Wednesday, 10 October 2007
Inside A Cloud With My Cat
A blog or so back I mentioned crabs and a holiday in Wales. Cat's shared so much of her country with me that I've also enjoyed showing her mine. Going into Wales she was a bit confused as to whether we'd need our passports though!
We've now had two camping holidays in Wales and they were both hugely successful as we probably chose the best week of the summer both times. The first was in North Wales, the highlight of which was the fish shop in Aberystwyth where Cat bought the biggest crab she's ever seen... it's claws are on display in the cabinet downstairs even as I write this. And we climbed Snowdon, Wales's highest peak and it was spectacular. I was disappointed as the mist descended, but when I photographed Cat by the cairn at the top, she was entranced by it all.
'Andrew, this much better than a view. I've never been inside a cloud before!'
That night there was a torrential downpour and the next day when we crossed the Menai Straits to Anglesea, stopping at Conway Castle, we had a crystal clear vista of the mountains of Snowdonia across the sparkling water of the straits.
Some kids were fishing for crabs from the end of the pier and Cat's happiness was complete. We bought a line and a bucket and fished happily, but when the bucket was full, I told her the awful truth.
'Cat, you're going to have to throw them all back again like everyone else.'
'Why?' she protested. "Farang crazy! Why they not make som tam?'
Last summer in UK it was unavoidable that we go back to the fish shop in Aberystwyth, but then we headed south and camped at St Davids. Again we picked the best week of the summer.
'Why does anyone go for holidays in Thailand when you've got places like this?' she asked me. 'Wales is much more beautiful. It’s never too hot and plenty of crabs.'
'You just try camping in the rain, my flower. The water trickling through your sleeping bag... packing the wet tent into the back of the car.’ We've been so lucky but for me a bamboo hut's a dead cert every time.
I have to admit though that the European summer at its best is incomparable... it's just a pity about the winter! And England's paeng jing jing! Just so desperately expensive. To cross with the car from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight costs about fifty pounds but to take the car on a similar crossing to Koh Chang costs less than three pounds.
That's one reason why as a poverty stricken pensioner I'm an exile in Thailand, though really I'm here by choice and anyway, I'm sure you're not going to sympathise with my predicament!
Going to England for the summer does make me wonder constantly about my decision to expatriate myself and live in Thailand though. The English air is so fresh, the countryside so clean and unspoiled. The newspapers, the television, the food, the electricity bill… I can understand all of them!