Week two of my winter visit to Wales is going much better than Week one. I seemed to have intense jet lag, chased by a nasty cold that came on very quickly. Energy level very low and wanting to sleep much more than usual. But I’m all better now and feeling right at home. I’ve been based in Llandudno and spending most of my time here, and in Conwy and Llanrwst. I had lunch last week with my friend Eirlys Owens in Llanrwst and an interesting American ex-pat, Sylvia Jones, who married a Welshman about seven years ago. Sylvia and I had been corresponding by e-mail, so it was great to meet her in person over a lunch of brie cheese and cranberry sandwiches at Badgers.
On Sunday, Eirlys invited me and her neighbours, Lois and Glyn Jones, to lunch at the Eagles Hotel. Lois is an ex-pat Canadian who married a Welshman many years ago. (That’s two, so far!)
That same evening, Sylvia Jones invited several of her friends and neighbours in for a get together. Of course, by the time we remembered to take a photo, almost everyone had gone home. (And she and her husband, Peter, met at Camera Club!)
One of the interesting guests was 86-year-old Mary Williams, who lives down the road. Mary published her memoirs this year, called A Cluster of Feathers. Sylvia, too, has published a book called No, I Live Here, about how she met and married Peter Jones, with lots of detailed descriptions of their travels around Wales. They have two delightful dogs, Jocan and Pip.
They live in a house that Peter built, just outside Conwy, on a rural lane. In the kitchen is a Rayburn cooker. These are cousins of the Aga and are the neatest things. They burn coal, so they heat the kitchen. They have two or three ovens to cook in, they heat the water tank, and can boil a kettle faster than electric. Very British country house. I want one!
Sylvia and I got together again a few days later for a walk near her home.
So the days here in Wales have been filled with beautiful scenery and really nice people. But I’ve been doing other things, too. My agent sent a long list of suggested changes to the newest manuscript, due at the publishers at the end of January, so I’ve been working on that and keeping on top of my Humber duties, too.
Today I had a meeting with my new friend PC Chris Jones in Conwy police station. Chris gave me a behind the scenes tour of a modern UK police station. On the outside it’s a Victorian police station, inside, it’s a 21st century high-tech marvel.
Tonight is my last night in Llandudno. Tomorrow I go to Llanrwst to spend my last few days here with Eirlys. I have a surprise for her. It involves sausages.