Friday, 21 January 2011

The First Stage of Deja Vu

The first stage of experiencing deja vu is to have an experience. In my case it was starting the week with a day north of Lancaster followed by a trip to South Wales, followed by a trip higher up in Wales.

Next week will be the same. Deja vu...

Except that what I do there won't be quite the same and where I go (for the bit further north of South Wales anyway) won't be the same. South Wales in both weeks was and will be Bridgend, between Cardiff and Swansea. The bit higher up in Wales was Welshpool in Mid-Wales this week but will be Colwyn Bay next week.

The drive from Bridgend to Welshpool the night before last was an absolute delight. Had the route, weather and lighting been arranged specifically by the "Welsh Marketing Board" I would not be surprised!

As I turned north off the M4 motorway and into the remoteness of Wales, I passed under the shadow of mountains and was flashed by the low sun through the shutters of trees, and then into a vista of a long valley with a steep hillside on one side extending up beyond the top of the windscreen so I could only guess at its height by what I could see a mile or two in front.

The roads became narrower and had someone told me I was on the alpine passes of Austria I'd have believed them. Mountains, sheer drops and hairpin bends were the order of the day.

The sun disappeared and the most glorious thing happened. The moon, either full or as near as makes no difference appeared through wisps of cloud and mist, shining with a brilliance so great that it appeared to have a corona. This gave it an ethereal fairy story quality and I was now in the Celtic fastness, the descendants from those of Arthurian legend and keepers of the tales of elven folk. Werewolves are not really seen around Britain but instead, if you look for them, there are stories of other creatures. The church where Miss Franny and I were married had a legend of a were rabbit that used to frequent the churchyard. By day a man, by twilight a pest and once told to "hop it"... he did...

This mist and cloud disappeared after a while and as it got dark the moon shone with a brightness that I've seldom seen. This wasn't just me, because I was travelling through areas with no street lighting, the locals in the hotel and on the workshop were commenting on it the following morning. In fact the entire country as they were talking about it on the radio last night.

But those roads! They twisted, they turned, they did everything but complete a loop. If I hadn't known better I'd have said the moon was on strings and a mad puppeteer was swinging it across the sky. It started at the side of me then disappeared behind me then swung madly around the other side of a mountain to rise pop out of the trees in front of me! Despite the fact that the sun had set a couple of hours ago I could still make out details in the distance, so bright was the moon. Was that a werewolf? Where wolf? There wolf! No... I think it may have been a sheep... But it could have been a were sheep... What a shame that the road conditions did not allow me to stop for a few photos.

It took me a while to find the hotel. It was an old village inn on the high street but they hadn't got as far as illuminated signs and as it was right on a set of traffic lights I was concentrating on those and missed it. I only found it by parking the car and having a walk round.

Last night's drive home was not as enchanting. Fog. I got as far as Cheshire and then the fog came down and once I turned onto the M56 heading East towards the M6 and Thelwell Bridge the entire trip was a case of peering through fog, braking, watching as the other two lanes of traffic became faster than me, and most certainly allowed no time for romantic notions of ethereal or supernatural creatures. This morning I am certain my body clock is several hours behind the one on the wall... yawn...

2 comments:

  1. That's the very road that inspired Dave Cousins to write "Stormy Down", John :)

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  2. Hi Les, good to hear from you! And there's a thing! I'm not surprised actually - a wild night on that wild road would definitely be an experience! All I had to worry about were werewolves and a rather wayward moon... There was a rather distinctive shape in a slowly drifting cloud though, but it was a flamingo, complete with trailing legs and a dark hooked beak. Wouldn't have the same impact in a song lyric...

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