/ Wales2016

Fri - a meeting of friends

Once again we return to England. Wales had been interesting for, amongst other things, its language. Welsh was heard on several occasions over the last couple of days and, of course, all the road-signs, street names, information boards etc are bi-lingual. It is a difficult language for the non-speaker, having many letter combinations that don't appear in English and double letters which, unlike English, are, I believe, pronounced differently to their single equivalent. For example I believe D has the same sound as English but DD is more like English TH, and F is like the English V whilst it requires FF to get the English F sound.

Morphing initial consonants depending on case doesn't help. 'Felin' is an often seen word meaning mill, however if you see it in the form 'melin' it's similarity to the French 'moulin' is much more apparent. 'Goch' is red but trying to translate a roadsign requesting stopping at a red light it was probably the mutation 'coch'.

A tie in with French is obvious for some words yglis (church) and ffenestr (window) and where English had borrowed from French then the words sound almost English e.g. ysgol (school).

Of course, phonetics are used for neologisms, hence tacsi, ambwlans, traffig and telefon

Enough linguistics, time to move on through the delightful Elan Valley to Rhayader a small market town with the emphasis on small. One of the claims to fame of the area is that it was the first to reintroduce red kites to the UK and there are a few places where the birds get fed so can be seen as huge, whirling flocks. Today we just saw two in the sky and hundreds on signs, rubbish bins etc as it is the emblem of the country of Powis.

From Powis into England, small very scenic country roads winding around the geography. The law of karma applying here, after a glorious 15 miles with no one in front and nothing in the rear view mirror we get stuck behind a very slow moving lorry for 10 miles. No worries, this is scenery country, Herefordshire and South Shropshire, just like Murray Mints, too good to hurry. Clee Hill just a few miles from Cleobury Mortimer has a fantastic panoramic view spoiled by today's haze. We must come again.

One of the best things that can happen when you get a campervan or small motorhome is discovering the Small Motorhome Forum website. A mine of information and ideas curated by some of the nicest folk we know. It's nice to meet up with friends from across the net so the group has 'meets' a few times a year. This one, today, is a bit special as it commemorates the 10th anniversary of the group. Originally just a web meeting place for a few friends it now boasts in excess of 6000 online members and nearly 60 vans and about 100 people have turned up in a field here in Stourport-On-Severn. It's all a 'do whatever you like' type affair. Tonight has a barbeque, but attendance isn't mandatory and a few folk prefer the option of cooking in their own vans. We don't own a barbecue so blag some space on one, thanks Brian. Tonight was also a bit special because our friends Ian and Sue met up via this group and last month got married. It was nice that we could all get together and present then with a little something.