Today is St David’s Day, St David being the patron saint of Wales, in commemoration of the day he died – in 589. Of course, all this means that I really should have taken the day off, and many days off before it. (The promise of the creation of a long-overdue public holiday is surely not another reason for people in Wales to vote Conservative? Yeah, right. As if.)

A land of poetry and song, Wales, apparently. It does have a fair list of poets and singers, it has to be said; literary giants such as Dylan Thomas, R.S. Thomas, Roald Dahl and W.H. Davies, the latter responsible for the contemplative ‘Leisure’:

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows;
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass;
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night;
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance;
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

One of my Welsh heroes is philosopher Bertrand Russell, largely for his political and social activism, although he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. Decreed “morally unfit to teach” at New York’s City College due to his books being “filled with immoral and salacious doctrines,” he became a spokesman for the growing Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and ended up in prison. Brilliant.

In music, aside from the obvious which I will leave to somebody else to mention, there’s John Cale of the Velvet Underground, Andy Fairweather-Low, originally of Amen Corner, and Phil Campbell, lead guitarist with Motörhead. There are many good bands, some of them bi-lingual, both recording currently and of yesteryear, such as Badfinger and Budgie, or The Alarm, led by singer Mike Peters, whose dedication to his fanbase is nothing short of remarkable.

We mustn’t forget the multi-talented entertainer, Ivor Novello, whose name now adorns one of the most prestigious awards David has won to date – his Lifetime Achievement award from 2008.

Wales may well claim the finest actor of his generation in Richard Burton. My favourite, though, is Anthony Hopkins who hails from the same town as Burton. (Incidentally, has anyone seen him in The Rite yet? Oh, it looks good.)

There are the comedians Griff Rhys Jones, who you’ll remember from Three Men in a Boat if not his successful partnership with Mel Smith; David’s favourite, Tommy Cooper; The Goon Show’s Harry Secombe, The Fast Show’s Paul Whitehouse.

Other more obvious ‘artists’ include Sir Kyffin Williams and Thomas Jones, whose rural landscapes are among the most beautiful things I ever laid my eyes upon.

Welshmen, you may not know, gave the world the equals sign (Robert Recorde), lawn tennis (Walter Clopton Wingfield) and the carbon microphone (David E. Hughes), as well as several important firsts: the first wearable electronic hearing aid (Edwin Stevens); the first photographs of an extra-galactic body (Isaac Roberts: the Great Andromeda Nebula, photographed in 1887); the first basic fuel cell, or “gas voltaic battery” as it was then known (Sir William Grove). A Welshman gave world-famous Yale College its name (15th century philanthropist, Elihu Yale, whose family estate in Plas yn Iâl near Llangollen translates as ‘Yale House’).

The Welsh also stamped upon the world some key moral code, for which I remain fiercely proud.

Robert Owen, social reformer and founder of the co-operative movement, shortened the working day, increased the minimum working age and generally made it his life’s mission to improve the living conditions of workers.

David Lloyd George, Liberal Prime Minister, whose revolutionary measures included the introduction of financial support by the state for sickness and invalidism (in 1911) and the extension of National Insurance to cover almost the entire labour force (in 1920), created the modern welfare state.

Aneurin Bevan, perhaps the Labour party’s most inspirational figure, built on Lloyd George’s work with the creation of a National Health Service. He then resigned from government in 1951 in disgust over proposals to introduce prescription charges. How wonderfully refreshing it would be to see a politician today with just an ounce of Bevan’s courage and moral fortitude.

Turning to sport, there’s recently-retired boxing champion, Joe Calzaghe, and footballer, John Charles. Nicknamed Il Gigante Buono (The Gentle Giant) in recognition of 155 appearances for Juventus during which he never received so much as a caution. More than 30 years after his last appearance in Italy, he was voted Serie A’s greatest foreign player ahead of so many talented and respected contenders, which is an extraordinary tribute. Simultaneously, he was arguably the world’s finest centre-half and centre-forward.

