And I alone returned to tell thee........
So I am back, back in a country that does not see the need to use "W" and "Y" as vowels.
The weekend was, as I am sure everyone who was involved in it would testify, a success.
Friday came, and we drove out to the Irish Ferries section of Dublin port, armed with a booking number given by the company that Wednesday. I had the cheery disposition of everyone who has stayed in Dublin too long, and then gets the chance to remove themselves from its clutches has. It was all sorted, it was all falling into place. Sanity would be given a sanctuary in that most unlikely of places, Wales.
Unfortunatly when we arrived at the desolate terminal that was overshadowed by the vast bulk of the ferry that was to be our conveyance, it was empty. Well empty save one confused employee who unsucessfully tried to hide himself behind the cheap paperback novel that he was reading. It took me three "ehm!"'s and one "EXCUSE ME!" to get his attention. I quoted the booking number at him, just so as to gain the upper hand and put him off balance. Unfortunatly the upper hand was then used to slap me into stunned silence. "Sorry mate, the ferry is not running today". What the Fuck!!!??? the weather was fine. Turned out that our boat had "Technical problems" which either meant that the fucking thing was going to sink if we tried to board it or that they were trying to find the right bulb to fit the Captains desk lamp. Either way, there was no way it was moving today. I asked when this situation had arisen. Monday, the problems started Monday, when some arsehole in Irish Ferries had, that Wednesday been happy to book me a ticket for a non existent ferry.
The whole experience taught me one thing. Irish Ferries are a bunch of unspeakable lying bastards who are not to be trusted and more than that, not to be given any money, under any circumstances whatsoever.
Stena Line, however were most accomodating, and but for a change of location to Dun Laoighre we were on our way by four pm that day.
The catamaran ferry was more like a floating shop, and for the hour and fourty minutes that myself and M were on board we amused ourselves by sending the gross "bloke dressed up as bunny in a dress with menstrual problems" pic to any bluetooth enabled phone on board, no one knew who we were, and so no one could find us to kill us.
Z, fighting any genetic predisposition he may have had to be late, surprisingly arrived on time, sober, with car, and without police. We on the other hand got delayed as we moved through the "nothing to declare" section of customs and found, to our slight unease the door barred. Three minutes passed when I decided to jump up and down in front of the security camera wildly gesturing to those underpaid civil servants that may have been watching the monitor deep down in the bowels of the Hollyhead port that the door was locked. It turned and stared with it's unblinking eye at the barred door. In another five minutes we were set free.
The drive back to Z's was uneventfull save for a long THX1138 like tunnel that made me want to shave my girlfriends head, just to complete that seventies futuristic dystopia feel. We called first to Z's friends and employers and had some tea and tea. I have a video on my phone of a sliver of the evening, which is mostly me begging for food. Eventually Z gave in, and presented us with one mushroom each.
Hysterical laughter followed until bedtime. The mushroom did not have too much nutritional value, but it did work as a substitute for dinner, after an hour we no longer wanted to eat.
The following day, rising at the surprisingly early time of ten am, we gathered our tea, and set forth for "The Village" of Portmerrion. We had a map, but in a country that uses, as I said before the letters "Y" and "W" as vowels we were as lost as complete illiterates. Z who has been exploring many towns and villages of North Wales in the last six months commented that when he returned to work and talked to his friends, he was unable at any point, after any trip to tell ANYONE where he had been, such is the nature of the Welsh language, so suffice to say we thought we were fucked and would be found dead and thawing in some Welsh valley come the Spring. However, we knew it was a coastal village, and so we set our compass and sextent for the coast and roared up into the snow topped peaks of the Welsh mountains. To any who say that all the Welsh have are hills, I hex you with the threat of Snowdon dropping on your pet's head. The country side was that of myth. The rolling mountains dragged us up into the sky, and as we moved the trees, rivers and lakes of North Wales moved below escorting us on our journey to The Village. I remember in the series of the "Prisoner" one of the main questions that remained unanswered was "where is the village?" there were various clues, it could have been in Spain, or even the Balkans as it was inferred at one point. To me though, the village was right where it was meant to be, as you had to drive through mountains, and forests to get to the remote seaside town. If you actually lived in Portmerrion, and had no transport, it would be even more difficult to leave than Number Six had found it.
