Travel StoriesSouth Wales 2017
Spoiled Rotten In Gower
By Ren Withnell
I'm up early and I'm feeling brave. While she who must not be disturbed sleeps I set out on a mission. It is my intention to create something to protect Sharon's radiator from ingress via it's cowl. I have a cunning plan...if you want to know more you'll have to click the link - Z250SL Cooling Fan Cowl Bodge
I have discovered a new way to get she who likes sleep too much out of bed - quickly. Tell her "I've been messing with your motorcycle" while looking sheepish. In the 13 years we've been together I can't recall a time when she got out of bed faster. I shall use this ploy again one day, I make a mental note.
Tonight we're sleeping in a warm dry wooden pod due to this terrible weather. This terrible weather is really terrible. Light cloud, light breeze, not at all cold and no rain. Has Sharon and the weatherman stitched me up into spending good money on a camping pod? It had better start raining soon otherwise I'm going to be quite cross.
Sharon's much beloved trainers started to leak the other day. Being the kind, caring and gentlemanly type I've done my research and our first stop is "Sports Direct" on the outskirts of Carmarthen. I send her inside while I try and memorise the rest of our route. She returns with a pair of pink pumps. That'll do, get on ya bike and lets ride.
I sure know how to spoil my girl. Nothing but the best.
Llanelli seems to be an industrial estate with a town centre. I manage to get lost among terraced houses, lock ups, narrow streets and the worst residential one way system known to man. I feel a huge sense of relief when I spot the A484 and cross a river, I should be fine now.
Good, we're back into the countryside. Bad, the rain is here. Even worse, I'm lost. I have no sun to offer any sense of direction. I have thick mist and drizzle making visibility shocking. I have a Sharon behind me which means I desperately don't want to end up having to do u-turn after u-turn on these steep narrow lanes covered in mud. I'm not enjoying this quite as much as I enjoyed my doughnut in Saundersfoot yesterday.
Do you know where we are? No, me either.
Stop - check maps on a soggy mobile phone I fear may fry in the rain. Peer through the deluge to see if the sign offers any hope. Stop - u-turn then help Sharon with her u-turn. Get stuck behind a van then dodge a sporty Mercedes. Stop - u-turn then help Sharon with her u-turn. Stop - check maps on a soggy mobile phone. Urgh. Dodge sheep then cows then horses. Yes, horses. Get lost - check maps - u-turn.
Finding the Bank Farm campsite is a huge relief. Getting into a warm, dry, comfortable pod is an absolute god-send. The notion of putting the tent up right now makes me feel both sick and angry because I am weary.
Far easier than putting the tent up.
Along with the warm dry pod Bank Farm also offers a bar with WiFi. This feels more like a local bar than Kiln Park's restaurant and we sit comfortably surfing the net, chatting and listening to the locals nattering and teasing each other. After today's ride I am now warm, dry, relaxed and at ease, safe in the knowledge we have a proper bed and warm pod to sleep within.
Maybe, just maybe I can forgive Sharon for making me spend money. Only maybe. Naaaah, never.
By Sharon Parker
I awaken to realise that the aliens have decided to leave me on earth. However it seems I may sadly have to dispatch Ren to heaven because he's just told me he has touched my bike without my permission. I jump out of my sleeping bed in a thrice as he begins to tell me how he has done a bodge on my bike.
I do not listen as he starts to tell me what he has made. I must get to my bike for I dread to see what he has done to my beloved Kawasaki. Thankfully what ever he has done does not assault my eyes like the hand guards on his Honda. He actually has to point out his modification to me.
Can you see what Ren has done to Envy?
He has fashioned a tin can into a make do extra cowl cover to hopefully protect my fan from further damage by grit.
The tin can cowl bodge.
Ok it is not pretty but neither is it hideous. It is only a temporary fix and seeing it was fashioned out of a can while camping with very limited tools I am impressed. It was really clever and thoughtful of Ren to do this for me. Still I glare at him for awhile for touching my bike just to be sure I make him nervous, but then I have to smile and thank him. I like my Ren rather a lot.
Ren however is not too happy because it is not raining. As I begin to load the bike in the dry I for once really, really hope it does rain today otherwise it may be me being dispatched to heaven by Ren instead. He will not be happy that he has paid to sit in a Pod in the dry. Today we are heading to the Gower Peninsula and let us pray it is wet there.
