Thursday, 12 August 2010


Where to begin?

In June I received a lovely package from Amelia at 101 Bird Tales which was principally a guerrilla stitch kit.
I still haven't used it, but of course I had to share it with my sister Janet when she was here this week.  When she reached this page, she took a gasp and said ' look this map is of the Denbigh area!'
I don't know why I hadn't taken this in when I had looked at this page before,  perhaps it was because I was just taken up with the whole thing, but Janet used to live near Denbigh.  We peered more closely to spot names we knew, and there under the wing of the the bird you can see the name Llannefydd. The tiny hamlet where Janet used to live, this gave us a very shuddery feeling.

 Janet's life in Wales is very significant to us. When she got married her husband got a job in the Wirral and they decided to live in North Wales, Martin's job took him all over the place, so the long commute held no worries for him. They found a very large, rather rundown Victorian vicarage in Llannefydd at a bargain price. This was in 1985. Here is a photograph of our first visit there.

That is Janet and Mr T in the doorway.
It was a bit of a drive, but an easy one if you don't mind motorways, and certainly worth it. On a clear day you could see Snowdon in one direction and Blackpool tower in the other. It looked down on Rhyl where the sun was often shining whilst it was rather cloudy up in the mountains. It was never warm, in winter we used to sleep in fleecy joggers and thick socks but this snowy Christmas we spent there was magic.
The view from the back door.

Janet and her husband Martin worked hard on the house, decorating and furnishing it beautifully. Janet became a dab hand at wallpapering and curtain making with a 12 foot drop. I raced up the M1 and the M6 on a very foggy  December weekend when her eldest son was born - the first baby in the family, and then again a couple of years later when my second nephew arrived, this time more thoughtfully in May. But things were to change tragically when Martin was diagnosed with leukaemia and declined very rapidly. Janet left him behind in the churchyard at the bottom of the Vicarage garden. That was in 1997. 
Her boys are now young men of 16 and 18 and she is beginning to get a life beyond motherhood, but you can see why the Llannefydd means so much to us, and why this coincidence is particularly poignant. 

Something else which is also rather 'spooky' is that before she looked at the book Janet was telling me about a walk she took on Tennyson Down on the Isle of Wight last Sunday where she watched a pair of peregrine falcons flying along the cliffs - and that bird hovering over the map...well it could be.