Saturday, 26 April 2014

We are stardust, we are golden. West Wales redux

Ceredigion museum has a wonderful exhibition about the influx of hippies, dreamers and idealists who started moving into this area forty years or so ago, buying up or renting the more remote cottages that the locals were abandoning in droves. Several friends I saw this week were part of that influx (notably my friends in West Wales tend to be older than me, in stark contrast with my life in Brussels): a few even contributed to the exhibition, sharing memories or lending artefacts from that period. I came of age in the 1970s, so many of the artefacts on show were objects of desire for a ‘coming of age’ teen. It’s strange to see these things on show in a museum, makes me start humming ‘The way we were’. I do wonder who managed to keep the Afghan coat pictured below in such immaculate condition for so many years.

Between times I’ve been driving along blossoming country lanes that I know like the back of my hand – even the spots where you have to shift into second gear to get up a particularly steep incline – the blind bends where you have to slow down (particularly when driving in the UK in a left hand drive car). Many of the lanes are single track with passing places cut into the hedge every hundred yards or so. There’s a convention that the car going uphill always backs down to let the one going downhill pass (as it harder work to reverse uphill) and the local drivers seem pleased and surprised that a ’Belgian’ driver understands and respects this hidden piece of etiquette). Its wonderful to know the ‘narratives’ that underlay the landscape – the events and history that helped shaped this place and make it what we see today.

I’ve already extended my stay here three days longer than I anticipated. The price to pay is that tomorrow I am planning to drive from just outside Aberystwyth to Brussels in one sweep. It’s a big shout – but I get a two hour break on the ferry and driving the section the M25 to Dover and then to Brussels will be much easier on a Sunday when there are fewer trucks on the road.

1 comment:

Earthdoctor said...

Good to see you back here, if only briefly. I do sense a return sometime ;-)