Dydd Gwyl Dewi hapus!11:21
Or for those of us who don't speak Welsh (practically most people in the world) Happy St David's Day!!
It is once again the 1st of March so we here in Wales are celebrating St David's Day. By celebrating I don't mean going to the pub at 2pm to have our fill of Penderyn's Whiskey...I mean some people wear Daffodils or traditional Welsh costume or....well...ok, a dragon hat!!
What's that I hear you cry?! Where is Wales? Is that part of England? Is it near London?
Urm....ok, let's start today's lessons with Geography. The United Kingdom is made up from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which are all countries in their own right (in my mind anyway, let's not get into arguments about constituent countries and principalities etc). Wales is the bit stuck onto the left of England....actually, this would be better if I could find a pic....please hold the line, your call is important to us....
Thanks to http://destinationwales.org for that pic :)
Anyway, sometimes we're called Britian, and sometimes the U.K. but Britain is only actually made up of England, Scotland and Wales. So with Northern Ireland we're the U.K. which is nice.
Right, back to the subject in hand...so....geography...well our capital city is Cardiff which is on the southern coast of Wales and this is where our National Assembly is based. This national assembly can make laws in their 20 key areas (I think) but they then have to be passed through Westminster at the moment. On Thursday the Welsh people have been asked to vote in a referendum (yes I did have to spell check) whether we'd like our Welsh National Assembly to be able to pass laws in those 20 areas and not have to have them passed through Westminster.
I could be making half of this up and most of you would never know which is lovely, but my neighbour went to a Welsh school and speaks Welsh so she'd know....go easy on your poor English neighbour Leah!
Here are the
Size: 20,732 sq km
Population: 2.9 million
Location: western part of mainland Britain
Languages: English is spoken by nearly everyone; Welsh is spoken by over 20% of the population.
Dating back to the 9th century Welsh is one of the oldest languages in Europe.
Capital: Cardiff (pop. 305,000)
Legislature: National Assembly for Wales
Government: Welsh Assembly Government
I was looking for a lovely little potted brief history about Wales to give you, but it seems there's just far too much history to tell you!!
Wike does it nicely here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Wales but from what I can gather here is the smallest history of one of the oldest countries.
It was lovely and green, the English invaded, the Irish invaded. The country was Celtic at some point (whether that's what it was originally or because it was invaded I don't know). Wales came under English rule, they fought back and won independence then lost it again.
More recently though the Welsh language was a forbidden language and children who spoke it in school were beaten...ok, maybe not that recently, maybe around the turn of the century.
Wales has 641 castles throughout it's tiny land in various states of repair (or disrepair) and is the most beautiful country I've ever been to.
Ok, so that's Geography and History...I'm sure you could fit a science in here with all the geology but science wasn't my strong point at school.
We live in the South Wales valleys of which there are a few. Wales is a very mountainous country with Snowdon in North Wales being the highest at 1085 m (3560 ft).
We live in a town called Aberdare in the county of Rhondda Cynon Taff. Aberdare is in the Cynon valley.
The beigey bit at the top of the map is the Brecon Beacons national park but, I've only ever driven through it, so I can't tell you all that much about it!
I feel so priviledged having such beauty right on my doorstep, I don't think I'll ever get used to living somewhere flat again after living being surrounded by such imposing mountains all around. I guess it makes me feel safe; I feel nestled into the side of the mountain here.
Here's the view from our back garden...it was taken last summer hence the sky not being grey! It usually is grey.... or raining, or grey and raining!
It was taken with my phone so it's not a brilliant pic, but imagine that all the way round...lush!
There is so much about Wales that is wonderful and I can't help but wonder that if I'd been born here whether I'd appreciate it so much, but being born in a town masquerading as a city...only 30 miles north of London...there's a lot to be said for a train that only leaves once an hour!
It seems to me that everyone celebrates St Patrick's day....half the world seems to be part Irish! But people often forget St David, St Andrew and St George, the other patron saints. I don't know how the Scots celebrate for St Andrew's day, but the English don't seem to really do anything to commemorate St George (Even though he fought a dragon!) which is a shame. But here in Wales, the children go to school in traditional dress and people do celebrate. If only by holding their heads higher for a day and being proud to be Welsh.
This is the only pic I could find with both the boys and girl's costumes but they're not quite right. Girls tend to wear a white blouse and a red and black check shawl and boys tend to wear a white shirt. I'm only going by what I've seen walking down the road though so who can tell!
I think I'd better finish here although I've not even touched on Welsh cakes, love spoons, mining or even sheep!
Anyway, now you're ready prepared to say Dydd Gwŷl Dewi Sant hapus ! to Catherine Zeta Jones if you see her randomly in the street! Or Tom Jones...or that blond woman...what's her name...Katherine something....Jenkins! That's her.