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16 October 2014

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Lost Weekend

By David Chamberlain
November 2006, Caerphilly
A digital story from Breaking Barriers

"Bored one Friday and nothing planned for the weekend, I took my bike and rucksack and headed to Swansea. The ferry was in and I said, yeah why not. Ten and a half seasick hours later I arrived in Cork.

My plan was, if you can call it one, to keep the sun to my left shoulder and follow the coast road west. This went pear shaped when the road went inland and the sky went black.

With the weight of the rucksack on my back on a seat the size of a postage stamp, my bum soon became too painful to carry on. After throwing half my stuff away I stopped at Clonakilty, wet, tired and in a lot of pain.

I went exploring and saw a pub advertising live Monsarisin. I thought I've got to go in here. It was a quiet place but now and again a strange fellow with a guitar would walk in, get everyone singing, walk out again, and everyone would go back to placing bets and playing cards.

With the help of a local barman the night descended into a mess of pubs, music and dancing. Pain killers the next day did the job of curing my hangover and sorting out my sore bum. At one point I thought somebody must be looking after me.

Going up the hill my chain broke at the exact spot where a workman carrying tools happened to be. As he fixed it I thought what are the odds? I carried on in the wind and rain for day after day talking to locals, cows and singing as I went.

Reaching the west coast I caught the supply boat out to Cape Clear, a three mile long rock out in the Atlantic. After exploring the place the weather turned leaving me stuck in the only hostel. With no books, radio, TV or food the only thing keeping me sane was going to eat at the only pub at seven o'clock each night.

Before I left I knew every farmer, bird watcher, fisherman who couldn't swim, as they reckoned it took them longer to drown, and met five year old kids driving around in untaxed rusty cars full of fertiliser. When I got back both myself and the bike were feeling rough. I'd always recover but not the bike. Looking at the flat front tyre, worn out breaks, and rusty chain, I stuck my bike out in the street, took off the lock and waited for it to be stolen."

Your comments

"Well David, this story sounds like one my dad would have to tell. Sounds like it was a great day." Catherine, Cardiff.

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