My Music

http://www.last.fm/user/BynTyElise/library

Monday, 24 December 2012

Nadolig Llawen etc., etc.

My phoenix raising the pub out of the ashes, hope I'll be seeing you there from March onwards, you're all welcome. You may have noticed that I'm getting out all of my photos, it's because time is up, it's pub or photos. I've been out of work for 3 years minus 1 month but paradoxically I've had a good 3 years photo wise if not money wise, however it's all over and in 2 months I'll be back doing what God made me for - running a pub; besides the drink & chat you'll get a chance to buy your favourite photos signed & framed. In the meantime: Nadolig Llawen; Nedelig Laouen; Joyeux Noel; Merry Christmas; Nadelik Lowen; Nollaig Shona; Nollaig Chridheil; Nollick Ghennal; Frohe Weihnachten; Feliz Natal; Zorionak Eta; Bo Nadal; Bon Nadal; Polit Nadal; Buon Natale; Bones Navidaes, and just in case...: http://www.omniglot.com/language/phrases/christmas.htm

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Dark Evening was Dark Morning

Got up at half-past 6, had an early breakfast, went back to bed, had a very endearing dream featuring an Irish (girl)friend of mine, partly making up for what didn't happen in real life; woke up, it was dark, I looked at the time, half-past 8, and cursed myself for having missed a whole morning & afternoon; a few minutes later there was an uncanny but discernible brightening outside, it was still morning.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Two Funerals & A Christmas Party

Not two weddings and a funeral but two funerals and a childrens' Christmas party (school production), fortunately the three not more than 500 yards from my house. The time came eventually to put my laptop on the table, get up from the settee, shake off the cobwebs, take off the dirty clothes, wash the smelly body, put on clean clothes, including black trousers & shirt, dark blue tie, black & grey pull-over, black polished shoes, black jacket and black coat. My father always kept a black tie handy in the event of a bereavement, this is the way we show respect, but I notice that almost any clothes go these days, here anyway. The first funeral was for Bernard (Nanard) Maltret's mother, Nanard is my oldest friend in the village and the only one to have visited the family home in Merthyr.in the church we sat & stood, up & down through the proceedings; eulogies were made, prayers were said, hymns were sung, the plates came around for our donations, we got up with the service over to walk down the aisle to the front and bless the coffin with a green twig wet with holy water, this to the accompaniment of background recorded music, in this case, who would have thought it? in this little village right in the middle of Brittany, lo & behold Meic Stevens was singing 'Ysbryd Solva', you could have knocked me down with a feather. On thinking about it though, improbable as it first seemed, Nanard is known to Meic and has been to one of his birthday parties in Cymru/Wales, still. We then gathered outside before following the coffin, which was pulled on a wheeled bier, down past the still locked up 'Ty Elise' to the cemetery for more blessings, eulogies and burial. I walked back up the hill and across to the hall to fleetingly see my grandchildren happy at their party enjoying the food and their presents from Pere (Jacqot) Noel before crossing to my house to get the flowers for the second funeral, that of Jean-Pierre Mell's father. Jean-Pierre is a friend and was a regular customer, calling in every day for a drink to assuage his thirst on his way home from work. Back at the church the proceedings were identical to the first with allowances for the circumstances and this time no Meic Stevens for the blessings before once more following the coffin to the cemetery, except this time I carried a pot of flowers in the procession which I forgot to do the first time. P.S. Some of you may not be aware of the pub's renown; the man I sat next to for the second funeral told me that he went to Toulon for his holidays, he entered a shop where he was asked where he was from, on replying 'Plouye, Brittany' he was told that 'Ty Elise' my pub was known to them and that they had frequented the place (I have many of these stories).

