Thursday 31 December 2015

Bedd Taliesin

On the hill above Tre-Taliesin I munched a sandwich. I was sitting on an old tumulus, a burial mound probably dating from the Bronze Age. But to local people it was Bedd Taliesin, Taliesin’s Grave, a name that seems to have pre-dated the village below. But Taliesin died in the sixth century. Had Bronze Age funerary practices survived into early medieval times in this remote part of Wales? It seemed unlikely, and Taliesin would probably have had an early Christian burial. So why? Why this of a thousand tumuli?
Below was Tre-Taliesin.  Beyond that was Cors Fochno where lived Ceridwen. Beyond the marsh lay the sea. There, near my own home, Ceridwen had placed her unwanted child into a leather bag and thrown him into the sea. Beyond was site of Aber Leri and Gwyddno’s fish-trap where the child Taliesin had been found.
To the north was the massif of Cader Idris, shrouded in cloud. For a moment the cloud cleared. Through a notch in the foothills I could see the imposing summit from which Taliesin had returned after a night alone there, the greatest poet that ever lived.

From that spot alone I could see every point that was central to the physical and artistic creation of Taliesin: man, legend, and poet. Surely that was why it was called Bedd Taliesin.

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Gwaith Cors Fochno

On the south side of the Dyfi estuary, in the lee of the sand dunes of Ynys Las, was Traeth Maelgwyn: Maelgwyn’s beach.  On the sand dunes we stood and watched the tide rush in. Within minutes the Afon Dyfi grew from a few hundred yards wide to well over a mile. Traeth Maelgwyn vanished with amazing speed.
Once the princes of Wales all gathered at Cors Fochno to see who should be the high king. They came from the North; they came from the South. They all placed their thrones on the waters edge on the South side of the Dyfi. As the tide came in the prince who remained seated for longest would be the king.
But Prince Maelgwyn had a wise old friend Maeldaf Hen. As the contest was beginning Maeldaf ran forward with a special throne for Maelgwyn. It was not a grand wooden throne like those of the other princes. It was a light chair made from the feathers of sea birds. As the sea came in all the other princes had to retreat to avoid being drowned. But Maelgwyn in his special chair rose up on the waters, just as a sea-bird bobs on the waves.

So Maelgwyn became high king of all Wales.  The contest was called Gwaith Cors Fochno and the scene of Maelgwyn’s triumph is called Traeth Maelgwyn, Maelgwyn’s beach, to this very day.

Friday 11 December 2015

Cader Idris

Looming over the Dovey Estuary was the impressive mountain of Cader Idris: the Chair of Idris.
Idris, he was a great giant. Every night he would go up the mountain and use his chair to gaze on the stars.

I remember my father telling me of climbing Cader Idris by the vertiginous Fox’s Path. I guess this may have been in the last months before the Second World War. He told me of the old man who every day ascended the mountain from Dolgellau with a pony carrying lemonade, and so was able to charge thirsty mountaineers like my father a high price for their refreshment. My father had hurried up and down, pausing only for one swift lemonade. He was not worried about the price, or even the giant Idris. I remembered my father saying: “To spend a night on the summit of Cader, is to return either a poet or a madman.” Father, not prepared to take the chance, had returned before nightfall, and consequently claimed to be neither. But Taliesin too had been drawn to the mountain. So was I, and later in life I spent many nights with Idris.

