Having careered round the world for the last half century my return to damp gorgeous green Wales has been one of the revelations and delights of my life. There is a sweetness here that I suppose is there because it is the land of my birth.
My early view was – ‘yes, it’s nice but it’s small and it doesn’t matter in the wider context’. The Bronx has a bigger population, there are lakes as big as Wales. There are city councils with bigger budgets than Wales, there are even better rugby teams than in Wales.
Yet, and yet, there is no place on earth that can replicate Wales. The news here, as broadcast locally sounds as if we are on another planet. And there is the brave struggle to keep the lyrical Welsh language alive. There remains a healthy scepticism about this struggle to keep the Welshness of this tiny nation afloat.
Did you know they have commissioned a new Band Stand in Aberystwyth? This was headline news on BBC Wales. It must have been a sparse news day I hear you say. Not a bit of it. The Aberystwyth Band Stand is splendid news.
Amongst the turmoil of Brexit, Dump Trump, I hate Hillary, International mayhem and the sad flow of refugees, the Aberystwyth Band Stand is a refreshing splash of comfort amongst the torrent of depression that is the everyday news.
I confess my first response was a sneer – who cares? Well on reflection- I care. I care because I need to be reminded that in the micro communities such as in Wales there are a million good things happening every day. The problem is, these good little things aren’t news.
My good neighbour is not news-worthy but a lady with a huge celebrity bottom is. A kind gesture in the village hall goes unnoticed whilst a burglary is headlined.
Where will this forced feeding of bad news and superficial celebrity take us? Well for sure not into euphoria, rather into a vortex of depression where we all will nurture our envy and only expect the worst.
I’d like to thank BBC Wales for the band stand item, and yes, it may have been a day of no burglaries or road catastrophes, but the band sounded pitch perfect (as you’d expect in the land of song) and my sneer was gilded with a smile.
More things to smile at, please!