CREATIVE Diarmuid Johnson

NWR Issue 95

Extracts from the Diaries of Dyfrig Prydderch, 1936

September 26, 1936
Morning broke with its habitual rich cacophony: clank of car on the road; ring of water in the tin bucket. Loud voices, cock-crow, barking dogs joining the chorus. These sounds punctuate the silence. In Wales since the war, the noise of an occasional motorcar has become familiar. The train rattles through llan and aber. The people in Wales are fond of their wireless too. Here the silence is strong enough to taste.


In the 1930S, welshman Dyfrig Prydderch lived in Romania, travelling there and recording his impressions of life in the country. After his death in 1969, diaries, papers and manuscripts in his handwriting were discovered among his personal effects. These run to many hundreds of pages, and are now kept in the National Library of Romania. We visited the library to consult the work. The extracts we present here are drawn from the year 1936. In that year, Dyfrig Prydderch made several field trips. One was in autumn to the southern slopes of the Oltenia region, part of former Wallachia, where he worked and lived for a time with the villagers of Targu Lupest. Another took him to the mountains of Arad in southern Transylvania during the Christmas season. The following passages are drawn from the autumn diaries. We translate from Prydderch’s original Welsh.

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