Sunday 22 November 2015

The Ancients of the World

Another legendary inhabitant of Cos Fochno was a magic toad that was one of the six oldest creatures in the world, and one of the wisest.
An Eagle lived in the woods of Gwernabwy. Sadly his old wife-eagle died, and he was very lonely. He thought it would be good if he could marry an old widow of his own age. He thought he might ask the old Owl of Cwm Cawlyd to be his second wife, but first he decided to ask about her. Now the Eagle had a friend, older than himself, the Stag of Rhedynfre. The Eagle decided to ask him if he knew about the old owl.
The Eagle went to the Stag, who said this: "Do you see this oak beside me? Now it is just a withered stump, with no leaves or branches, but I remember when it was an acorn on the top of the chief tree of this forest. An oak is three hundred years growing, three hundred years in its prime, and three hundred years in returning to the earth. More than sixty years of the last hundred of this oak are passed and the Owl has been old since I first remember her. But I have a friend who is much older than I, the Salmon of Llyn Llifon. Ask him if he knows about the old Owl."
The Eagle went to the Salmon, who said this: "I have a year over my head for every gem on my skin and for every egg in my roe, but the Owl was old when first I remember her. But I have a friend who is much older than I, the Ousel of Cilgwri. Ask him if he knows about the old Owl."
The Eagle found the Ousel sitting on a hard flint, and asked if he knew of the Owl. The Ousel said: "Do you see this flint? It used to be so large it took three hundred yoke of the largest oxen to move it. It has only been worn away by my cleaning my beak upon it every night before going to sleep, and striking the tip of my wing on it after rising in the morning. Yet never have I known the Owl younger or older than she is today. But I have a friend who is much older than I, the Toad of Cors Fochno. Ask him if he knows about the old Owl.
The Eagle went to the Toad, who said this: "I never eat any food but the dust of the earth, and I never eat half enough to satisfy me. Do you see the great hills round this bog? I have seen the place where they stand level ground. I have eaten all the earth they contain, though I eat so little lest all the earth should be consumed before I die. Yet never have I known the Owl anything else but an old grey hag who cried to-whit-to-whoo in the woods in the long winter nights, and scared children with her voice even as she does to-day."
So the Eagle decided to marry the Owl and from Eagle’s courtship we know which are the oldest creatures in the world. They are the Eagle of Gwernabwy, the Stag of Rhedynfre, the Salmon of Llyn Llifon, the Ousel of Cilgwri, the Toad of Cors Fochno, and the Owl of Cwm Cawlyd, and the oldest of them all is the Owl.

I always imagined meeting the wise, old toad deep in the marsh. I never knew what I would ask him. But I never went there for fear of Ceridwen.

Tuesday 10 November 2015


But there were other legendary inhabitants of Cors Fochno. One was Hen Wrach Cors Fochno (the Old Witch of Cors Fochno), who I always took to be the legendary Ceridwen.

Ceridwen, the enchantress, had two children: an ugly son, Morfran and a lovely daughter, Creirwy.
Because Morfran was ugly, Ceridwen wanted to make him wise instead. She made a potion that had to be boiled in her magic cauldron for a year and a day. She got Morda, a blind man, to tend the fire. She used a young boy, Gwion Bach, to stir it. The first three drops of liquid from this potion gave wisdom; the rest was a deadly poison. But on the last night the blind man nearly let the fire go out. Gwion shouted in alarm and Morda put too much wood on the fire, which then flared up. The potion boiled over and three hot drops spilled onto Gwion's thumb, scalding him. Instinctively he put his thumb in his mouth and straight away he knew he had got the wisdom Ceridwen meant for her son.
Gwion knew Ceridwen would be angry, so he ran as fast as he could, but Ceridwen chased him. She nearly caught him, but then, using the power of the potion he turned himself into a hare and got away. But then she became a greyhound. She nearly caught him, but then he tuned into a fish and jumped into the river. But then she became an otter. She nearly caught him, but he leapt from the river, turned into a bird and flew away. But then she became a hawk. She nearly caught him, but then he saw a barn filled with grain. Tired out he flew down and turned into a single grain of corn.  But then she became a hen and started eating the grain. She pecked until all the corn was gone and she knew she had eaten Gwion. But then Ceridwen felt a stirring in her belly and she knew she was expecting a baby. She knew the child must be Gwion so she decided to kill it when it was born. But when the baby was born, he was so beautiful she could not kill him. Instead she put him in a leather bag and threw him into the sea.
Now Gwyddno Garanhir, who once was the king of Cantre’r Gwaelod was reduced to being a poor fisherman. He had a son called Elffin who was very unlucky. On Elffin’s 21st birthday he was told he could go to his father’s fish-trap and keep what ever was in it. He went to the fish trap and there was not one fish inside. Elffin was indeed unlucky. But then he noticed a leather bag caught in the trap. He looked in the bag and there was a baby boy. He went home and Gwyddno asked how many fish he had got. Elffin said “None” and Gwyddno replied “You are indeed the unluckiest of men.” But then Elffin opened the bag. Gwyddno saw the beautiful baby and declared that he was indeed ‘fair of brow’, in Welsh: Tal Iesyn, so the child was always known as Taliesin. Then Elffin was no longer unlucky, he was loved by Taliesin and together they had many adventures.
“What happened to Morfran?” I asked.

