31 August 2018

Visit by Roelof

When I last visited the Netherlands, Roelof was away. When I had just returned, he sent me a message. When would I be in the contry? It turned out he was supposed to travel twice in a row, but had cancelled the second trip, and was now wondering if that meant he would not miss my visit after all. But he had! But then he phoned. Would I think it a good idea if he popped by to Wales instead? And of course I did!

He would arrive quite soon after Jitske's visit, but that was OK, as it was still August and the pressure wasn't on yet. On a Friday he texted me he had started travelling from Manchester Airport. I made sure I was home before he was, and soon I saw an unknown car pull up. He had arrived!

He was very keen to see the house. And he liked it! He saw the devastation in the living room and understood there was still a lot of work to do, but he saw the potential, and he was impressed by the garden. Especially the view, of course. And we had a cup of tea!

I suggested we might pop out for a small walk that very day, and he was up for it. I didn't want to go far so I suggested the same walk I had suggested to my dad: along Afon Llafar, towards the Ysgolion Duon. And he thought it was a good idea. It didn't continue to seem that, as still on the road through Gerlan it was hammering down like there was no tomorrow, but things got better and soon we were standing in the wide nothing outside town. It was great! And we decided to not walk through the valley, but on the ridge. The views were amazing!

View with sheep

We didn't go all too far as we had to cook dinner. It had been nice though! And we would have plenty of opportunity for more in the coming days.

The next day we did something I'd been wanting to do for a wile: walk a loop around Penrhyn Quarry. We went up in Cwm Ceunant, and at the mine just kept climbing. It rained a bit, but we knew it would get better. And we had to bushwhack a bit (we wanted to have lunch in the cwm so we went off the path) so it wasn't all comfortable but we were in no hurry.

Once we got to the ridge we walked to the promontory just above the take-off point of the big zipwire there. The views over the quarry were lovely! And then we walked back along the edge. There isn't a path going all the way around, so we ended up bushwhacking a bit more, but I think it was worth it. As a Bethesda citizen I think you need to have walked all around!

Taking off a jumper because the sun is coming out

View in SW direction

Penrhyn Quarry (the active bit)

That night we went out for dinner; we chose Tyn-y-Coed in Capel Curig. The pub was full so we had to eat in the hotel bit, which isn't anywhere as atmospheric, but we felt like greasy pub food and they delivered. And I had two regional pints! And we chatted even more than we normally do. We could reflect on a lot. We've been knowing each other for 25 years!

Sunday the weather would be awful so we would work in the house. I figured we might need to do stuff with the ceiling in the landing. I figured I might want plasterboard between the beams there too, but that required them to be treated. But what to do: clean it and treat it, or treat it right away? I had taken two bits of wood, which were exactly as dirty as the beams as they had been attached to it, out of the garage so I could try both options. And a LOT of stuff came off! But that didn't mean it looked any better when oiled. We would just oil as is. Or rather; Roelof would. I would start with the second coat of the beams of the living room.

The dirt that came off the wood...

Roelof oils the ceiling

Getting the high gloss paint off

I got distracted a bit by the beam closest to the staircase. My father had already figured out it was put in later than the other beams. And it had been recycled from elsewhere. There were three issues with it! On one side, it was covered in plasterboard. On the other side, it was covered in high gloss paint. And between the beam and the bannister had been the ceiling. What remained now was plasterboard, and a slat that somehow had to go. But how to get rid of it without taking the entire bannister apart?

I decided I needed to make a decision now, as the plasterer couldn't start plastering until ALL beams were prepared. No use having two layers of oil on all other beams if this one beam hadn't been treated at all! So all had to go except the beam: paint, plasterboards, slats, and any wallpaper and limewash between plasterboard and wood. Quite some work!

I sort of got it all done, prying off the plasterbord, chiselling off the slat and sanding off the paint. Unpleasant work but satisfying! The wallpaper has to wait until I get the steamer back. And now the whole living room is dusty as anything again but well, such is life.

I was almost done when I realised it was already 3PM and we hadn't had lunch. (We had had coffee with bara brith though; hence not being hungry at the usual time.) We had run low on bread, too. I suggested going to the farm shop; they sell good bread (but would they at 3pm?). We went, didn't like the bread, and had a pasty with salad there and then. Nice! And we decided we could go for a walk afterwards as the weather had cleared up. We decided to go and admire Aber Falls. So we went to Abergwyngregyn, parked at the usual place and started walking, They were beautiful! And we walked the long way back. Very nice!

The waterfall

Smiling Roelof

Both waterfalls from a distance

 View on Anglesey and Puffin Island

On the way back we stopped at the shop. We needed dinner! And Roelof decided to make a cheesecake. He actually dragged me to the cheese aisle! That never happened before. There's a first time for quite many things!

I cooked pasta while Roleof made the cheesecake. The latter is an elaborate process, so we had to do a fair amount of drinking tea and chatting in between the cake tweaking. Nice!

The next day we would go for a walk again, but again it was raining in the morning so we sat it out while still tweaking the cake (Roelof wasn't satisfied with yesterday's results), and then went off to walk the Crimpiau and the Creigiau Gleision. They had been recommended to me by the climbing blokes when we had done a walk nearby. And it was a bit windy and rainy and the view disappeared sometimes, but it was nice! And as usual, the weather got better in the course of the day. It was a nice walk!
Looking into Dyffryn Mymbyr (left) and Dyffryn Ogwen (right) at the same time

Onto the Crimpiau

 The view as it disappeared at some point

We got home, and had some cake. Of course it was great! We had dinner too. And then it was bedtime.

The Tuesday, Roleof would drive back to the airport. But he didn't fly until the early evening so we had time for one last walk! And even though we both felt a bit lazy, we went for it. But only a small one. A little loop past Rachub to Bwlch-ym-Mhwll-le. And then back higher on the slope of Moel Faban. Nice!

Then it was time to eat plums, eat more cake, have Roelof pack, and hug him goodbye. It was sad he went but it had been a great visit! And he thought so too! Maybe he'll be back. I hope so!

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