Friday, 18 April 2014

A Striking Day Out

No no, this is not me and my knitting in an exotic location. This is Ynys Barry - OK, Barry Island, LOL - which some of you will know from the hit tv series Gavin and Stacey.

From Barry and District News
The teachers were out on strike, so I collected the piglets of a couple of other working parents for the day. (I had hobbits as well as piglets; they eat so well that they just follow the smell of second breakfast to my house - yah, of course it is sausages. I must say, I have big respect for creatures who will risk bringing down the Nazgûl on themselves in order to make sure of a good fry-up.) 

There were too many small beings to fit in the car. I fell back on public transport and we got the train down to Barry Island (£2.45 child fare, £4.90 adult, lots less of course if you providently bought a Family&Friends railcard). Where we live, you can get a train direct to the beach taking slightly over half an hour; the train journey adds a lot to the fun of the day. I went once with Piglet in the summer: the carriage was jammed with people in jolly mood, one family were even taking their grandmother as well as deckchairs and cooler bag full of picnic.

As it is only just Spring - luckily it was a fine day - neither the train nor the beach were packed out. Barry Island is a kiss-me-quick sort of beach, great fun but I did once see a young man sunning himself on the beach, sporting a skinny blonde in one arm and his electronic tag on the other ankle. Sometimes as the day goes on, people start ambling around the beach having consumed more beer than is good for them, and although this could form an important life lesson for the piglets, I tend to avoid it in high summer.

I shoveled the piglets off the train and down to the crazy golf course. This is surrounded by a high metal barrier; I could send them round @ £2.50 per piglet, and sit down myself enjoying that nice cafe latte in the sun. Occasionally of course the piglets and hobbits came back whimpering that someone had been mean but the course has been cunningly designed as a long winding way over bridges and past duck ponds and pirates, so mostly they just got on with it. 

Image from Wikipedia
We got ice creams at this cafe made famous by Gavin and Stacey (@ £1.80 per ice cream - including 99 flake and flavours like Popping Candy and my favourite: Turkish Delight). Then we tootled down to the beach. Piglet had been competing to out-sulk one of the hobbits. (To my great surprise she managed this spectacular feat, he is a highly accomplished sulker as a rule but he seems to be growing out of it - although I suspect he will always retain an enviable ability to get his own way because people would rather not p. him off). In Piglet's anxiety to imitate the action of the sulker, she had even refused an ice cream! I am a little indulgent with her just now as the Gods have been unkind recently, so I went back to get her one when she relented. Aww, the little lambkin came trotting up and said: "Sorry I was so grumpy with you, mom - Hey! where is the flake!!!" 

Beach - totally free and gratis for collection of shells, building of sand fortifications and speed boat and running up and down, in and out the low surf (in wellies) screaming. (Spare socks were of course part of the package deal.) 

Picnic on the train home, minimal cost and pleasurable way to pass the half hour journey (including cold sausages from breakfast; I assure you, they were in that blue box, you must be quicker next time - they do get snaffled up). "Excuse me, I don't like sushi," one small piglet said politely. "Just try it," the older ones admonished him. "I love it!" he cried two seconds later. "Biscuit?" I asked the ticket collector when he came by, as I scrabbled for return halves in my pocket.

There was just time for the boy piglets to try to stuff one of their number down between the seat backs before we arrived home. I successfully extracted him and we all went back to argue about who would get to play on the X box.

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