Pain’s Cross is a flat area of land between Llanmadoc Down and Hardings Down, Llangennith, Gower. Today, it is known colloquially as The Pancras and legend has it that the area was once the site of a bloody battle between opposing tribes living in the hillforts on either side, where the earthworks remain today.
It can be a bleak place when the rain pours down (or often horizontally) when the prevailing wild south-westerlies sweep in off the Atlantic. And it was this bleakness that gave the impetus for a short story I wrote a little while ago, which placed a struggling farmer trying to forge a new life in these conditions, when his old life had fallen apart.
Naturally, I reverted to the old name of the place as title of this story, Pain’s Cross. It was a story I enjoyed writing and was relatively pleased with; but it has never figured in any competition success until now.
I was delighted that this week, it was short-listed in the Longworth Editors’ Short Story Competition 2013. I am more pleased with this result than any other relative short story competition success I have had, as I am emotionally very attached to this story, and for me it seems to sum up the sense of place that is Llangennith - and there was only a short list of five!
I can’t praise the organisers of this competition enough. Not often does a competition give all its entrants feedback on every story they submit. I entered two and was duly given constructive criticism on both – the not so good, and the better!
Look out for the 2014 competition at www.longwortheditors.com