That means “Welcome To Wales”. Today is St.David’s Day, although those of you in the US are unlikely to know this. St.David is the patron saint of Wales (not to be confused with St.Patrick, who is the patron saint of drunkenness, green beer and public urination). You’re probably unaware that the rest of the UK has patron saints, given the bizarre habit of so many fat Americans to celebrate St.Patrick’s Day and claim some ancestral link to Ireland. If even half these people had Irish ancestors the whole fucking island would have sunk under the weight of them. I don’t understand the attention given to St.Patrick. What did he do? Chase the snakes out of Ireland? I’ve been to Ireland and let me tell you, I think they probably left of their own accord. I mean, the people are wonderful and all that, but it rains every fucking day. If you were a snake I think you’d get fed up crawling around in three inches of water too. How about celebrating St.George’s Day? He killed a fucking dragon for heaven’s sake.
Anyway, although as far as I know I’m mongrel English by blood, I have a soft spot for Wales. I married into Welsh, Scottish and Irish blood but my excellent mother-in-law is Welsh. From day one she’s seen it as her mission in life to feed me, and it always endears people to me when they do that. I have even forgiven her for the time she fed me Lava Bread, a traditional Welsh foodstuff made from slimy seaweed, the consumption of which is not unlike coughing up phlegm, but in reverse.
St.Davids Day can be marked by the wearing of daffodils or leeks. Today we observed it by listening to a recording of Max Boyce, a famous Welsh comedian and singer, which a Welsh friend coincidentally lent me yesterday. It’s an old recording; the humor is very gentle and mostly revolves around rugby, drinking and rugby. And more drinking. None of the humor involves sex with sheep, which is another thing the Welsh are famous for, at least allegedly. I like Wales, not because of the sex with sheep you understand, but because of the beautiful countryside, fine beer, good people and wonderful accent. And they do love their rugby.
I remember going to an England v Wales game at the old Cardiff Arms Park. This is a huge rivalry – the Welsh love absolutely nothing better than to beat the English at rugby. Everyone drinks heavily before the game and then walks to the ground in a solid sea of people. The hush that settled on the old stadium and then the rise of Welsh voices in song would make the hair on your neck stand up. But when the game started the voices were of a different nature.
“Fucking hell referee, he was offside!”
All the fans are mixed in together and this Welsh bloke in front was complaining loudly about the English forwards.
“He was bloody miles offside there. Fucking hell referee!”
After a few minutes of this he shouted “Offside, fucking hell” then he turned round to us and said “Oh, sorry, he wasn’t offside that time, my mistake.” And that’s one reason I like the Welsh, and why I like rugby matches.
So just to put things back in balance, here’s my favorite Welsh joke. It also involves an Australian, and they too are famous for a love of rugby and for interfering with sheep:
An Australian and a Welshman are on a train together and they get talking. It soon emerges that they are both sheep farmers. After discussing this for a bit there’s a silence, and then the Welshman asks the Australian “Have you ever, you know, done it, with a sheep?” The Australian pauses and then replies “Well, you know, it get’s kind of lonely out there on the station sometimes. I’ve been known to, once or twice. What about you?”
“Oh, from time to time – there are a lot of long evenings in Wales, you know. So how do you do it?”
“Well” says the Asutralian, “I just throw the sheep on its back in the shearing room, drop my strides and give it one. What about you?”
“I just grab the sheep from behind, drop the back legs in my Wellington boots and do it that way.”
“Strewth mate,” says the Australian “how do you kiss ’em?”
Happy St.David’s Day!