We have close ties with Wales.
But it’s a lot more than just family links that keep bringing us back to this wonderful part of the planet.
We have been fortunate to travel the length and breadth of Wales – and each time we have new experiences, find different attractions and explore ever more memorable destinations.
It’s far more than just the intriguing history, the warmth of the people and the intense pride in their heritage.
As we found on our most recent visit to the remarkable Gower area of southern Wales – with its standing stones and other monolithic structures – there is also deep and important local belief in folklore and Celtic mysticism.
One particular Welsh tradition has spread world-wide.
‘Love Spoons’ are carved from wood, contain special decorations and were traditionally used as a gift of intent.
In much the same way that today’s young men might bring gifts of flowers, chocolates or even jewellery to their beloved, ‘Love Spoons’ were traditionally used by a suitor to show a girl’s father that the would-be husband was capable of providing.
There are similar traditions in Scandinavia and some parts of Eastern Europe, but Welsh ‘Love Spoons’ stretch back as far as the 17th Century and were originally used to eat cawl soup, a Welsh stew made from vegetables and lamb.
The earliest known example is in a museum at Cardiff and is from 1667. Later, the spoons became a symbol of romance and had certain symbols with specific meanings: a heart for love; a lock for a promise of security; a horseshoe for good luck; a cross for faith; and bells for marriage.
Creating these spoons is now seen largely as a folk craft, but they adorn the walls of even the most modern Welsh home or apartment – and there are entire galleries devoted to showing and selling them
Ours draw us closer to family and also bring back memories of this glorious and often-mysterious lush green land across the seas.
If these traditional spoons catch your fancy, but you are not likely to head for Wales anytime soon, they can also be obtained online.
How to get there
Wales is only a few hours drive or train trip from most of the UK’s big cities. Many international airlines fly direct to and from Cardiff.