My family comes from Pembrokeshire
Rain, mackerel, smelly welly boots, kerosene fires, sibling fights, and hay bale tunnels are my main memories of childhood holidays there.
The Wales of my childhood was a very different place
I remember a farmer with three cows which he walked through the village, a tomato grower in the house on the corner and my Auntie Megan driving up and down the country lanes in her mobile shop.
This year felt very strange because we weren’t able to cross the border for four months
In the summer, we managed to meet my family for a few days’ camping in the cleft of land where England meets Wales. The views were incredible and helped me feel human again. It was an emotional reunion with my mum: my nan died during the pandemic, and my dad just before lockdown, so it’s been a very hard time.
I have a bit of a mountain obsession at the minute
I climbed Snowdon with the children for the first time two years ago, and we all enjoyed it so much that it gave us a taste for holidays with a physical aim. We were meant to climb Ben Nevis just before lockdown and were sad to miss it.
My husband and I took the Caledonian Sleeper to the Highlands
We fell asleep with the gentle rocking, then woke up to see deer and snow from the window. It was magical and I felt like I was on holiday the moment I stepped on board the train.
The kids and I climbed to Everest Base Camp last year
It’s better than any boxset you’ll ever watch, a true feast for the senses. My sons said it was their best experience to date, even though it was sometimes a slog – one day of walking was nine hours. Nobody talks about how beautiful that walk is: there are rhododendron forests and juniper bushes beneath bright blue skies. We made friends with some Sherpas and they took us to their home for a popcorn party and to sing local songs.
The most stupid thing I’ve done was to go for a swim in Nauru
The current was so strong I was pulled out into the Pacific Ocean at a rate of knots. I thought, “Oh my God, this is it.” I don’t know where my body would have ended up… Somehow, I managed to hook my big toe into the sand and use my arms to push against the pull, but it was an utterly terrifying experience.
I try to avoid going to America at all costs
I lived in the Southern states [South Carolina and Tennessee] for six years, while my husband spent 10 years in the New York area. We both came to the conclusion that this country was an absolute desert of culture, a place in dire straits. It was a heinous place to bring up children, and it had deep, deep troubles that are only now becoming apparent to a lot of people.
I have a newfound appreciation for Europe
I love the wine, the small producers, the languages, the acceptance of our differences, the history… all of the things that we can so take for granted but which are so missing in America. But alas, we are hurtling towards their model of living too.
This sounds terribly sycophantic, but I love the Telegraph Travel guides – we have used them many, many times
On recommendation, this summer we ended up in Beaune, France. We cycled around the Grand Cru plots, up and down to these beautiful villages, trying out some burgundy and then seeing the pinot noir and chardonnay grapes.
In the late 1990s, my band Catatonia played at Fuji Rock Festival in Japan
I remember walking around the back of Fuji Rock with Ian Brown, the singer of The Stone Roses, and finding a really clear stream full of gorgeous honey-coloured pebbles, quartz and tiger stones. We dipped our feet in the cold stream, then I went back and watched Blur as the sun came down in front of an absolute sea of an audience.
At 18, I put a rucksack on my back and went to Spain for a year
It was one of the most pivotal decisions I’ve ever made. I’m encouraging my children to do something similar when they are older. To get your feet in another culture and learn another language when your brain is still so brilliant is one of the most valuable experiences you can give yourself.
Early in the mornings, I would walk along Las Ramblas to my language school
It was the late 80s and not how it is today. There would be prostitutes hanging about as the flower sellers set up their stalls. I don’t like to go back because the place has changed.
In lockdown I had cabin fever
I just hankered for a view, of the landscape or fields. Climbing books were a brilliant escape – my favourite was Everest: The First Ascent by Harriet Tuckey.
Interview by Rosie Hopegood
Cerys Matthews' album, We Come from the Sun, is out on Decca. £10.99; store.hmv.com