It would be foolish to ignore Wales’ national sport – rugby – and three tremendous players: winger John James Williams, better known as J.J., full-back John Peter Rhys Williams, better known as J.P.R., and scrum-half and scorer of quite possibly the best try you will ever see (in 1973, for the Barbarians against the All Blacks at Cardiff Arms Park), Gareth Owen Edwards. I hope some of you enjoy reliving the glory years of Welsh rugby in this rousing video compilation. Said try included.

So, enjoy your cawl and let us know your favourite Welsh people, places, and whatever else tickles your fancy. This list of 100 Welsh Heroes might help you remember some, or could just take the blame for an hour of what I like to consider ‘educational idling’. I admit, I’ve lost more than one hour today reading about the Newport Rising of 1839 and another looking at oil paintings of Snowdonia.

Thank you for indulging me.

The chatroom is closed today but will open tomorrow at 1pm (UK).


  1. Rudders - Welsh and proud of it


    For the first time in quite a long time you have given me goose-bumps. 8|

    I was was born in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. I went to Llanelli Boys Grammar School and played Rugby for Furnace RFC.

    I was 11 years old when The Scarlets played New Zealand and The Scarlets won 9 – 3. As we were waiting at the bus stop before the game the New Zealand team bus stopped and members of the team leant out of the windows shaking their fists at us and smiling as we waved our red and white scarves (Or is that scarfs? 😛 )

    I still tear up when I hear Max Boyce reciting “9 – 3”, a poem he wrote about that monumental victory. The day the pubs ran dry…

    Did you know that Christian Bale is a Welshman born in Haverfordwest and was recently living in Gotham City.

    I remember working behind the bar at the Stradey Park Hotel and Phil Bennett drinking Guinness most Friday nights. I quickly realised the more he drank the better he played on a Saturday.

    I can’t finish without mentioning Dylan Thomas… born in Swansea in 1914 and eventually “going gently in to that good night” in New York in 1953. He achieved so much fame and notoriety without Facebook, Twitter and the many other feckless social networking applications…

    Cymru am Byth!

    (I’m wiping the tears away now…)

  2. Tim-c

    Well F’ed, as attentive bloggers may have observed I reside in and hail from the East and indeed spent most of my youth in Lowestoft which is as easterly as you can get in these fair isles. Of course we have many lovely bloggers from all over the World so I cannot claim that this makes me the most distant, but nevertheless it has limited my connections to the green green grass that you might call home.

    My most obvious Welsh connection is indeed our dear puppy, Sasha (registered name Coedylan Manon) who was born in Pontypridd. In my previous life I also mass a few visits to Mold and Rhosesmor in NE Wales to visit subsidiary companies, including my namesake, Tiger Tim. Apart from that, a couple of childhood holidays that took me up Snowdon (on foot thank you very much), to Caernarfon and to the lovely beaches of Tenby are my only visits.

    I share your enthusiasm for Anthony Hopkins and of course Man Utd are particularly proud to count Ryan Giggs and Mark Hughes amongst their favourite sons.

    And those clips also remind us that a funny shaped ball has never been thrown around more gracefully than by the Welsh wizards, nor is such poetry likely to be repeated in this more muscular era of the game. The era of men such as Dr JPR who stitched his own wound before returning to the field is surely gone.

    Oh, and daffodils are pretty too, aren’t they.

    • Michèle

      Oh, and daffodils are pretty too, aren’t they.

      Oh, but leeks, however… 😉

  3. Gareth

    As someone who works at the Yale College in Wales (Wrexham), I have to point out that Elihu Yale wasn’t Welsh himself. He was a 2nd (I think) generation American, born in Boston, MA. He is buried in Wrexham though, and as you say, has ancestry in the area.

    Speaking of America though, there’s also Richard Amerik, who may have been the real person to give his name to America, rather than Amerigo Vespucci.

    As for the rugby lot, Shane Williams says he doesn’t class himself as a “legend”, but I think that tag for him is pretty safe!

    • FEd

      As someone who works at the Yale College in Wales (Wrexham), I have to point out that Elihu Yale wasn’t Welsh himself.

