7 July 1995

Drove to Wales from Edinburgh and everything en route. Got irritated but felt more relaxed after a rest. Chess record for trip is 2-2-2. Checked into the Balkeley Hotel: a hotel right out of the 1920 bellhop days.

Went to a gaol, or prison. A narrator, in the role of a condemned prisoner, related his ghastly, cruel stay at the “dungeon.” If you crushed your rocks, unbraided your oakum ropes, swallowed your gruel, and behaved you wouldn’t get whipped, run the treadmill for 6 hours nonstop, placed in the punishment room for 72 hours with out food or daylight, or worse, the crank. I could feel the tortuous suffering.

Then we went to court! The dynamic building had a stylish interior. The stress of waiting for the verdict, from acquittal to the death sentence, must have been crushing.

Similarities – English same as British

Differences – Signs in Welsh and English

Future Ryan says: This was a really cool hotel, my favorite lodging place of the whole trip. It made the time traveler within me very happy, as it felt like I had stepped back in time 70 years.

The gaol museum was also really cool. The self-guided audio tour was one of the best I’ve taken. The Crank I allude to here was a mysterious pedastal-mounted winch in a prison cell. The crank’s purpose was for the inmate to turn it, under the presumption that he was doing unseen productive work like pumping water or hoisting laundry. The real psychological factor of the crank was that it wasn’t always connected to a useful task. Sometimes it was just rattling old anchor chains in the basement, or mixing mud. Hard labor was brutal enough, but it was the mystery that made it torture. I bought a Bobby’s tin whistle at the gift shop.

This day’s entry is also the first mention of my ongoing chess record on this trip. I was on the middle school chess club, and the majority of the trophies won in my youth are for chess. One of the few personal things I took along for this trip was a chess set.


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