The Real Ale Ramble Update

Wotcha. Yes, I know, I’m a whole week late with a post about the Ramble. This is because this is the first free moment (read “hour between my bus getting into Oxford and being allowed to sign in and start working for Saturday Duty [it’s complicated and to do with timesheets]”) I’ve had in which to post.

Consequently, if you want a post about the actual walking and stuff what we did, your best bet is to pull a ‘See Also’ on Dan’s post about it. In passing, however, I will say it rocked. It was thoroughly tiring, and I was dosed up to the eyeballs on my magic pink (and don’t-work-like-they-used-to) ibruprofen for the bulk of it, as well as scorching hot thanks to careful preparation for November weather when what we got was slightly weedy September heat, but it was very fun.

Photos of the event, or, at least, such photos as could be contrived with Statto’s more-or-less digital camera (the old one; he was inexplicably reluctant to let me take his D70 thing over a bunch of muddy mountains in the rain) may be found in the appropriategallery on Abnib – they get better once I master the art of turning the thing on, giving it a second to auto-focus, snapping the shutter and then turning it off again before the battery warning light could come on. There’s a cracking one of a mushroom we found, and lots of good ones of Ardwyn House, a gorgeous B&B we put up in, on the grounds that “If you think I’m spending a weekend walking, in Wales, in November, and then sleeping in a freezing cold tent, with my knees, then you’re in for one Hell of a shock…” — JTA, September, 2006.

Being tardy with updates has its drawbacks; Dan’s already reviewed the Ramble. Ruth has done a rather sweet post about the fact we’ve now been together three years, so I’m left to do a post about the aforementioned Ardwyn House, photos of which exist both on their website, and, as I probably said prior to some tangent or other, from this bit of the Abnib gallery and then on a few pages.

My experience of Holiday accommodation varies wildly: I’ve done chalets in the Lake District, trailer tents near Caernarfon, a YHA in Boggle Hole, a week, two years running in a caravan in Prestatyn (which gets really dull after the first couple of days), some Penbryn-like accommodation block at Sibford four years back and the Shakespare in Stratford. Ardwyn House comes just below the Shakespeare in that ranking, and I’m not entirely sure it didn’t ought to go higher up, because it really is gorgeous…

And, which is more, in the context of a B&B, the guys who run it seem to be really friendly and cheerful. I’d be friendly too, if I lived in a house like that, but I dunno if I could manage the cheerful if I had to get up and make tasty full breakfasts and tea, coffee and toast for random people who plan to wander off and come back covered in mud each day they’re staying. During the game of Illuminati we played on the Sunday we got a bottle of Moet, on account of the anniversary thing (I’m no a fan of displays of affection on the internet, jpegs not withstanding, because it involves talking about feelings, [something to which, as a man, I am inherently ill-disposed] but it was good…) and the chap was a great help, and very friendly indeed, and brought us a little table, since Illuminati does eat surface space with the power trees, and so on, and didn’t seem to mind at all about sitting in the room across the hall from the library, and listening to presumably nonsensical shouts of things like “Right, so the Bavarian Illuminati, with the help of the Phone Preaks, are attacking to control the Health Food Stores…”

The decoration is excellent – I’ll admit that I prefer Art Deco, but they’re only twenty years out, and the house can hardly help being pre-Great War; it’s all really well done. Hot baths, which we had in abundance, thanks to the walking, were excellent – I’d not realised, until I got back, that the baths in Hafan and at Caro and Jerry’s are hip-baths; nor had I twigged how much I’d missed proper deep baths where you can get both your torso and legs underwater at the same time, without any absurd juggling backwards and forwards to try and keep both ends warm for more than ten minutes.

