Last evening the Farmer & I went up to one of our local pubs, The Lamb, having been invited to the book launch of our local historian's latest volume, 'The Way It Was in a Rural Community'.
Winston Jones is a neighbour of ours and has connections with Penyrallt as it was where his grand-parents had met whilst working here as servants in the 19th century. He is a fund of local knowledge and is very highly regarded in the locality. The pub was packed with people from all over the parish & beyond who came to wish him well with the new book and to buy their copies.
What is so lovely about Winston's books is that they are constructed around his memories of how life was in the countryside over the past 70 years and more, as he is able to draw on the deep well of stories that he was told by his parents & grandparents of a time even further back.
His first book, 'An Illustrated Chronicle of My Family Covering 200 Years' is an account of the lives of his ancestors in what had been a very remote rural community and he describes how the gradual changes in country life came about with the advent of the internal combustion engine and how the English language came into the community. He describes in the second book his first hearing of English as a boy.
It is often forgotten that English is a new language to this part of Wales and that for so many people it is their second language. Many of our friends & neighbours conduct their whole lives in the Welsh language.
Winston's books are written with clarity and a knowledge of a way of life that has largely disappeared, but they are not sentimental or rose-tinted though there is regret that so many people who now live in the countryside have so little knowledge of their community history and the world of the fields and hedgerows that surround them.
Although these books are about a tiny rural parish in deepest West Wales their stories and memories can be echoed all over the British Isles and make for fascinating reading.
The Shiba Inu has now been taken in to the care of the Shiba rescue people in England. He went off quite happily and will now be well looked after by people who understand the breed. He was a lovely dog but definitely not suitable for life on a busy farm, not that we intended to keep him anyway... we were just doing our'good Samaritan' bit. Where he came from we have no idea and no-one has come forward to claim him, so in due course he will be re-homed with people who can give him the right environment and care.