Christine Stovell, author and freelance writer, on living and writing in West Wales
Holding Out For A Hero?
If you've been wondering where all the good men come from, wander over to Choc Lit Author's Corner where we've been writing about where we find ours... Hmm, some of those good men are a tad naughty though.
Unfamiliar sounds drift up through the open shutters from the narrow street below; excited Italian voices exchanging greetings, motor scooters sliding over the cobbles and city cars squeezing into non-existent parking spaces. It’s my birthday and I’ve woken up in a dusky pink room with flocked walls, gilt mirrors and I’m in ROME! It’s wonderful! After years of yearning to visit Italy I’ve made it; we’re here! First, I open my birthday cards and have a good cry because everyone’s been so kind to me, then we head up for breakfast in the rooftop restaurant with its amazing panoramic views across the city.
There’s rain in the air so we book a bus tour so we can get a sense of the place. As we pass the Colosseum the commentary dryly informs us of the thousands of animals killed here, the 98% mortality rate for gladiators and then observes that the drink enjoyed by spectators would probably be distasteful to modern palates. What? Only the drink?
‘What just happened?’ asks a stunned Rose. I’m speechless. If I had a paper bag, I’d be breathing into it. Rose and baby Joy are staying with us whilst Si and the team are working on their house. Today’s plan is to wander up to the local goat farm, show Joy the goats and maybe buy some Christmas presents in the shop. As it turns out we’re wildly off the mark; it’s true the goats look adorable in their setting of breathtaking scenery, but this isn’t a petting farm. As we discover when we blunder into the office looking for a shop, it’s a serious business selling serious products. In an effort to save face I ask if it’s possible to buy some milk and in ‘lost in a translation’ moment find myself lashing out on the goat equivalent of Dom Perignon White Gold.
Back home, I discover that what I’ve bought is a course of Chuckling Goat kefir, a very powerful probiotic designed to restore gut health and repair all the damage caused by sugar, stress, environmental toxins and antibiotics.…
After a particularly busy few weeks, Tom and I are off to the Fishguard Bay Hotel for afternoon tea thanks to very bargainous deal I’ve spotted on Travelzoo. It’s a beautiful day for a drive and the hotel’s in a wonderful location overlooking the harbour at Goodwick so even if the tea itself is a disappointment, we say to ourselves, we’ll still have a good time. Oh my goodness, what a treat we find waiting for us: service with a smile; a table with a view; a mini-bottle of Prosecco each; melt-in-the-mouth sandwiches; a very generous plate of delicious homemade cakes and as much tea as we can drink. How the hotel can provide such a splendid tea for such a modest sum is beyond me - but I’m certainly keeping a beady eye on those Travelzoo deals from now on! Making the most of a fair weather forecast at last, we make plans to climb Cadair Idris later in the week and walk off all those cakes. We set off just before 7 am and arrive at the car park just as the sun comes up so we’ve got ple…