Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Helen's Mountains and Sea..

Helen Frankenthaller's Mountains and Sea.

So, Sunday was a pleasant day. I went for a little jog with my mother (first time since October in Poland!), then went to buy some veggies at the Co-op for Sunday dinner. Before dinner my parents, my brother, his girlfriend, her lovely daughter (in the pink below), Mat, Mikey (the wonder-dog) and myself went to Craig-Y-Nos for a little wander, a cheeky cuppa and to feed the ducks. It didn't rain and the sun even made an appearance, pretty swell! The night sky was amazing, the yellow-green-blue of twilight reminded me of my teenage inspirations, how I lived in the painted skies of others, how I would sit out until the sky would go all indigo-black, in winter mostly, with a blanket, a hot water bottle, and a cup of something warming. Sunday night was no different, I'd been craving something sweet all weekend (surprise surprise) and the 910th Banana wasn't cutting it. I cut up a load of fruit, yellow plum, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, kiwi... and topped my bowl with a scoop (or three!) of Vanilla Swedish Glace Vegan ice cream (if you guys out there don't know it I suggest you amend that sad state of affairs, it's creamier and tastier than any "traditional", allergen-loaded ice-cream I've ever tasted, even better than you JOES, also, Joe, the new design is great an' all, but why did you get rid of the burgundy?). I took my bowl of chilly goodness outside to watch the constellations (then later-on a television program on my laptop, a program in which Matthew Goode was looking at the moon).

The next day, predictably, was a Monday. We woke early, Mat, myself and my wonderful mother, headed into town to hire a car for the drive up north to Tuesday's trial at Craig Bragdy Design. My mother signed and drove home while Mat and I headed towards our first stop on a beautiful blue-sky day, Aberystwyth. My advance apologies for all the blurred/messy/reflection shots, they were taken with an aging little phone from a moving car on a very bright day (also two-down is a face!). 

We stopped for a hot-choc (Vegan) and snack, the life-saving Nakd bars! Again, if you don't know them I suggest you seek a couple out. (I prefer the ones without oat, with very few ingredients, some merely Dates a choice nut and a berry or spice as flavour, Cocoa Orange is a big winner, plus there are some awesome sounding new flavours I've yet to try, but they're all great if you're vegan and intolerant to cereals, or even living a raw food lifestyle. They're made in Wales and they just cold press organic ingredients together. Really simple, really tasty, and for a fruit and nut combo not at all heavy on the digestion!) We enjoyed our hot and cold drink and snack stop, and the carpet in the pier amusements, before heading on to the lovely Abermaw for another, longer, stretching of legs and fruit snacking episode.

Have any of you friends and strangers ever been to Abermaw? It's bloody lovely, the old railway bridge, the combination of mountains and sea so close, and all the old Victorian and older stone buildings literally just cut into the mountainside, it's just lovely. Admittedly, I've only ever been there in the winter on a clear sunny day, I'm sure it's slightly less charming in the damp Welsh summer, flooded with tourists regardless. The sun blazed so that everything was shot with that crisp winter sun (I love that!), even so, the bleakness, it's just sublime.... So that was nice, then we ventured on up to Beddgelert, I told Mat the story, we listened to some lovely music (the little car, a new Fiesta, allowed me to play music from the iphone via Bluetooth! It also allowed me to plug in my ancient ipod via USB and played whatever I wanted). Beautiful weather + beautiful tunes + road trip = a big bloody smile. Plus a lot of singing along! So, from the windows of the little white car we saw Yr Wyddfa, Castell Harlech, Llyn Cwellyn, loads of green and grey, mauve and yellow hills and mounds, narrow roads, rivers, bridges and bays.

The Irish lady on the TomTom took us the "wrong" way from Beddgelert, we had wanted to go the quicker route through Betws-Y-Coed, to see the big mountain in the sunset, alas we skirted the other side of it, so decided to head to Caernarfon for sundown instead. Mat sure loves a castle. 

As you can see the light was amazing. It was our first time there, but the deserted town center in the quiet twilight and the sun setting over Ynys Mon certainly made a great first impression on us. A lovely lady in Subway offered us free plastic cutlery to eat our own giant salad (which we eat later on in Rhyl), we stocked up on Organic Dates and eat a bloody lovely Braeburn apple each (with our Vegan-Milky cups of tea) before heading along the coast towards our final destination of the day, Rhyl.

We woke up at 6.00 (early again for us) and left the B&B in the quiet pre-sun-up light. I bought a soft toothbrush in the Morrisons the previous night, and apart from that and the interior of the bedroom, that was all either of us saw of Rhyl. I've never been there before properly, but I hear it's nothing to write home about in the harsh light of day! Though if I get the job in Denbigh it'll be the closest big town, so for my own sake I'm sure it's grand.

The sun rose as we approached Denbigh's outskirts (I never saw the little town itself as I spent the day mostly inside a warehouse, Mat assures me it's a decent potential home as they have a castle and a beautiful abandoned asylum, what more does anyone need?!) and I nervously awaited the 8 o'clock start to my trial day. The day was ok, obviously daunting at first, they offered me over a meter squared slab of clay, a small thumbnail watercolour (of corals) to work from, a selection of stamps, mallets, knives, a jumpsuit and two pairs of gloves, one latex. That has to be the best first-day inventory you could ask for! Making the first mark was a challenge, and I was worried most of the morning that it wouldn't end-up a precise representation of the design. As the day developed and I wandered around (had some coffee and eat my fruit and Nakd bars for much-needed energy in the sun!) I felt better. It's a big place, the few photos I took do it no justice, but I didn't want to spend the day taking photos and giving the impression that I'm a time waster (totally am btw). I couldn't get over it though, just people dotted around (in what appeared to be two-piece sky-blue Hospital scrubs no less!), music in their ears, little paintbrushes in hand and a selection of glazes to work with, painting fish, and coral, and sea (they do a lot of swimming pools) or cool geometric designs. The sample wall of colored glazed tiles was mouth-watering (not sure what that says about me in terms of evolutionary biology, but they truly were - though I suppose we humans developed colour-vision to detect ripened fruit afterall...). I think it went ok, I'll know for sure end of next week. I couldn't help thinking what a cool place it would be for S and I to work in, just bashing little mallets into clay all day, in great outfits. We headed south after I finished (8.00AM - 4.30PM). The hills chased us into England as we headed towards the clear night skies.

After making it to Waitrose Abergavenny (in record time, just before close at 8PM, enough time to buy my mam three different flavours of Swedish Glace and 4 different boxes of Nakd bars, a £1 carton of Almond Breeze chocolate plus some Ecover fabric softener and Clipper decaf coffee!) we had an interesting spin through some very narrow very dark and extremely winding roads to get home to Ystradgynlais just before 10PM, phew! 

It's grey here today, my throat is a little sore and my ears ache, probably all the long days and worry. I feel ok though, despite still being in my bedclothes (and despite being up and tiredly awake since 8 this morn). I watched a film called Sunshine Cleaning, I don't know why. It was rather nice, lovely in parts.

I hope you like my day's work, later on (because I'm poorly of course) I plan on sampling some new ice cream flavours (Vegan Neopolitan!!) and watching Monday's missed episode of Dancing on the Edge, both with my mother.

Enjoy your Wednesdays, it's important.