On the Red Hill - Mike Parker
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Mike Parker’s extraordinary, ambitious, many layered memoir opens with a scene from 2006, a civil partnership ceremony in the town of Machynlleth in rural Wales, only two months after such things became possible. There are two couples at the centre of the book: a fortysomething Parker and his partner Peredur, and – the couple just legally recognised – Reg and George, respectively 79 and 89 years old. “Their 62 years together encompassed the full gamut of society’s attitudes,” Parker writes. “For the first 18 years of their relationship, its very existence was illegal. Yet they were together long enough to go from being outlawed by the state to being married by one of its officials.” The younger couple had become close friends with the older, but they were astounded to discover, when Reg and George died, that they had been bequeathed their grand house, Rhiw Goch.
They had also been left a lifetime's collection of diaries, photographs, letters and books, all revealing an extraordinary history. On the Red Hill is the story of Rhiw Goch, `the Red Hill', and its inhabitants, but also the story of a remarkable rural community and a legacy that extends far beyond bricks and mortar. On The Red Hill celebrates the turn of the year's wheel, of ever-changing landscapes, and of the family to be found in the unlikeliest of places.
Mike Parker is a writer and broadcaster based in mid Wales whose travel writing takes him all over Europe.