Posts Tagged ‘Hay-on Wye’

A thought has just occurred to me. Do you think that you recreate the same things in your life all over again wherever you move?

The first time a very close friend visited our house outside Puerto de la Cruz she remarked ‘Oh, it’s just like the cottage back in Stockport.’

At first we thought WTF, the house in Stockport was an old mill cottage tucked away behind a suburban housing estate; so tucked away that even the postman couldn’t find it. Some local children thought faeries lived in our garden; it was an oasis in a concrete jungle.

Our house outside Puerto is a converted old animal shed tucked away from the road with a banana plantation on two sides, a finca on the third and a little golf course on the fourth.

Hardly the same, but it is tucked away.

Our friend Jo used to live in an old coach house in Hay on Wye. Regularly on a Friday night we would escape the city and make the 3 hour drive after work to get to the Granary Pub by about nine o’clock where all the stresses of the week were magically washed away in the time it took to down the first pint.

I don’t know whether it was the fresh air or my body just relaxing, but I always found that I got pleasurably drunk very quickly on the Friday nights we spent in Hay.

This is the easier route to Jo's house

Now Jo lives up a mountain on La Gomera and weekends there feel like a different world even from our semi-rural existence on Tenerife.

For a start, it takes an eternity to get to Jo’s house. When she meets us at the port it’s always traditional to head to the nearest bar for a cerveza. Then it’s a trip to the supermarket to stock up on supplies for the weekend – vitally important to get this part right as her nearest shop is over thirty minutes away by car. This usually involves me asking at least a couple of times:

“Are you sure we’ve got enough wine, Jo?”

And, after she’s told me yes for the umpteenth time, ends up with me deciding to throw in a couple of extra bottles – just to be on the safe side.

Once the shopping’s done we can relax and have another cerveza before hitting the road and the winding journey upwards through emerald terraced peaks and forests where misty fingers dance between ancient laurisilva.

It takes us about an hour to get there, the last 15 minutes on a pothole strewn dirt track through the forest – impassable during the winter rains.

People find it hard to visualise Jo’s house. For a lot of folks the image of houses in the Canary Islands consists of blindingly white apartments, balconies in the sunshine and brilliantly blue swimming pools. If our house is a million miles from that image, Jo’s is a zillion.

For a start, access to Jo’s house is by a goat trail leading from the rain forest. From the forest track it’s maybe a hundred yards and the closest tarmac road is two hundred yards below her down another goat trail. When you’re bringing in supplies you use the forest track – it’s much easier bringing heavy bags down the trail than carrying them up it.

It's also a damn fine spot to welcome the morning.

By the time we put all the supplies away it’s time to crack a beer, or try some of a neighbour’s home brewed cider or schnapps…or even do all three.

The bit I love best about arriving at Jo’s is to take the alcoholic beverage of my choice, plonk myself down on a little tiled platform overlooking the wild valley and listen to the sounds of the birds settling into their nests. As the sun slips under its duvet and the lights from the handful of other houses in Los Aceviños comes on, the valley takes on the appearance of the Shires.

It is always, always one of those perfect little moments in life.

I don’t know whether it’s the fresh air or my body just relaxing, but I always find that I get pleasurably drunk very quickly on the Friday nights we spend in Los Aceviños.

Anyway, what was I saying about recreating the same things all over again wherever you go?


Around 210,000 people go missing in the UK every year. I don’t know how many of these disappear after ‘popping out to the shops’ to get some fags, milk, lager etc, but something occurred to me as we finally rescued a tiny lizard who’d been trapped in our bathroom for the last few weeks.

We’d assumed that he (it might have been a she – I don’t know how to tell) had fallen through the skylight and hadn’t been able to find their way out and, for the last few weeks, was living off the occasional spider underneath the towel chest.

We’d never been able to get close; every time the lizard emerged and we tried to ‘help’ it make its escape, it legged it back under the chest before we could catch it…until yesterday. This time, instead of heading for the chest, it ran into a corner and I was able to drop a sieve over it and take it to a better place; i.e. the garden.

However, as I released the lizard into its bright new world some doubts entered my head. Supposing he liked living in our bathroom? Suppose there was a Mrs lizard and two baby lizards waiting for him underneath the chest and he’d just popped out to ‘pick up’ a spider to for dinner? His disappearance would remain a mystery for ever to his family.

Maybe it’s no different with us humans. There could be invisible superior life forms looking down on poor souls living in poverty in inner city ghettos and one day, when some poor little sod pops out to the shops, the beings decide to rescue them and before said poor soul knows it, hey ho, they’ve been whisked off to a nicer place; Maybe Hay-on-Wye.

Who knows?