before 07:00. J got up at 09:30 so I had a few hours to myself. Time really has flown by this week. It seems I'm just getting up and it's time to go to bed again.

We had a plan for the day - to get to the waterfall. It never happened. Instead we left the house at 12:30 and went to the Red Kite Feeding Centre (not somewhere I had any interest in visiting at all). When we got there we were offered the option of paying extra for a hide that was taller than the general public ones, that would guarantee there would be no more than 4 people in it too. For £20 I thought this way too much money so said I was happy with just the general one (especially as I didn't want to be there and have far more important things to spend my limited funds on) but J wanted the extra so paid for us both. I'll be honest, I actually quite enjoyed it. Was fascinating to see so many birds congregate in one place and I didn't stop snapping on my camera hoping I may have got one decent shot. The other couple in the hide with us - along with J - had these super lenses worth thousands so were bound to get better shots than me with my little 75/300 but there were a couple I was immensely proud of. When I showed them to J he said "yeah, it's ok" then shoved his superb and crisp shots in my face - this hurts a little for I am still learning and a bit of praise now and again would be nice. I sometimes feel as though he's trying to compete with me - a competition he will always win for he is an amazing photographer, but maybe that's just me being a bit sensitive. I did actually offer J my £20 - I still didn't think it worth it but realise they have bills to pay and the food to feed all the birds doesn't come cheap. I was grateful when he said no to it.

When we left there we took the advice of another lady who had been with us and went for a drive through the Elan Valley. Had it been a clear day I should imagine the views would have been breathtaking. They were lovely enough as it was but the cloud did limit how far we could see. At the end of it I saw a sign for Aberystwyth via a mountain route and knowing they had 4g there suggested we grab ourselves some fish and chips on the beach - I also thought it would then give J the much desired internet he was after. The road wasn't quite as treacherous as the previous one but it had a few spots where things got a bit hairy. However, once again the views were astounding. Had we not gone down the route we went we would not have seen the old abandoned village either. I can't tell you what place it is, or why it was there for there was nothing to say what or why; just a sign stating it was of "special scientific interest". It was fascinating to walk around and I'd have loved to know a bit more of the history. As I was typing that I decided to google it and found This!!

Arriving in the seaside town of Aberystwyth you would think fish and chip shops would be in abundance, would you not? However we ended up having to resort to google to find ourselves one, settling on one called the Chip Box 4 we found on Trip Adviser that had some great reviews. All I can say is we must have arrived on an off day because the batter was dry and hard, the fish completely tasteless and I've had bigger and softer crisps than the things they called chips.

I was hoping to get a swim in when we got back but as it was near 22:00 I thought it a bit inconsiderate for us to start splashing about making a noise when it's next to the owners property, so I put on my PJ's, watched whatever crap J had on and went to bed at 23:00.

Friday 28th April

Technically our last day for Saturday was a travelling home day.

I didn't wake until 07:00. Had a shower, headed downstairs, cleared up after J from last night, washed up all he'd piled in the sink. He came down and I made tea while he disappeared over to the utility building to do some washing - never bothered to ask if I had anything I needed doing! Back in the house he planted himself on the sofa again with the TV on complaining about no internet. I cooked breakfast!!

I did laugh a bit later. I was upstairs sorting my case out when he called me to come down. Turns out the horses were loose and both stood by the utility building. He doesn't like horses so wanted me to act as a decoy for him so he could get his washing - did make me chuckle. πŸ˜ Being the nice person I am I went over and took his washing out when it was finished so he didn't have to fend off the vicious brutes that were clearly out to get him πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜

After much to-ing and fro-ing about where to go (J wanted to visit a place on the list he'd given me that I would have loved to see, but after working out it was a 2 hour drive - not really an issue in the grand scheme of things - the 1 mile walk to the place put him off) so we ended up ..... that's right.. back at the lake!! This time though I put my walking boots on, grabbed my camera, wrapped my coat around me and we hiked up to that waterfall. I'll be honest, there were a couple of points when I thought my knees were going to explode and we had to stop several times for J because of his (broken) toe but when we got there it was well worth the hike - alas, none of my photo's were really that good. We'd been there about 30 minutes when this older couple arrived and we got chatting - as you do. Turns out that they were not only from the same town as us, but they had lived (they moved to Wales a couple of years ago) less than a quarter of a mile from where I live and their best friends are my old shop neighbour. There we were, in the middle of nowhere and we bump into people from home. Small world. We'd only been talking about things like that on our drive out there too.

On the way back we took a different path that was gravelled, wider and much easier than the mountain track we'd started on πŸ˜πŸ˜ However, if we'd taken that path to begin with we would have missed out on some lovely scenery.

When we left there we stopped off on the way back in the little cafe the other side of the lake. Lovely place; great tasting coffee and really friendly staff. We've been so lucky with people. Aside from the rude bint in Llanbrynmair everyone has been lovely. They have a great little bird hide there too with feeders right outside the window. There were different species of birds flying back and forth all over the place πŸ˜

We arrived back at the cottage just after 18:00. After dinner we had one last play around in the pool before getting ourselves all packed and ready to leave the next day. Oddly, as hard as it had been spending a week with J when he was being such a grump had I not had to get back to work I would have happily stayed another week.

Had a late night - as it was my last night - and went to bed just after midnight; go me.. hahaha

Saturday 29th April

I was up and wide awake by 06:00 so showered, got myself ready and sorted then had a tidy around as best I could. I'd hoovered everywhere the previous day so didn't re-do it (although I possibly could have done) but I bleached down the bathroom and kitchen so as not to leave too much for the owners to do - I actually left the kitchen cleaner than I found it. I did forget to take our milk out of the fridge but I'm sure that didn't cause them too much hassle.

J got up about 07:30 and by 08:30 we'd eaten, he'd packed the car and we were saying our goodbyes. The minute we exited the driveway and were back on the main roads to home I felt all the stresses of normal life creep their way back in. By the time I got home and through the front door it was as if I'd never been away - I'd not even got from the front of the house to the back before Mum almost had me in tears (not because she was mean but because my cat has been quite poorly, but that's a story for another day). One of the things with my Mum is that she cannot let you get yourself sorted, she has to tell you everything while you're still trying to get through the door and after such a chilled week I could have done with her easing me back into all the stress and sadness. Alas, that was not to be.

And so it is all over until such time as someone is willing to treat me to a trip away, or I finally pick those winning lottery numbers.

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