Wednesday, May 28, 2003

It struck me as I parked up in Cardiff this morning that it is some shithole I happen to live in when I have to drive 20 miles one way for a decent piece of meat and 20 miles another for a decent haircut. Still, having been suitably shorn, me and the nipper managed to completely overspend on books again, and stock up on various bits of clothing that neither of us actually needed. Of course having done that, we had to get something for the other two nippers, and, naturally, Mrs Buddha. One way or another it was an expensive chuffing haircut.

The nipper is delighted with his new Lemony Snicket, but not half as delighted as I am with my new Newton Thornburg, To Die In California. I have been trying to get this for about 2 years, since reading his masterpiece, Cutter and Bone.

I also picked up, to my shame, A Season With Verona, by Tim Parks. I always said I wouldn't buy this book, for two reasons; one, large chunks were serialised in the Guardian, and two, having read the articles I had come to consider the dude a bit of a dilettante. However, I picked it up, browsed, remembered it came highly recommended by young Blues fans Flavio and Colin Bumstead and , well, I just couldn't not buy the fucking thing.
I also got If Nobody Speaks Of RemarkableThings, by Jon Mcgregor. If the rest of the book compares with the beautiful first paragraph, this is a book I will be returning to. Read the first chapter.
While I was at it I decided to get Little Infamies, which has been well reviewed, more in the hope of keeping Mrs Buddha quiet for a couple of nights than anything else really. All I have to do now is finish the bloody Crumley.

There are compensations to living here. It was shaping up to be a beautiful evening and on whim we decided we would head for the beach. We left at 5 and, despite having to go through or past 3 major towns, in the rush hour, we were scoffing ice creams on a beach by 6. As we drove down I thought we could see hundreds of seals at play, but it was just dozens of black clad surfers; a fact I appreciated when we got nearer and found the tosspots had all parked along the road despite there being an enormous car park within about 20 yards from where they surf. This parking , although on yellow lines, doesn't cause a major hazard, but it does make life slightly, but, nevertheless, unneccessarily, difficult for others. I suppose chasing that radical high makes one a bit selfish. They wouldn't want to miss Big Sur!

Mind you the car park was worth a post in itself as it seems to be where the local and not so local herberts hang out. So we were treated to the sight of 4 fat slags, wobbling about and drinking Carlsberg from cans trying to get the attention of a group of slightly cooler males by outblasting them on their car stereos, which prompted others to compete. Tranquil it aint.

The main beach is impressive but poxy. Good for sandcastles and watching the surfers with hundreds of rock pools, but my fucking God....the people! Bloody Nora I cannot even bring myself to think about them, the wobbly, thick, gits. Not to mention the parents!

Walk around for 5 minutes though, and you have the place more or less to your self. Tonight there was a beautiful sunset which we shared with just another large family who were enjoying a most impressive barbie with the waves rolling gently in and the smell of the briney clearing the sinuses. This other family were getting the wine down their collective necks like motherfuckers and were clearly enjoying themselves immensely. Yet they kept to themselves, were relatively quiet and discreet and did not seek their pleasure by getting in everyone elses faces, which shows it can be done.

You wouldn't to walk too far around the bay though,or your reward would be a beautiful view of Port Talbot steelworks , which would destroy all romantic notions.

We drove back just as it was getting dark and had the motorway to ourselves. It was beautiful, I love empty roads at night, especially motorways, I fill my head with all sorts of childish, romantic notions, about just driving on the open road for ever, till I find my spiritual home.

Tomorrow we are getting up early and heading for a quieter beach about 30 minutes further up the coast. This place is stunning but the hoi polloi generally can't be arsed making the effort to get there. Unless we go just a bit further and end up here:

Iraq: a memorial It was flesh and blood that died, people with families, thousands and thousands of people, all grieving.
Body counts

Jesus H Christ! Is it really only 2 and a half years? I suspect when the history books come to be written, by objective scholars, given distance from events, young George will be much mocked.
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