The new year got off to an exciting start when I embarked on a new book in collaboration with writer and BBC Wales broadcaster Jamie Owen; I snap, he scribbles! The book will be a celebration of Pembrokeshire; its customs, traditions, communities and ways of working that are perhaps in decline in the modern era.
It kicked off with the Hen Galan (Welsh New Year) celebrations in the Gwaun Valley. The valley community celebrates the coming of the new year on January 13th. They follow the old Julian calendar which was abolished by an act of Parliament in 1752 and superseded by the Gregorian calendar which is what the rest of us use. The people of the Gwaun Valley refused to play ball back then and continue to do so!
The celebration is typified by local children going door-to-door singing to the residents of the valley to welcome in the new year for which they are richly rewarded with money and sweets (Calennig). It was a privilege for Jamie and I to be able to record this wonderful tradition amongst a community that values its privacy and the uniqueness of its celebration.
The book will comprise twelve chapters, one for each month of the year. February is the Dale peninsula; can’t wait.