      Quite right, Gareth. Welsh enough, I say. 😉

  4. NewYorkDan

    Catherine Zeta-Jones is on that list of 100 Welsh Heroes. I’ll bite. Jones is one of those women that you get a crush on and you don’t know exactly why. My wife doesn’t know about that, so please don’t tell her.

    A favorable mention to Roald Dahl, one of my favorite children’s authors (certainly a favorite among my students as well), and to J.J. Cale, whose solo work outside of Velvet Underground is underrated. Both of these artists broke barriers and stretched the boundaries of their respective arts.

    Mentions to David George (also the name of my teacher way back when), Mike Peters (also the name of my first college room mate) and John Evans (also the mane of a current friend).

  5. Pavlov

    Richard Llewellyn’s How Green Was My Valley was set in Wales and I remember fondly waiting for my weekly ‘fix’ of the BBC production that aired on television in the ’70’s. I don’t think RL was of Welsh descent though.

    An honorable mention to Tom Jones of It’s Not Unusual, What’s New Pussycat and Green, Green Grass of Home fame (just to name a few – I doubt he wrote them) fame, and then there’s Shirley Bassey, Bonnie Tyler and Charlotte Church and FEd’s oft-mentioned Manic Street Preachers.

    Shakespeare’s Cymbeline makes reference to Wales (as do a handful of other Shakespearean works) and of course there’s the Prince of Wales (in title) who does remarkable work with his charities.

    Welsh actress, Catherine Zeta-Jones is so obvious but I can’t resist mentioning.

    How about Portmeirion pottery? And the great Red Dragon? And the Welsh corgi? And Welsh rabbit (or as I call it, rarebit) – yum.

    Happy St. David’s Day FEd, for what it’s worth!

  6. Bryon Evans

    Very nice post. This is my first visit to the blog. Did not expect this! Wow.

    I did notice a few Welsh heroes that didn’t make the list but they are noted elsewhere and forever will be. I, of course, have my own list. 😉

    Thanks for the educational idle. Thoroughly enjoyable! Yes, I am biased but still, LOL.

    Dydd Gwŷl Dewi Sant Hapus!

  7. Tony

    I’m originally from London but have lived in Wales for five years and love it!!!

    Within a year of living here, I met Andy Fairweather – Low after one of his shows at The Muni in Pontypridd and he was a lovely guy.

    I still haven’t been converted to rugby, though. :)

  8. Pavlov

    The Rite is getting mixed reviews in the US — mostly negative which will have minimal impact on my view since I’ve now read some of them (generally I don’t, and won’t). Can’t wait to see Sir Anthony’s performance — he’s an impeccable craftsman!

    • FEd

      I just realised how many films he’s been in since 2007’s Fracture, in which I thought he was superb, and Bobby before it. I’ve missed loads.

    • Rudders - Welsh through and through


      If you haven’t already seen it, take a look at “The World’s Fastest Indian” with Mr Hopkins… good film.

    • FEd

      Thanks, Rudders. It appears I’m a poor excuse of a fan, as I’ve missed more of his films than I’ve actually seen.

  9. Michèle

    So, Happy St David’s Day to all our Welsh friends of the blog. I like the words on this card, written by Brian Harris. I don’t know who he is/was, but I think the words are part of a poem called ‘In Passing’.

    Your enthusiasm and pride made you mention more than thirty Welsh people, so it’s very difficult to find out new ones, you know…


    – Roger Glover (Deep Purple)
    – Kelly Jones (for Lorraine 😛 )
    – James Dean Bradfield (for the so moving ‘To See A Friend In Tears’)
    – Bonnie Tyler (famous here for ‘It’s A Heartache’ and ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’)
    – Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci

    I think Thomas Edward Lawrence (known as Lawrence of Arabia) was born in North Wales.

    And let’s not forget the Welsh Mathematician William Jones who was first to use the symbol ‘Π’ (Greek for ‘pi’) – Wow, many thanks, Mr Jones! 😉

    Here there is a recipe called ‘Welsh’. Don’t know why it’s called ‘Welsh’, but it’s delicious. :)

    Oh I forgot… On top of my ‘100 Welsh Heroes’ list, there would be FEd – Of course. 😛

    • tim_c

      Don’t know why it’s called ‘Welsh’, but it’s delicious.

