Monday, 16 December 2013

Usk - My Place

Twyn Square Usk, bedecked with a wonderful show of 
flowers  every summer thanks to the work of the volunteers
in the Usk in Bloom Team.
My official birth place is Usk. It's on my birth certificate. I was born at Cefn Ila maternity home (long since closed) just outside Usk in 1959 and for the majority of years since then I have lived in or near Usk, so I feel justified in calling it  'My Place'. This doesn't mean I'm claiming it for myself exclusively as something belonging only to me, or that others can't make the same claim. Rather, it's here, in this part of the Usk Valley where my roots run deepest.


Early morning sky from the Conigar riverside walk  towards
Usk  Bridge



I like the feeling of belonging to this 'place' rather than it belonging to me. I am part of its fabric as are the others that live here, whether like me they have been here since birth, or they have just arrived. In fact it's the people that live in a 'place' that define what it 'is' and what it is like as a place to live.

Or does the 'place' define them - who they are and what they do? Maybe it's a bit of both.



View from the old railway bridge over the River Usk, now a
well used footpath thanks to the work of the volunteers in
 the Usk Environment group in clearing the old railway
 line and making it safe
All I know is, is that environments affect people and how they behave and at the same time people affect their environments. There is a two way, almost symbiotic relationship between 'place' and 'person' - with the one depending on the other. Appreciating and caring for the 'place' around you can only bring mutual benefits - to the environment, to individuals and the community. But maybe I wouldn't feel the same if I wasn't surrounded in all directions by views like these! These are what make me feel that Usk and the surrounding area is 'my place' to be.

Storm approaching Usk from the Bristol Channel over Wentwood






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