Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ A day with a view

‘Your language is dead.’ The voice rang out from immediately above where Paul and I were seated at a late night Prom concert in the Royal Albert Hall. It did so in response to the singer and Radio 6 presenter Cerys Matthews introducing the next piece she was about to sing by its Welsh name. Wisely, she made no response to the rudeness but simply continued with her performance. Born of patent ignorance, I see the rudeness as a form of racism and I’ve never forgotten it.

I expect it will come into my mind again at some point this next Monday. For Monday will be March 1st and March 1st is St David’s Day, the day for the celebration of Wales’s patron saint. On the day, were it not for Lockdown, there would undoubtedly be celebrations of St David all over Wales (and elsewhere too) in services and performances in schools and community venues. On the day also, despite Lockdown, many children and adults will undoubtedly wear either a daffodil or a leek. In the school I went to – which as it happens was in St David’s – the girls wore daffodils and the boys wore leeks, chewing them almost to nothing in the course of the day and glorying in the resultingly oniony smell on their breath.

My family had moved to St David’s when I was fourteen. We’d previously lived in Fishguard only 15 miles up the coast. But while I was sad to leave Fishguard and my Fishguard friends, I felt both moved and proud to now be living in the very place where St David was reputedly born. His birth it is said occurred in the course of a fierce storm. But the legend of the birth assures us that a kind of protective bubble formed around his mother Non as she gave birth to her baby out on the clifftop where she happened to be at the time.  Odd, isn’t it, how stories like that survive? In the case of this particular tale, I always took it, as was no doubt intended, as a mark of the baby’s future importance.

Other things I specially remember of St David’s story are that when, as a young man, he wanted to speak at a great convocation he attended, the ground beneath his feet rose up in such a way that he would be seen and heard by the many people attending. I also always remember, and with a kind of gratitude, that he was apparently very simple in his way of life, always drinking water never wine (it’s why he is known as Y Dyfrwr, the water man) and as he was dying, his last wish encouraged people to remember and do the simple things that he had shown them.

The view from the place on the cliffs where St David was reputedly born is, for me, one of those magical views that cannot help but stay in your mind, a kind of help in times of hardship. So wide its perspective, so far its reach, I’ve asked my nearest and dearest that when I die my ashes should be thrown to the wind from what could well be the very point on the coast path where, perhaps, his birth took place. Mind you, I do hope that, at the time, the wind is not blowing as hard as it often does there for I wouldn’t want anyone present to get ash in their eye.

PS: Today’s top photo is my contribution to a St David’s Day celebration. Certainly there are enough daffodils in our garden to provide a very good bunch for inside. Alas, no leeks are growing there. But instead of a picture of a leek, how about this very fine cowslip? It’s one of my most favourite flowers. So I’m always delighted when cowslips appear in our garden.


One Response to “Storytelling Starters ~ A day with a view”

  1. Clare Winstanley Says:

    Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus!

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