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Under the skin of Real Wrexham

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Nick - Web Team Nick - Web Team | 10:13 UK time, Wednesday, 5 December 2007

If you thought you knew Wrexham, this book will make you think again.

A proud boast on the back of a new book and one which didn't fail to deliver as I read from cover to cover the fascinating Real Wrexham whilst stuck on a go-slow train running late to Cardiff yesterday.

Real Wrexham book cover

Poet, author and colleague Grahame Davies really gets under the skin of this place we call home combining his knowledge as a local boy, his skill as a journalist to separate fact from fiction, and taking a tour of the district with people who know the area best - the locals. Here are a couple of things that took my interest:

Hightown: Did you know there are people who have an interest bordering on an obsession with tower blocks and, as Hightown flats are closest thing we've got, there's a following for them on

Caia Park: "The former Amercian president, Richard Nixon, could trace his descent from John Puleston, a 15th century member of a family who lived at Hafod y Wern just behind where the Red Dragon pub now stands."

Brymbo: Thomas Price, the son of a stonemason, was born in Brymbo in 1852 and in 1905 rose to become president of Australia.

Almere Ferry, Rossett: Grahame shares the stories of locals who, due to flooding, keep "boats in their gardens like other people might keep lawnmowers".

Caergwrle: To my mind, he comes closest yet to proving a link between author CS Lewis and the village.

Llangollen's blue lagoon: The old quarry pool at Moel y Faen on the Horsehoe Pass is apparently used by members of the Welsh Wild Swimming Association - to go skinny dipping.

Dialect: On the Welsh-Scouse lilt, Grahame observes: "It's a frequent surprise to find that someone who sounds as if they'd be quite at home on Brookside is actually quite comfortable in the language of Pobl y Cwm."

I'll post more later.

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