I was telling someone today that I didn’t think I’d write my blog for a while as I wasn’t feeling ‘it’. Funny how a conversation can change your mind. It’s not my usual kind of blog, maybe that is why it was easier to write.
I was chatting to someone earlier who was trying to explain a woman in her evening class to me. She’s nice she said, you know, she’s Welsh. You have to hug her when you see her and she’s kind and she’s chatty. You know what I mean. She’s Welsh!
I knew what she meant. She’s Welsh!
As I drove home I pass through the village just before mine and I see someone walking with his back to me. He can’t see me but I find myself waving anyway. I sneak a look in the mirror and I know he’s going to wave back. He doesn’t know I’ve seen him. I didn’t know he might see my wave. But we wave. We’re Welsh!!!
So what else does it mean to be Welsh?
These are ten things that immediately sprung to my mind.
1. You cannot pass ANYONE without saying hello. Ever. This reminds me of my very good friend Ann who as a teenager said hello to an elderly lady in town one day. Do I know you?? Shouted the woman. Most disgruntled. No, replied Ann. The woman walks away shaking her head!
2. You are chatty. You cannot stand next to ANYONE for more than 1.5 seconds without having to start a conversation. Recently I drove to work and there was a very annoying set of traffic lights that had appeared, hindering my journey. I sat there for fifteen minutes. The guy who had the exciting job that day turning the sign from stop to go caught my eye. I made some remark out of my window about being late for work. He sauntered over. By the time the sign was turning back to go I knew where he lived, that he loved the seaside and that he normally wasn’t the stop and go guy amongst other things. We have to chat!
3. If you EVER hear anybody speaking Welsh when you are on holiday, you HAVE to tell that person that you are also Welsh. No question. It has to be done.
4. You went to school and were forced to speak Welsh and hated it. As an adult you LOVE the fact you can speak Welsh, no matter how little, we speak two languages already! It’s FAB!
5. It is almost IMPOSSIBLE to speak English to someone that you have always spoken Welsh to. I fear this is where the idea that Welsh people are ‘rude’ or ‘talking about you’ comes from. It is actually almost impossible. As soon as you start in English it feels stilted and wrong so you just roll back into Welsh. Bizarre but true.
6. If you were born in Wales you will probably never say you are from the UK or Great Britain, you will always say you are Welsh and from Wales. Outside of Europe people think you are a town near Liverpool but nevermind!
7. This could be me but you sing your HEART out to the Welsh National Anthem but probably don’t know every word and either hum or mouth part of it. Just as enthusiastically mind.
8. At the end of the night in most pubs you HAVE to sing either Calon Lan or something by Dafydd Iwan before you can leave the pub. Quality of singing can be of differing levels. As long as you sing.
9. You WILL have competed at an Eisteddfod at some time in your life and you would have thought it was completely normal to get up to sing and recite on a stage in front of lots of people. It was only when the X Factor came along that I realised other people thought it was a big deal!
10. You almost definitely play an instrument of some kind. Even if it is the recorder. Or the triangle. If you didn’t your grandparents wouldn’t talk to you*
*don’t take any of this too seriously – all opinions are Welsh, and my own*