Sunday 16 February 2014

Fish-Fingers And Shampoo

Merlin's Oak in 1936

"When Merlin's Oak shall tumble down,
Then shall fall Carmarthen Town."

I remember the famous Oak well but it was knocked down in an appalling act of vandalism in 1978 - by the council. Has the prophecy come true, albeit metaphorically?

I lived in Carmarthen for a couple of years in the mid 1980s but I rarely visit now even though it is nearby - but I did go this weekend and had a nose around while Mrs B tracked down fish-fingers and shampoo.

The old provisions market is gone and its much smaller replacement is a pale shadow; and in the place of the previous livestock market you can find Debenhams and some of the other usual suspects (I mean "outlets"). The one improvement is the modern cinema - I'm a big fan of these with their comfortable seating and choice of films.

But I struggle to see the point (for me at any rate) of these small market towns when there is nothing you can't find on a much larger scale in the big cities.

I'm not a fan of farmers' markets. Serious farmers haven't the time or inclination to retail their produce so you just get the variable quality but invariably expensive offerings of amateur small-holders.

If you want good meat go to a good butcher or to Tesco or one of the other supermarkets which have a range from cheap and satisfactory all the way to very superior with a quality "provenance" (just don't be fooled by the Red Tractor "quality mark").

I used occasionally to visit the bar of the Boar's Head - quite a hair-raising experience on market day and after hours in those days - but I never noticed this gem immediately opposite on Lammas Street...

English Baptist Church (architect George Morgan 1834-1915)