Welsh surprises

Wales was not without surprises, two of which I will quickly detail now.

The first concerns the ‘barn’ in which we were to stay. When I heard the term, I thought about the barn that Meghan Mathieson’s family has in Duncan: uninsulated wooden walls, big swinging doors, hay, and the rest. What we actually got was a ‘hut’ belonging to the Pinnacle Club – a group of women climbers. It was the size of a house, warmed by a coal stove. It had fridges and stoves and showers and a special room for drying sopping gear (though our numbers and level of soppingness challenged it). When compared with my initial expectation – better than a tent, with the possibility of rats – it was downright palatial.

The second surprise should be evident from the videos I posted last night. We were almost constantly buffeted by gale force winds during the first two days, and still encountered moderate winds at high altitudes on the third. I spent much of the trip literally holding on to my hat. Since it has no chin-strap and I could not come up with a way to tether it that did not risk either destroying the hat or garroting me, I had one hand on the brim (or atop my head) for the better part of all the hiking. On Snowdon, the cold and relative thinness of my gloves meant that my non-hat-holding-hand was always desperately trying to recapture warmth in a fleece pocket, before I did the switch – mindful that a pause could send the hat flying off into the foggy abyss.

As is so often the case after a vacation, things have piled up in my absence. I have two issues of The Economist to read, two letters to respond to, several dozen emails to deal with, and a thesis chapter ostensibly due on Wednesday (with all the reading and writing that entails). Forgive me if I am a less prompt correspondent than usual for the next while.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

7 thoughts on “Welsh surprises”

  1. Getting your thesis written takes precedence over keeping up with friends, I think. At least, for the next couple of weeks.

  2. Just goes to show that it pays to start with relatively low expectations.

  3. The Night Climbers Of Cambridge
    by Whipplesnaith

    Authored under the pseudonym Whipplesnaith it recounts the courageous (or foolhardy) nocturnal exploits of a group of students climbing the ancient university and town buildings of Cambridge. These daring stegophilic feats, including such heights as the Fitzwilliam Museum and the venerable King’s College Chapel

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