Friday, November 17, 2006


I'm off to La La land this afternoon. Or Suffolk, as some people know it. I'm predicting the journey will not go well. Last time we went to visit my sister, Chiswick decided to have a shit all over the dachshund on the way over, and on the way back a series of unfortunate events meant that it took an hour longer than normal to get home.

This time, we start badly. About a mile from here, on the quickest route to anywhere you might actually want to go, there stands an old stone arch.

the famous Hafod Arch

This was built by Thomas Johnes, to celebrate the golden jubilee of George III, and marks the highest point within his estate of the old coaching road from Aberystwyth to Rhayader. Back in the day, this was the main way out of West Wales, so it was quite important. Now it's a back road frequented by lost tourists and motorbikes in the summer, virtually unused in the winter. Except for big logging lorries, which have been busy of late removing an area of forestry about the size of Belgium from the hills around here.

Since the arch was designed to comfortably accommodate a coach and four, without the driver having to take off his hat, a logging truck should be able to get through without incident. Indeed, they've been going through there for all of the seven years I've been in these parts. The arch itself has survived almost two hundred years. Until now.

Yesterday afternoon an inexpert driver dislodged several key stones, and now the road is closed. Apparently the council aim to repair the arch - it's a listed monument after all. But it's going to take them at least eight weeks. Oh joy.

The diversion adds perhaps five miles to any journey, which is not too bad all things considered. But it's a pain.

On the plus side, the mountain road is now very quiet, since there's a big 'road closed' sign at Devil's Bridge, and a diversion operating from the other direction. The last time it was like this was during Foot and Mouth, when one of the local farmers spread disinfectant-soaked straw across the road. Cars would approach and then do complicated U turns (it's narrow) to avoid going any further. There was no reason why they couldn't just cross the straw and carry on, but for some reason they didn't want to. We were never in, or even near, an infected zone, which just goes to show how strange people are.


Blogger angie said...

The arch is gorgeous - and fascinating history behind it. Not that thinking of pretty stonework made the detour any more fun!

November 17, 2006 5:54 pm  
Blogger Trace said...

"Chiswick decided to have a shit all over the dachshund on the way over"

When you gotta go, you gotta go.

November 19, 2006 8:38 pm  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

It is a beautiful arch.

Only thing comparable that happens around here is trucks hitting the +15 in downtown Calgary.

November 20, 2006 5:46 pm  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Handwash only