Monday, February 20, 2006

Oh Wales, how I love thee

It's odd, but lately Wales has constantly been on my mind. Every time I do something my mind drifts back to the little town of Llangollen, Wales. I only spent a few days there but it's become one my favorite places in the entire world. It's just somehow different. Here everything seems so disconnected and cold compared to there. It's still just a village. No massive sbudivisions of subdivisions or sprawling suburbia. The air is clean, fresh, it feels like it hasn't already been totally depleted. The little roads winding up and down the mountain with ittle cottages to the side of the road. Walking down the streets you can smell the different dinners people are making. Looking out the window you can see the little lights of other houses on the surrounding mountains. People there genuinely know each other. Everything and everyone is just interconnected. Houses are small, quaint, people simply don't feel the need to compete with material possessions. Every back yard is meticulously turned into a garden which yields half of dinner. There's just something there that we're sorely missing. It seems that the whole street smells of roses. People just take the time to enjoy life, to cultivate it. My host parents had been married for 56 years. Fifty six. They just genuinely loved each other. They met during the war and have been together since, they never broke up for petty differences. That's part of what that little town that we don't. I"m not quite sure as to how to articulate it, but the difference is there. On our last night there, we performed with the local mens choir. It was at the local cathedral, we performed the Battle Hymn of the Republic with a choir we had never sugn with before and it was amazing. There's just something about the final chord in a piece like that that just reverberates in some sort of way that I can't quite describe in words. After the concert, they took us back to their home and we just all sat up talking for a while. They told us about the war and how they met. This was only two days after the bombings in London, so we talked about that. After a while, Ken (our host dad) got out his quitar and was singing for us. This lies most vividly in my memory. Ken had taught himself to play when he was sick and couldn't sing for about a year. So he had gotten his voice back and was kind enough to sing for us. He sung a few folk songs and the last song he sung just sticks in my mind. And I'm so glad I finally found the exact lyrics for it.

Have you seen the old man outside the closed down market
Kicking up the paper in his worn out shoes
In his eyes you see no pride and held loosely at his side
Yesterday's paper telling yesterday's news

So how can you tell me that you're lonely
And say for you that the sun don't shine
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something that'll make you change your mind

Have you seen the old girl who walks the streets of London
Dirt in her hair and her clothes in rags
She's no time for talking, she just keeps right on walking
Carrying her whole life in two carrier bags


In the all-night cafe at a quarter past eleven
Same old man sitting there on his own
Looking at the world o'er the rim of his tea cup
Each tea lasts an hour and he wanders home alone


Have you seen the old man outside the seaman's mission
Mem'ries fading with the medal ribbons that he wears
In our winter city the rain cries a little pity
For one more forgotten hero in a world that doesn't care

That's what makes that little town in Wales different. They simply appreciate life. They aren't compelled to constantly compete with one another for a better life. They simply see the good things in every day life and appreciate them. I"m determined to get back there one day. I don't care where my life takes me, I'll be going back there.


Blogger Ashley M said...

That was incredible. I've always longed to journey to Wales, small town England, and Scotland. It sounds like you had the experience of a lifetime. I really liked that song, do you mind me asking what the title was? I'd like to try to track it down.

5:55 PM  
Blogger MollyG said...

The title was "streets of london" and if you can somehow find the tune for it, let me know, cause I remember the words, but not the actual melody.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Ashley M said...

Well, I went to MSN music ( and there are many songs by that title. I listened to probably the frist four and they had the same lyrics, just not nessacarily in the same order as you had given. From the 30 second samples, it sounds like a great folk song. But you run into a problem with folk songs; there can be hundreds of variations for just one song. And I think that is what you will encounter with this one. Each tune was different, so I don't know. You may have to look into it as well to find the one that is closest to how you remember it.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Ashley M said...

P.S. I just looked and found some guitar chords for it, but I'd have to play around in order to find a strumming pattern that might work with it. I think I have one in mind right now...

9:28 PM  

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