December 2011 was bitterly cold; snow had fallen, snow on snow; the earth was hard as iron; water was like a stone - but at least the main roads had been gritted. Joe Saer, with his finacee Maerwin, accepted a lift in a neighbour's 4x4 from their humble cottage in the bleak midwinter of North Wales to complete what could well be the most challenging journey of their lives!
The first stage was short but simple; to travel the three miles to Penygroes to begin their first public transport journey of what would be a long and tiring day. From this little town they caught the Express Motors service 1A at 0716 ...
... which would take them north through Caernarfon and on to an interchange at Bangor Station.
Here, after a chilly 30 minutes wait, they joined the inappropriately named Virgin Trains service to Crewe which left bang on time at 0822. Maerwin was, as they say, "with child" and, as they say as well, "due any day now"!
Crewe Station was busy, even though it was the "festive" season and they barely had time to join their next train, the 1008 departure, which would take them long four hours before they arrived at Swansea. The route took them through picturesque Herefordshire, and via Newport and Cardiff; but Maerwin was not in the right mood to enjoy the view, anxious, quite rightly about the baby-to-come.
The rather grand and recently upgraded station at Abertawe (Swansea) was reached a few minutes later than the advertised 1355 but a slightly panicky dash across the High Street got them to the bus stop just in time to catch the First Bus X13 due at 1411.
This would deposit them at Ammanford's sumptuously appointed bus station (?) at 1507 ...
...with another almost too-tight connection for the 103 (also First Bus) to Llandeilo. They now had just two more bus rides until they reached their ultimate destination - to sleep in heavenly peace (!) and await the arrival. After all, it was December 24th!
... to be continued ... Part II below ...