King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Thursday, January 17


Thanks to Bromman's comments, I thought I'd talk about Cwmtwrch for his benefit, and for anyone else who cares.
Cwm, as ane welsh fule kno, is the local lingo for valley. So Cwmtwrch is the valley of the Twrch, a small river running from the black mountain into the River Tawe between Ystradgynlais and Ystalyfera. The river mainly follows the A4068, before peeling off sharply to the right some 3 miles up the road where the steep hill into Ystradowen begins, known locally as the Berrington Hill. The valley is also the south-western edge of the Brecon Beacons. At one point the valley is steep sided, almost becoming a gorge with fast running water on particularly rainy days. This narrowing is now recognised as the separating points between Lower and Upper Cwmtwrch. It is also a little valley, nowadays having no shops except Jan's Lower Cwmtwrch Post Office (a former customer), a popular primary school, and a handful of pubs. It is also home to Current Welsh TV Actor and Doctor Who character Steven Meo's (who?) family home, and Welsh Rugby star Clive Rowlands.
And so leads to the joke, which I feel I should tell with more local reference to make it more enjoyable for local readers (sorry Bromman!)

Many years ago, Dai from Cwmtwrch worked hard in Ynyscedwyn Iron Works. Being a loyal and loving man his family was his life, but he always had a secret yearning to visit Japan. So after much saving over many years he one day pronounced to his wife his life's ambition to visit Japan.
"Well you have a good time," she said in Welsh (*cough*), "And I'll see you soon."
So off he headed to the local station, where he proudly walked up to Mrs Davies and asked for a ticket to Tokyo.
"I'm sorry, she replied. I can only offer you a ticket to Ystradgynlais."
"That'll have to do then," he said, and he promptly caught his train to the Swansea Valley station.
He found himself on a barren platform in Ystradgynlais (those that have been to Ystradgynlais will know this feeling). He asked the station master, Mr Rees, for a ticket to Tokyo.
"Sorry Dai, but I can only get you to Pontardawe. Maybe they can help." And so he took the train 5 miles down the valley to Pontardawe.
Arriving in Pontardawe, he felt his heart drop as he was leaving his homeland. But the pull of Japan was ever stronger, and he enquired at the stranger now in the ticket office for a ticket to Tokyo.
"No can do," the seller replied in broken half English and half Welsh, "I can only give you a ticket to Swansea."
And so, weary from his 7 mile trip that had already taken him half a day, he boarded the train to Swansea. Dai found himself in a bustling metropolis as he stepped off the train. Sailors and Coal Merchants brought the terminus to life as he headed down the platform to get his ticket to Tokyo.
The girl with her young child in her arms asked "Whaddafack dyoo wan?" when he appeared in her window.
"A ticket to Tokyo please"
"Tokya? Is that near Tenby? I dunno, I'll see what I can do." She checks her timetables, tuts, checks them again, and proclaims "sorry luv, no Takero 'ere. Will Cardeev do instead?"
Sighing deeply, he purchases his ticket before boarding the large steam engine to Cardiff. He chugs along, watching the familiar landscapes disappear, and finally the hills fall away and he finds himself in the Welsh Capital. He heads through the thronging masses to the information desk, and enquires after a ticket to Tokyo. The young homosexual on the desk points out that this is Wales, and perhaps he's better off heading to London to buy a ticket. So he gets an express train eastbound, under the vast River Severn estuary, and finally arrives in London's Paddington station. Without so much as a forethought, he realises now that perhaps Tokyo is beyond the realms of British Railways, and so he just buys a ticket for Heathrow Airport. (Yes I know the rail link only opened a few years ago, but please, humour me.)
He arrives in Heathrow, and daunted he looks up at the huge departures board in front of him. Sure enough, there, at 6:25pm that evening, leaving from gate 21, is a flight to Tokyo, via Singapore with Air Japan. He heads to Air Japan's sales desk and asks for a ticket to Tokyo. After the usual "did you pack your bags yourself?" and "do you have any high explosives or sharp killing implements in your hand baggage" he takes the 20 hour flight to Tokyo, where he spends a true holiday of a lifetime. He learns about their culture, he learns about their food, he learns everything he ever wanted to learn about the land of the rising sun.
Unfortunately the time is too short. A fortnight later and he has to return home. Bearing in mind how tortuous his journey was, he heads into Tokyo's train station ready to book his ticket home. A young pretty Japanese girl smiles and greets him on the desk. She then climbs down, bows, and asks for his ultimate destination.
He forlornly asks for a ticket to Cwmtwrch, to which she replies
"Upper or Lower?"