We were fortunate enough to go away on holiday twice this summer. Neither were the trips we’d planned; both provided a refreshing and much appreciated lift to the spirits. Each time we were uncertain whether the trip would be possible until we were on our way (and now of course the trip to Wales wouldn’t be possible).
We’re hoping more of the same will be possible to help us through the difficult next few months, accepting that the uncertainty will continue for the foreseeable future. We’re among the lucky ones not already locked into Tier 2 or Tier 3 restrictions, but living in a city with 2 universities we’re certainly not feeling complacent.
The first time, we went to mid-Wales and stayed in a caravan near to Machynllech, tucked away in a hidden valley. While the caravan itself was a bit of a disappointment (rather tired and seemingly unloved since about 1970), we loved the area and were able to explore bits of coastland we hadn’t seen before. We used the car to get around when we needed to (the place was very out-of-the-way), but we also used our bikes and the local trains. We cycled along a disused railway path from Dolgellau to Barmouth and back, which was a stunning day out. We had a fabulous train ride from Machynllech to Porthmadoc, where the line clung mostly to the coast, giving views of the sea, the coastline and in places the mountains of Snowdonia. We mainly cooked for ourselves, but were pleased to be able to spend our money in local shops and tea rooms (and – ice cream).
The second time, we went to Rye, to a B and B we’ve stayed in several times before. It was very comfortable and we were well looked after. The weather was mostly good, and we had wonderful walks every day we were there. Dungeness; Rye Harbour to Winchelsea Beach; the Royal Military Canal from Ham Street to Rye; our first ever visit to Great Dixter gardens; the dunes at Camber Sands and Rye Saltings.
The downside was that we had to eat out every evening, and the evenings were already too dark for us to feel comfortable picnicking, so we had to rely on local pubs (well, a local pub). The food was lovely and it was clear that the pub had gone to considerable lengths to keep everyone as safe as possible, but the truth was that we didn’t really feel happy having to do that. So in future, we’ll be looking for places to stay where we can either be self-catering, or else we can bring in our own evening meal (takeaway from a local deli would have been perfect).
Unfortunately, on our very last day I started to feel increasingly ill. Somehow I managed to complete the 14 mile walk we did that day (along the Royal Military Canal), but after an early evening picnic meal I went to bed and slept for hours and hours. The long drive home the next day (in driving wind and rain) was a trial, and the next few days a blur. Despite having none of the covid symptoms other than extreme fatigue, I arranged to do a home covid test (I felt far too ill to go out to a testing centre) – I did this as invited by the Zoe symptom-tracking app. I tested negative – no great surprise bearing in mind my symptoms. But bearing in mind how hard it was to carry out the test (ever tried putting a swab on your tonsils for 10 seconds whilst feeling horribly nauseous? not possible), and reflecting on how ill I felt and how long the fatigue persisted (still persists), I do have my doubts about whether that was a true negative or a false one. Probably I will never know.
3 weeks later at last I feel almost properly well again. Apart from unpredictable slumps in energy and stamina, which I hope will soon pass.