Wednesday, 29 May 2013


Wend a deviant way home.

Thanks to my crap sense of direction. I become hopelessly lost in the borderlands betwixt England and Wales. The SatNav finally breaks down after weeks of threatening, and refuses to turn on. It is a cruel blow, and I take it as horrible punishment for my long and casual disregard of her instructions to turn right. I am especially bitter because recently I have tried to be good by feeding her electricity juice all night long.

Truly, I am in a bereft condition without her to remind me how wrong I am going. Now I have only my own terrifying map skills to rely on and my new navigator to shout at (Shark, aged 13), a combination which I expect to end badly. I drift around hopelessly, waiting to bump into some sort of sign that would allow a B-road to lead me out of darkness and into light.

But look on the bright side. Isn't it true of life, that if the route you planned is taken away from you in a moment as subtle as a baby's breath, the route you're given can offer you so much more than you ever expected? So many unforeseen surprises and unanticipated delights await you! That's what I tell myself as we head off back into Wales because I cannot tell east from west.

But look! A couple of hours on and we find Ledbury, a lovely town with real museums! I was delighted to discover it. I conjure the old streets for the pleasure of the American viewer.


Charming, no? And the museum, like all local museums, helpfully describing their artifacts with barely any reference to context or age. They are just sad and bashed up old things we value. (Find me a person aged over 50 who does not approve of that.)

Thus I can recommend Ledbury, with its historic streets, ancient centre, and magnificent Painted Room, a real insight into aspirational interior design of the 16th century, and a treat if you are driving about the countryside trying not to reenter Wales.

More exciting than the battlesite of Mortimer's Cross. Like everyone else, I navigated towards that in vain.

However! My shonky directional skills redeem the day by leading me to Croft Ambrey iron age fort, hidden behind the National Trust's Croft Castle.

I would link to evocative and haunting imaginings of this dramatic hill-top site, but the descriptions seem to be mostly clinical reports of its dissection and excavations. Yet it is a site which provokes in me a thoughtful wondering of the people who lived here; I put that down to the rare atmosphere and quiet beauty of the place. Telling me, the SatNav can stay in the cupboard. Some discoveries are worth getting lost for.

No comments: