Stuff and Things – Y Ddraig Goch

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For those of you who don’t speak Welsh, the subtitle translates to The Red Dragon. The Red Dragon, Y Ddraig Goch is the national symbol of Wales, and in addition to being pictured on the official flag, it is pretty much on everything else in country.

When I was there, I picked up stuffed red dragons for each of my three kids, but for myself I got this little keychain. For the longest time, I had it clipped to my pocketbook, and it went everywhere with me. His tag fell off, but the plastic hangy thing is still attached to his ear. On his left side, as you can see if you squint and zoom in, he has a patch of the Welsh flag attached.

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A few years ago, I was in the post office, my purse slung over my shoulder with the red dragon hanging in the front. I finished my transaction, and the postal clerk asked if I went to college at Oneonta. It is a state college in upstate New York, and I had in fact graduated from there.

I was confused how she knew that, and she pointed at my red dragon. My response was that it was a Welsh dragon, not an Oneonta red…

And then I realized, and it hit me that I hadn’t realized it before, but the coincidence was ridiculously obvious to me and I chuckled. I might have said that I guessed it was after all.

At college in Oneonta, our mascot was a red dragon. I lost that in the twenty-five years and I’d been carrying around my Welsh dragon and never once associated it with my college mascot.

So in the 1980s I had red dragons, and in 2009, I went back to Wales and got a different red dragon. It only cemented my connection to Wales. There are many threads attaching me to the land, and their only connection is me. In my mind, it makes sense. It’s a faith thing.

Thursday Travels – Llanrwst, North Wales

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One of my favorite pictures from my visit in 2009.

Across the bridge to my left is a wonderful tea house. Excellent cup of tea and scone with cream and jam. I was too nervous to take photos “publicly” so I don’t have any from inside. As I recall now, though, there may have been a sign that said no photos, but I don’t precisely remember. I was very conscious of not being a typical tourist, but I’m not sure that if I went back that I would care about that. I love taking and looking at photographs. I love the view through the lens.

Behind me is a circle of standing stones. At the time I thought they were ancient stones and I gave them that reverence. When I arrived home, I did some research and discovered that those stones were placed there to commemorate the 1951 Eisteddfod. Fun fact: my friend’s grandfather won the crown at that year’s competition. He was a well respected and well known broadcaster for television and radio.

On the river you can see two swans, who were happy to pose for my other pictures.

Another fun fact: This bridge is said to be one of the ones designed by Inigo Jones.