Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Talk at Oriel, Llangefni, Anglesey.

Imagine this: a room full of wonderful paintings of Patagonia (if you click on the picture below you can see some of them); a projector and a screen all ready and waiting for me, and checked out by a man called Gwyndaf (coincidentally the name of my father's cousin); a good-sized audience of interested people - many of whom had been to Patagonia or who knew people that were out there.

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.


Anonymous marly youmans said...

Another event that feels appropriate and satisfying. Wish they were all that way!

Tue Mar 29, 09:06:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Yes, some events make you wonder why you bother, really, don't they? But then, even really well-known writers feel like that too, apparently.

Tue Mar 29, 09:23:00 pm  
Blogger Marly Youmans said...

There's so much that needs to be done to build toward a good event, and often it is not done. And we don't have a lot of control over whether local people are notified and the local news gets out. The web helps, but it doesn't reach everybody.

Fri Apr 01, 06:22:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Yes, this is true Marly - and even when it is advertised it is a lot for people to make the effort to come. Sometimes they enjoy it when they do come, but they often need a little shove. I know I do.

Fri Apr 01, 06:27:00 pm  

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