A day out, a journey into the past.
Grimebusters rarely venture far from Bristol or Bath, but I agreed to clean the carpets of a beautiful holiday cottage in Llangynidr, Cae Bach today. Llangynidr is a village I know from my teenage years, and it was a pleasure to return, do a good job, and then be rewarded with time to wander the banks of the River Usk.
I caught my first fish here. A brown trout which, like Salman Rushdie as a child with a kipper in The Satanic Verses, I painfully struggled to eat successfully.
This was also the first river I swam in. After my GCSEs, a group of us stayed in a cottage by the river, and waded out across the brow of the nearest strongest falls. I remember being acutely conscious of the dank weather, my acne-d shoulders, the moss that yielded beneath my feet. The blinding, euphoric nerve-storm of plunging into the void beneath the cascade.
I didn’t have time to linger. My daughter had a half day, and I needed to travel back in good time. I ran parts of the beautiful river path, took a few short cuts and jogged back along the Brecon canal, conscious of who I wished was with me, and how blessed life can be.