Alison Leach: Getting completely lost in Cardiff (in pursuit of ice cream)

Posted on May 11, 2012

Before I begin this brief tale, I would like to stress that my title does not imply any criticism of Wales. Being an eighth-generation Welsh person who takes frequent holidays in Wales, I am an avid supporter of the country.

When I was a kid, I was on a camping holiday in Wales, when my family visited Cardiff for the day. When we got there, my mother nipped to the shops while my father took my sister and I to a Helter Skelter we had spotted.

At the top of the fairground attraction, my sister pointed out my father in the crowd and signed that he had bought ice-creams for us all. I nodded, although I could not see him in the masses of people on the ground.

I was so eager to have my ice-cream that I jumped onto the slide first. Having reached the bottom of the slide, in a wave of exhilaration I hurried towards where I thought my father was.

Running as fast as my little legs could carry me, I sprinted, worried that the ice-cream might melt (!).

Tearing into the crowd, I suddenly stopped. I could not see my father.

I veered to the right and left. I stopped again. I was lost.

The city was jammed with hordes of hearing shoppers. It dawned onto me that as a Deaf kid that I was lost in a strange place and I started to panic. Stamping my legs, I darted in all directions but there were no sign of my family.

There was nothing for it but to retreat into my ‘cave.’ I covered my eyes with my hands and cried. Soon a crowd gathered around me and faces swam past me, their mouths moving in funny patterns. I said nothing, as I knew communication would be impossible.

Moments later, a policeman appeared on the scene and gently tried to prise my hands off my face but I was defiant and hid behind my hands. The adults were baffled and did not know what to do with me!

It wasn’t until later my father finally found me and I recognised his hands and clung to him immediately.

And yes, I did have an ice-cream at the end!

Alison is thirtysomething. She was born and bred near the south coast and currently resides in the west midlands.

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