Saturday, February 23


I've only been to Wales several times, including a memorable trip with friend Rhys in '98 then climbing Snowdownia, the highest peak in the country and second highest on Britain after Ben Nevis where we spent Eitan's first birthday (another story). Phew. Wales is not particularly inspiring by my experience and the towns are pretty dreadful - we visit Newport, at the mouth of the River Usk, on our way and boy is it dreary. Never mind that the Usk is tidal so we see mudflats. There just ain't much to the city other than a depressing high-street, idle teenagers and old-age pensioners hanging out at the British Home Shop (BHS) department store where we have lunch (kids happy with a greasy fry-up). Yes, I'm glad to fly through here. I think of Pennsylvania or some other rust belt place which perhaps appropriate as the Welsh economy was in large part based on coal until Maggie famously cracked the unions in the mid-80s. Today Wales struggles to find its place and there is plenty of subsidised construction, at least in Newport, suggesting a revival attempt: architectural bridges, brand-new road ways, condo developments. Now if it would only stop raining.

The kids watch The Incredibles and post-movie we discuss the best action hero. Eitan goes for testosterone: Ben 10! The Hulk! Mr Incredible! Madeleine: "Definitely Mrs. Incredible. She's super cool." We argue who would win a fight: Ben 10 v. Spider Man or The Hulk v. Mr Incredible. We all have an opinion and I use The Hulk as a segway to temper management - who says the Super Hero's don't teach life-lessons for the adults?