Worthless Slabs

Recently I discovered that the slate fences that are common in this part of Wales are known as crawiau in Welsh. I had thought they were something like ffensys llechi or ffensiau llechi, but according to one of the guys who is working on my garden at the moment, a native Welsh speaker, they’re called crawiau.

My garden / Fy ngardd

Such fences were made of pieces of slate from the local slate quarries that were no use for anything else, such as roof tiles. The Welsh word for this kind of slate is craw, which the Geiriadur Priysgol Cymru defines as “piece of slate which has been rejected, worthless slab”. So a slate fence made up of these worthless slabs, which are partially buried in the ground and wired together, is called a crawiau (the plural of craw).

The slate fence on one side of my garden have now been removed and is being replaced with a wooden one, which will stop my neighbour’s dog (Hector – see below) from getting in my garden all the time. My slate fences probably date back to when the houses on my street were built back in 1910 for local quarry workers.

Hector the dog

On the other side of the garden there’s a privet hedge, a slate fence and a wooden fence. I’m having the hedge removed to make more room in the garden, and then a garden studio will be built. I’ll use that for practising and recording music and songs, and maybe making podcasts and videos as well.

Here’s a tune I wrote a few months ago called “Hector Got Through the Fence Again” played on the cavaquinho. It’s one of the videos I’ve posted on Tiktok – yes, I am now on Tiktok as @ieithgi (same as Instagram). Incidentally, iethigi is a “term for one who is interested in the study of language (rather than of literature), philologist” or literally “languages-dog” [source]. Hector apparently responds best to commands in German, so he’s a bit of a ieithgi as well.

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