Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

Where Was I?


I was offering up a platter of posts on the joys of Wales, and then I zipped off at a Derbyshire tangent in yesterdays post. But then zipping off at tangents is not an unusual event for me.

So back to Wales, and back to the title of this post,

A colourful Welsh barn

Red brick blue roof-2

I never do know where I am in Wales, it is not that I can’t read a map, I can, not in the meticulous  detail that Mr Uhdd requires for his fellrunning forays, but more than enough to get around and to zip off in search of obscure farms at a moments notice. Oh and I never get lost, I’m  only ever geographically confused, there is a difference you understand.

An old door on a Welsh barn

Barn door 1-2

But in Wales it is different, the Welsh place names put the dyslexic bit of my brain into a mode that is akin to the blue screen of death. I just can’t get a grip of them, I just can’t orientate myself, if I can’t read the names or at least make them into a ‘sound’ how the the double FF and double LL am I going remember the word sufficiently to place them on a  mental map?

So a couple of questions are raised (and I think  Joe answered this one for me today)

Are some languages more difficult to learn to read than others if you are dyslexic?

Joe (who has inherited his mothers dyslexic genes) tells me he has learnt more Spanish in one year than he has learnt of the French language in 7 years of schooling (I can sympathise, I could never get French either and never bothered trying anything else) Of course, Joe thanks to some  talented teachers and a lot of effort on his part, has a lot more learning tools and study skills at his disposal  now than he had when he started out on the learning adventure that is going to school; maybe that makes the difference?

And have Welsh place names found themselves replicated across the globe, are their names like Blaenau Ffestiniog, Machynlleth, Dolwyddelan and Llanrwst in north America and Australia? and what about, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch) just thought I’d ask.


Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

12 thoughts on “Where Was I?

  1. The blue welsh barn is very pretty. Phew I know what you mean about learning.
    Im not good with languages. French, err unless its cycling related im afraid I was the, Lantern Rouge of the class.

  2. Great pics, as always.

    This link about dyslexia might be of interest to you:


    There are a couple places (and a women’s college) in the US called Bryn Mawr. I can’t think of any other obviously Welsh place names off the top of my head, but they’re probably out there, although some of them have almost certainly been anglicized and simplified in the way many additions to American English are.

  3. Welsh was spoken long before it was written, which doesn’t help matters, especially as the alphabet is similar to but ever so slightly different from the English one. Forget the spelling, focus on the phonetics. It makes life much easier 🙂

  4. Spanish is a phonetically regular language and so is much easier to learn than English. Spanish has none of this nonsense where the letters (grapheme) -ough can make seven different sounds (phonemes). Or the sound /ay/ can be spelled in at least eight different ways. So, yes, I would guess that there are fewer people there struggling with reading and writing, even though dyslexia is a largely inherited condition.

    My son doesn’t even get on with Spanish, never mind French or German. Binary, or any other computer-based forms of communication, are another matter though!

  5. I think Spanish is easier to learn than many other languages, but it all becomes difficult later in life. My ears just don’t move as fast as people’s speech! And, um, that goes for English, too . . .

    Terry Wooten, a performance poet hereabouts, is dyslexic. That’s why he focuses on the oral tradition. Does it well, too.

    It’s good to have a flexible mind. Spoken language changes, its symbols etched in stone or pixels fade into mossy incoherence, and maps show the road to villages long since crumbled to dust. Still, life goes on and lambs chase rabbits just for mischief . . .

  6. I’m not dyslexic, and can’t for the life of me pronounce Welsh place names. My tongue just sticks itself to the roof of my mouth and refuses to co-operate. I can do the Scots Gaelic ones, no problem. Familiarity, I suppose.

    Spanish I can usually make a stab at translating (if quite badly) but French and I were never friends.

  7. I learned french for seven years, german for one, and spanish for 3 weeks.

    I can actually use about the same amount of each.

  8. Off topic but….

    Oh God! Just read your can do, can’t do!

    I’ve only just read this now after insisting that you travel back from the pub with the Gadgets on a boat last summer!


    • ROFL, that is why I took up the offer of a life jacket!! No honestly it was fine, the skipper was very able.
      But Mr Uhdd was a bit bemused at the reply to the text he sent me at the time….. ‘Where are you?’ he asked (seeing as I’d driven off into the heart of ruralshire to meet a man I’d met on the Internet) my reply ‘I’m sailing downstream with the Gadgets’ wasn’t what he was expecting.
      Sailing to and from the pub I’m OK with, it’s flappy sails and all the paraphernalia that goes with the the mode of transport I don’t embrace: that and any sign of waves and sea sickness.

  9. love these pictures! as for welsh (i’m no welsh speaker but my rellies are) one F is V, two FFs are F, LL is the noise you make if you smile broadly and then laugh without opening your teeth (best not tried with your mouth full!) but can be said as CL if the other noise won’t work. it is pretty phonetic so once you learn what things are meant to sound like it gets easier…

  10. I get geographically confused occasionally too:):) I’m certainly no linguist but Mr Rowan was at University in Aberystwyth many moons ago and learned a little Welsh. We have a Welsh lady in our WI though and she can actually say that long word! She’s a Welsh speaker and only moved to England a few years ago to be near her daughter.

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