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Please, and hopefully thank you in advance

Only 2 months & 3 weeks before I start earning again after being out of work for nearly 3 years. Not having insurance or dole I've reached this far with the help of friends; my basic state benefit means that my outgoings are greater than my income which is the reason for my December budget deficit. Not having any money at this moment approaching the festive season I had an idea for a one off offer on cheques received now to be redeemed at the bar afer the March opening with a 40% benefit e.g. a 100euros cheque = consommation redeemed to the value of 140euros; 200euros = 280euros etc., etc. I repeat that this is a one off offer for cheques sent in advance. On the other hand if a friend or friends who is/are unable to come to the bar could advance me some money before Christmas I will make it a priority to reimburse the loan a.s.a.p. after the pub opening which I feel could be quite successful. I understand that it is Christmas and money is short, but here's hoping; thanks in advance to those whom it is applicable, and Nadolig Llawen/Nedelig Laouen/Joyeux Noel/Merry Christmas to all.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Feel-good Factor

Hungerford 0 - 4 Merthyr. At least the soccer (at club level) is going well. Swansea are now realistically looking to play in Europe next year; Cardiff have a new record of ten straight home wins whilst sitting at the top of the Championship; Newport are top of the conference with Wrexham close behind, and here we have Merthyr 'slaying' top of the table Hungerford Town away from home. I am well aware that it's only December with a long way to go yet, but this is very much a feel-good morale boosting factor contributing positively to an otherwise demoralised nation with its rugby in the doldrums, and its education & economy worsening.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

AGAIN

If it's glory you want don't move to Wales; we don't need you anyway. Wales is not about glory, it's about being thankful that we weren't born elsewhere. Silverware; medals & cups, whether sport or culture are a bonus and give us a sense of pride when won, it's obviously preferable identifying with victory than defeat when we deign to enter into competition, but sitting here watching the international with a sense of 'deja vu', a feeling of having been there before, with two minutes to go my blood froze in the manner we lost AGAIN, then on hearing that Swansea beat Arsenal at the Emirates my blood thawed thereby lifting me out of my temporary depression. I thought of what my gran used to say in these situations "such is life", although I can't help feeling that for some unaccountable reason it doesn't help my mental stability when England beat the All-Blacks. As a nation we obviously weren't destined to win everything, and I don't mean for us to be the eternal valiant triers, we consistently have more world champions than our population should logically support, just not in our most followed sports.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Planning Ahead

Re-ouverture -92 (que trois mois encore); besoin d'argent maintenant, pour chaque cheque de la somme de 100euros recu, vous allez recevoir 140euros de consommations (bieres, whisk(e)ys etc./Re-opening -92 (only 3 months to go);I need some capital to plan ahead; for every 100euros cheque I receive you will have drinks to the value of 140euros in return. Please send to Byn Walters, Tavarn Ty Elise ou/or 5, rue des Primeveres, 29690 Plouye, Breizh/Llydaw/Brittany/Bretagne, ou/or Paypal; ou/or Western Union.

Cymru/Wales v Australia

With Abertawe/Swansea finding success in the top half of the 'Premier League', Caerdydd/Cardiff top of their division, and Casnewyd/Newport & Wrecsam/Wrexham likewise in the 'Conference', not forgetting Gareth Bale superstar, it is more important than ever that Cymru/Wales beat Australia this week-end or we could see rugby trimming back to its core support with a possibility that our present under 11s growing up with soccer success might in the future be filling (from a rugby point of view) the wrong coffers in the wrong stadia, not to mention playing the wrong game. Although with all the money that there is in soccer with all the competition it engenders and the lack of it in Wales, the rugby authorities had better hope that 2012/13 is a one off ski lift to the slope with the quick descent it entails. It looks as though their are going for the type of risky play that got them the points against New Zealand after the game was sewn up in order to upset the Australian psyche & game plan, dangerous tactics, especially the way that kicking for touch went disastrously wrong when we could have gone for the points and had a different game. Back to this week-end, valiant effort, pushing for the line with seconds to go but eventually losing by one point, or more realistically 27 - 33

