A mate of mine commented, “I didn’t realize how bad of a driver I was until my sat nav said, ‘In 400 feet, do a slight right, stop, and let me out.’”
I must admit we don’t have a sat nav, we’re map people. I don’t just want to know where I’m going, I want to know what’s around me and how the land lies.
But anyway, I had to go into Wales. Llandrindod Wells to be exact. So I looked at the various options for getting there and finally decided to just take the train. In theory the car was quicker but there was too much M6 in the car journey for me to take that prediction seriously.
On the down side the rail journey involved me waiting for over two hours in Shrewsbury because there aren’t many trains on the Heart of Wales line which would take me to Llandrindod Wells. But actually Shrewsbury is worth a look round and it was a couple of hours well spent. The first time we as a family went to Shrewsbury, my Lady Wife was quite impressed with my ability to orientate myself and tell her which way to go. What she didn’t realise was I was navigating from the map of Shrewsbury in the front of the Cadfael stories. The place has changed a little since 1140. There again, the Monastery and the Castle are still in the same place.
I quite like rail travel. Always carry a good book, but always be ready to chat because you meet all sorts of people and it’s amazing what you can learn. Then there’s the scenery. Admittedly I once took the line out of London to Shenfield. That too has scenery. I stared out of the carriage window like Dante visualising his journey to hell.
But the Heart of Wales line doesn’t have that problem, and anyway I was chatting to two locals on the way there. On the way back I got to concentrate on the scenery. The train doesn’t go particularly fast, but I wasn’t driving, flogging along narrow roads and unable to do more than drive with the scenery going past unheeded.
Whilst I did get my book read once I got onto the West Coast Main Line, I did notice that there were still dairy cows grazing, even though it was November. I suspect that there was no real alternative; the dry summer meant that they probably didn’t have enough conserved feed to get them through the winter, so a late autumn bite is going to be a real bonus. It was also good to see people had been able to get a last cut of grass as we were passing, so hopefully it won’t be as bad a winter as people feared. If we have an early spring it’ll ease things for a lot of people. Admittedly if it’s a late spring it’s going to screw things badly for a lot of people, but at the moment there’s nothing you can do about it anyway, ‘sufficient unto the day is the trouble therein.’
If you get the chance, I’d say that Llandrindod Wells is worth a visit. It’s bonny, and friendly enough. It’s not got the stark grandeur of Snowdonia or the Welsh Mountains but it’s none the worse for that.
Oh yes, and whether you go into the heart of Wales, or are just pottering about at home, you’ll still need a good book.
Funnily enough I’ve just released a new Novella.
Instead of his usual collection of anecdotes, this time Tallis presents us with a gripping adventure. Why is Tallis ‘run out of town’ by hired ruffians? Why does a very sensible young woman want his company when plunging into unknown danger? Who or what was buried in the catacombs? And why has there been so much interest in making sure they stay dead? Also featuring flower arranging, life on the river, and a mule of notable erudition.
Yours for a mere 99p, go on, treat yourself.