Day 116: Sark to Bournemouth

‘They’re always taking the piss’ – Englishness, in sum, from a Portuguese view, Bournemouth.

Those distant eruptions of lightning during the night flashed over into a night of restless dreaming, but their promise of storms has, for now, been unheeded by Sark. Topping-and-tailing with my sister, as a kind older brother I’ve allowed her the roomier half whilst I’ve slept at the foot where rain condenses and falls inside the tent. I feel the patter of some early morning drizzle drip against my head, waking me a while to pull a paw over my face and continue dozing. By the time we wake it’s dry again, though a thick mist floats over the surrounding fields with an alarmingly swift motion, rapidly obscuring nearby hedgerows, adding to the eeriness of this strange and most unusual of islands.

We surface and venture around the small, unoccupied campsite. Those two half-built houses still stand unoccupied and seemingly abandoned. A lady appears on a bicycle and disappears down a lane, then returns twenty minutes later and invites us into her house. It’s not as cordial as it sounds. We’re paying after all. The transition from bed to tent is severe enough without putting in the chaos of sleeping in dark forests alive with the whoops and whitters of a hundred different kinds of creature. It’s not for the faint of heart. In we head, to pay seventeen Guernsey notes for our stay, and in the process, discover a little more about Sark.

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Day 90: Bangor to Dolgellau

‘Is it always as wet as this?’
‘More often than not’.
– Meteorology at the Stag Inn, Dolgellau.

I’ve stayed the night in Bangor, a town in north-west Wales, unremarkable to a large degree except for its expanding university. It has no obvious centre, no heart or locus where its people can mill around and meet. I leave Simon’s place, a gentle man who has kindly hosted me for the night through the Couchsurfing website, and I cycle through the town’s small and modest high street. There’s nothing flash or pretentious about the place, and few things have aspirations here higher than two storeys. Expect no concession to civic ambition, just more discount shops and supermarkets.

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