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Church Concert

Because of my 'situation' I sometimes find myself temporarily without petrol money, so it was good this evening to have a concert only 500 yards down the road in the local church, and good it was; a group calling themselves 'Katell Kolled' sang traditional Breton songs in a sort of semi acapella, the only music, apart from they voices, being minimal drum & percussion support, including pottery vases, from nephew Glenn. The voices resonated to the centuries old church acoustics raising excellence almost magically to an even higher standard, whether taking it in turns to sing solo, engaging in musical conversation replying in turn 2 to one, or reciting a 'gwerz' or traditional tale. (The Welsh 'gwers' is a lesson or verse). It was all done to a background of 8 boards & easels exhibiting bright blues, reds, yellows, greens, blues & blacks in abstract form. An exceptional event adding to my life's quality experiences

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Dreams & Nightmares

Excuses for Argentina, but after tonight it doesn't hold; arguably our best team for 40 years, with best strength in depth ever, were out fought and outplayed. Perhaps we were shown where our real level lies, whereas against New Zealand we will raise our game again. And don't tell me that Samoa raised their game because they were playing against Wales. It's good to follow international rugby in Wales because at the top we only have about 10 teams, mainly small countries, to beat, the best having an equivalent population; it allows us to dream, and anyone who knows Welsh history will know that our dreams give us the strength to carry on. One day .......

Leeches

There was once an inland port of Cyfarthfa with its main docks adjacent to Joseph Parry's house in Georgetown, Merthyr Tydfil. This port was at the top of the Taff valley taking the produce of the Cyfarthfa ironworks from the fork of the Tâf Fawr & the Tâf Fechan on the Tâf Fechan side together with the produce of the Penydarren works on the Nant Morlais and the Guest Works at Dowlais on the Nant Dowlais which connected with the Nant Morlais at Abermorlais on the Taff, around which the population & commercial centre grew to become the largest town in Wales during the industrial revolution of the 18th & 19th centuries, where unrest led to the unfurling of the first red flag in the world in 1831, the first steam locomotive to run on rails in the world in 1804. Nelsons cannons were made there as were the chains for the Menai Suspension Bridge and the railways for the empire. The workers were employed by iron 'kings', people such as the Crawshays who became the richest people in the United Kingdom before moving to their newly bought Caversham Park in England and taking their wealth with them, and the Berry family of whom Baron Buckland became a director of 60 companies within 3 years of his mentor D. A. Thomas (Viscount Rhondda) becoming a member of the Cabinet. Viscount Kemsley & Viscount Camrose, his brothers, became owners of 'The Times', The Telegraph' etc. Merthyr was overseen by bloodsuckers at the top whose physical heritage has been all but demolished by the Labour Party in the destruction of a unique story. The Nant Morlais has been covered up 2 centuries too late, and the magnificent Great White Tip, written in capitals, has gone for road fill; but Cardiff is the greatest bloodsucker, formed from produce brought down from the valleys exported elsewhere and ore uneconomically imported from the Basque country. Without the road, canal & rails that joined Cardiff to Merthyr there wouldn't be a comparative population there today, there probably wouldn't be a port, there wouldn't have been the first million pound cheque. The Marquess of Bute may have bequeathed Cathays Park but it certainly would not have become the so called (London granted, not historical) capital city of Cymru (Wales). If Merthyr had never existed to transfuse the little historical village of Cardiff, Swansea would still be there. Abertawe (Swansea)not like Cardiff has had to do everything itself and for that it can be proud. It's now a 'fait accompli'with 'national institutions', (soit disant' even before it became a city yet alone capital), but I cannot think of a more undeserving capital. With 10% of the votes it should be leading the way in Welsh affairs not a huge 'foreign' blockhouse barring the path, a place turning the world on its head where the inhabitants refer to their North Walian compatriots as immigrants!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Matchday pubs

Would like to be drinking with my mates now in the pubs outside the ground, standing at the bar discussing the match, the country's problems and generally setting the world to rights. Never mind, I suppose I'll have to do with facebook/blogs here on my settee/couch/sofa, but the atmosphere's not the same.

