“.. The lambs on the tree nooked hillside bleating
heard in Blake’s old ear, and the silent thought of Wordsworth in eld Stillness
clouds passing through skelton arches of Tinturn Abby-
Bard Nameless as the vast. babble to vastness”
In 1967 American poet Allen Ginsberg took an acid trip at Tinturn Abby. In the chilly autumn of 2006 I visited Tinturn Abby and the Welsh country side for a few stormy afternoons. We did no acid but we did get drunk on sharp Welsh cheese and milky Welsh tea.
Yes, when we are not getting crazy voting for Johns McCain, us Republican American girls really are rebels!
But before we could enjoy all the regional foods (And mainly sharp Welsh cheese) that green and lush Monmouthshire had to offer we had to road trip to Wales in the most severe thunderstorm I have ever witnessed in my life (And I have been to Alaska!) The sky was so dark black and angry it looked like night as the windshield wipers wacked the front of my friends little Honda Prelude’s windshield and she fought hard to keep the tiny car on the slick motorway.
That is when we started to think, hmm, do we want to camp in this wacky Wale’s weather tonight? Of course this was when we were in our early twenties and we had no money for a hotel or even a hostel. All our British pounds we did have were earmarked for sultana filled biscuits and maybe some delicious Welsh hard ciders. (And Welsh cheese, lots of cheese) With these thoughts in mind we decided it would just be a way easier option to camp in the car.
When we were in our early twenties sleeping in a Honda Prelude, a small compact car did not sound so bad.
To this day this is still the least comfortable night of sleep I have ever had. I remember a night of my legs falling asleep every fifteen minutes, shifting around and my legs falling asleep again, moving into another position, same thing. This continued until the sun began to rise above the rolling green Welsh hills and we awoke at dawn, blurry eyed, muscles unhappily unfolding from a compact Japanese car and rolled out into the foggy and damp Welsh morning.
Where we hoped and prayed we would find a coffee shop in one of these cute and quaint little towns. Milky Welsh tea may be great but not when you didn’t sleep at all the night before.)
After my friend careened the little car down winding Welsh highways (Which felt even more terrifying to me as we were on the opposite side of the road as in America) we eventually ended up near the banks of the River Wye.
In this town they had a coffee café! The Welsh girl working there was completely mesmerized by my white American smile (Something that would happen to me all over the UK) We were so thrilled to each have a steaming cappuccino to hold in our cold hands on this chilly morning as we began exploring the castle that sits above the River Wye. I still remember the way the morning light was streaming into the stone building through the empty medieval windows.
This trip we took to Wales was phenomenal. It was just a few short days away from my friends home in Cambridge but seeing Wales in person and experiencing small towns in the Welsh country side was such a fun experience.