But I didn’t do those things. Something in me woke and I was suddenly filled with a great sense of gratitude for who I was. I lived a shitty life and was never sure where I would be sleeping from one night to the next. I had slept on a camp bed under the stairs, in a touring caravan on a drive, in my nan’s box-room, in a static caravan by the coast in the winter and on the landing of an old game-keeper’s cottage in the mountains. I owned nothing and had no prospects. I was an outsider wherever I went.
And yet I was deeply grateful. In all the chaos I had disconnected from the world and the usual path that people of my station took. I didn’t get caught up in the trends and excitements, I didn’t want to get caught up in anything or anybody. And this has been my strength on this lonely path that I have trod.
That market was in a field off the main Barmouth – Harlech road. There was the smell of the sea on the air and the grass was that tough Welsh crop that survives everything. To the south was the great bulk of land that dips out into the Irish sea and forms the foothills of Cadair Idris. To the north the smoky misty peaks of the Snowdon range. But most of all, looming like a great pregnant belly to the east was Moelfre.
The beating that has never ceased to thrum in my head started in earnest on that day. It came from that little mountain and it has never stopped since.
It is my beat, of course; it is my rhythm. Everyone has their own if they listen and this is mine.