On Being Welsh

Beddgelert, North Wales by A Roger Davies on Flickr (cc)

Beddgelert, North Wales by A Roger Davies on Flickr (cc)

I’m not sure why I feel so Welsh.
Though I do.
I always have.

I grew up in Birmingham in the UK. But my family hails from Wales (and before that Ireland) and we spent every holiday in our caravan in a Welsh camping ground. Mostly we stayed at a small village near Rhyl.

Late sun on New Years Day, Conwy Valley, Wales, UK by erwlas on Flickr (cc)

Late sun on New Years Day, Conwy Valley, Wales, UK by erwlas on Flickr (cc)

Perhaps it’s because of the happiest memories: of forest walks and mountain climbs. Donkey rides on the stony beach. Hot chips in newspaper, the salt rough on my lips. Ice-cream cones melting down my wrist. Vinegar on bee stings and bulls in green fields. Waggly tails on black faced lambs. Even in summer, it rained like old ladies and sticks (mae hi’n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn). Spots hammered against the caravan windows, and we grabbed books and jigsaw puzzles to wait for the sun to come out.

Wales, UK by neiljs on Flickr (cc)

Wales, UK by neiljs on Flickr (cc)

When I first started writing my short story (the one that turned into an urban fantasy novel, you can read about that here) the setting was always Wales in my head. No-one wants to read paragraphs of description anymore, so the trick is to give a snippet of setting in context that sets the scene for readers. I hope I’ve achieved that!

A stormy day at Mewslade Bay, Gower, South Wales, UK by geographyalltheway.com on Flickr (cc)

A stormy day at Mewslade Bay, Gower, South Wales, UK by geographyalltheway.com on Flickr (cc)

My father, like a dog with two tails (fel ci efo dau gynffon), remembered a few words of Welsh at the end of his life and told us stories of scrumping apples, catching rabbits for dinner, and doing anything to avoid working in the pits. That’s how we ended up in Birmingham!

Knowing who I am makes me stronger.

How about you? Do you know where you come from? Does it help you to understand who you are?

Until next time, Y Ddraig Goch ddyry gychwyn (The dragon will show the way).

Y Ddraig Goch ddyry gychwyn
Y Ddraig Goch ddyry gychwyn
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11 thoughts on “On Being Welsh

  1. I sorely wish I remembered those holidays in Wales. You’re description of them makes me feel like maybe a tiny bit is somewhere in my memory banks. I named my little house (here in SW Victoria) Rarebit Cottage as a salute to my Welsh forebears. One thing I do know for sure is that if I ever travel outside of Australia again, it will be to Wales. I’d like to show my wonderful Dad that it’s no longer the place he “escaped” all those years ago.

  2. My paternal grandfather left Wales to escape the mines. (He started work at about 12 as a collier’s assistant.). I’ve never lived there but with a name like Huw David Thomas it’s hard to escape my roots!
    Plus we also had many family camping holidays in Wales when I was young… and visits to see great aunts and uncles with names like Bronwen and Mervyn.

  3. Pingback: 52/2013 Week 32 | Say It With A Camera

  4. Thanks for the Good Luck in The Commons!! πŸ™‚ I wanted to come and see your blog and its so ironic because I was just asking my bf where was Welsh before I found your blog!

  5. Hello! Just found you via the #AtoZChallenge, and this post really strikes a chord. I am from North Staffordshire, and our family holidays were always on a caravan park near Rhyl, where both sets of grandparents owned a caravan. Do you know Meledon? I think I spelled that correctly…

    Wales has always been a spiritual home for me, and I went to university in Lampeter. See you around on the challenge πŸ™‚ http://spookymrsgreen.com/2016/04/02/atozchallenge-b-is-for-booklover/

    • Thank you for visiting πŸ™‚ Wales is definitely my spiritual home. My childhood memories are strong, I can still smell the forest where I walked with my father collecting acorns and perfect pine cones. Good Luck in the challenge!

  6. Growing up in the States and being part Irish, part Scottish ( and 1/4 Greek) I have always loved pictures from your area and Scotland and Ireland. Your photos increased that love. Exquisitely beautiful country!!

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