      Well of course, the English and Welsh share many of the same culinary skills … looks like a sort of Welsh rarebit soup!

      I tend to agree that Leeks let the side down a bit though … a rather bland legume, even if sautee’d in a little good English beurre.

    • Pavlov

      Michèle, the recipe appears to be a variation on “Welsh Rabbit” which, we are told, might have been peasant food (substituting cheese for meat) in Wales, or a cheese lover’s dream come true in my view!

      Ditto on FEd being a Welsh hero.

  10. Pavlov

    Aha, we have a Welshman, Geoffrey of Monmouth, to thank for bringing to the fore one of the greatest legends of all time. It would seem that through his History of the Kings of Britain writings, King Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin, Excalibur, Mordred and Avalon came to be known. Never would’ve guessed and am just thrilled to pick up this little tidbit.

    And, “Yes, Indeed Folks”, Harry Secombe was also Mr. Bumble in the musical Oliver. Didn’t know he sang If I Ruled the World though! Thank you FEd for expanding our horizons with your broad-based topics.

    Led Zeppelin’s Bron-Y-Aur Stomp (a misspelling apparently), is named after a house in Wales where they wrote much of Led Zeppelin III. What a hoedown that must’ve been!

  11. Bella

    A very Happy St. David’s Day to David! Hope he is enjoying a royal feast of Welsh lamb and making very merry. 😀

    I always wanted to visit Wales, see its wild coast and hear the language (how does one speak so many letters?!). The Welsh are intriguingly beautiful with their high cheekbones and lush dark tresses (and I’m not thinking only of Catherine Zeta-Jones here!) and they all have incredible singing voices. I bet there is hardly a Welsh person who cannot carry a tune.

    Richard Burton had such a wonderful voice. He could recite the alphabet and turn it into magic.

    How nice to know so many fellow-bloggers are Welsh. Wishing you all a wonderful St. Dafydd’s Day as well.

    Bella xo

  12. frank par

    I don’t know many Welsh citizens, perhaps The Princess of Wales, and Rudders. 8)

  13. lorraine

    Looks like Wales can lay claim to Saint Delia (of the twice baked goat’s cheese souffle), her mother is Welsh.

    It was a Welsh Maths Teacher, William Jones, who introduced the symbol ‘pi’ into common usage too. Stick that in yer pipe and smoke it Leonhard Euler.

    And of course the greatest living Welshman is Kelly Jones. Listening to ‘Dakota’ at high volume with the car windows open, while driving over the Severn Bridge out of Wales, on a sunny day with no cars ahead as you reach the hump of the bridge and the sides just blend into the blue sky is a hobby of mine. Not least because there’s no toll charge leaving. It just doesn’t work on any other bridge – I’ve tried.

    • FEd


      For me it’s heading into Wales by train, quite literally reaching the light at the end of the tunnel, and that moment when your ears stop popping and you can return to, say, ‘More Life In a Tramp’s Vest’. Talk about Hiraeth.

    • tim_c

      The Welsh can keep their hands off Delia thanks very much … she belongs to Norwich and (quite literally) Norwich belongs to her!

    • lorraine


      What a beautiful word, it’s up there with ‘lullabies’ and ‘pamplemousse’.

    • Alessandra


      I also think it’s a beautiful word. I read online it has no translation in English, since it’s a mix of feelings which a single word can’t express.

      This makes me think of the Portuguese and Brazilian word “Saudade”, even if their meanings seem different enough.

      I suppose only those who speak these languages can completely understand these words.

    • tim_c

      It’s interesting that the typical format of a joke is “An Englishman, a Scotsman and an Irishman walk into a bar” …

      I can only assume that this is because the Welshman was already in there. 😀

    • Michèle

      So, an atypical joke just for you Tim, no Scotsman, no Irishman, no bar…

      Martyn Williams from Carmarthen, South Wales, was visiting London for the first time. He really wanted to buy a hat and the one he chose was priced at £20 [$35 USD].

