Sunday 21 December, 2014 by Uncle Spike
This is my annual ‘special’, in which I retell stories about my late wife, published each year on her birthday as a kind of memorial to one of the most bonkers gals I ever met. Last year saw the sharing of a classic tale of her spraying a white Volvo station-wagon with black paint 🙂
Hands up who’s seen the 1964 classic film Zulu, starring Michael Caine? Well my late wife was a total nut-job for that film, having watched it over and over again – and we are talking once a month for years! The daft thing is, she would cower behind a pillow every time, petrified by the chanting, singing and shield-banging of the thousands of Zulu warriors.
For those unfamiliar with this classic, you can click on the image below, or click this link to view a clip of the movie. I didn’t embed the YouTube clip as I preferred it not to be the featured image on WP Reader).
Anyway, for many years we had motorbikes, mostly large, laid-back and loud was our type. Often we would try and grab a weekend away, touring some beauty spot around the UK or on the near continent, otherwise known as France.
One such adventure was a weekend touring North Wales. Basically it was a mad dash from one castle to another, by way of some spectacular scenery en-route that was especially created for those of the brother/sisterhood of motorcycling.
Now back to the film. The song “Men of Harlech” referred to the place called Harlech, and that place happens to have a rather stupendous castle there, so naturally it was on our itinerary to pay it a visit. Harlech Castle was built by King Edward I during his invasion of Wales way back in the 1280s. Nowadays it’s a ruin of course, but still in fairly good order – they built houses (and castles) to last back in those days!
“Men of Harlech” or “The March of the Men of Harlech” (in Welsh: Rhyfelgyrch Gwŷr Harlech) is a song and military march which is traditionally said to describe events during the seven-year siege of Harlech Castle between 1461 and 1468.
The bike was parked and chained up like some old nag outside a dodgy saloon, and in we went to explore the site. There is always something special about castles, don’t ya think? Anyway, unbeknown to me, the good lady was cooking up a plan. I, on the other hand was oblivious, as usual, just squeaking up and down the ramparts in my thick old bike leathers.
Upon reaching the highest accessible point of said castle, I noticed her standing there, standing in the empty window space, staring out across the Irish Sea. She too was clad in black leather from head to foot, complete with tassels (on her jacket, not elsewhere) and carrying her beloved open-face black crash helmet that was adorned by two grey and pink fluffy bunny ears stuck on the sides (don’t ask).
Suddenly she drew in a big breath and started to sing…. she sang the entire Men of Harlech song unashamedly at the top of her voice. I didn’t know whether to applaud like a supportive husband should, or run and hide in meek embarrassment! Instead I just stood there and pretended I was invisible.
Once finished, lungs all emptied of that long-awaited rendition from her favourite flick, she turned around, sat down (actual foto below) and grinned at me. The faces of the other visitors to the castle were memorable to say the least. I think she even made it on to a video of one of the globe-trotting army of Japanese tourists.
In memory of…
Today is the birthday of my late wife and this post is dedicated to her memory. She was a fun-loving, caring and altogether zany person, who is no doubt causing absolute havoc up there on her cloud right about now.
I want to thank the girls for their consent to me sharing this story about their mum, and to my wife, dear Aunty Spike, for being so gracious and supportive of my writing memoirs from before our time together.