I awoke this morning with an air of excitement. The aches in my legs had subsided and so I thought the wild garlic I had eaten the day before had performed a miracle cure. Apart from the complaints from my wife regarding one’s breath it seemed like a great start to the day. There was a weird kind of silence, a lack of excitement outside in my sleepy little village of Cynwyl Elfed. No dogs barking, not too many tractors or boy racers going along the road. The crows seemed to have abandoned the chimney, perhaps as the milder weather meant less of those pesky solid fuel fires being lit so they can warm their tail feathers. God Damn it, it’s Coronation Day.
I headed for the bathroom, a modest room with no running hot water and thought about King Charles. How would he be starting his day. As I took out the four for £1 blades and used the last of the 2 for a £1 shaving foam cans I told my wife that he, The King, had probably been shaved by now by his valet. ‘He shaves himself’, she replied. ‘Oh no’, said I ‘he wouldn’t dare risk cutting himself on a day like this’.
Shave over, 2 for a £1 Lynx specials sprayed all over like Henry Cooper and I headed for the wardrobe. Things ain’t like they used to be when I was living a stone’s throw from His Majesty working at the very same first school he attended. It was all King’s Road suits, shirts and Chelsea boots back then with rather expensive aftershave, slow luxurious coffees at Picasso’s followed by a leisurely stroll to the Duke of York’s annexe where the guard would nonchalantly wave me in.
So this is it, The Big Day as we like to say in Wales. All those Republican politicians will be twisting in their Y fronts and knickers with rage over the expense, the pomp and ceremony. They will all of course refuse to attend and refuse to meet the King when he visits their neck of the woods. Wales is for the Welsh as someone in local politics recently reminded us.
Even Dafydd Iwan daubed as ‘the Devil incarnate’ and ‘public enemy number 1’ met The Prince of Wales and said ‘Charles and I have more in common than I had realised.” The question, which has never really been answered is who and what the heck will we have as a replacement to the Royal Family and how on Earth will we keep them out of Wales?
Independence, Independence has always been the Republican cry. Take back what is ours, rid ourselves of those over the border apart from taking their cash for property and tourism. As someone who made the opposite journey from Wales over the border and who worked within an establishment where the hoi polloi moved, I can honestly say I was welcomed with open arms and treated equally. In fact the mantra of the Grand Colonel who ran the school was ‘We are equal but different’. This was brought home to me this week as I hosted the Urban Horseman. He travels with his family in a lorry and works the land. He told me he is usually judged within 20 seconds and finds it difficult to go about his daily work without being harassed. He worked wonders on our small paddock sensitively restoring it in an eco friendly way. Before he left he messaged me saying that he had enjoyed working with us and thanks for treating him ‘like a King’.
Carmarthenshire is a huge geographic area dotted with small villages and towns. In the run up to the Coronation, there has been little to show that this huge occasion is taking place. Is it that we dislike Charles? Evidently not from the Royal visits I have covered where thousands of people turn out just to catch a glimpse of the ‘handsome devil’. My wife’s words not mine. Is our King a Marmite figure? Do we have a love hate relationship with him in Wales? Should all Republicans be rounded up and locked away until they behave themselves and ‘know their place? I jest of course but conversations are still taking place and feelings still run high in some circles. #NotMyKing is reasonably popular. Do all of the constituents of Adam Price agree that he should decline the invite to attend the Coronation? How many of them would love to go?
Cwm Duad is a small village nestled in a dark valley (hence the name) North of Carmarthenshire. It is a small population with a pub and a community hall. The church closed recently. Like other small rural Welsh villages there is not a lot there for the young apart from the benefits of the fresh country air and possibly some work if they can find it. Not many of the original families left now but new people have moved in to call the village their own.
Cwm Duad is one of a number of villages in Wales, which will celebrate the Coronation by way of an event today, Saturday (May 6). The community centre threw open its doors to welcome locals and visitors to join in the celebrations and watch it all unfold on a big screen. Food and drink including the popular Coronation Chicken will be in abundance and of course flags and bunting will be on display. The outside and inside of the hall had been decorated with Welsh and Union flags. It looked bright and welcoming. A sign on the road enticed visitors in.
In Cynwyl Elfed there were a few homes decorated with flags. 11-year-old Theia was excited about the day and her Grandma had supplied some flags. The church hosted a flower festival where the WI had made a tribute to the Coronation. At least one of the congregation had witnessed two Coronations. There were some homes decorated with bunting in Bronwydd. Reporter David Hurford said it all looked low key in Llanelli.
Back at Cwnm Duad the young people attending will most certainly witness two Coronations given the age of The King. They sat like the others, in silence and watched the events unfold. It is something they will be able to tell their children.
Around 25 people sat in silence as The King was crowned. The tables decked with Welsh and Union flags. The Vice Chairman Peter Watson was busy cooking sausages and burgers but popped back and forth to watch the Coronation and hand out nibbles and drinks. It may not have been the splendour of Westminster Abbey but the Cwm Duad Community Hall committee did their bit to help those who wanted to share the occasion to do so.
Coronation chicken or Poulet Reine Elizabeth is an English dish of chicken in a spiced mayonnaise sauce. It is eaten as a salad or as a filling for sandwiches. It was created by Constance Spry, an English food writer and flower arranger, and Rosemary Hume, a chef, for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. No doubt there will be turines full of the stuff on offer at many of the celebrations but the question remains. Is Coronation Chicken more popular than the Coronation King?