Final Destination

Day 03 – by the time we got back to our Travelodge, after driving through an apt place called Loggerheads, it was 4:10am. And we couldn’t sleep because it was too cold. Eventually, at some point, we got up and put our hoodies on and eventually fell asleep about 7:30am. We were up by 9, ready to visit Conwy Castle. As it was our last day, we wanted to see another castle before we went home. Thoroughly knackered and with Ryan on a nicotine withdrawal, we headed for Conwy. We were tempted to wind Ryan up, taking full advantage of no cigarette crankiness then filming his meltdown and posting it on NHS stop smoking sites, but seeing as he didn’t film ours on the the way to Ruthin, we decided to be good mates and stop at some services for him to buy fags. The petrol station was deserted. Think creepy, horror film, place with filled zombies snacking on the cashier type deserted. It was brilliantly atmospheric. Naturally, we let Ryan go in alone and got the cameras ready for his bloody, screaming exit.

We drove into the Little Chef car park and saw a sign that would lighten the weariest of hearts – FREE WI FI! We rushed in, set up our laptop and started taking advantage, all the while trying to ignore the waitress and pretending we hadn’t decided what to eat. Feeling bad, we eventually asked her if the chips were vegan. She kindly went to check and assured us they were, so we ordered some. So fellow vegans, if you want vegan chips, Little Chef is fine. There’s also a vegan cafe in Bettws-y-Coed and a vegan chip shop in Llandudno, but we didn’t have time to check those places out. Ryan decided to keep us entertained by tripping over our laptop wire and very nearly face planted in his search for salt. He really didn’t have to go to the trouble, but you know what some people are like – always have to play the clown. Turned out, the salt was on our table. Oops 😀

Just as we left, we were topping up the Mini’s oil when Cat suddenly remembered something – we’d forgotten to pay! The waitress didn’t ask for a bill and because we were served at the table, we completely forgot. We sent Ryan back in with some cash and when he came out, he claimed the cops had been called. As we pulled out of the car park, there was a police car parked. We fled the scene.

We reached Conwy Castle without getting lost. Cities crumbled, civilisations collapsed and the gods fell to their knees with the shock. The only problem was, we’d come on marathon day and there was nowhere to park. If there are any types of festivals, big events, or marathons, guaranteed, we will unwittingly pick that day to visit that town’s castle. It’s a gift. We eventually parked by the harbour, but after Lynx had done an amazing long reverse down the road, finishing the move with a flawless parallel park beside a wall, we realised something – Ryan & Cat couldn’t get out the passenger side. Ryan attempted to slide across into the driver’s seat, but because we’re so short, we have the seat pumped right up and forwards, so he got wedged under the steering wheel. Sensing an opportunity, Lynx, who was already out, started filming, while Cat, who was trapped in the back, started taking photos. So we have footage and action shots of Ryan having to crawl out of the car, ending up on his knees in the road. We texted our mum so she could update Twitter & Facebook, Ryan’s humiliation going global. It was a defining moment of the holiday.

Ryan demonstrating how NOT to leave a car

Conwy Castle is beautiful and another contender for our base in the Zombie Apocalypse. Apparently, it was our favourite when we were kids and we used to run along the walkways, as opposed to now, when we hold on to the walls for dear life. Though walking up to the castle from the harbour was dangerous. We had to go up a narrow, two-way road, with no pavements, under a castle bridge that acted as a chicane. How we didn’t die is a mystery that only Sam and Dean Winchester can solve.

Conwy Castle

As much as we hate heights, we can’t leave any area of the castle unexplored, so insisted on going all the way to the top again. We were rewarded in one tower by seeing pigeons and their chick in one of the tower walls. We waited ages, perched near the edge of the tower, for the chick to make an appearance. It was worth the vertigo & sheer terror.

After Conwy, we decided to head for home, as the light was failing us. Though before we left the beauty that is North Wales, we wanted to show Ryan Denbigh Asylum, the setting for our novel, Soul Asylum. For those of you who remember the pointless eight hour road trip we took last year to see it from behind the gates, you’ll be pleased to know, this year, the gates were open. But the asylum was fenced off, with demolition notices all over the gates. This was our final chance to see the asylum up close before it was torn down to make way for flats. Though we’d been warned about the nasty caretaker who lives next door, we had to seize this chance. We walked in. Unfortunately, the driveway is at least one hundred metres long and we’d only got about thirty metres away from the asylum when a guy shouted, asking what we were doing. Fearing it was the nasty caretaker, we explained we were just having a look. Luckily, it was a nice guy, who explained he didn’t mind, but the other guy did and was on his way – with a dog. And we’d forgotten to load Ryan’s pockets with meaty treats to ensure our safe getaway. He kindly let us take a few pictures before escorting us off the grounds. As we got into our car, the other caretaker arrived. We drove sedately away, acting like we hadn’t been inside the gates. Though we will never accomplish our dream of getting inside the asylum, we got as close to it as we’ll get ever get and the thrill of being so close to all that history, will stay with us.

Denbigh Asylum