Help with Howl: Rugby, Welshisms and saucepans

Ven vendersleighc at
Wed Mar 16 10:01:37 EST 2005

Gili enquired

<Are the Welsh known to be particularly musical, 
or just the opposite? (Howl
bemoans being born "an unmusical Welshman")>

It's one of those things that's kind of an ethnic
cliche --  Welsh people being practically obliged
to be musical. Anyone who is Welsh and doesn't
sing very well must get very fed up with people
being incredulous about this. More obligatory
famous singing Welsh people -- Tom Jones, Shirley
Bassey, Aled Jones. 

Can someone elaborate on the origin of the phrase

"welcome in the valleys"?
I gather this is somehow specific to Wales, but 
is there something to it
other than plain geography? Do the Welsh think of

themselves as being
particularly welcoming?

I know this as "There'll always be a welcome in 
the valleys." I second Charlies comments about
the Welsh in exile and I think Howl would feel
this particularly, what with being in another
world entirely. 

Is Howell a particularly Welsh name?

As others have said, yes, but it's ranked below
the most cliched/commonest Welsh names like
David/Daffyd/Dai/Taffy (is the last
Side note, the common surname Powell is derived
from Howell via Ap Howell, son of.

Would a Rugby club be a group of fans, or the 
actual players themselves?!
I've just realised this could be one of those 
phrases that means something
quite different in British and in American!

That's a difficult question to answer as it might
mean a number of things, depending on context. 

1. A team, amateur or professional
2. The fans that follow a team.
3. The clubhouse of a team, part of the ground
where they play and having various facilities but
especially a private bar.

Having said all that my impression of  Howl's
rugby club is that of an amateur team (possibly
university) that he used to play with regularly
in some kind of league but which now meets mainly
for socialising (drinking) and the odd friendly
game. "Friendly" in this context means not
counting toward any tournament or league. Anyone
in the club who still plays rugby seriously would
 be playing for another team. 

I'm going to pass on soem of these enquiries to
another list Gili as I'm not sure of the finer


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