Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Changes

Well, a month after Dad's sudden passing much has happened, lots has changed but equally and reassuringly there has been continuity in other areas. His service was very much in accordance with his wishes and accorded close family the opportunity to celebrate a life well lived - we did him proud.
Since then I have addressed the formalities of dealing with his affairs, the privileged task of supporting Mum who is facing up to the new challenges with her usual dignity and composure and keeping tabs on other areas of interest that have otherwise taken a back seat for the time being. Living in a house has been unusual for me - over a half a stone in weight has been lost simply from climbing the stairs dozens of times a day - and the various public and private organisations dealt with have by and large been both helpful and sympathetic.
The Adventure Overland Show at Stratford provided a breather with plenty of displays, events and information to hand. My presentations covering my approach to travel were I think well received judging by the numbers of people who dropped by the van for a look round and a chat on more specific issues. I took a particular shine to Joe who is also planning a trip to the Nordkapp but is travelling in January in his very early Mini - that will be one heck of a challenge but his undoubted mechanical knowledge and skills will see him through I am sure - take a look here to follow his blog.
A huge array of private conversions and commercial expedition vehicles covered the full range of possibilities and gave me food for thought although as Trustybus sailed through its MOT with no issues I will not be changing anything any time soon : 285k miles on the clock and still pulling like the HS2. Talking of which a warm late September afternoon pub lunch and walk took us unknowingly to a spot on the London to Glasgow line where 40 years ago I used to pedal over for a bit of train spotting - I'm not sure Mum was converted but who knows....
Trips to Wales afforded the opportunity to catch up with friends, hone my badminton skills - plenty left to do there - visit various acquaintances in hospital or post-op and, just yesterday, pay a long overdue visit to the bothy project in Mid Wales that has provided such pleasure this year. A couple of recent MBA work parties had seen the installation of a new stove, a superb staged sleeping platform, the construction of some excellent bothy furniture and drainage works outside.
We were very privileged to meet relatives of the last family to live there in 1952 and new archive photos have emerged to augment the history of this very special place. Lluest Cwm Bach is now available to all for shelter and enjoyment - I hope you get a chance to visit some time. It was very moving to see smoke coming from the chimney for the first time in over 60 years. Click here for MBA details. Incidentally the team are reroofing Nant Rhys bothy near Llangurig this week so if you fancy a walk up there take them some cakes as encouragement as it is a formidable task.
A few of us did an extended walk around the Elan Valley and are planning a walk to encompass all 5 bothies that now sit within OS Sheet 147 which will I am sure become a classic in time. On my way back to Coventry I visited my brother and his family for a relaxed and cosy evening in front of the wood burner - my nephew and niece are full of the energy and enthusiasm of youth and provide a welcome distraction.
Whilst still very much in support mode I am making tentative plans for later this year and next with two weeks in Cumbria preceding a fortnight in Portugal : as I will be returning to the UK  rather than as planned returning to Morocco for 3 months, I have decided to fly down from Bristol and hire a car - quite an initial outlay but cheaper overall than driving there and back for such a relatively short period. I guess the new Year will be taken up with the formalities of probate and the like but a trip north of the border will provide encouragement and I am planning to take the van to Iceland and the Faroes in June which entails a 3 day sail from Denmark.

Anyway the photos revisit the amazing story of Lluest Cwm Bach and include other recent activities.
Thanks to all those who passed on their sympathies over recent events - the anonymous gestures in particular were very moving - just a piece of advice to all : putting your affairs in order (as Dad had done) is perhaps one of the most constructive gestures you can make in advance to help family cope with a difficult turn of events. Please think about it!

Piccies here.