Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.I’ve mentioned in the past in this blog (though not recently) that when the wife and I started courting in the nineteen nineties we had a long distance relationship. I would go up to Cardiff one weekend and she would come down to where I used to live in Essex the next.
If it was my turn to visit then our Sundays would slowly end by watching the omnibus edition of the Welsh language soap opera Pobol Y Cwm.
Regular readers will know I’m a fan. But I have to admit that work and other commitments meant that whilst the omnibus editions have been recorded there is a backlog, and when I say a backlog, I mean that the one I’d just got round to watching today was originally broadcast just before Christmas.
The episode I want to chat about is the first. Where a group of characters walk up to a mountain so that the ashes of a former landlady of the local pub the Deri Arms (Jean McGurk aka Mrs Mac) could be scattered near Cwmderi. It reminded me and was a tribute to the untimely death of the actress who played her Iola Gregory.
Now Iola Gregory had a long and distinguished acting career in English and Welsh. But because I only first knew her in the nineteen nineties I can’t really do her justice without sounding false so I’ll just focus on the lady as Mrs Mac.
I have before also mentioned in this blog that my favourite saying about Wales is that it’s Italy with rain. I presume that whoever made that saying (which I keep forgetting to go online and find out) was also referring to it’s people. For like in Italy I’ve rarely met a shy Welsh woman. Taken as whole they’ve never been afraid to express an opinion on anything….and loudly. Mrs Mac armed with cigarettes ( this was before the smoking ban on pubs ) and gin and tonics is a good example of this. However unless hurt there is an underlying heart of gold through the cig smoke and the drink. Pobol Y Cwm does show this side of Welsh women well indeed other examples were the other female characters which walked up the mountain for that episode Cassie (Sue Roderick) Diane (Victoria Plucknett) and Kath (Siw Hughes).
Mrs Mac may have been the dominant personality in her marriage but she loved her husband and as he was dying of an incurable disease looked after him. Iola Gregory was able to show these differing emotions battling within the character and made it appear not like soap opera land but all too real. That ladies and gentlemen is what real acting is like.
I only knew Iola Gregory for a relatively brief period and I’m not going to pretend otherwise. But whatever she was in she was quality. When I showed the wife this episode she was saddened as well. For we liked her. And it made us remember our early courting years as well.
Until the next time.