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Angharad Tomos

Angharad Tomos sy'n ein tywys i dri lle sydd wedi bod yn bwysig yn ei bywyd. Angharad Tomos takes us Dyffryn Nantlle, a gipsy caravan near Rhydlewis and the Rocking Stone near T...


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-I haven't moved far

-from where I was raised.

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-Many people say they wouldn't want

-to return to their birthplace...

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-..because it's changed so much.

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-This place has changed,

-but I've lived with the change.

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-I could never live anywhere else.

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-I've lived in this area all my life.

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-Well, I've moved three miles

-from where I was raised.

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-I attended the secondary school

-in Penygroes.

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-I didn't like Penygroes

-and the Nantlle Valley at the time.

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-I just wanted to go somewhere

-and explore the world...

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-..just like any other young child.

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-I always imagined

-there was something better.

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-There's a magnificent view

-from the school...

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-..and you can see

-Cwm Dulyn and Cwm Silyn.

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-The teachers told us that we lived

-in a wonderful area...

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-..but for me, that was the norm.

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-It's a privilege to live here.

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-Not many people can say

-they live in an area...

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-..where their favourite poet lived.

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-I don't have to travel there.

-I'm just down the road.

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-I see the mountain shapes.

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-TH Parry-Williams

-wrote about their unending bareness.

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-I can see Llyn y Gadair.

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-The poetry and landscape become one.

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-I haven't moved far

-from where I was raised.

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-I was raised three miles away,

-in Llanwnda.

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-I had a happy childhood.

-Five of us - five sisters.

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-We were all born two years apart.

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-It was like living

-in a girls' boarding school.

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-I only have one child.

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-Thinking about Mam

-with five children...

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-..I can't imagine how much work

-it was for her and Dad.

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-Dad always read us a story

-when we were children.

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-For me and my older sister...

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-..the highlight of our day was

-listening to Dad reading us a story.

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-He must have been so tired...

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-..because he would often

-fall asleep as he read the story.

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-We'd never wake him up.

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-He'd open his eyes and we would

-all look up to him patiently.

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-"Yes? What happens next?"

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-As a parent, I can understand

-how much of an effort it is...

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-..to read a story

-at the end of the day.

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-One thing that certainly

-influenced my childhood...

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-..was living without a television.

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-In the 1960s, when everyone

-bought a TV, it was a burden.

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-Children played games in school...

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-..and you needed to know

-about TV programmes.

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-I had no idea.

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-Even though

-I was one of five sisters...

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-..looking back, I'm glad

-Mam decided not to buy a TV.

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-We had to find ways

-of entertaining each other...

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-..during the hours

-when we could have watched TV.

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-It was easier

-because I had so many sisters.

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-It also inspired us

-to be more creative.

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-The longest period of work I had

-was when I wrote Rala Rwdins.

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-I created the characters

-when I was 23 years old...

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-..but I never thought

-it would be my livelihood...

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-..for almost my entire career.

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-If I was to be honest

-with myself...

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-..I survive because I write stories

-about non-existent witches!

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-It's a rather strange way

-to make a living.

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-Whee!

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-When people want to know

-the origins of the characters...

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-..I say that there's a lot of Mam

-in Rala Rwdins.

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-The woman who's trying to do

-countless tasks at the same time.

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-She's busy all the time, making jam.

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-She's the anchor in Gwlad y Rwla.

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-Mam is our anchor.

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-She's often referred to

-as Rala Rwdins's mother.

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-She is Rala Rwdins.

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-My youngest sister

-was the mischievous one.

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-I based Rwdlan on her.

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-She was up to no good all the time!

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-Well-known as an author...

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-..having written 14 children's books

-and three plays...

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-..she has now won the Prose Medal

-at the National Eisteddfod.

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-Every novel I've written has been

-inspired by the National Eisteddfod.

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-There's a title,

-a closing date and a prize.

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-It's something to aim for.

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-I always leave things

-until the last minute.

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-I don't write

-over long periods of time.

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-I have these panics.

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-There's a closing date

-in three months' time.

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-I have to detach myself

-from life's hustle and bustle.

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-It's a process

-of filling your head with ideas.

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-You almost live in this fake world.

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-It's a very intense period,

-day and night.

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-It's the only thing on your mind.

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-What the characters do,

-where the plot leads you...

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-..how the complete work is created.

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-I close myself in that world.

-I don't even answer the phone.

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-You can't live

-in that world forever.

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-It's a two to three-month period

-every few years.

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-It's very stressful.

-That's why I don't do it very often.

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-The counterpoint to that

-is writing children's literature.

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-It's something you can live with

-and it's far less stressful.

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-I've gone away,

-but I've always come back.

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-I've travelled extensively

-and stayed with friends...

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-..but I have strong feelings

-for this area.