“He was all right,” said father. “He grew up to be a great warrior.”

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Twrch Trwyth

I was sure that Cors Fochno, marsh of the pigs, was once the home of the great boar Twrch Trwyth and his seven giant, warlike piglets.

Once there was a prince called Culhwch. His wicked stepmother told him to marry her daughter, but he refused, so she put a spell on him so he could marry no one but Olwen, daughter of a giant called Ysbaddaden.
So Culhwch went to King Arthur’s court at Celliwig in Cornwall and Arthur sent six of his finest warriors to help. They arranged a meeting and Olwen and Culhwch fell in love.
But Ysbaddaden set Culhwch some almost impossible tasks before he was allowed to marry. One was to retrieve a razor, scissors and comb from between the ears of the massive boar Twrch Trwyth, a wicked king who was turned into a great boar for his sins. His seven sons became huge, wild piglets. They went on a rampage and destroyed a third of Ireland.
Arthur's enchanter made himself into a bird and tried to snatch the treasures from the boar, but was poisoned by its bristles and had to fly home. Another of Arthur's men tried to negotiate, but in vain.
Then Twrch Trwyth swam to Cors Fochno. Arthur and his men chased him across Wales until he turned and killed eight of Arthur's warriors, though he was wounded himself. They had another four battles but with no success and great loss of life, and they lost track of the boars.
Then two of Twrch Trwyth's piglets surprised some of Arthur's huntsmen near Ammanford. When Arthur and his men fought back Twrch Trwyth came to defend his sons and then fled into the Brecon Beacons, where three piglets were killed. At Dyffryn Amanw, two more piglets were slain and eventually the last two, but only at great loss.
Then Arthur asked the men of Devon and Cornwall to help and together they drove Twrch Trwyth into the River Severn and grabbed the razor and shears.
Next the boar swam to Cornwall. Arthur followed and the comb was seized and Twrch Trwyth was driven into the sea and never seen again.

Some say he drowned, but I think he swam home. He’s still there, hiding in Cors Fochno. He probably lives at Glanwern farm.

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Cors Fochno

Behind Morfa Borth was Cors Fochno – the marsh of the pigs. The marsh was a huge triangular area, some 4,000 acres, bounded by the sea, the River Dovey and the Cambrian Hills. There were occasional ‘islands’ of higher ground, some supporting wind-carved trees. Often there were dark pools of dark peat-stained water.  
I’m sure it is centuries since pigs roamed the bog. In my childhood it was just a source of turf and peat, but pigs there certainly were at the farm just outside the village. I remember being taken to see these champion beasts at Glanwern. As I was just three they were much taller than me, and when, out of curiosity and the hope of food they jumped up, they towered over me like some pink snouted dinosaur.  Held up to see them, I recoiled into my mother’s arms in terror. They had more in common with Twrch Trwyth, the fearsome boar of legend, than a bacon sandwich.

Thursday 8 October 2015


You must be in bed by seven, or the crows will get you!”

In my mind’s eye great black birds swooped down, picking up small children and carrying them up to Craig-Yr-Wylfa, the high cliff south of the village. I looked from the window to see if any were nearby.
The Crows were women.
In the old days the people paid their tithe to the church in herring and other fish caught in the bay. But it was always dangerous – especially launching and landing boats through the surf.
Out at sea the litany of lost ships and lost sailors was also long. Enoch James was just 14 when he fell overboard from the Dovey Belle.
The Crows were the widows of 19th century Borth sailors, for the tithe of herring was dearly won. The women always wore black. Other fishermen would give them a few fish, they would carry turf and they would knit and sew and weave. They would collect cockles and limpets from the rocks. Then they would carry their produce over the hills to Aberystwyth to sell. In the evening you would see a line of sombre figures coming back into the village. There were so many fishermen’s widows they were vital to the local economy.

When the weather is bad you can still see ghostly, black figures on the shore, gazing out to sea.

Monday 14 September 2015

Shops and Donkeys

There was a handful of shops. Aran Morris was the greengrocer. Of his produce, spinach seemed to be what we could afford and I hated the stuff. At the age of nine months I spat a mouthful of spinach in my father’s face as he tried in vain to feed me. “Ach-y-fi,” was the inevitable response. I was never offered spinach again.

