Monday, December 25, 2006

Homage to Blaenau Ffestiniog

I don't know about you but whenever I think of Christmas it isn't Santa who pops into my head but Arthur Koestler and George Orwell.

For three years Koestler (see pic), author of Darkness at Noon, lived at a cottage in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Biographers often describe his abode there as "bleak" which is code for: outside London.

In 1945 Koestler invited his friend George Orwell to spend Christmas with him in Wales. Orwell took the train from Paddington. Also present at the cottage were Koestler's wife Mamaine and her twin sister Celia. Orwell fell in love with Celia that Christmas but she would later turn down his proposal of marriage.

I like to think of them all together in Blaenau Ffestiniog discussing matters of great importance: history, politics, the very existence of mankind itself. But the big question is... who got the sixpence in the Christmas pud?

Nadolig Llawen.

*The above picture shows Koestler in his Welsh cottage in early 1948.