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16 October 2014

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By Noelyne Hammond
June 2007, Newtown
A digital story from Capture Wales

"Mum died on her 94th birthday. We picked up her ashes and took her on a pilgrimage through her beloved town of Aberystwyth before taking her home.

There's where you were born, still a shop, that's nice. The tales you told of family and friends, I lived them with you.

Off to college in London, big thing then, from a town at the end of the line.

Back home and Dad - there's Holy Trinity where you were married. You who had been Welsh Methodist, three times a Sunday, and the minister wouldn't come to your wedding because you'd changed to Church in Wales.

Here's South Marine. Holidays with Dadcu and Mamgu and where my memories entwine with yours, Mum. Seaweed, large stones, rock pools, elasticated bathing suits. Walks along prom. Falling in love, falling out of love. Let's kick the bar!

Stop, there's one of the vicarages where we lived. Wonderful for us but hard for you. No electricity. One husband, four children, a dog and a goat. You never had time to look at the view.

The last Rectory, the present owner in the garden. I explain. 'Have you got your mother with you? Bring her in and take a walk around.'

She appears around the corner with a cup of tea.

On to the church, pictures in my mind of Dad in his surplice and you at the organ - my job now.

Last years here, many without Dad. Central heating at last and a neighbour from Aberystwyth - memory lane.

I'll take you home with me for tonight.

Nos da Mam, I think we've all had a happy day."

Noelyne sings 'Ar Lan y Môr'.

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I'm 67 years old and I live in Newtown, Powys. I'm an ex teacher and ex carers officer and gave up work in 1992 to look after my husband who has MS. He was a radio officer in the merchant navy and I travelled with him for 15 years. I belong to Newtown Musical Theatre Company and Newtown Civic Society. I am currently studying Spanish at A-level.

What's your story about?
Taking my mother's ashes on a pilgrimage around Aberystwyth where she was born and brought up, and also stopping at other places she had lived, on the way back to Newtown.

Why did you choose to tell this particular story?
It helped me to cope with the grief of losing my mother, and maybe the same idea could help someone else one day. There is also a little bit of social history to be pulled out of it.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
The focus and discipline needed - the writing and also, depsite my lack of computer skills, I actually managed to produce something!

Your comments

"This is pure R S Thomas - Noelyne captures the economy of language which is what great poetry is really all about - the ability to say much with few words - trusting in the reader's intelligence. And it was Mid Walian with its distinct lack of sentimentality - an economy of spirit, which is not to be confused with a meanness of spirit, but where feelings are metered & measured. The words reflect the beauty of the Mid Wales landscape." Bijon Sinha & Richard Northridge, Newtown, Powys.

"The few words say everything" Chris P Hill from Metheringham.

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