Lord, Where’s the Ring?

Sunday, June 12, 2016

We get up early this morning for the first time in days. The included hotel breakfast doesn’t start until 7 and we need to be out of here around 7:15. When I told this to reception last evening, they graciously offered to deliver a continental breakfast to our room early at no charge. How about that? Sure enough at 6:30 our breakfast arrives with a smile.

It was super easy to drop the rental car and take the shuttle to the airport for our flight on Ryanair (Whyanair?) As soon as we hit the terminal we felt like we were in the “evil clutches of the airlines.” Please just get us through this torture and set us free.

it never fails – when you fly Whyanair there is always someone who is 1 kilo overweight with their checked luggage and Ryanair won’t stand for it.  That person always frantically tries to repack in order to save a few dollars of an overweight charge.

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The flight from Dublin to Manchester is a quick 45 minutes – just enough time for me to take a little siesta. Supposedly I have arranged for a taxi (prepaid) to meet us and drive us the 20 miles or so into Chester. (We could have taken the bus, but it only comes every 4 hours and we are on the wrong side of the schedule). The problem is that we are supposed to call the driver when we land. While I DO have an international mobile with a UK phone #, I have no idea how to use it. I have the # of the taxi driver, but I don’t know how many digits to dial! I make a couple feeble attempts to no avail. Fortunately, my phone rings and it is the driver calling me! He tells me he is stuck in airport traffic and will call us when he is almost there.

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Easy, peasy – the driver shows up and we zoom off to Chester. We will be spending the night here before getting to our boat in Trevor, Wales tomorrow. Our driver takes us all the way to Chester Stone Villa. It looks great.

Katie and Don are taking the train from London and are supposed to arrive at 3:20. It is now around 2:00 so we decide to walk to the train station, find a pub, park and wait to meet them. The station is a 7 minute walk and there is a pub right beside it – Edgerton Arms. Their sign says it all:

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The place is nearly empty when we step inside. There are a couple of locals putting down pints at the bar and there is a friendly bartender who greets us. This place is local, local. I am not too sure about the vibe in here.

We sit at a little table with our pints and watch the other patrons just like they are watching us and trying to figure out why 2 “Yanks” have come into their little pub. When the bartender takes a break, he goes over to a little billiard-type table and starts to hit some balls. Rich is intrigued and gets up to chat with him.

Turns out the game is bagatelle – a very old billiard style game. He explains it to Rich and also tells him that this table is from around 1870. Evidently there was a pub closed down next door and he went in, disassembled the table and re-assembled it in his bar. He says bagatelle tables are very hard to come by nowdays – it is almost a “lost” game. He is very proud of his table and plays every day.

Just when Rich is really getting into it, we see it is time to meet Don and Katie. We reluctantly leave telling him we will return… (I am thinking “no way” – we will go to somewhere more fun).

Trains are almost always on time and sure enough at 3:20 the train from London shows up – here comes Don and Katie! It is hard to believe with all the miles and all the connections that we have found each other. We quickly stash all their luggage and head out for a pub. Rich is vying to go back to Edgerton and I reluctantly agree. I am hoping to show Don and Katie a good time. It has begun to pour rain outside so we all put on our slickers.

There was no need to fret. The pub was more full than when we left. We all hang up our “waterproofs,” order pints and settle in. Don and Rich play a heated game of bagatelle.

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Katie and I catch up with what we both have been doing. She has been reading the blog and asks about my Claddaugh ring. I show it to her and then she tells me that her wedding band is very old – from Don’s grandfather. It is too big for her finger, but she loves it. I want to try it on. She hands it to me and I promptly drop it. OMG! It hits the floor, bounces once and disappears! I turn white. We get on our knees looking for it.

Soon the entire place is buzzing about the ring and everyone is searching. Since I didn’t see it roll forward across the floor, I feel like it bounced backward under my bench seat. I look under the bench. I turn even whiter. Hard to describe, but there is a board going up from the floor and then only a small opening before the bottom seat of the bench. I am sure it jumped the ledge and is under the bench. The bench seat does not open.

We start sticking an arm in and digging around with hands. Who knows what lurks under there? Everyone in the pub is putting in their $0.02 of what we should do. Finally, I think that we can stick a phone under there and at least take photos to see if it is actually in there. Don uses his phone and snaps a couple of pics. Nothing. We give up. I am devastated to think I have lost Katie’s priceless ring. She is trying to take it all in stride and is being gracious.

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Rich decides to give the phone/picture idea one more try with his awesome phone camera.

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Eureka! He digs in and pulls up the prized treasure much to the screams and delight of Katie and me!

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If this is the way we start out in our first hour together, what does that say for the rest of our trip together?

We reluctantly leave the Edgerton – what a fantastic pub! It is not longer raining and the walk back towards Chester Stone Villa is pleasant. Tonight we have chosen to eat very close to our villa at a place called Faulkner’s. They are super friendly and packed.

We are all very excited and a bit nervous about getting our boat tomorrow. First, we have to catch the train to Ruabon, taxi to the boat base at Trevor, get to a grocery store for provisions and learn how to pilot our craft. Lots to do.

 

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