Mrs. Galloway ran the little toy-shop, but in those days after the war the shelves were often empty, not that my parents had money for toys. There were mysterious gaps on the shelves, gaps that came and went. I tried to imagine the toys that weren’t there. Where had they gone? What adventures did they have away from the safety of the shop? Did toy soldiers fight unknown battles? What maidens did they rescue? What giants did they face? What became of them? Did toy ships sail on unknown oceans to undiscovered lands? What adventures befell their sailors? What sirens, sea monsters, islands of content? Back home I made toy cars out of empty matchboxes and raced them across the lino. Matchbox ships sailed over endless linoleum seas.

Mr. Bowen the chemist was the source of various ghastly bottles of linctus I was supposed to drink. Trefor the Butcher was always good for a quarter pound of meat for mincing. Old Louie the shepherd would walk in from Brynowen. Sgt Davis was the policeman, whose appearance would strike terror into my heart, just in case I had unwittingly committed some unmentionable crime. Perhaps someone had told him about the ice-cream.

Year round this worthy crew and many more would gather at Bel-Air. There Aran’s fruit and veg. was a magnificent catalyst for timeless conversations of great confidentiality. It was a world that was certain of the past and mystified by the present.

In the Summer the donkeys would appear on the beach, led by Emlyn the donkey man. At first they would frisk and gambol, rejoicing in the sun and sea. But after a while their eyes would become sad. In the distance they could see the green slopes of Cader Idris.

Monday 7 September 2015

Ice Cream

My mother stared in amazement. It was tea time. At her first call I had not appeared, at the second I had busily scuttled through the door with a neat paper bag in my hand. When she inspected the bag it contained three neatly wrapped bricks of ice cream. They had clearly come from the shop, and being correctly wrapped had obviously not been purloined. Tea was consumed in an atmosphere of some expectation, and in those days before refrigeration the ice-cream was swiftly eaten too.
Then I was taken firmly by the hand, led across the road and round the corner to the village shop. At barely three I was not old enough to cross the road on my own, and certainly was not entrusted with anything as radical as pocket money. The shop keeper was first given an apology, and then an explanation was demanded.  Genial as ever he related that I had toddled through the door and confidently asked “Please can I have some three ice-creams?”
So assertive was this precocious request that the shop keeper could only assume that I had been sent out in advance and that mother would shortly be along to pay. As it was I had politely concluded proceedings by saying “Thank you very much” and marching out the door, nonchalantly clutching the bag of ice cream.

Monday 31 August 2015


Later we moved to a different cottage nearer the centre of Borth. It was called Sŵn-y-Don, ‘Sound of the Waves’. It shared a wall with another cottage: Sŵn-y-Mor: ‘Sound of the Sea’. It was nearer the shops, the bus stop and railway station.
In those days there were few holidaymakers, fewer cars, and no day-trippers. There was rough pasture in the marshy ground behind the village. But most cottages faced the sea. There was no natural shelter from the prevailing wind and waves, and the sea wall had not then been built. Pulled up on the stony beach above the high-water mark were a handful of wooden fishing boats. On the green above the beach was a huge pair of rusty cart-wheels from which a boat could be suspended and pushed in or out of the water.
The sea was incessant, day and night, Summer or Winter. Always there were the calls of the wheeling gulls and the never-ending sound of the waves. Sometimes I thought I could hear bells under the ocean.

Friday 21 August 2015

The Bells of Aberdovey

One day we saw small wooden boats on the Dovey north of Ynys Las. Each white sail had the outline of a bell on it.
“The Bells of Aberdovey,” said my father.
When Cantre’r Gwaelod was flooded it drowned not only houses and farms but churches as well.  When the fishermen of Aberdovey sailed out beyond the bar they could hear the bells of the churches far below the sea as they were rocked to and fro by the waves. There’s an old song by Dibdin called ‘The Bells of Aberdovey’ that proves that the legend was known in the mid-18th century. People there will still tell that on quiet nights you can still hear the bells ringing below the waves.
The yacht designer Jack Holt is thought to have drawn the GP14 sailing dinghy in Aberdovey and decided that the bell should be the class symbol on the sail. GP14 number 1, named Kittiwake II, was launched in Aberdovey in 1950. The Dovey Sailing Club formed the first fleet and sailed their boats over the lands lost beneath the waves. In my mind I always contrasted the merry bells dancing above the water and the solemn bells tolling below it.

