A Review from Bryn Mawr, PA

A wonder 541 million years in the making

I am not a Marian and I have never been to Farchynys. Most of my school years were spent forty miles down the coast in Aberystwyth and University was Abertawe. I was never in the CCF but I was in the Scouts. And yet Farchynys on the Mawddach seems somehow as real, as quintessentially Welsh, as romantic as anything I experienced in my teenage years.

The Editor, Paul Walton, one of the early Marians on the Mawddach, does a wonderful job of paying tribute to a time and place only 541 million years in the making. And if you’ve climbed Cadair Idris and looked across the Mawddach to Snowdon you know that those were years well spent. The place is certainly the star of Walton’s little masterpiece but it’s the colourful array of characters, locals and Marians, that brings the book to life and gives it its warmth and charm. It’s the characters that will have you wanting to run [or cycle] the half marathon, eat fish and chips in Barmouth or, perhaps, visit the resting place of “Mai the Milk”.

But watch out, like me, you may begin to wonder what sort of activities will be on offer to mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of Barmouth Bridge to rail traffic on October 10th. – any excuse to make the trip!

PJ Crotty

Bryn Mawr, PA

From the Farchynys Timeline #7

1931/41

The Barmouth Viaduct goes to the movies –  more precisely, our favourite bridge stars in two versions of The Ghost Train. A tale of a group of rail passengers temporarily stranded at a remote station, facing a night there with a warning from the station master (Donald Calthrop 1931/Herbert Lomas 1941) concerning the probable appearance of a ghost train hurtling by, from and to who knows where…it all goes horribly wrong on Barmouth Viaduct. Will Hay and Kathleen Harrison were the stars of the 1941 retread.

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Coach House Cuisine

Memories of food at Farchynys

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Friday was the dangerous day: tea came with us on wheels,

Our minibus smelling of boys and batter and non-standard tomato sauce;

Perhaps not exactly Mrs. Watkins’s Taste the Difference fish

Was stored precariously under seats in scratched Aluminum and threatened,

As we climbed the heights of Dinas.

Saturday often brought surprises after long fresh-air days

Like Geoffrey’s Boeuf Stroganoff and the dark brown slush of

Poires au vin du Bourgogne,

The sight of which tested the saporific nerve of even Alpha boys

But nevertheless soon passed our eager invigilation and was gone.

On Sunday, the reward for finding long lost Roman roads

Was JAD’s Brithdir Roast: a great golden bird

Displayed with squadrons of spuds and roots

And plattered to fill us up and lift our hearts for

The journey back to Mocks.

The Kitchen spick once more,

The light falls in the Dayroom,

Refectory tables are stacked,

The Coach House stands empty

Yet full of the aromas of our histories.