Thinking of Wales, I used to imagine a solitary sheep on a muddy hill, its overgrown woollen fleece heavily sodden with the continuous downpour. There is a decidedly bleak grey filter over this gloomy scene and the deep, sonorous vocals of an all-male choir complete the picture.
Passing over the Second Severn Crossing on a scorcher of a day in a car full of friends, the views of Wales were postcard-beautiful. The lush, rolling greens of the hills merged into the crisp blues of the sky, quite unlike my unfounded vision of Wales. Attempting to say the Welsh road-signs proved a struggle and we will never know how offensively wrong our pronunciations were.
Crunching along the gravel driveway to the manor in Llangrannog, my high-pitched squeals of excitement perforated the otherwise hushed silence in the car. All thoughts of unloading our luggage from the car disappeared as we immediately dashed inside to run around and get lost in the seemingly endless grade II listed building.
Of course, there was only one way to cool off after a long, hot drive – skinny-dipping in the pool. Drying off and watching the sun set, the rest of our large gathering arrived. That it had been nearly a month since most of us had seen each other, there was plenty to catch up along the rushed tour of the house and grounds.
The beach awaited us on Saturday as the toasty hot rays of the sun beat down upon us. Lacking the energy to make it to the sea, which was mere meters away, I kept watch/fell asleep by everyone’s bags as they frolicked in the chilly sea. Being the destructive twenty-somethings that we are, we built a dam to block the main stream that flows in to the sea. A proud moment.
Deliriously sun-baked, we ventured back to the manor for an epic pool-side BBQ. Devouring our tasty foodstuffs, thoughts turned to the evening’s entertainment. It had been discussed before that a combo of bad movie and a drinking game would set us up for the night. Many films were thrown down as The Worst Film/The Best Drinking Game – Birdemic, Piranha 3DD, Sharktopus. The film that we settled on? The Room. For most of us (myself included), this was a first time viewing. And I’m only glad that I didn’t watch this cult film sober.
Sunday was a very relaxed affair. A fort was constructed – “watch out for the chandelier” – from bean-bags and blankets as the setting for a furious game of Articulate. More exploration of the grounds led us to an impressively large pond, some overly-friendly cows and very well-kept walled gardens. We also moseyed down to another nearby beach for a delicious late lunch of sea-side fish ‘n’ chips. Delicious.
To say the least, my speculative thoughts of Wales have been viciously jolted from my mind. Replaced with sun, sea and sand, this was a wonderfully un-Welsh, Welsh weekend.