When I bought my car I said to the dealer,
“Give me all your gadgets, wrap them up in a car.”
I love my gadgets. I am missing them.
I keep hunting for my reversing camera.
I can’t believe how much I use the warning lights in my mirrors.
My adaptive cruise control ohhh my I miss that. It would be perfect in this kind of traffic.
HUD… head up display. There is so much information hitting you as you drive here with the roundabouts and motorways. To be able to take it in with my car info on the windscreen too. Ohh I miss that.
When you do not have the gadgets you realise how much you use them. I miss them lots.
That said this little Skoda has been fine for us. Small, easy to drive, good fuel economy. The performance is a bit tepid. The seats hmmm pretty average for 3 and 4 hour drives.
We cope but Ohhh I miss my gadgets.
We have covered many miles. 75% through the trip and we are over 3,000 miles. Today we added many hundreds more driving through South Wales. It was not on our agenda. After the London episode we have an extra day for South Wales.
We drove from Newport through the Brecon Beacons National Park. Then all the way across to Aberystwyth. The sun shone. The temperature almost hit 20˚. We had a wonderful day.
We can’t recall why we remember mum talking about Aberystwyth. But we agree she did. Her family came from Wales but she said little about them. Maybe it is just the name, it is quite delightful to say the name -
But it is in our memory so it became today’s target.
It is an interesting place. The contrast to how we felt at Mallaig or Whitby surprised me.
Mallaig, I mentioned, felt like intruder tourism. I thought Mallaig did not want to be a tourist town. It was not comfortable clogged to the gunnels with tourists hanging out for the Harry Potter train.
Whitby felt like a town that had ceded its historical stature to become a fun fair and Vampire town. Little else. It was not a place we enjoyed.
Aberystwyth was everything those places were not. It was not so packed you couldn’t move but there were plenty of people there to keep its economy moving. Its castle was not hidden behind a toll gate. Like the castle in Penrith, you just wander up to it and climb over the ruins. I like that.
It felt calm. We had excellent espresso from an Italian coffee house. Standing on the esplanade we could gaze out to somewhere south of Dublin on the Irish coast.
No we could not see it - way too far across the curvature of the earth.
I thought of it that way, 'across the curvature of the earth.' I remembered the graffiti we saw across the Scottish Highlands. Painted onto signs and rocks on the roads around Inverness we saw,
“Earth is flat.”
Sorry… giggle!!! Sorry…
A little word about the Welsh Language. It is everywhere. Like Gaelic is on all the road signs in the Scottish Highlands. We saw the Gaelic but it never bothered us in Scotland. In Wales it has been a massive distraction. Probably because it is so alien. It is more alien than most European languages. It catches your eye and defies you to have a go. You try to vocalise the word and before you know it the road sign is past and you are lost.
Next road sign and the Welsh is in a different place. Sometimes Welsh is first on the road sign, others it follows the English.
I accept the need to preserve Welsh culture like this. Aberystwyth was the first place to establish a Welsh language school.
But, just sayin’, it has been so so confusing.
We drove back along the motorways. We noticed that motorway driving in South Wales was more like driving in New South Wales. It felt so much more Australian. Drivers owned their own lane. The elegant dance of traffic we had seen in Scotland and England did not happen.
It was so Australian.
But… and this was amazing. We hit a slow down on the motorway just outside of Cardiff. When the traffic picked up speed again, past Cardiff - it was back to what we had observed across the border. A civilised movement of vehicles - out to the right to pass - then back to the left in the next gap.
The change was so dramatic.
Perhaps Wales has an outback. Maybe when you pass west of Cardiff you find the outlaw proclivities creeping into the Welsh.
Did the British ever ship prisoners to Wales?
Heck - That would be easier for the Flat Earthers to accept perhaps.
Prisoners just went to South Wales rather than New South Wales???