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
Kim Cleary, Author

Kim Cleary

Kim writes paranormal stories with a intrigue, suspense and a hint of romance. She loves all animals, especially her dogs; and thrives on coffee and chocolate while writing and researching.

10 thoughts on “On Being Welsh”

  1. Jenny ClearyJenny Cleary

    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. Huw ThomasHuw Thomas

    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. Rhenna MorganRhenna Morgan

    Beautiful pictures! I wish I could boast such a colorful history. Alas, Oklahoma isn’t nearly as picturesque.

  4. Roz HillRoz Hill

    Hi Kim and fellow student on 101,
    I have enjoyed your blog here, and congratulations on your books.
    When I was quite young my camping parents descovered the estuary near Harlech. They both liked to fish for sea bass and as kids we set lines for the incoming tide.
    We share soome similar memories of our holidays.
    I think you are in Australia? My daughter lives in Sydney .

    Catchup soon on 101 🙂
    Roz Hill

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