Monday 23 December 2019

A Traveller's Tale

It is possible, just, to get from Seaton to Abergynolwyn by public transport, but only on Mondays to Fridays. Whilst fbb would enjoy such an expedition, Mrs fbb was unwilling to carry all the luggage for a few days in a friend's second home (as yet not burnt down by Welsh Separatists!)

0705 Seaton (Stagecoach X9)
0817 Exeter bus station

walk to Exeter Central (not far if you use the back entrance)
0914 Exeter Central (Great Western Railway)
0917 Exeter St Davids

0927 Exeter St Davids (CrossCountry)
1158 Birmingham New Street

1225 Birmingham New Street (Transport for Wales)
1525 Tywyn

Very long wait (but there are caffs)
1710 Tywyn High Street (Lloyds Coaches 30)
1725 Abergynolwyn Station Hotel
There is no station as such.
Abygynolwyn Station is about a mile away nearer to Tywyn ...
... and the "new" Nant Gwernol Station (both Talyllyn Railway) is up a very steep hill.
Opposite the outbound stop is the village shop (closed) ...
... and just beyond that is the village school (modern but closed) but now the community centre.
The terrace (left in the picture above) is where the fbbs are staying with family ...
... and the steep road which leads to a footpath link to the Nant Gwernol "terminus".
"Terminus" is technicality correct as it is the end of the line, but, operationally, trains turn round promptly at Nant Gwernol and stand for about 30 minutes at Abergynolwyn on their return trip to Tywyn.

If you get the timing right, you can see the trains trundling along the embankment high above the fbb's Christmas residence.
But they went by motor car, taking and early lunch at Builth Wells.
Tywyn and Abergynolvyn are  just off the map, top left.

The car park has the usual and necessary "facilities" ...
... and immediately opposite is The Strand caff ...
... where fbb enjoyed a "mini breakfast".
Mrs fbb partook of an equally nourishing dish of scrambled eggs on toast.

Eventually family arrived and a sumptuous evening meal was enjoyed by all, especially one elderly gentleman.
A cruel but amusing picture of fbb awaiting his repast, Oliver Twist style, was circulated amongst family by No 1 son.

Next task was for fbb was to re-acquaint himself with the history of the Talyllyn Railway ...
... of which more tomorrow.
The fbb Advent Calendar
The fbb Alphabetical Advent Calendar
You really have to mention the ...

Wise Men!

Not that fbb has an deep theological objection to these visitors to Bethlehem as such, but the Biblical truth of their journey is so misrepresented in out modern "pretty pretty" nativity, that the reality of their visit is lost.

1. They weren't Kings
2. There is no record of how many there were
3. There is no record of their names
4. They didn't ride camels which had not been domesticated at the time
5. They did not visit the stable/cattle shed/cave etc.
6. They arrived anything up to two years after Yeshua was born

Apart from this, everything in this Christmas Card picture is correct!
Matthew's Gospel explains:-

Soon afterwards, some men who studied the stars came from the East to Jerusalem.

Having found no future King c/o Herod, they continued to Bethlehem.

They went into the house, and when they saw the child with his mother Mary, they knelt down and worshipped him. They brought out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and presented them to him. 

Having noted the astrologer's schedule based on the appearance of the star, Herod then arranged for the death of children aged two years and under.

So this is a better illustration ...
... although the "silly hats" concept still remains. Far more accurate is T S Eliot's "take" on the narrative, "The Journey of the Magi**". Replace "camel" with "horse".

Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

But it wasn't folly. They found the child and hand over the gifts, highly inappropriate for a two-year-old, but astounding right if the child were really the Messiah.

Incense for a Priest
         an essential intermediary between God and man
Myrrh for embalming a dead body
         his mission was to die
Gold for a King
         his purpose was to offer a royal eternity to mankind

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death?

Either the Wise Men were very wise indeed; or they were completely potty!

** Magi is a term used since at least the 4th century BC to denote followers of Zoroaster which was characterised in Greek culture as the ability to read the stars.


  1. Having an it's all online moment trying to discover Stagecoach's timetables over the Christmas.

    Click on the big advert on the home page and get taken to timetable changes for 27th October, go Service Updates and nothing - change the date to 24th December, still nothing.

    Go back to Google and search Stagecoach Southwest Christmas and click the undated link to the Promos and Offers page et voila!

    1. Just type into Google Stagecoach SW promo. This takes you straight there

    2. What passenger would know to do that for heavens sake???

    3. Yeah good point.. I found it by chance..Just trying to help!

  2. I raised this with their twitter team and they sent me a link but left the website link not working!

    1. Not very professional, useless website not at all customer friendly.

    2. First are by far the best website IMO

    3. First is equally awful with terrible timetable formatting and no single fares info (unlike even stagecoach)