Our train from Paddington was delayed by twenty-some minutes, which meant we missed the connection at Swansea to Manorbier.
“Don’t worry,” the agent told us, checking our tickets. “Talk to someone in an orange vest, and they’ll take care of you.”
We found the people in orange vests, who huddled, discussed, and herded those of us who were heading in the direction of Manorbier into two waiting taxis.
Will, in the early planning stages of this trip, had talked about renting a car at Heathrow and making the drive to Wales, and I was at turns skeptical and discouraging and firm. We’d been to Wales once before and I remembered the roads to be narrowing and winding, with towering hedgerows and nearly incomprehensible roundabouts, not to mention the added challenge of driving on the “wrong” side of the road.
Our taxi driver, in the tradition of taxi drivers everywhere, was in a hurry—he tailgated, he sped up to pass, he zipped between lanes and took the roundabouts at a speed that made me, in the backseat, long for a handful of Dramamine.
Views from the train...
On the radio:
September by Earth, Wind and Fire
Stuck in the Middle with You by Stealers Wheel
The driver’s GPS led us to Manorbier, the tiny town where we’d be staying for the wedding. He drove down the narrow road (but that describes all roads in Wales, at least from what I’ve seen of the southwest)—that lead to the train station, pulled forward, reversed, and said apologetically, “I’ll have to let you off here. There’s no carpark.”
We scrambled out and stood with our suitcases and the side of the road, just beyond what had to be the world’s tiniest train station, with the world’s tiniest platform, which was currently deserted. The driver sped off, and we looked at each other. It felt like we were standing in the middle of a road at the edge of the world, which I guess we were.
About two minutes later, a van came around a corner and we recognized Sadie behind the wheel. The van, a rental for the wedding weekend, reminded her of the A-Team. In the passenger seat was a woman with wild red curls. She opened the door, stepped out with her arms raised above her head and said (this only works if you can imagine it in a British accent): “Hello! I’m Jane!”
And we were headed toward our final destination.
Paula Treick DeBoard