My father and I left home when I was just fifteen years old. My father remarried and I made a life of my own. By the time I was twenty three, I had travelled many miles and lived a thousand lives. My footprints are embedded in land across the globe. It is no wonder my head is spinning with tales to tell.
For some time, I lived amongst the Makah Indians in the wilds of the Pacific. It was here I fished amongst the great orcas in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Bartering with the Indians became a way of life; a life, I knew was totally illegal. I soon began to change and looked at everything in a completely different way. One couldn’t help but to do this, especially as I was so young and already felt I had lived a lifetime.
I played my guitar in mountains more spectacular than those found in Switzerland (though I have been there also and they are indeed magnificent). I have done things perhaps I shouldn’t have done and risked my life a million times. My feet, though small, have worn out many shoes through trekking places less travelled. And my heart is engrained with enough stories to fill a thousand books. It’s no wonder I have little trouble finding tales to write for you on these dark evenings...but I do need to finish my books.
Remember, whatever it is you are longing to do you, writing a book, a different way of cooking, writing to friends you haven’t seen for ages, or painting, you must find a way to fit it into your life picture. It is as simple as that. You see, it is indeed later than you think!
The little hamster ran like crazy around a wheel inside its cage.
‘Don’t your tiny feet get tired?’ frowned Aled. ‘Don’t you feel sick?’
The hamster slowed down and looked at Aled. Aled stared into its eyes for an answer, but he didn’t get one.
‘It must be like living in school every single day,’ Aled looked disgusted. ‘If that’s how it feels, then I have no choice but to set you free.’
The hamster went even faster than before.
‘Wouldn’t you like to be free to run around the world?’ He shouted into the cage. But the hamster ignored him.
‘Oh, I would love to run around the world,’ said Aled leaning against his bed. And he wondered if this was possible. Everybody would notice me then, he thought, even my teacher.
‘I will start practising,’ he said to the hamster. ‘And when I am ten, I will be fit enough to run around the world.
So Aled Evans ran around the garden five times, then ten times, then fifteen times. By the end of the week he could run around the garden fifty times without stopping and without getting out of breath. It was a good-sized garden too.
The following week, Aled began to run around the village of Gusty Gully. This was more of a challenge. ‘I can do this,’ he thought. I can do anything if I try hard enough.’
Aled Evans smiled to himself as he ran through the village. He saw people watching him. He could see them peeping around the curtains of their homes. I like this, he thought. No one has ever noticed me before.
‘Where are you going in such a hurry?’ shouted Phil the Fish as he whizzed past him. Ugh! The smell of fish makes me feel sick, he thought. So, he ran even faster and shouted, ‘around the world!’ on the top of his voice.
‘Can I join in?’ said Tom the Egg as he ran past the home for waifs and strays.
Aled put up his hand and nodded.
‘Can we come too?’ said Archie and Ollie as they walked home from school.
Tom put up his hand again and nodded.
‘Where are you going?’ shouted Megan and Hayley as they came out of the sweet shop.
‘Around the world,’ Tom the egg shouted back.
‘We’re coming too!’ said the girls and they stuffed their sweets in their pockets and began to run.
Aled looked back and saw the trail of children following him. They will notice me now, he thought and grinned from ear to ear.
Mrs Bumblebee was standing outside the school watching them come up the road. When she saw who it was, she put her hand up for them to stop, just like a lollipop lady. But they didn’t stop. They ran past her and kept on going. Mrs Bumblebee was so shocked, she ran after them.
‘Where are you going?’ she shouted breathlessly.
‘Around the world,’ they all shouted back. And by now, almost all the children in the village were running.
It was Barry Book and Pencil that stopped them. You see, he was the village policeman. He jumped off his bicycle and put his hand up. The trail of running children skidded to a halt, almost crashing into one and other. Barry Book and Pencil lined them all up against the hedge at the home for waifs and strays. The kind and unassuming man watched in amazement.
‘What are you doing?’ said the policemen, reaching inside his coat for a book and pencil.
‘Running around the world,’ replied Aled proudly.
‘What do you want to do that for?’ Barry Book and Pencil was taking notes. ‘There will be no one left in the village if you all leave.’
‘There would be no school,’ said Mrs Bumblebee.
‘And no need for a village shop,’ said Ian the news.
‘And no-one to help look after all the waifs and strays,’ said the lady whose garden was full of animals that needed a lot of love and attention. This made Tom the Egg feel guilty.
‘And who would buy my fish?’ said Phil the Fish ‘if there were no children to feed.’
They could live in the sea, Aled thought happily, as he looked at everyone, looking at him.
This is amazing, I could keep on running and they would all follow me! He thought.
But he didn’t carry on running. Instead, Aled stood in front of his friends and knew that Barry book and Pencil was right, Gusty Gully would become a Ghost town and grow weeds. The crows and the seagulls would squat in empty places and there would be no one to help at the home for waifs and strays. No, he couldn’t do that, not yet anyway.
