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A few years ago now, my brother moved to Anglesey, in Wales. He has visited multiple times since then (clearing out the cupboards every time – it’s like being visited by Huns)  but I’ve never had occasion to schlep over to Wales to visit him. He insisted I take a weekend to come see him and take him to their wonderful local lobster restaurant. And to bring my wallet (of course – little brother and all that).

 Beloved was most excited, he’s never been to Wales before. Which was amusing to watch because he seems to have this odd idea that absolutely anything will be different. You’d think we were going  to distant climes but he was insistent it would be Different. He also expected it to rain all the time. I said he was silly and that was just a ridiculous stereotype.

 And Loki heard me.

 Road trip was uneventful (“it’s getting hilly isn’t it?” “yes, they’re called the Pennines.”  “oooh Lancashire, aren’t we supposed to hate them?” “No, I am, you’re a southerner and don’t get to take part in our ridiculous, centuries old petty grudge.” “I’ve lived here for over decades now!” “And you’re more than 2 decades old – southerner.”) there was lunch, there were views, there was a bloody WIND because it was November in the Penines.

 Then we crossed the River Dee and DARKNESS DESCENDED.

 Literally, we had to turn on the headlights. It was like 2:30 in the afternoon and we had the headlights on. And it RAINED. I don’t just mean rained, I mean RAINED. It was the kind of rain where, if your cracked the car window you risked drowning in the deluge. This was maintained for the entire duration of our stay.

 Beloved decided that Welsh was a great language for casting spells, at least from the little he gleaned from the road signs, and is still spending an inordinate amount of time chanting “Arath! Ysgol! Canol y dref! Ildiwch! Cerddwyr” rather dramatically (which sounds impressive by means “slow, school, town centre, give way, pedestrian” and probably not the chanting of some mysterious Merlin. Unless Merlin doubled as a lollypop man)

 My brother dragged me round the sites – and by sites I mean “shopping” (and guess what that meant?) which included Llanfair PG (no, I’m not typing the full name, google it) which seemed to be a) a tourist hub and b) a tourist hub based entirely on its name.

 What I did like was the terrain. It reminded me a lot of the North Yorkshire moors in a way – not that it’s similar per se, but that it has an incredible, stark beauty. Pretty to look at (and rainy, did I mention it rained? Because it rained. A Lot) but probably a hard place to farm. The terrain and the restaurants convinced me why this area is a holiday hot spot (or wet spot. Did I mention the rain?)

 The lobster place was fabulous, my brother was right. But I’ll never be the biggest fan of lobster. I like it, don’t get me wrong, but I’m always left with a feeling of “I like it more than crab, but I don’t like it twice as much as I like crab – so why am I paying twice as much?” They also had nice oysters – but same applies. I like oysters but why are they a squillion times more expensive than mussels? Especially in Britain where we harvest metric fucktons of shellfish – then sell it all abroad.

 It was nice to get away from it all for a couple of days, and it was probably my reluctance to relinquish the peace that led to my purging of annoyances (which I don’t regret and am glad something spurred me on at last). Even if we did get stuck in a traffic jam due to an accident and the Sat Nav redirected us to the UNMOVING ROAD above the road we should have been on flowed, slowly, but still flowed. I can only assume everyone had a Sat Nav like ours and they all said “ZOMG AN ACCIDENT! SLOW TRAFFIC! Let us now filter 8,000 cars on a country track designed for goats! SLOW GOATS!” resulting in it taking us 6 hours to get home.

 I brought lava bread home with me, not sure what to do with it. And Welsh cakes. Which are like rationed fruit scones – where fruit and sugar severely rationed and no-one’s heard of baking powder or eggs.

Or, as I remarked, they’re like scones if Beloved baked scones. This may result in him defiling my kitchen.


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Hmm... you can have laverbread with a fry-up. Not sure of any other uses; maybe with an omelette would work?

(also - you married a Southerner?! *faints* ;) )

I have no idea what it tastes like so i have no clue. It could be a dessert for all I know

He came north though! This shows a willingness to improve himself, I have to help the less fortunate better themselves, don't I?

Oooh... do not denigrate the Welsh Cakes! They are NOT like rationed scones... totally different beast. :-) Well... okay... they're like a cross between a moist, chewy biscuit and a scone... at least if they're done properly... and they are ENTIRELY too easy to eat. :-) Especially fresh off the griddle, with a nice cup of tea.

The only reason my husband doesn't weigh more than he does now is that I refuse to keep Welsh Cakes on-hand. (I'd never stop baking... they never last more than 1.5 days, tops, even when I've made a huge double batch.) And there are, in fact, both baking powder and eggs in the recipe. :-P is the recipe I use, if you are ever inclined to try making them and do not feel like letting Beloved near the kitchen. Also if you plan on having anything remotely edible in the end.