      Martyn spoke to the shop assistant, ‘Back home in Carmarthen I could get a hat like this for only £5.’

      The assistant answered, ‘Well, sir, the thing is we have large shop window here, often in the sun, and when the hats fade we send them to places like Carmarthen. And by the way my wife comes from Carmarthen. You may have known her. She was Blodwyn Thomas, who lived at the bakery.’

      ‘Yes, I know her, boyo,’ replied Martyn smiling. ‘She was very pretty. I took her out many a time. But you know, when things get a bit faded in Carmarthen we send them to London.’


  14. Alessandra

    This topic was actually educational for me.

    I don’t know if this happens only in my country, but our media (and the people, in consequence) have a general and wrong tendency to call “English” everything/everyone that comes from UK. This is probably the reason why, shame on me, I’ve always ignored that Anthony Hopkins, who’s also one of my favourite actors, was Welsh. :v

    After realising that, I searched the web, so here are some names that would certainly feature in my list of favourites.

    – Peter Greenaway, a great director, in my opinion.
    – Terry Jones (Monty Python)
    – Roger Glover (Deep Purple)
    – The bassist Pino Palladino, who is also of Italian origins.

    Speaking about music, the Manic Street Preachers (recently discovered, thanks to The Blog), are quickly becoming a favourite of mine, so I’m glad to see James Dean Bradfield among the 100 Welsh Heroes.

    I’m sure it would be also interesting to listen to something by those bi-lingual bands mentioned above, since I’ve never heard anyone speaking Welsh. I think I’ll search the web for them.

    Sorry for being curious, but can you speak/write Welsh, FEd? It looks a difficult language.

    • FEd

      I can, and yes, it is a difficult language. I’m very rusty as I don’t get much practice these days.

      I don’t know if this happens only in my country, but our media (and the people, in consequence) have a general and wrong tendency to call “English” everything/everyone that comes from the UK.

      Oh Alessandra, don’t get me started! The English media does it all the time, too. Anything good is “English”, whereas the bad stuff is all too often conveniently labelled “British”. In fact, a good book about English identity is Jeremy Paxman’s The English: A Portrait of a People. He touches upon Welsh and Scottish despair at how the English are often too ready to mix the terms when it suits, as though there’s nothing in Britain beyond England.

    • Alessandra

      Anything good is “English”, whereas the bad stuff is all too often conveniently labelled “British”.

      I can imagine that must be very irritating.

      Searching the web for bi-lingual bands, I found “Super Furry Animals”. I think I had already heard their name in the past, but I didn’t know their music.

      Here is something I liked.

      I obviously ignore the lyrics, I was simply attracted by the album cover and I had a listen. There are also some ad libs in it, by the way. :)

      Welsh language sounds so complicated to my ears.

    • tim_c

      Alessandra, it’s an unfortunate fact of history that the United Kingdom of Great Britain (England, Wales, Scotland) and Northern Ireland (Ulster) has been dominated by a ruling class based in London (by and large) and that English “Lords” were given land in those other countries as a method of subjugating the local populations and ensuring “Loyalty” to the English throne and eventually the Union. Personally I blame the Romans, or possibly the Normans.

      That is a key to understanding British History and it carries ethnic and religious undertones also.

      These days we’re all great friends except that the Scottish and Welsh love nothing better than to see the English defeated in any contest less trivial than defence of the Islands themselves … the majority in Ulster are too busy looking over the border at Dublin to join in, and they all love Manchester United anyway.

      However when all else fails, they can all unite and joke (out of jealousy) about the web-footed peasants of East Anglia (they exclude David, by the way).

      I hope this helps you understand this rainbow Nation a little better.

    • Michèle

      That reminds me of this article about new off shore wind farms planned in Wales, which wouldn’t even benefit the Welsh: Wales’ natural resources ‘stolen for England’s power needs’

      A shame, isn’t it? But totally predictable, unfortunately.

