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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, October 15, 2005
    Treorchy and Trevelin - the Welsh link

    Struck me on looking at the photographs of Diego Vidart in the current issue of Planet, that it's twenty years since I made my move to Cardiff and started studying (among other subjects) Welsh History.

    Vidart's project recalls a favourite essay subject of mine - the Welsh colonial experiment, pioneered by Revd Michael D. Jones, principal of the Independents' College at Bala: migration to Patagonia. It's a fascinating story because, against the odds, the Welsh made it work; and there's still a piece of Argentina with a flavour of the Hen Wlad (the old country), 22,000 plus Welsh or hybrid Welsh in Patagonia today.

    Dusting my essay off the shelf this evening I note I got an A-- for it ("Extremely well-researched and done with competence and lucidity. A little more in the way of 'critique' wouldn't be amiss ..."). But rather than re-read that earnest undergraduate typewritten text tonight, I'm more interested in investigating Vidart's website, www.welshlink.org.uk, which carries a series of photographs which embraces Treorchy (South Wales) and Trevelin (Patagonia), and make visual links between the two communities. The connections are in the statistics; and in the languages, and in the blood. But also in the physical landscape and the lines on people's faces.