Friday, 19 October 2012

French Journalist Lost in Wales

I wrote this 3 years ago but somehow it got misplaced: A customer brought a French publication into the bar for me to read entitled 'Midi Olympique Magazine'.dated Oct 5, 2009. Apparently Hirwaun is in the heart of the Rhondda Valley at the extreme south-west of the Principality where all the mines were called The Big Pit, the mine owners were English and every mine had its rugby club. 120 miners died in an explosion at Hirwaun in 1966 and 114 died in a flood at Cymmer in 1975. Newport, Llanelli, Swansea & Cardiff are the economic lungs of the west coast. They headed towards the Brecon Forest and along the way they stopped at a pub at the side of the road in Trehafod called the 'Royal Oak' which translated means 'l'Aigle Royale'; it is part of an industry that will never know a crisis in Wales, that of hops. Inside the pub they were told a story of a university educated coach who warned the local rugby team of an imminent match against the French who were renowned for their rough play, the miners in the team laughed, they knew all about violence, for hadn't they only recently lost 120 fellow workers in the bowels of the Welsh earth! I think that this reporter was in a post-match drunken haze then lost his notebook & memory, nor did he expect a Welshman to read his article.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Happenings


Sept. 1979 > Jan. 2010: Running bar in Breton countryside.
Jan 2010: Pub burnt down, stupidly not insured for loss of earnings, under-insured for contents, used spare time to photograph Brittany
Aug 2010: Money ran out, advised to contact social worker, continued to photograph Brittany even managing to sell some photos at market but lost others plus two tents to wind & rain.
Jan 2011: Ferry paid for by Rhys so I could go to funeral in Wales.
2011: Strict regime, eating once, sometimes twice a day, no socializing at all, not even the Lorient festival, occasionally food bought with the help of friends.
2012: Light at the end of the tunnel, pub being rebuilt, spent two days at the interceltic festival, Lorient.
Sept 2012: The person usually asking for help (me) was asked to play the Good Samaritan in Portugal as unpaid adviser for the re-opening of traditional bar, with board & lodge, had to borrow money to travel 2000km, petrol re-imbursed, lorded it for a month, expenses incurred, wouldn't have missed it for the world.
Oct. 2012: Back to Brittany, reality & rain from Portugal, Sagres (+ Guinness) & sun, finding it difficult to re-adapt.
13 Oct. 2012: Enveloped myself in the best of Breton culture, forgot my problems for an evening at an excellent fest-noz in Prad in aid of Diwan Lannuon, Diwan being the Breton language schools organization.
14 Oct:  Terry the phantom barber from Ebbw Vale visits me.
 On the bright side, I come out of this long dark tunnel for the official Spring re-opening  March 1, 2013; D/J-167

