I reckon we are due a break from exhausting news. Feels like the entirety of 2022 has been spent gurning over all that is grim with mid Wales, greater Wales, and of course the wacky races of an ever-woeful Westminster. It has been impossible to avoid commenting on the national self-harm and relentless catastrophes inflicted on us by those tasked with protecting our interests.

For who could dispute that the cost-of-living crisis has been horribly handled. Or that crime, violence, and antisocial behaviour are on an alarming rise. Or that our hopes, wellbeing, and environment are under sustained attack. So, finding ourselves encircled by real consequences of largely avoidable calamities, we are right to be consumed, angry, and scared. But it could be worse – we might live somewhere else.

It feels no duty to heap praise upon a special part of a special nation. I adore living here. When dragged away, can hardly wait to return. I need no reminders to why. But here goes anyway.

Most obviously, we proudly flourish the most striking flag on the planet. A flag that forms the earliest and firmest memories. The childish thrill, approaching borders, craning for first glimpse of impressive red dragon. Decades later, delighting in our children behaving in the same goggle-eyed way. It is little wonder that the primary feature of our enviable emblem is not found on the standard of Great Britain - how could our dominating dragon be incorporated without overwhelming all else?

And I need no reminders as to why I love mid Wales in particular. Or that I am not the only smitten individual. For I have never, with firm eye, been so regularly informed of such deep affection for a place. ‘I love Aber!’ is not a vapid marketing slogan, it is the heartfelt declaration of residents and long-term visitors alike.

Not least because our sliver of land is therapeutically picturesque. However shabby some high streets, we nestle deep within the most scenic region of Britain. And if I thought the Ystwyth Valley provided the most engaging and dramatic landscape around here, the town of Aberystwyth competes with ever-present opportunity to stroll along untameable beach, to test thighs up Constitution Hill, cast mind out to sea, across the town, into the Cambrian Mountains. A priceless and unparalleled panorama. An accessible feast for the soul.

Yet, I was far from convinced I would enjoy this townscape, town life, town people, when, four months ago and having enjoyed Welsh rural existence for so long, I pitched up in the centre of Aberystwyth. At that time, I wrote I would be leaving a sense of village community that could not be replicated in a town centre.

But although my new life in the Vaults feels like opposite world (when compared to the Ystwyth Valley), the current view is that a sprawling town does not offer the quietly spoken intimacy of a tiny village, but boy, Aberystwyth is richer in community than had been expected.

I have been reminded that ‘we’ Aberystwythians not only possess the summer-long patience to tolerate seething and inappropriately dressed tourists, but also can bear a seasonal influx of inappropriately dressed youngsters. Like some marauding migration of gangly-legged and wide-eyed fledglings, young, squawking, and contrasting in every way to well-weathered locals. We roll our eyes, adapt to the arrival of the student population, minded of our own formative years.

Mid Wales welcomes not only those bringing wealth, but also quietly incorporates the marginalised, in need, and minorities. We roll our eyes, adapt to unfamiliar garbs, accents, and ways, minded (to a point) of our own existence at a nation’s margins. Cheek by jowl and generally unmolested, all sorts weave around these streets alongside an unlikely cast-list of recognisable town characters; idiosyncratic individuals who provide the stray but brightest strands in this seaside tapestry. Like it or not, mid Wales is woke, for mid Wales is about sharing mid Wales with everyone.

There will always be un-synced individuals who bristle with hostility, who revel in making life more difficult, but there are fewer of that sort here, and we quickly discover who they are. For mid Wales offers only one degree of separation; if I don’t know you, someone I know will. And word travels lightning fast in these parts; memories are excruciatingly long. Good and bad, there is no hiding from the owl-eared mid-Wales community.

So, across the region there persists an unavoidable and positive sense of unity (unity: an antiquated word that has lost all meaning within greater UK discourse). For instance, reopening the Vaults so quickly would have been impossible without the unleveraged efforts of not only family and friends, but also a long list of new local allies including locksmiths, electricians, alarm installers, picker operators, owners of other hospitality businesses, and retailers. They want us all to do well. And the region will thrive if these stakeholders have anything to do with it.

Doubtless this common purpose will be stress tested in the coming months and years. And we will do better for enduring whatever comes with our current open-hearted spirit. I am confident we will. For whatever the incoming hits, however bad it gets, I trust we will keep a kind eye out, pick each other up as we fall, brush each other off, and in this way dodge the most dangerous and socially corrosive aspects of a fast-approaching recession.

Yet however uplifting is our patch in this discouraging world, I believe the wrong people remain in control, that we are being robbed, and the immediate future is bleak, as I will resume pointing out in my next column.

Because, last and least to this up note, I am told the Cambrian News is getting better.

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