213: Aberystwyth

OS Explorer map 213, Aberystwyth & Cwm Rheidol: Devil’s Bridge – I do not own this map, and had not visited it before starting this blog. Visited for this post 12th August 2018.

My good friend Erithacus spent most of the month of August in Aberystwyth, on a summer course at the university there, learning Welsh. A month earlier, when we were on on our trip to the Isle of Harris, a couple of our other friends and I had decided that it would be nice to go to visit her there one weekend, and so that’s what we did! I left my parents’ house in Northamptonshire in time to collect Millicent from Rugby train station at quarter past ten. The plan had then been to go to collect Vesper from her Leicestershire home on the way to Wales, but calamity of calamities, she called to tell us she was ill and wouldn’t be able to come 😥

Millicent and I thus drove on to Wales for the next few hours, stopping for lunch at a Morrisons in the creatively-named Newtown (Y Drenewydd). We then proceeded to Aberystwyth itself, parked up by the sea, and checked into our B&B, where, amusingly, the owner’s first comment to us wasn’t “hello”, “can I help you”, or any such other thing, but, to me, “you put the wrong socks on today”. (I was, as I always do, wearing non-matching socks. [1])

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Our first view of Aberystwyth

Erithacus met us there, and we went for a short walk, admiring the castle as we walked past it before going to the high street to buy her some food.

We then returned to the castle, and sat there for a while generally catching up with each other, which was pleasant. After that we got back in the car and went to do some grocery shopping at a supermarket – the Aberystwyth University campus that Erithacus was staying at was a fair walk from town up a big old hill, so she was thankful for the chance to do some shopping without having to carry it back!

On her Welsh course, one of Erithacus’s teachers had been a chap who did the same university course as us, Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, a couple of decades ago, and also on the course (although in a different class) was Tragic Sacrifice, another one of our fellow students, who’s featured on this blog before. Erithacus had therefore planned for us to meet up, and so after dropping off her things in her accommodation, we met them and walked into town to a pub, where we ended up joining a table of other Welsh learners, and it was generally a very pleasant time.

The pub we were in, Yr Hen Llew Du (The Old Black Lion) had a separate Welsh menu, which I had a good time trying to decipher bits of with my patchy knowledge of medieval Welsh and Celtic linguistics. Our new acquaintance, the old ASNaC, told us amusing tales of the early days of now-prominent academics, including an occasion when a group of medievalists on holiday broke into a well-known ruined castle in the middle of the night for some fun.

Returning to Erithacus’s accommodation, we had some dinner, and then retired to her room for a Skype session with Vesper, who was fortunately feeling a lot better now.

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Erithacus carries Vesper around on a screen

She was at her parents’ house, where none of us had ever been, so we got to virtually look around her room and meet her dog, which was nice.

It being a Sunday, Erithacus had class the next day, so Millicent and I left at a not-too-unreasonable hour back to our B&B and went to sleep. The next morning, after rather a good breakfast, we soon left once more, in the direction of Worcester, about which see my next post!


[>1] My socks are always very brightly coloured, and I always wear a different one on each foot. My favourite place to get socks is the well-named Happy Socks – their socks are just so colouful and good, and every time I’m in the West End I end up spending some happy time (and some money) in their shop – as, in fact, I did the time I blogged about the central London map! (That is still one of my favourite posts ever on this blog.)

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Today’s socks (photo taken sneakily under the table in the Cambridge Central Library, where I’m writing this..). The one on my left foot is a Happy Sock; the one on the right I think I bought in Walters of Oxford.

Although I like fun and interesting suits and formalwear and so on, and in wintertime I dress fairly distinctively with my long coats and occasionally my tall boots, generally my everyday wear is pretty drab and unremarkable – I always wear short-sleeved linen shirts and ordinary trousers, linen too in the summer; almost all of my everyday wear comes from M&S, and Mother Dearest says I dress like an old man. (To which I have been known to reply, well, if old men have eighty years of life experience and make those choices, aren’t they probably good ones?) But yes, my brightly coloured socks are the one place where I jazz up my clothing a bit in my usual everyday outfits.

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