A couple of weeks ago we had that rare occurrence, the Mrs. joining me at the school gates to pick up Joshua and Jaya. Honestly, there are folks in this village who must think I am a single mum so rarely does the Mrs take part in the school run. But on this day, Joshua was clutching a red dragon and also had a Welsh flag badge pinned to his chest next to the School Council badge and an owl badge which is, I think, a club for clever cloggses. Joahua and his pal R are clever cloggses now doing reading lessons with kids 2 years older than they are.
The cuddly red dragon is awarded to the “Welsh speaker of the week” at assembly each Friday and the recipient gets to keep it for the weekend. Joshua is now having extra private Welsh lessons with a neighbour of ours, N, whose first language is Welsh, and who says that he is impressed by Joshua’s progress. And that has helped Joshua pick up the red dragon three times this year already. And that means…
That he was also presented with the badge at assembly which, he admitted under questioning, made him very proud. He grinned a broad grin, for he is now a member of xxxx Cymraeg. Xxxx is a word I cannot spell but is the Welsh for club. Cymraeg is the Welsh for Welsh. Joshua is the youngest member of this club who, I gather, meet up and speak to each other in Welsh.
Joshua is a bit sketchy on what they actually do but is becoming more and more Welsh each day. This should delight his eldest sister Olaf who is also Welsh and proud through her mother, Big Nose, but has never lived here and thus her language skills are not even on a par with those of the third best Welsh speaker here, Jaya, who knows all the animals, the Welsh language Grace said before meals and much else besides.
Joshua’s overt nationalism means testing the second best Welsh speaker in the family ( me) on Welsh words and telling the 4th best Welsh speaker out of 4, the Mrs, that when the bridges to England are blown up, on that great day, she might, as an English person, just be allowed to stay in Wales. As I identify as Irish I will, Joshua says, be allowed to stay as a fellow Celt. I am not sure I have got around to explaining that my sort of Irish arrived in the 1600s and are not exactly Celtic, but for now he sees me as an ally, not least because we both support whoever is playing England in the rugby.
For now the little cottage burner wears his badge with pride and will, I am sure, get a number of Welsh presents from father Christmas and others in a few weeks time Meanwhile I really must get back onto Duolingo to try and catch up with the little pest.