Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Englishwoman in North Wales

I've been here nearly 3 weeks now and everything is still peachy. Perhaps I'm still in holiday mode and my brain hasn't quite clicked that I will have to suffer the good and the bad that North Wales chucks at me. So far, I've been able to handle it.

One thing that I am starting to understand is the rather tenuous relationship between those resident in North Wales and the tourists.

When I lived in Twickenham there were a few tourists, mainly because of the excellent pubs and the historical nature of nearby towns Kingston and Richmond. They tended to blend in though, dressed for the towns rather than the beach and tended to speak very good English (and sometimes better than the locals). There was no tourism to speak of in the part of Sunbury I lived in, as all it has going for it is the motorway that took me out of there. You did get a lot of European students who would take the same bus to college as the one that took me to work, and, to misquote Adrian Mole, if you closed your eyes you could imagine you were abroad with the way they went on.

It is of course, very very different in a coastal town. Tourists bring in Euros and Dollars and is, so we're told, very good for the economy and Wales needs all the money it can get (along with most of the rest of the UK). But after waiting an hour in our favourite cafe to get fed, along with a few of the aging locals, you can understand why a lot of locals, before the 3rd week in June, are actually praying for October so that they can have a teacake and coffee in peace.

I've heard many stories of English persons visiting Wales, where most of the population can speak perfect English, and walking into a pub have found that the locals abruptly change from speaking in English to Welsh. I have had no such problem and have (for the most part) found the Welsh the friendliest people in the UK. I am undergoing a transition from percieved 'visitor' (shopkeepers a bit abrupt, thinking, 'another tourist to litter the hills and valleys); incomer (shopkeepers a lot more friendly and start smiling - some even ask after your health, cos they realise after 3 weeks you're no longer a tourist, you're working for the good of Wales); perceived permanent resident - this one will take longer and it doesn't help that I sound like Sarah Ferguson. I could either adopt a scouse or Welsh accent but nothing will take away the fact that I was born at the heart of BBC english.

I don't want a dialect, but I'm stuck with one. So I will do the best that I can for where I live, try not to piss anyone off (too much) and respect local knowledge. In other words, act like a resident and not a tourist.

In the mean time, what and ho for jolly ol' blighty.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Road to Rhyl

Sung to the tune of Chris Rea's "Road to Hell" (sorta)

Well I'm driving through the country
And my friends all say I'm mad
But I've chosen a diff'rent path to walk on
Even the seagulls take cover
From the wind of the Irish sea
Instead they divebomb the tourists who take to the funfairs
And the average age of the populus
Is about a hundred and three
Have I lost common sense and all reason?
And the chavs all talk in a scouse accent
Oh yeah, this is the road to Rhyl

And all the roads are potholed and narrow
And the car has sprung a leak
It's all payroll and phones to come soon
Look out North Wales, take a look
What comes up here
Hope I learn the lesson fast and learn it well
It's just off the A55 expressway
Oh yeah, this is the road
Said this is the road
This is the road to Rhyl

(No hate mail from Rhylians please. I know a few parts of Rhyl that are very nice and at least the chavs here are friendly, more than can be said for SW London)

Friday, June 17, 2005

Doctor Boo Hoo (Part 2)

Now then, tomorrow night Chrisopher Eccleston will become David Tennant, courtesy of the miracles of modern technology, Gallafreyan quirkiness and the fact that Chris handed in his notice some time ago.

I haven't watched many of the DWs, despite my previous post. I was moving to Wales when the second part of the really scary chapter was on (the gas mask one) and I just didn't fancy the two part 'reality TV' chapter, (I've heard enough about the real thing frankly - DW meets Chavalocity) although the second part is obviously where the transformation is to take place (they call it regeneration don't they? Can't remember) Anyway, I may or may not watch it. But I may burst into tears cos I think I've developed a crush on Eccleston.

Or at least, thought I had until I saw the bum fluff he'd grown when I saw him on Top Gear.

So how will it all go? Billie seems to be very good at the confused/bemused look and I can imagine her telling him (after the event) "Why didn't you tell me you can re-generate?" and him replying "Its not exactly a conversation starter, is it? Hello, my name's The Doctor and when I die I regenerate"

Bectchya it'll be words to that effect.

So farewell Chris and welcome David. May you twang many heartstrings and may your elctronic screwdriver always rise to meet you. Or something.