Wear a leek in your hat

Today’s blog (ok, today’s second blog) is brought to you by a leek, a daffodil, a girl in a Welsh costume and a lot of security guards and two policemen.

Today, 01 March, performance artist Kathryn Ashill, as sweet a human being as you could hope to meet and one who loves Wales, decided to mark St David’s Day with a performance on the steps of the Senedd,  home of the Welsh Assembly Government, in Cardiff Bay.

She began by scrubbing at the slate steps, as a small crowd gathered and began to swell. The crowd were good humoured in the last of the sunshine, taking pictures and smiling as Kath carried on scrubbing at the slate.

In the background two security guards watched, a little bemused. Finally it proved too much for them and they asked her to move down to the steps just outside of the projecting wooden roof. So she did.

After she’d scrubbed for a while, she got out a piece of chalk and began to write:

“Gwisg Cenhinen yn eich cap a gwisg hi yn eich calon

By now the security guards were getting jittery. They moved closer to see what she was doing. She carried on writing until they told her to stop.  She said that she wasn’t writing anything offensive. They told her to stop. She protested. they told her that if she didn’t stop they would call the police. She pointed out that it was a public place, the home of Welsh Government and it was St David’s Day.  And what she was chalking was not offensive. They called the police.

Eventually a solitary policeman arrived. Kathryn was giving out pictures of herself and her family celebrating St David’s Day. “This is me, this is my brother, this is my sister”, she said, in Welsh, pointing at each family member before giving the picture to its recipient. Then she thanked us for coming “Diolch am ddod”,  kissed us and moved on. The security guards wouldn’t accept a picture, nor would the uniformed policeman and his plain clothes colleague.

They told her she had to wash away the chalk. She said, with a smile, that she wouldn’t, that it would probably rain soon. The security guards got most aerated. In the end the policeman negotiated for the Senedd janitor to wash it away in the morning. Kathryn said that perhaps the Welsh-speaking AMs would like the message she had left for them.

So what did she write? What provoked such outrage and ruffled the feathers of the daffodil wearing security guards.

She wrote:

“Wear a leek in your hat and wear it in your heart.”

Gwyl Dewi Sant hapus i’ch chi gyd! Happy Saint David’s Day!

With thanks to Rebecca for the welsh cake: http://www.rebeccarees.wordpress.com


2 thoughts on “Wear a leek in your hat

  1. Cwhrae teg, fair play – the first security man Kath offered a photograph to did take it. What we witnessed last night was a wonderful performance of generousity met initially with ad hoc protocol invention and finally a return of common sense and generousity repaid, through the police officer offering to wash the chalk off this morning. I hope by ‘this morning’ he meant ‘now, in a minute’, later this morning, and that A.M.’s were met by Kath’s chalking as they turned up for their days work.

  2. Pingback: Capture Cardiff: News on your street » Blog Archive » St David’s Day performance artist moved on by Senedd security

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