He and his wife moved into a Welsh-speaking part of our land at the beginning of this Summer. They are from an English big city and managed to sell their home there almost as soon as they retired.
The reason they moved into an area just to the North of Machynlleth, they told me, was because they’d seen the beautiful scenery up there – and they could buy a property cheaply and still have money left from the sale of their big city property.
There are a few English families in the area, of course, but it surprised the retired couple to find that the Welsh language was still strong in those parts. Indeed, they complained to me that “all the local events are in Welsh”. So they never bother to attend any of them.
They used the phrase which so many immigrants to Wales use when they arrive here without doing their homework first: “We didn’t think they’d speak Welsh”.
And they were at great pains to tell me that they are fed up of the locals, when talking about the mildness of this Winter, saying: “Oh, we shall suffer for this.”
To our new immigrants, this denotes that the entire indigenous population comprises “one big miserable shower”.
I asked them how many of their neighbours had said told them that “we shall suffer for this”. They told me it had been one or two.
I was surprised not to hear the old apocryphal chestnut: “I went into a shop and they were all speaking English till I walked in and they switched to Welsh”.
It will not surprise you to learn that they have no intention of learning – or even respecting – the local language. It is the age-old arrogance of so many move-ins from beyond Offa’s Dyke.
I am not a native-born person. I was not young when I made my home in Wales. But, before coming here, I knew Wales pretty well: its community spirit, its history, and its – well – Welshness. That is why I came to live here – I just love the place. And I trying very hard (well, struggling, really) to learn The Language of Heaven.
If anyone who does not have the privilege of living in Wales reads this, please will you consider doing one serious thing before you move here? Simply visit a few times the area to which you intend to move; learn its traditions; make friends here; talk with your potential neighbours about their way of life, their close-knit community.
That way, you’ll enjoy settling in as part of our nation. And, like me, you will be welcomed into your new area.
Climate Change For Sceptics
I suppose I should start this with “However . . . “. For it is true that we may well be going to “suffer for this”.
Suffer, that is, for the way we and our ancestors have knocked the planet about.
I heard an interesting interview on Radio Wales this week. A Welsh lad had visited the Antarctic. He had seen, at first hand, the way the snows down there on the mountains are melting. Melting, it seems, faster than the Media or our political leaders have told us.
The interviewee went on to mention – to warn, perhaps – that sea-levels will rise appreciable over the coming years. Obviously, that will increase the permanent flooding of many areas near the sea.
If we take a look at Wales, we find that our land has a lot of coastline. We must wonder how much damage the rising waters will do to our coastal towns and villages. Perhaps we should prepare ourselves, and certainly our children, for emergencies which may occur.
And, as I travel about our land, I notice that many, many gardens still have roses and snap-dragons and all sorts of Summer plants still flowering. New growth is showing in our hedgerows, too. These signs-of-the-times sights are happening up in our upland areas, not just in the gentler climate of our coastal strips.
Yes, I know this could be a one-off phenomenon, and cruel Winter may hit us suddenly and be as bad as ever. But it does no harm to prepare ourselves.
You can contact Archie either via this column’s Comments, or at email@example.com