Truly amazing things you never knew about the land of dragons…

I’ve recently come back from the UK, where I spent some time promoting my new book, Drynwideon. While I was there, I happened to find myself in the beautiful country of Wales. During my stay, I decided to do a bit of digging into this wild and largely untamed, magical land. What I discovered was truly fantastic and I feel privileged to be able to share it with you here. So, sit back, grab yourself a coffee and a biscuit, and prepare to be amazed by these hitherto unknown top ten facts about Wales:

  1. All of the world’s coal comes from Wales. Other countries have long been stealing it by mining underneath the UK. The Channel Tunnel was originally one such mine shaft, built by the French.
  2. Smaug the dragon from ‘The Hobbit’ lives in Merthyr Tydfil. You can easily tell which house he lives in because it’s got the biggest chimney in the street.
  3. The two Severn bridges are actually there to help hold Wales in place, otherwise it would completely detach from the rest of the UK, as happened with Ireland nearly 30 years ago. More bridges are planned in the future as the two countries continue to pull away from each other along the enormous River Severn fault.
  4. Most Welsh cheese is, in fact, made by highly trained canaries made redundant following the closure of Wales’ world-famous sugar mines in the mid-1980’s. Some of the canary families can trace their heritage back as far as the battle of Dan Y’ Fab San in 1232.
  5. A’i fab in Welsh does not mean ‘and son’ as is commonly thought. In fact, it means ‘I’m bloody brilliant, boyo’.

    Ai fab! Welsh butcher's sign. Rob Gregory Author

    A’i Fab, indeed. Welsh butchery at its finest!

  6. It is traditional for most working-class families in Wales to give up at least one son, usually the youngest, to one of the many travelling Male Voice Choirs that prowl the valleys, in exchange for beads, coal dust and old Harry Secombe albums.
  7. The little bit of Wales right at the northernmost tip is called Dayvd.
  8. Brains SA, one of the strongest beers on the planet at 420% alcohol, is bottled at source by a small group of Franciscan monks, who have been living in hiding in Ysbyty Ystwyth since the early 1500’s. Brains SA is commonly used as a condiment to season many of Wales’ delicious national dishes.
  9. Despite its relatively small appearance on world maps, Wales is, in fact, more than twice the size of the continent of Australia.
  10. Wales is famous for its sheep, many of which are over 11 feet tall and eat cats.

And finally, a quote from my father to my mother, which if it hasn’t been said before, needs to go down in the annals of comic genius:

“You’ve given me loads of sound advice over the years. 99 percent sound and 1 percent advice!”

You’ve just go to love the Welsh… I know that I do!

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