Happy St. David’s Day, everyone!
Today is the Feast Day of St. David, the patron saint of Wales. Thus, in honor of the day, why not talk about Damian and his Welsh roots?
Here is Damian talking about himself as a “Londoner” and “British” at Times Talks London.
So far so good… Damian is proud of his Welsh roots, and we’re talking about Wales today! But… what do I talk about when I talk about Wales? What do I really know about Wales except the fact that Damian is half-Welsh? Well… I can drop a few Welsh celebrity names like a pro…Sir Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Burton, Gareth Bale… and, of course, the wonderful Denise Salway aka the “Knitting Witch” that creates the wonderful “Wolf Hall in Wool” collection and who made, for Damian, a special personalized gift!
At the end of the day, I don’t really know much about Wales, do I? 🙂
Here comes the research!
I first discover this lovely Wales tourism video! On the day that the international NATO summit of world leaders started in Wales in September 2014, and also because it was the first time ever that a sitting US president visited the country, the Welsh Government released a video in which celebrities extend a warm welcome to President Obama.
One of my favorite moments in the video is Matthew Rhys (aka Philip Jennings whom I love on The Americans) saying “Croeso i Gymru; no, I didn’t just cough. It means welcome to Wales. We mean that sincerely.”
And, we have our guy sitting in a local pub: “You might be wondering what a man with my accent is doing welcoming you to Wales… … I am half Welsh half English… my family always had a farm house in West Wales… and it is, I have to say, my favorite place on earth.”
Ah, and a moment with the great Bryn Terfel!!! I didn’t know he was Welsh, but I certainly adore the guy! Terfel sings “Irene’s Song” — remember the Forsyte Saga theme music? — so beautifully that gives me the goose bumps every single time I hear it! “Life is a dance we must learn…” Can you guess what my ringtone is? Yes, YOU CAN!
Now… Wales seems to be a REAL hidden gem.
Crystal clear waters? Sandy, long beaches?
Beautiful, mysterious, magical, old castles?
Good-looking London Welshman welcoming me to Wales?
Damian’s father is 100 percent Welsh: “On both side of his family, like so many of the Welsh did, they went across to Liverpool and Birmingham looking for work and all fell into Welsh communities and all married each other. My grandmother was a Welsh speaker. It’s in the blood…
I’m quite romantic about my Celtic roots. And although I went to school in England, grew up in London, we’ve always been made aware of Welsh roots by dad, who’s been very keen to stay in touch with his Welshness, even though he can’t speak more than five words of Welsh… It’s London-Welsh, I guess!”
Damian is a London Welshman exactly like, well, Henry VIII. “Myself I am London Welshman like the most notorious London Welshmen of them all (Henry VIII) I too have red hair – I am trying to keep my belly smaller than his and hopefully I will not need another five wives.” LOL This one is particularly priceless since Damian makes this comment back in 2013 not knowing he would bring us a fantastic portrayal of Henry VIII in Wolf Hall.
Damian is married to a half-Welsh girl 🙂 Helen McCrory is half-Welsh, she has a Welsh speaking mother that living in Cardiff. And, her grandfather was Welsh boxing champion, no less, Bobby Morgan.
Damian supports the Welsh rugby team. …which he describes as part of his brainwashing as child 🙂 “Otherwise my father would have taken the belt to me,” he says, and adds: “It was easy to support the Welsh rugby team in the 70s and it’s easy to support them now. There was a little moment in the middle when it wasn’t quite so.”
Damian and his brother Gareth made the utterly hilarious comedy The Baker in Wales. Gareth Lewis tells: “Our dad’s Welsh and we’ve been coming on holiday to Wales forever. Obviously I don’t know any hitmen, but we “come to Wales a lot as we have a house in Llandeilo. and it’s a case of write of what you know…I developed a naive urban view of a countryside being torn apart through the reality of what I saw in the villages and towns I knew. And I realised that a drama in a village is interesting because it’s so condensed. You can’t escape; I find that very interesting, that everyone has to put on a front.”
Damian loves coming to Wales. “I rush here to be honest. And I try to get my kids here as much as I can. They grow up in London. They are at London schools. I love getting them down here into Welsh countryside… We’re just on the Black Mountain… Our house… It’s… The air, here, tastes and smells like no other area in the world, and it, after three and a half hour journey from London, it’s, you just sort of drink it in… like a… like a… you know, a long needed pint.”
Lechyd Da, Damian 🙂