1st March marks St David’s Day, the celebration of the patron saint of Wales and it’s a day that is celebrated every year across the country. Ask anyone that grew up in Wales and they’ll tell you about taking part in their school’s Eisteddfod (a kind of talent show). The weeks running up to it would be spent learning poems in Welsh to recite to the whole school who had no idea what you were saying, attempting to paint a portrait of a Welsh flag, rugby ball and daffodil for the art entry and begging your gran to make you some Welsh cakes that you could try and pass off as your own. All of this preparation would culminate in a day of competitions to try and earn points for your school house, all whilst dressed in traditional Welsh clothing. It’s as weird as it sounds.
Born and bred in Cardiff, I moved away for uni and I have lived in London for the past 2 and a half years, but I don’t think anything will ever give me that overwhelming feeling of being home as much as driving over the Severn bridge and seeing the ‘Croeso i Gymru’ sign welcome me back.
So, in honour of this holy day, here are just a few of the things that I will always love and miss about the green, green grass of home.
- Welsh people. They really are some of the friendliest, loveliest and chattiest people in the world. Go to the pub on a Friday night, wait at a bus stop or go for a walk over the park and it’s pretty likely you’ll get chatting to a complete stranger.
- Growing up in Cardiff, I was living in a capital city where I could also be on the beach or up a mountain in less than an hour. That made for some pretty great days out as a kid.
- You can order a cider and black in the pub and no one will bat an eyelid. I was not prepared for the amusement and ridicule that ordering my usual would ignite amongst my English companions.
- Come to think of it, the same goes for being able to order curry sauce with your chips and a half and half with your curry.
- Telling someone I’ll be there in now in a minute and having them understand that I’ll be there now, in a minute.
- Watching the rugby in Cardiff. Nothing London has to offer compares to watching a game in Wales’ capital. The roads into and around the city centre have to be closed because there are so many people, crowds have to drink their pints in the streets because the pubs are so packed out and you can hear choruses of Delilah, Calon Lan and Bread of Heaven around every corner. Anywhere that doesn’t have a big screen is pretty much dead and the whole city has a buzz about it – a match day in Cardiff is pretty special.
- The soothing tones of a Welsh accent. Just listen to Tom Jones for 5 minutes and tell me you don’t feel your troubles melting away.
- The joy a Welsh person will have for finding another Welsh person when they’re not at home. Me and a stranger started excitedly talking to each other in the queue for a cashpoint on a night out in uni because we recognised each other’s accents and we’ve been friends ever since.
- The pride and passion people have for where they’re from. Well, it is the best country in the world after all!
So to my fellow Welsh friends in London, Happy St David’s Day!
And Wales, rwy’n dy garu di.