Tuesday, March 27, 2012


It Ain't Heavy, it's a Lighthouse

On the weekend I went back to my old stamping ground along the coast of the Vale of Glamorgan. This is where my earliest hikes took place, from Porthcawl to Nash Point and beyond, when I was a teenager. Back then, the distances seemed huge. Now they seem merely quite big. But maybe that's hubris and I'm not taking into account the fact that all my early hikes were done in hot weather. Higher temperatures do have a habit of sapping strength. The sap of my strength tastes like maple syrup and fossilises nicely into energy amber.

Anyway, having explored the Gower to the point where I know almost every nook and cranny of its coastline, I thought it would make a nice change to go walking elsewhere. The Vale of Glamorgan is a remarkable place for many reasons, few of which I'll go into here. We caught the train to Llantwit Major, a picturesque little town, found a path through woodland to the beach and then proceeded along the clifftop path westwards to Nash Point, where the lighthouse stands. Mind you, it doesn't have legs, so maybe it doesn't really stand, unless you want to argue that yes, it does have a leg, one leg; in which case, we might be able to describe its posture as a fossilised hop. Why not?


Then it seemed a good idea to go inside the lighthouse and have a look around. I've never been inside a lighthouse before and it's something I've always wanted to do. We ran up the spiral stairs to the top, seven levels above the ground and enjoyed the views. Nash Point lighthouse was constructed in 1832 after a shipwreck on the offshore sandbank claimed the lives of many passengers. The name of that unlucky ship was the Frolic. We frolicked a lot ourselves but we weren't wrecked. No, we were sober.

Of course, nothing is ever as simple as it should be. I thought I had entered the lighthouse on a whim, but it fact I had been tricked! Unbeknownst to myself, my face had applied for a part time job as an emergency replacement light... My job is to grimace at passing ships as I rotate, to warn them off reefs and stop them colliding with mermaids and Atlantis. So now I am trapped inside the lamp and will never be set free again. Needless to say, my situation made me furious, which explains why I am seeing red in the photograph below... Imagine being tricked by one's own face! How can I ever trust any of my expressions again?

I bet you are asking yourselves: if he's trapped inside a lighthouse, how is he able to write this blog post now? We don't believe him! We think he's a liar, liar, his pants are on fire! We think he's a fibber, fibber, his gibbon can't gibber! But you are rushing into an unwise and uncharitable judgment if that's what you think. The truth is that I asked an owl to deliver messages on my behalf. And he did. So there! You can see the owl in question if you look carefully. An owl in question is its own answer! How fortunate is that?

So if any of you ever find yourselves in the vicinity of Nash Point, please spare a thought for the occupant in the lamp. It might be fine for a genie to call a lamp a home, but it's a tight fit for a fully grown human being like me. In some ways I am a prisoner here, but it's a light sentence. Anyhow, if you do pass the lighthouse, give me a wave from the deck of your schooner or galleon or submarine and I'll know that this message has reached you safely and that you cared enough to respond appropriately. Bon voyage!

Incidentally, these photos originally had captions underneath them, but I had to remove them because they were formatted badly and kept interfering with the text. The only two funny captions were "Dr Who, eat your hearts out!" and "In the limelight, but without the lime." The other captions were more forced and didn't really work. But why should captions work? They aren't slaves!

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