it they say? You can’t fight city hall? Is that it? I’m not quite sure what it means but I think it’s something to do with the fates being against you or something. We’re on the first leg of our annual trip to Ireland and things haven’t so far gone entirely to my carefully constructed plan. I’m writing this having just started the 3 hour boat ride across the Irish Sea. The clue is in the time for the crossing – 3 hours and fifteen minutes, as opposed to the predicted one hour and forty minutes. Hmm, something wrong here. The simple explanation is that our fast ferry crossing was cancelled and we’re on a later and much slower ship / boat. The effect is that we won’t arrive at our Nenagh hotel (see last year’s blog about the strangeness of this place), God, or whoever willing we do arrive, until I’m predicting eight o’ clock as opposed to about two o’clock.
Now I’m not one to complain but this means we will spend very little time in the room for which we have paid very much money. I’m just mentioning it because life has been a bit like that recently. My careful plans have hit the rocks while random chance has won out at every turn. A couple of days last week I tried to put our retirement life in order – working on the campervan project for example, two broken ratchets, portaloo not delivered, internet etc etc. the only thing that went well was when the scrap metal man called by and took the bulkhead which was cluttering up our drive. I hadn’t planned this at all.
One thing I had planned about this holiday was that instead of the mad dash the morning of the ferry with all the stress of worrying about getting stuck in traffic jams and missing the ferry, we would stop off in Llandudno which was as close to halfway as I could make it with a dog-friendly hotel, beach and parking. I’ll give this hotel one and a half out of those three. Parking was round the corner on the road, the beach was far from dog-friendly (not to mention they are, as I write this, languishing in the Land Rover on the car deck for three and a bit hours not one and a bit).
I had to smile when I thought about this the latest of our stopovers. After America, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, China, Shanghai and Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Bangkok, etc, this time we have Llandudno, Wales. It feels a bit of a come-down in the world (but not in terms of the view above). And Llandudno, I have been here before more than 50s years ago I was about 16 when myself and two other school friends, whose idea of a week’s holiday was a rail rover ticket which took us for some reason which is lost in the mists of time, to Llandudno. I can’t say the place has changed because I can remember almost nothing of the previous trip.
Impressions this time were not entirely favourable. The hotel was somewhat grand and faded. A bit like us Mrs Summerhouse pointed out. We went out in the evening to the nearest pub which was not grand and beyond faded. We had to sit outside with the dogs, which was a relief, with plastic glasses which tells you a bit about the area. I’m sure the young lady who accosted me wanted to tell me about the town. We never got to that, can I speak to you, she asked as I sat there on my own. Mrs SH had taken the pups back to the hotel, they said they’d had enough of Llandudno. Nope, I said, no? she said, I repeated myself, no, this time with a shake of the head in case she missed my initial message. We found an excellent Indian restaurant called The Blue Elephant. We had two great curries, so Llandudno had that going for it. Try it if you’re ever that way.
I can report that so far this three hour plus crossing has seemed nothing like three hours, it feels more like 3 days. Now I fully admit for all my droning on about the joys of travel I am in fact a very intolerant traveller. I’ll just say – an old man who hasn’t stopped ‘talking’ since we started and I say I drone, an entrance door which we’re sat by that rattles like a banshee, the television just loud enough so you know it’s on but can’t hear it and the old git, telling us again about his bleedin’ children and how well they’ve done. I wonder what kind of prison sentence I’d get if I wedged his head in the door? Two birds with one plan. Oh and the boat / ship has slowed down, for some inexplicable reason. Just to extend the fun I guess.
There’s a few hours gap between the last paragraph and what I’m going to write next. To sum up, the interminable voyage ended, we got off the boat and we had a very nearly three hour drive to Nenagh where matters got worse. It turns out I need not have worried about how little time we would be spending in our lovely country house hotel room because we weren’t in the room at all. On arrival at this unusual hotel we realised that they weren’t really expecting us as our name wasn’t on the list, and the lady with whom I’d made the booking was in England, now that is unusual. Not to worry it’ll be fine, they said. It wasn’t but you’ve got to admire Irish optimism. My advice is don’t stay at the hotel (not that I’m going to name it) when they have a large wedding party staying for the weekend.
We were not in the room with the four poster in the main building but rather in an annex of a recently converted cottage. Interesting room though, the first time it had been used I’m guessing. It lacked a few things like hot water for the shower, a bed that stayed where it was supposed to, it was on casters on a tiled floor and moved around when you sat on it, separating it from the headboard which leaned against the wall. Nice touch with the electric sockets in the bath room hanging from the wall like that. Breakfast next day didn’t help – no butter, no milk on the table and it didn’t arrive when I asked for it. She was French and didn’t speak English she said, Mrs Summerhouse got her scrambled egg OK, 15 minutes later I was still waiting for my full Irish. I cancelled it (then it arrived), we checked out, they halved the bill and we left. We still have affection for this unique hotel but it was a struggle. But not to worry, true it’s been a challenge in parts, but the holiday improved, please read the next instalment of our retirement trip.