Apologies that this is more of a post-weekend whimsy but, it is coming all the way from Wales and it is all about Wales. I’m here in the land of sheep and daffodils and this weekend, I am happy to share all the very best bits of it with you.
Bara Brith is a traditional Welsh sweet bread that is made with dried fruit that has been soaked in breakfast tea. It is simple to make and absolutely delicious with lots of butter and a cup of milky tea. I have a top secret family recipe to protect but this one is pretty excellent!
This excerpt is from Dylan Thomas, a famous Welsh poet who is from Swansea in South Wales. In Quite Early One Morning he writes about Holyhead which is a town in the north of Wales near my hometown. Sometimes, when I am feeling homesick I read his poems about Wales and it feels like laying down on pebble-stoned beaches and walking between rocky cliff-sides and raging grey seas.
Quite early one morning in the winter in Wales, by the sea that was lying down still and green as grass after a night of tar-black howling and rolling, I went out of the house, where I had come to stay for a cold unseasonable holiday, to see if it was raining still, if the outhouse had been blown away, potatoes, shears, rat-killer, shrimp-nets, and tins of rusty nails aloft on the wind, and if all the cliffs were left. It had been such a ferocious night that someone in a smoky ship-pictured bar had said he could feel his tombstone shaking even though he was not dead, or at least was moving; but the morning shone as clear and calm as one always imagines tomorrow will shine.
— Quite Early One Morning , Dylan Thomas
Every time I return from Wales I bring a Welsh Love Spoon back (usually for the increasing number of friends I know who are getting married). A Welsh Love Spoon is a carved, decorative wooden spoon that was traditionally made by a man and then given to his partner as a romantic gesture and a promise that he could provide for her. They date back to the 17th century and are a beautiful example of the craftsmanship, folklore and tradition that is so rich here.
There are so many other lovely trinkets and traditions from this whimsical land, but for now this will have to do. It is the grayest place I can think of and whenever I visit I scoff at how depressing and drab this little world is. But, as soon as the sun peeks out, my heart is melted by endless sheep-spotted fields and the history inside cobble-stoned castle walls.
Instead of Weekend Wisdom, here’s a little Welsh to learn – it’s the name of a town in Wales and it means “St. Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near the rapid whirlpool and the church of St. Tysilio with a red cave.” Enjoy!