Jackie and Charis stayed with Trish and Hugh near Aberystwyth last week, then spent three days riding near Lampeter. Steve, Jeni and Charis’s pal Emalise were driving to a Friends of Bolivia reunion near Machynlleth on Thursday so I hitched a ride, and all six of us spent three nights under canvas at idyllic Gwerniog Farm. Despite a weekend of billowing rain and winds to 45 mph, and despite toothache – I said yes to drugs – it was a good time. That it was warm helped and my 2 kg Quechua Quickhiker, untested by fine weather last year in the fens or this year on Hadrian’s Wall, shrugged off the storms with an insouciance that shamed nearby heavier tents.
Friday I got lost in the forests. Seriously. Paying too much attention to my photography, too little to the many turns I’d taken on woodland paths, I walked an hour in the wrong direction, and another hour in a different wrong direction before meeting two walkers with maps. Had the rain resumed, not only would I have been unprotected – I’d aimed to be out an hour, tops – it’s unlikely I’d have seen anyone.
On Saturday Jackie, the two girls, Jasper and I met Trisha in Aberystwyth for coffee and stroll on a promenade sand and pebble strewn from the previous high tide. We also braved the beach, where Jasper played with other dogs, took in seawater and threw up that night in the girls’ tent. Could’ve been worse. Could’ve been my tent.