Day 83 - Phase 6 ends & we're done in!!

Trip Start Jun 12, 2010
Trip End Nov 18, 2010

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Flag of United Kingdom  , Wales,
Friday, September 10, 2010

We crashed into bed at 9 o'clock last night and did manage to fall into a deep sleep despite the 'fully sprung' bed, yes we could feel every blasted one of them! However we were startled awake at midnight by the hilarity eminating from the bar downstairs. It just went on and on into the early hours. It was a long night! We both woke feeling beat up and aching, just waiting for the time to come when we could finally get up and go down to breakfast. When we did go down for the 8 am breakfast we had arranged last night, we set off the burglar alarm.  There was nobody there.  We went back to our room and waited till nearly 8.45 before someone had arrived and they were ready for our breakfast.  Breakfast was a pitiful affair, clearly the chef from last night was no longer on call.  We walked out on the road at 9.50 feeling tired and in a bad frame of mind to tackle today's walk.  Still, a rest day looms in Prestatyn tomorrow.

We have decided to follow on road scenic bike path which will minimise the effort of seeking out obscure footpaths.  With backpacks being carried again today, we are not feeling in good shape to tackle any more than we have to.  Also, Keith continues to worry about a swelling in the bottom of his left leg which has refused to go away despite the injury occurring a week ago.  The cortisone cream provided by a Chester chemist appears only to make it worse.  From Dolphin we walk back up Halkyn Mountain descending through Brynford on a path which takes us over the busy A55 and on into Gorsedd.  It hardly needs to be said given the Welsh reputation for raining every day, that the rain starts causing us to walk up hill in rain jackets.  Given the temperature is not cold, this causes discomfort from overheating and can be quite frustrating given the rain comes and goes in showers.  As the pub owner said, you can tell when it's summer in Wales, because the rain’s warm.

It is here that we receive a call from last night's pub to say Keith has left his diary in the room.  This is a frightening mistake and not at all what we needed to hear.  The diary is the source of the blog and as such 'priceless’.  We ask the pub owner to put the diary in a cab while we wait at the appropriately named 'Druid Inn’ a 12th Century staging post between Chester and northern Wales.  In its day it was the most popular in this area.  Now it is closed and boarded up and offers no sustenance or comfort to a couple of weary walkers who will stand outside for half an hour waiting for their taxi delivery.

When the taxi arrives any momentary pleasure dissipates as we see the taxi drive off.  How lovely it would have been, in a different lifetime, to have simply have got in the taxi and be driven somewhere.  We walk on up to Whitford, where we were to have spent tonight and on to Berthengan, neither of which appear to offer any sustenance for us.  Finally we reach Llanasa (we hope the blog readers are fully versed in how to pronounce Welsh double l’s) and here we see all the signs of a welcoming prosperous little village.  Capping it all is the Red Lion, a tremendous pub with good food and beer on offer.  

We are feeling very tired and had only thought it safe to have a brief stop, however faced with such great hospitality we decide to stop for a full lunch.  The special 6.95 two course meal deal was just unbeatable.  The vegetable soup was the best we’ve had on the trip so far, and the Welsh roast lamb was delectable.  Keith even had a glorious pint of Theakston’s XB.  We stayed over an hour to digest our food and even began to enter a sleep like state before shaking ourselves and getting back on the track at 2.50 pm.  It was another hour and a half of walking before we entered the very heart of Prestatyn and although our weariness is now at levels we have hardly experienced before, we were heartened by the fact it was only 4.15 and we would soon be in the comfort of a room for the night.

All too soon, our hopes were proven groundless.  We had no accommodation booked for Prestatyn, considering it was a fairly large seaside town and hence would be full of bed and breakfast establishments and guest houses.  Not so!!  We got a few numbers to call, all of whom were full and we then found we had about a 20 minutes walk to the Information Centre.  We got there at 4.50 and fortunately the woman opened up to talk to us.  Unfortunately she was unable to give us any real help at all.  We were desperate and feeling quite miserable with exhaustion, our backpacks felt like they were getting heavier by the moment.  We tried the one B&B the information lady had recommended.  She had not had a phone number so we had to walk there to knock on the door to find there was nobody home.

There was one hotel in Prestatyn, quite expensive for what it was, and it’s position meant it was a full half hour walk out of town, looking out at the muddy estuary which passes for a beach.  We got the phone number and called them.  Yes they had one small double room (called standard) so we booked.  The warning that they had a wedding and the room might be noisy during the night seemed like the final insult after what we had experienced last night.  However, beggars cannot be choosers and at this stage we were ready to agree with anything. We marched off to the hotel, our final resting place for the day, checked in, dropped our bags and within minutes Debby was lying in the bath. Keith unpacked and then lay on the bed shaking with exhaustion.  What on earth are we doing to ourselves?

Later that evening as Keith massaged Debby’s feet, she sobbed and we knew we had to recognise the level of exhaustion which has built up inside us now.  It is uncanny that some of the blog comments we have read this morning have referred to this accumulated exhaustion which you guessed we’d be experiencing.   Well, you’re right and we need to do something about it or we won’t be able to keep going. We know for a start that we will need to make accommodation reservations before we arrive in villages as trying to find something when weary at day’s end is very demoralising.  Also, it appears no matter how many rest days we have, we now need to be shortening our day’s walks wherever possible.

Debby was too exhausted to go downstairs for dinner and for the first time on this adventure Keith went downstairs to the bar to find sustenance alone.  He felt almost surreal sitting in a second rate hotel bar while a flurry of specially dressed people wandered in and out of the wedding reception that was being held down the corridor.  He was just in a very different space, almost like the rabbit caught in the headlights, frozen to his seat, unable to really function.  A large Jamieson’s (there were no malts) and a chicken club sandwich gradually brought him back to the world and he was even able, in his own reverie, to quickly complete a super fiendish sudoku.  Perhaps its only the body that’s broken down and not my mind, he  thought. 

Despite our small room and a small double bed we settled down to listen to the last part of the televised Proms concert and our spirits were lifted when we heard that tomorrow night BBC will be televising Last Night at the Proms.  By now Keith had booked us in for a second night, so we hope we will be able to watch this spectacular annual event live from our room.  Before settling down to sleep we set ourselves three goals for tomorrow.  To update our blog at the library, which is open for 3 hours tomorrow morning, to book accommodation for our next two or three nights on the Offa’s Dyke Way and finally, to go to the pictures here in Prestatyn to see the second instalment of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  We pass out.

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Jenny Urbano on

Hi Debby and Keith,
So sorry to hear that you're spirits are a bit low. Not usual for you two, but inevitable I suppose.
School holidays here, sorry we won't catch up for our usual lunch Deb, but we are going for a few days in sunny Yarrawonga for a bit of RnR and Golf. We have had a wonderfully, wet winter, a bit like winters of old.( I hope it makes you feel better to know that we have had rain most days here also!) The dams and rivers are filling up so the Mighty Murray is looking pretty good, I am looking forward to slowing down and enjoying a good read. thanks for your thoughts on my birthday. I felt very special and had a great day. Havent had a chance to get to Annie's exhibition yet but went to a wonderful exhibition of children's art from Italy, "The Hundred Languages of Children", in Ballarat, bellissimo! Oh that reminds me I am taking Italian language classes in Carlton! Rocco is very please, I can practice on him! Anyway loving it, it is quite uplifting to speak aloud in a foreign language and oh what a melodic language it is.
Love to you both, remember the silver lining and how we need to stop and smell the roses sometimes!
Ciao amici

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