31 July 2007

Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau

After Egypt I returned to Wales, Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau. The Land Of My Fathers, so goes the title to the Welsh national anthem. I'm no nationalist but its always good to return home. I still call it home, even though I have now spent more of my life living outside of Wales. I call it home for several reasons but the principle one is quite morbid.

Mainly being, I am most comfortable with my own mortality when I'm on Welsh soil. Particularly, on a limestone cliff or pebble beach looking out into the Bristol Channel or Irish Sea. I know I am home, when I'm simply OK with dropping dead where I stand, to have the sea birds peck away at my remains.

Here are some of my old stomping grounds:

Aberystywth's war monument, reaching far out into Cardigan Bay, like a scene from 'Wings of Desire.'

Aberystwyth, Mon Amour. Aberystywth has its own series of detective Noire novels which feature it as the setting. I'd also reccomend Niall Griffiths' 'Grits' if you want to read about some of the drifters and degenerates who end up in this secluded Welsh town. The beach beyond the pier is the setting for the chapter from my novel that I posted awhile back, based on a true event.

Arthur's Stone, Cefn Bryn, Gower. This standing stone lies on top of several smaller stones where you can see all three sides of the Gower Peninsula. Oftentimes, you can find torn porn magazines and empty cider cans underneath it. Ah, Wales, a land of symbiotic legend and lewdness.

Worm's Head, Rhosilli, Gower. Dylan Thomas spent much of the summers of his youth camping around here. See Portrait of an Artist as a Young Dog. Good surf can be found, if you are lucky... I got a few sloppy slashable days but autumn and winter are the best times to be here for waves.

Wild horse, Cefn Bryn, Gower

The olds, on Britain's longest cliff railway, Aberystwyth. Years ago they dropped me off in Aberystwyth to attend uni. They hadn't been back since. I took great delight in showing them some of the hovels in which I lived, including the condemned filth pit of a house I lived in right next to this railway and the dorms I used to have to sneak into in order to shower because my scumbag flat-mates were too busy experimenting with drugs to clean the hair, vomit dirt and sand out of the toilet and bath. We never had hot water or electricity anyway, because no one wanted to waste fifty pence just in case someone else in the house benefited from them feeding the electricity meter. My now American wife, visited me here once and remarked, 'ahhh, are you guys still living in the Victorian Age?' No, we just don't like each other and can't be arsed to clean.