A weekend off, another one I hear you all cry. Yes another one. In fact as I write this we only have one more weekend off before our work season is over.

So our weekend away up North, not too far North but far enough for a weekend. As you know we will be working in North wales next year, in fact it’s right on the Welsh, English border in a place called Chirk.

The site has been having a huge big refurb this year so we decided to go up to see it and see the managers. We have been to the site before so it would be nice to see how they are getting on and we love the area.

Hotel booked for two nights and no cooking for Nikki for the weekend. How I spoil her. We know the hotel (Hand Hotel) from being in the area before. We have never stayed in it before but have been in once or twice for a beer and to eat. It’s a really old hotel, one of the oldest hotels in wales but they all say that.

The drive up was really nice going straight up the middle of wales through the valleys and over the mountains and round the bends, and as a added bonus the sun was out. We needed a pit stop so we stopped at Builth wells in a car park right by the river.

Builth wells

A quick pit stop and on our way again. Now we were getting hungry and the plan was to just pull over and eat our sandwiches which Nikki had made that morning. We wanted a nice spot to pull over though, with a view. We’re not fussy really I just didn’t want to be parked right on the edge of the road eating my sandwich with cars and lorry’s whizzing past my ear.

So what we got was a lay-by but set back off the road but with no view. Beggars can’t be choosers. The sandwich was nice though. Onward to Chirk, we arrived in good time although it was a long drive, to meet Simon and Becky.

We had a guided tour of the site with all the new facilities etc which were all very nice, and then had a coffee with them and they invited us back later for a BBQ. What could we say apart from yes please. we left them and went and checked in the hotel and had a chill out and then they even came and picked us up.

The hotel room was basic. We don’t do hotels so nothing to compare it with really but it didn’t cost a lot so you get what you pay for. After Simon picking us up we had a BBQ cooked outside but ate inside as the evening was chilling down and getting dark early now but a good evening was had by all. We walked from there back to the hotel. As we left them it was pitch black on the road but luckily we had torches on our phones to light the way. Only a ten minute walk back to the basic hotel room but full of beer and food what does it matter after a long day. We both slept like logs.

Sunday morning we went down for a breakfast. ( extra cost) I had a full welsh breakfast which is the same as a full English breakfast and Nikki had beans on toast which was also the same as English beans on toast.

We then had a stroll around Chirk which does not take long as it’s only a small town. We decided to eat out Sunday night but could not decide where. In the Hotel, or next door in the wine bar, or down the road in a another pub or get a takeaway. The choice was a hard decision to make but Nikki said she would like to go to the wine bar. So that’s where we decided to go.

The walk around Chirk included a stop at a small cafe near the canal which did the most amazing chocolate and orange cake. A place I will be going back to next year for sure. On our way back to the hotel for a chill out I noticed a mural on the wall of the Castle Bistro where we were going to eat that evening. I really liked it showing the aqueduct that’s just down the road.

Local mural

We both felt really tired in the day on Sunday and both had a little nap. Is it the sign of getting old or was it just the day before catching up with us. I vote for the day before catching up with us, age is only a number. It’s just a shame some numbers are bigger than others.

Awake and showered and off out for evening, well late afternoon and early evening to the Castle Bistro. Took us all of a minute to get there as it’s only next door to the hotel. The place has a inside area, a covered outside area and an outside area. As the sun was still shining we opted for the outside area in the sun.


How much…. Those two drinks in the photo £13 Well you only live once so we had some more drinks and a meal each all which I will say were very very nice with a total bill of £72. Bargain. I needed a lay down after paying that so it was back to the hotel and to bed. Breakfast the again the next morning and then on our way back South to base and work. Another weekend over.

The site is very quiet at the moment and we are winding down after a busy season. But the sunsets are still amazing from the site entrance.

Another sunset

The weekend just gone we had off and had planned to go and see some friends in Bridgend which is east from here. They actually live on the edge of Bridgend. Bill and June are friends we met in Spain about 7/8 years ago and have kept in touch with and managed to meet up with every year since.

They invited us to go and stay with them when they knew were were going to be working so close to them for the season. The first date we arranged was cancelled because they had Covid, the second date was cancelled because we were going up North so the third time lucky we got to see each other.

Only a 45 minute drive to their house, a very large 4 bedroom house in a very quiet cul de sac. They have two small dogs which their life revolves around. So soon after getting there we were off in the car a short distance to Porthcawl to walk the dogs. We nearly got blown away on the sea front so we sheltered and then headed for a cafe for a hot drink. Bill and June love going out for coffee.

A great evening with them catching up and a loverly meal and a drink or two. The next morning the plan was to take the dogs for a walk to a country park just down the road and then we were going out for lunch to a pub they have used before.

The Bryngarn country park was really nice with a cafe and another coffee stop. The walks through the woods and by the small river were littered with the colours of autumn and all looking so nice in the sun.

Bryngarn country park

The pub lunch was nice and another chilled out evening catching up and then Monday morning time to head back to base. We decided to stop at Porthcawl on the way back as we had time. Nikki wanted to look around the town and ended up finding a shoe shop with a nice pair of boots in that she wanted, so that was her birthday present sorted.

We left the town and drove a mile up the road to Rest bay which is where we had lunch in a loverly cafe we have used before overlooking the sea and then we had a stroll on the beach. All too soon it was time to head back to work. Still, only three weeks to go.

Rest bay cafe