Make My Day
The trouble with travelling with Allen is that he is too ready to agree to my stupid suggestions. I saw a track across a green bit on the map – that is the extend of our research, and before we can even return to our ongoing discussion on what is the likely plural of Volvo, we head off, boldly going when no man has gone before, except the suicidal lunatics who constructed the road in the first place, of course.
Al is driving today on the way down another mountain in Snowdonia, on a road that can only be called that in the broadest sense, as in reality, it is in the narrowest sense, even for a goat track. I yell with my boyish enthusiasm, ‘Wow, look at that!’ on seeing something like a red kite, a sparkling lake or a jet fighter roaring up the valley at several thousand kilometre an hour and parting the hair, or wool, on a sheep’s head, or something equally noteworthy and only of interest to me.
‘No!’ says Allen, his voice all white-knuckled. ‘I’m not taking my eyes off the road for a second,’ which is fantastic of him as the car swings round yet another hairpin bend and if the passenger door were to fly open just then I’d drop straight down, screaming, ‘T’ be sure, t’ be sure, turn around when possible,’ and a few second later, ‘You have reached your destination. Splat!
The Wages of Fear springs to mind. It’s an old French movie about a group of truck drivers carrying a cargo of nitro-glycerine across the Andes Mountains on tracks just like this one. It didn’t end well. In fact, it ended very badly indeed.
Happily, an hour later we are on a track without any death-inducing drops, but to compensate, this one has gates. Lots of gates. Around every one of the bends, there is yet another gate waiting for me. ‘Tomorrow I drive and you can bloody open the bloody gates,’ I mutter. The reason for the gates is to keep in the cows that are between us and the lakes beyond Arthog that we are heading towards. The cows seem to think they own the road and they are not moving on for Rowdy Yates, let along me. ‘Get a movin’, you daugies!’ I yell, to little avail. Even, get moving you wee beasties, doesn’t work, but then I remember we are in Wales, not yet Scotland.
We’re moving at three miles an hour and the damn car wants me to connect the seat belt every time I get a back in my seat after each gate. The Volvo won’t let you even move without going off like a crash dive in The Hunt For Red October or a nuclear meltdown alarm. Bing, it goes, then bing…… bing…… bing….. bing…. bing… bing.. bing. bing BING! BING! BIIIIIING! The worst thing is as the cows look lazily at you to see what the noise is all about you can actually see them thinking, look at those two right plonkers.