Wednesday, 23rd June, 2021

[Day 464]

This was the day when we were due to travel to North Wales and we made a reasonably early start at 9.20 this morning. Everything proceeded satisfactorily until we made a stop at a Starbucks near Shrewsbury in order to make use of their toilet facilities. There we had a panic when Meg lost her handbag (not for the first time!)and eventually found an assistant with a master key and opened up all of the locos until the missing handbag was located. Then we proceeded on our way only for the car information system to display a big tyre meaning, I suppose, an inflation problem. I pulled into a service station and checked all of the air pressures but the ‘tyre’ symbol remained. So this means either a faulty sensor, or the sensor needs to be turned off, that actually do have a slow puncture or any combination of the above! We proceeded on our way cautiously but seemed to be OK. We arrived at the restaurant in the country park where we had pre booked a meal in the restaurant and had a delightful meal of sea bass. We then set off for our AirBnB but got there about 30 minutes too early. As we were fiddling about parking we met another couple from Birmingham and decided to have quick cup of tea with them before we set off for the AirBnB which we had previously located. When we got there, there was no space to park and we were greeted by the mother of the host who was friendly but! We have found somewhere to park the car down the road and in the meantime we have to work out how we can use internet access without a password. In the short term, I am managing to write this blog by ‘hot spotting’ my iPad onto my iPhone but feel this is only a short term solution. However, now a little later I have managed to establish contact with the owner, several little things have improved. First and most importantly, I have managed after several false starts to get this IBM Thinkpad connected to the BT network. This involved quite a long and involved password with a variety of upper and lower case characters but eventually after some errors (all of which were my own because I had failed to copy some of the characters correctly. Also I had forgotten my mouse but I am having to learn how to use the ‘nipple’ on the Thinkpad keyboard but of its type, its quite good really. We now have a front door key so I can pop out to the car and get some bits of pieces. Also, I begged from the owner a black plastic bag which we can now use as a dirty washing bag (important if you are aware for several days) The absence of a kettle so that we can have a hot drink is a little irksome – but of course we are applying the norms of a ‘normal’ B&B to an AirB&B which of course we should not. When I get to know the owner a little better, I can ask her whether it is legit for us to pop down and make ourselves a quick cup of tea downstairs and then take it up to our room – one is a little frightened to ask. The TV remote has gone walk-about so we are having to manipulate things through an obscure (to us) Sky box so far from ideal or restful.

The European Cup finals were in the final stages of the initial group stage this evening. In the event there were several dramatic touches in the matches. At one point, when Hungary were beating Germany 2-1 10 minutes from the end, it looked as though Germany might not progress beyond the group stage. Instead, we have the situation in which Germany equalised, they progress onto the knockout stage and will meet England next Tuesday. I suppose it is pretty self-evident how this one will end, given the nature of the encounters between England and Germany in the past.

The COVID news seems pretty grim, in some respects, this evening. The number of new infections has leapt from 11,000 to 16,000 in a single day. Nonetheless, the death rate and the hospitalisation rates do not show commensurate increases so it does look as though as the infections seem concentrated on the younger sections of the population and therefore it can be argued that ‘the vaccines’ are winning this particular battle. Tomorrow we will see Meg’s Uncle Ken (who is in his 90’s) and then we hope to a meal in our favourite little restaurant in Conway (specialising in lovely home-cooked recipes like fish pie) and have a toddle around our favourite shops in Conway. We hope the weather will improve tomorrow because here in Wales we have run into a ‘North Wales drizzle’ the likes of which Meg remembers well from several wet holidays in Wales!