Monday, 8 October 2012

A Month in the Sun


I received a call from Gareth in Cardiff to go to Portugal as an unpaid consultant but with board & lodge and petrol re-imbursed in order to help his girlfriend Dale who was starting up a bar at Tavira in the Algarve. I waited until an advance came through from Rudi then on Sunday 2 Sept. I answered the call, stopping at Gourin for the pipers' championship, then on to the Nantes periphery where I pulled up to sleep in the back of my estate which is conveniently long enough to place a sleeping bag. About 3 o'clock in the morning I was awoken by torchlight of one of  3 policemen asking me to get out and what was I doing there, after I told them I was on my way to Portugal they told me that I shouldn't be sleeping there and had I been drinking, to which I answered in the affirmative and waited for the breathalyser, the first policeman took my keys and drove off in my car, the second told me to get in the back of the police car which followed till we turned off into a service area where I got out and was advised that this was a better place to sleep, leaving with a wisecrack about the chances of my old Opel Astra making it all the way. If they had tested my breath there may not have been any trip nor driving licence especially as I only have one point left.
    I woke up driving on past Niort, Bordeaux, Saint Sebastian, Burgos, Valladolid, Salamanca, Merida, Seville, Huelva, Tavira; 48 hours later on the Tuesday evening I arrived after 2000 km (1200 m) and a few stops at service stations.
    Gareth had told me that my consultancy would be between 9.30pm & 2am (3am Sat/Sun) with nothing to do during the day and a beach on the doorstep, he forgot to mention the lock-ins and a boat to the beach. I quickly set in to a routine, mostly with Gareth, every day we'd go to the same café on the square for a large  coffee with milk, followed by a Sagres or Super Bock; a walk around the village taking photos, or a trip to the beach, would be followed by a visit to the 'Black Anchor' Irish bar. Sometimes we would say hello to the Dutch & English bars, but it was mainly to the Black Anchor that I went for my liquid refreshment before going to offer my advice evey night except Mondays for a month, and who would have thought that it would take a visit to Portugal to experience the all-Ireland Hurling & Gaelic Football finals. One day we didn't go to sleep till 6am, although that was an exception there was a lock-in almost every night.
  My daily routine, the local architecture, and the village boundaries brought to mind Patrick McGoohan's 'The Prisoner' at Porthmeirion. I enjoyed visiting the locals in their little corner bars, I made new friends, particularly Des & his wife, Kev, Dave, Jao, Paolo, Renato, Karen & Dave; the beach was magnificent, I visited another beach down the road at Cabanas, which made me think of my friend & Merthyr rugby coach Terry Cavanagh, which also had ferry access, we ate at little Portuguese restaurants, drank Portuguese wines & beers, + the digestives were voluminous & cheap. I was impressed by my temporary change in life-style, I've never really eaten in restaurants except for our Indian & Chinese back in Merthyr, so I was also happy to have lamb curry in the two Indian restaurants on the square.
     After I'd helped Dale change her address I took a day off before leaving the village after exactly a month; my last night saw me staying behind at the Irish bar at the bequest of the Irish landlord & landlady, after a discussion in good company I left to spend my last night in the back of my car, Dale having moved. The following day I went back to the café for my daily coffee and to say goodbye before driving away from Tavira forever.
     I couldn't drive back to Plouye without looking for a place that Gareth had previously told me about further east going by the name of Taffy's Bar, the problem was that I couldn't remember the address, so I drove down to Amaçao de Pera in the hope of finding it there. I wandered around the beach for a while, no ferry needed, before going to a pharmacy for a new pair of spectacles, where on my mentioning 'Taffy's Bar' he looked it up on the computer which gave its address as Praia da Rocha a further 20km to the west. Off I went straight away to get to the beach area of a highly commercial built up town, bars, hotels, restaurants everywhere, I parked my car and followed the promenade overlooking yet another beautiful never-ending beach with steps leading down everywhere; I'd convinced myself that this was the place but I was walking on and on passing in front of every kind of bar & restaurant from Japanese to Irish, hope draining until finally at the end of a long walk, there it was 'Taffy's Bar & Grill'. I took a few photos before entering, ordered a pint of Guinness, the landlord is from Treorchy, there were screens with that night's matches as in the Irish bar in Tavira, it was quiz night, I helped a Welsh couple and I had a long chat with a miner from Aberdare working in Aberpergwm, about Eddie Thomas, Howard Winstone, Malcolm Price, and Decker from Swansea Road; happy to have been there I went to my car, slept, and the following day it took me 31 hours to drive back the 1,991km. the same road as I came on, keeping a vigilant eye on the engine temperature, but although I had to pass over the Pyrenees the magnificence of which I missed twice by driving at night, I needn't have worried because it's more tunnels than actually climbing. It had been brilliant sunshine, and was to Bordeaux, the first clouds showed themselves near Vannes, then the dark clouds approaching Lorient, an hour later I was glad to get into my bed, only to be awoken by Elise wanting to know when I'd arrived, after she'd left I got out of bed and observed wet traces on the floor leading outside, so I opened the door to see the rain, I was well & truly back.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Portugal

The Tavarn Ty Elise pub sticker can now be seen behind the bar of the Black Anchor Irish bar in Tavira; it's black & white therefore it blends in well with the the Guinness décor, especially as it's Arthur's day today, we drank pints together at 17h59 (1759) the date of the opening of the brewery in Dublin. 

