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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Saturday, 19 October 2013

Away from home

Friday, October 19th., Trinity Hall Farm, Hockliffe, Beds.

Wallpaper is a problem at present! I am experiencing difficulty in ensuring that the terms of an agreement I made with Adams to obtain particular wallpapers from Essex & Co., London, at an agreed price, are adhered to. But I am nothing if not determined, and it will be done.

In the meantime, because only two or three rooms can presently be lived in with dignity, I have taken a holiday in North Wales and returned yesterday.

Predominant colours, grey and green. Grey of the stone, especially the ubiquitous slate, and green of the vegetation which thrives in the damp climate. In fact there was not much actual rain, and the rivers, streams and lakes were rather less full than is usually the case in my experience. Much fungus, especially in the woods around the Conwy valley. Some spectacular toadstools, bright red with yellow veins, larger than a tennis ball, like a child's drawing of a toadstool. And colonies of smaller, dark, sinister looking fungi on the forest floor, or infesting damp, dead trees.

Conwy and Caernarfon both dominated by their castles. I prefer Conwy of the two. Circuit of walls largely intact. Like looking down on a model town. Grey streets. Spectacular views out towards the Great Orme. Much Welsh spoken in the north west Wales area, including Anglesey. Most people seem able to move easily from Welsh to English and vice versa. A sort of sense now and then that the staff and some customers in cafes deliberately move into Welsh when English people are present. Given the treatment of the Welsh by the English over the centuries I can hardly feel surprised by some lingering hostility.

Telford's suspension bridge over the Menai Straits is a triumph of engineering in the landscape. Not so the nearby railway bridge, which is functional but not beautiful. And of course the A5, Watling Street, connects this place to Holyhead as directly as could reasonably be imagined by a visionary engineer.

Additionally for October 19th., see 'Americans' -

Lunch at Harper's, with chief members of staff including Major Lee, under presidency of Colonel George Harvey. I liked Harvey. Quiet, ruminative, accustomed to power and so on. Good laugh. Good story.

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