North Wales

The papers remain droll. Here in the UK a poll today finds that one in three British teens wants cosmetic surgery. The Sun continues its mission to fuck on the Scouse pride, hounding eighteen year old Liverpudlian wunderkind Wayne Rooney, the nation’s most brilliant young footballer, away from his home team and into Hell. BA thinks it "normal" that 150 of their staff gave so little a fuck about the company they work for that failed to turn up for work yesterday. Still the "liberating" west fails to do anything about Sudan. Jim Davidson nicks crap "new" comedian’s crap joke. Mark Thatcher embarrasses Mummy when he is arrested for his involvement in an attempt at an oil related Coup. Locusts swarm. Crops fail. Oh, and Can a Plaid Cymru MP impeach Tony Blair for going to war in Iraq?

I took over page 9 of the North Wales Daily Post today as well. They spelt my surname right and everything.

But yesterday Gwilym took me up Llanberis slate mine.

Writes Gwyl, who has a better memory than me:

"Llanberis slate mine/quarry was at one point the second largest slate mine in the world (not sure where the biggest was - maybe Ffestyniog). Inside the mountain Elidir Fawr (the one the quarry is on) is an underground hydro electric power station… miles of MASSIVE tunnels and a man-made cavern big enough to fit St Pauls Cathedral (the whole thing) inside! Safe."

Safe indeed. I have spent these past few days being entirely awestruck by the great majesty and thunderous beauty of this land in which I was raised. Why didn’t I notice at the time? Why did I mock my Mother’s beloved "views" and long for a life amongst Smog? Nothing matches the giant brilliance of the slate mountains amid those natural, nothing I have seen.

I spent a lot of my youth in tunnels, being dripped on, chasing bats, hoping not to fall down holes. The tunnels in the great mines of Llanberis perfectly fit my Liliputian frame, for so too were the Welsh of old happy short-arses. Gwil bumps his tall head. Ha ha.

I have fine calves, by the way, utterly at odds with my otherwise pale and scrawny mess of a machine. These are due entirely to a youth spent traversing North Wales’ hilly periphery, a great and natural gym. Today I walked through the villages of my very-youth, Llangoed, Beaumaris, and I felt those old muscles ripple and hum, bones singing in glad recognition of the place that forged them. Everything the body needs. Everywhere a painting, a masterpiece, a joy, a wonder.

Gwil didn’t appreciate this wonder around him when he was little either. He says he started to notice in his late teens. And I, only now. I was preoccupied so long. Now I feel that a whole new world is opening up to me.