I have nothing against the Welsh. After all, as man and boy, I was blissfully happy in this beautiful land of someone else’s father. But not everyone agrees. Their most famous lyricist, Dylan Thomas once said, ‘Land of my Fathers? They are welcome to it.’
The Welsh comedian, Max Boyce, did not share his sentiments. Tongue in cheek he reminded the English that if a household iron was run over Wales then his land would be bigger than England once the wrinkles (mountains) were ironed flat.
The Welsh sense of humour tends to be sardonic. What do you call an Englishman in the knockout stages of the world Cup that goes England’s way? The referee.
There is delicious rivalry. A Welshman who owns a flock of sheep is dubbed, a pimp.
The Welshman’s brand of humour can be enlightening. I recall using a lane approaching a Welsh farm. The sign read: ‘Slow! Free Range Children’.
Noted for their sullen insularity the Welsh are notoriously anti-stranger. I thought it was because they thought I was English, their traditional enemy. No, genial son who gets on with everyone and yet hails from Wrexham said; ‘they show strong dislike for me too.’
Whoever penned the lines There‘ll be a Welcome in the Hillside / There‘ll be a Welcome in the Vale, should be dragged before the courts for misrepresentation.
I have asked locals in real Welsh-speaking Wales, the Lleyn Peninsular, Anglesey and Snowdonia if it is true that they do not welcome visitors. Agreeably they agree with me and make no bones about it.
I vented with a friend who lives in Llangollen. ‘Everywhere else changes,’ I said, ‘but not Llangollen, Corwen, Bala and Anglesey. If one of Owain Glyndwr’s (1359-1415) warriors were to re-visit he would not see change.’ ‘That is music to my ears,’ she told me.
A Birmingham neighbour in our Welsh village had resettled in the Land of my Fathers: ‘All I can see is bloody mountains.’
My mother sympathised. ‘Perhaps we should drill holes through them for you.’
‘And what would you see,’ he retorted. ‘Just more bloody mountains.’
It has been said that the Welsh are the Irish who could not swim. At the time of the first millennium, when Saxon immigrants were overrunning Shakespeare’s sceptre isle, the Britons (the Welsh to you and me) retreated towards the Britain’s West. An early form of ‘white flight’, the then indigenous locals looked upon the new English as ‘smelly heathens’.
I am not sure if the enmity between the Welsh and the English is genuine or teasing. I think the latter for in truth I was very happy in Wales.
The Welsh can be quirky but who isn’t. One thing I do love of theirs, well two actually. The Welsh male voice choirs bring a lump to my throat, especially when they sing Myfanwy. And I of course adore the Welsh flag with its vivid green and white harmony offset by the Red Dragon of Wales. Yes, now that is a flag I could die for. Cymru am byth (Wales Forever). ~ Michael Walsh
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MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, broadcaster and the author of RISE OF THE SUN WHEEL, EUROPE ARISE, TROTSKY’S WHITE NEGROES, MEGACAUST, DEATH OF A CITY, WITNESS TO HISTORY, THE BUSINESS BOOSTER , THE FIFTH COLUMN VOLUME I and II, FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT SPEAK, IMMORTAL BELOVED, THE ALL LIES INVASION, INSPIRE A NATION Volume I, INSPIRE A NATION Volume II , SLAUGHTER OF A DYNASTY , REICH AND WRONG, THE RED BRIGANDS, RANSACKING THE REICH , SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH: ARNO BREKER AND REICH SCULPTORS , SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH: JOSEF THORAK AND REICH SCULPTORS , SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD REICH VOLUME III Porcelain and Reich Sculptors, The Exiled Duke Romanov Who Turned Desert Into Paradise , THE DOVETAILS , SEX FEST AT TIFFANY’S and other book titles. These illustrated best-selling books are essential for the libraries of informed readers.
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