You doubtless believe that there could only ever be one Mr B. But I have to tell you that actually there are two of them and they are as alike as two peas in a pod.
That is, peas in a pod just like the ones straight from the garden that Mr H (Mr B’s younger brother) is merrily shelling as he chats away to his Big Bruv. We are in Welshpool, home to Mr and Mrs H, who have given us the
warmest of Warm Welsh Welcomes.
I watch Mr B and his brother out of the kitchen window as they sit and chat in the garden – and I wonder just
how it can be that they share so many mannerisms. After all, they grew up neither of them knowing of the other’s existence and met for the first time only 23 years ago, when they were both married men with a family. I can understand
why they look alike, sharing the same mother, but how come they mirror every movement and gesture of each other? Explain that, I ask you. Those of you who love the TV programme "Long Lost Family" as much as I do will doubtless have noticed this phenomenon
in some of the stories depicted on screen.
I love to watch them nattering. I know what it is like to get together with a much-loved sibling. When my sister Maggie
and I meet up, well, as Mr B would doubtless tell you, there is no danger of our jaws rusting. I am tempted to play this taunt back to him but I doubt I’d get a word in edgeways. “What were you talking about?” I ask him, nosily. “Oh,
this and that,” he answers, vaguely. Then again, Maggie and I have a shared childhood on which to reminisce; Mr B and his brother have so many years to catch up on. Meanwhile my lovely sister in law and I have plenty to talk about ourselves. Companionship
and chat in the beautiful surroundings of a Garden Like No Other. Perfick! (as someone would doubtless say.)
We go out for Sunday Lunch to a restaurant called
The Walls. It’s housed in a building which used to be the village school, imaginatively refurbished and bursting with character. I love the atmosphere in old school buildings. Years ago, when I was Brown Owl to the 3rd Staplehurst Brownie
Pack (the Brownies’ dads called me “Brown Ale”) we met in the Old School Hall and every week, as I set up for the meeting, I could feel the friendly ghosts of generations of litt’uns watching me.
The menu gives us a laugh. Under the choice of meat from the carvery, we are invited to sample “Leg of Welsh Leg.” Someone failed on the proof-reading, methinks. Even when we
point out the mistake, laughingly, to our waitress, she can’t immediately spot the error. Thereafter, for the rest of our time with our host and hostess, every time we saw a field of sheep (and there were a lot of them, we were in Wales, remember) we
would all chorus: “Look! Leg of Welsh leg!” OK, it probably doesn’t sound all that funny to you, but it was to us. I expect you had to be there...
Mr and Mrs H are the proud "parents" of a Labradoodle called Annie to whom I became very attached during our short stay. Annie had a habit of sitting on my foot and leaning her warm, curly-haired body against my leg. It was the most
comforting of feelings. I do know that we can’t really have a dog, it wouldn't be fair as we are away so much of the time visiting friends and family – but, if I did have a dog, it would have to be a Labradoodle just like Annie. I would train her
to do “high fives” and to sit on my foot and lean against my leg. I don’t know how I would do this, never having trained anything in my life, not even the runner bean plants which are running amok in our back garden.
The highlight of our trip was a visit to a rehearsal of the famous “Voices of the Valley” Fron Male Voice Choir, of which Mr H is a member. Visitors are welcome at rehearsals and when we
arrive on Monday evening, we are joined by two more visitors, hailing from Adelaide, Australia. Fron Choir rehearsals feature on the tourist map of Wales; the Visitors Book records names from all over the world of visitors who have stopped by. We feel
proud and privileged to listen in on their rehearsal.
Afterwards lots of members of the choir stop to chat with us. “No prizes for guessing whose brother
you are!” they keep saying. Mr B and Mr H, in unison, beam the self-same beam.
Peas in a pod.