A Talk at Oriel, Llangefni, Anglesey.
We had a lively discussion after I had finished my talk last night. It was definitely worth enduring 45 minutes of gridlock outside Abergele to get there! Thank you Llinos, and the rest of the staff at Anglesey, for the invitation, and thank you Caren, for coming to see my talk twice. Your support is much appreciated!
This is the Kyffin Williams Gallery in Oriel, Llangefni, the artist's home. I don't think I could have had a more auspicious venue. Kyffin Williams went to Patagonia too on a Churchill scholarsip in 1968 and painted and drew the landscapes and the people there. From reading his memoir A Wider Sky (that my father bought for me a year or so ago) I know that he felt the same way about the place as I did: depressed.
There is something about the great sweeping expanse of flat land, the desolation of discarded paper rolling along in the wind, the lack of trees and the bare ground that makes the heart ache for home. Like Sir Kyffin I too felt a relief on reaching the relative tranquility of Gaiman. When I reached that valley and encountered the gentle and hospitable people, it affected me like the most sentimental part of a forties movie. The smell and sight of the familiar-looking buildings, and the sound of the old language adds to the sense of dislocation. Then there are the faces - like Sir Kyffin, I too found myself compelled to tell people in Wales they had a double thousands of miles away across the Atlantic. Ridiculous, really, but somehow I felt they needed to know.