Memories worth their weight in stone

I am experiencing the letdown that comes with the end of a really great holiday.
I liken my quick descent back to reality to the loud gurgle and sucking swirl of water that I always stare at after finishing a sinkload of dirty dishes.
“Uh-huh, there goes my ‘Cloud 9’ out with the dishwater.”
All of life’s tasks I conveniently forgot about while in Wales now loom in the air around me akin to a cat litter box desperate in need of emptying.
Thank heaven for my “Sawzall.” There’s no better cure for a “down in the dumps” mood than gripping my hands around a reciprocating power tool and finding something to demolish.
The autonomous act lifts my spirits, propels my confidence to deal with the realities of life, and reminds me that I am, indeed, the “Jackie of All Trades” in my neck of the woods.
The trouble is that in the throes of all that hand-held supremacy, I go berserk and can’t stop.
When all was said and done, the poor tree that I was just going to trim back a tad now looks like my eyebrows did in Grade 8 when I kept plucking one and then the other to equal them out.
In the end, I was left with pencil-thin tufts that got me stares in ways I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
I awoke to my writing day Monday morning to the sound of “Millie” the cat sitting outside my open bedroom window and whose 5 a.m. “rooster call” sounded like the life was being drawn out of her through a straw.
It wasn’t exactly how I want to be yanked out of the dream I was having of being carried off to safety by Idris Elba of “Thor” fame.
However, the caterwaul beat the banshee wail I heard at 3 a.m. in Wales, which I was sure was about to crawl through the second storey window of the room I was sleeping in and chew my face off.
I’ve always said I was born in the arms of a great imagination and as it turns out, it was a screaming fox and not the infamous banshee. Still, the little hairs on the back of my neck stand at attention when I think about the sound that shattered the Welsh night air.
That lovely slice of the United Kingdom also sports adder snakes and hairy spiders made legend by the stories of my fine hosts. I was warned a couple of times about the eight-legged creature spotted on the ceiling of a 17th-century pub “loo,” but I was in and out so fast that the arachnid never had time to get a spit line out and down to my Canadian carcass.
When I arrived and was soaked in the world of the Welsh, it was all I could do not to want learn how to speak the language. Be still my stupidity.
With all due respect to the ancient dialect, I don’t think I can make my tongue and palate work like that—unless we’re talking food.
One of my favourite experiences in Wales was a day trip to car boot sales where, in parkades and fields, scores of people sold “one man’s junk, another man’s treasure” to the masses.
And it was at one particular car boot field where I was introduced to “Effin Effin,” a ruggedly handsome Welsh bloke rightly and famously named in South Wales for his rampant use of the English four-letter social expletive. Jaw-dropping amazing.
My lovely hosts went over the top with home and food hospitality, and if they ever decide to break out into the tourism business, I’ll be their booking agent—gladly.
I wanted to try all the ethnic foods I could and although there were a couple of times when I wished I hadn’t said that out loud as I stared at my plate, I learned to work Welsh delicacies into tasty little adventures.
My very first Welsh meal was faggots and peas. And as soon as the meat passed over my lips, I knew I probably wasn’t going to ask for the recipe.
I appreciate that Mr. and Mrs. Hibbard love it. After all, I love a fried egg on peanut-buttered toast and they just couldn’t fathom that, either.
I tried the gelatinous dark paste “laver bread,” and cockles with bits of bacon and, oh yes, duck eggs! Quacking good.
My friends kept telling me I would gain two stone before I headed back to Canada. I thought they were talking about all the rocks I would pack in my suitcase from the beaches at Swansea and Rhossili. Nope.
If I gained any weight at all while on holiday, it wasn’t from liver and seaweed but from the Welsh cakes, sugar mice, and clotted cream teas I stuffed in my face.
I’m a sweetie through and through.
But hey, most of you knew that already.

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