Monday, November 15, 2010

Cwmduad (and that's not a spelling mistake)

Good King Hal playing spot the castle. And failing, obviously.

I had originally been invited out to Cwmduad near Carmarthen in Wales back in September, however the group that had booked me suddenly realised that most of their members and potential audience were still on holiday, so the show was postponed for two months. So on the Friday just gone I drove down to Newcastle Emlyn, where my parents now live, which is only about 10 miles north of Cwmduad. I arrived on Friday at about lunch time and joined my parents, and my sister Susan for a bite to eat at Harrison's Cafe in Newcastle Emlyn - trust me on this, you would be well worth your while seeking this place out. Great food and always a warm welcome. It was great to see my sister Sue just back from a Rubinoos spotting trip to San Francisco (and you thought I was weird)...
On the Saturday morning my father and I drove down to Cwmduad to see if we could find the Community Centre Hall where I was to do my show that evening. I also had some stuff to post from sales on Ebay and there was a post office in Cwmduad so we could kill two birds with one large parcel. Or something like that. The drive down to Cwmduad from Newcastle Emlyn is nice at the best of times, but this time of year it is wonderful. The trees are a russet red and crowd in round the edges of the Teifi River that meanders alongside the road as you drive along. Lovely! In Cwmduad we popped into the Post Office which is situated in a local B&B. Three people were sitting chatting in the breakfast area. As I walked in one of the men immediately said "Hello Michael!" which astounded me. It turned out these lovely people in the B&B were the organisers for this evening's "Henry VIII" event! As I had pulled up in my father's car outside they had all agreed I just had to be the same bloke they had been talking to via email! After posting my stuff we went up to the Community Hall with them to see how it was set up. The community had done themselves proud, the hall was small, but was brilliantly set out with long tables, secluded lighting, tapestries, heraldic shields and everything else you could imagine for a Tudor banquet. It was going to be a good evening.
With the afternoon to kill, my father and I went down to see the mighty Newcastle Emlyn FC in their latest home match. A humongous crowd of about 25 had turned up and I graciously offered to pay the entrance fee of £2 for me and £1 for my father as an OAP. I told him he could get the tickets next time we go to the San Siro in Milan. The match was against the awesome Newport YMCA, so we knew Newcastle Emlyn should really walk this one. After just 1 minute, Newcastle Emlyn burst through and scored a fabulous opening goal so it was obvious this match was going to be very one sided. And it was. Newport YMCA won 6-1. Newcastle Emlyn were awful and could barely string two passes together and succeeded in making Newport YMCA look like Brazil. With 10 minutes to go, my Father and I were the only two mugs still sitting in the tiny grandstand. Everyone else had given up and gone. I can't wait to go back and see them again!
In the evening, with tickets for the event now purchased for my parents, I drove down to Cwmduad. It was a lovely evening, a great turn out, about 50+ people, many of them in wonderful medieval fancy dress. I was at the head of the table on a grand throne and with the others gathered around me. The meal was a fine rustic vegetable soup to begin, then roast pork rolls with apple sauce, crackling, and stuffing, and then finishing with apple pie. I was on between the pork roll and the apple pie (which sounds messy, but trust me it was OK) and the talk seemed to go really well. All the people made me very welcome, had worked incredibly hard and had made the whole evening a roaring success. Pats on the back all round.
Sunday I had lunch with my parents at Sue and Ian's place (sister and other half, if you were wondering), which was an indescribably tasty vegetarian cottage pie, followed by an apple pie with custard, which was brought alive with some zesty lemon. Great stuff. After that, I sat in the car like Buddha and drove back to Somerset.
This week I am off to Essex today, then tomorrow I am up to Norfolk for two days, then back down to Kent for an appearance at Leeds Castle on Friday night for BBC1's Children in Need. Turn on, tune in and don't blink, cos you might miss me!

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