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  • Writer's pictureDan Brown

A Week of Welsh Wandering

I am currently sat typing these words in my dad's house in North Wales. One of the great traditions of my boat life is the 'Land Life Holiday', while my dad and little sister are away at the seaside enjoying a week of fun in the sun, I am here, feeding the fish, cat and rabbit, as well as keeping the flowers' thirst at bay!

(This is a post from my archives a few years ago!)

More than simply looking after a house though, I have always considered these weeks, when family members are away on their actual holiday, as being my own little holiday too, going as far as to book time off work so that I have the place to myself for the full week! It may seem sad, (or as if I live some kind of monotonous life), if I say that I have not been on a 'real' holiday since camping in Scotland for two weeks at a time on three occasions during 2009, but lets be honest, my life of running around outdoors and playing on boats isn't something I feel the need to take many breaks from!

There is however something that I really enjoy about being able to commandeer a house for a week, and being able to use it as a base for further adventures in slightly different ares to those along the canal. I also find that instead of relaxing and doing less, I almost always end up spreading a load of my notes out on a tabletop and then trying to sort out any loose ends I have regarding my writing and YouTube plans. This week for example I've been attempting to reduce my collection of well over 10,000 photos from the last decade to a more manageable and useful sized library, as well as sifting through the 200 unused video clips that have started to accumulate on my phone once again! (As a bonus task I have also been doing test recordings to see what I should do with the remainder of my unreleased boat life book! But that is literally a story for another time!)

More important than all of the useful and productive things I've been trying to get done is the 'holiday' aspect of my time in these random empty houses! Even though I may have been setting my alarms a little earlier during this week, I have got to say that I am over the moon with some of my completely directionless walking, field crossing and fence jumping!

A while ago, when I was out walking around the countryside by my dad's previous home one evening, I noticed what appeared to be a gatepost sticking out of some piled up earth. Instantly I knew I had to investigate, and on the other side I discovered the sprawling ruins of a former grand estate, that had been taken over by the military during World War 2. I couldn't believe my eyes when amidst the trees and shrubs, the huge ruins of buildings and air raid shelters revealed themselves!

A chimney stack barely still standing at the old military compound!

Similarly, during this week, while out walking with no particular route or goal in mind, I found myself thinking 'this looks familiar' before realising that I had inadvertently stumbled into Alyn Waters, a lovely country park with some incredibly scenic surroundings to spend some time daydreaming in! Once discovered, these random places become items on my to-do list for the next visit! In fact this week I have been setting early alarms so that I can run away to the country park before anybody else turns up!

In my usual way with a lot of these website posts, I start writing with some kind of message in mind, then after a few paragraphs find I have been incredibly derailed! To get back on topic, this week I have been thoroughly enjoying getting out and about and just walking with no destination in mind. Tomorrow morning I have a 6am alarm set and a general direction to walk, but I am trying to not even look too closely at a map of the area, I am simply going to just place one foot in front of the other and follow any footpath signs I come across. I may end up in a circle and retracing my steps to veer off another way, or I may end up wishing I had paid more attention to where I was going, but simply getting out and wandering around is the entire point of the exercise!

Wildflowers aplenty at Alyn Waters

As a side note to end, I am looking forward to doing these sorts of things once I have a car and can take little trips out further afield to go exploring... however I still do not have a car, but did attempt to buy one yesterday! In extraordinary scenes, after telling them I wanted to just pay for it up front and didn't want any extras or warranties etc, the first thing that was brought to me was a price with £3,500 added on for nonsense and a suggestion of putting it on finance! Yes you read that right THREE AND A HALF THOUSAND POUND MORE THAN THE ASKING PRICE OF THE CAR! With that as their negotiating starting point, you can imagine that we did not see eye to eye and I left in a bizarre role reversal telling them to call me if THEY changed their mind!

Anyway that is an amusing little story for the future!

If you like what I do, please feel free to Subscribe on YouTube and help me out by checking out my short books on amazon.

Until the next time,

Keep it boatworthy,

Keep it interesting,

Have a fantastic day, and farewell!

Dan... onboard Abel's Ark

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