Lek's First Trip To Wales
The first time I visited Wales was about six years ago shortly after I first met Craig as is related in the book
'Behind The Smile'. We arrived in London's Heathrow Airport on the evening of the 28th February and got to Cardiff
very early on March 1st.
Therefore, my first day in Wales was Saint David's Day (Saint David being the patron saint of Wales). It is a
day of national celebration in Wales. School children usually hold an Eisteddfod (a sing song) in the morning and
get the afternoon off; some schools hold special rugby tournaments and many people wear a leek or a daffodil on
In fact, these events often take place in Welsh communities all over the world, but I digress.
It was a cold frosty night when we arrived and a dark, cold frosty morning when we woke up, but it was nice
rather than miserable. There were only a few flowers in peoples' otherwise grass-green and earth-brown gardens and
the trees were strangely nude, not that I realised that that was seasonal at the time.
We went to the nearest pub for lunch and to meet some of Craig's friends. The short walk to the pub was cold but
invigorating, which made getting into the warm building something special that I had never experienced before.
About an hour after we had had our meal, one of Craig's friends called me outside to see that it was snowing. I
had always wanted to see snow and here is was on my first day in Wales - my first day in Europe!
People later said that I looked like a puppy dancing around catching snowflakes.
Having seen puppies doing that myself now, I guess that I did. I felt so privileged to see snow on my first trip
and on my first day too. I wanted it to go on and on, but everyone else was happy with the two or three inches that
did fall. On the way home, Craig showed me how to make snowballs and we had a snowball fight - it was such fun!
Craig's friends and family really pulled the stops out to make my stay in Wales enjoyable and special. Some of
the ladies took me shopping in Cardiff (we were staying in Barry, nearby) and to special ladies only parties like
hen nights and make-up parties.
We also went out for meals and to social functions at local restaurants and clubs. We even went to a local
Masonic Ladies Night, something that I had never dreamed that a poor Thai farmer's girl like me would ever attend -
it was so posh, yet everyone was so friendly and kind.
One of my favourite experiences of them all though was being driven around the Welsh snow-topped mountains by
one of Craig's brothers and his brother's wife. I had never seen sheep before and thought they looked so beautiful
standing on the hillsides like balls of white fluff against the green grass.
I took hundreds of photos of the sheep on the Brecon Beacons, but they wouldn't let me get close enough to pose
with them. I would love to have a flock of sheep in Thailand, but it would probably be far too hot for them. I have
already done the next best thing though and had my favourite two sheep photos transformed into large oil paintings
which hang in our living room.
by Owen Jones