Then off to Fern Hill, where Dylan Thomas spent boyhood summers on his Aunt Annie’s farm. It’s all there: the lane, the house, the post box. “Fern Hill” was then read to us in a lilting Welsh accent: “Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs….” We heard chiffchaff warblers and saw blooming black locust trees.
The lane was inviting. I wanted to walk down it. We’d come up it in the tour bus so I knew what was there. But it still was a mystery. I am having this feeling often in Wales: of both obscurity and view, embedded and free, fire and stone.
We drove on down a lane so narrow we feared the bus mirrors would snag in the hedgerows.
“Everyone’s a Williams,” says the guide.
A colleague’s voice sounds like a sheep baaa’ing in the wind.
There are more kinds of lichen in Wales than anywhere in the world.
At Bristol Channel I dip my toes into the warm sea. Expired jellyfish dotted the sands.
After dinner a poet read to us by heart, adding songs on her ukelele.
I retire yawning. Outside I hear sheep, a moped, men on their way home from the pub howling in the streets.