The lure of watching a dance demonstration by Alejandro Hernandez and Kerry Donaldason took us down to  Wales at the weekend.

Ah yes, Wales. Land of my Fathers (well, my mother, anyway). Land of laver bread (disgusting stuff) and land of the longest vowel sounds in the entire world. Ah yes, Wales. There’s lovely, look you, izzenet, boyo?

Not only Wales but Porthcawl, deepest, darkest welshest Wales, where speaking Welsh is the norm and not a novelty. Not even my Mum spoke Welsh and she was from Cardiff.

The plan for the weekend was to take a few days off work and meander up and down down the country, stopping off where we fancied and then ending up in Torquay to see some family before heading back. We stopped off at Cheltenham first. What a beautiful place. I was so glad we went but wished we could have stayed longer to explore it properly. The hotel we stayed in was gorgeous. A bit on the quite side but that’s  not entirely unexpected for the second week in January. Dinner was in a huge and deserted restaurant that seemed to echo slightly.  The atmosphere wasn’t so much one of cosy intimacy as much as a doctor’s waiting room.

The huge  crystal chandeliers, twinkling away at no one in particular, seemed a bit incongruous, as if they were waiting for a masked ball  to start or Cinderella to arrive or something exciting to happen.  If I was a chandelier in there I’d have taken the night off and given the shift to a couple of table lamps and a few candles instead to bring the room in a bit and make it less, well, roomy and create a bit of ambience.    In this huge cavernous room there was the sum total of  us and one other couple.  No wonder it echoed. Whispered conversations were the order of the evening as you could have heard a pin drop. That is until my food arrived and then all anyone could hear was me going, “MMMMM……..MMMMMM……..MMMMMMMMM.”   Beautiful fresh scallops followed by a delicious, tender ribeye steak. Manna from heaven.

A group of four women came in at one point with shrill voices of the pitch that can only be attained when a group of women are together. Their  heels clacked loudly on the polished wooden floor  between them they seemed to fill the entire space. Having eventually got settled at a table they  decided to cause a bit of  chaos and have  the waiter running around a bit. Then they complained that the menu wasn’t the same as it was in November and  left  – after   questioning if they had to pay for the drinks they’d just quaffed.  Cheeky sods!

That was pretty much the entertainment for the evening and to be honest,  because by then I was quite enjoying the quiet and peaceful surroundings, I was glad to see them go and tranquility restored. I’m pretty sure the waiter was glad to see them go as well.

Later on in the bar however, we somehow got the whole room talking to each other and we all ended up in one great big, jolly group. After the bar closed we adjourned to the lounge and carried on with our chat. The spirit of bonhomie carried us right  through the evening and into the wee hours. How lovely to make a whole new bunch of friends in one evening.  It’s fair to say we paid for it a bit the morning after, I think may have had a little bit too much of the of the spirit that lubricates the bonhomie.

Next stop, Porthcawl. Tune in for the next exciting installment.


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