I heard duelling cuckoos on my way down the valley from Corris to Machynlleth.
I know they have a devious reputation but the science is astounding and the way they tune into the biological cycles of a group of candidate nesting pairs is nothing short of incredible.
So I struggled to warm to the poetry that my hosts at a Machynlleth hotel (!) saw fit to include in the plastic folder with breakfast choices, fire exits and Wifi key: let’s draw a veil across the last of these..and move on to a sample of the haunting verse:
‘To the Cuckoo in the vale of Cuawg’
Attributed to Llywarch Hen, London 1792 : the original Welsh version ran to 32 verses and presumably rhymed .
“Sitting to rest on a hill, cruelly inclined is my mind,
And yet it doth not impel me onward
Short is my journey and my dwelling wretched”
several stanzas later:
The loud-voiced cuckoo sings with the dawn
Her melodious notes in the dales of Cuawg;
“Better the liberal than the miser”
“The birds are clamorous, the beach is wet,
Let the leaves fall, the exile is unconcerned;
I will not conceal it, I am sick this night!”
Thankfully the takeaway kebab did not have the same effect on this ‘exile’. I am ‘impelled onward’ with that ‘wretched dwelling’ , far behind me. A couple of photos to lighten the mood:
Hazards of long distance cycling 1 : falling boulders and stray bullets (holes in sign)
Barmouth to Dolgellau with the breeze: Hazards of long distance cycling 2 : Prince of Wales would not be impressed:
Barbed wire shards mixed with thorny hedge debris. Looks like Friday going home time came all too soon!