My Love Affair With Wales

Welsh Countryside
Originally uploaded by Liz du Canada

As I have mentioned before, the best thing about Wales is the Welsh. Not to generalize about an entire nation of people, but I have yet to meet a Welsh person who wasn’t funny, curious, wry, and generous to a fault. Here are a couple of examples from my recent stay:

1.) I get off the train with no map or plan as to where to stay in Swansea that night. I have one night and then am off to a friend’s house, but I am not going to sleep under a bush. I’m too old for that. Anyhow, it’s a gorgeous sunny day and I’m happy to walk along, when I spy a Unitarian church. I knock on the door and am invited in by the caretaker. He gives me a tour while the woman who runs a dance school in the church hall calls around looking for the best rate. When she’s got something good, she lends me her mobile to talk to the hotel proprietor. THEN, the caretaker drives me the couple of miles down to the oceanfront and introduces me personally to the man at the hotel.

2.) My fab friend Ness took a day off work to drive me around South Wales and look at museums and go shopping. This is absolutely true to form for her, as her house is kind of like a Hitcher hostel. Need a mini-break? Tell her you’re coming and she’ll be ready. Her husband and children have adapted readily, as they never know who’s going to be in their living room at any given time. Pretty cool.

3) While Ness and I were shopping, I decided to get a few more bras at Marks and Spencer. Let me just evangelize a moment on the importance of wearing the right size. it’s important, okay? Okay. And if I want to actually go to a store to try on a bra in my size, that bra is going to cost about a hundred bucks, if not a hundred and fifty. So. I wanted bras. M&S bras start, in my size, at about 16 bucks. So, yes, I was buying bras. Anyhow, I’m there in M&S, and I tell the salesgirl what I’m looking for. Not only does she race around the department gathering a dozen bras she thinks might suit, she enlists the help of a friend, who goes off on her own bra-hunting mission for me. That hasn’t happened in any other M&S I’ve ever been in.

Now, the Welsh have their detractors, who say that they are a volatile bunch, prone to setting fire to holiday parks ( trailer parks) to protest English domination. Sure, they can get a little agitated, but who wouldn’t, after more than 700 years of being told they were inferior and useless? Hell, I’d torch something as well.

Another thing I love about Wales is how the people and the land form a kind of dichotomy. The people are gregarious and love to laugh. The land keeps secrets. The people will buy you a pint and start a conversation, but the land waits for you to listen to its whispering. The people are moved to act. The land waits, and is, down in the very bones of earth, possessed of a kind of stubborn patience that says, ‘You can’t change what is’.

I do love Wales. I kind of wish I was still there.

14 Comments to “My Love Affair With Wales”

  1. By Arwen, April 23, 2008 @ 5:28 pm

    I looked at your photostream. You look good in Wales… and no place on earth should be that gorgeous. Oh my god.

  2. By rachel, April 23, 2008 @ 6:27 pm

    They are super pretty. I remember Wales as purple and grey.

    Giant Nerdfriend likes your pictures from the British Museum, too. They make me sigh wistfully.

  3. By Liz, April 23, 2008 @ 6:59 pm

    Arwen, I would argue that Wales looks good on me. It is pretty fricking gorgeous, so different from our neck of the woods, huh?

    Rachel, it’s so many of the cool colours of the spectrum, and the quality of light is different from here, even though we’re roughly at the same latitude. That’s so cool!
    I wish I was telepathic twins so I could have absorbed more at the British Museum. The good news is, it’s not going anywhere. I will be back, oh, yes, I will!

  4. By Arwen, April 24, 2008 @ 8:00 am

    Did you get back yesterday?

  5. By Liz, April 24, 2008 @ 8:44 am


  6. By Arwen, April 24, 2008 @ 1:16 pm

    Wow. I just realized your wardrobe is wales-coloured. You’ve been sending us coded messages all along.

  7. By Arwen, April 24, 2008 @ 1:20 pm

    Oh, and you also perfect in the wedding dress and the red dress. This, you have not been sending us coded messages about. Consider it.

  8. By Arwen, April 24, 2008 @ 1:21 pm

    are perfect/look perfect/punch perfect in the face/pluperfect.

    Pick a verb. I am unable to.

  9. By rachel, April 24, 2008 @ 2:31 pm

    You can pick your verbs, and you can pick your nose, but if you try to pick a verb’s nose, they will lock you up, and justly so.

  10. By Liz, April 24, 2008 @ 2:41 pm

    Arwen, I never noticed that about my clothes. They ARE Welsh colours. That was part of the thing with the red dress- it isn’t, so it was a bit of a risk. The wedding dress was just something Ness threw at me to try on. I don’t think there are coded signals there. I hope not, anyhow. That dress costs 1500 CAD. Yikes!

    Rachel’s right. You can’t pick a verb’s nose. It’s like riding a unicorn. Only virgins can. Wait, that’s not right…

  11. By Deb, April 25, 2008 @ 11:08 am

    Wow! Lady, you were born to wear fabulous gowns, particularly red ones. Holey shmoley.

    Also, I would like to state for the record that the first of my ancestral kin(on my Dad’s side) hailed from Wales. That makes me cool, right?

  12. By Deb, April 25, 2008 @ 11:11 am

    The first that came to the ‘new world’, that is….

  13. By stephanie, April 27, 2008 @ 9:31 am

    Now I want to go!

  14. By Liz, April 27, 2008 @ 4:50 pm

    Everyone should go, Stephanie. It’s the best!

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