Archive for the ‘Wales’ Tag

Ogmore Suite, Seabank Hotel, Porthcawl, Mid-Glamorgan, Wales   Leave a comment

Pub #2174:

We first went to the Seabank Hotel for a drink at the Smuggler’s Bar before a concert a couple of years ago and really liked the building so we booked a room there for a brief getaway.  The last night of our stay there was supposed to be a comedian in the bar at 8:30 so we headed down for cocktails only to find the Smuggler’s closed.  “The Ogmore is open,” an employee helpfully noted and we headed over to the other bar.

I’ve been joking about the advanced age of the citizenry of Porthcawl (funny because it’s true); but, we were the youngest hotel guests by at least a couple of decades (a fact that drew attention and, I believe, more generous portions).

So there we were, no shit, in the Ogmore (which I suspect is Welsh for “God’s Waiting Room”) waiting with the ghosts for a comedian who would not arrive (so, maybe “Godot’s Waiting Room”).  They were having Bingo in there, instead, and we finished up the last round to the mellifluous accent of the caller.

We were each fighting a cold when we travelled but it got steadily worse during our stay.  I came to be convinced that we were being milked of our vitality by the building for this hive of ancients.  One case in point came the first evening when an old man drunkenly emerged in front of me and creakily bent to pick up some debris on the carpet.  I cleared my throat, hoping to pass, but he slowly stood not-quite-upright, considered his treasure, then discarded it in a plant pot.  He then turned to me and I realised he was no more than 45 years old…crikey, is this a pensioner’s version of Get Out, or what?

The next morning, I was surveying the coast from our room and realised there were coach trip people milling around a couple of buses.  Oh, I thought, this is a holiday destination for people who have been coming here since the War.  Down at breakfast, they were everywhere.  Our table was near the one set aside for their drivers and some of the old women (identifying themselves as “The Golden Girls,” even though the youngest could have been Bea Arthur’s granny) came over to try to seduce the gents.

We left with full-blown cases of flu, weakened in direct proportion to these women’s increase in libido and vitality.  While possibly unrelated, I’m feeling much better and younger now a few days after leaving.

Oh, the drinks in the Ogmore are dirt cheap and not at all bad.

 

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Brentwood Hotel, Porthcawl, Mid-Glamorgan, Wales   Leave a comment

 

Pub #2173:

An old man (in Porthcawl? you must be mistaken!) staggered toward me and asked if this was Mary Street.  “I don’t know, sir, I’m not from here.  But, if I were to guess I would say it is probably Lonely Street.”  He looked puzzled and I pointed to the sign on the Brentwood declaring it “Heartbreak Hotel” (the annual Porthcawl Elvis Festival just ended over the weekend).

 

 

A couple of days later, I decided to drop in for a cry there in the gloom or a cider.  A group of what I suspected to be local hoodlums (or, perhaps the cutest jailbirds you ever did see) eyed me suspiciously.  Each of them came out to the garden where I wound up and assessed me while finishing a quick ciggy.

 

 

I spotted a dozen copies of the above sign scattered about the pub and its gents room.  Thinking this to be an example of protesting too much, I decided to finish up and go back to the hotel because…y’know…we can’t go on together with suspicious minds.

 

Posted October 6, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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The Rock Inn, Porthcawl, Mid-Glamorgan, Wales   Leave a comment

 

Pub #2172:

There were three of them at the Rock Inn bar eating massive platters of baked beans and toast.  The bartender rose from his trough and poured me a cider and I joined them watching one of the teles that was showing a true crime show about the murders done by a Swindon taxi driver (one of which occurred about the time we moved there).

 

 

The picture of the guy standing there, above, was taken about ten minutes after he took up that position.  I am sure he didn’t so much as blink between commercial breaks and I’m not entirely sure he was breathing.  I’d heard the conclusion of this story years earlier, so I bid everyone adieu and moved on with my day.

 

Posted October 6, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Porthcawl Tourism October 2018   1 comment

 

Porthcawl is very odd but this first bit is something I noticed elsewhere (all over England, Wales, and Scotland).  Why are the “sanitary’ disposal bags decorated with a southern belle drag queen?  Cue the earworm

 

 

I may have been high, but I was amused to find myself on Schindler’s Lifts:

 

 

Best thrift store book section in town has everything alphabetised save for a M through N demilitarised zone:

 

 

The Grade 2 listed public loos are under threat of closure.

 

 

This would be criminal for this piece of grand architecture but also an assault on the residents and visitors whose average age is about 117 years old.  They’ve got to go somewhere, and they probably have to go NOW.

 

 

The local history museum is housed in a Victorian jail house (so, part of the exhibit):

 

 

I was taken with the iron gutters and drain pipes still in good nick (in this good nick).

 

 

We had a grand view from our room.  Low tide:

 

 

And, high tide:

 

Posted October 6, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in Tourism

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The Saltwater Inn, Porthcawl, Mid-Glamorgan, Wales   Leave a comment

 

Pub #2171:

It is a long trip to Porthcawl and we were sorely peckish.  We also had an hour until we could claim our room, so we tried to find a place with an open kitchen at 3pm.  Unsurprisingly, there were slim pickings: it’s October, fer gawd’s sake, and we are the only tourists under 80 who they’ll see for the next 6 months.  We lucked out, eventually, and had some decent plates of better than average seafood and pub grub in the Saltwater Inn.  The wine was good, too.

 

 

If you can’t picture it, it might be because the name changes fairly regularly.  Here’s a Google Streetview of the building (from today as of this edit) in one of its recent incarnations:

 

 

With our choice of seats (the bar was busy but we seemed the only diners) we watched the receding tide — a metaphor for the rest of the trip.

