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Monday, August 28, 2006

Llandeilo and the cousin from hell

Well, my cousin's visit didn't quite go as planned. A lot of that had to do with the fact that he's developed a rather foul and disappointing attitude problem. I noticed it when I saw him at Christmas, but hoped it was a one-off. I won't go into details here, on a public site, but it led to a lot of difficulty and upset, culminating in me calling him a "psychotic, power-tripping, control freak bully".

His driving was also the source of a lot of disagreement. He's only held a licence for two years, but thinks he's an expert driver. I think not. He hared around narrow, country lanes at high speed, hardly slowing on tortuous bends, disregarding often atrocious driving conditions by speeding through heavy rain, impeded by poor visibility, mist, etc. He also insisted on having the radio on at top volume, singing [if that's what you can call it] and dancing. Yes, I did say dancing, often with no more than a finger tip on the steering wheel, that's if his hands were anywhere near it at all. If he was eighteen, all this might be forgiveable, but he's forty, for f**k's sake.

Anyway, what all this amounts to is that I didn't get anything like the quality of photographs I was hoping for. Oh, and did I mention the fact that he got snappy [no pun intended] with me for taking photographs, more or less demanding that I stopped, because it was pointless and stupid? Give me f**king strength! We are talking one SERIOUSLY strained family relationship here.

First port of call was home territory, Carmarthenshire. We made our first stop at the old market town of Llandeilo, which is steeped in history.

The town was named after St. Teilo, who established a small monastic settlement on the site of the present day church, in the sixth century. However, the only settler I could find in the church grounds, was this cat.

In 1403, Owain Glyndwr stamped his mark on the town by attacking it and burning much of it. By the nineteenth century, Llandeilo found itself on the old drovers' route, and hence was a very important and prosperous centre for agricultural trade. In fact, a bank was established at the premises below, in 1842, which issued its own Llandeilo bank notes, which bore the symbol of the Black Ox, a reference to the drovers who passed through the town with their livestock.

We arrived in Llandeilo around 16.30 and found it utterly impossible to find anywhere to get anything to eat. The pubs had stopped serving meals, as had the cafes and coffee shops. We sat in this pub for about five minutes. I wanted to leave, as it was utterly deserted, despite the open door. When someone finally did arrive, she announced they were closed until the evening.

I had to settle for a takeaway cappuccino and cake from a nearby coffee shop, in the end. I think the Cawdor was still serving, but it was a bit too pricey, about a tenner at least for a main course.

One thing I really liked about Llandeilo, were the little archways and alleyways leading off the main street. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to photograph too many of them, because my crabby cousin insisted on speeding ahead of me and disappearing into various shops, leaving me to play catch-up.

It started to tip down with rain after we left Llandeilo, and my cousin decided to speed through the tiny, twisting lanes to Talley, ignoring all my navigational instructions and ending up miles from where we needed to be. Even though I KNEW I was right, he insisted on following a road that took us to Llanybydder, and almost to Lampeter. I never got to see Talley lakes. We pulled into a passing space to allow a tractor to pass, and I was delighted to espy the ruined remnants of Talley Abbey, in a field just a few feet away. "Ooh, look", I said, "Talley Abbey". Before I could whip my camera out and say, "let's go and take a look", he grunted and sped off. I was well narked by now. I got even more peed off, en route to Llanybydder, when we reached the lovely, olde worlde little village of Cwmdu, which I wanted to explore and photograph. This is all I saw of Cwmdu, as he raced through, one snapshot of a row of old cottages, taken through the windscreen and marred by the tax disc.

As revenge for his Llanybydder detour, when he asked me for the best way to get home, I said we'd be best off heading for Llandovery, from where we could return home via Sennybridge and the Upper Swansea Valley. I conveniently forgot to mention the small matter of the Brecon Beacons lying in between, a place he had steadfastly refused to visit, because, according to him, the Beacons were over a hundred miles away and almost in North Wales. Yeah, right! Revenge is soooo sweet...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Sounds as you had fun with your
You should submit one or four is the maximum I think, of your cloud pics,
especially the one with seabird in it to the Countryfile Calendar (BBC) photo competition. The theme this year is Weather, closing date sometime next month. Countryfile BBC 1 Sundays 11.00 to 12.00 worth watching !