To be honest I can’t say my ‘less ordinary life’ began with the move to Llanwrtyd. truth be told I HAD to move to Llanwrtyd BECAUSE of my less ordinary take on life. Living in Essex i wasn’t interested in straightening my hair, expensive clothes, fake tan, flashy car- I didn’t fit the stereotype nor the reality of living the Hollywood of the UK – at the risk of offending half my friends -to me the large majority of Essex population is more interested in the superficial – what you have, the cash you flash and how you look. I’m more of a how you treat people and whats inside type of girl, ( charity shops and skip rummaging). So turning up to pick Jason up without makeup, in a 40 year old car and in my scruffy gardening/painting clothes just simply did not fit into the ‘appropriate behaviour’ category of an Essex mum!!! Now obviously this blanket slur does not apply to everyone but lets just say TOWIE would not be as successful as it is if it didn’t successfully parody the recognised stereotype….
I was the sort who had a Charlie Dimmock phase, hand mixing cement and laying a front patio in shorts and vest top with a large umbrella to shade me from the sun one summer; dyed my hair Marigold orange (and left it looking big, wild and back combed). I drove Ffloyd – 1968 Hillman Husky which John painted pink and cream for me and I used it as my everyday vehicle. I let all the school kids clamber around in it and play with the knobs and switches – other mums glaring as their kids were more impressed with the simplicity and quirkiness of Ffloyd than their £40K Porche Cayenne (John constantly outraged at Porche making a 4×4- the Essex tractor!!!); I like(d) to get a bit tiddly in the afternoon with my girlie neighbour.
These little shows of anti-estabishmentarianism were signs of the frustrated me unable to hold back. I’d never been a wild child, always the goodie-two-shoes. Never in trouble at school – top results, homework in on time etc. As an adult I yearned to be individual.
Moving to Llanwrtyd simply gave me the freedom and confidence to embrace the real me. Gardening in my dressing gown, dying my hair pink, writing ‘stern letters’,painting in an artistic way; giving up the day job and the 9-5 routine; drinking champagne and eating strawberries with Alex through a whole summer; winning ‘Best Frontal Display’ and enjoying the irony; hill walking in stilettos; steam-punk, corsets; alter egos;, weird hair, fundraising; running a shop; buying a caravan for use as a mobile gallery; dancing in the street; thinking pink, dressing as a frog…. Being individual; standing up for the right;- being part of a community; giving a voice to the minority (sometimes the intimidated majority) – being free, being brave, being ….joyful.
Now I look at my family and Johns family and realise every single person I know – and probably every single person I don’t know and every single person I’ve tarred with my flippant slur , yes, every single person is ‘less ordinary’; unique, quirky, individual, interesting . Some people show it, some hide it, some live it, some smother it.
What I love about Llanwrtyd Wells is that it attracts people who embrace their individual uniqueness ,who take joy from being free and individual, who are more than just a little ‘less ordinary’. Bogsnorkellers, free spirits, bathtubbers, ,wheelie bin racers….
Alternatives are drawn and migrate here, embrace themselves and each other and spread joy, bemusement, amusement and love beyond our little piece of heaven in the Heart of Wales. We shout out to the world and celebrate it.
Take the time and really look at people. No two are the same – what a design of genius, what a joy and pleasure. Embrace the idiosyncratic, celebrate the eccentricities, rejoice in the uniqueness.
Life is short, time is precious, people are amazing. Share with those who make you feel great. Learn, live, love, embrace