I take a walk most days ... well some days ... errr a couple of times a week ... ok, now and again - up the road outside our house, which has "panoramic views of Snowdonia and the Menai Strait". Often the "panoramic views" bit has to be taken by faith as this part of NW Wales is regularly enshrouded in mist and/or cloud. In fact the brighter and sunnier the day, the mistier it is over the mountains! And then we get low cloud that is sort of drawn up through the Straits like soda being sucked through a straw. It's quite spectacular when you can see the mountains peeking through the top of the cloud and from our vantage point we feel as if we're above it all looking down.
Being a creature of habit I tend to meander along the same well trod path. I walk past the dog poo bin on the right, making sure I dodge all the doggie dos that decorate the grass verge all the way along. A bit further up I pass the "American" house on the left where I keep my head down so I don't have to say "hi" to the garrulous owner who comes from somewhere like Slapout, Alabama and is never short of something to say very loudly in colloquial American. There are a couple of ponies grazing rather dejectedly in the field opposite. They are probably melancholy because they're worn out with all the southern chat:P I cross over the bit where the drunks coming back from "The Gazelle" stop to throw up noisily in the gritting bin, glance covetously at the posh house on the other corner and then, ignoring the noisy geese in the allotment, I turn right, down the road that leads to the old people's home.
Now this is the bit where it gets interesting (no! honest! bear with me .... please!). It is so atmospheric (even the OP home, but will come to that in a minute). Either side of the path there is a field. In the fields there are sheep. In one field (quite prosperous looking) there are usually black sheep and in the other field (not so viable due to brambles and Japanese knotweed) there are usually white sheep! Unlike "my field" where integration and assimilation has resulted in a certain degree of interracial harmony, these have obviously been kept segregated for some unknown, but possibly political, reason. One day, however, I noticed that a couple of white sheep had strayed into the field with the black sheep. It was an interesting sight!
The "foreigners" were huddled together looking bemused and rather miserable. I guess they were feeling overwhelmed and a bit isolated, being in the minority, and the black sheep were a tad threatening, encircling them as they were. I was almost at the point of sending out for a UN resolution or two to try and bring about a peaceful conclusion before the situation deteriorated to the point of internecine carnage. I wondered what caused the two white sheep to make the journey over to the other side? Were they asylum seekers, desperate to escape political instability in their own field; or economic migrants determined to try and elicit a better life for themselves and their offspring in a field that's clearly benefitted from EU category one funding? The indigenous sheep seemed quite suspicious of the immigrants, but who could blame them if they were unsettled? These interlopers would put a tremendous strain on an already finely balanced ecosystem. The scales could so easily tip over and plunge the fragile agrarian economy into a deep recession.
Musing for a moment over how the microcosmic can mirror the macro - at least it does in my overly exercised imagination, I eventually leave the sheep to work out their own solution and stroll further down the lane to an altogether more community orientated group gathered at Watership Down. Here, on any given day in the spring and summer one can see between 20 and 30 rabbits doing what it is that rabbits do, and when they're not doing that they are hopping in and out the vegetation extracting the choicest morsels of food! When the sun is shining, their "cottontails" glisten as they catch the light and they appear to dance as they bob up and down. I give them names, Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig, but am surprised to discover that this has already been done, so I move on through the scattering "crowd of witnesses" to the bend in the lane. It is at this point the road emerges from the trees and the "panoramic view" thing kicks in.
Before me I can see the shimmering waters of the Straits (well, except when the tide's out and the cloud's in!), with Bangor pier and harbour opposite, and looming up impressively behind is Penrhyn Castle, which in the mist could be a dead ringer for King Arthur's pad in Tintagel! On a good day, further up on the left, I should be able to see the Great Orme at Llandudno - well, if the trees weren't in the way and the mist shifted over a bit!
Moving further around the corner the sight that assaults ones eyes is quite a shock. It's a derelict looking house that looks like something out of a gothic horror movie! It actually isn't derelect, but most of the people that live in it are (sadly). It's the OAP home and although it is, I understand, comfortable inside and has wonderful views, it always makes me shiver inwardly, as the windows are dark and small and it's got gables and big chimneys. It's a bit of a time warp to be honest. I stand and look at the larger scene. It is different every time and it never ceases to amaze me how the prevailing weather conditions can have such a strong influence on one's view. This microclimate that is west of the Snowdonia mountains and over the Straits is a law unto itself; and, as far as I am concerned, long may it stay that way!