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Sunday, December 16, 2012

A warm welcome to Wales.

I entered the Cain household in Wales on a gorgeous Tuesday evening and was greeted warmly by Gareth's Mum Coral, sister Jenny and her fiancé Owen. Gareth and his Dad were outside chatting about the TransAm. I was promptly handed a glass of wine (obviously Gareth had told them something about me!) and barely had time to get my bearings before we were all sat down for dinner. When I settled the first thing I noticed was how much warmth was in the room. The house was absolutely immersed in love. I haven't noticed that about many households but as the family bantered and questioned me I couldn't help but settle and be myself; the wine probably helped. After dinner we moved to the sitting-room where Pete waxed lyrical about books and film - I hadn't expected him to be so chatty and welcoming. My preconception of military men was altered considerably! Later, Coral took out some old family photographs and I got a potted history of how their lives had been, and saw how like Gareth's grandmother he was. I think he was embarrassed by all the photo's and stories but he took it in good nature, very typical of him. I left Gareth up chatting to his mum as I cosied up in bed, but he crept in to whisper that she thought I was lovely, which helped me into a comfortable sleep.

Next morning Gareth had to get up to move the TransAm to the local garage. Since it was still dark and stormy outside I was a bit bewildered by him climbing out of bed and groggily said "It's the middle of the night!". I didn't live that comment down for my few days in St. Donat's. I rose much later, a little embarrassed I had slept so late. It was bacon and eggs all round and we took a trip to the local college, a United World College, steeped in history. I have my own history with UWC as I was accepted back in 2008 to a UWC in the U.S and did a UWC short course in Lithuania that year but I didn't pursue the college place. Nevertheless it was interesting been shown around the beautiful castle grounds and gardens, overlooking the sea.
Afterwards it was time for the pub for one or two, and more quizzing me on behalf of Gareth's gran who apparently was very inquisitive about me, or maybe just in general! I offered a background check and my significant digits (waist, bra-size etc) but they said she probably already had those! Back at the house Jenny whipped up a lovely carbonara for us and we got ready to go and meet friends of mine who just lived up the road in Llanwit Major. We had an entertaining cab ride to the Old Swan Inn where we met Sharon and Matt who I hadn't seen in about 3 years. There was a little of the evening sunshine left but soon we went inside to play pool, the jukebox and have some comedy gold from Sharon. The girl should be on stage! The vodkas were flying in, there were specials on Jager and soon Cain family dancing ensued. Interesting to note that Jenny and Gareth dance remarkably similarly, although I'm sure she'll still strenuously deny this! We seemed to have lost Owen for a bit but we found him outside pondering the stars. We certainly weren't ready for the night to be over so we took a walk to Matt and Sharon's place where the Reverend Boult was babysitting their kids. It was a loooooong walk as I remember and considering it was alcohol fueled it must have been quite a distance - Sharon will maintain "It's just around the corner," but at least she regaled us with funny tales of an Irish girl in a Welsh village throughout. The air had gotten to us by the time we reached theirs as none of us could finish the drinks they'd given us; I did however get to see her two beautiful boys, Evan and Sean, tucked up in bed. They looked so peaceful; I'm not sure it's always that way!!! We struggled to get a taxi and at one point Jenny and I thought we'd just sleep on the couch but eventually Sharon's persistence paid off and we got back to St. Donat's. We tried to be quiet but I'm pretty sure we woke Coral and Pete up! Noisy drunken teenagers....oh wait, we're not teenagers anymore! So, a late end to a fun night out - it just shows it's the company and not the place.

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