Antique bed, too. Restored very well, but it all seemed to be period furniture, which gets bonus points. I really liked it. It was more expensive than Dan & Claire’s tent, but I suspect we got a better absurd-luxury-to-pound ratio going than they did, and I’m not a fan of roughing it when it can possibly be avoided – “enjoy the luxuries whilst you can, and worry about penury when it happens,” ‘s my motto…

I’m not great at this reviewing accommodation lark, really, but it was fantastic, and it was rather a shame to leave and return to the not-so-comfy bed in Wallingford, which doesn’t have a mattress so much as something resembling a futon cover (which, as we all know, in’ the world’s most comfy form of padding…)

So, yeah, do check out the piccies, and if you’re feeling comparatively flush when in Llanwrtyd (as so often happens, I’m sure…) get in with ’em; they’ll see you right.

O, and the Spar there sells Black Mountain. Rock!

Gotta go now; they want me on book replacing in the Camera.

Have fun!

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  1. On December 02, 2006 Scatman Dan says:

    Y’see; I’m not sure you did get a better luxuries-to-pound ratio than us. I think, for the amount of money we paid, we got comparatively better luxuries. We paid £10 between us, and got a place to sleep, a drying room, showers, and toilets: pretty basic stuff, but phenomenal value for £10, even for a campsite.

    You two really did live in the lap of luxury: big soft beds, baths, gorgeous house, breakfasts, ability to order champagne at a moment’s notice… it’s all great stuff, but you were paying for the privilege. There’s no way we could have had the option to “upgrade” our choice, or you to “downgrade” yours, in order to better test this, but I think we got better value than you. That’s simply because the cost-for-value curve for holiday accommodation rises in a non-linear fashion: there are hotels in London that provide a £220-per-night service, but what they provide over a £180-per-night one is a less significant difference than between, say, a £40-per-night TravelInn and a £80-per-night 4-star hotel. As the price goes up, the effect of adding money becomes less significant.

    On the other hand, I think your choice was worth it: it was absolutely fantastic, and if I were looking for or recommending a B&B in Llanwrtyd Wells, I’d suggest that one before I pointed out the tourist information office. But I don’t expect to be looking for a B&B anytime soon when the self-catering accomodation in the town is such better value-for-money and provides a service more reflective of what I tend to want when I’m rambling. To me, the sweet spot is somewhere between Ardwyn House and a tent-in-a-field.


  2. On December 02, 2006 Abnib Real Ale Ramble 2006 at Scatmania says:

    […] JTA composes a belated post summarising his favourite points […]

  3. On December 02, 2006 Mister JTA says:

    Non-linear wha? Sounds like maths to me; I’m not a fan. But I had forgotten you’d got a drying room. I do think we’ve got a difference in outlook, though: you said on the way back you like to feel like you’re roughing it when rambling, whereas I go more for the “I’ve already walked fifteen miles, now I want to feel pampered” approach. ‘s just a shame it does cost rather a lot more. On the other hand, if I’m commuting an hour and a half a day, and get regularly pulled into the office not only on a Saturday but after getting up at half six because the buses are rubbish then I reckon I ought to be blowing at least some of me wage to live the high life when I’ve absconded!

    Still, if I get me joints fixed, I may yet get to liking camping; stranger thing’s’ve happened…

  4. […] It’s been a great year, it has. It’s just some of the really best bits (the Real Ale Ramble, the narrowboat holiday, Cropredy, Edinburgh, and so on, have all been bits that didn’t happen actually here. Mostly what’s happened here is that I’ve commuted, learned to sleep on buses without fearing for my actual physical safety like I used to, and counted down the days until I get paid again. It’s not been unpleasant, but it’s been very tiring and the payoff hasn’t always been grand. I think as long as I can get something to keep the money coming in, I’ll be happier in Aber. […]

  5. On November 28, 2007 naisioxerloro says:

    Good design, who make it?

  6. On November 28, 2007 Mister JTA says:

    It’s called Occadia, and was designed by this lady for WordPress blogs.

    It, and her other WP themes, are availiable for download here.

    You’ll notice I’ve still not been able to get the dates to display properly; they all seem to appear in the American Month-Day-Year format, but that’s probably something anyone rather more competent that I could sort out without too much hassle; I’m just not really sure where to start!

    Hope that helps!

  7. On November 29, 2007 Statto says:

    Dan’s had the exact same comment