Caught by the River

Brighter Later

Brian David Stevens | 12th March 2014


By Brian David Stevens

15. Denbighshire

Brighter Later is a journey around Britain looking out to sea from each coastal county.

Today we are in North Wales. Denbighshire has the distinction of being the oldest inhabited part of Wales. Pontnewydd (Bontnewydd-Llanelwy) Palaeolithic site has remains of Neanderthals from 225,000 years ago. It is thought that these early examples of mankind ran prehistoric caravan sites and ice cream parlours so that fellow neanderthals from Liverpool and Manchester could holiday on their fantastic beaches, a tradition that still occurs today.

The beaches on the North Wales coast really are wonderful. In Denbighshire they are served by the holiday towns of Rhyl and Prestatyn. The poet Philip Larkin was so inspired of the latter he wrote:

‘Come To Sunny Prestatyn

Laughed the girl on the poster,
Kneeling up on the sand
In tautened white satin.
Behind her, a hunk of coast, a
Hotel with palms
Seemed to expand from her thighs and
Spread breast-lifting arms.

She was slapped up one day in March.
A couple of weeks, and her face
Was snaggle-toothed and boss-eyed;
Huge tits and a fissured crotch
Were scored well in, and the space
Between her legs held scrawls
That set her fairly astride
A tuberous cock and balls

Autographed Titch Thomas, while
Someone had used a knife
Or something to stab right through
The moustached lips of her smile.
She was too good for this life.
Very soon, a great transverse tear
Left only a hand and some blue.
Now Fight Cancer is there.’

Maybe he wasn’t looking through the rose-tinted glasses that I am, for this was a place of family holidays, sand in your tupperware, small paper flags bought in packets to adorn sandcastles and bright orange water-wings. It’s a wonderful place and I’m sorry to leave.

The complete set of Brighter Later can be seen here