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This report is taken from PN Review 233, Volume 43 Number 3, January - February 2017.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams
IT IS FIFTY YEARS since we came back to Wales. Work took us to Bristol for a spell and work brought us back – though not to the mining valleys, which we called and, in unguarded moments still call, home. That’s the pull, the powerful undertow, dragging you back to origins, which the Welsh call hiraeth. While we lived in Bristol, holidays were spent in Gilfach Goch. In the early days of exile, we even went back at weekends. It was not far by train. If you went to Stapleton Road Station at about five-thirty on a Friday evening during a school term you would find scores of Welsh teachers waiting for the train to take them ‘home’. The time came when we had a car and drove across the border. It was a lengthy journey, up the east side of the Severn estuary to Gloucester for the first available bridge over the river and down the west side as far as Chepstow, where you could at last head homewards.

Or you could risk the Aust ferry which, if your luck held, would carry you across the Severn to Chepstow and save you sixty miles by road. This was a deplorable alternative that operated only when the tide was amenable. The Severn is a force of nature and there is little you can do about it; the crew of the ferry on the other hand, long familiar with the vagaries of the crossing, could have been informative about conditions on the estuary, but in our experience were ...
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