"We moved to Wales last August. My husband had been made redundant and decided to desert the rat-race. We spent 19 years living in Buckinghamshire, which is very pretty, and handy for London, but the people who live there are, on the whole, too busy and too important to talk to you. We were originally from Lancashire, and my husband's Mum was from Tudweiliog - but failed to teach him Welsh, and it was a huge shock to the system when we moved south. We thought we'd be there for a couple of years, but the time just disappeared. When we knew the redundancy was on the cards (and we had plenty of notice) we decided to set up our own company, and live where we really wanted to live, for a change.
We really feel as though we've 'come home'. Jan Newton
We moved to Llanafan Fawr, a tiny village just north of Builth Wells. It's an amazing place. Not only is it totally, breathtakingly spectacular, but the people are friendly, thoughtful hardworking and very special. We really feel as though we've 'come home'. I've never known such community spirit, even though the inhabitants of Llanafan are spread far and wide. I was talking to a chap on the checkout at Somerfield in Llandod, who said moving here was like going back 30 years in terms of quality of life. The kids are more polite, better informed and - well, kids. They get home from school without the need for 4x4s with bull bars, and don't seem traumatised by life. People don't only hold doors open for you, they reverse out of shop doorways to make sure you can get through. Selfridges, eat your heart out!
I decided to join a Welsh class in September - I think we'd been here about three weeks, but the North Walian relatives have been very patient with our complete lack of Welsh - and it's lovely. Despite the fact that there's not a huge amount of Welsh spoken in these parts, every opportunity is taken by our tutor to make sure we don't revert to Saes whenever possible. The Welsh speakers that there are here are very generous with their time, and make us feel like we're not completely illiterate!
It was at the first Welsh lesson that one of the other students noticed my 'band tee shirt' and enrolled me instantly into Llandrindod Wells Silver Band, on flugel. What a tremendous gang they are. They haven't enough players to make up a full band, but they enjoy playing, and can always call on friends to help out when necessary. The town and the council are very supportive, and it's lovely to be able to help the band continue.
I really can't believe how lucky we are to be able to live here. We still feel as though we're on holiday, six months on, it's just so relaxed and easy to live here. People care passionately about Wales and it's lovely to be a part of it. Best thing we ever did!"Jan Newton