Monday, 25 January 2016

St Dwynwen's Day / Dydd Santes Dwynwen

Although barely known outside Wales, every year on 25 January we celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day, the Welsh patron saint of lovers.
The story of Dwynwen dates back to the 5th century, when Dwynwen fell in love with a Prince called Maelon Dafodrill. Her father, King Brychan Brycheiniog, was determined that she would marry another man.
Dwynwen was devastated that she couldn’t marry her true love and begged God to make her forget Maelon. An angel visited Dwynwen and gave her a potion. The potion was supposed to make her have no memory of Maelon and turned him into a block of ice.
Dwynwen was then granted three wishes. Firstly she wished for Maelon to be thawed (I would have personally left him as a block of ice, but that's why Dwynwen is a saint and I'm not!), secondly that God meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers and thirdly she wished that she would never marry.
Dwynwen devoted the rest of life to God’s service, founding a convent on the island of Llanddwyn. You can still see the remains of the church on the island today.

On the island, there is a well where, according to legend, a sacred fish swims. It is said that the fish can predict the happiness of relationships. Visitors still go to the well today, hoping that the water will boil, meaning that love and good luck will follow them.
We are a romantic country – we also celebrate St Valentine’s day on 14 February!


Monday, 18 January 2016

2016 has finally arrived .... The Cherished at least! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, eating their own body weight, overindulging in chocolate, turkey dinner and mince pies! It seems a long time ago now and it's taken me longer than I expected to get back into the swing of things. Surely it wasn't just me who spent the holidays struggling to get off the sofa and wondering what day it was?

Christmas this year was exactly how we wanted it to be; quiet and relaxed. We went to the children's service at the village church on Christmas Eve then enjoyed a relaxed Christmas Day where I only got out of my pyjamas to walk the dogs, promptly returning to my comfy state as soon as we got back to the house. Christmas dinner was deliciously rustic and probably the best I've made thanks to the preparations in previous weeks. I may have cried at the last ever instalment of Downton Abbey, what am I going to do with my Christmas nights in future years? My sister did buy me the complete box set however, so I can imagine the Downton Christmas tradition will carry on! My niece was too unwell to visit on Boxing Day but we went out for a meal with my parents and my sister and the children came to visit just after New Year.

At the beginning of 2015 I decided that instead of making resolutions I would keep moving forward. Little did I know at the time 2015 would be our most challenging year to date. So many things were thrown with us; my niece's diagnosis of stage 4 cancer, my grandfather's ill health to name just a few. On top of this I moved to the countryside and struggled to settle despite being happy to finally be together as a family. We had no choice but to keep moving forward no matter how slow we appeared to be going or how difficult. It was a relief to make it to the end and we were so pleased to say goodbye and welcome in 2016. Taking the positives from the year though; we made it through by the skin of our teeth, my niece is kicking cancer well and truly to the kerb and has been an inspiration to us all. Plus, I have some of the most amazing friends who got me through the year and who I will be eternally grateful for.

This year, I decided again not to make specific resolutions and instead that everything I do will be done with purpose. But more about that later in the week!

It's nice to be back :)
Amy xx