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-It's somewhere to drop anchor.

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-People say they wouldn't like

-to return to their birthplace...

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-..because it's changed.

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-This place has changed,

-but I've lived with the change.

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-I could never live anywhere else.

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-It helps you

-when you finally realize that.

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-I knew that fairly early in my life.

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-It's linked to the sea,

-it's linked to the mountains...

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-..and it's linked to Welshness.

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-I can live my life here through

-the medium of Welsh every day.

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-I don't think my English

-is good enough to live anywhere else.

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-.

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-I saw a picture of this caravan

-in a book.

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-I asked my son if he'd like

-to have a holiday in that picture.

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-Would he like to go

-into that picture?

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-I didn't think it would be as nice

-as the picture seemed, but it was.

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-We had three days here,

-staying in the caravan...

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-..listening to the river and going

-to the beach in Llangrannog.

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-I think it has much to do

-with being close to nature.

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-It can get so dark here,

-without street lighting.

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-I can't hear a river as clearly

-when I'm home.

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-I remember the nights,

-listening to the crackling fire.

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-I felt like a gypsy.

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-I've travelled throughout my life.

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-It all started

-when Dad bought a caravan.

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-We had a large,

-18ft static caravan.

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-He'd site it at Red Wharf Bay

-or Rhosneigr on Anglesey...

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-..anywhere close enough for him

-to travel back and forth to work.

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-I have memories of being out

-on the beach all summer.

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-I lived in the great outdoors.

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-He then bought a touring caravan

-towards the end of the 1960s...

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-..when travelling with a caravan

-was quite uncommon.

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-I loved the freedom and excitement

-of waking up in a different place.

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-Every morning, you didn't know

-what the day had in store for you.

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-The transient lifestyle.

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-My sister had pets

-and we had to take them with us...

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-..if we couldn't find someone

-to look after them.

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-The rabbit and budgie

-in the back of the car.

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-The budgie's cage

-sat on the back seat.

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-I remember opening the cage once

-and letting the budgie fly out.

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-My father was trying

-to drive the car...

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-..and the budgie

-was perched on the steering wheel.

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-Some people think

-she's a very serious woman...

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-..but she's a funny woman

-and very humorous.

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-There are strong political and

-socialist links within the family.

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-She comes from a religious family.

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-All these aspects have been

-perfectly and purely embodied...

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-..in Angharad's life.

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-That purity has benefited Wales

-over the years.

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-I'm optimistic by nature, I'd say.

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-You have to be if you're Welsh

-in this day and age.

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-I remember having

-a serious bout of depression...

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-..after giving birth.

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-I didn't think I'd come out of it.

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-Many people said

-that I would get over it...

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-..but I wasn't convinced at the time.

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-People told me to fight against it...

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-..in the same way I'd fought

-to preserve the Welsh language.

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-It was an entirely

-different experience.

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-The only thing

-I can compare it with...

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-..is the experience

-of being in prison.

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-I had no appetite for life.

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-When I hear that someone's

-suffering from depression...

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-..I have nothing

-but sympathy for them.

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-As I look down the river now...

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-..it was as if everyone was on the

-other side and I couldn't get there.

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-They were all beckoning me over...

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-..but I couldn't cross,

-however hard I tried.

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-I couldn't shrug it off.

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-Finally, I managed it. When it does

-happen, you know you're better.

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-I've seen how dark it can be

-in the deepest depths.

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-I appreciate more than most people

-the thrill of being alive.

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-Living life to the full every day

-is a very fulfilling experience.

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-Had someone told me then...

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-..that I'd marry a non-Welsh speaker

-from Gwent, I'd have laughed.

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-Ben's background

-is so different to mine.

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-He has a working-class background

-from a coal mining area.

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-His family didn't speak

-a word of Welsh.

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-Traditionally,

-the family voted Labour.

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-I came from Welsh Gwynedd

-and had a chapel upbringing.

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-We had nothing in common

-until we started talking.

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-To understand my background,

-I told him he had to visit Gwynedd...

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-..and get to know

-the Welsh-speaking community.

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-He visited within weeks.

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-He invited me down to learn

-about his background in the valleys.

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-He brought me

-to the rocking stone first.

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-That's why this stone

-is so important to me.

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-The image I had of the valleys came

-from Alexander Cordell's novels...

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-..the Merthyr of Dic Penderyn

-and coal mines.

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-A very industrial area

-and a very ugly area.

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-When I arrived and sat on the stone

-and looked around...

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-..it completely shattered

-all my preconceptions.

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-I wouldn't have been able

-to move here to live...

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-..and feel at home.

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-Fortunately for me,

-Ben agreed to move to North Wales.

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-As part of the deal, I'd stop

-eating meat if he learnt Welsh.

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-We came to an understanding.

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-I'm eternally grateful that he agreed

-to move to North Wales.