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Tavira

The pub doesn't open till 10pm, so there is plenty of time to spend around Tavira, it's full of snack bar cafes & restaurant(e)s with nobody inside, but everyone eating and drinking under the constant sun in the sweltering temperatures (I'm not complaining). We have developed a routine of coffees, beers & snacks on the little white village square and I'm beginning to get a Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner' syndrome, I even walked 3km down the road earlier on to see if there was anything outside the centre and there was a dead end; although a boat did come to ferry people to an island beach, Patrick (I am not a number) McGoohan was stuck. I'm acclimatizing but without a word of Portuguese; as it's Latin based the big words can be adapted but don't help much in conversation, Dale has lent me a phrasebook, it doesn't help when I go out without my glasses. Before I go on the street I habitually count four things: wallet; mobile phone; camera & diary/note book, to which must be added: glasses; keys; cap & phrasebook. As everywhere else in the world there is an Irish bar; the other day I walked in and they had a television screen showing the England World Cup Game, then on another screen was the Portugal game, at the far end of the bar was a third screen showing, lo and behold, the Cymru/Wales v Belgium game, I was pleasantly taken aback. Life can be strange, I had to come to Portugal to see the All Ireland hurling final, the Galway supporters were watching the game at one end of the bar, and the Kilkenny fans were watching a different television at the other end. I'll be going back for the World Cup qualifiers tonight but it's not certain whether Scotland or Wales will have the third screen, as the other day there were three matches for three screens with Scotland playing the following day, we shall see. Today I met a couple from Abertawe (Swansea) & Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen) who are here birdwatching, I told them about the bar but our opening time is after their bedtime.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

The Algarve


Come and join Dale, G. ap Siôn & me in Portugal./
I'd better mention that it doesn't open till about 10 at night.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Gourin > Tavira

 I went to the music festival in Gourin on Sunday, the competition for the best pipers in Brittany, but didn't stop for the fest-noz (Breton dance) because it would have taken me over the limit for the drive to Portugal, unfortunately I might have already been a bit over, anyway, I drove off, got to the other side of Naoned (Nantes) when I decided I was too tired to carry on so I pulled over on the side of the periphery, climbed in the back and fell asleep, to be woken by a torch in my face and 3 policemen staring at me who asked me to get out and what was I doing there; they also asked me if I'd been drinking to which I replied in the affirmative, one of them took my keys and drove off in my car, another told me to get in the back of the police car; I waited for the obligatory breathalizer, we carried on down the road, the first driver pulled in, our car stopped behind, at a petrol station, they told me to sleep there for a few hours before attempting to set off again!!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Portugal

Right, I am ready to answer Dale's call to be her Samaritan at her bar in Portugal, she has broken a bone in her back so can't do any of the physical work necessary such as changing the barrels, and I am the only experienced  barman she knows well enough to ask and is available. I can't do it off my own bat, so my expenses including petrol will be reimbursed and I will have food & lodge. I have made the preparations, but one thing is holding me back, I will be passing through Gourin, and tomorrow will be an exceptional day, even for Brittany, of music & dance. It's an annual event, but it will be the first time in 33 years that I will be free to go because of weekend work obligations, Sunday has always been my best day; but it will mean postponing my venture for a day, and she's already been calling me for a week; on the other hand I did say that I couldn't go before tuesday, which gives me leeway because even if I turn up a day late I'll still be a day early.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Drinks Over the Bar



