At about 4:30 in the morning, the phone woke me up with the Facebook notification sound. Who on earth would be messaging us? The parents didn’t know how to use it. My brother and friends rarely used it — and never for emergencies. Everyone we knew in Europe was equally as dead asleep as we were. It was so mind-numbingly early that I only had the vaguest recollection that we were in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
Having made a mental note to scold whoever messaged, I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. The light was already peeking through the windows — not surprising — it was the summer solstice and we were at 52 degrees north in Pembrokeshire, Wales in a small town called Newport.
Well, knowing what I know now, I’d say because it is absolutely lovely. The Atlantic laps at its shores and a bay, a beach, an estuary, green hills, Stonehenge-like monuments, and the Pembrokeshire Coast Path are all nearby. Knowing what I knew then? Our cat-sitting assignment was there, Charlie by name, Burmese by birth.
But what could that Facebook message be? I started to fall back into a semi-conscious dream state, thankful for a comfortable bed. Ok, so this cat-sitting gig that we found on TrustedHousesitters.com (contact us for a referral and get 20% off membership) was quite a bit more than a “comfortable bed.” Charlie’s home was up a hill a bit from Newport and overlooked the pasture-covered, sheep-dotted coast of Wales and the rugged cliffs that separated the land from the sea.
Charlie Was in Charge
The home was bright with lots of windows that took full advantage of the outdoor beauty. Multiple areas inside and outside beckoned us to sit, relax and take it all in. Charlie would let us know when we were “doing it wrong.” Apparently, mornings were supposed to be spent in the upstairs living room and not the downstairs dining room. At least we agreed that happy hour should be spent outside in the garden.
4:30am? Wasn’t there something I wanted to do very early this morning?
Charlie was a character, definitely set in his ways after 17 years of prowling this earth. “RRRRrrrrraaahwah!” Ah, there he is now. “RRRrrrrraaahwah!” I don’t speak Burmese well, but that meant he wanted to go outside. “No, Charlie. It’s too early for an old boy like you to go outside,” I said. It was too early for the kitty to go outside and too early for Facebook messages… Whoa… Wait a minute…. click, click, whir… the brain started to come back online. Holy crap! The Cavs must have won the championship!
We Are the Champions!
I grabbed the phone and sure enough, someone I hadn’t seen in 15+ years messaged congratulations. Holy crap! They really won the championship! The curse has ended! I was so excited and Pat was so asleep. Wow! A championship in Cleveland! There hadn’t been a single one by any of the major sporting teams in my hometown since I was born, and that was over 50 years ago. I was so excited but it was a solitary celebration, at least until Pat woke up.
Eventually, proper waking hours arrived. Pat and I wowed over the Cavs’ historic championship. We streamed all of the highlight clips and interviews we could find. It seriously could not have been scripted any better; game seven after being down 3-1, Kyrie’s clutch shot, Love’s tough defense, and James’ chase-down block. What an amazing time for Cleveland!
We popped into a pub for a celebratory pint that afternoon and were full of excitement and pride. I may have even shed a few tears. We looked around the pub. Obviously, no one in there gave a sheep tick about our team’s victory. They sat there in their silly “football” jerseys and glumly mumbled about “leaving” or “remaining.” What buzzkills. We drained our pints and left.
Back at the house, I scrolled through my Facebook feed. Not much happening. The States were asleep. Man, to have seen the game live, to have seen it with other fans… I made evening imbibements and we headed out to the garden. Charlie followed. I tried to describe how monumental of an event the Cavs win was to him, but my Burmese is sketchy at best and, honestly, cats really just don’t give a shit.
Well done Cavs! Thank you, LeBron. I’m proud to have always been a Cleveland fan and hope that this is the beginning of a new era for Cleveland sports and the city itself.
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One thought on “Newport, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK: Ticker Tape for Two”
Yes I liked Wales when I was there too. Beautiful country.