      • FEd

        Totally predictable. Welsh water, coal and steel went the same way, making certain Englishmen and parts of England very wealthy indeed.

        You mustn’t get me started on that, though.

    • Michèle

      You mustn’t get me started on that, though.

      OK. So, on a funnier note…

      ‘Three Englishmen walk into a bar and spot a Welshman sitting alone at a table.

      One fellow said to the others, “Let’s pick a fight with that Welshman over there.”

      His partner replied, “Wait, we don’t want to be arrested. Let’s make him start the fight.”

      The third Englishman said, “Wait here chaps. I know how to do it.”

      He went over to the Welshman and said, “St David was a flippin’ sissy.”

      To this the Welshman replied, “Ah well, you don’t say!” and calmly resumed drinking his beer.

      The second Englishman now tried his luck and said to the Welshman, “St David was a stupid fool that wore a dress!”

      The Welshman again replied, “You’re very sharp, you don’t say!” and calmly resumed drinking his beer.

      The last Englishman told his friends he knew how to rile the Welshman and bounced up to the table and yelled, “St David was an Englishman!”

      The Welshman replied, calmly, “That’s what your mates were trying to tell me.”


    • Alessandra


      I can understand what you say. Even if Great Britain and Italy have different pasts, the forced annexation of the South (exploited for the benefit of the reachest northern regions and constantly disregarded by the central Government) is also at the basis of the unresolved issues between the North and the South of my country.

      So, looking beyond the different historic events, the logic is always the same.

    • ash

      Quoted from the link Michèle posted:

      “Who benefits? The new Gwynt y Mor wind farm is owned by three German companies: Siemens, who will be building the turbines in Europe, RWE the German power company and the municipal utility company of Munich, a publicly owned body that believes in renewable energy.”

      I think this is an absolute disgrace. Many previously publicly owned utilities are now owned by foreign countries companies.

      We have the technology, we have the workforce, the factories, why the f**k are we not building these ourselves instead of spending our money on a foreign company’s product!!!!!?

      Britain doesn’t own its water any more and FFS, it rains so much. Our energy companies are also owned by other countries. Our rail network was sold off too. All of these were the national wealth. How could governments have sold these things which belonged to us, the people?

      They tried to sell our forests which effectively meant land. Thank goodness that appears to have been quashed. It really is time people took action to re-claim ownership of our country’s resources.

      Why don’t we? Most people are struggling to comprehend, think someone else will do it, think the government knows what it’s doing. Feel impotent. I don’t know how to, and that’s probably why no one else has, organise the kind of national campaign it would take to try to fight all these sell off of our assets.

      The government of the day that made the decisions, was/is made up of people we elected, they will all get very rich as MPs (with all the perks and connections) and be set up for the rest of their lives, they will leave Britain and retire somewhere in the sun on a pension paid for by us the robbed !

      One of the biggest P**s Offs about it all is, the countries that bought and profit from our resources sell gas, electric and water cheaply to their home market! We are subsidising them!

      I get so annoyed at the unfairness of it all, I just want to leave the planet. :(

      ash 😡

  15. ash

    I saw The Rite last night, Anthony Hopkins was absolutely tremendous. I think he’s probably the best actor I’ve ever seen.

    Go see it Fed (and everyone else).


  16. ash

    Sir Isaac Roberts (who amongst other things) has a crater on the dark side of the moon named after him. :)

    Number 88 on Fed’s link, David Edward Hughes who invented the microphone. Which our David has used to stunning effect. :)

    Number 77, Henry Morgan who gave us Morgan’s Rum to enjoy whilst listening to David singing anything from Dark Side of the Moon.

    ash :))

  17. Pete - Coventry

    Bore da Fed.

    My grandfather was a hero of mine. He is not in the top 100 but he was a captain in the Welsh Fusiliers during the 1st World War.

    My family came from a small town called Pen-Y-Cae near Wrexham.

    Apart from that other Welsh bands of note are the afore mentioned ‘Budgie’ and ‘Badfinger’. Then you have ‘Man’, a band I have seen play live at least a dozen times. The big surprise to me is that Dave Edmunds was not mentioned in that top 100.

