Saturday, 29 August 2015

A Brecon Holiday

Well, we're back from our week's messing about on the Brecon and Monmouthshire canal. The Canal is a work in progress, but indubitably one of the finest canals in the country for getting back to nature and relaxing, despite being very narrow and very shallow.

Despite Hay opening the wrong lock paddles once or twice and trying to drain the canal down, we survived the week without any mishaps, and by the end she was criticising my boat handling skills, sharing steering duties from the 2nd day.

Never seen so much bracken - I reckon they grow the stuff on purpose and have bracken farms and plantations.

The canal runs parallel to the River Usk. You know how Afro-Caribbeans say 'aks' when they mean ask? I wonder if they say Uks when they mean Usk?

The boat was luxuriously appointed, but the hot tub on the bow gave up the ghost after the first day (we suspected rain in the switches). At least Hay got to have a go.

Overheard While Navigating:

Chairman: "Where are we?"
Hay: "Llan something or other."
Chairman: "You do realise we're in Wales and that puts us in any one of 1200 places?"

Overheard While Navigating:

Hay: "This bit looks man-made."
Chairman: "It's a canal - it's all man-made!"

Overheard in the pub:

Bloke: "I don't want to get philosophical about this, but in my opinion if they made an example of these suicide bomber and cut their hands off, why wouldn't do it again."
Chairman to Hay: "What doesn't he understand about the word suicide in the expression suicide bomber?"

Saw quite a few people jogging on the towpath with devices strapped to their arms, which they inspected every now and again. I'm at a loss to know what a device can tell them that their lungs and muscles can't.

Given the filthy weather (which did not detract from the enjoyment one bit), we bought some heavy weather gear in Brecon. The outdoor shops had waterproof kagools at hideously inflated prices - one place had one for £190. Bought a complete set of waterproofs for Hay and myself at a new outlet called Mountain Warehouse for £67. As luck would have it, the weather improved, but I was wishing it would hammer down for the rest of the week to justify the expense.

How can they justify the price?

Same stuff, under a 10th of the price!

Passed through a place called Pencelli. Hay reckons it's pronounced Penkethli, whereas I believe it's where all the Italian Welsh come from and it's pronounced Penchelli. Of course, Sebastopol is populated by refugees from the Crimea.

How does one pronounce this without sounding as if one is retching?

One touristy establishment we visited advertised hand-stirred jam. I winder what difference hand stirring jam makes - the odds are none at all.

Why is it restaurants and pubs have kids'meals? Can't they eat normal food? Kids' sized portions I can grapple with, but totally separate menus comprising crap?

The Usk

Usk again

Usk in flood after the rain

Would do it again in a trice. Much better than foreign holidays with all those travel disruptions and foreign people. And it's only an hour from us! However, having lived on a canal boat for three years, I know boats are money pits, so I don't think we'll be buying one soon for the 2 or 3 weeks of the year we'd probably get to use it.

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