Monday, 4 April 2016
We had our traditional Easter break in mid-Wales last week. It was just the two of us for the first time in 25 years (son travelling between Atlanta and New Orleans, daughter at home writing a dissertation), which meant longer, more solitary walks and – for me – a chance to spend rather more time considering the landscape without that nagging feeling of holding everyone else up, which will be familiar to anyone who attempts to combine their creative bent with a family holiday. We got the usual early spring mix of weather: snow, rain, sunshine, and awe-inspiring winds, and a couple of those exhilarating upland days of bright, clear air that give the sensation of walking on the roof of the world.
We have been visiting the Welsh Marches every year for over 35 years; ever since, as impoverished students, we started taking advantage of my partner's parents' holiday cottage near Presteigne. However, talking to the landlord of a local pub, who took over the premises 18 months ago having moved from Surrey, it struck me that in actual elapsed time he has already spent longer in the area than I have. Which, if anything, shows something of the truth underlying statistical sampling: 50 or so weeks spread over 35 years would seem to give a deeper experience of an area than 75 weeks end to end.