Friends

02 March 2015

A welcome awaits....



A recent travel programme on television reminded me of an incident in another part of the UK. Another nation, actually.

The UK comprises these nations, England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Hence the name United Kingdom. However, the word ‘united’ is a misnomer – according to the history books it was never thus. But we grow up, don’t we, and learn to get on with people of all nationalities and denominations. Or we should!

It is a sad fact that certain people on these islands don’t like their neighbours and it was a much publicised fact that the Welsh didn’t like the English. Nevertheless, Wales is a lovely place to visit, which is what we did one summers day, many years ago.

I think we were in Machunclyth at the time but I could be wrong about that. The memory fades with age, you know. Anyway, we were definitely by the sea. One thing I noticed was that certain shopkeepers didn’t speak. A purchase could be made and the sale completed without a word exchanged, yet conversations would be in progress with other folk in the shop. Sometimes there would be a noticeable change of language - moving rapidly from English to Welsh. 

It took a while for it to dawn on me that we were English and some people didn’t like us. Joe thought I was being daft. ‘People aren’t like that,’ he said, being a tolerant man who always sees good in people. However, the next incident brought it home that maybe I was right.

We had taken Goldie, our first Labrador, who adored the seaside. He was a friendly dog and loved to mix with other dogs when the occasion arose. On this particular occasion Goldie had had his run on the sand and we were just standing there enjoying the weather and the view.

Walking down the lane behind us was a young lady and an older man, maybe daughter & father, with a small dog on a lead. Naturally, Goldie wanted to say hello and ran towards the couple. The woman promptly snatched her dog up and bellowed to us to ‘remove’ our dog. I called out that Goldie was friendly and wouldn’t hurt her dog, at the same time calling him to heel. It didn’t help. The woman was outraged.

The incident passed when the couple and their dog moved on. Or so we thought. A few minutes later we moved away from the spot, walking to where our car was parked. Imagine our surprise and horror when they passed us in their car to hear the woman screaming ‘GET BACK TO YOUR OWN B***** COUNTRY.’ 

I don’t think I’ve been back to Wales since but I did learn from English friends that similar experiences were shared. How sad is that? 

I have yet to work out how divided turf can change people's opinions of each other.



20 comments:

Jay said...

Ah, yes .. we had the same experience, one time, travelling in Wales. We'd go into a shop and suddenly the conversation would be switched rapidly to Welsh. They wanted our money, but not our presence. Very sad.

I realise the Welsh have had a lot of problems. In particular with rich people going to Wales to buy cheap holiday cottages thus pushing up prices and making it hard for the indigenous people to buy property, but to my mind that's no excuse for venting such anger on innocent tourists who are not 'second home' owners, and some Welsh people don't make that distinction.

Valerie said...

Jay. Changing to another language the way certain people did was extremely impolite. I wonder how they would feel if we did the same to them?

Jay said...

Oh, they'd probably think we were very rude! Or perhaps they know they are being rude and simply don't care.

If I moved to Wales (unlikely, but if I did ... ) I would make an effort to learn Welsh. It's a musical language and I think I'd like it. Whether they'd like me learning it or not, I have no idea!

Akelamalu said...

We never found the Welsh openly hostile but some did only speak Welsh to their local customers and ignored us. I do love Wales though, especially Abersoch, we have wonderful memories of family holidays there.

Valerie said...

Hi Pearl. I agree that the Welsh scenery is brilliant and we loved it. Pity those few people spoiled it for us, or rather me!

Ron said...

Valerie, I am so sorry I missed this post on Monday but for some reason it didn't show up on Feedly. I wonder why!?

Anyway, we have the same kind of thing here in the US, such as, the North versus the South. It can also be experienced between certain nationalities which is ridiculous because basically we're all Americans. For instance, Philadelphia is a very segregated city when it comes to people living in certain areas and it being THEIR area.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, dear lady!

X to you and Joe

DeniseinVA said...

I don't remember much of Wales. I do remember riding donkeys on the beach in Aberystwyth. We would go there on the rare day trip when I was very young.

Valerie said...

Jay, I think the Welsh language is sacred to the Welsh... but I could be wrong. I just can't imagine them wanting 'foreigners' learning it.

Valerie said...

Denise, I remember those donkeys and it was lovely then. I think the hostile behaviour set in when outsiders starting having holiday homes in their country.

Valerie said...

Ron, I suspected it was something to do with Freedly because the bloggers who use it had suddenly exiled me.... lol. Good to see you back again, my friend.

I am surprised to hear that hostility exists between certain states in America. We too have a them-and-us situation even though most are UK born. I don't think there's the same hostility though as that experienced all those years ago.

Joe went into hospital this morning... Again!

Bethany Carson said...

Sorry to hear that some Welsh are unfriendly to English people just because they are English. It seems unreasonable. There are nice people from every country, and it's wrong to judge people just by where they are from.

Ron said...

Valerie, I hope all is going well with Joe. Please give him my best and know that he and you are in my thoughts and prayers.

X to you both

Valerie said...

Thank you, Ron, you are a great comfort at such times x

A Cuban In London said...

Funny how different the reaction was towards me and my mum when we were there five years ago despite the fact that my wife is English (British, really) and our children are half-Cuban and half-English (British). We were welcomed with open arms. I did notice hostility from some locals towards other English visitors. However, this hostility was stronger when I visited Scotland. Sorry about your experience.

Greetings from London.

troutbirder said...

Sad indeed. I had a sort of reverse of that experience in Quebec Canada. I assumed some of the unfriendliness was against us Americans. No. It turned out upon revealing our nationality it was the English speaking Canadians who were not welcome in their own country...:(

Valerie said...

Cuban, your comment about Scotland was surprising... who would have thought it, eh?

Valerie said...

TB, interesting to know this sort of thing happens in other places. I thought it was just here that we had the problem.

Mr. Shife said...

Well the Welsh can suck it. That's not cool. Well if you ever need a friendly place to visit, Val, you can come to Idaho. We are nice. Take care.

Valerie said...

Thank you, Matt. I wish I could take up your offer... smiles.

Banker Chick said...

I worry about some ugly American feedback in Paris. I'm glad we will only be there for a few days, My daughter's biggest complaint about Paris was all the dog poop! Wales seems so beautiful.