Monday, February 15, 2010

Forgetfulness and incomprehensibility

We walked up a big hill for Valentine's Day, then walked back down. On the way back to the car, my girlfriend went over to some ponies to pet them, and I followed along, rather than leave her alone with dangerous equines. After all, she had no sugar lumps so they could have turned nasty at any moment.

I forgot that I'm allergic to horses. Perhaps because of the cold it didn't affect me immediately, but we got back to the hostel that we were staying at and I started sneezing, my eyes got sore and my throat felt clenched. I spent half an hour blundering around the room sneezing and rubbing my eyes, while my friends told me not to rub my eyes (and then I sneakily rubbed them when I thought nobody was watching), before driving to the garage to get some anti-histamines.

As luck would have it, there was a packet right on display behind the counter. I asked for it.

The guy at the till picked me out a packet of Lambert & Butler.

“No,” I said. “The Piriteze.”

He moved over and started to get me a packet of Silk Cut.

“No,” I said. “To the left.”

He veered off in the other direction and picked up some Lemsip. At least it was a medicine rather than another packet of cigarettes. I kept pointing and gibbering until he finally went for the Piriteze instead. I was now seriously worried. Is my accent that thick that even people on the same island as the one that I grew up on can't understand me?

As soon as I had the Piriteze, I stopped sneezing and my eyes were fine. What a magnificent placebo.

We dined in Brecon in the only restaurant that was open (a curry house where they were very, very keen for us to try the chef's specials) and then went back to the hostel. By 10:30 all of us were asleep – three hours in the open air had exhausted us.

Today we woke up somewhat bleary, consumed a big breakfast then drove out for another walk. This time we were mostly on the flat, apart from climbing down to a waterfall that you could walk underneath. I stood back from it, staring at the wet rock, thinking no good could come of this, but after some cajoling from my girlfriend I walked underneath, and it turned out to be surprisingly dry, wide and flat. How convenient! However, once we'd walked under the waterfall and up the other side of the gorge, we found we had to walk all the way back down again because we couldn't get back home. Drat those geographical features!

On the way out of Wales, we stopped in Penydren at the only whisky distillery in Wales. I do worry that if the only thing you can say about a whisky is that it's Welsh then it may not be any good, but the bottle we've got is 46% ABV so if it's not very nice we can still use it to run the car on. We also got Welsh vodka, Welsh gin and Welsh cream licquer, which does raise the suspicion that there was some spare distilling capacity and they've just started making whatever booze they can think of. If I go back past in a couple of years and there's Welsh absinthe and Welsh Bacardi Breezer, then I'll know that I was right.


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