Quick & Quirky Questions with Christine Williams

Born in West Wales she is a fluent Welsh speaker who lives in Brecon, Mid Wales.  She is married with three children, all of whom work in the arts.  

Christine has written poetry most of her adult life and has read many times as an invited guest poet at various venues. 

She has been the featured poet at the monthly Writers’ Forum in Brecon and has been published in The Works, (editor Nigel Jenkins) and Sextet (the anthology of the Breconshire Stanza group).  

She was a highly commended winner in the Autumn Voices ‘Choices’ poetry competition in 2021. It was the first time she had ever entered a competition with one of her poems.

She is a fine-art painter using beeswax as her medium and sells her work as Melangell.

Tell us 4 important facts about yourself:

  1. Although I am 80 years of age I feel (and tend to act) as if I were decades younger. I am still one of the five directors running the Welfare team at Glastonbury Festival and it would have been my thirtieth year there two years ago if not for the lockdown. A hip operation in three weeks’ time will probably inhibit me from going this coming year, but after that . . . why not!
  2. I’ve been married to the same man for 56 years, and am a mother of three children, all of whom are brilliant in their own individual ways. I still love my husband, and of course my children very much.
  3. I relish my friends of both genders, from those in their forties to their nineties, all of whom have a range of differing personalities, idiosyncrasies and foibles. Perhaps it takes one to know one?
  4. It may sound rather schmaltzy to read but I celebrate every day as a new gift – ‘a new day with no mistakes’ as one of my dear friends once said.

What is your favourite age that you’ve been so far in life, and why?

Ouch! This is a difficult one. Every time I reflect on times passed, I realise what a wonderful mixed bag my life is, including achievements but also heartache at losing loved parents and friends (three of my closest women friends gone). I will answer this question by saying that THIS is my favourite age so far as I love my life every single day, and as time ahead is inevitably shorter it is so very precious.

Who is your favourite fictional character or famous person over 60?

The Gunslinger Roland Deschain from Stephen King’s odyssey The Dark Tower.  

Second choice please? It would be Michael Henchard, Mayor of Casterbridge from Thomas Hardy’s book. (I could have saved him had I been around!).

You are alone in your house (no pets). You have three minutes to get out before the house collapses and burns to the ground. What one possession would you grab and take with you?

A tiny gilt-framed photograph of my beloved father, Tony, in his army gear smoking a pipe, as a very young sergeant during World War II. It is the only photograph I have of him. He had auburn hair (my brother and I have inherited it) and was very handsome. He came home from the war and died at 66, too young. He had rheumatoid arthritis but never ever complained.

The photo next to it is my beloved mother as a young girl, with me sitting on her lap as a very young toddler. Could I put both photos into one frame, please? (before the fire starts of course).

What’s your favourite creative pastime?

I am a professional artist, painting in beeswax (an ancient art form traceable at least back as far as Tut En Khamoun) and it is my favourite pastime, followed closely by gardening – another creative pastime.

Tell us something about yourself that’s surprising or unexpected.

1. Whilst on a delegation visit to the Emirates in the 90s with what was then the Welsh Office (now our Welsh Government), promoting my unusual artwork, I was commissioned to paint the entire dining room wall of one of the Sheik’s palaces in beeswax for a phenomenal amount of money.  

As the Sheik’s commissioning agent said: ‘This is just one wall in just one of his palaces . . . we will keep you busy for a long time’. I turned it down as I had a young child, a family and an elderly mother at home. It would have been a wonderful challenge, but I don’t regret it.

2. Walking along Queen Street in Cardiff holding my young baby in my arms one day, he started screaming to be fed. There was nowhere I could rush into, so I discreetly managed to feed him (covered up for modesty) walking along the busy shopping street. No one noticed a thing!

Read Christine’s guest blog for our theme of “Love Languages”, I’m glad I’m Welsh!

Our monthly flash theme for February was Love Languages

Our flash competition this month honours our ‘love languages’ theme. If you are aged 60 and over, and want to write a short piece about your own love of language, we’d love to hear from you! This could be a poem, flash fiction or flash memoir about any language at all (that might even include computer languages!). We’re especially keen to hear from you if you are an older person new to the UK, and have learned English or one of the UK’s other spoken languages for the first time. We’re also keen to hear from people who have discovered a love for learning languages for the first time as a person over 60.

Entries will be accepted until midnight on February 28th, and the winning entry, chosen by Autumn Voices, will receive a copy of Chuckies Fir The Cairn. This is a collection of poems in Scots and Gaelic, edited by Rab Wilson and kindly donated as a prize by Luath Press.

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