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Tag Archives Llangollen

THE TAXIDERMY

In a one storey Gothic-kitsch building

with small steeples – where Abbey Road meets

Mill Street – attached to the Bridge End Hotel,

opposite the pelican crossing,

angled on the corner of Wharf Hill

that leads steeply up to the canal

and, over the narrow, hump-backed bridge,

left to Ysgol Dinas Brân and right

through the sheep fields and onto the hills

there is an eclectic bestiary:

the hare about to box, the barn owl roosting,

the erect meerkat,

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MADELEINE MOMENTS

‘And suddenly the memory returns. The taste was that of the little crumb of madeleine…’

REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST, Marcel Proust

 

The day the season’s second Atlantic storm

was due there was I – after a sausage

and bacon bap with brown sauce and an Earl Grey

in the heritage station’s draughty café –

celebrating my 74th birthday

with my small family in a British Rail

standard compartment on the Santa Special.

 

We journeyed from Llangollen to Lapland

(aka Carrog) with mince pies,

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MORAL TALES

Before the fell doctor took his axe to it,

there was a line from Paddington via

Ruabon up the valley to Lake Bala

and so to Barmouth on Cardigan Bay.

What is left is Llangollen to Carrog,

a heritage line run by volunteers.

 

They have Thomas the Tank Engine days.

The smoke boxes are covered by plastic

faces – Edward, Gordon, Thomas himself.

We go en famille and our grandchild,

predictably, is enchanted but not

surprised.

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THE END OF DAYS

In the auction room – once a Methodist Chapel –

on the Holyhead Road to Llangollen,

above the gorge the River Dee cut

before the last ice age, Lot 59

is an Arctic Fox: in the catalogue:–

‘A good example of Victorian

taxidermy, with some discolouring

of the tail. Circa 1845’.

 

That year, Franklin’s expedition left the Thames

to chart the North West Passage: lead poisoning,

learning nothing from the Inuit, ice

killed them all.

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