Time traveller’s guide to Mid-Wales

The sun is shining, a domestic cat is yowling to announce its slaughter of a grey squirrel which it is dragging through the tall undergrowth of grasses, foxgloves but, this year, no policemen’s helmets (that is carnival policemen — pink helmets of Himalayan balsam): its June 2014 — elementary.

All these factors give away the time — grey squirrels in Wales puts us somewhere in the last 120 years, foxgloves bloom in June when it usually rains, but not this year!   Balsam only arrived recently — another invader, I prefer the notion of a pioneer species — but it doesn’t like floods in autumn and spring and, by God, we did have those.  That’s narrowed it down, June 2014 and the bins are out in the lane — it’s a Tuesday — it’s today!  I knew that all along!



What I want to say is that, here, June is pink and purple with foxgloves and thistles and clover and orchids.  May was blue and white (bluebells and wood anemones, dancing in the breeze) heady with the perfume of the May flowers and April was yellow.  In July the valley floor will be cream and scented with meadow-sweet.  June is pink.

Orchid meadow

Orchid meadow

Fritillary butterflies flit between the thistles, the air bumbles with bees and hums with wing-beats — I never was aware of the sound of bird’s wing until we came here.  The pied wagtails have fledged and are sitting on the truck to avoid the cats — there are some feathers on the ground.  The sparrows in the eves and the house-martins under the gable are still chattering in their nests.  They say ‘any time now’.  There is plenty to eat — a good year for midges and the damsel flies fluoresce in flashes around the pond.

In bed at night with the windows flung wide, there is squeaking in the yard as the bats whizz around on silent wings — Good night.


All you need to know about female sexuality — for free.

‘How to get your man, and hang on to him,’  Or something like that – that’s what the smooth young man on the internet was promising to reveal if you registered on his site – ‘what you do that turns men off!’
Pin back your ears, Men. Here it comes! From the other side of the sexual divide – all you need to know about female sexuality – and it’s free.

878652598_1e76f15f2d_bDon’t worry about the science, it’s simple – women have two hormones – one called compliance hormone (which make her say ‘bless him – oh I do love him,’ when you say something dumb) and non-compliance hormone (which makes her say ‘That’s dumb!’ when you say something dumb). During her reproductive years the levels of these two hormones go up and down but compliance hormone is dominant for far more days than its brother – this is what makes marriage possible. The variations in these hormones are endlessly confusing to the male of the species. Some say it keeps him on his toes and maintains his interest. It is much simpler than that.
When there is a biological chance of pregnancy compliance hormone says ‘bless him – I do love him.’ When there isn’t, when conception has failed, non-compliance hormone says ‘God, you are irritating, why don’t you sling your hook and let someone else have a go.’ This is called pre-menstrual tension by men. Nature calls it sexuality and it makes life very difficult for some women and most men. It causes infidelity and makes life difficult for counsellors who try to help women decide what they want to do when what they want to do changes with the tides every two weeks each lunar month  (Note — doctors also think it’s more fun not to warn people that various drugs, contraceptives and aids to fertility mess with this system causing perplexing emotional turmoil.)
Not surprisingly women complain about these dramatic changes in their emotional settings… That is, they complain until the menopause when they become blissfully stable and go back to how they were when they were eleven – pretty un-compliant and free from the influence of compliance hormone. Then they complain about the lack of hormones and take HRT (hormone replacement therapy) – this is to avoid re-negotiating their marriage or getting divorced. The former would probably be best for everyone as divorce is distressing and men generally become more compliant and dependent upon their wives as they age due to slight waning in their I’m in charge hormone, sadly this is not the case in my own marriage but that’s another story.
All this evolved when sex was about dominance, about belonging to the strongest, richest, most aggressive man who could protect and inseminate a woman most efficiently – long before love was invented.

This is why it is so difficult for women to leave what we call abusive men – cave men. (note – I’m sure there is another, as yet unidentified, hormone — let’s call it extra-compliance factor, released in women after sex – a project for a PhD perhaps)
Lastly women are attracted to men that make them laugh – thank God for that at least, I hear you say. Laughter is all about dominance – did you not know that?  Big people tickle little people to let them know who’s in charge, little people giggle to show they understand.
Is it any wonder that sustaining a sexual relationship for any length of time is difficult.

Thanks to David Merrigan for his image of the Gerkin, London (cc-Attribution-Non Commercial) via flickr
Bereavement, Metaphysical

Life is short —

Andy had enjoyed life and particularly paragliding so what better way to celebrate his life than for him to posthumously drag his unfit friends, one last time, up the steepest hill, have a few drinks then  jump off the top in tandem with an old friend.


Advanced party

Canine support

Canine support

Time for refreshment.

Ready for one last turn around the valley

And so Andy’s ashes soared over the valley he loved and then were scattered on the mushroom field where he had  taken his friends for one last picnic and some quiet reflection.


Andrew Stewart Pryce

21-5-50 — 4.12.13

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