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Betsan Powys | 07:38 UK time, Tuesday, 25 September 2007

I've been tagged.

It's all right Mam. That doesn't mean I have to be home by 10pm and stay there til dawn. It means Peter Black has given me work to do. There I was thinking I was safe down here in Bournemouth and could get on with watching Welsh Labour wrestle with the notion that it's time to dump the 'clear red water' strategy and reach out not just to their core vote but to the rural vote and the Welsh speaking vote.

Middle Wales. A woman with a name like Powys should know where - or who - that is of course but any suggestions welcome.

So what's my earliest political memory? For years I thought I had a vague memory of sitting in the back of a van, driving up a steep hill in Caerphilly, with a loudspeaker bellowing Phil Williams' name. But the by-election was in 1968 and I would have been 3, so I think we can discount that one.

I suppose the first time I remember asking questions was when the miners' strike in 1972 kept me and my best mate Mari home from Ysgol Bryntaf for a few weeks. I would have been 6 and wanting to play out in the snow. But my mother was a schoolteacher so the deal was that I kept up with schoolwork in the morning before being allowed out to play with Mari in the afternoons.

I remember writing something about why we were home, why the miners were on strike and was a 100% on their side, especially if that meant we could stay home another week.

Dad came from Llanbrynmair, hence that 'Powys' surname. His father, Robert Evans - the only grandparent I never got to know unfortunately - was a Minister in the village chapel, Yr Hen Gapel. My uncle carried on that family tradition many years later. Taid was a pacifist, a conscientious objector and was proud to follow in the footsteps of Llanbrynmair radicals like S.R, Samuel Roberts.

My big brother Rhys and I would certainly have been aware from an early age that Dad felt the same pride, though (and I hope he doesn't mind my mentioning this) I remember noticing that he'd scrawled the word 'Twp' - 'Daft' - on the spine of Iorwerth Peate's book, 'Syniadau' - 'Ideas'. Rhys and I thought that was pretty radical ... Years later I asked him why and he said he'd been a cocky young student, trying to develop his own ideas and seemed mortified we'd noticed.

My other grandfather was a Ceredigion farmer and a Liberal through and through. He'd shout 'hang 'em all' if he ever came across a Nationalist and was only kind of joking. I don't remember talking politics with either Nain or Mamgu by the way, before you ask.

I googled Taid, Robert Evans, before writing this and found this photo by Geoff Charles of him. He's on the extreme left, though he doesn't look very much like himself somehow.

From Bournemouth over to Ross at Red Anorak - and Normal Mouth - seem like appropriate choices from where I'm sitting this week.

Update: I see Normal Mouth has been there, done that ...

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