Monday 14 October 2013

Llanelli Beach

The very best thing for my bad back is to keep moving, especially walking and swimming. So off to Llanelli yesterday to knock out 10,000 paces on the sea-front at what I didn't know was called "Llanelli Beach" although I have visited many times before.

Everybody is smiling and happy, not just because they always are in this curious bit of urban Carmarthenshire but because the underdog Scarlets unexpectedly walloped Harlequins the day before in the Heineken Cup.

We had lunch in the Coast Path Visitor Centre - about £5, not bad and any deficiency made up for by the view over to the Gower (left), the coast up towards Kidwelly (right) and the Whiteford Point Lighthouse just visible on the horizon (middle), which I mean to visit some time - it is accessible at low tide, remarkably as it seems so far out when the water is in.

The water is very clean these days and there is commendably little modern detritus on the shore but a huge quantity of industrial debris including furnace clinker and building materials - I liked the rounded "boulders" in which you can see laid bricks...

Swimming for now is confined to my Health Club and in any case never suited to this spot...


Just finished Ban This Filth! Letters from the Mary Whitehouse Archive , a cheap shot editorially (because sneering and dismissive) at the legendary clean-up-TV campaigner but worth reading for what Mrs W actually wrote.

It comes as a surprise to find how flirtatious she was with her opponents in the BBC and elsewhere - evidently a sensuous sort of person who knew what she was talking about when it came to "adult" themes.

Of course much of what she said, especially about homosexuality, looks other-worldly or prejudicial now but her attack on pornography still resonates. She didn't see it from a feminist perspective but rather from concern about the corruption of young people - which is definitely the leading argument nowadays. Incidentally she commanded a lot of support in Wales where the influence of Nonconformism was still strong at that time.

I suppose she represents a classic case of being anti-intellectual and, though she was wrong about many things, she comes out rather well in exposing the self-righteousness of establishment intellectualism.

Interesting that Malcolm Muggeridge took up her cause in the 1970s and was widely mocked for it. He had visited the Soviet Union in the 1930s and reported what he saw - millions of people being deliberately and unnecessarily starved to death. Most soi-disant intellectuals of that time rubbished what he said - and their delusional conviction carried on in spite of the evidence until all but a few "tankies" grasped the reality as the unmistakable news came in from East Berlin (1953), Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968).

We really do need people to challenge the "intellectuals" and one of the qualifications for doing so is being prepared to be ridiculed.

Muggeridge is no hero, mind. He was a spectacularly brazen and persistent botherer of women in his private life while espousing Mrs Whitehouse, Mother Teresa, etc in public...