Monday 5 February 2024

Diolch yn fawr, Mary!

I am writing this to express my thanks to Mary of Windy Meadows Farm ( who so kindly reads my efforts and sends me lovely responses to which, due to a technological ineptitude on my part I am unable to reply (also I think Blogspot has something to do with it!). Mary, thank you for taking the time to comment on my posts, it means a lot. I guess our lives, while so many miles apart on different continents and in different cultures, are similar in lots of ways in that we both love family life on the farm and enjoying the seasonal round of the countryside. Farmers all over the world share so many common experiences and it is always fascinatiing to hear about the trials and tribulations, and of course the joys, familiar to us all. Diolch yn fawr! As you may realise I live in 'Welsh Wales', in this part of Wales particularly, Welsh is the first language and though I am not Welsh-speaking myself (despite having lived in Wales all my life and being taught the language at school!)I can get the gist of what is being said in a conversation though cannot join in, which is a great flaw in myself. The Farmer is fluent and both the Sons speak Welsh as & when they need to. The grandchildren go to 'Category A' schools which means they are taught through the medium of Welsh with English being a second language. If children are taught languages from an early age they master them effortlessly and so many children in Wales are bi-lingual from the start. Welsh is an ancient language possibly dating back about 4.000 years with its current form appearing between 400 and 700AD with the earliest written poetry in Welsh. It is one of the oldest languages in Europe and survives here in the far west, but only just. Just under 30% of the population speak the language and it survives in the agricultural heartlands though I know more Welsh is spoken in Cardiff now than when I was growing up there. In fact as a child I never heard Welsh spoken other than in my Welsh langauge classes in school. It was quite a surprise to me when I came to live in west Wales to realise that many people here conduct their whole lives speaking Welsh, using English but rarely. They are getting rarer now with the passage of time but there are still a few very old people who can remember being reprimanded for speaking Welsh in school as children. There was a move to eradicate the language starting hundreds of years ago. In 1536 Henry V111 pased an Act of Union prohibiting the use of Welsh in public administration and the legal system. However, the language managed to survive due in large part to the 1588 translation of the bible by one Rev.William Morgan until 19th century but during that era there were heavy-handed efforts to wipe it out including the 1870 Compulsory English Education Act in primary education. The continued anti-Welsh language onslaught went on in many forms until 1992 when the Welsh Language Bill gave equal status to Welsh with English in all spheres of life in Wales. There is a drive now get a million Welsh speakers by 2050.


  1. Oh how kind of you to say thank you to me! Truly it’s a joy to read what’s happening in your part of the world. Sigh - you are living my dream! It looks absolutely beautiful there. You inspired me - I pulled out my old fiddle to try and learn to play (teaching myself - not a pretty sound!). I pulled up some Welch fiddle music to listen to and then an app to learn Welsh- oh my it does look difficult! I believe I read it’s the most difficult language to learn. I. can’t imagine anyone wanting to eradicate it - it’s history! Well, it’s in my family tree - maybe I can learn a few basics. So glad to have discovered your blog - and thanks for posting, I’m sure the days are very busy. Enjoy your week - Hywl !

  2. I’m so sorry I misspelled Welsh with a C - in my family tree I have a lot of ancestors with the last name Welch and that’s just what came from my fingertips while typing!