Sunday 2 August 2015

Porth Gwyddno

One day we saw small wooden boats on the Dovey north of Ynys Las. Each white sail had the outline of a bell on it.
“The Bells of Aberdovey,” said my father.
When Cantre’r Gwaelod was flooded it drowned not only houses and farms but churches as well.  When the fishermen of Aberdovey sailed out beyond the bar they could hear the bells of the churches far below the sea as they were rocked to and fro by the waves. There’s an old song by Dibdin called ‘The Bells of Aberdovey’ that proves that the legend was known in the mid-18th century. People there will still tell that on quiet nights you can still hear the bells ringing below the waves.
The yacht designer Jack Holt is thought to have drawn the GP14 sailing dinghy in Aberdovey and decided that the bell should be the class symbol on the sail. GP14 number 1, named Kittiwake II, was launched in Aberdovey in 1950. The Dovey Sailing Club formed the first fleet and sailed their boats over the lands lost beneath the waves. In my mind I always contrasted the merry bells dancing above the water and the solemn bells tolling below it.

Wednesday 15 July 2015

The Edge of the World

The edge of the world was marked by the sea on once side and the mountains on the other. Just below the hills, on the old turnpike road, lay Tre-Taliesin, supposedly the home of Taliesin, in legend the greatest bard that Wales has ever know. Tre-Taliesin was a tiny village – most of the cottages were 19th century miner’s dwellings. But, even if it was named by some 18th century cleric, somehow the location seemed right, and there was originally a cottage there called the house of the bard. …

Tuesday 7 July 2015


The village of Borth was tiny and fixed in an ancient Welsh landscape. It perched precariously on a narrow shingle bank on the edge of Cardigan Bay. Behind it was the huge marsh of Cors Fochno, but it faced the ever-present sea.
Centuries ago Borth had been a cluster of fishermens’ cottages at the south end of the beach. Just north of the cottages the Afon Leri flowed into the sea at Aber Leri. But the longshore drift of Cardigan Bay built up the shingle bank and Aber Leri gradually moved almost three miles north. Eventually the river was diverted to flow into the River Dyfi East of Ynys Las.
By the 19th century a single street ran south to north on the shingle bank. Either side of the road tiny fishermens’ cottages became interspersed with Victorian houses. The older buildings often had Welsh names, as if they had grown out of the landscape. But the names of some were exotic. They were the names of far-away places visited by Borth sailors, or the ships on which they sailed: Arequipa, Bel-Air, Dovey Belle, Gleanor, Amity, and Sabrina. The bones of those houses had sea-salt in them and nothing changes: Alan, son of Aran and Eileen Morris of Bel-Air went to sea at the age of 16.
The Railway Station stood back from the main street. The railway arrived from Machynlleth in 1864. It brought first the navvies, then the tourists, though never in the numbers hoped for. The line ran between the shingle bank on which the village was built and the Cors Fochno. Some melancholy donkeys grazed on the waste ground beside the line. They had an old bath-tub for a drinking trough.
A few dark public houses crouched shamefacedly, hopelessly outnumbered by nonconformist chapels.  The names of the pubs betrayed their genesis: The Railway Inn, The Victoria Inn, and encouragingly, The Friendship Inn. Half way along the village was the Grand Hotel, built optimistically near the railway station.
The chapels seemed dour, especially in Winter. To me they seemed utilitarian, uncompromising, unwelcoming. When the village was young there must have been a chapel for every family, each haggling over the minutiae of Biblical interpretation or Sunday practice. Behind the village on Ynys Fergi, a rocky island in the marsh, was the Victorian church of St Matthew. Somehow, on its little hill it seemed both psychologically and physically a bit nearer to the sun. On Sunday the faithful would straggle across the railway line for the service, summoned by a single, strident bell.

Saturday 27 June 2015

Cantre’r Gwaelod

“Come on, boy!”  My parents always called me ‘boy’; my given name was reserved for disciplinary use. I struggled through wet sand and shallow pools, but the surf seemed miles away. At Spring tides low-water was low indeed and the beach by Cae’r Ffynnon was perhaps half a mile wide.