   These friends have drinks over the bar (in), if you know what I mean, the ones who gave me crutches when I couldn't walk, who kept me from drowning when I got in too deep, and who gave me food when the cupboards were bare: I won't give your surnames, you know who you are, but stay with me, hang on in there, there's still 6 months to go for March 1st, St. David's Day, when the weather will be turning (which way is anyone's guess), the pub will be re-opening, life will be back to normal and Bob Dylan's 'Dignity' will once more be returning to its rightful place in the repertoire. I will be forever grateful to:
Rudi; Mary; Lindsay; Jim; Gareth; Liliane; Katell; Lleuwen; Philippe; Colin; Jamie; Iolo; Julian; Michel; Denis; Maldwyn; Virginie; Lyndon; Michelle; Jacques; Sonya; Greg;  Giil; Isabelle; Gael; Patrice; Bev; Mark; Pol; Evelyne; Kevin; Bernez; Yann; Pedro; John; Chris; Rhys; Alan; Hefin; Roxanne; Nico; Yann, and Alison, not her fault I didn't go along. I sincerely hope that I haven't missed anyone; apologies if I have..

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

My Day

Yesterday I decided to visit Katell (Catherine Morvan)'s exhibition in a café beside the Aon (Aulne) at Meilh ar Wern (Port Launay), but first I called in to the Uhelgoad (Huelgoat) post office to pick up a sum of money (thanks again Rudi) that will enable me to answer Dale's call of distress from Portugal; she is by herself, has a broken bone in her back that hasn't had time to heal, and her son is back in Cymru. She won't be able to do any physical work such as changing barrels, has newly opened the place, and is lacking in resources to hire bar staff, so it's urgent that I get there: as I'm writing, her boyfriend called from Caerdydd (Cardiff) to say he's flying out thursday, but his expertise & experience concerns the wrong side of the bar and can I get there a.s.a.p., they are relying on me and my experience on the right side of the bar, at last it will be my turn to help someone in need. I went directly from the post office to Kastellin (Chateaulin) to query the rent the housing association has asked for twice this week, wrongly as it happens, then back up and down the hill to say hello to my distant cousin in law, to witness her photographic oeuvres, have a chat, pick up tips, drink a coffee, before driving off to the sea. I took the riverside road to the new Terenez suspension bridge, continuing to the northern end of Douarnenez Bay for my first sea swim in 32 years at a place called Trez Aber (Plage de l'Aber); tried to dry myself under the sun but it kept hiding behind the clouds, I eventually drove off to Pentrez (C/W: Pentraeth) where I had a twenty minute wait for a simple uncooked chips with sausages take-away, that they weren't at all greasy was a saving factor, then I drove back to my house, it was 8pm.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

The Short Run

I've been watching the athletics; this was not the Olympics, no national flags, no anthems, no GB shirts; in short no Team GB or more correctly the UK team; Cymru/Wales has its own WAAA, so why wasn't 'Wales' written next to the names of the Welsh athletes now that the Olympics is over, as is practised in rugby, darts, golf, World Cup football, which is now upon us, and just about any and/or all other World Championship/Cup events. Outside the Olympic games the UK is governed by sporting bodies, our respective autonomous federations & associations and not directly by any other UK authority; I expect to see: Wales; England; Scotland, & Northern Island next to the athletes names where there is an autonomous ruling body, and not GB as was the case today, at least in the short run.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Baragouin

I was having my occasional read away from the television & computer discovering 'The Best of O'Henry, one hundred stories chosen by Sapper', early 20th century American short stories of life in the raw on the range, the road or in New York tenements, when out of nowhere I came across a story entitled 'Roads of Destiny', suddenly on page 796 there it was, the two Breton/Welsh words famously transformed into one word in French; unsurprisingly, given the word(s), the story had a French connexion, recounting an assassination attempt on a French king. The word(s) in Breton/Welsh are 'bara' & 'gwin'; they are brought together in French as 'baragouin' meaning unintelligible speech, stemming from the inability of the French to understand the Bretons asking for bread & wine when they were hungry & thirsty. Gregach (speaking Greek) = Baragouin in Breton.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Damsel in Distress


