Monday, 7 February 2011
You would think, wouldn't you, that I am me all of the time, doing the usual run of the mill housework, doing the things I enjoy doing, chosing what crafts to occupy me, what books to read, what to plant in the garden, trying to find our next dream house. But there is a "real me" which doesn't often get much of an airing these days. This is the "real me" who has a brain, who springs head over heals in excitement at something new learned, who desperately wishes she could have gone on and done an M.Phil - who knows, even a PhD. But this "real me" is subjugated by the demands of still being a wife and mother, who puts other people's needs before my own, who has to think about housework and the logistics of family having to be at work on differing shifts, of their worries as well as my own. This isn't meant to be self-pitying, just a statement of fact - life gets in the way for many of us, doesn't it?!
On Saturday I was "me" all day, as I enjoyed a series of talks about the achievements of Exploration Tywi, which I had hoped to be involved with, but it happened at the wrong time in my life. I would have enjoyed being involved in the churchyard surveys, the Hedgerow surveys, the Digs. I have at least been able to do some studies under my own steam, and hope to do some more research to submit. I loved hearing about archaeological sites which had been checked out but whose position or lack of remains proved a stumbling block; I loved hearing about the stories behind one or two of the names on gravestones in Llandeilo churchyard; I enjoyed hearing the story of a short-lived farmhouse which finally was reduced to rubble by fire, and what the finds said about the last family to live there. I had my brain well and truly stretched by the talk about the movements of the Twyi which is one of the most dynamic rivers in the UK, and certainly the busiest in Wales.
I jotted down something which I found really inspiring about one of the "lost houses" of Wales - that of Danyrallt in the Towy valley, which was raised to the ground about 1840, when new house improvements/extension were found to be wanting. I think I may go into the Archives tomorrow and call up one of the boxes of estate documents . . .
Imagine an old Elizabethan mansion, all angles and tall chimneys, surrounded by fields called The Court, The Bowling Green, The Cherry Orchard, The Orchard, Little Orchard Meadow and Old Hop-Ground - it sounds almost self-sufficient . . . It was formerly called Alltymeibion although this name was dropped around 1628 in favour of Danyrallt. Roughly translated, "meibion" is sons or youths, and "allt" is slope or hill . . . "Dan yr allt" would be roughly translated as under the slope or hill.
But think what was lost when it was demolished. I jotted this down from one of the posters around the hall on Saturday:
"The old house of Danyrallt was a very ancient structure, partly built of excellent masonry and partly carelessly yet strongly put together. There was a chapel above the small parlour, painted and gilt with these mottoes: Ascendit orado, descendit gratia, and Solideas gidria (I think - I DID scribble so). The chapel had a ceiling coloured with azure powdered with gold stars and the sun and moon to represent the firmament . . . ."
I may have dropped a few words in my scribbling, but it was more or less so. What a loss, but I guess this branch of the Lloyds had other houses elsewhere and this one was considered old and tatty by then . . .
Anyway, I haven't forgotten Part II of the Walks, so I will get that sorted in the next day.