In a week in which the sad news reached us of Amanda Glover’s death, it seemed fortunate that Gillian and I should be able to make a kind of pilgrimage back to the old “alma mater”. Our good friend Shevaughn Williams has used her considerable creative powers to reinvent herself as the “Bagwitch” and had a stall at the Town and Gown Christmas Fair. While she wowed the good citizens of Lampeter, we took a stroll around the town and campus with her husband Paul and remembered the dear friend we’d lost and the good times we’d had in those buildings and on those streets. Any chin stroking and pomposity was quelled by the accompanying Elsie and James, four and ten respectively, who will probably never begin to imagine the fun that our young bodies had in those far off days.
You are unaware, when young, how much the choices that you make will echo through the years and alter the course of your life. I have my family and a support for Plymouth Argyle from before 1976, and almost everthing else comes from the people I met here in these formative years. The class of 76 arrived to a landscape peopled by post hippy prog-rockers with the Stones and Dylan as the pipers of the tune. Yet in that one short year, it was all changed with the arrival of the Sex Pistols and punk. By the time the class of 77 arrived, which included Amanda and Gillian, it was clear the rules had been rewritten and that generation was over and a new kind of thinking was all around. For a while in rural Wales we felt like the only people who noticed this change and it was really very exciting.
We went to Conti’s, where Mr Conti still serves his wonderful ice cream and where he reported that the arrival of mobile phones had killed the juke box as people brought their own music with them. He kindly gave the children a bag each – very appropriate on the Bagwitch launch day. The town seems more colourful than I remember and smarter, while the college seems in places untidy with a sense of not being looked after. The hockey pitch, once immaculate, now looks like it might be used but not maintained. The tennis courts are a car park; in fact everywhere seems to have succumbed to the need for parking spaces. The social centre of our campus life at Bridge St is now a shop. But I’m sure for the young who attend this year it will shape and form them in ways they won’t even begin to notice for years. As we walked past the pipe that Gillian made me walk to prove my love 30 years ago, a band appeared to be rehearsing in the union buildings that have moved across the river. Not a patch on the mighty Repeaters, I’m sure.
We walked to the swollen Teifi, with the flooded fields looking much like they did in the first term of 76, when it seemed to me that it rained for 10 weeks. It was dark and grey, with the feeling of rain in the air, but that fitted the mood of the week. It felt right to be back there at that time and Gillian bought a candle from the Fair to light for her friend, which burns on our mantlepiece as I type.
Shot with Panasonic GF-1 and 20mm Pancake which has replaced my Nikon D5000 as my small camera of choice. I used Lightroom to turn them B&W which just seemed to fit.