I was at a friend’s house earlier, enjoying a cuppa and a biscuit, when she pulled out a small book. ‘Take a look at this,’ she said, putting the book on my lap and carefully avoiding the sadly starving collie who was begging for gingernuts. ‘It should interest you, there’s knitting.’
When you have any links to Wales, you do get used to the jokes. A friend of mine was a stand up comic in London during the early 90s and regularly came on stage to a chorus of bleating, and there are whole websites devoted to sheep jokes and the Welsh. It’s all crap, of course, but sometimes… well, let’s just say the cause of high Cymric seriousness is undermined from within.
This is the sort of thing that went on before people had televisions to accompany their knitting. And there are some who think their introduction was a bad thing.
All the caption (in Welsh) does is identify the people involved, and I shall spare any existing relatives full identification; anyway, there are no ‘surnames’ as such, just last names formed by where they lived, as is quite usual. We have Jack, Howell, Richard and Tom, Tom being the one sock knitting in the front (I think). They look like a lively group of lads, and not unlike some of my friends from round here today. Why two of them should have succumbed to the call of their feminine sides I have no idea, but I reckon this is the best use of traditional dress I’ve seen in a long time. I should really have saved it for Gwyl Dewi Sant (St David’s Day)…
On a more serious note, this is before World War One. I must check the names on the war memorial; far too many young men from round here died on the Western Front. I do hope Jack, Howell, Richard and Tom were not among them.
(Photograph from Hên Dref Harlech a Phentre Llanfair, by Dr Lewis Lloyd and Martin Eckley)