I was driving from Wales to Devon for a short boardgaming break, when I looked around me and realised just how flat this part of England was. I was on the M5, driving through Somerset, and there wasn’t so much as a mound on the horizon. You know, I don’t recall ever being somewhere quite so flat.
As I travelled further south, the road became less flat and hills finally rose about the horizon. Gentle rolling hills. And where I’m currently sitting you can see such hills.
But there is no mistaking it. I am in Wales no longer. And it only serves to remind me why I chose to make Wales my home, and why my visits to my country of birth are short and infrequent.
My love of Wales
I fell in love with Wales as a child, during wet camping holidays where welly boots were far more useful than bikinis. Living in the Midlands, the beaches of west Wales were some of our nearest, and I was always excited to have my adventures again in the sanddunes of Borth.
But it was in south Wales that I made my home, due to university, then work, and now children. And I have never once considered moving back east and over the border. I have lived my entire adult life in this country. It is where I formed my beliefs and opinions, and more importantly my friendships. This country is where I belong.
I now live in the South Wales Valleys, an ex-mining community, not quite fully industrial and yet not quite fully rural. My home village is surrounded by ‘mountains’ – possibly not by official standards but that’s what the locals call them – and they would certainly tower over the hills around Ivybridge. My drive to take the kids to school is over such a mountain, where sheep and cattle roam and regularly block my way.
There are countless reasons why I love it in Wales: the people, the lyrical accents, the history, the government, the small community feel where everyone is connected, I could go on. But it’s the mountains that make me truly feel at home, that I will look forward to when I head back up the motorway in a few days time.
This, to me, is Wales.