Ren's good deeds for the day have not yet ended. He stops off at Sports Direct so I can go buy myself some dry footwear. I find a cheap pair of pumps. I had hoped for black but they only have pink in my size so pink it is.
Fortunately the rain begins to fall. Unfortunately it does so in that awful light way that attaches itself fast to your visor and renders you nearly blind. We keep getting lost, we keep having to turn around and I should be hating it but I am not. The rain is easing my guilt over the Pod. We ride through a village which still has common land, I never knew such I thing existed any longer. The common land is taken full advantage of with sheep, cows and horses all grazing in the open and wandering at will across the road. We take it slow and steady. Rather interesting dodging cows, their calves and there slippery large cowpats on the road. It is like going back in time and I love it.
The wind picks up and the rain gets heavier and despite dead ends galore we eventually make it to our campsite. I am so relieved when we finally reach Horton and Bank Farm. I am tired with doing battle with the elements and I am glad Ren decides to just sit and wait in the bar, drying off and sipping tea while the Pod is made ready for us. At last the Pod is ready and we get back on the bikes for the short ride to the Pod. I am absolutely thrilled with the Pod. It is sooooo cute, soooo clean and soooo warm.
Cuteness overload. My perfect podness.
Big comfy bed, heaven is found in small spaces.
Now a know a small glamping pod may not be considered luxury to some. However I am over the moon with this 5.4 metres long by 3 metres wide Pod. I have a microwave, a fridge, a kettle, a tv, a big comfy bed and blessed warmth. Not having to pitch up the tent in the wind and rain but to just be able to get off the bikes and dump all our gear into the Pod is sheer bliss. The two pods on site were only installed in Easter this year and they still retain that lovely new wood smell.
Once settled in we take a stroll to the onsite pub. It is grey and windy. This pleases me no end as it will keep Ren happy.
For once I love this as a view.
I usually do not relish leaving a warm pub but tonight I cannot wait to get back to my cosy pod. Once back at the pod I cannot stop smiling it is just so warm. I think I know how to say thank you to Ren tonight for making me so happy today.
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Not Even Wales!
With a storm set to cause havoc across the UK is this day the best day to set out on a camping holiday? Maybe not.
Finally Sharon and Ren get themselves out of the house and onto the road. They've set out, but have they got everything?
Exploring Around Tywyn
Mid Wales provides an engaging, gorgeous and sometimes challenging landscape to explore. With all the sea, hills, mountains, valleys and single track lanes that go nowhere, our explorers are exploring.
Bracing Winds And Wobbly Hobbits
Between the rain and the beauty Sharon's riding is creating mixed emotions for her and Ren is getting giddy over a TV programme.
Exploring St Davids - On Foot
It is time to leave the bikes for just one day and set out on foot to explore the tiny city of St Davids. The city is small and pleasant, the cathedral is just sheer delight.
Exploring Around St Davids
In the land of a thousand coves Sharon and Ren are looking into a handful of them. There's a chance Ren's 500 might not be getting out of one of them though.
Is Tenby Really Utopia?
Tenby has been much lauded to both Sharon and Ren but now it's time to see if the reality will live up to the hype. Will Tenby be amazing or an amazing flop?
Exploring Around Tenby
Between the endless cute coves, splendid coastal resorts and curiosities there's time for some field repairs. The big worry now is the forthcoming weather.
Spoiled Rotten In Gower
Sharon is for once actually preying for rain and Ren is wondering if Sharon is going to kill him. What on earth is going on?
Exploring The Gower Peninsula
Considering the day was supposed to be a washout Sharon and Ren get to look around the Gower Peninsula in good conditions. There's only one problem with Sharon's perfect beach - the walk back.
New Friends And Llandovery
While the weather is very much against them Sharon and Ren enjoy the day with new friends and a lot of hot tea. They're heading a little North in South Wales.
Exploring The Brecon Beacons
After yesterday's deluge will the soggy campers get chance to dry out and actually see The Brecon Beacons? Sharon is bleating out some awful sheep puns too.
Epilogue - South Wales 2017
Once again another trip comes to an end and it is time to return to the reality of everyday life. Neither Sharon or Ren are ready for it to be over.
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Travel StoriesSouth Wales 2017