Sunday, 15 May 2016

Bog Trotting Through a Minefield

Friday 13 May

I wake in bed at home and it's evident that the sun is making an appearance. I fire up my Samsung and it tells me that @DerekTheWeather is predicting a nice day and weekend.

Herself and I head off to work with the intention of jumping in the hot tub with a case of Stella for company when we get home.  After a rather frantic morning in the office I have a meeting on site booked for the afternoon.

In the heat I wait and wait, but to no avail. I've been stood up. The decision is made to take flexi leave and head for home to enjoy the sun. I'm approaching J44 and I ring herself.  The cogs are turning and I broach the subject of a cheeky few nights away.

Herself agrees without hesitation. Well that's a lie. She didn't say no, so I took it as a yes and booked a pitch at Phillistone Farm on the end of the Gower.

Vera is parked up out front for just long enough to inch the van out and hitch up. My suit is tossed onto the kitchen table and a tee shirt, shorts and daps thrown on in haste.

Time is getting on though. Herself has an appointment to have her hair done at 5pm so I tow to site, set up and return to pick herself up from work.

With all the rushing I am sweating like a Paedophile in a crèche, but it's worth it just to spend the Weekend with a view like this.

We have no clothes in the van so we briefly stop off at home to throw some items onto the back seat before racing to Swansea, dropping herself off to be pampered, fighting my way round Tesco for provisions, collecting a freshly manicured Herself, returning home to collect the dogs, heading back to site, stopping off in Gowerton to pick up a Chinese to satisfy Herself's hunger pangs (I sat in the car as Herself waited inside and was treated to the rather entertaining spectacle of the woman parked behind sqeezing her blackheads for the duration).

It's gone 8pm by the time I've got my beer bucket full and chilling and we site out in our chairs looking over Broughton Bay towards the promised land as the sun sets over Carmarthen Bay.

I'm getting worried about this evening though. We have no phone signal at all, so 3G is out of the question, no wifi within range of site either. I'm in serious danger of having to talk to Herself tonight, God forbid, we may even have a conversation!

Saturday 14 May

We both slept like logs last night and it was 9:30 before we peeked out of the blinds to a distinctly overcast view. I curse at @DerekTheWeather before lighting a flame under the kettle and throwing a few slices of bread under the grill.

After breakfast we pack a picnic in our rucksacks, put on our walking boots and head off out for a walk.  We exit the site, turn right to avoid the armed sentry posted at Mrs Price’s gate, and then hang a left towards the Young Christian’s Camp – no I've not gone all God botherer on you – and then a left at the private land sign through the dunes.

It's not long before the expanse of the beach at Broughton Bay opened up before us and Tali and Gwawr are running their legs off.  I’d planned to head towards Blue Pool but the tide was too far in, so we turned right and followed the water line towards Whitford Sands.

Herself asks me where we are going, so I pick out a landmark in the distance as we walk the length of the beach looking over the estuary towards the golden sands of Pembrey.

My lamps are not what they used to be and as we progress and the landmark that we are heading for becomes clearer through the haze it also becomes clearer that would not be able to go all the way to it, not because it was too far, but because it would appear that the landmark I had picked out was a lighthouse sited in the middle of the estuary, and reaching it would have involved swimming.

Time to make a decision, and I fire up my newly acquired etrex20x GPS gadget.  After pressing some buttons, squinting at the small screen and pressing a few more buttons I confidently announce “We need to go that way” in true Del Boy fashion.  Herself did not share my confidence.

First we needed to cross a tidal lagoon that appeared to be dried up, there were some marsh ponies grazing on it, so we leaded the dogs to pass them. It soon starts to get rather moist under foot, and the lagoon is not as dried up as I’d presumed.  Pretty soon I'm up to my ankles in rancid water but have passed the point of no return.  I plough on like a squaddie on patrol, and eventually get to the sandy path on the other side with minimal damage to my pride.

I turn around and immediately realise that our day out is going to go downhill rapidly from here on in.  Herself is stranded.  Her walking boots and not as high around the ankle as mine, neither are they as water tight either.  She's got 20m to go but will not attempt it.  She turns around calling me everything under the sun.

What I should have done is cross back over and find an alternative dry route for both of us, but I selected to stay put and shout useless directions whilst pointing randomly.

Things got fraught and immediately work out that any chances of cashing in my conjugal rights coupons this weekend have long since disappeared. Conversation for the next 10 or 15 minutes revolved mainly about how wet Herself’s feet actually were, how much Herself’s boots were now going to rub and how smelly Herself jeans were from the swamp water.

We head towards the tree line, and it’s a good half a mile before I attempt speaking.  We walk through the nature reserve under the tree canopy and out of the sun that has now decided to make an appearance.  The sandy paths are drying out our boots and Herself realises that her feet are not as wet as she thought.  She starts talking to me again as we pause by the sign telling us about the nature reserve that we are traipsing through.

Harmony resorted once again, and all is well with the world as we set about finding somewhere to sit down for lunch. As we are about to join the coastal path Herself spots a sign and asks where on earth I have just brought them to!

We follow the coastal path for a while, lose some layers in the heat, and revel in our surrounding.  Remember that sign we just passed? Well we crest a bit of a rise and all hell lets loose.  Bang, bang, bang bang ..... we think we've started to cross a minefield.  The dogs go ape shite.  Herself thinks we have stumbled into a war zone and I am once again in her firing line.

Turns out this is where “Gower Clay Pigeon Shooting” bring the city types down to let off some steam Loads of bangs but I didn’t see one single clay shattered mid air!  We skirt the very poorly fenced off firing range (I’d love to see the risk assessment)and brace ourselves for what is to come.    Facing us is a 100ft climb up a sandy path st at about 60 degrees!

I suppose one good thing about the climb was that Herself was conserving her breath, so having a go at me about swamps and firing ranges was put on the back burner!  When we got to the top we were in desperate need of some water, so we parked our butts on the grass and soaked up the view.

I suppose there are worse places to stop for lunch.

Refreshed, we set off again with our caravan in sight on the hill.  We skirt the back of the God Botherers place and drop down the dune before climbing back up on the path that follows the fence of Whitford Holiday village.

Back at the van we rest briefly before we have to get our butts back into gear and prepare tea. Just as we are about to make a move Grumbles car comes over the cattle grid and he appears to have come over on his own.  It's only when he pulls up that we can see that Creaky is with him, but is slouched so low in the seat she is below the dash line!

We spend a very pleasant few hours sat out in the sun, cooking food on the Weber and making our way through a few bottles of Prossecco, a case of Wife Beater and enough coffee for Creaky to keep a branch of Costa going for a week!

We wave them off and set our chairs up facing the sun, still high in the sky over Carmarthen Bay.  A few hours passed by a the cold breeze wakes us from our period of personal contemplation.  Herself looks at means says “I hope I'm not as red as you!”  The shower will sting tonight!

Sunday 15 May

That's the trouble with weekends away, they just aren't long enough.  We enjoy a lie in bed for as long as the dogs will allow before getting up and start the business of breaking camp.

The sun may be out, but this part of the world suffers badly with dew, and the canopy is still soaking as I pull it through the rail.

It gets bundled loosely on the bed and will dry our in a few days.  Everything else squared away, and we're pulling out of the gates to chance our arm on the north Gower lanes.  Save one incident with a guy in a VW van that could not reverse, the journey home was uneventful .. just as you7 want it to be with a tonne and a half lassoed to the back of the car.

Till next time ...

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