Touring in Wales with Charlotte

Unusually, I was ready a good hour before I needed to leave the house, was in plenty of time for the train, I arrived at Euston only about half-an-hour after getting out at Lpoo St, Charlotte arrived quite soon after I did, and we had time for a cup of coffee whilst the public address system repeatedly issued a high-decibel announcement asking for Mr. Sands to do something-or-other before getting onto a horribly crowded train. We put the bikes where they belonged and then found some people sitting in our reserved seats and then read Charlotte’s kindling source (a copy of the Grauniad that she’d bought) in which I completed the sudoku, but the quick crossword was just too ambiguous. We ate the butties we had brought with us and not long after arrived in Chester where we had to change trains and where enormous crowds seemed to want to get onto our train. We engaged with a staff member who kindly informed us that, depending on which class of locomotive we were to be provided with, as cyclists we would naturally be expected to be left behind if the train were too crowded.

As it happened, it was a 4-coach 158 and the staff members on the train were very helpful in clearing people and luggage out of the cycle spaces. We then nattered with two old ladies form Wrexham. At Rhyl, two other cyclists joined the train, one of whom was a real tourist, as he had a Dawes Galaxy and was wearing a Clarion CC cap.

We alighted at Bangor, loaded our luggage onto the bikes and set off towards the Menai Bridge where Charlotte persuaded a passer-by to photograph us. We had just negotiated a quiet side road past Treborth Hall and near some botanical gardens and just as we were emerging onto the main road I heard a squeal and turned to see Charlotte lying in the road, still partially attached to her bike. The poor gal had had a “clipless moment” and, worse still, had a deep gash at the back of her left calf.

As luck would have it, the lady form the B & B across the road was well versed in first aid. She patched Charlotte up, stored our bikes in her garage and gave us a lift to the hospital just up the hill where Charlotte was tended by a doctor with a trolley full of sharp needly things. Eventually Charlotte emerged with five stitches covered by a piece of heavy-duty clingfilm glued firmly in place. We got a taxi back to the Treborth estate because we had seen that there was a camp site there. Charlotte chooses very well-appointed places in which to have her mishaps.

The camp site was fairly rudimentary: the loos almost worked but the cisterns filled extremely slowly. There was hardly any hot water in the taps but we were encamped by a small area of woodland and, after a sullen start because the wood was wet, I managed to prepare a very nice meal of basmati rice with fried salmon (I had cycled the mile or so to Waitrose, on Anglesey, to buy these). We slept pretty well.

Charlotte's bandaged ankle

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