OPINION Gee Williams

NWR Issue 102

Oxford & Wales

I was – let’s just say over the age of consent. From a second floor window – casement, actually – I watched my boyfriend dash off as every bell in Oxford started tolling nine o’clock. Not making it to Hall in time meant our shared breakfast (provided for one) was going to be even less. Nothing. But at least I could get dressed now and brave the walk into Second Quad and use the only female lavatories in the whole of Jesus College. Like most of the University this was Only Men Allowed so night trips had to take advantage of natural cover, alert for patrolling college porters. If found out, the lucky undergraduate – I thought a lot of myself – whose bed I’d been sharing could be rusticated, banished from study for a set while. He would be in good company, though. It happened to Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Google ‘Welsh Colony’ and you’ll get millions of hits along the lines It’s 1865 and the first Welsh hopefuls enter the Chubut Valley in Argentina, a story of struggle and survival. Result? A few thousand modern Spanish speakers with slightly comedic names, Myfanwy Rivera and Juan Ignacio Jones. But who ever references a pocket of Welshness with a much stronger influence on the life of the mother country...?

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