Thursday, 28 August 2008

What is a cwtch?

"Cwtch" is one of my favourite words. It is a word of my childhood which only has wonderful connotations. It is a welsh word which has a number of meanings all of which are warm and full of love. It is pronounced kutch, (rhymes with butch).

A cwtch is a small cosy place, a snug: in my nana's house, a miners cottage in the south wales valleys, the cwtch is a long kind of cupboard which fills the space under the stairs. It is her larder with shelves floor to ceiling, which was, in my young eyes, full of marvelous treasures ... mysterious tins and the best treasure of all - the button box. I would be allowed to bring the button box out and tip the contents on the carpeted floor in the lounge, the next hour or so would be spent sorting by size, by shade, by preference. The box was a myriad of treasures - pearl buttons, wooden buttons, pretty buttons from dolls clothes, large buttons from coats ... wonderful. The cwtch also contained a number of items which had belonged to my grampy, whom I never met. These items - an old camera, his binoculars and a money box with combination lock were particularly revered. I remember spending days and days trying to work out the combination for the box, I eventually managed it and was so pleased to have established a link with my long passed grampy.

"Cwtch" also has another meaning. It is another kind of small place, it is the act of creating a small space between you and another. It is like a hug ... but much much better! There are degrees of cwtching. To "cwtch-up" is to snuggle up with someone, particularly lovely on a cold welsh winters night. There is just a plain old "cwtch" much like a hug (but better), and then theres "a-big-cwtch", now "a-big-cwtch" is something special, it is a "cwtch" but with extra gusto, it's the kind of cwtch you give when you haven't seen a loved one in years, it's the kind of cwtch where you squeeze with all your might. What's wonderful about cwtches is they reach out, and they engage with feeling.

With this blog I hope to create my own kind of cwtch. A place of little space between me and you


redframe said...

makes me wanna cwtch, how cute!

Peonies and Polaroids said...

How lovely! I thought a cwtch was a Welch witch, but this is much better! And I'm quite sure your blog will be just that warm and comforting place.

My Gran has a button box too, I used to spend hours playing with the buttons. I must ask her if she still has it.

The Cwtch said...

Thank you both! redframe I think everyone should cwtch as much as they possibly can! Definitely at least once a day!

My Nana's button box is one of my favourite childhood memories Peonies, how fab that your Gran has one too!!!! When I was little we lived abroad and used to come home to stay with my Nana during the long summer holidays, I spent hours with those buttons imagining what kind of clothes they came from! It's a lovely grandmotherly thing to have, a button box - like always having mints in your handbag!

Anonymous said...

How interesting! My family supposedly comes from Wales(a long long time ago) but I know very little about it or it's words or ways. I'll be back to learn more and see what you have to say. :-)

Sindydoll said...

aw, that's gorgeous lovey.
...your button box reminiscing reminded me of my childhood treasures - similarly tipping the button-box onto carpet for the same treatment... (another favourite was a toy green mini with diamond (!) headlights & bootspace to fill with 'luggage' - I still have this (I'm 40) & I adore it! Can that be 'cwtch'?

S1ndydoll said...
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Janie said...

I am welsh and from Usk but now live in scotland with my scottish husband. We have just started building our new house which I have named The Cwtch.... :-) my most fav word too xxx

Anonymous said...

I am a gran, originally from Wales, and I have a button box! Sometimes I can supply friends with buttons they need as i keep whole sets - never throw a garment away without cutting the buttons off first ! Mags.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Welsh lady, age 48, and your post brought tears to my eyes as you have described things so beautifully.

A cwtch (the hug) is such a lovely thing and your description about your grandfather's belongings reminded me of the time I found my grandfather's and grandmother's treasured items too as a child and later, my father and mother's treasured belongings that they'd had for many decades.

Thank you so much for showing the world what a cwtch is (a hug) and I fondly remember the cupboard under the stairs in my grandparent's and also my parents house too as a child (the other type of cwtch as you so rightly described).

Now I have my own cwtch under my stairs and I also have met a gentleman in my adult years, the love of my life, and I have taught him what a cwtch is: that deep and loving embrace which shows them just how much they are loved, forever.

:-) Ahh a cwtch is so special.

Thank you for your post. x

Anonymous said...

I'm Welsh and a cwtch (the hug) is one of the most amazing things ever. I also remember under the stairs (the other kind of cwtch).

Your post brought tears to my eyes and heart, in a good way. :-) Ah the memories.