I don't think moist chewey biscuit and scone sounds so ideal to me :) but I shall give them a try and see what i can turn out that doesn't taste like these abominations

I do make fruit scones regularly so I'm always going to compare them to my crumbly, fruity yumminesses

I questioned my use of 'moist, chewy, biscuit' as it doesn't really give the right connotation as a soft, chewy cookie here in N. America. :-D

They're definitely going to be denser than a scone... and you don't need to limit yourself to currants or raisins for the fruit (though my husband would disagree, because then they aren't "traditional")... I've used chopped dried apricots as well to good effect, and dried, sweetened cranberries.

I've always wanted to go to Wales, despite what Blackadder says. And I thought rain was normal for Wales, or is that one of those stories they tell the tourists?

Blackadder : Have you ever been to Wales Baldrick?
Baldrick : No, but I've often thought I'd like to.
Blackadder : Well don't, it's a ghastly place. Huge gangs of tough sinewy men roam the valleys terrorising people with their close-harmony singing. You need half a pint of phlegm in your throat just to pronounce the placenames. Never ask for directions in Wales Baldrick, you'll be washing spit out of your hair for a fortnight.

Your kitchen is desperate need of defiling by Beloved.

Those Welsh cakes sound like what we call Teacakes down here. (Not sure if the rest of the US calls them that.) They're sort of round things with mostly flour and no nuts or raisins. They're supposed to be healthy cakes. But I think they use baking powder.

Were those scones made by Beloved sort of hard and flat? If so, you could always ship them over here for use as shooting clays. Sometimes also called clay pigeons.

I was assured it wouldn't rain all the time and that was a terribad stereotype. They lied to me! The language is right but we avoided the close harmony singing

My kitchen is blessedly protected from beloved and so it will stay!

Here a tea-cake is more bready and has fruit in it - and it is toasted

When you get lobster, is it locally caught, or brought over from the North Eastern US?

I don't always see where they're form but the ones from the fishmonger are local afaik

I'm a Southerner. There's nothing wrong with us! We are a colorful bunch and purported to be a friendly bunch... as long as you're white and well dressed.

I've only known one Welshman. Daffyd. (pronounced "David," in case you are unfamiliar with their messed up alphabet) He was an exchange student at UCLA when I was with First John in Los Angeles. Now, mind you, he's from the south part of Wales. What does this mean? He doesn't say words so much as open up his mouth and spout noises. 6 months around him and I understood maybe ever 5th word. Tragic. As he was definitely cute. When he came back, after a year, to visit, I understood every word he mumbled. He seemed very cross at me for admitting that I had not understood his words when he was there the first time. I don't know, I kinda found the guttural noises to be somewhat sexy. Had I not been with First John at the time, I might have fancied a go with Daffyd. Of course, had I not been with First John, I wouldn't have ever met Daffyd, but those are minor, temporal, details, easily fixed with a TARDIS. Where's The Doctor when you need his space/time box for personal reasons, hmm? Rather rude of him really.

And perhaps there can be a defiling of the kitchen together? When was the last time one of you was bent over the counters? I mean, really!? What's the use of kitchen counters if you can't bend/be bent over them? (Says the man with no cooking skills but can kick your ass baking cupcakes.) Defile them! DEFILE THEM, I SAY! (Then clean to your hearts content.)

US southerners are a different breed. They have guns and deep-fried turkeys.

I had a crash course on their odd letter sounds. But welsh has it's own music - not just the gutterals, in some parts of Wales they sing more than they talk

He is not allowed in my kitchen, it's a rule. AND that is very very VERY unhygienic! That's what the coffee table is for

Yes, I hear that the northerners in the mountainous areas of Wales do, in fact, have a very melodious way of speaking. Daffyd was far from melodious. He didn't spit at you but you could imagine it happening. It was just weird because he didn't use his lips to enunciate words! It was just an open mouth and speaking. It haunts my nightmares to this day.

*sigh* Poor kitchen counter tops... they never get to see any action. They stare at the coffee table in envy. Hating it. You'll turn your counters to the Dark Side if you keep it up. Do you really need red energy glowing knives flying at you? Do you? Really?

We also have sweet tea! (Which is iced tea that is served with the sugar already in it.) Also, I'm really not sure how anyone in England can be considered a southerner, given that, as I've been told by a significant other, England is as far north as Alaska is...

Also - coffee tables are far too short for the purpose of bending someone over them.

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I thought the Welsh had lots of vowels, but perhaps that's just the accents I've heard on television. /ignorant American

They have plenty of vowels... they're just all stealth-vowels, disguised as perfectly innocent consonants. :-D Written Welsh and Spoken Welsh only actually resemble each other if you've been given the secret decoder-ring.

I had to deal with Beloved trying to pronounce them!

*googles up Llanfair PG...*

Oh dear gods... I think I have been to that place when I was a middle-schooler. And taking a picture or it, and purchasing a small, teddy bear with that word's namesake written in it as a souvenir. Though whileI was there, I don't think it rained when we visited, though was probably cloudy on a summer time.

yes, it's a very long word indeed. They have the whole name on the village sign, it is very silly.

The rain will have just taken a breath! It would have fallen if you'd waited 10 minutes

...didn't Beloved learn anything from his LAST disastrous cooking attempt?

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