Thursday, 20 October 2016
On Tuesday CJ, Jo and I went to Wales; to a place that has been special to me since my childhood; to a place that I used to go in my late teens to escape from the world.
I first went to the Glyn Valley as a toddler. I remember two holidays in Glyn Ceiriog when I was very young - one in a house we rented and one in my Uncle's caravan - and my brother recalls one. As his memory of these things is invariably more accurate than mine it seems that the caravan holiday was when I was older because my brother recalls that holiday. Nevertheless as I only have one picture of me and my Uncle's caravan that's the one you're getting! Where it was actually taken is anyone's guess. My mother's brother is on the left and my Dad is holding me.
About then and on many visits to the valley after that I became acquainted with the small village of Llanarmon Dyffryn-Ceiriog with its two hotels The Hand and The West Arms.
I'm not sure whether I've ever been into The Hand. I first recall staying at The West Arms when I was about 17. I rode out there on The Hypogryph.
The Hippogryph was my steed for several years: we went all over The Lake District (where the above photo was taken), Wales and I popped up and down to London after work on a Friday (which astonishes me looking back).
The West Arms was a wonderful retreat from the 'real world' for me.
On Tuesday we went for lunch and it was like going into a time warp. I walked into a place that has hardly altered (in my memory at least) in over half a century.
Perhaps one difference was the food. I don't recall the food from the early sixties but I do recall the lunch we had on Tuesday. I had whole prawn scampi with home made tartare sauce and perfect crisp on the outside and fluffy inside chips. This was not pub grub.
I hope that one day I will make the journey from the Outer Hebrides to Llanarmon once again and spend some time at The West Arms in the Land of My Fathers.