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The Gate of the Dead

I'm a distance from writing an article on Offa's Dyke, I must admit - it's a daunting task. And fraught - Lord, it's fraught. But I've lived in its shadow, it seems for near a quarter of a century, and it has a kind of weight, a presence. And I'm partial to trees, as well, you know.

So, it was with real pleasure that I came across this article on the BBC website. And is it wrong that I felt a twist of jealousy?

And there's even a mention of the great oak at Chirk, the Gate of the Dead, supposed location of a Welsh ambush of the forces of Henry II as he cut his way through the Ceirog Valley admist appalling weather in the summer of 1165...he didn't have much luck with Wales, did Henry. Owain Gwynedd always seemed to mither him.

I should mention that I also love film... I say this, since I'm curiously reminded of a scene in Apocalypse Now, in which Kilgore, crocuched on a beach and oblivious to the shells exploding around him, declares solemnly, 'Someday this war's going to end'. Well, I feel the same about this Lockdown... it too will end, and the places I'm going to visit when it does include this Oak, shattered and spliced, but living still, standing in the shadow of Offa's Dyke, which, incredibly it is probably contemporary to, near enough.

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