This will be a week of last things. Today is my last in Wales. Tomorrow I’ll ride through English countryside for the last (foreseeable) time, and spend a last night in Scotland. Saturday will be my last day riding the Tiger. And then it’s down to Dublin, and more last things before I return home to my everyday life.
I’m looking forward to that return, but I also want to savour what’s here, what’s now.
Here and now is presently a pub comprising the main floor of a small hotel in the town of Llandudno, in the county of Conwy, on the north coast of Wales. I have a pint of Welsh ale. There is tolerable music playing at a tolerable volume. My room is upstairs on the third floor. It’s a nice room, spacious.
Getting here was more interesting than the past two days’ rides had been. Wales is beautiful. Lush and green like Ireland. Untamed and uncrowded like Scotland. It reminds me a lot of home. My road here wound between high hedgerows and low stone walls, between cows and sheep, small villages and tidy towns, along the seashore and between mountains.
My first stop of the day was in a seaside village. I parked near the beach and climbed atop the mounds of rocks they’re using as “sea defence”. The wind was whipping around me. If Wales is anything, it’s windy. I took some pictures of (to borrow an image from Joyce) the snotgreen sea with its whitecrested waves.
I didn’t stop often. It was cool – between 10 and 15 C – and blustery, and the constantly changing speed limits (which almost no one drives up to) kept me engaged. The Tiger purred and whirred, and only growled when it was time to overtake someone driving 20 or 30 mph under the limit.
There were churches in most villages, often the tallest buildings visible from the road. Occasionally an old castle was visible from the road. Stone bridges that only allow one direction of travel at a time.
In the mountains of Snowdonia I passed a town whose business was clearly centred around a shale quarry. The buildings, still mostly made of stone, took on a more alpine expression.
Now that I’m here in Llandudno, I don’t have anything much I want to go see. I’m happy to sit here with my pint and savour the lastness of it all.