Forty-four years ago this summer, almost entirely by chance, DH and I made a move which would change our lives forever. He was close to completing his professional training and was looking for his first qualified post and I had finally decided that I wasn’t cut out to be a teacher (my first choice of profession) and would become a librarian instead.
Our children were still very young, but it wouldn’t be too long before DS would be old enough to go to school and we wanted to be settled before this important stage was reached. So in the winter of 1972, I began to apply to library schools and DH began to apply for posts in the areas in which those library schools were located. I was lucky enough to receive several offers of places and we waited anxiously to see if and where DH would be fortunate enough to be offered a job.
Two of the library school places were in cities: Liverpool, in the north-west of England, not very far from where I was born and had grown up and Newcastle upon Tyne in the north-east, where DH had spent his childhood. The third was in Wales, just outside Aberystwyth – terra incognita for both of us. Indeed my first ever visit to Wales was for the interview for my library school place – arriving on the milk train from Shrewsbury.
Despite my tiredness and the tension of the forthcoming interview I can still remember how bowled-over I was by the beauty of the landscape through which the train travelled between Shrewsbury and Aberystwyth and also how impressed I was by the brand-new college of librarianship at which I was interviewed. Now the question of where DH would be offered a job acquired a new urgency for me, as yet again I had fallen in love with a place at first sight, though this time it was a landscape, rather than a city.
To cut a long story short, DH was offered a post about 40 miles from my library school (but what a commute!) and in the summer of 1972 we moved to Wales. After a very demanding but happy year at library school, I was offered my first professional post in the same local authority area as DH and we moved across the Cambrian Mountains to put down roots in the quiet, beautiful and unspoiled part of Mid-Wales where we still live.
It may have been a lucky chance which brought us to Wales, but it will always be home to us now. Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus! Happy Saint David’s Day to you all.