|St David’s Day|
Have you ever completed one of the hundreds of ‘Welsh citizenship tests’ or ‘Welshometer’ quizzes that ping back into the forefront of social networking sites in the run up to St David’s Day? Some of them are beautifully tongue-in-cheek. A personal favourite lists a possible answer to a Heritage section as “I was born in New Zealand, but the WRU say one of my grandparents might have been born in Wales, so I qualify to play for the national team.”
There’s a distinctly South Walian bent to all this, and a distinct absence of any mention of the Welsh tongue. It’s very easy to be left with the impression that to be Welsh is to be from the valleys of South Wales, obsessed with the rugby and the bridge toll. The Wales beyond the M4 corridor is a hidden realm, occasionally referred to as a holiday destination or the home of prettier sheep. I am as guilty as any of referring to South and North Wales, as though they were East and West Germany, rather than the southern and northern halves of a single country.
I lose points on any ‘Welsh’ test, having grown up in the Far East (to Welsh parents, I hasten to add – my childhood was studded with St David Day balls where I was dressed in national costume in order to hand out silk leeks to guests). Since returning to Wales to live I’ve attempted to learn the language and acquired a moderate Cardiff accent (“tuth” and “sospan” have replaced “tooth” and “saucepan” in my lexicon).
More than this though, I’ve really fallen in love with the country. We’ve spent a good few days tramping around Pontneddfechan and plan to spend much more time in the Brecon Beacons. We’ve walked a lot of the coast along the South made extensive use of our CADW membership around Chepstow, Caerphilly and Caerleon. As a Cardiff resident I’ve been able to apply for a Cardiff Castle pass, which means I can walk down in my lunch break to eat my sandwiches in the keep.
I can spend hours singing the praises of Wales’ capital city: the stadium, the Welsh Millennium Centre, St David’s Hall, the CIA, the Food Festival, the Cheese Festival, the Fringe Festival, the walk across the barrage to Penarth in the sun, the joy that is St Fagan’s, the quaint delight of Castell Coch... And yet beyond this vibrant city there is so much more.
We went to North Wales on honeymoon and spent a week gazing at stunning landscapes surrounded by delightfully friendly people. They have some pretty impressive castles up north, a rather extensive network of steam railways and plenty of places to buy firewood so you can have a blazing fire roaring in your rental cottage. I can’t wait to go back.
So this St David’s Day, when you’re buying your daffodils and planning your cawl and lamb, put down the leek and the welsh cakes for two minutes, think about all the places you haven’t yet explored yet in Wales and decide on one to get to this year. It may be visiting the Gwynt y Ddraig brewery to taste the best perry in the world, or travelling to Abergavenney for their food festival, or watching the Roman cavalry units perform in Caerleon this summer. Whether it’s Dyffryn Gardens or Beaumaris, Cader Idris or the Waterfront Museum, make a pledge on March 1st this year to visit somewhere new in this amazing country. You’ll love it.
Dydd Dewi Sant Hapus!
Guest post by Alys Kowalik who writes a Cardiff based food blog here: http://cfchef.wordpress.com/
|Last Updated on Monday, 16 May 2011 20:14|