I am camping out this week ( sort of) and being very earnest and worthy. I am listening to, but haven’t been invited, into lots of heavy debates about the state of the Social Services in Sheffield; about including creative writing in Care Homes for the Elderly and generally what a Good Chap Jeremy Corbyn is. So there, I draw the line….and to make matters, I could only find a copy of the Guardian and when I asked if the Telegraph had been borrowed, I was met with an embarrassed silence, followed by a coughing fit and then being offered the current edition of TES!
You may wonder where I am but I have come away for rest and contemplation at The Gladstone Library in North Wales. Its all rather exciting and slightly off piste! A beautiful gothic building bearing down on a delightful old Flint Village. Maybe that is where its neighbouring town got its name from….When we arrived late at night and knocked yonder on a huge wooden door . having cut across a dark driveway with few lights shining to greet us you can imagine we wondered where we would be heading. Naturally to add to the atmosphere it was cold and dark and windy. Being over an hour late arriving and wondering if dinner would be over, the suspense was shattered when, Lurch from the Addams Family DID NOT open the door but a rather lovely Welsh Maiden who greeted us and diluted the spooky atmosphere.
The dining hall still had a queue for dinner and I could see that my worrying about packing the curling tongs and should we ” dress for dnner” became rather academic . Most of the peeps were wandering around in their socks ( very youth hostel, appparently) and wearing very seriously thick jumpers. They obviously knew it was going to get cold!
As I walk around the Library choosing my preferred desk, I saw each one had a small inscription on it. Its rather nice to read them but it makes me realise what a Dum Brain I am. I know not half of these people. I have chosen the desk of
” St Nonn” who was a 5th Century Monk, but who also, apparently, turns out to be a woman! ( although her name would not give a clue to this and so I read more…). The reason I now know she was a woman is because it said, ” single mother”. Well would you believe it? A monk., a single mother and all in the 5th century. I could identify with her and plonked my bag on her chair and bagged this table for the whole of my stay. Who said that we were like the Fall of User in the 20th century? Heavens, it had been going on for years!
St Non – Mother of St David, Patron Saint of Wales…. I am in rather good company.
My room is delightful with a view over the obligatory Graveyard. The bell in the church chimes on the hour every hour but it didn’t seem to stop me sleeping. My resting place resembles a cell, but a very nice one. Small and thin with a small window with bars – I feel very safe and secure. A sort of nest away from nest! No tv of course and that is the attraction. A real place to contemplate and clear the head . I haven’t walked into the town yet and I don’t know if I am allowed to without “a pass”. . So after lunch ( vegetarian and organic of course) I hope to take a stroll down to the local village and buy cough candy sweets and post a letter home.
Yes, its all rather Mallory Towers and why not?.
If you ever needed material for a book ( and lets face it, who doesn’t) then you really need to invest in a weekend here. I am currently to the left of the picture, and if you look really hard you can see me waving over the banister…
I was just enjoying a rather nice of Assam tea in a proper teapot when a lady wearing a jumper which seemed to have had an argument with her trousers appeared. Nothing wrong in that you may say, but it would appear that the stomach was acting as referee and had flopped well and truly over the top of her trousers to keep the jumper at bay. A sort of natural division between Jumper and Trouser. Additionally, she has just gone up to two men who were enjoying a ( socialist) chat and run her fingers up and down their backs. Most odd but it fascinated me and I continued to watch. Well, okay, stare, because believe me, its not the type of people I run into every day back in my Home Town…..
When they didn’t pay any heed to this rather odd behaviour from her, she did it again but firmer and then started to tousle their hair. Yes, I was truly mesmerised. They turned and smiled at her and she sat down between them. I had a look a ther eyes and I could say that she definitely isn’t on this planet, well not currently, and probably wont until the Opiates wear off. I don’t know if she is part of a rather Literary Menage a Trois and is waiting for them to finish their debate before they all rush off somewhere and do what a Menage a Trois do, but with books or not but she was beginning to curdle my milk . I had a quick look at the two men and whilst they seem very pleasant, neither of them were wearing shoes ( what is it with the not wearing shoes here.. its a bloody Library not an Asylum) and therefore, this means that their socks are gathering up the shit and muck around the building and it makes them look like they are one step away from being released from a secure Unit. That and the beards…
oh please don’t get me started on beards