One time it had been raining. Was raining. Fairly hard, but it was Wales so it was what we expected. Each time we saw a storm cloud we blamed the cubs, or the scouts. They were bound to be camping, somewhere, and that was normally the problem.
We’d seen the scouts earlier in the day. They were looking miserable, in a field, for their field misery badge.
But this was our holiday. The red rover, when it worked, was big enough for us all to sit comfortably and have our packed lunch, all salad and sandwiches, probably some hard boiled eggs and roast beef, and maybe some marmite and jam.
We’d had that, on a road high in the hills, trapped between a million sets of gates that we were careful to open and close to stop the sheep or the farmers from escaping, which meant that one of us had to get out of the car act as gatekeeper. That day I had escaped, pretty much. We’d laughed as the car had gone over the cattle grids, and had ended up, in the early afternoon, by Harlich castle.
This was thee nearest castle to where we were staying. Coincidentally, or maybe because of its location, it was also our favourite. We wanted to look round. The rain was coming down, but this didn’t seem to matter. So we parked, paid up, and tramped up the wooden stairs from the front, where once there had been a moat. If the weather continued much as it was, it would soon be full again.
It must have been the early 1980s. Folding macs, that could then be attached to a belt, were all the rage. At least in our house. Always be prepared. Never know when Arkala will try to drown you. We all had green and blue macs, but Dad’s was red, and bright red at that.
The castle was fairly quiet that day, because most people didn’t want to battle the rain. “Follow the little red man” called out the leader, and we followed him around the grounds as he repeated his cry, pied piper style but without the necessity to kill us all at the end of the story.
It was maybe the quickest that we had ever looked around the place, but we did it, and we were pleased.
Later, when we were home, we sat in the big lounge and watched TV before bed, and wondered whether the scout tents could float.