The Plastic Hippo

March 28, 2017

Roll Over Chuck Berry

Filed under: Environment,Media,Music,Politics,Sport,Transport — theplastichippo @ 12:07 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Barmouth image via

One of the great advantages of growing older is that behaviour that was once considered reckless is now casually dismissed as being merely eccentric. Another joyous consequence of impending dotage is the fact that allegedly “grown-up” children can be expected to feed themselves and not inflict too much damage on each other if left unsupervised for longer than 30 seconds. As hairlines recede or turn to grey, the spontaneity of pre-parenthood can, with courage of conviction, occasionally be reclaimed.

So when by chance a couple of commitments fell through leaving blank diary pages for several days, a late-night internet search trawled up a last-minute holiday cottage in Wales going for a song. Imagine our joy when the kids announced that they could rearrange their work and education schedules and would be able to join us. On Saturday morning with the promise of limited Wi-Fi and intermittent phone signal, we loaded the car and headed to where Snowdonia meets Cardigan Bay.

After driving through cloud, we dropped down from the Mach Loop and descended into Dolgellau to buy vittles and booze at the Co-op supermarket and have an excellent lunch at the Royal Ship Hotel. The car radio said that Chuck Berry was dead but the good people of Dolgellau seemed to be bearing the grievous loss of a ninety year old with great dignity. The passing of the first guitar hero and the last true troubadour was borne with bible-black decorum and memories of Johnny B Goode rather than the hysterical mewling of a media obsessed with armed robbery, tax evasion and sex offences.

The cottage proved to be a delight. The living room looked out to sea and beyond the back garden lambs gambolled in a small meadow with the mountains beyond. The promised lack of Wi-Fi pleased the elderly but horrified the youngsters who expressed second thoughts at even being there but a log fire, a hearty meal and a game of Scrabble cheered them up.

The next day was spent watching lambs and having a long, rain sodden walk along the beach including striking inland for lunch and a game of pool at the Cadwgan Inn near the station at Dyffryn Ardudwy. We managed to avoid the television and radio until the day we took the car for a day in Barmouth. The car radio said that Martin McGuinness was dead. The good people of Abermaw apparently received the news with what could only be described as indifference as we witnessed no displays of public sorrow or cheering crowds welcoming the demise of the former Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland. The sun came out and we walked across Mawddach Estuary Railway Bridge before heading back to have lunch at the Last Inn. The locals talked of the glorious weather without any mention of the turbulent history across the Irish Sea.

Instead it was left to the radio to discuss a terrorist past, the nature of reconciliation and the unreported, un-investigated murders committed by Mr McGuinness. Although it is fair to assume that the position of second-in-command of the provisional IRA in Derry/Londonderry at the time of Bloody Sunday would carry with it some knowledge and support for terrorist atrocities, one of the main architects of the Good Friday Agreement has never been charged with murder. The shrill and unchallenged outrage seemed almost biblical in its clamour for vengeance and does nothing for hope as that part of the world faces a new crisis.

The good weather brought Wi-Fi and phone signal and the children retreated to their mobile devices. We returned to the cottage in the hope of a glorious sunset but rain clouds gathered in the west and the horizon and phone signal disappeared. Looking out at the lambs in the rain, we dined on the chops of one of their cousins served with new potatoes, mint sauce and green beans. That night I watched the 10 o`clock as the wind howled down the chimney and the rain rattled the windows.

Opening the curtains the following morning resulted in a blast of light filling the room as the sun came up over the nearby mountains which looked stunning covered with fresh snowfall. After a rapid breakfast and the making of a rudimentary packed lunch, we climbed into the “proper” walking gear and easily abandoned the children in our rush to get to the nearest top before the white stuff melted. A short drive along and across the narrow coastal plain would save us an uninteresting walk at the beginning and the end so we left the car in a pub car park hours before the pub was due to open.

Climbing up the narrow valley cut by Afon Ysgethin, we reached the snow line just above Llyn Irddyn. By now the snow had the consistency of syllabub and made for superb walking. We made the summit of Moelfre just before noon and with the rest of Snowdonia at our backs and the sea in front of us, we sat and ate our basic lunch. We descended to the north skirting boggy ground to pick up an ancient sheep trail leading back to the other bank of the Ysgethin river. By two o`clock we were back at the pub car park just in time for a second lunch. Excused any further driving duties for the day, I enjoyed a second pint of Guinness.

Arriving back at our temporary home, we were delighted to find the old homestead and the children generally intact. However, one excitable virago having spent the day on social media, had “breaking news” for us. It seemed that London was under an intense terrorist attack, the UK was in lock-down and our democratic freedom was hanging in the balance. We watched the news that night and once again heard the arrant nonsense come spilling out of manipulative racists as if this was in some way either true of relevant. Known liar and massive loser Paul Nuttall talk of cancer and Islam in the same sentence and was allowed to spout his bile without question or any grounding in reality.

The next day we got into the car and visited Harlech Castle. The car radio said that four people were dead including the Islamic terrorist and others were still critically ill. However, the Islamic terrorist seems to have undergone some form of rehabilitation now that he is dead. Now a “lone wolf” with a history of violent crime, the cancer of Islam was born in Kent and was originally called Adrian and was obviously radicalised because he was vulnerable. Perhaps the likes of Nuttall and Farage and the rather sad and embittered old man Norman Tibbett doomed to a future of pushing a wheelchair might want to back off with the inflammatory rhetoric. Hate speech from hateful white men does more to recruit terrorists that Johnny Foreigner hate preachers with scary beards.

On Friday we went to Porthmadog and a visit to Portmeirion. Donald Trump ran away from his pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare and made himself look severely pathetic. As we left the location of Patrick McGoohan`s “The Prisoner”, the thought of Trump not being able to keep a promise even with Republican majorities in the House and the Senate made me happy in a way that can only be described as unbearably smug. Porthmadog did not react but it will not be long before the whispers of betrayal on the mean streets of Pittsburgh turn into screams of biblical vengeance at Trump`s duplicity and incompetence.

We travelled home on Saturday and the car radio said that UKIP had died because their only MP, a Tory stroke victim called Douglas Carswell had resigned from the party and was going back to the Conservatives to claim his peerage. The airwaves were filled by busted flush Kippers claiming conspiracy, treachery, fake news and dirty tricks had wrongly exposed this bunch of inept racists as a bunch of inept racists. These jokers, along with cowardly lion Cameron and the Wicked Witch of the West Theresa May have succeeded in directing the nation headlong over an economic, social and political cliff.

Hey Beethoven, tell Tchaikovsky the news.

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