Posted by: docdenbow | June 2, 2014

100% Crap

“Did you know that Ian Hislop was born in Mumbles a pretty little seaside village on the outskirts of Swansea and left there in a pram so to speak. In my book that makes him Welsh. Mind you I know someone who was born in Barnet and brought up in Lampeter, speaks Welsh, went to a Welsh language secondary and in my view he’s English.”

Well that’s 100% crap. If you agree with that assertion, well congratulations – you’re an idiot.

Swansea Bay as seen from Townhill

Swansea Bay (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course there are sportsmen who fly the flag on convenience and use their place of birth to become internationals, but for most of us mere mortals national identity is a far more complex beastie. Take me for example born and raised in the Black Country of England, but resident in South Wales for 34 years. Some 60% of my life has been has been spent resident in Wales and damn nearly 100% of my adult life as I was just 21 when I landed with a bump in Swansea. So what does that make me? Am I proud Englishman or a naturalized citizen of Cymru? It has to be said I’m neither sadly. It gives me no pleasure and causes no misery to say that for it is simply a fact. There is a kind of sadness, but that’s all that is.

In my mind I cannot be proud to be English because the England that I grew in no longer exists and for the most part the England we have now is a country I wish only to visit as a holidaymaker as there is nothing there for someone like me. My family are Welsh, what few friends I have are also Welsh and my home is in Wales. Wolverhampton remains a distant memory lost in the mists of time and although my loyalty to Wolverhampton Wanderers remains intact, that’s just about the only thing that does. The friends I had are just ghosts in my memory and I suppose to them that I’m not even that as neither they nor I have made even the slightest effort to remain in touch.

The last time I visited I wandered around the Mander Centre and along Dudley Street, pausing outside BHS and thought for a while of the many, many people I worked with that I remembered and the many people who had slipped my mind as I’ve slipped theirs. Although I didn’t realize it at the time they were very happy days and perhaps I would’ve had a career there had I not felt victimized by the store manager and felt that I had no option, but to resign. The Saturday girls bought me a card when which they gave me on my last day but the store manager forbade the full timers from doing so, which does taint my memory of the place.

I walked around and around the centre of town and I suppose I was hoping to see a familiar face to say “hi” to or have coffee with to catch up on old times. However, it didn’t happen and never will happen as that part of my life is dead and buried and I must accept it and forget it. Besides the place has changed, and I am not a part of that change just a casual observer wondering what I would have become had I stayed. The point is moot, there is no way of knowing what I would have become…..and it’s counter productive to even think about it. Besides things are great as they are.

So does all of that mean that instead of Doc Denbow that I should be by now Medddyg Denbow? Perhaps you may think so, but I don’t think that will ever be the case. As someone who came to Wales as a partially formed adult who doesn’t use a plethora of meaningless English(ish) idioms and retains more of his Black Country accent I am a marked man. Insulted, ridiculed by “banter” when it comes to the annual Wales Vs England rugby to such an extent that all of the fun and enjoyment has been taken out of it for me – I really don’t care anymore and don’t watch the games .

Maybe I don’t just have a sense of humour……………………

Ciao For Now



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  1. Home is where the heart is my friend.

    Yes, I consider myself to be a full on Welshman, not born perhaps (for which I constantly remind my parents), but definitely dragged up here. Some people consider themselves to be simply British; whilst others European (to the dismay of UKIP). I am a proud Welshman by heart.

    In this day and age, as the planet becomes smaller and smaller, and all countries become even more integrated with each other; where you are born and bred has little to do with your Nationality. You are what you feel you are. You could become an American after 5 years living there, so having lived in Wales for 34 years of your short life; if you felt you wanted to be welcomed to the land of sheep; there is nobody that could deny you! 🙂

    As I said at the beginning though, home is were the heart is. Only you can know what you feel at the end of a long day; English; Welsh; British; European; or simply a member of the human race?

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