Mention walking to Abergavenny, or just pass a road sign, and it is amazing how many people burst out with the opening line of the song by Marty Wilde in 1968, the latest in a small genre of funky location-specific songs in the 60s (see below). Maybe it’s just that I hang out with people of a Certain Age but I think it’s truly trans-generational. Everybody seems to know it. Take a trip down Nostalgia Lane or discover something new: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjBXBxKE9x0
I decided at the end of last week that there could be no better way to celebrate the start of British Summer Time than by taking advantage of the summer weather and walking up the mountain ridge behind the house. So, on Sunday (25 March) I did indeed take a trip up to Abergavenny knowing that the weather was fine ….. and it was fabulous.
I skipped church in the morning in order to get to Abergavenny by about 14.00. I don’t often miss the morning service when I’m home and this was a bit of a dilemma for the unusual reason that I knew that if I didn’t show up it would be assumed that I had not moved my clocks forward and so had overslept and would thereby attract mild ridicule or pity, neither of which is welcome.
Not so. I moved clocks forwards and was up with the lark. Not that there were any larks at that time in the morning, not in my garden anyway, but once I was up on mountain top in bright sunshine there were skylarks all the way along the ridge, soaring high and singing their invisible hearts out. It was exceedingly pleasant. The hills were alive with the sound of peace and quiet and skylarks.
Leaving at 10.23 precisely, cloudless blue skies, very good conditions underfoot after weeks of dry weather, and a gentle breeze meant that I covered the ground very quickly. A really great walk even though the visibility was low because of heat-haze. Even though I knew where to look because I see them regularly, I couldn’t see the Malverns, PenyFan and Corn Du or, looking over my shoulder, the other side of the Bristol Channel. The Skirrid just the other side of Abergavenny was barely visible, poking mysterious above the haze.
I reached the Hen and Chicks in 3 hours 40 minutes (I must be getting my fitness back) in good time to hear the jazz. There is live jazz every Sunday afternoon at the Hen and Chicks but in sunny weather there is the added bonus that it happens outside. It is deeply satisfying after a long, hard walk to sit outside in the sunshine, sipping a good pint and letting cool jazz flow over your eardrums and seep into your brain.
Taking a trip up to Abergavenny is to be recommended.
Other funky location-specific songs of the 60s include:
‘Pasadena’ by the Temperance Seven:
first recorded by Al Jolson in 1924
‘Finchley Central’ by New Vaudeville Band:
‘Winchester Cathedral’ by New Vaudeville Band:
‘Green Street Green’ by New Vaudeville Band