Other Side of Ninety, The (Song for Betty)
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In 2012, my mother’s health deteriorated rapidly, and she passed away in May at the good old age of ninety one. I spent much of the year visiting her in the hospital, dealing with the arrangements, and then sorting out the house; and in amongst all this the elements of this song came together. I had not written anything serious for five years, and was somewhat surprised to find this emerging. On reflection, it was perhaps meant to be; and setting down and performing the composition has been an important part of the closure process for me.

Every single line of this song has great personal significance for our family; but I believe I have managed to produce something that will resonate more widely with people who have been involved with the very elderly. Certainly the initial responses around the folk outlets have borne this out. For my part, it was a long time before
I could reliably sing this without my voice faltering, and even now it means more to me than most of my other songs.

My mother’s family did live for a number of years in Egypt, and it was there that she met my father. He himself died at ninety, when they had been married sixty one years. Llyn Cwm Bychan, in the hills above Harlech, is the final resting place of them both.