In her wonderfully evocative book of 2015, Steph Davies defines hiraeth as homesickness tinged with grief or sadness over the lost or departed. It is a longing and earnest desire for the Wales of the past. I devoured this book in one sitting on Boxing Day 2015, and the notion of hiraeth, and what it meant to me, as a native of South East Wales, who has lived the greater part of her life in England, and now travels from home extensively for work, has stayed with me ever since.
2017 was, apparently, a landmark year for me: I hit the milestone of 50 within days of the turn of the new year. Does half a century of experience increase feelings of hiraeth, or mitigate them? Can hiraeth apply to South East Surrey as well as South East Wales? What does being 50 in 2017 look like? Am I expected to “settle”; to commence the wind-down to retirement? Why are all the vegan bloggers and life-stylists, whose recipes and recommendations I love by the way, in their 20s, or early 30s at a stretch? Where’s my urbane, still-competitive, quick-witted, plant-based quinquagenarian guru? And where the jolly heck can I get decent, and preferably hot, vegan grub at 10:30pm on a wet Wednesday in rural Hertfordshire?
I’m Emma, a quite “with-it”, Surrey-dwelling, theatre-loving, vegan Welshie. I am determined to keep it pertinent and fresh, the big 5-0 notwithstanding. I am still full of dreams and ideas – many of them pipe dreams – of what I want to do when I grow up.
Join me in my hiraethian musings: it might be fun, occasionally.