Monday, May 23, 2016

Cider, a Potato, and... oh yeah, a Castle!

A view of Laugharne from the castle grounds
Sometimes you just want a lamb shank. It's the ideal Welsh lunch--some shank of lamb, cider, and a gorgeous sunny day in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, Wales. 

And then you order, and the charming lady serving you at your perfect patio table regretfully tells you that they're out of lamb. We're in Wales, and there's no lamb to be had.

But hey! I'm flexible! I loves me some lamb, but I loves me a lot of things. Cider, check: made by  Tomos Watkin, who makes the "Great Ales of Wales." Espresso: they got it, just gonna wait 'til after I eat. Lamb: nope, but potatoes! Baked potatoes served with any variety of ingredients I could possibly desire. Even a salad on the side.

Arthur's, home of friendly service, delicious potatoes,
and easy-drinkin' cider
So, toppings: cheese, natch. Then the server asks if I'd like brie or cheddar. Brie, please! And bacon! And I'm happy.

Not that's it's difficult on a day like today. I'm hanging out with two fantastic women, enjoying wonderful weather, thinking about the castle just down the road.

Oh, yeah--there's a castle! Laugharne Castle it's called, which is good, because I can actually remember the name. I haven't really seen it yet, because I've been, um, eating and... drinking wine, and, that other thing I like to do... sleeping. And some writing, believe it or not.

The grounds of Laugharne Castle
My potato arrives with a load of proper Welsh bacon and two big SLABS OF BRIE. Oh, people, the things that make me happy.

I eat it all. I drink a rather large bottle of cider. I drink my espresso, then the three of us stroll to the little craft store. Which is really fun for me, because the lady who runs the shop speaks full-on Welsh with a few of the customers. I understand almost nothing, but I just love listening to the fluid vowels, the distinct but soft consonants: lots of mild "th" and "ch" sounds, not choppy like English.

Then, we actually do walk to the castle. We hope to take a tour tomorrow, but for today, we're content to look at scenes like this:

Jill admires Laugharne Castle while enjoying homemade
chocolate Welsh ice cream

And this:

Part of the estuary that runs by the castle

And I simply take a moment to feel gratitude for being in this place at this time. On the walk home, I pass a pub with a rather large blue banner printed with white letters:

There's no food here

Behind the low fence, on a small chalkboard, someone has written "NOT SERVING FOOD." We asked, and they in fact do not serve food. I guess the banner is just a Welsh tease.


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