The Silence Of The Knowing.
This is the first chapter in a story which follows the lives of a community here in Wales during the 60s and 70s.
We begin with Maggie who along with her twin daughters moves from city life in Scotland to rural Wales after a tragic loss in their lives .
Maggie being a published writer found the beautiful Welsh countryside which surrounded their new home so inspiring : but was all as it should be in the lives of these country folk ?
Begin your reading right here !!!
Whispers battling with the wind
Are blown away, no choice!!
But on the breeze of a new dawn,
These whispers found their voice!!
November 9th 1965.
Rat a tat tat!!! Oh my goodness, the loud banging on the front door bought Maggie back to reality she was entranced in the world of the new book she was writing, she opened the door to find the postman with a handful of letters.
“Good morning cariad” he said with a huge cheeky grin on his face. “You must be Maggie; I’m Dai, your one and only local postman”.
“Very pleased to meet you” she shook his outstretched hand.” I won’t introduce myself because you already seem to know my name.”
“There’s not much I don’t know, everyone tells me all their secrets as I deliver from house to house. “However you will be pleased to know that my lips are sealed and not a word of whatever I'm told in confidence gets passed them!!"
Maggie immediately warmed to him, he could only be genuine and she found herself immediately
“By the way I was very sorry to hear of the passing away of your husband" he carried on." I spoke to him a couple of times when you all came to stay for that week.” “He seemed to be a fine man; it must be very hard for you!”
“Yes it is but there we are I have my daughter’s to keep me strong. I have to carry on for them.” was Maggie’s reply.
“I’m sure you’re doing great and I always believe in the saying that” time does heal” With that he jumped on his bike, waved farewell and whistled happily on his way.
"Goodbye Dai." She called after him.
With that she went back indoors and made myself a cuppa. She sat in her well-worn rocking chair which faced the window through which she could see the magical country views that surround me;
The green fields surrounded by gorse bushes laden down with the yellow flower of the gorse.
The sheep and cows that were grazing contentedly in the fields that surrounded her.
If she listened carefully she could hear so many different bird calls but most of the time they just mingled as one bewitching spell that can only be found in the countryside. She allowed her thoughts to drift back a few months.
Having lived in Scotland all her life she had moved with her two daughters to the Welsh country village of Nanthir. Her beautiful thatched roof cottage with roses round the door is called “Sibrwd - Y –Gwynt,” which translated into “Whispers of the Wind.”
The village consisted of one pub, a small post office/grocery shop, and a primary school with only thirty pupils attending. Which was a big difference to the big classes they were used to.
The peace, tranquillity and beauty of the countryside were just what she needed as her inspiration to write. Her and Scott her husband had bought this property but sadly Scott had been killed in a motoring accident two months before they were due to move . He was a doctor and was due to join the doctors’ practise in a small seaside town Aberhyd about six miles away. Not even in her writing was she able to fully explain the excruciating pain and emptiness that she felt!! She was so grateful for her two beautiful twin daughters Debra and Louise who definitely kept her on her toes and she made a promise to herself that she would always stay strong for them.
Maggie's world fell apart and after working through many painstaking doubts with loving support from her parents, she decided to carry on with the move here. The deciding factor had actually come about when both her daughters hugged her one day, and Louise always the more assertive of the two said;
“We both think we should move Mum.” “We are going to miss our friends but that’s not what counts, Dad would have wanted us to move!!” “He didn’t want us to grow up in the city!”
Never had she felt as proud of her daughters as that moment, and she held them to her in a great big hug, not wanting to ever let them go!
A writer's paradise!!
Oh yes they were both so right. Scott had always wanted them to live in the peace and tranquillity of the country rather than the hustle bustle of the busy city life in Scotland. They had bought the house outright after an uncle of Scott's had left him everything when he passed away so there were no mortgage repayments and Maggie had her income as a writer, which at the moment was quite substantial.
Despite a rocky start she had persevered in her bid to be a successful author. After sacksful of rejections she began to have her work published in magazines. Her children’s stories were very popular especially stories about animals and nature, as well as her humorous stories/poems .She loved to write about happiness and mischief, in fact she loved to write about so many things.
At the moment she was in the process of writing a novel about life in a Welsh village. She had no idea how it was going to end or indeed what exactly was going to happen. The story unfolded as each day dawned. She was very often as surprised as anyone by what she wrote daily and very often these turn out to be the most successful stories. However she thought it was really more down to everyone’s own style of writing, as it is a very individual and personal subject.
Her parents Hamish and Fiona had helped them to move down and stayed with them for a week to help organise different things and get the house and all their belongings into order. It was with a heavy heart that she bade them farewell as she knew that she was going to miss them living nearby so much!! However she knew that she'd made the correct decision and she was the sort of person who may stay in the same place on life's journey but she never ever back tracked.
Debra and Louise settled in quickly at their new school even though many of the subjects were taught in Welsh. It always amazed her how quickly children adapted and the girls were already saying a few Welsh phrases. When she went to pick them up from school yesterday Debra had ran over and said “Beth sydd i te mum?”
