Bit of a semi-unplanned mission this past weekend.
Mazza’s folks had hired a house in a wee village just outside Conwy in Wales for a week or so, and they invited the various branches of the family down. Because of my work, it had to be a bit of a visita volante on our part. So we just said we’d come down and join them there for the weekend.
Disaster nearly struck straight away.
After we got there, in the evening, we parked up in Conwy itself and rendezvoused with the rest of the tribe for a bite to eat and a ‘sit and watch the world go by’ in the harbour. Then it was time for Mazza’s dad to lead us in convoy out to where we were staying, while some of the others went off ahead in another car.
In the dark, he missed the turn off for the cottage and we ended up crawling up this road into the hills which got narrower and narrower, so that the hedges were brushing against Herman’s sides. To add to the fun, the edges of the ‘road’ were lined all the way with a deep ditch filled with running water on one side and a ‘wall’ of big boulders on the other.
After about 45 mins of crawling up this lane, we realised we’d gone off-piste –but how to get back? There was nowhere to turn around and the thought of having to reverse down a steep hill track, barely wide enough to take the van, in complete darkness, with a stone embankment on one side and a ditch with a stream on the other was not a welcome prospect.
Following a bit of discussion, we decided to press on in the hope the lane would open out again. After about another 15 minutes, we found a gate leading into a field, with a bit of gravel spread around the entrance and were able to gingerly turn round [with Herman executing a 37 point turn, and Mazza’s dad smashing a rear light on a rock] and head back the way we’d come.
On the way back down, we missed the turn again, in the complete darkness and ended up in the village itself, at the bottom of the hill [Sorry, its name escapes me]. We had to ring Mazza’s bro-in-law [who had made it back to the house in the other car] to come and ‘show us a light’ so we could find our way back to the gaff.
Even then, there was still a sting in the tail; the long driveway up to the house was gravel covered, up a short slope and turned off the narrow lane at a veritable right-angle. Cue another 5 or 10 mins of Herman slithering about on the gravel, ‘midst the smell of melting tyre tread, as I tried to scrabble him round the 90 degree corner into the driveway, without hitting gateposts or walls. Not much fun in complete darkness!
Anyway, having got Herman there in one piece [albeit at the cost of the shattered nerves of half the family], we left well alone after that and, any time we nipped out anywhere, got a lift with someone else.
When it was time to head back to Manc, at the end of the weekend, I did worry whether ‘unthreading the needle’ back out of the driveway would prove as difficult as getting in. But we had gravity on our side for the return fixture ie. it was downhill, and we left during the day-time [it makes all the difference when you can actually see what’s around you]. So no further shenanigans to report.
Instead, here are a couple of shots of the locality: