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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Welcome to Wales

"Life is short. Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably; never regret anything that made you smile." ~Anon.

   We woke this morning in Whitchurch with sunshine pouring through fat, tall, white clouds. The BBC weather indicated "After a chilly start inland, lengthy sunny spells at first will give way to frequent heavy showers in most areas by afternoon, with a risk of hail or thunder almost anywhere..." All righty then! 
   We were ready to cruise and Ma Nature was planning a tempest. Off we went and within three swing bridges it started to rain. Squirrels hung from tree branches with their tails pulled up over them like furry umbrellas. Birds flew low, looking for shelter.
   Shortly the rain turned to hail, as we made our way toward the Prees Arm of the Llangollen canal for diesel and water. Along the towpath we were greeted by none other than Elsie from NB Bendigedig, out for a walk with their four legged family member Ben.
   After filling up the boat, dumping the rubbish and having bacon and egg salad sandwiched for lunch we turned around and headed back our of the Prees arm. The sun came out and our jackets appeared to steam as water evaporated from the heat of the sun.
   We found NB Bendigedig moored across the way so we pulled up and joined Elsie and Eric for a cup of coffee and some great chat. I've followed their blog for some time and Les has crossed paths with them several times over the years.
   While we enjoyed the warmth and friendly conversation aboard their boat, the promised thunder storm arrived, dumping a river of fat rain drops accompanied by thunder and lightening. My first British storm!
Elsie, Eric and Ben
   When the rain subsided we said our good-byes to Eric, Elsie and Ben, continuing onward.
   Shortly we cruised through the Fenn's, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses nature reserve. Suddenly a post appeared on the towpath announcing "Wales." We quietly crossed from England into Wales. I kissed Les and thanked him for making a lifelong dream come true.
   My maternal grandmother was Welsh. She emigrated in 1918, and always wanted to return but never had the opportunity. Now I am here, and I feel like I am closing a circle which she opened ninety four years ago. How appropriate we were welcomed so warmly by Eric and Elsie, whose boat is named in Welsh and means "wonderful!"


Adam said...

Don't get too excited -- the canal is only in Wales for about a mile just there, and then you're back into England again! The real entry to Wales is much better, over the Chirk Aqueduct.

Les Biggs said...

Hi Adam,
I know this is just a dip into a bit of Welsh country side before leaving again and re-entering near Chirk.

It isn't how long we are here or how deep into Wales we go; it is the call in my bones by the land that cannot be rationally explained--only experienced.

Korolyn said...

I always look forward to your next post and read them up without taking time to savor. I love Les' posts as well, such different styles you have. I sometimes get lost in your details of the history (either way you want to take that) but all and all it is nice to take this journey with you.

Anonymous said...

Jaq and Les ... yes it's great to hear separately from both of you as your tales are indeed from different perspectives. Despite the huge differences it brings back memories of cruising on the inside passage of Alaska and BC. I remember how frustrating it was to drive around England with all the high hedges blocking the view of the homes and land and I see they do the same for the walking paths. And heh... don't you two have big back packs to put your provisions in when you take off on one of your walks. It's great that there is Always a path along side to stretch you legs on.

All is well here in Pullman .. Mom's weekend so long traffic jams of up to 5 or 6 cars! :-)

Still want lots of pictures of the inside of the NB Valarie. By the way...some time get a new photo for the head of your blog with both of you standing on the boat ... the blog after all is about you two first and you "home" secondarily.

love the blogs .. each one.. learning a bit of English history whether I want to or not. Keep it up.
Karen B

Les Biggs said...

Hi Karen! Thanks for commenitng on the blog rather than by email. I love your emails but it is so nice to get a comment fomr across the pond.

Les is still workin gon sorting through our pictures and video so we can send you detailed before and after's!
Much love,

Les Biggs said...

Hi Korolyn! I was so excited to hear you were granted more time for your dissertation and you were published! Hopefully you will enjoy a cracking good summer and top up your internal battery for the final haul to you PhD. It's lovely to know you are reading our blog and following along. You and Larry would love this life!!
Love JaqXXX

Les Biggs said...

P.s. I cannot say I miss Pullman on Mom's Weekend! Happy to be here rather than there!

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs