The Great Aunt Welsh novel by John Geraint

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Rhondda Transport bus 457 image saved by John Grayson, CC BY-SA 2.0

Nation.Cymru is delighted to publish the eighth part of documentary maker and novelist John Geraint’s serious and playful “The Great Aunt Welsh Novel” and a reading by the author.

John Geraint

17-year-old Jac vows to grow up – and invites Katherine out. In February 1974, on election night, he was traveling along the Rhonda River on a bus with friends Lydia and Petra, and he was trying to work through his frustration with being trapped in a pattern of life dictated by his parents and church… …

“When does this bloody story begin?”

Years have passed, and Jac’s entire upbringing at Chapel, since they passed Ivor Hael, Jac re-imagined Pwyll galloping behind Rhiannon; but they haven’t gotten to the middle of Gary. How can the bus go so slow?

Be patient, Jack! The biography of Ivan Denisovic was not written in a day.

Jac weighed the irritation in his question again.

Maybe he’s right to be frustrated: If someone’s story doesn’t begin until they’ve gained meaningful independence, then his opening chapter is definitely not done.

But at the heart of any story are the characters, not the narrative. Undoubtedly, character begins to form when a person first insists on his will, acts against his parents’ will for the first time, and experiences love for something other than his or her parents or himself.

What comes to mind now, on the top deck of the bus, is his steering wheel. His lovely sky blue steering wheel. He never worshipped anything with his pure affection for that toy—not mom, not dad, not his aunt.

It certainly wasn’t the first time his teenaged children were obsessed with their wet-washed robes.neither bowie nor the great gatsby. not a romantic poet he could quote like that Appropriate. Not Kathryn Evans…

Oh that’s funny: so she’s on the list now too?

it used to be Interestingly, Kathryn showed up unsolicited in the list of accessories, basic accessories. Attachments that will stay by his side.

It was the first time he had touched him like this, how fixed she was. He couldn’t deny how close he felt to her. But as a friend, as a member of a friend’s association, not…

Really? Jac, let’s be honest: how much you like her…

It’s not the first time he’s raised the issue, although it’s important. He thought for a long time before he saw her again.

steering wheel

It’s his steering wheel.

He thought he was three or four years old when he got it. He kept it for many years, long after the classmates had gotten rid of their toddler fun.

Why should he get rid of it? It can take him anywhere. He has never been anywhere without it. The sky blue wheels are attached to a white gear lever with a squishy red disc in the middle that you can push to make a squeaky horn (until the airbag inside is somehow tragically punctured) ).

Best of all is the vertical post where the hub sits, with a black rubber suction cup on the bottom of the post.

Using that pad, you can sit in the front seat on top of the double-decker as he is sitting now, attach the steering wheel to the body, and Drive all the way to Depot!

Not just there: to Blaencwm or Blaenrhondda, to Maerdy, to Clydach, any route on the entire Ronda transport network.

a very interesting way

His parents didn’t have a car – his father had a power outage and was forbidden to drive, even if they could afford one – so the bus was important in life. Every time he gets on one, that steering wheel is within his grasp.

Jac memorized the route, location and name of each stop.

Once, Uncle Stan drove him and his mum to Cardiff.

Jac’s bewildered and mean reaction to his uncle’s successive failures to follow the winding bus route into Talbot Green, Pontyclun and Miskin became part of the family legend.

“Uncle Stan, why can’t you stick to the right line?” he couldn’t help asking as they made their way around the third consecutive village center.

“It’s really interesting the way you go to Cardiff.”

the story is repeated disgusting by adults. “You do go in a very interesting way” became the first in an endless series of catchphrases created by JAC.

hidden pleasure

Once he’s old enough to use pens and pencils, he’ll make his own detailed schedule, sitting on the floor with his wondrous toys by his side, imagining the route to Charlie’s candy store, school, church — along the way side streets, alleys and glis In the middle of Rhonda, the double-decker bus can’t take shortcuts, but it’s very convenient for himself and his family, where his magical steering wheel will come into play.

Eventually, inevitably, one day he calmly told his parents that he was too old to have a steering wheel and that he wanted them to give it away.

A week later, he missed it so much that he had to beg for its return.

Whether his dad wisely hid the original, or his mom indulged in buying an exact new toy – well, Jac was so familiar with his beloved toy he must have known, but now he forgot which one it was .

Importantly, he took it in his hand again. But since then, it’s been a hidden pleasure, and he’s never talked about playing in the back alley or on Hughes Street.

With kids his age, the last thing he needs is to look childish.

hazy memory

He knew that hanging out was the right, normal thing to do.

Every child, no matter how small, plays in the mud outside glis, on spoil tips and work on abandoned coal mines. This is natural. healthy.

Only his family kept silent about it.They always asked him where he was going and when he was coming back; always warned him harshly Be careful.

Permission is temporary.

There is an event that may be the source of it.

When JAC was very young, he received a great birthday present: a racing car in which he could sit and pedal. A beast, made of metal, shiny red, with a large white number 1 painted on the hood.

One afternoon, he was cared for by his maternal grandparents, who shared the house on Tylacelyn Road with Jac and his mum and dad. His grandfather had him “playing the front lines” by the sunny doorstep.

Somehow, Jac manages to drive himself and his car onto a vertiginous garden path.

He is playing! … to his death.

apples in their eyes

The speeding car hit the curb at the bottom of the concrete road, rolled over and over the top of the garden railing… target marker On the busy main road a dozen feet below.

Miraculously, JAC was thrown out when the car overturned, leaning awkwardly against the railing, still within the confines of the garden, still alive, but… did he get hit in the head? Did he have a concussion? Was there a scar in his brain, a weak line, that led to the strange condition he carefully kept a secret in his later years?

The doctor was called. He pronounces it well.

Jac has only vague memories of nausea as the world somersaults.

But the finger-pointing among adults must have been enormous.

From then on, he will, he must stay out of danger.

He has always been the jewel in the eyes of his family, the only child, married late, and praised for every little achievement. His grandmother adored him.

“My Buttercup” they would call him. ‘He deserves all the tea in China’.

Jac imagines butter and tea in a china cup. It sounds messy.He knew it should mean he was priceless, but he couldn’t figure out the logic behind the sentence.or indeed why priceless means the opposite worthless.

Adults speak a foreign language.

John Geraint drives his car on Tylacelyn Road Penygraig

love so much

Recently, when Jac told Katherine all this, she bluntly asked him if he thought he might have been loved Too much; if the way he was pampered wasn’t overly protective, neurotic.

Jack didn’t understand. How is it possible to love too much?

But his family life as an only child did not recommend him to other children.

He’s only used to the company of adults, to those paces set in the last decade of their lives, not the first: a church boy, academically smart, but not witty or shrewd; not for the rough street Games, not for strong horses and Bolt, not for racing and wrestling.

And there are things he knows that other kids haven’t done, things Nan and grandpa talk about. Things like rheumatism, life insurance, and adultery (surprisingly, it seems only adults who aren’t grown up do this).


He’s not entirely sure about these adult things and he knows it’s wrong to show that he knows too much about them because in the adult world some things are a sin Know, as in the story of the fruit of the tree of knowledge.

So he hid from adults what he knew, and he always hid from other kids what he knew, like the yellowed vest his mother made him wear under his shirt.

His hairstyle, his clothes, his whole house, the dark sideboard, the coal windows and the black Bible—all of this is Old-fashionedstay in the past.

It has nothing to do with the world of electric fire, daily mirror and Formica desktop, world normal Children who have lived; a bright, gorgeous world that is changing, renewing, and happening.

So he loses both.

His knowledge is shameful, his ignorance of that modern world is shameful.

he is twp. And half way too smart.

great aunt welsh novel John Geraint is published by Cambria Books, you can buy a copy here or in good bookstore.

You can catch up on previous excerpts here. We’ll have another exclusive extract next week.

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