‘This is our home,’ he said nodding his head. ‘This is our world, until we grow up and can go our own way. And we do need a lot more practice.’
They all agreed, and Barry Book and Pencil put his notes away and sighed with relief.
That night as Aled watched the hamster run around her ball, he smiled at her.
‘And this is your world too,’ he said happily. ‘You are well fed, warm and safe.’
‘Goodnight, all you runners in Gusty Gully. Goodnight world. One day I will run around you...and all the way back!’
For those of my readers who have never been to Wales, where I live with my kind and unassuming husband, let me tell you a little secret, it is outstandingly beautiful but extremely WET!
There are all forms of rain in Wales! Fat rain (big wet blobs), lazy rain (rain that would rather go through you than around you), drizzle, pelting, misty, graupel (German name)a soft hail or snow pellets, and snow of course. All this rain is the reason we have such a lush green country.
I guess the shape of our landscape with mountains and long stretches of coastline can cause the weather to change dramatically one hour to the next. We are also close to the Atlantic ocean and the Irish sea.
But we also have stunning sunsets and sunny days to crawl into and savour. Take today for example, it began with rain, ordinary straight rain which was warm, nevertheless. Then sunshine by lunchtime and a mixture at the time of writing, but as usual, the golden hour is upon us and the colour is magical. I wouldn’t swap Wales for anywhere else on earth!
However, I would like to add that it is a struggle in our allotment garden where the corn on the cobs are over a metre tall and were forced to the ground by the fat rain and a wicked wind yesterday. My kind and unassuming husband and I struggled for an hour to tether each plant to a pole (broken branches) so that they could all have a chance of survival. I have to say that they are all looking good today. Well done Mr Kind and Unassuming Husband!
One day I went to the shop to buy milk and came home with a goat called Billy! I had no idea what I was going to do with Billy, but I assumed it would all fall into place. I was wrong.
My kind and unassuming husband was very surprised when I opened the gate to our home for waifs and strays with a goat in tow. The bearded animal snorted when he saw the garden. Heaven, he must have thought, a Billy Goats Heaven!
I was a very kind but assuming wife, my husband said, to think that we could easily accommodate this animal that had one eye on the washing line and another on our prized allotment. But Billy was here to stay, at least for the time being.
He didn’t make friends easily, which was probably due to his horns. These had the potential to toss an unsuspecting person into the air. And they certainly scared many of our friends away.
And he escaped, once or twice, could have been more but I hate to think about it. Oh, the trouble it caused. We thought that Gilbert the Great was a handful, but Billy the Goat beat him hands down.
‘A goat can live for twenty or more years,’ a friend told me kindly, ‘but I suggest you don’t tell your kind and unassuming husband that.’
‘He’s probably not far off old age,’ I replied and instantly felt sorry for poor Billy.
I knew we couldn’t keep Billy indefinitely, our home for waifs and strays just wasn’t right for him.
‘We could rent him out,’ I said jokingly, to my kind and unassuming husband many months later. ‘Someone must need a natural lawnmower.’
He shook his head and said that Billy deserved somewhere permanent. I agreed.
It was after Billy got into the allotment, that we sought a new home for him. I asked Tom the Egg (he really did exist) if he would put some posters around the villages and off he went on his new bicycle.
Within two days, someone called and asked all about Billy. What he looked like, colour, size etc. When I had given them a full description, they asked if they could come to see him straight away.
Well, what a surprise. Billy found a new home on the stage. He was to star in a play which was running for another four nights, then live the rest of his days on a farm close by.
I have often been to visit Billy and delighted to write, that he is a happily retired acting goat.
Goodnight Billy! I often wonder where you came from.
Tawny owls (Strix aluco) often frequent our home for waifs and strays. These adorable creatures are more vocal in autumn when territories are being established by youngsters setting up on their own. Many people think they go ‘twit twoo,’ but, the female calls ‘ke-wick,’ with the male responding ‘hooo-hoo-ooo.’ Well this was spring and the village where we live was extra warm and peaceful due to the glorious weather and lockdown.
We found the first owlet sitting on the floor beneath a large oak tree. It was late afternoon and the foxing hour was closing in. Thankfully, the weather was kind and we placed the young bird on top of a shed and watched for hours, from a distance. Its mother could be heard across the field and the wee owlet responded. We were sure it would be fed so headed indoors.
The owlet was still there the following morning and down on the ground was its sibling. We made enquires and discovered it was quite natural for a young owlet to be out of the nest before it can fly and sure enough, both owlets would climb up the tree at night. Indeed, far wiser than we had thought. We decided to let nature take its course but monitored their safety until one day they could be heard with their parents, across the field. They had found their way home.
Life at our home for waifs and strays is always busy and never ever boring. There is always something to fix or replace. Animals wonder through our garden, stay awhile and leave. Nature is always entertaining, especially around our wildlife pond this time of year. For me, there is nothing better than sitting on the old bench with a cup of sweet tea, watching the world at its best.