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Monday, May 15, 2006

Gower and grumbles

My grumble is a common one, which must affect every person in the nation at some time or other. I HATE call centres. Really hate them. Having worked in a few, I have more reason to hate them than the average customer.

Take today, for instance. I pay my gas weekly, with a card. However, I forgot to make a couple of payments, and needed to ring British Gas to sort it out. First of all, I was stuck in their "press 1 for customer services, 2 for billing, 3 to disappear up your own arse" menu, for about three minutes. Then, I was finally given an option which sounded right, so I pressed the corresponding digit on my phone. Twenty minutes later, I'm still waiting, and considering theirs is not a freephone number, I think they've got a bloody cheek. So I tried to pay via the website instead, but there's an error on my account set-up, which despite three years of begging for it to be sorted, still exists, and I cannot make a payment that way. So, I go back to the call centre, armed with a trick which I hope will get me to the head of their queue. I hit 0# 0# 0# a few times, and at first, I thought I'd succeeded - instead of having to go through all the menus again, I was bumped straight into the call queue. However, another fifteen minutes later, I gave up. Don't they want my money or what?

Anyway, enough of British Gas and their crummy call centre. I took a brief flit to Gower on Friday, with my day alas being cut short by a nasty change in the weather. Instead of heading straight to Rhossili as I would normally do, I changed buses at Killay and headed for Port Eynon. The journey was really pleasant, through all the little lanes around Oxwich, Penrice and Horton. On the approach to Oxwich, there's a spectacular-looking field, absolutely crammed with cowslips and bluebells - the blue and gold carpet is absolutely stunning. The bus whizzed past a little too quickly to allow me to get any pics, but I hope to return to Oxwich sometime this week, to try to capture some pics.

Port Eynon was hazy and very humid, but pleasant enough, and I managed to get a few nice pics. I was hoping to try to capture the gold, cascading effect of the gorse on the cliffs above Horton. Unfortunately, the zoom function on the camera is just not powerful enough to capture the full effect.

I snuggled into a nice spot beside the dunes, on the right hand side of the entrance to the beach, using a clump of marram grass for some much-appreciated shade. I wanted to do some writing, but discovered I'd left the house without a pen. Not to worry, I thought, and trotted off towards the Post Office. This little thatched cottage looked especially appealing, with its rampant pink clematis in full bloom. I also noticed a 'for sale' sign outside, but as I doubt I'll be winning the lottery any time soon [it would help if I bought a ticket], alas I won't be offering the six or seven figure sum probably needed to purchase such an attractive and well-located property.

I spotted some flowers growing on the grass verge. The first two specimens I identified as a type of oxalis, and bulbous buttercup, respectively. I suspect the oxalis was a garden escape not a native plant, but it looked pretty, nevertheless.

I'm not sure what this next one is. I know it's a ragwort, but I'm uncertain if it's Oxford ragwort or common ragwort - it looks more like the former.

Upon my return to the beach, armed with a brand new Bic pen to do some scribbling with, I spotted this clump of daisies, growing at the base of the sea wall. I don't know why gardeners loathe daisies and dandelions so much. I think they enhance the look of a lawn, rather than spoil it. I mean, who wants a boring swathe of green, with no character? And don't get me started on the guys with nothing better to do on a weekend, than mow perfect stripes into their boring green swathes, exactly as if that is somehow going to liven them up.

I wandered further along the beach upon my return, and settled on a flat boulder just below this little cottage. Does anyone know anything about the history of this building? I'd be especially interested to know if that rough rockery has always stood in front of it, or if it has ever had a slipway connecting it with the beach at some time. I'd rather not divulge why I need to know, at this moment, but I do have a pretty compelling reason for needing to know.

After writing away for what seemed like about 15-20 minutes, I checked my watch and realised, to my horror, that my bus was due in five minutes, and I had absolutely no chance of making it back across the rough, rocky beach in time. I thought I'd give it a go anyway, when I spotted a wooden boardwalk heading into the dunes. Instinctively, I followed it and within two or three minutes, found myself at Port Eynon's sea front. I headed for the bus stop, and within a minute or so, the bus arrived - phew. I had intended to spend some time at Rhossili, but alas, as the bus groaned its way from Scurlage towards Pitton, the skies opened and a deluge hit the bus, so it was home time.


Jeremy said...

Pretty sure your yellow flowers are Oxford Ragwort. A bit early for Common Ragwort, I think.

Siani said...

Thanks, Jeremy - I thought as much, but couldn't say for sure.