Well, last couple of days have been quite hard.
With the onset of dark days and evenings, I’ve been feeling a bit down, due to SAD and its really affected my creativity, hence delay in this and other updates to the website.
On a more positive note, one advantage of our new building, is an excellent canteen run by Dine with good food each day and a relaxing place to have lunch and breaks.
In the middle of the photo, is Emily. As well as being the head chef, she drives the entire kitchen with her energy and enthusiasm.
An absolutely amazing weekend, began early evening in Corks Out wine shop in Chester.
For a while now, I’ve been seeing someone I really like. Not everyone is like me, and wants their whole life up on the internet, so I’ve not mentioned her specifically in the blog, until now.
N (that’s what I’ll call her) really enjoys drinking wine (not the way I enjoy drinking Carling, it’s more about the appreciation and the experience).
It’s nice when you meet someone with similar hobbies to yourself (like hill walking) but it’s also great to try out new things with someone nice.
Every couple of weeks, they do a wine tasting at Corks Out. We normally pay a couple of quid and then get to try 6 wines, representative of a particular region or supplier.
The evenings are normally lead by the shop manager Tom (an extremely talented and charismatic chap, who can engage all levels of wine expertise).
Okay, so I’m not a wine expert, and some of the specialist stuff is a bit lost on me. Thing is, I love trying new things.
For example, did you know, if you ordered a glass of White Zinfandel, it would arrive and you would probably send it back thinking it was Rose. In reality, Zinfandel normally creates a deep red wine, so even when processed into white, it keeps some of its colour.
After this, we head to a restaurant I’ve always wanted to visit.
It’s been open a couple of years, and I’ve heard amazing things about Upstairs at the Grill, but never managed to eat there.
Originally a fan of Jamie Oliver, I remember he once said the key to running a restaurant was simple food, cooked to perfection with amazing ingredients.
That’s exactly what they offered, along with superb service 🙂
We head home, and get some rest. There’s a lot happening the next day.
I love being outdoors, but honestly being wet and cold is one thing I simply cant stand, and as long as I can remember, I’ve always hated it.
N couldn’t decide what to buy me for Christmas last year. She knew I’d been in a helicopter, submarine and stuff like that, but I’d never mentioned White water rafting.
The main reason I’d never done white water rafting, is that the very idea horrified me. I’d had the chance 3 times before, in Borneo, Peru and Andorra. On 2 occasions, I actually paid for it, but couldn’t bring myself to go.
As I opened my card I found 2 places booked on a white water rafting adventure at the National White Water Rafting centre.
On the day of the event, this wasn’t something I was looking forward too at all. As we left the car to go to reception, I felt like a man walking to the gallows !.
Things were OK, until I tried to put on the wetsuit, and realised how ridiculous I looked in it.
We headed up the hill, put the boat into the water and off we went.
A dress rehearsal for hell !. Cold water splashing into the boat and soaking me. Awful.
After the first 2 goes, it got better, and the 3 after that were quite fun (I think the excitement had warmed me up).
So, will I ever do it again. Unlikely, but it wasn’t anything like as bad as I expected. Another lesson, to not be frightened to try something new.
We’ve decided to make a weekend of it, so we head to the White Lion Royal Hotel (I really liked the hotel but couldn’t help thinking the words were in the wrong order).
Bath and a couple of beers. Dinner in Plas-Yn-Dre.
Up the next morning for a cracking full Welsh breakfast.
We had intended to do the 2 lakes walk in Bala (and after buying the wrong map, I bought the correct 1 with the 2nd purchase).
Unfortunately, we were “enjoying” some of the worst weather that the country had seen for an entire year.
A rethink was needed, so we instead decided to visit Portmeirion.
The rain stayed away, and we wandered for hours, around the forest and next to the ocean.
I even found a viewing point high above the village, where I could take this shot.
Wandered by number 6’s house from the Prisoner.
As you’ll know if you’ve been there, its now a souvenir shop. I had a look inside, but I already have a mouse mat and mug, so didn’t buy anything.
We had dinner at an Italian restaurant in the village, then set off home.
What an absolutely fab weekend.
But life isn’t all smiles.
I’ve been a regular visitor at the Countess of Chester hospital recently (nothing serious, I have Polycythaemia, which means my blood is very thick. The “cure” is simple, they just take a few pints out, to thin it out again.
As I was walking to my appointment recently, it was raining, and I saw a young woman sitting out on the grass, in just a jumper, in the pouring rain.
I wondered what on earth she was doing. As I drew nearer, I could see that she was beside herself with grief.
I gestured if she was ok, and she gestured me away, she wanted to be on her own.
Can only guess, that she lost someone close to her in the hospital.
The message, to me though, is simple. Life doesn’t go on forever.
Make the most of every moment, and dont put off your adventures. One day, there wont be a tomorrow, and the chance will be gone.
Near and far, the search for adventure continues…