Lady of the Lake
I always look at their hands. Hands are what they touch you with. His were quite small, and clean, for a farmer. I could see he had a temper, the more I looked at him, but I thought you can change people or they can change themselves - the best of them can become the way of them, I thought. Fool! I’m never marrying anyone again. It’s not a pattern! Guys being idiots is a pattern. And I hate dirty nails, long nails, anything like that, ugly fingers, ugh.
How do I get a guy? It almost gets boring. When you only have to look at someone, and they’re like, Huh! Phwoar! Raise your eyebrows and sit close to them and they’re easy. They can’t tell when you’re being sarcastic, or they don’t care. I don’t get it. I counted the other day. I was going to forget so I wrote them down. Fifty-three. Yeah, I’m not bad, but you know, not that pretty. Oh stop it! Anyway, can someone please tell me why they always, always mess up? Six months was the longest, before him.
Yeah so he was just there, with his sheep, and he was nice looking, really nice looking actually. Said hello, started chatting and he did that thing - you’re so beautiful, you’re amazing, la la, will you marry me?
I did like him. He came up to the lake every day for weeks and he never shut up, going on about love and beauty…
I really liked him. In the end I said if we get married you can never hit me. Right? If you do it’s over. Really clearly I said, if you even raise your hand at me, if you even touch me in an unkind way three times it’s finished. Swerve it if you can’t promise me. If you’re not sure. Of course he was sure. Completely sure. Swore on his soul. So we kissed and the way he held me was lovely.
How did we meet?
How did we meet? I just told you! The same way I always meet guys! I’m a water - thing. Nymph, sprite, nereid, whatever - the Lady of the Lake, aren’t I? And he was just taking his sheep up to my the lake and I saw him.
Oh it was a beautiful, beautiful day. Actually hot sun. July. Water almost warmed up. It’s never warm, Llyn yr Fan Fach, but it was this blue, blue beautiful day and he took his shirt off, lay on the bank. I studied him and he looked lovely so I came out of the water and sat next to him. I know, right? Same trick. Works every time! Fifty-three time in a row!
There was one guy who’d taken his girlfriend up there, camping - in the morning she’s still asleep, he comes down to the shore, I pop out, say hi, and the next thing he goes all wibbly...
Yeah I kissed him! I don’t care, it’s not me doing it behind someone’s back is it?
Sometimes I kissed guys who weren’t that attractive.
Sometimes I kissed guys who weren’t that attractive. They were never going to have a chance with someone like me - not being vain - just - honest! And you can see they know it. They can’t believe it. And they’ll never forget it, it’s like you’re giving them something amazing. Really amazing. It’s good to do that. And if someone tries to kiss you, even if you don’t really fancy them - I sometimes think, is it worth the hassle of saying stop it, and them getting all embarrassed? It’s just easier to kiss them, you know? It can be.
With him - we just held hands for ages. And then he hugged me for the longest time. That was lovely. That was the best really. He promised he would love me and honour me and in the end I said OK. Yes. I do.
I did kind of like the idea of children and we had great kids.
I did kind of like the idea of children and we had great kids. I got completely into it. Sweetest kids, just the sweetest, kindest - really caring, you know? I don’t know where they get it from. They’re doctors. They’re all physicians. Kind of weird they’re going to grow older than me. But I really like little ones. Yeah, I’d have more. If I met someone nice. But I’m not getting married again. I don’t know what it is. I can’t see any pattern in them except they’re men. If you could make one out of a combination of two or three of them you could have the perfect man. Ha! The perfect man…
I thought he was as close as I was going to get, but he started breaking his promise - it’s not enough to love someone if you don’t honour them. That’s the bottom line. I could see what was going to happen, I told him, I told him, and we did try really hard. I really supported him. We went to see a counsellor before he even did it the first time because I knew what would happen but - he didn’t get it? He could have done. I think he could have done but he didn’t.
The first time he was coming back from work. Marrying me was the best thing he ever did. I told him he would be massively successful and he was. Businessman, buying and selling, all that boring stuff. But he did well, we had a great house, loads of holidays, kids in posh schools, it was fine, you know, fine. But then he got lazy and arrogant and he lost money. He was coming back from meeting his broker one day and they’d lost money and I annoyed him and he hit me. Slapped my face. Not that hard. I told him if he ever did that again it was over.
More counselling, for his temper and whatever his problems actually were. There’s messed up and then there’s messed up, isn’t there?
I advised him to keep going to counselling, to get himself sorted out. I mean everything he tried to do about it helped, even in little ways. He was really successful, great dad, made me happy, happy enough. I don’t know what it was. But he didn’t do enough about it - people are always telling themselves they can manage themselves. Or he was just an idiot, underneath.
Second time he shouted at me after a dinner party and I told him to get lost. He slapped my bum. And then tried to make like it was a joke. I said, last time, that was the last time. He realised I was serious and he was gutted, really gutted. That night he washed my feet in the shower and he held on to my legs. Knelt down and held onto my legs and cried and said he was sorry.
The evil part of me was so angry
The evil part of me was so angry. So angry. I was shaking and I wanted to do something. The same part of me that cheated on other guys, the part of me that had that guy who was with the girl camping that time, that part of me wanted to do something. Didn’t though. I didn’t do anything. And then he did it again. A couple of years later. I hadn’t really said anything, just some stupid row. I was playing music really loudly and dancing around, I loved the music then, the 80s, Duran Duran, I played it every day, and I love 90s stuff, Kim Mazelle, it was a good time to be living in your world then and I was doubly gutted when he did it the third time and I had to go back to the lake! And the kids of course, but I never left them, I used to see them all the time. They think it’s weird I’ve never told them where I live but anyway. I was really raging - I just said, you know what it means and you do that - you still do that. Goodbye, idiot.
He started crying.
He started crying. The funny thing was the cat, the dog, the horses, even the newts in the pond all followed me when I walked out. It was a big scene, and then when it had quietened down I had to sneak the horses back, and the cat, and the dog. The newts came to the lake. And he lost all his money, lost the house, had to move back in with his mum. The kids were at uni doing medicine, all three of them. He’s getting old now. He never remarried. He wasn’t much of a catch by that time. I don’t hate him. He loves the children and they love him. It’s just a bit sad really. But you can’t change anyone, can you? I mean being with you might make them change, sure, but you can’t control how.
Hey you know that guy in the jacket? He likes you, he’s looked over about five times. N-o-o he isn’t! No, it’s you, definitely. Yeah, he is quite. Just not my type… something…I don’t know….something about his hands maybe. Oh! Whoops! Here we go. You’re talking to him, right? I’m with someone. If he tries anything I’m with someone.
Horatio Clare 2017
How to experience this legend: Lady of the Lake
You can feel the drama of Llyn y Fan Fach, the lake nestling below y Mynydd Du (The Black Mountain) just by being there. Choose between the short walking route overlooking Llyn –y –fan fach 5km or the longer circular walk, 13km for map: www.discovercarmarthenshire.com