I cannot apologise more for what is about to come next. I’m so sorry.
It’s St Tysilio’s Day. You’ve heard of him, right? Sure you have. You definitely have.
Not ringing any bells?
How about now: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
Or for the non-Welsh speaking readers: Saint Mary’s Church in the Hollow of the White Hazel Near the Rapid Whirlpool and the Church of Saint Tysilio of the Red Cave.
You see, I told you. St Tyslio, him of the Red Cave. Don’t worry, I didn’t clock it either until I started reading up on him.
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in Anglesey, Wales, is the longest place name in Europe. Not quite the longest in the world (see the header) but very much up there. So I learnt how to say it. And when I say I learnt how to say it, I mean, I had a go. If you’ve ever listened to me attempt Klingon, you’ll know just how terrible my linguistic skills are.
I started by learning how to pronounce LL. I had always thought it was pronounced like the end of loch. But no, it’s like an esh sound.
Next I went on to the word itself. I did exactly what this very kind woman on YouTube told me to do, I played the video again and again half speed until I was almost there.
I also wrote it down phonetically as an aide memoire: Shann-vire-push-gwyn-gysh-go-gare-ish-queern-drobush-shann-ty-silio-go-go-goch.
Then made the mistake of watching this video:
And got the song stuck in my head. Which wasn’t helpful as it had different stresses to the first video and I got very confused. Undeterred, I wandered round the house for a bit, eshing. Then I sat down and came up with this:
In my defence, at least I didn’t slip into an Ivor the Engine impression.
Or sing it.
The Everyday Lore Project has been running since St Distaff’s Day on 7 January 2020 and will run until 12th Night on 6 January 2021. Since it began, I’ve been documenting a tiny slice of experiential folklore every day. These slices are mostly connected with the ritual year, but sometimes it’s reacting to the day I’m having, or just something I’ve been meaning to try. If you have any suggestions, let me know. And in the meantime, please subscribe and share!
Header: My all time favourite postcard from New Zealand’s answer to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc