Project Ceredigion Immersion :) Weekend 1

As I’ve alluded to previously, last week - my wife and I moved from Rhondda, South Wales to Aberystwyth, Mid Wales. Which has given me loads more opportunities to actually use my Welsh in real life with people who will answer back.

It’s been great so far - and I’ve started to notice just how much Welsh there is out there in a place like Aber, which from the outside, seems like it wouldn’t have much in the way of Welsh.

With my wife away visiting her family in Swansea I decided to head out for a drink and something to eat. I’d already been to ‘Y Cwps’ (an infamous Welsh speaking pub in the town centre) once before, so called in again on my own. I managed to order my drink fine and also fit in a bit of smalltalk with the barman. Later the barman I’d met the last time I visited the pub (Geraint) started work and I sat at the bar and had a chat for about ten minutes with him - talking over the house move. Admittedly I struggled a bit when he threw phrases back at me, but I got the gist of what was said. Not really much difference as I am a terrible listener in English as well!
After a couple of drinks I went to a chip shop where they took my ‘Ga I un sglodion?’ (Can I have one chips) with a confused shrug. Reverting back to English momentarily sorted this.

I went into town in the morning and found a deli called ‘Morgans’ which had the ‘Deli, meats, foods’ etc sign also displayed in Welsh, so I thought I’d try my luck. ‘Ga i un chip butty gyda yn dipyn bach o saws coch’ (Can I have a chip butty with a little bit of red sauce) seemed to work and I did indeed get a chip butty with a bit of red sauce. I asked him how he was and whether he had been busy that day and I headed on my way.
Later, on the way to the football I headed to another Welsh language mainstay I’d heard loads about ‘Yr Hen Lew Du’ or ‘The Old Black Lion’. I’m glad it was ‘The OLD…’ Black Lion, as the Aberystwyth area has about 10 pubs with the same name! (Llanrhystud, New Quay etc etc). It was fairly quiet as I think most people were saving themselves for the rugby on Sunday. So I made my way to the bar and managed to successfully order a pint of Grolsh! The barmaid did say something back to me but when I replied ‘Unwaith eto?’ (Once again?) she realised I was a bit over my depth and she handed me my change.
I finished my drink, handed my glass back at the bar and apologised to the barmaid (in Welsh) for not quite understanding what she said earlier. I explained I’d been learning for about 2 months or so and she seemed impressed.
Next, I made my way over to Aberystwyth Town FC for their match against Airbus UK in the Welsh Premier League.
I’d been to the ground loads of time and know a lot of people there, but I hadn’t visited properly since starting to learn Welsh - so I thought I’d try it out. I paid my way in using Welsh. Although it wasn’t that hard ('Un, os gwellwch yn dda! - or ‘One, please’) and I headed to the bar.
Unfortunately the bar staff were unable to speak Welsh, but I did at least manage to ask them if they spoke Welsh before I ordered in English.
Just before the match I managed to speak with Tom, a director at the club I’ve been friends with for a while. Tom is a first language Welsh speaker and it was great to have the chance to practice a little with him. It was a bit weird at first because we were so used to speaking to each other in English and I think he is one of those people who assign a language to every single person he knows, so I think he found it hard to switch to Welsh with me.
I managed to mingle with two or three people in the crowd speaking Welsh - hunting them out whilst walking around the pitch. It was weird at first because I realised although I know a fair bit of Welsh - I know absolutely no football parlance in Welsh, so I had to by hook or crook bend some of the phrases I do know into some form of football language! (He did well there, good ball, nice try, good choice, bad choice, terrible etc etc).
I did manage to extend the conversation a bit and even managed to use a lot of past tense (How bad were Aber the week before? etc etc)
After the game I headed back to Y Cwps to watch the end of the Scotland - Ireland match where I again managed to order a pint of ‘Celtic’ in Welsh before heading home.
Later that night, after realising I had nothing in the fridge I went down to Tesco to buy some pasta. Tesco is just about the last place I’d expect to find someone to practice my Welsh with, but I was very wrong.
I was walking down an aisle and heard a father speaking Welsh to his daughter. His daughter was pushing the trolley and accidentally hit me with it. The father immediately said “Oh, I’m so sorry mate!”, to which I replied in Welsh “It is not a problem! Don’t worry, I’m okay!” and he proceeded to reply “Thanks, that’s great” in Welsh.

My wife and I had planned to go out and watch the Wales v. Italy game, but she was delayed in getting home, so instead I watched the game on S4C in Welsh to try and make up for the lack of Welsh speaking.
When she arrived home we headed to ‘Yr Hen Lew Du’. I’d cracked this whole buying pints thing! I was ready to buy two pints of Grolsch, Coors, Carlsberg or whatever pint she liked!
So imagine my horror when Lara replies “Can I have a glass of house white wine?”
Had I learned that? I couldn’t remember!
Well I knew that wine was ‘gwin’, I knew white was ‘gwyll’ or the other way around - and I also knew that house was ty! Hell, I gave it a go - I probably mixed the word order up terribly but I was very happy to find that 90 seconds later I was the proud owner of a pint of Grolsch and a large glass of house white wine.
I feared that I’d committed to buying a white wine coloured house at one point!
The next drink was a lot easier. Lara wanted the same, so I tried a cheeky ‘Ga i yr un peth eto?’ (Can I have the same thing again?), which also worked!
We headed back to Y Cwps, which was sadly closed, before giving up and heading to Wetherspoons for our last pint of the weekend.
Unfortunately there were no Welsh speaking staff around so that was the end of our Welsh speaking weekend!

It was great to live pretty much the whole weekend in Welsh and it really put into perspective just how little Welsh you need in order to actually live your life in Welsh. I’m a quiet kind of guy, I tend to use the computerised tills in Tesco, I take my money out at the cashpoint, I tend to buy online - so aside from asking for things in shops and some smalltalk here and there I don’t really talk much with others - so the amount of Welsh I need to survive, is surprisingly small :slight_smile:

It’s been so great to use my Welsh in real life scenarios. I had used Welsh when living in and around the Rhondda, but the scenarios had always felt a little forced as I specifically travelled to a certain Welsh shop, or to a certain Welsh speaking pub etc - rather than just popping in and out of any old shop, any old pub or just going to watch my local team play.


Da iawn i ti! Ardderchog.


That was a great description of your weekend and a joy to read :slight_smile: . It’s always really interesting hearing of other learners experiences of speaking Welsh . It sounds like moving to Aberystwyth will give you a lot of regular opportunities to live your life through the medium of Welsh


Very cool. Wicked jealous.

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Superb effort, chief - and diolch yn fawr iawn for the update, which will be inspirational for a lot of people on here. Throwing yourself in at every available deep end like that is going to reap gigantic benefits for you over the next few months.

Have you got to know anyone you can arm-twist into a regular weekly hour of talking in Welsh? Ideally in the Cwps if you ask me…:wink:



Haha, you’re about right there. I’m going to find a quiet time of week where I can just prop myself at the bar and make full use of whichever barman/barmaid is working at the time :slight_smile:
My Welsh will improve greatly whilst I’m sure my liver will suffer :stuck_out_tongue: It’s all swings and roundabouts here


Livers are overrated…:slight_smile:

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