Abercrave is a village four miles from where I live and this, the first reading of my books to be performed locally. It is a privilege to be invited, though perhaps a little daunting in some respect, as I was about to share two stories, both Welsh in origin, historical, and one of local legend. Ballad of Penygraig is a story born only five miles from Abercrave and factually, a part of local history. I have lived in this valley for seventeen years and nearly thirty in Wales. But I am from Yorkshire writing about Welsh history, some factual, some fantasy. Furthermore, Owain Glyndwr is the most famous and revered of Welsh hero’s, how would Crach Ffinnant be received? This group of wise folk share a rich tapestry of local and national history, thus how would my work be received, me an english man? Food for thought but needless in the scheme of things.
I must firstly, apologise for our lack of technical prowess in filming, as the beginning is a little shaky, but only for a minute or two, then a perfectly upright me is viewed. Secondly, I have not edited the film because I did not want to lose any audio. Each book is introduced with explanations of why I wrote them and then readings performed. I wish we had filmed the nattering over tea afterwards, so much interest shared, it was a super experience. For me, the learning curve continues.
Arriving as the formal part of their meeting began, it was very hard for me not to smile, when the chairman (91 years young) asked, “Has anybody died since last month?” Thankfully, nobody had and the minutes and announcements continued. Then it was my turn.