Thursday, 9 May 2013

Getting Away From It All - a trip to Wales

The bank holiday weekend gave us an invitation to our friends house in the beautiful Welsh countryside. This is a special invitation as this is a very special place to them. Bought by my friend Elaine's parents when she was 10 years old, she spent her formative years alongside her brothers and later boyfriend and friends, clambering up the hillside, playing in the stream and basically going a bit wild. Her children have grown up with the same experience - a rarity as all three generations are city kids by birth.

What makes this place so special is the fact that the family took the decision to keep things simple and basic. Heating is via the inglenook fireplace. Electricity - well there isn't any, not a generator and certainly no access to the nation grid. Lighting is provided by oil lamps and candles, the fridge and cooker (well there are certain modern appliances that you really do need) are run on gas bottles. The toilets are chemical but there's shower that's heated via a wall-hung boiler (but this is a recent addition).

But it is all rather wonderful because of this. There is no background hum of a generator - in fact it's so silent you can hear people talking across the valley. You have to accept the kettle will take that little longer to boil than usual, and that you are basically poo-ing into a bucket which someone (the hosts thankfully) has to clean out. If you need wood from the fire you have to bring it in from the woodshed whatever the weather and you need to bring everything you need with you (there are no local shops within reasonable walking distance). But there are views. And baby lambs in the Spring. And you talk and read and communicate as there is nothing else to distract. You can't get much of a signal on your phone and the internet is a no-no - how very wonderful!

We came home on Bank Holiday Monday relaxed and smelling of wood-smoke. Unlike our friends I couldn't live there permanently (obviously I don't have the emotional attachment to the place to allow me to live with all those basics) but I do get the attraction. A few days without email and living with what you've got (and some wonderful walks too) clears the mind, stretches the muscles and gives you a huge sense of perspective. Long may those feelings remain.

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