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David Beckett, 40

Unexpected HeritageLeigh Davies
00:00 / 04:07

We ended up meeting a group of people who are largely Spanish because of an Italian chap that my partner, Iria, worked with. We went down to Tiny Rebel, and I went and spoke to this guy, he had the broadest of Welsh accents, and I thought oh he’s from the valleys, very obviously from here. And then he met Iria, who is spanish, and he just lunged into speaking Spanish, and I was like fucking hell, wasn’t expecting that in the slightest!

He was a really nice guy. Very spritely. Very well dressed. This chap just exuded sartorial elegance and confidence. He spoke with Iria, and explained that during the Spanish Civil War, his mother was moved away, and one of the major places - certainly in Wales and the South West of England - that sited the people who were effectively refugees, was Caerleon. He was born in Wales, but he was taught to speak Spanish by his mum. I think a lot of the people that were moved to Caerleon ended up speaking Welsh or English, so they weren’t in the habit of speaking Spanish, or at least what they all did was speak Spanish like their mothers or fathers did.

The way he was speaking Spanish to Iria, was like how people would speak Spanish a hundred years ago. I didn’t pick up on this, I was like, oh you speak authentic Spanish, fucking hell, fair enough, but Iria was telling me afterwards that he spoke very good Spanish. He was using all of these odd anachronistic expressions. It was just this weird concept that this guy with a broad Welsh accent was speaking Spanish in the way he did, but his mother was removed from Spain because of war. It was beautiful to be able to meet him. Just a guy from Caerleon - with this unexpected heritage from the Basque Country.

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