A self-set task this year was to do much more reading. Somehow, though once addicted to sitting with a book, I had forgotten my addiction. So I chose to read the Bible, Old and New Testaments, and to re-read my favourite books.
To date, I’ve read the New Testament and am still ploughing through (is that blasphemy?) the Old one. I’m doing it to find out just what it says in the Bible, rather than accept what the various Christian sects tell me it says.
Reading my top favourite books – of which I have but three – is easier. I re-read “Coming down The Wye” by Robert Gibbins before Summer had gone. Great to read about the places along that lovely river, many of which I/we have visited over the years.
Now, I am well into George Borrow’s “Wild Wales”. I first read it – and “Coming Down The Wye” – when I was in my early teens. At that time, much of Wales was still really wild. And the patch of this magical land I knew best – Rhos-y-Gell, just outside Devil’s Bridge – was still the home of people who could have been from Borrow’s time (he walked this way in 1854).
Those people were brought up and lived before the advent of motor-cars being owned by nearly every family in Britain. A trip from Rhos-y-Gell to Aberystwyth – less than fifteen miles – was an adventure. One or two had even travelled all the way to England by train at some point in their lives, and Shoosbry (that’s “Shrewsbury” if you don’t speak Wenglsh!) was a foreign city to them back then.
There were people, even in Aberystwyth in those days (the early 1950s), who didn’t speak English.
So old George’s book reminded me of those holidays spent among the innocent folk of Rhos-y-Gell, and – even though I’ve read it many times over the years – I’ve again learned some more about our adopted land, perhaps from a different perspective these days. And now I’ve reached the chapter where he enters this part of Wales, and looks at places I know well.