Portmerrion itself, was almost unchanged since the 1966/67 filming of The Prisoner, all the familiar landmarks were there. The tower, the Town Hall, Number Six's house, the boat that went nowhere, none of it has changed. I moved through it, after paying my entrance fee of Five Pounds half expecting the spooky shape of "Rover" to try and herd me back to the square if I tried to get too far down the beach. If you are a fan of the series, or even of odd follies made by eccentric Lords to enhance areas of natural beauty, portmerrion should be the first spot you visit should you ever enter into the Hills and Valleys of Wales.
So after getting the first meal since we arrived in the country, and picking up one or two Prisoner related pieces of merchandise we decided Lucy was not to be taken out. She would take up too much time and we would not be in a fit state to drive back across the mountains, though if we did take her out, we would probably try, and that was not really a risk that we were prepared to take. In any event, Portmerrion was as surreal as it was going to get, plus the fact I could not figure out if it was bad or good Ju Ju to follow that path, so in the end we abandoned it.
On the way back through the mountains, because L had wondered if we were going to come across a snowman in Wales we drove to the highest peak, and there fashioned a snow drift into something resembeling a human being. The weather at that height was horrifying, all sleet and biting wind that turned the skin blue. The snowman, whom we never though of a name for was pretty hard to build, seeing as M had lost her gloves, and I had lost one glove, misery, pain and misery, it's amazing what one is willing to put oneself through for children. Though it was not all for naught, as we have photographs of the pityfull Snowman. L was pleased enough.
That evening was spend in Z's house stealing cars and doing unspeakably brutal things to the guardians of the law, though the technological miracle of GTA "Vice City", at one point I was arrested after stealing a swat van and running down what must have been half a precinct. My one excuse is that I had "drink taken" we had to stop after a while, for M regained conciousness and threatened to do to us what we had done to the computerized cops if we did not turn off the damn game. Fair enough, and then to bed.
Sunday (and I realise that I am not writing all I should be, for I am tired and the words at this point do not come easy) we woke at one pm, late, but early enough for us to take a shower and then drive like speed freak fugitives across the border, to England, Manchester and my longest friend R.
We actually made it this time from the directions we were given over the phone (answer yourself this question, how many times have you found your way with no difficutly to where you were going when the destination was in a different country than the one you were in, and you only had directions that were given over the phone? - nuff said). R and N (her wonderfull and pleasent girlfriend) met us in a pub called, and I joke not, the "Spread Eagle" which was much like a pub in some British kitchen sink drama about a bunch of mental patients that had been released from the bin, and eventually found their way to a local. I was able to keep my mind on the conversation that R and myself were having, despite the "chas and dave without the beard" lookalike that was trying to dance with women he did not know behind us. This I think is what was for me, the highlight of the trip, not only did I get to meet my longest friend again, and her beautiful and charming girlfriend, but I was asked to give her away at her wedding to said beautiful and charming girlfriend in place of her father, who is of the sort of traditional stock who would resist coming to such an occassion, homosexuality being, as we all know the stock in trade of the devil. To be honest, I have such love and affection for R, and I have known her so long, that this request brought tears to my eyes, would I like to give her away? would I like to continue breathing, it's the same equation to me.
Z had to make it home that night, as he, poor soul, had work in the morning, and so we had to make our apologies and head back to the Kingdom of North Wales, where we talked long into the night, about sheep, y's and w's and all thouse other things that concern it's citizens.
I miss R and Z already.
Z if you read this blog, you were a wonderful host, and a most amusing and incorrigible companion, I will recommend you to all my most beautifull, single and sexually open female friends.
R, I cannot wait.
and to the rest of you, you should have been there.
Peace and Hope