17.06.2016 - 21.06.2016
We are now the proud drivers of Hugo Spearmint, a gloriously toothpaste coloured Fiat 500, cunningly named after Hugo Speer (an actor who was in The Full Monty - thanks Vikki for the local reference). Hugo has two doors and is just big enough for us and our suitcases, but doesn't allow us to collect any hitch-hikers along the way. Unless they are squirrels.
Saturday was Hugo's first big outing to Otley, which he enjoyed immensely. We caught up with Team Thornshire and took in all the sights and sounds of the Otley carnival and its associated parade. Most entertaining! There was a musical offering to suit everyone - bagpipes, marching band, steel drums, bongo drums, and (personal highlight) the ukulele orchestra playing 80s classics and costumed to match. Brilliant. Plus there were cheerleaders, teapots, astronauts, Grand Old Duke of Yorks, and an incredible array of fathers that looked as though they had been sent into the parade against their will but were trying to make the most of a bad situation. We followed the parade to the field and enjoyed throwing balls at crockery for no reason at all, and participated in every single tombola stand (no mean feat, as there were about ten of them). Annie was the only one that managed any triumph there, walking away with a bottle of red and a Horrible Histories door hanger thingamy. Lunch was supplemented with a demonstration of dog obedience and agility all the way from Liverpool, which gave Rosie plenty of opportunity to use her favourite word "dog".
We eventually dragged ourselves away and tootled off to Wales, ending up in Snowdonia National Park with Sue and Howard (Chris from TVG's sister and brother-in-law).
On Sunday we joined Clwb Dringo for a delightful walk in the delightful rain. Thankfully Sue had kitted us out with waterproof over-trousers before we set off, but the constant precipitation meant that we were absolutely soaked by the end of the day. There is a limit to waterproofness, apparently. Along the way, we chatted with an interesting bunch of walkers - some Welsh, some English, but all with a story or two. Brexit was a hot topic, with most expressing 'remain' intentions but a couple of 'leavers' in there too. While we soaked up the Welsh accent, our accent had the locals confused. I was asked which bit of New Zealand I was from - the Australian bit, obviously - and was told by another person that I just didn't sound Australian. Might have to start flashing my passport around a bit more.
On Monday we walked Moel Ddu with Howard - and thankfully, the sun was out and the clouds had lifted. Perfect for exploring the abandoned slate quarry. The ground was still wet and boggy though, so it was wet feet again. Note to self - invest in waterproof socks.
On Tuesday Sue took us to Cwm Pennant and we enjoyed views of Mount Snowdon itself, before attempting to find a Clwb Dringo-friendly stream crossing near another disused slate quarry. The next challenge was finding a clear route through the bracken back down through the valley, and it drove home to us just how different Wales and Australia are. No deadly snakes to worry about here, and no leeches either. Just wet feet again. Made us appreciate a nice warm shower and dry socks at the end of the day!