There we were enjoying the sights and sounds of the countryside when all of a sudden the peace was shattered.
A buzzing helicopter was hovering in the air. Circling around our valley as though looking for something. Then coming down to land in a next-door field of cows, its rotor blades whirling round at high speed and stirring up the grass and cow pats.
The police, maybe? Had English looters crossed the border and started raiding Welsh holiday homes now? Or perhaps a celebrity arriving by helicopter for a quiet break in an interior-designed shepherd’s cottage?
As it took off again, a flare was dropped, setting off what looked like a fire, and we concluded we were in the middle of a search-and-rescue training exercise. How exciting, I thought, enjoying it even more than the boys (in my mind I’d decided it was Prince William, you see – I’ve heard he rescues walkers in these parts).
While all this was going on, BB was surprisingly quiet, which really doesn’t happen very often. Most of the time, he’s exceedingly noisy and asks thousands of questions. I have to admit we’ve struggled to answer some of the things he’s pondered this holiday, like: Why are there no trees on the mountains? Why are the cow pats so big? (is it because cows have two stomachs, or is that camels?) Did the chicken or the egg come first? Where’s the swimming pool?
I chortled at the last one and reminded him of our whereabouts, ie, far from Dubai, then, to my surprise, had to eat my words a little later that very morning, when we stumbled upon, of all things, a Welsh swimming pool. Sorry if I sound so amazed – I honestly didn’t think it could ever get hot enough here for outdoor pools (but, then again, I have become a complete cold-water wimp since moving to Dubai).
Here’s the spring-fed pool – my two boys and their cousins loved it, despite the freezing cold water. Apparently, if you’re really lucky you get to see a brown trout swimming through. Now that you don’t get in Dubai.