Elizabeth Jane Corbett

writing her way home

Passing the Welsh test

Saturday, 1st of March is St David's day. Every daffodil wearing, dragon flying, leek eating, language learning Melbournian with Cymric pretension will be out in force.

The festivities kick off Friday evening with a concert at the Melbourne recital centre.

Mid-day Saturday, there will be a flag raising ceremony at the Welsh Church followed by a Cambrian Society lunch.

Saturday evening, members of the Melbourne Welsh Facebook group will gather at the Imperial Hotel on Bourke Street.

Sunday afternoon, the Welsh church will host one of its quarterly Cymanfa Ganu's at St Michael's Church.

See, there's a lot happening. But, due to a minor mishap with dates, I will not be attending any of these functions. And by the look of disgust on my friend Dai Trên's face, I'll be letting the side down.

'I have to work!' I protested

'Work! Couldn't you have swapped shifts?'

Well, yes, I could have, if I'd realised. But this year the Feast of St David failed to register in my seriously-distracted-trying-to-finish-a-novel brain. Not when I checked my work roster. Or when we invited friends over for dinner. Even when I volunteered to help out at the Sydney Road Street Festival, the date didn't click. Until it was too late. By then I was already triple booked. Swapping would have created a serious dilemma. Like – who the hell did I promise to do what with first?

See, it was much simpler to honour my work commitments. Though, Dai's tsk of disapproval, told me he didn't approve of the decision.

That's when I found the Welshometre:

Wales online's 100% scientific, totally accurate and unflinchingly precise tool to discover exactly how Welsh you really are.

I sat gazing at my iPad screen. I could take the challenge. Decide this issue once and for all. But…what if I failed? All those trips back to Wales? The years I've spent learning the language? The family tree going back to the 1800's? My novel with Welsh characters? They would all be worth nothing. I'd never be able to look Dai Trên in the eye again.

I pressed start.

The questions were tricky. They asked about food, the appeal of swimming in cold water, strange choices in footwear, names of bridges and the popularity of various hardware stores. There were also language questions – not the Welsh language, the strange dialect of Valleys English known as Wenglish. I found myself sweating. So much was riding on the outcome. My hand shook as I clicked the button for my results.

Congratulations the Welshometre said, you are 100% Welsh

I sat, basking in a red and green green glow of satisfaction. Once my initial flush of pride passed, I wrote an email to Dai Trên.

Dear Dai,

I may have may have stuffed my work roster up and be missing every St David's Day event in the City of Melbourne. But I have just passed a reliable Welsh authenticity test with flying colours. I will therefore be wearing my daffodil with pride tomorrow, confident in the knowledge that I am 100% Welsh.



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1 Comment

  1. Elizabeth, I have to tell you, an ancestor of mine, who was an English lecturer and poet, emigrated to Australia in 1959. There is a memorial prize named after him at the Newcastle, New South Wales, university where he lectured. Here is a link to a little about him on Wikepedia; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._Harri_Jones
    And now you, in Australia, have read my novel Leap the Wild Water. Serendipity!

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