European eagle owl

Mount curtain rails in the morning. Collect a rental car and ferry the clan in lovely sunshine to a multihued forest valley, scene of St Fagans Welsh history park. Spacious hectares dotted with reassembled farmhouses and cottages, sundry stores and workshops from across Wales. Some centuries old. A complete industrial-revolution-era terrace from Merthyr Tydfil, formerly home to mining families. A church, a cockpit, a working men’s institute. All restored to musty pre-electric authenticity.

Among the buildings were greens and fields. You picnicked on ice-lollies and crisps. Cooed at gamboling lambs. Admired a falcon menagerie, the prime attraction being a European eagle owl magnificently perched on a gauntleted wrist. Orange-iris eyes, extravagant tufted brows. An enormous staring oversize Cheshire cat. Head swivelling freely because, you were told, it cannot turn its eyes themselves.


At night, dreaming,

this gloomy observation: A life wasted.


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