I had spent some time before I went putting the Lord of the Rings audio play from the BBC onto my Kindle. It turned out that this wasn't such a good idea because it is kind of creepy, especially once you get into it and Gandalf starts talking about Gollum. I'd imagined falling asleep listening to it. Not so much when you've got Gollum being tortured at Barad Dur as your soundtrack to sleep.
I wound up plugging into my mp3 player for a while then switched to listening to music on my phone (since National Express helpfully gives you a socket so you can charge your phone whilst on your epic overnight journey). Thank goodness I'd put some music onto that before I left.
At one stop coming down the motorway I decided to get one of those squishy neck pillows, figuring it would help me sleep. I was foiled though. They had fleecy ones, or squishy ones for children with animal heads on them, but no plain squishy ones. I was about to leave the shop when I realised they had colouring books, one of which was Johanna Basford's Enchanted Forest on 'buy one get one half price'. So I bought colouring books and colouring pencils instead.
Back on the coach I set to work on my 'portable' sized copy of Colour Me Calm. In semi-darkness. Using my charging phone's backlight to illuminate my page. Only to discover that I'd actually very carefully coloured in a section in white instead of light blue like I though. I'm enjoying this one actually, its nice small size means it fits into my bag nicely, though at some point I will crack on with Enchanted Forest (and I'm going to treat myself to Secret Garden as well).
I arrived at Bristol early the next morning and had a wait of just under an hour before I was on the move again. Despite feeling very awake I felt ready to fall asleep once I was back on the bus. Of course I didn't have long to doze and soon I was meeting my Mum and strolling across the aptly named Bute Park.
That Friday we crammed in a trip to What! where I bought green yarn. I wish we had these shops in Scotland. They just sell everything and have an impressive craft section. I could've spent a fortune but I was very restrained and limited myself to just two balls of wool. This was only because of my limited space in my luggage and not because of any kind of personal strength. A couple of days later, when we went to Hobbycraft I impressed myself by not actually buying anything. That was really hard, especially as I found no less than £60-worth of stuff I wanted to bring home; because I couldn't decide what I wanted I just left it all, then kicked myself for it later.
Over the weekend I managed to walk around fifteen miles (seven of which were around Bristol on the Sunday, and three were around Cardiff on the Saturday). Saturday saw a return to Bute Park for a family lunch together and then some wandering around the shops. I was very tempted by some clothes but as my Mum had sorted through her cupboards and given me loads of stuff to bring back (ZOMG! I have the prettiest dress and now I need to find pink or purple shoes and a bag to wear it to something).
I'm going to do a whole separate post for what I got up to on the Sunday because that was the day we went Shaun hunting. Check back for that on Thursday. Be warned, there's going to be a lot of photos.
And on Monday we went for a family picnic at Castell Coch, where I spent a lot of time playing with my Aunt and Uncle's dog, Mabel, (and watching her teaching random tourists how to play fetch when I got too boring for her). After eating we wandered around Castell Coch which was really interesting as it was rebuilt by the Marquis of Bute. In fact it was his wife who set aside the dowry money which we received when we were married.
There was an awful lot there which reminded me of Mount Stuart house. And it was also used in a couple of episodes of Doctor Who so I have to admit I spent quite a while looking around trying to see if I could recognise which bits those were. In the end I figured out that I recognised some of the place from the Vampires of Venice episode.
That day my Nan also taught me the basics of crochet which I picked up quite well (if a little wobbly). I've had another go or two at it since I got home and I can do it, though it's going to take a lot of practice to get it looking as neat as my knitting.
And that was it.
The next day I had a very early start and a (not quite as long) journey home, getting back onto the island about an hour earlier than I'd anticipated. And yeah, I was a bit tired, but I had a good time away and I'm already planning when a good time to go away next year will be.