The Ace Gang at Hotel H and Beyond

The Betty Ford Clinic have now discharged the Post Natal Girls aka Ann, Ju, Haze, Rosemary aka the Ace Gang (after Georgia Nicholson) following their weekend at Hotel H. Wine and chocolate levels became critical during the journey on public transport but picked up quickly once they got home. In addition Haze and Rosemary are now sporting patches to help them with their shopping addiction. Three hours in Fishguard, girls, how did you manage it?? Anyway the week at Hotel H has gone something like this…

Thursday 26 April
I drive down to Carmarthen playing ‘Clocks’ demo disc all the way. Their sound and this weather are a perfect blend. (see I’m particularly enjoying listening to ‘Old Valve Radio’. Stepson 2’s lyrics are cracking now with great lines like, ‘It’s all miniskirts and cigarettes.’ The Ace Gang’s coach turns up but where are the Ace Gang? I start frantically wondering if I should be at the train station instead – sometimes it’s hard to keep track with all the comings and goings – when a sylph-like Ju spills out the coach, followed by equally sylph-like Rosemary.

What’s happened? They’ve both lost so much weight they must have shed a whole Nicole Ritchie between them! Ann jumps out after them with a gorgeous new blonde hair-do courtesy of Trevor Sorbie (birthday present from her husband – not Trevor, just the hair-do) and then Haze, who always says she needs to lose weight but is all lush curves, creamy skin and bosoms that make grown men go weak. Cow.

Ace Gang’s spirits, which have fallen a little flat during the last hour of the five-hour coach trip, pick up immediately and very soon my Berlingo is full of luggage and five women all trying to talk at once. We reach Hotel H after another hour, crack open the pink bubbly, essential for lubricating tired vocal chords, and catch up until even we can’t keep our eyes open any longer.

Friday 27 April
Ju’s in-laws originate from Fishguard so I propose a trip there for the morning and a walk on the beach in the afternoon. We whiz through Newport, eyes left for Y Mochyn Drwg (looking good, Brown Mouse) and dismount at Lower Town Fishguard, scene of many exciting escapades for me, Tom and the boat (no, no, I can’t talk about the boat yet). Then it’s into town where I suggest a walk round the West Wales Gallery, which shows some great work in a fabulous location. Three hours then gets swallowed up by an unprecedented outbreak of shopping the like of which Fishguard has never seen.

In the afternoon we head for the long golden sands of a local beach. A couple on the first day of their hols have got lost and ask for directions to the pub they started from. I reassure them that they’re on the right track and that we’ve just come from there ourselves. ‘How long have you been walking?’ the man asks, trying to gauge the distance. ‘About four days,’ Ju replies naughtily.

Rosemary, who is a trainee counsellor, makes us pick any bits of flotsam and jetsam that attract us, so she can practise her new skills on us. We then sit in the dunes, sun on our backs and the blue ribbon of the sea ahead of us, comparing finds. Just for the record I pick up a bleached twig that reminds me of a magic wand and a heart-shaped stone that neatly fits in the palm of my hand. Make of that what you will.

Before dinner we liberate Tom from the hot stove he’s been slaving over for our benefit all afternoon, and I make everyone except Haze, who is recovering from an op, climb the hill at Mwnt. It’s only when we reach the top that I discover that Ann doesn’t like heights so has made a truly heroic climb. Even better Haze has taken photos of us all so Ann’s bravery is on record.

Back home it’s time for more bubbly. It’s a year since we moved to the house. What a year it’s been and what a way to celebrate!

Saturday 28 April
More walking for the Ace Gang – poor things, it’s only writing this down which has made me realise how hard they had to work. I march them round the long loop of the village. In the afternoon it’s Cardigan’s answer to the Pamplona bull run, Barley Saturday, when prized stallions are raced through the narrow streets with the merest nod to health and safety (Good! Makes a change to see something really exciting). May I remind you, girls, you were supposed to be looking at the horses NOT that yummy police officer’s bottom!!

After all that ogling the Ace Gang retire to the nearest hostelry where we find ourselves in the most unexpectedly tranquil courtyard surrounded by curling vines, lantern like abutilon and scented geraniums. The girls drink Felinfoel but I’m driving so have to nurse a diet coke. There follows another marathon shop (no, I don’t know how it’s possible in Cardigan either, but these women have superhuman powers). I am only revived by the smell of huge roast dinner with all the trimmings prepared by Tom as we walk through the door.

