Welsh in the Washington Post!

In connection with the NATO meeting in Wales, the Washington Post put up a cute, non-belittling blog post that features lots of Welsh, with audio! Well done the Post. Catrin Brace, who was the writer’s source (and obviously did the recording), is the Welsh Government’s representative in NYC.

What Obama needs to know to navigate NATO. In Welsh. “Peidiwch, Vladimir!”

This is really neat, makes up to a degree for the terrifying pictures of police and servicemen armed to the proverbial teeth roaming around the streets of the capital…(as seen on www.walesonline.co.uk)

We met a few of the crowds of police around Bute Park on Wednesday morning, and they were being super-friendly. I’m not sure if it was a charm campaign to try to offset the inconvenience of the enormous fence blocking off a great chunk of the city, or if they had been told to make conversation with as many people as possible to try to flush out anyone acting suspiciously. But it was a bit surreal.

Again, American attitudes from which “British” people and institutions could learn a great deal.

The Telegraph responds to the situation (of Barak Obama urging people to visit Wales and the Welsh language) today by printing a “humorous” (ie, belittling and patronising) article where the writer excuses his ignorance of Welsh when visiting the country by saying " I retold this story, pointing out how ridiculous it was that all road signs in Wales are in Welsh and English when only a small percentage of the population actually speaks Welsh. "

Anyone thinking that is not funny must, according to the writer be ‘chippy’, and should be willing to put up with ramblings like this in national newspapers urging people not to visit Wales.

The first comment beneath the article seems to be from a Scot, for it reads “another little reason to vote yes”.

The berk who wrote the article may have done some good after all!

Dewch 'mlaen, Sgotland!

You cannot help but wonder, and we will probably never know, if Cymraeg was used in the formal welcome to the ‘guests’ at the various dinners etc. Bearing in mind that this was an ,Offical’ occasion, were the menu cards and other literature printed bi-lingually to comply with the 2011 Act?

I think it is something of a public relations victory that the American media has been reporting this meeting as taking place in Wales. I would actually have expected them to say it was in the UK, or in Britain, or possibly even in England! We Americans know where Scotland is, and Ireland, but general awareness about the cultural uniqueness of Wales is sadly lacking in the general public. Maybe this week has helped with that.

On a slightly different note, on the BBC radio news, I heard that President Obama had “dropped in” on Stonehenge, on his way back from the NATO beano. Apparently, he’d noticed it, while flying over it on his way to the conference, and wanted to check it out afterwards.

We heard from an English Heritage spokeslady that they’d been a bit apprehensive when they saw all the black limos drawing up outside. But the president seems to have gone around saying “how cool is this!” about every 5 minutes as he was (understandably) impressed by it all.

Although we think of it as being symbolic in one sense of England, it does of course have a pretty strong connection with Wales as well. I hope they explained that to him.

Yes he flipping well did. Sudden urgent air traffic warnings popping up everywhere on his bucket list frightened the life out of a bunch of us who’d all planned our flight already avoiding the existing ones!

In Saturday’s ‘Western Mail’ there was a huge section detailing the pros and cons of the summit/beano or whatever. The extensive list of home-produced ‘gifts’ presented to the various heads of state included neither a stick of Barry Island rock nor a copy of ‘Max Boyce Live at Treorchy’ What a shame