Your Quick Guide to Wales


Come on Wales!

Wales have successful gotten through to the semi finals of the Rugby World in New Zealand after beating Ireland last weekend. They have not reached a semi final of the World Cup since 1987. I have to confess that I didn’t watch that match because it was far too early in the morning for me. But everyone in the UK seems to be getting behind Wales for the rugby, especially after England were beaten by France last weekend.

So, Wales as a ‘country’ (more on those inverted commas in a minute) has seen some well deserved publicity this week, but some of you might be left wonder what is Wales?

I’m in England this weekend. It’s where I grew up and I’m home to spend some time with my family, but I will be watching the match tomorrow. As an aside, I thought I was going to drive right into the moon on the way back tonight, it was that large and that low in the sky! Wales need to get to the final so I can go and watch them become the best in the world back in Cardiff, the capital of Wales.

Wales is an area on the west edge of England and is part of the United Kingdom. My brother and I have had several debates as to the nature of this expanse. In fact, we were getting IDed on the way in to a pub a few years ago while discussing this very issue.

Me: It’s a country in its own right, it has an Assembly (like a government, they have a certain amount of power for law making decisions)

Both handing ID to bouncer.

Brother: It’s a province, it’s just part of the United Kingdom, it’s still largely governed by Westminster.

Bouncer: It’s a principality

Me & bro: Huh?

Bouncer: It’s a principality, Wales, it’s a principality

Brother: Oh, thanks

That pretty much ended the debate for us. Apparently, Wales is a principality. Prince Charles iWelsh Sheeps Prince of Wales, which is the reason Prince William is known as William Wales.

The capital of Wales, Cardiff is the youngest capital city in Europe, it’s population is c300,000, it has 3 universities and is home to the Millennium stadium, which housed the Michael Jackson tribute concert last weekend.

Wales is famous for daffodils, leaks, sheep and Brains beer.

Wales has 2 official languages, English and Welsh. The only other place in the world where they speak Welsh is Patagonia and the only languages more pointless than Welsh are Latin, which I learned at school and Esperanto, which I don’t think anyone learns anywhere. Welsh legislation dictates that all sign posts and information leaflets should be in English and in Welsh. Signs painted on the roads, exam paper questions and my recent speeding fine all have Welsh variants.

The Welsh for Wales in Cymru.

The Welsh language is sparse on vowels, favouring Ws and Ys. As entertaining as it might be to try to pronounce Welsh words, the Welsh dialect is far more attractive and often known as Wenglish (an amalgamation of Welsh and English). Popular Wenglish phrases and words include:

  • Lush – nice, lovely, gorgeous
  • Tidy – good
  • Cwtch (pronounced ‘cutch’) – hug, cuddle, to snuggle
  • I’ll be there now in a minute – I’m on my way
  • Whose coat is that jacket? – Who owns this coat/jacket?
  • Where you to? – Where are you from?
  • Over by there / Over b’there – Over there

BaWelsh Flagck to Cardiff. The castle in Cardiff has stone animals around it, instead of gargoyles, it is not in a tactically defensive position and it’s not actually that old; only a couple of hundred years.

Cardiff Central Station has a platform 0 but no platform 5.

The patron saint of Wales is St.David and the flag is super cool with a dragon on it – awesome!

So, now you know a little bit more about Wales. You might like to know that I am also officially Welsh in that, due to being born in Swansea, my grand-children could play rugby for Wales (that’s the dream). I’ve lived back in Wales for about 7 years and it’s a fantastic country, the people are friendly and the prescriptions are free.

The Welsh team have been highly disciplined for this competition, imposing curfews and drinking bans on themselves. They have undertaken extensive fitness and strength training and I think the French are worried. Wales deserve this win.

Come on Wales, you can do this!

Wales play France on Saturday 15th October at 9am BST – the match is televised on ITV

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  • Jill Darby October 15, 2011, 8:08 am

    I love having a Welsh connection. Daughter Dear. Makes it so easy to decide which team to support. Maybe even your sons will play for Wales. I’ll be there – cheering them on!!!!!!