Foreword

“There is a word in the ancient Welsh tongue which captures the deep longing wanderers sometimes experience for a lost home, or for a vanished place where our hearts once found their comfort.

“Hiraeth,” perfectly describes this unsettling yearning, for the lost homeland. The  Saxons called it “heimweh,” which meant “home-woe” or “home-pain,”

“We call it home-sickness, but hiraeth is beyond being merely a longing for return to the familiar; it is a void which can only be filled by  the mythological home we desire and mourn, which may have never actually existed,  may be a place where our souls sense their source, where the spirits of our forebears call to us.”1

Bryn Terfel – ‘We’ll Keep a Welcome in the Hillside’

Far away a voice is calling
Bells of memory chime
Come home again, come home again

They call through the oceans of time

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppPIyYRxswk

The following pages are snippets of collective family memories, stories and recollections of myself and others. They describe a village-like community, situated in the midst of a larger town, where people lived out a day to day existence. The town was founded to supply workers for the emerging iron and steel industry, as well as the nearby coal fields.

I must emphasize that this is my version of events, either told, remembered or imagined. Others may dispute some of the content or have different recollections but that is their story not mine.

Memories do not follow a chronological order, they meander through your mind as they are triggered by related or seemingly unrelated events or music.

Having a great love of music, I find that popular songs evoke the zeitgeist2 of the times in which they were written and performed. I’ve included various references to songs and music that were related historically to the writing or have special significance to my family or myself, but are not necessarily my most favourite pieces.

You can listen to the songs without the tedium of reading my ramblings by skipping to the Song Bibliography at the end and click on a title or Spotify – rayjonesmemoir.com 

 

How far do you go? I chose to end this account with my marriage to Helen when my story became our story. And I will leave that for others to write about.

Ray Jones
DOB: 20/9/41

Next: Maps

Previous: Dedications

  1. Michael Pearce, Medium, https://medium.com/mutualart/daniel-spricks-hiraeth-a-little-light-magic-9651b8c5b0ca
  2. Zeitgeist – The defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history