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-When we come down to visit

-Ben's family, they ask...

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-.."How's the weather up north?"

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-I feel like a penguin

-who's travelled from the North Pole.

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-Then again,

-we live in the same country.

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-Apart from the language,

-there's a strong Welsh spirit here.

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-That's a rather strange experience.

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-They feel just as passionately

-about Wales and socialism as I do.

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-I think Angharad

-has a sense of conviction...

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-..and a strong sense

-of responsibility...

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-..towards her community,

-her family, Wales...

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-..the language, naturally,

-and mankind really.

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-Injustice,

-being aware of injustice...

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-..and wanting to do

-something about it.

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-One of her famous sayings is,

-"Let's just do it then."

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-She doesn't want to talk about it,

-or be philosophical or theoretical.

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-She wants to act.

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-Cymdeithas Yr Iaith has played

-an important part in my life.

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-It has shaped my personality.

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-I've come to know

-the whole of Wales...

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-..through working

-with Cymdeithas Yr Iaith.

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-We found a lot of support

-in the valleys...

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-..when we were

-collecting signatures...

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-..to establish

-a Welsh Education Development Body.

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-It was one of the first chances

-Rhys Ifans had to act.

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-Rhys Ifans collected

-more signatures than anyone.

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-I asked him

-what his opening line was.

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-He said, "Roll up, roll up...

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-"..sign here for your free holiday

-in the Bahamas."

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-Everyone signed!

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-Humour has been an integral part

-of the language campaign.

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-I don't know

-how we managed to do it.

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-We had no money and no resources.

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-We were trying

-to achieve the impossible.

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-Everyone told us that we were

-trying to achieve the impossible.

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-Having a healthy dose of humour

-was often very important.

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-When I went to college,

-one of the first protests...

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-..involved climbing a mast

-at Crystal Palace.

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-I was rather scared of doing this.

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-I didn't know if it was physically

-possible to climb the mast.

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-I remember being very scared

-the previous night.

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-But I knew that admitting

-to being afraid...

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-..would have been a sign of weakness.

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-I could have jeopardized my part

-in the act.

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-After reaching the base

-of the mast...

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-..a ladder was put in position

-and we climbed up.

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-We were sentenced

-to five days in prison.

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-Once you've been imprisoned...

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-..it's far easier

-to imprison you again.

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-It caused great worry for my parents.

-I'm still ashamed of that.

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-Mam always said I wouldn't

-understand her concerns...

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-..until I had children of my own.

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-At the time,

-the only thing that concerned me...

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-..was doing what I wanted to do.

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-I wanted to show

-that neither prison or a fine...

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-..would stop us achieving our aims.

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-Our hope was to sort Wales out

-within 20 years and then retire!

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-I think Angharad is someone

-I could describe as stubborn...

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-..but many members of Cymdeithas

-Yr Iaith have been called stubborn.

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-As I said, it sits side by side

-with her intense and serious side.

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-For someone who has spent time in

-prison and carried on campaigning...

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-..thankfully, there is a sense

-of stubbornness in her personality.

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-Over the years, I was imprisoned

-for a month, sometimes two or three.

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-You'd steel yourself

-and get through the sentence.

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-The worst part

-were visits from my parents.

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-All of a sudden,

-I had an hour in their company...

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-..and all the love and concern

-would flow towards me.

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-I had to be brave

-during those visits.

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-After that, I was hopeless.

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-I'm looking forward to the day

-when we won't have to protest...

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-..during the Eisteddfod.

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-Until that day comes,

-and to ensure that day does come...

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-..we have to continue this action.

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-When I was 25 years old...

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-..people would ask me

-why was I still campaigning?

0:21:520:21:55

-My question to them was

-why have people stopped campaigning?

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-It's part

-of my Christian conviction.

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-We've been put on this Earth...

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-..to do something in the name

-of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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-If we don't do anything...

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-..we're obeying

-the forces of darkness.

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-This quote has stayed with me.

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-"It's better to light one candle

-than curse the darkness."

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-You can do something every day...

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-..for Wales,

-for the Welsh language, for justice.

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-That's the vision

-that keeps me going.

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-As I look at this stone...

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-..it sums up the Welsh language.

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-Waldo once said

-"a dangerous girl is she."

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-For me, this stone is a symbol

-of the Welsh language...

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-..always teetering on the edge.

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-You're never sure

-if it will fall off the edge...

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-..but in reality,

-it's stuck fast to the ground.

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-In memory of Ffion Haf,

-1964-2011, Angharad's sister

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Angharad Tomos sy'n ein tywys i dri lle sydd wedi bod yn bwysig yn ei bywyd. Angharad Tomos takes us Dyffryn Nantlle, a gipsy caravan near Rhydlewis and the Rocking Stone near Tredegar.