Lifestyle, Rural Adventures

A Dyffryn Perspective…

We all know the story:  rural girl ends up in city and then moves back to country later in life, realising just what she’s been missing all those years.  Falls in love with old high school boyfriend and calls off wedding to smart city boy, much to the complete disbelief of  his pushy poltician Mother. Oh wait….that was Reece Witherspoon, wasn’t it? Thought I recognised it.

Anyway, city girl DOES move to rural countryside (in North Wales); doesn’t fall for old boyfriend; doesn’t have to cancel wedding, but absolutely does realise that she’s been missing out on the kind of lifestyle she never even knew she wanted in the first place. 

Where was I?  YES! So, I wrote a previous post about all the new experiences I’ve had in Wales in the first few months of my arrival so,  to celebrate making it through my first year as a resident of Dyffryn, I thought I’d share all the other new things I’ve picked up.  
You’re so welcome…

a year in north wales, living in north wales, what's it like living in north wales, a scot in north wales
More Talledega than Trawsfyndd..


I get it: it’s a rural area and it can be tremendously frustrating to be stuck behind the school bus (every day, people.  Every. Day).  However, I have never been *so* annoyed by this that I’ve decided to overtake said bus, or any other vehicle, going round a bend when I had no idea what was coming towards me.

I honestly can’t count the number of times I’ve been minding my own business, giving it large to some Miranda Lambert, and watched a car pull out from behind another and whizz down my side of the road before pulling in seconds before it would hit me.  And I mean seconds because, by this time, I’ve braked to reduce my chances of being killed by someone who’s running 2 minutes late and simply doesn’t have the intelligence to leave the house any earlier.

You live in the countryside! There are no dual carriageways!  Deal with it.   

Rant over.   I would like to point out that people who overtake when it’s safe to do so, or simply sit behind traffic because they want to live, are also plentiful here. They’re not all running late for sheep dog trials or choir practice.   I jest, of course.  No one runs late for those things as they’re far too important.  

Turns of Phrase:
Nothing pleases me more than hearing a Welsh person say: ‘I’ll be there now in a minute’. This is largely because it adds mystery to my day as I don’t know if they will actually be here now, or whether they’ll be here in a minute. This certainly keeps you on your toes and, as I’ve found out, it has different meaning depending on who says it to you. 
Another personal favourite is ‘fair play’, which is the Scottish equivalent of ‘fair enough’ or ‘yer a guid lass/lad’- something along those lines.  When someone says ‘fair play to you’ you know you’ve done something that’s most agreeable.  And this can never be underestimated.

I have also started noticing that I have picked up a few Welsh sentences of my own.  I say, when explaining my accent. ‘I’m from Scotland, I am’, or, more frequently: ‘I’m opening this wine, I am…’.   
It’s not that I think people don’t believe the first part of my sentence and are all like ‘Yeah, she SAYS she’s from Scotland, but I’m not sure, and then when I add the ‘I am’ portion they vigorously nod their heads and tell me it’s a good job I clarified it for them.  It’s just a fun turn of phrase that I hadn’t come across before (apart from in Gavin and Stacey) and now can’t seem to stop using. 

a year in north wales, living in north wales, what's it like living in north wales, a scot in north wales
‘…whether you’re late for church or you’re stuck in jail..word’s gonna get around…’

Small Towns:
I knew that, stereotypically at least, small towns tended to be places where everyone knew everyone else.  As it turns out, this is actually true. And, if they don’t know each other because they’re related by blood or marriage, it’s because they went to school or worked together at some point.  Not only do they all know each other…they all know you. 

I live in tiny village and find it completely surreal to have random strangers ask me how my husband is or how I’m enjoying living here.  I am often known as ‘The Scottish One’ or ‘The New Dr’s Wife’ and have fended off enquiries about my wedding and new house from people I have honestly never seen before in my life.  It takes more than a wee bit of getting used to.

Of course, it has its upsides in that you don’t have to send out change of address notes when you move because everyone already knows about it, so that’s always positive.  As we recently found out, however, it also has its downsides in that, any news you DO have is quickly spread around before you actually have a chance to tell anyone for yourself.   And, when people don’t have the full story, it appears they tend to improvise.  Mind you, that’s just a general human trait, I think.  It’s just magnified in a small area.  

One of the most positive things I’ve found, which directly relates to life in a small town, is the support you receive from other people.  When locals think they know a bit about you, you’ll often find them rooting for you and supporting you in your ventures.  In terms of me writing this blog, North Walian people and businesses have been absolutely fantastic. 

These people are often complete strangers and it’s apparent to me that there’s a real sense of community that is definitely lost when you live in a city.   Mind you, when everyone knows everyone else, you don’t have to ask for support as chances are they know what you’re up to anyway… 

a year in north wales, living in north wales, what's it like living in north wales, a scot in north wales
grab your stuff, people; we’re moving to Wales!

Yes, I know this perfectly describes me, but I’ve never  lived anywhere that has quite as many residents that aren’t actually from the area.  Or the entire nation, come to think of it. 

I spent my life in Scotland, with mostly Scottish people (and the occasional English person that we allowed in from time to time).  I also once met a Spaniard. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that, wherever I lived in Scotland, Scots were always in the majority.

It’s not like that here (obvs…)  If I go shopping in one of the towns near me, it’s not uncommon for me NOT to hear a Welsh accent.  If I venture out in the Summer, often all I hear are Scousers and Brummies.  North Wales is so close to Liverpool and Birmingham that it attracts a huge percentage of people from these areas here on holiday.  There are also a great many of them who eventually move here.   As well as the huge English population, I’m also led believe that I’m not the only Scot in town. However, this can only be a good thing for local sales of whisky and haggis, no?  

On the whole, my experience of living in North Wales has been overwhelmingly positive and I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring a totally new area and I’ve met and made friends with some truly wonderful people. 

Here’s to the second year!

Suz x


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