Sunday 29 April
We make the most of last minute photo calls, hugging and wiping away tears before I drive the Ace Gang back to Carmarthen. They come close to missing their coach because the shops are open when we arrive. I have to race ahead to tell the driver there are four more passengers!

Monday 30 April
I feel ‘wedi blino’ after my weekend of excess but still enjoy my Welsh class. At home I pick up the book I bought with the Sunday Times whilst waiting for the Ace Gang to finish shopping. I don’t put the book down again until I’ve finished it, so for a quirky and evocative account of a country childhood I’d thoroughly recommend Xandra Bingley’s ‘Bertie, May and Mrs Fish’.

Tuesday 1 May
No one describes the magic of May better that Jilly Cooper who has an unrepeatable little rhyme to celebrate May Day. Tom and I are up early to welcome the new month in – he on his bike and me running (well, what else did you think I meant?). Something beastly stings me on the foot to stop me getting too carried away about the joys of nature.

Back home Tom hears from Stepson 2 who tells him that lots of exciting things are happening to the band in June. This reminds me that nothing exciting will happen to me unless I get off my backside and start doing something. Spend the rest of the day tearing holes in Novel 2 and beating myself up. Now, if I work hard ‘Home Thoughts’ next week should be a straightforward account of how many words I’ve written every day… or maybe not.

Hwyl fawr!


Goodness your week sounds fun,your lot would die of here no shops for miles and miles and miles!
Keep at the novel I admire you, perhaps I could stitch all the Madame Grognonne and un peu blogs together and pretend I am writing one too!!
Loved blog - took me back to last year and our hols just outside St davids- I managed to 'shop' as well!
Suffolkmum said…
What a busy, fun week, I bet they allloved it. Glad to hear you sounding more 'up'. I know that Jilly Cooper rhyme - do love her!
Inthemud said…
What a week you've had!
Good way of writing it though, easier to read in daily chunks!

Look forward to next week's installment!

In Norfolk daily paper has a column called Fortress H
I have a lovely painting in my hall that we bought in St Davids from a local artist.

Keep with the novel-love your writing style, very easy on the eye.

warm wishes
Pipany said…
Such a good way to write it Chris and I love your style of writing too. Sounds a great week, though a bit exhausting. Thank you for your lovely comments too xx
elizabethm said…
so glad to find you blogging again and what a great week. not being a shopper i am amazed at the gang's shopping prowess. did i miss the news on novel no 1? sounds like it is being published . do hope so. love your writing.
sally's chateau said…
Trevor Sorbie, now I ONCE went there ! ho hum
Faith said…
WHAT Jilly Cooper rhyme? First you mention it in blog, then Suffolkmum says she knows it - I don't! I wonder if I can google it? I expect its rude!

Now, your angel card, and I hope it helps your writer's block, so focussing on you and at 7.41 on 3/5 i picked 'joy'! Hmmm, not sure about that and am being prompted to choose another...... this time I spill the cards out and without looking choose 'release'. Maybe it means release the joy! Have a good day anyway.
annakarenin said…
A great weekend then?? The ability to shop in Fishgaurd astounds me, mind you it was many years ago that I went to Fishguard and spent the whole day watching my brother play darts. I was the taxi service unfortunately.
Now Saint Davids (sbsh) does have some nice shops and Narbeth has changed a lot perhaps I need to revisit.
p.s read the rhyme on Faiths comments and enjoyed.
Brownmouse said…
3 hours in either Fishguard or Cardigan is, indeed, very good going (although I could hemorrhage much money in Custom House and Narberth, well, let's not talk about the Golden Sheaf!) Your blog is gorgeous. I'm going to go up to Mwnt this evening.
Phew quite a read - just catching up . . .
Posie Rosie said…
Just catching up, have not had chance to read blogs all week, yours sounds like it was good. I spent many holidays in north Wales as a child, must get back there some day.
Exmoorjane said…
What a fabulous week, Chris! Oh, I envy you that time with good friends, but how vexing they're all so gorgeous!
Wedi blino - one of my few Welsh phrases, used often to describe James.... and cariad has to be my favourite word in the world....makes me go all tingly...
How exciting seeing brownmouse's restaurant too.....
And pickingup things from the beach to tell your tale - very shamanic!
PS thanks everso for comments, and for looking at Walker. jxx
Exmoorjane said…
btw, forgot to say - what news of the novel?

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