The waterlogged sand and still water reflected the sky, but out towards the sea the bright vision was punctuated with black shadows. There were dozens of them. The soft sand made walking hard work, but eventually I reached the first black shadow. It was an ancient tree-stump, black with salt and age. Sea weed and limpets clung to its base.  Looking around I could see that the stump was one of dozens, and yet more lay beneath the waves.  My father explained:
“It’s a sunken forest. Long ago all the land here was above the waves. It was called Cantre’r Gwaelod, the Low Hundred. The chief town was called Caer Gwyddno, for Gwyddno Garanhir, Gwyddno Longshanks was the King. There were a hundred farmsteads and sixteen villages. But the waters started to rise, so Gwyddno made a great dyke to keep the water out. There was a gate in the dyke to let ships in and out at low tide, and the king appointed one of his men, Seithennyn, to shut the gate. But one night Seithennyn was busy courting the King’s beautiful daughter and he had too much to drink. He forgot to shut the gate. The water came in and all the land was flooded.”
I looked on with awe, and tried to imagine the forest as it once had been.
“Come on, boy!” he said, “The tide’s coming in now. We better run in case it catches us.”
Suddenly I was filled with terror. I imagined the sea pouring over the land. I was running, running towards the high ground. But the sand was soft, the ground was waterlogged, my legs were leaden. I sensed the sea getting close and closer. Panting and out of breath we reached the shingle bank by the road. I turned round. The sea was placid, and still hundreds of yards away. We laughed out loud with unfeigned joy. But as we turned to leave I sensed the water was approaching with a new sense of menace.

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Un, dwy, tatws ac wy

“Un, dwy, tatws ac wy, 
Tair, pedair, cynffon pryf genwair,
Pump ar fy mhen, llygoden fach wen,
Chwech ar fy ‘nhrwyn, llysywen mewn brwyn,
Saith, wyth, malwod yn llwyth,
Naw, deg, dyma llond ceg!”

One, two, tatties and egg,
Three, four, a family of worms,
Five on my head, little white mice,
Six on my nose, eels in rushes,
Seven, eight, snails in tribes,
Nine, ten, here’s a full mouth!

Friday 12 June 2015

Sand Dunes

Cae’r Ffynnon lay on the unfashionable north side of the north end of North Parade, Borth. To the south lay the seaside village of Borth, to the west a shingle bank provided inadequate protection from the sea, east was the marsh of Cors Fochno, drained by the Afon Leri, and to the north were the great sand dunes of Ynys Las. 

In those days laughter and tears were free; everything else was rationed. That included parental blessings. My father’s parents rejoiced that their son John had survived the war, found a lovely bride, reclaimed the place at university that Hitler had denied him, and that the happy pair had brought forth a son.

However, my mother’s parents were aghast that their daughter Freda had joined the army, married a soldier, moved to an altogether inaccessible and probably uncivilized part of mid-Wales and then, with no discernable income, roof, or prospects, started a family.  The young parents were frequently and roundly chided for their irresponsibility. Visits to that parental home were tense and tearful.
But back in Wales things were different. Alone with her child the young mother could be young again. The pram would be pushed to the sand dunes of Ynys Las. Panting with youthful energy she would tow it to the top and there soak in the sun-bright view and forget the past. The blue sky reflected in blue waters. A fresh breeze off the sea dried her tears. The sea itself called. She listened to the music of wind and wave and sang secret songs to the beckoning ocean. Soon the coach built pram was careering down the dunes towards the sea in a shower of sand and laughter, and the carefree joy of young motherhood.

Monday 8 June 2015

Cae’r Ffynnon

In the back-alley, lean-to cottage of Cae’r Ffynnon: ‘field of the fountain’, the young mother screamed with horror. In the hallway the coach-built pram with its precious cargo of new-born wonder, rocked gently as sea-water swirled about its brightly-spoked wheels. From Cardigan Bay the wind plucked at the eaves. Waves were breaking over the shingle bank in front of the house and tugging at its foundations. From birth the child knew the tension between land and sea. 

With every wave another surge of salt water came under the door. The locks rattled under the onslaught of the storm. The sandy lane outside, often waterlogged, was now an inlet of the sea. Air bricks (essential, of course, for the healthy circulation of post-war air) spouted water into the tiny kitchen. The girl splashed to the pram, where her son Michael gurgled with pleasure, keeping time with the waves that rocked it. She seized the carefree lad and clutched him close, splashing to the stairs. “Ach-y-fi!” she cried, “Cae’r Ffynnon indeed!”