    As for buildings then Rockfield studios near Monmouth must get an honourable mention. Just check out the amount of classic albums that came out of there.

  18. tony

    what!!! nobody mentions the stereophonics (better than the manics). i cannae believe that.

    • Pavlov

      Just adore “Since I Told You It’s Over” which is perhaps the only song of theirs I’ve heard — had no idea they hailed from Wales.

  19. NewYorkDan

    Hey FEd, have you heard about this? Nick Mason is auctioning his pink Honda motorbike to fund a breast cancer research lab in Glasgow.

  20. Howard Bayliss

    Yo Fed,

    Is this Pt 1 of a “Countries defeated and absorbed by England” feature?

    Aren’t you glad I am back? Missed me? 😉

    Cheers, Howard

  21. sharon woods

    There was a Welsh invasion in Washington DC last summer!

    Coracles on the Washington Mall, and my husband (he’s a serial language learner) himself attending a class in Welsh words while I scoured the genealogy sites to definitively pin down whether a contentious ancestral line came from England or Wales. An unfortunate discovery: I have no Welsh ancestors! My cultural roots are the poorer for knowing!

    Happy St. David’s Day!

  22. sharon woods

    I have to ask: I find it charming, but where does “whilst” originate from? Because I’ve never heard it cross the lips of an American!

    If you ever go to Missouri, you’ll hear the word “acrosst”. It’s a dialectic oddity: Missourans drop the rest of the sentence and add a ‘T’ at the end of across, then deny forcefully that anything out of the ordinary’s occurred!

    “To get through through this intersection, you’ll have to go acrosst.”

    I was told by one resident that it implies “across the way.” Is there some similar economy of language in “whilst?”

    • FEd

      It is old-fashioned and perhaps a bit quaint, and something that American-English generally decided is no longer relevant, but I like it. Some brief notes, here, and this could be of interest to you, also (written by a fan of while).

  23. diana

    God bless you FEd, so proud!

    On my mind an unforgettable Welsh actor: Richard Burton so… Welshman!

    Have a very happy day,

  24. jan

    Hi FE’d:

    May I add Tom Jones and Christian Bale to the list of Welshmen? Bale is a superb actor and Tom no slouch as a singer. Certainly he ‘curled the toes’ of many a woman during his long career.

    I am early in this, but want to wish David a very Happy Birthday for March 6th. Hope he and family have a lovely celebration.


  25. jan

    Sorry, I forgot Glynis Johns. She was my favorite way back when. She made several films with Richard Todd. Loved them both.


  26. Hydrea

    Susan, my friend,

    Have a wonderful Birthday. Buon Compleanno! (In Italian.)

    And my wishes to Thomas too. :)

  27. jerry

    as i sit here today wondering how many states (u.s.a.) our conservative parties will bust the unions out of, i’m reminded that it’s david gilmour’s birthday tomorrow.

    so thanks for the years of great music david, and i hope to hear many more – and happy birthday.

  28. Damian Cunningham

    Sincere apologies I missed this Fed although I was fully aware of this special day.

    David Lloyd George does it for me giving us the founding of the NHS. God bless that man and may sound daft but Neil Kinnock, he would have made a great Prime Minister. And the memory of the lads at Rourke’s Drift who stood firm.

    Never realised the Welsh flag is not on the Union Jack.


    • FEd

      Taki, I’m sure it’s true of many and I’m as guilty as the next person of nodding when I have absolutely no idea what’s being said – in any language.

  29. Anna Ashmore

    Here I would like to share some information about May First.

    “May 1st is the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, the patron saint of workers. Seeding has been completed by this date and it was convenient to give farm labourers a day off.”

  30. Jane Forrington

    “We have no time to stand and stare.” And I thought this was the gift of the present day chaotic world. I wonder what would Davies say if he were to see the pace we live our lives.

  31. Pavlov

    Because I’m tethered to the past, present and ultimately the future, a scouting mission for The Myrrors’ Burning Circles in the Sky and a listen to Egypt, led me to this this.

    How could they have been forgotten!!?