Summer gave way to winter this year in a gale force wind howling down from Iceland and across the Irish sea. Wave foam was picked up and carried like white, low flying balloons deep into the Welsh interior by the warlords of winter.

So Erica made me fingerless gloves to keep my hands warm and I descended to the man cave and worked on my latest painting.

The Llandudno prom and wading pool

The Llandudno prom and wading pool

As you see it’s a work in progress but already evokes warm memories of last summer.

We’ve now lived a year in Llandudno, “the queen of the Welsh resorts”. I’m surprized how quickly it has started to feel like home. I’m especially surprized at how quickly we’ve been welcomed here by a growing group of friends. Friends that share my love for music, rambling,

Snowdonia

Snowdonia

Welsh rugby, soccer, sailing, Spanish culture, even Nicaraguan culture.

One of my new friends took me to my first professional soccer game. football 005Manchester (not United, City) gave a real thrashing to a Moscow club. The song Blue Moon will never be the same to me after hearing the ManCity fans singing it at the top of their lungs. The Russian fans started louder but were finally silenced. Reminded me of the 1980 Winter Olympics and the famous USA vs USSR ice hockey finals.

I’ve watched some rugby with a new friend  and learned some of the subtleties, like what is a loose head prop and which of the two teams on the TV is Wales (it’s a long story and involves some drinking)

Our greatest friends here continue to be our family. Last week they put on the best American Thanksgiving I’ve ever had.  What a lovely time.

Johny Carson?, Welsh Pilgrim?, Brooklyn babe, YMCA?, my cowgirl

Johny Carson?, Welsh Pilgrim?, Brooklyn babe, YMCA?, my cowgirl

We’ve had great fun and made some new friends volunteering as computer literacy instructors and homework helpers.

One of the biggest surprizes has been ‘the rise’ of Walesifornia. It has now expanded into an influential (in the dreams of its creator) new territory complete with a State Radio station broadcasting its befuddled propaganda internationally, along with some pretty cool music. Thanks to my California host, Chris the show was simulcast here and at a cafe in Petaluma. Sort of an intercontinental Wayne’s World. Great fun.

Aqus Cafe, Petaluma CA

Aqus Cafe, Petaluma CA

I also instituted Walesifornia Desert Discs with a few friends. They gave me their 3-5 song set list before the show then called in or visited the station (tudnofm.com) to talk around the songs. Anybody interested in doing the same? Let me know.

Walesifornia is closing its borders temporarily as its senior dignitaries abscond. We’re packing our bags and following the canada geese (yes they have them here too) to Spain and then Africa. Look here for any updates on border status from the national press secretary. Until then, to quote Gillian Welch “If there’s something that you want to hear, you can sing it yourself”.

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