Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Dylan Thomas Birthday Walk Part II: But the weather turned around

High in the attic of Brown's Hotel, Storm Brian sounded very loud indeed. It woke us several times in the night. I wondered if we'd complete our walk. Maybe we'd have to come back and stay another time. I wouldn't mind. 


Laugharne looked sullen the next morning. The cockerel weather vane swung moodily. 


The castle glowered. 
Parked next to the salt marsh was a trailer crammed with hounds. Some of them had blood on their faces. 


I don't like the hunt. I don't like the unloved life of the unloved hound. 




We took the path signposted Dylan's Birthday Walk up through the woods. 
These days the route is punctuated by information boards and benches inscribed with phrases from 'Poem in October', but it was originally built to help pickers access the cockle beds more easily. 
It was fairly steep, very muddy, and deserted apart from us and Brian. 


Carmarthen Bay came into view - sort of.


At a point where we could look back at the Boathouse and the estuary, the Northerner read 'Poem in October' while I sat on a bench inscribed with the legend Summery on the hill's shoulder.


A  little further on we came to a fingerpost carved with the words The Last Verse. Apparently, you're supposed to descend the path here, and if it is your birthday, read the last verse of the poem aloud. We looked at the track and at each other. It was really steep and really muddy. It wasn't my birthday any more. And it didn't seem right to read aloud 
'O may my heart's truth still be sung
On this high hill
In a year's turning'
when you are no longer on the high hill in question. 


Oh and neither of us care to be told what to do ... unless it's by poetry, of course. 




By now, Brian was thrashing fleets of trees across the sky with a terrific creaking. 

We climbed another precipitous, muddy path out of the woods and up to a stone stile, which led Over Sir John's Hill. Beyond it, cattle were grazing threateningly. The Northerner doesn't much care for cattle. I don't care for precipitous, muddy descents of tracks I've just climbed, especially not since I broke my leg.


We braved the cows. They ignored us. 


As soon as we'd passed the castle, it started to rain. Mission accomplished, it was time to go home. So we did.  






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