The A-Z of Anglesey
Disgrifiad | Description
- Author: Margaret Hughes
- Publication Date 2005
- Format: Paperback, 182x122 mm, 160 pages
Gwales ReviewThis is a lively, entertaining and original approach to life on Anglesey, past and present. The author takes a personal look at an Alphabetical Anglesey which includes an impressive range of information on its historical figures, natural history, architecture, engineering feats, economy and social history.
In concise chapters we move swiftly from A – Access on the island and the treacherous journeys of the early mail coaches, to the perils involved in the construction of Britannia Bridge, from a brief history of the island’s mountains to its Inns, its Gardens of delight, Royal visitors, the Quest for gold, its Philanthropists, the A55, and from the tradition of the Anglesey Hunt, right through to the charismatic preachers of the last chapter Z – for Zealous clergymen, and all in 150 pages.
Throughout this very readable book, the author shows great skill in including the more renowned places of interest as well as introducing the reader to the hidden, the obscure and the eccentric. Particularly enjoyable are her accounts of the curious country diaries (written in half Welsh, half English) of the two farming sisters Mary and Ann Jones, her account of Angelsey’s gardens and gardeners, including reference to the botanist and herbalist William Morris, and her descriptions of visitors to the island such as the 18th Century travel writer Augusta Pearson, author of A Spinster’s Tour through North Wales in search of the picturesque and the sentimental.
Each chapter demonstrates a genuine love of the subject which makes the book such a pleasure to read. I also enjoyed the author’s variation in writing techniques, introducing the personal and poetic alongside more objective, factual observations. Her chapter on B for Britannia Bridge, for example, is introduced by a conversation with a young man from the Midlands on a churchyard seat, preceded by a poetic description of the scene: ‘It was quiet down on the shore of the Menai Strait, below St. Mary’s church in Llanfairpwll. A receding tide had left shingle strewn with the detritus of modern living – a plastic bag, a torn carton, a bottle – caught between the fronds of seaweed. The water lapped a farewell around the plinth of the Nelson statue with a soft swooshing sound . . .’
Such descriptions peppered through the book made me want to read more by Margaret Hughes – her collected nature writings, maybe? In the meantime, I would definitely recommend this book to locals and visitors alike. Neither in-depth history nor practical travel guide, it is a delightful patchwork offering personal and colourful snapshots of Anglesey life. This is a little gem.