Gray's Hill

Trip Start Jun 27, 2010
Trip End Aug 08, 2010

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Where I stayed
The Cwm

Flag of United Kingdom  , Wales,
Tuesday, June 29, 2010

[Photos are posted for both "Hot Tub Layover" and "CWM @ the Cwm"]

               It was sleep in day. Will came in around noon to wake me up for lunch. He figured I'd want to eat – a fair assumption. It was likely around 3:30 A.M. BST that we went to bed, so while I slept in, I did not do any catching up of sleep.  At lunch we had ham, turkey, potatoes and cooked veggies (of which I primarily ate the carrots – I'm a big fan of cooked carrots).   Will’s great grandma also joined us for lunch today as we dined out on the patio. She lives on the second floor and utilizes one of those mechanical chairs for the stairs (as shown in some of the photos). For dessert we had rhubarb and ice cream. I don’t ever recall having rhubarb before, so I really had no idea what to expect. It was cooked so that it was almost a syrup for the ice cream, and well…I’m not very good with describing flavors [here’s an image that is similar to what the rhubarb we had looked like]. I didn’t dislike it, but I’m fairly certain I would not have enjoyed it as much without the ice cream. Would I eat it again? Sure, but I’d probably adjust the portions a little more in favor of the ice cream.

                After lunch Will gave me a tour of the house.  His grandparents have owned The Cwm for around 30 years, but the house has been standing for much longer.  The place has housed several people and hosted many parties – including his grandpas 75th the weekend before I arrived. Even generals of the World War(s) lodged/partied here at times. The place was four stories with a basement garage. Keep in mind that the floors aren’t exactly one on top of the other as you will see in the photographs. On the main floor was the kitchen, living/dining room, and then a somewhat recent addition to the house – the porch. The second floor had Will’s Great Grandma’s room and his Grandpa’s office. The third floor included a computer room, a game/entertainment room, and then the original entrance to the house.  It was a good size foyer with stained glass windows in the doors.  We later went outside to see the path where the horse and buggies would drop off their passengers. The third floor consisted of the bedroom Will and I were in as well as his parents, and then a little further up, what could be called the fourth floor, was a bathroom.  All floors had a bathroom, but this is the one where we showered.

                After helping put food away and taking the tour, we took off for Gray’s Hill. In the United Kingdom, farmers, by law, have to allow travelers to cross their fields as long as the traveler is not causing damage to the property. The path to Gray’s Hill took us along the road, and then into these fields. Each fence had a location to allow people to cross with ease. Now of course, some farmers still don’t like the idea of strangers on their property. We found that these farmers just let the locations of crossing over grow with brush.  Oh, I almost forgot. We had hiked a bit of the way along the road, maybe 8 or 10 minutes, when I realized why I felt like I was missing something. I had left my camera back in the room.  Will asked if I wanted to go back, which, of course I did, so we turned around and grabbed my camera.

                Will had previously hiked to this point during the winter when everything was mud, so this time around it was a bit easier for him. We talked about different things ranging from people back at Florida Tech to whatever each of those conversations evolved into. Eventually, we walked far enough to get a view above the trees. Having arrived in the dark and as tired as I was, I had no sense of where anything was. We walked over to a pile of rocks that Will likes to call Mini Henge (really it was just a pile of rocks) and I got on top for a better view. It was a nice clear day. This allowed us to see both suspension bridges and quite a distance down river – which widened as it neared the ocean to the south.  This wasn’t the top of Gray’s Hill however, so we kept on a moving.  The angle of accent wasn’t really too big of an issue, animals graze on this hill. Then again, we did stop once to catch our breath. We eventually made it to the top. This spot had a better view of the bridge I crossed the night before, and allowed us to get a 360 degree view that included the hills leading away from the river.  It wasn’t cold, but it wasn’t hot either.  The wind probably helped keep us from getting warm from the hike. Before we left the top another man had ascended the steeper side of Gray’s Hill. After catching his breath he pointed out that it was a clear enough day that you could see all three power plants for the area. The way people talked about the day made it seem like that clear of a day was fairly rare. Then again, so was the dry spell they were having.  Quite a change from the rain drenched month I had left behind.  

                We began our descent, jumped through some brush, thorns and tree’s – all that fun stuff – and managed to find our way to the road. We made our way back to the house and caught up on sports.  Will’s mother had Wimbledon on where we learned the Venus Williams had been eliminated from Wimbledon by the 82nd ranked player in the world,  Tsvetana Pironkova from Bulgaria. We watched part of a womens single and then a womens double in full before dinner.  We had also learned that Japan fell to Paraguay in shootout penalty kicks. Paraguay managed to get all 5 of their shots in, Japan bounced one off the cross bar. The final game of the Round of 16 for the World cup was also on that night. It happened to start right as we were eating dinner.  Will’s parents were out for the night so it was only Will, his grandma and I at the table. We ate the soup I had the night before which was accompanied with pizza.  For dessert I had some kind of cake with mozipan [don’t ask me how to truly spell it, I never heard of it prior to this].  When I received the cake I was a bit wary as it was baked with raisins. I’m not a big fan of raisins. Now that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy the rest of the cake so I went ahead and bit into it. Needless to say, I finished the entire slice including the raisins.

                After finishing dinner we went to the living room to catch the second half of the Spain vs Portugal match. A rivalry match for sure.  Portugal came out with a purely defensive strategy. I guess their goal was to keep the game manageable, and possibly take the game into a penalty shootout. It seems like an exhausting strategy to me, but it would definitely keep Portugal within striking distance of beating Spain – if the strategy works. We came into the game at the start of the second half. There were several shots made in the first half, but none were scores.  The majority of the second half was the same way. Even when Spain was able to get a shot off at the goal, the goalie from Portugal had some amazing saves. Unfortunately, nearing the end of the game, one great block sent the ball right back to Spain. This time he made the shot with the goalie on the ground. The goalie nearly got back vertical enough to make a second save, but it wasn’t enough. Spain put it in, and Portugal was not able to tie it up in regulation.

                After the soccer match we went up to the game room and hopped on our computers. I needed to do some journal writing, and of course catching up with people on chat. I was thinking about doing some reading, but I was too tired for that.

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