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Titter ye not, people…

by on July 6, 2014

All right, hands up if you can’t remember Frankie Howerd’s famous catchphrase? (Overseas readers given a free pass and a cup of tea.) UK readers are advised that if they don’t recall it they may be suffering from a serious sense of humour failure and may be in need of urgent medical assistance. Actually, I know a Doctor, but her remedies can sometimes be a bit extreme. Or so I’m told.

Today’s blog comes to you from Fan Cwmcerwyn, which is the highest point on Mynydd Preseli. As it is only 536 meters above sea level, that’s not much of a boast is it? But it has been an unexpectedly nice day. Some friends from England came visiting on Friday, so it rained: as soon as they had gone home the weather brightened up. There’s probably a moral there, or a warning to me to stop having a social life or something, but I’m not going looking for it. I had to go looking for this though. It was so small, it could be easily overlooked.

That’s the top from the path up. Now, it might seen a bit too non PC, but in some walking pubs I have overheard hills being likened to a part of the female anatomy with which I am presently sadly insufficiently acquainted. Some of my friends have probably wet themselves laughing at this juncture, and I would like to point out -and I’m looking at you, MTM here – that overtly rude, sexist or insulting comments will result in the perpetrator being written in as the victim of the next horrific attack in my current horror work in progress. You have been warned.

Anyway, back to the heavily laboured simile: now if that were the case, some hills would be a generous DD – Pen Y Fan for example, others in their appropriate sizes. This one, Fan Cwncerwyn would be a AA petite. All this near sexist rubbish is mainly because, whilst I was having lunch on the top, I was trying to find a way of comparing various hills in ways that non walkers like my good friend Patti would understand easily, and this was the only one that came to mind.

It took less than half an hour to get to the top, and that includes the time spent swearing because one boot had vanished deep into a soggy part of the spagnum peat bog I had to cross during the walk. But on top, the view was just tremendous. To the North, Cardigan Bay and the Irish Sea was a burning blue: to the south Milford Haven gleamed silver in the bright sun that made the camera on my iphone useless. To the east, the ancient road once known as The Golden Road led past outcrops of stone, past ancient shrines and stone circles, deep into Wales and on to England.



Irish Gold and other traded goods moved east, and the traders returned with staples and luxuries to sell back in Eire.  How odd it felt to be on a path in continuous use for three thousand years.  Maybe there’s a book in there somewhere?  I suspect there maybe…


And on the way back to the car I was surrounded by rare golden yellow butterflies.  Now, I know they were rare because there is a site near where I live for the preservation of this species.  I used to see hordes of them every summer.  My friend Doctor Sam, who hates anything that flits, flutters or flaps was horrified to ear this, and probably has a small but lethal dart gun made from a recycled hospital syringe to shoot passing lepidoptera from her skies.  But still.  The hordes I used to see are now diminished, possibly because the butterfly trust that bought their breeding land to manage has less understanding  of how to preserve the Butterflies than Doctor Sam, and accordingly their numbers have dwindled alarmingly.  But I liked the butterflies, they felt warm and friendly.


You guys who regularly read my stuff know that I do like to work on novels in my head whilst walking.  This is a place I’ll be coming back to, when I want to start the book set here.  I’ve already got the main characters on paper…


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  1. Oooooph Please yourself Missus, but Irish gold goes east, not west.
    Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it Infamy.

  2. Oh lord… you are so right Chris. I need coloured socks to help me tell left from right, like the professional footballers use!

  3. You’d think that as an occasional pilot I’d be able to get it right though, wouldn’t you?

    • To be fair though, you wrote this without a compass to refer to, a co-pilot to make any necessary corrections and an air hostess to provide sustaining hot drinks and energy boosting sticky buns 😀

  4. Yes, the airhostess was decidedly missing. Mind you, she’d have had trouble with her trolley in the peat bog.

  5. Actually, amazingly, I do get the idea of hills being boob like. As someone who comes from the ironically named downs – which, since they’re hills, are not downs at all but ups – I’ve always thought of them as boosmy, or like the flanks of some animal when the wind blows the grass. Mountains are trickier because they’re pointy, although I suppose they could be differing sizes of that ridiculous bra Madonna wore on one of her tours…

    I loved Frankie Howard, he was so funny. D’you know that every single line of his act, even the stuff that looked like ad libing, was planned in advance. He learned it all by heart. I think that’s amazing. I can’t imagine being able to do that and make it seem so spontaneous.



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