 

Posted October 6, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Where’s Julie been working?   1 comment

“Fancy a trip to Wales?” asked the wife with this link attached:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jun/29/police-patrol-welsh-village-head-off-hunters-lsd-stash

Nice pun. But, now I’ll have this stuck in my head all weekend:

Posted June 30, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Drugs, Tourism

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Wales Marathon 2016   12 comments

 

Lamphey Hall Hotel Lamphey yours truly

 

I have never taken a marathon seriously (see 2009 Snowdonia2012 London and 2014 Isle of Wight for examples of the sort of drunken fiasco my marathon efforts usually degenerate into) although some have only had a beer stop hosted by hashers to interrupt the flow (2006 Tucson M., 3h 19m) or a pub crawl till 4am ahead of an 8am starting gun (2006 Whiskey Row M., 3h 47 minutes but it was slow due to starting at 1 mile elevation and with 2 tough, continuous climbs of 1720 feet and 1400 feet while stinking of bourbon the entire race).

 

Wales Marathon Love Your Liver

Spotted after Manorbier: Of COURSE I love my liver. Why do you think I give it so much to do?

 

But, I intended to BQ this year (not for the sake of a Boston entry, but to have it as an option next year) and I wanted to do it on a hilly course so, despite a good selection of pubs on the course, I trained intending to at least try to treat the Wales Marathon with respect.  Busy at work and preparing to move house and a million aches and pains and every other excuse you’ve ever heard or said, this plan blew away like so much sand on the Coastal Path.

 

training log from 1 May 2016 to Wales Marathon

 

I mean, I ran the prescribed mileage (the blue trace on the chart shows my 7 day rolling sum back to the start of May with the planned training in red); but, I did very little of the ‘extras’ like stretching, speed work, proper nutrition.  And, those extras are especially important for us ancients.  I reckoned I should be happy to even finish this one as I found my place in the crowd at the start in Tenby.

 

Wales Marathon and Lamphey diversion

My marathon hotel was a B&B in the seaside village of Amroth, a hilly 6½ miles northeast of Tenby along the Welsh Coastal Path.  With no prospect of Sunday morning public transport, I had to jog to the start so at least I was limber and had a jump on sweating out the alcohol from the Coach and Horses (Tenby), the Royal Oak and the Old Chemist (Saundersfoot), and the New Inn and the Amroth Arms (Amroth) the night previous.  Sunrise was around 4:30 am so I missed daybreak; and, the tide, while noticeably rising during the trot, was still about midway between low and high.  Hard to complain, though.

 

Wales Marathon Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle ahead and near enough to the King’s Arms.

 

I ran the race in less clothing than I trained in (or, indeed, that I have run in since the trip to Bristol Tennessee, last September because, for a boy from the Deep South, it is still fucking cold here); the idea was not so much to decrease my load on the run but to encourage shorter pub breaks — I had to down the bevvies fast to beat the chill.  So to overcome the seaside shivers at the start, I wore an over layer of disposable sweats including this old favourite from a visit to the Gypsies In The Palace Hash (roughly in 2006, may 2007…goodbye, old, warm friend; the Kucinich 2004 shirt would join it at race end).

 

Wales Marathon Gypsies in the Palace shirt disposal

 

The race route at the start was too circuitous but not as bunched up as I feared (there were only 887 of us and a substantial number of those were just hoping to get all the way around).  The wind was howling and it was pissing down rain for the first hour and a half, but the route was protected by a high hedgerow on both sides of the road along the Ridgeway.  This obscured what was almost certainly a spectacular view but at least we were protected (somewhat).

 

2016-07-10 Wales Marathon official 2

 

I didn’t carry any nutrition on this one because every other of the frequent water stations was also a banana and Snickers bar stop.  And, of course, I would be packing in liquid carbs and B vitamins at the pubs, as soon as they were open as I passed.

 

Wales Marathon Manorbier Castle

Manorbier Castle

 

I only made it to one pub in Pembroke because most were not open till 12 (I had planned on two but the King’s Arms was my only refuge).  There were some close to the Half Marathon start but I didn’t think it prudent to leave the course with so many officials there; instead, at the turn toward Freshwater, I jogged up to one of the docents and asked if the pub nearby was open, yet.  He glanced at his watch then pointed off the wrong direction and said, “yes, but it’s….”  Not letting him finish, I started running down the wrong road which I realised when three or four spectators pointed and yelled, “no, over there.”  On my return from the Lamphey Hall Hotel, the crowd parted for me as I rejoined the pack.

 

2016-07-10 Wales Marathon official 3

 

We reached the coastline just after my stop in the Freshwater Arms but the hills were starting to take their toll on a lot of us.  I chatted with one guy I had passed a few times already and I think I diagnosed an IT band problem for him.  I offered to buy him a regenerative beverage at the Castle Inn in Manorbier, but eventually just passed him again sometime soon after.  It was good to see him finish shortly after I changed into my travel clothes.

 

2016-07-10 Wales Marathon official 1

 

So, it was a disappointing effort, in some ways.  About 4h 8m worth of disappointment, in fact, and I only came in slightly ahead of a guy who had been obviously suffering for at least 23 miles of the route.  Again, I could make excuses about going ¼ mile out of my way for the 2nd pub or starting the morning with a heavy-backpack-laden 10K after an afternoon of bar hopping the day before but none of that is especially unusual (I think the real excuse should just be that I’m old).  But, I ticked off another one and drowned my sorrows by returning to the Three Mariners (which had sent me away dry at 9:30 in the morning since their license locks their taps till 10).