The only word she could make sense of was mum, “I think you’re going to have to help me here sweetheart, “she said with a smile.
“Oh mum you really are silly; I’m asking you what’s for tea?”
She smiled fondly at her daughter “I think it may be a good idea if you give me some Welsh lessons.”
“Well nawr te I was wondering when I was going to be so lucky as to meet you merchi!” came a jolly voice from behind Maggie. She turned round to a friendly lady with rosy cheeks and a big smile. “How are you settling in at Sibrwd Y Gwynt?!!”
Without much of a pause the lady carried on in her friendly voice and her broad Welsh accent made it sound as if she was singing. Oh how Maggie loved this lilt that she was quickly getting used to; she was determined more than ever that she was going to do her best to learn Welsh!
The shop keeper’s voice brought her back to the present;
“I’m Llinos and I run this shop for all my sins.” She pointed at the shop nearby that had a sign on the door saying “Ar Gau".
She opened the door and turned the sign the sign to "Ar Agor."
Even Maggie with her limited knowledge of the language could work out that "Ar Gau" meant closed and "Ar Agor" meant open.
“In you come!” Llinos insisted.
Maggie needed some groceries and was pleasantly surprised that everything she needed was there.
She only needed some carrots and a swede to go with the stew that she’d made earlier and she also bought a loaf of the crispy fresh bread that Llinos sold.
Maggie was determined that when she had settled in she was going to do more home cooking and hopefully even learn to make her own bread. She was about to thank Llinos when she came round the counter and gave Maggie a big hug before saying,
“I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s death cariad, but don’t you worry you’ve moved to the right place." " We’ll look after you and your girls here!”
However I have to admit that there are some 'rhacs' living here who are only happy when they are back stabbing someone.” “You’ll soon find out who they are!”
Maggie was warmed by this welcome as she was not used to it; everybody kept themselves to themselves when they’d lived in the city.
Llinos’s melodious voice carried on through her thoughts.
"Don’t you take any notice of them and talk of the devil there’s one 'rhacsyn' coming here now!!”
Maggie turned round just in time to see a man enter and she had felt a cold shiver running down her spine! She looked at Llinos and her jolly smile had turned into a hard hostile glare.
“Hello ladies and how you are today?” he said.
Llinos replied “I am very busy so if you could just say what you want and then I can get on with my work!!”
Maggie took another glance at the man; he was of average height and plump. He was dressed in a beige gabardine coat and was wearing a trilby hat!
“Not in a very good mood are we, I’ll just have a bottle of your Friars Balsam then if it’s not too much bother,” "Oh and some of that Epsom Salts as well my dear lady!!"
Llinos's face never lost its hostility as she took his money and gave him back his change
At this point he turned round and caught Maggie staring at him. He smiled at her, not really a smile more of a leer and carried on;
“You must be the new lady from Sibrwd-Y-Gwynt,” and held his hand out for a handshake but Maggie was frozen to the spot and could not return his greeting. He took his hand away but not before giving her another sickly smile!
“These two must be your lovely daughters,” he said and she instantly pulled my two girls closer to me, never before had anyone had such an effect on me.
“Good day” he said as he went out, seemingly oblivious to the strained atmosphere. “I’m sure we’ll bump into each other again soon,” were his parting words. As he'd made his exit!!
“Who on earth was that? “She asked Llinos but at those minute three customers entered and the small shop was filled to the brim!!
“I’ll tell you again, just be very weary of him and tell your daughters to stay away from him!” she replied in a whisper. Maggie left the shop and was relieved to see that he’d gone.
Debra was the first to comment on the man, “Who was that man mum? You didn’t like him did you?” Louise was skipping on ahead totally oblivious to the episode.
That was no surprise though; Debra had always been the more astute and sensitive of the two girls.
“No you’re right sweetheart I didn’t like him, and I’m not sure why.” “Sometimes we just get a feeling that someone isn’t a very nice person!” Maggie said still feeling very uneasy.
“Is that the same as when I said I didn’t like Hamish McDougal and you didn’t believe me and then I was right because the next day he stole my dinner money out of my bag!!” Louise asked skipping back towards us.
Maggie smile and gave her a big hug “Yes sweetheart it is the same thing at the end of the day."
“That man won’t be able to steal my dinner money though because he’s not in our school!!”
She knew that she had to get a very important message across to her daughters. She had to warn them; “No I know that but all the same not everyone in this world is nice and I don’t think he is!!” “I just want you both to stay away from him and if he tries to talk to you ignore him!!”
Maggie didn’t want to frighten them but she had such a bad feeling about him. Maybe being a writer had given her a sixth sense she thought to herself.
“Ok mum,” they both replied and went skipping on ahead of her.
Maggie has made her first friend but why has this last person made her feel so uneasy. Never before has Maggie felt such an intense dislike of someone she doesn't even know !!
Find out more in Chapter II
© 2014 Eiddwen