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Tuesday 3 April 2018

Why I Want My Sons to Know My Welsh Heritage

If you are born in Wales, grew up there, learned the language at school, went to a 'jambori', ate ponchmeip, watched S4C and got soaked to the skin on school trips to Welsh outdoor activity centres but don't have a Welsh accent, does that mean you can't call yourself Welsh? I don't think so. 

Living in the south of England for over a decade means I've lost much of my North West twang, but I am still Welsh, born and bred, and will always consider myself as such. It is easy to make false assumptions about my origins though because, well, I just don't sound Welsh. Sometimes it feels like that part of my identity is fading from view but it's so important to me that my boys know their mother's heritage.

Maybe they won't care. Probably not while they're young anyway. But I do care. And that's why I want to fill their little heads with some memories of Wales that might just stick and stay until adulthood. Then maybe they'll treasure them as I do.

I doubt they'll ever skate at my old local ice rink, or get the same bus I used to get to the neighbouring town to binge on jelly sweets in the park, or knock back lemonades at the Tivoli teenage disco. 

Of course they'll never do those things. They'll make their own childhood memories here in England. I don't have a problem with that - they are English.

But I do want them to gain a little understanding of a world that isn't bound by the places they know and see every day. I want them to appreciate that their mum comes from a different country with a different heritage and language (even though she doesn't speak it).

I want them to have some notion of lanes that wind so high they disappear into cloud, sheep spectating at the roadside. The waterfalls and craggy gorges and the kindness of the locals. I want them to understand why I treasure my memories of camping in Pwllheli and getting dizzy on the Snowdon Mountain Railway and at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Memories of giggling at the number of letters in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyndrobyllantisiliongogogoch and creeping up the stairs of the smallest house in the UK.

Memories of the long pebble beach at Talacre. Memories of ice creams on Llandudno pier, Tenby knickerbockerglories and climbing stone steps at Conwy castle. Of mountain top walks over slag heaps and slate rubble. Of views across valleys green enough to tempt the envy of emeralds. Valleys painted with stripes of sunshine that make whole mountainsides glow like God's own garden.

But it's OK because they have muddied their toes on the beach at Talacre. They have raced through the sand dunes and waved at the lighthouse, and they have ridden Thomas the Tank Engine all the way from Llangollen to Corwen and back again. 

There's still time, I know. There are plenty more opportunities left in the years ahead for family holidays and to visit Nana and Grandad Wales and make more happy memories. Time to maybe learn a few Welsh words and hear a few 'nos da's at bedtime. Time to climb to the top of the Horseshoe Pass and breathe in that cool North wind. If it doesn't knock them off their feet first, that is.

Maybe we can help each other make some more memories. There are still so many places I've never been. I've never been to Cardiff, which feels more than a bit ridiculous, and I'd love to go down to Pembrokeshire. Wales is becoming increasingly metropolitan and I've seen so little of the South. Maybe this is my chance to prove to my boys that Wales is can mean so more to them than just some place their grandparents live.

Have you ever been to Wales? I'd love to know your favourite places and the memories you made there.

Shank You Very Much

3 Little Buttons

Mission Mindfulness


  1. I dont blame you - its your heritage and identity and so important to share with your children. I am sure when your children are older they will be more interested! #TriumphantTales

  2. I think it's important for kids to know their heritage. It attaches them to society and helps them to form roots. #GlobalBlogging

  3. I haven't been to Wales since my childhood but it is definitely somewhere that I want to return to. It sounds like you have lots of happy memories there. Thanks for joining in with #TriumphantTales, do come back Tuesday!

  4. I think heritage is important. My great grandfather was Italian and I would love to learn the language and visit his birthplace one day #dreamteam

  5. I visited Wales for the first time last summer and we had a wonderful time! I think it is very important for children to know their heritage. It is part of your family history and formed who you are today! Lovely post <3

  6. I think it’s absolutely necessary and important to let our children know about their heritage. I’ve never been to Wales but have heard so many wonderful things, I’d love too.
    Thanks for linking up with #DreamTeam

  7. #thesatsesh children thrive when they know 'where they came from'. The mix of cultures, parent heritages and such is irrelevant, its about having a clear sense of identity as a foundation for them to grow from. Keep preaching the welsh anthem lovely.