Saturday, 19 October 2013

Sunday Times Where Was I ? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Cilmeri

Q2. John Osborne

(N.B. for question one, Cilmeri also appears on some maps as Cilmery)

The initial clues seem to place us on the 'Heart of Wales' railway line, which some sources claim runs from Llanelli to Craven Arms, across the Welsh-English border. A span which was built c 1868 by the Central Wales Extension Railway (CWER), to carry the line over the Afon Bran river, is most likely the Cynghordy viaduct, which is said in some references, to be around two hundred and eighty three yards long, have eighteen arches and looks to be in the region that the puzzle author is describing, near Llandovery, which is around thirty miles or so from Llanelli. The OS map shows a tunnel just before Sugar-Loaf Halt station, north east of the viaduct.

The settlement which claims to be the smallest town in Britain, with a population of around six hundred or so people and which lies on the Heart of Wales line, is likely to be Llanwrtyd Wells. It sounds like a quirky place, they seem to hold 'men versus horse' races and 'bog snorkelling' events there. The village with the spring containing Barium Chloride, is said in some references, to be Llangammarch Wells. A village where a battle was fought c 1282 on the 11th of December, is probably Climeri or Climery (English spelling), where a prince called Llywelyn Ap Gruftydd (mother Senana Ferch Rhodri) was killed in the melee after fighting bravely against the nasty old fascist, Edward the first.

The Heart of Wales line crosses over the river Wye, which is around one hundred and thirty to one hundred and thirty four miles long, depending on which source you check. The next viaduct that the puzzle author mentions, is probably the Knucklas viaduct, which is described in some texts as having thirteen arches. The fourth town that the train halts at could be Craven Arms, as the playwright John Osborne (born c 1929) lived in Clun, which lies six miles or so to the west. Osborne wrote the play 'Look Back in Anger' c 1956, which is about an angry malcontent called Jimmy Porter and his wife Allison, talking politics and ranting about the establishment, in a grungy flat. Osborne may have created this genre of 'angry young men' and 'kitchen sink' dramas.

Where Was I?

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