The second full day in Wales dawned grey, cloudy, and wet. However, having enjoyed two days of sun and blue skies, we really couldn’t complain, especially since we had planned on this being an inside day—we had bats to buy.
A bit of background … a book I am currently reading—How To Have A Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioural Science to Transform Your Working Life—reminded me about the power of mental filters. For example, you have just purchased a new red car, and suddenly you see red cars everywhere you look. It’s not that there are more on the road, but rather they are now salient to you so your brain points them out. The book was using this to make the point that you see what you expect to see, i.e. if you’re expecting it to be a rough day, you will concentrate on everything that goes wrong. Conversely, if you intend to see opportunities wherever you can, you will likely do so.
As MrElaineous’ current production of Die Fledermaus (literal German translation: “the flying mouse”, or bat) was coming to an end, he was on the lookout for a bat-themed gift for the directors. This activated my own bat filter and while in a pub on the first night I noticed a bat decorating a brochure for an art studio called the Glassblobbery. It was about 90 minutes away, but MrElaineous agreed that a hand-blown glass bat ornament would be the perfect gift, so plans were made accordingly.
This is how we found ourselves driving through stunning, misty valleys with views of hillsides where you could easily imagine trolls, dragons, and the faerie folk at play. We mainly saw sheep, but you didn’t have to work very hard to picture Frodo, Sam, or Gollum, and place names like Brithdir and Dolgellau turned mid Wales into Middle Earth.
We were thankfully relying on SatNav rather than my map reading skills, which allowed me to enjoy the journey and meant we got to the Glassblobbery right on schedule. While there, we were able to watch the glassblower, David Pryce-Jones, at work. Seeing him take a rod of glass and turn it into a kingfisher before our eyes was absolutely fascinating. He has his showman’s patter down to perfection after 40 years of working glass, and the whole process was a bit hypnotic as we watched the bird take shape out of seeming nothingness.
We got the bats … and perhaps one or two other things for our own home. We asked for recommendations of things to see and do in the local area and headed off for the first of two suggestions: Rug Chapel. From the outside, it looks like a small, unassuming private chapel. From the inside, it’s a riot of colours and carvings. Built in the 17th century, it is one of only a few chapels left in almost to its original state and not modified much during the Victorian era. It was a useful reminder that the past is often far more colourful than we believe, not the black and white or sepia tone that our imagination tends to give it.
We stopped in the nearby town of Corwen for a quick look around, but soon turned our attention to David’s second suggestion, the Rhug Estate Farm Shop and Restaurant. The latter in particular caught our eye and we settled in for lunch. With tasty food and a comfortable fire, it’s no wonder it was an incredibly busy place; the organic farm and its herd of bison certainly manage to pull in the punters as well. After a bite to eat, it was back on the road again.
I spent the return trip marvelling again at the scenery and trying to figure out how sheep managed to stay upright on what appeared to be a vertical hillside. My guess? Magnets. After all the travelling, it was most definitely time for a nap upon our return, and we rested up for our last full day in Wales.