Happy Saint David’s Day, everybody – everybody who’s Welsh, who lives in Wales, who feels Welsh or generally Celtic! The Welsh national holiday isn’t quite as famous as St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s certainly special as well; and all the more to me this year, because it’s my first St. David’s Day as a Welsh resident. I can’t say how proud and happy I am to be living in this wonderful country now – after all those years I’ve found the home I’d always been searching for!
And it’s very easy to feel at home here – everybody’s just so nice and friendly, we’re by the seaside, the climate is mild, it’s peaceful and quiet; and yes, we’ve had a lot of sports victories lately to be proud of, too! Gerwyn Price is the new world number one darts player, Gareth Bale is back at his best at his new/old club Tottenham, and just day before yesterday the Welsh rugby team won against England in the Six Nations Cup! Not bad for a ‘small’ country with a population of just over 3 million, eh…
So, this morning my darling husband and me started decorating our lovely new flat here in Holyhead, of course. Ben, back in his hometown, is leading the Celtic parade, and we put up our pennants on the wall and our little Welsh flags on the teatime muffins.
Meanwhile, outside the daffodils – the national flower of Wales – are already blooming beautifully; and in the kitchen we’ve got leeks and potatoes for our St. David’s Day dinner, the local speciality called Anglesey eggs.
You can look up the recipe here if you’re interested:
Since I posted this recipe last year back in London, though, I’ve learned how to do my own mashed potatoes, too, instead of using mash powder; it’s very easy, really: peel and slice 5-6 medium potatoes, cook them in salted water for 30-40 minutes, then blend them in the food processor. Heat 30g butter and 60ml cream up in a pot, then add it to the potatoes together with 1-2tsp milk, salt and pepper and blend again – ready! And much creamier than mash made from a powder…
And last but not least for some music: the obvious choice for today is of course the national anthem, that glorious hymn to the ancient country, people and language. Here’s a beautiful version, lyrics in both Welsh and English included:
Then there are the old Welsh folk songs, poetical in the tradition of the ancient bards; one of the most famous ones is ‘Calon Lan’ (‘Pure Heart’), most beautifully sung here by Katherine Jenkins.
But, of course, there are lots of funny songs as well – songs to sing along, about rugby and parties and… singing! And no one is better at that than Max Boyce, the great Welsh singer and comedian and national treasure:
So have a great St. David’s Day, dear friends, wherever you are – to paraphrase the slogan about being Irish on St. Patrick’s Day: Everybody’s Welsh on Saint David’s Day!