Just had a phone call from the Algarve, Portugal. A Welsh friend running a pub needs help, her son has returned to Wales 3 weeks earlier than planned, damsel in distress, on her own, how soon can I get there?
She is almost as badly off as I am, except that she has a pub. If I go now I'm afraid that my car will run dry before I reach the Pyrenees; I won't fly although it will be cheaper (she can just about pay for the flight), and anyway I will need my car when I get there especially as she can't drive. A change of scenery (a bar!) will do me good before I'm tied definitively to my own place, but it comes down to my prime & constant problem. She's going to ring me back in a few days to see if I will have sorted things out by then.

What a week that was

What a week; it began on the monday with a personal friend going to prison defending his beliefs & principles; tuesday I went to a very successful fest-noz (Breton traditional evening dance) only to come home to a house lacking my laptop computer with nothing else touched yet alone stolen, not my papers, c.d.s, wine, cheque-book, nothing?! Wednesday I was informed of the death of a friend, which came as a shock when only the previous day I'd been told that he'd hurt his hand! Friday after being inspired by a friend's f/b photo I went for a jaunt up the road to our Breton Mont Saint Michel (Menez Mikael) with its chapel on top, and spent the afternoon & evening taking landscape photos. Saturday Elise mentioned a fest-noz that evening on her front door, so off I went to witness another successful evening of traditional music & dance. Sunday afternoon sitting quietly there was a knock on the door; a friend entered, just driven up from Le Faouet where he'd met someone who didn't believe that the pub was being rebuilt and who had a stand at a 'brocante' under the canopy of the 16th century unenclosed market hall; he stuck 20 euros in my hand and down we went, paying to go in, then went to a friend's pub next door for half a beer, it was hot; my driver spoke to me of the Menez Hom, the highest point of the Menez Du, with my landscape photos still fresh in my mind he unselfishly took me there, crossing over the Aulne on the new Terennez curving suspension bridge where he was on home ground. The vista was huge, overlooking Douarnenez Bay, the 'Rade' of Brest, even up to the Menez Are. My mouth by now being dry, we descended to a bar in Saint Nic for a half before returning to Plouye and my laptopless house. Tonight, monday the thief not having stolen my bottle of Beaujolais, brought to me by friends from Ystrad Mynach two weeks ago, that was on the coffee table next to the portable computer, I couldn't take my eyes off it thinking about the matter, I was building up a taste for red wine, unfortunately I couldn't find a corkscrew so I had another cup of tea.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Pub Re-Opening March 1 & 2, 2013

I had intended making a special effort for the Pontardawe festival; I was looking forward to a weekend back home with a few extra days sight-seeing, but the price of the ferry has put it way out of reach after 2 and a half years out of work and no dole. On the positive side "Grand Official re-Opening of Tavarn Ty Elise", to co-incide with the Dydd Gwyl Dewi Sant, Patron Saint of Cymru (Wales) Dydd Gwener/Deiz Gwener/Friday/Vendredi & Dydd Sadwrn/Deiz Sadorn/Saturday/Samedi, Mawrth/Meurzh/March/Mars 1 & 2, 2013.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

"Sorry Byn it's Private"


"Sorry Byn it's Private"; the low point of the week-end still ringing in my ears. I was sitting here last friday evening when I decided to go to Lorient to try to meet up with friends old & new, mainly Bretons & Welsh but a little Irish, augmented by Department 99 (Finistere is 29, Lorient is in Morbihan 56) it's done on an alphabetic basis by French centralized burocracy, 99 was in Algeria.
   Being from Merthyr I miss the physical presence of my Welsh compatriots so when I meet them I like to chat, we'd speak to everybody on the train to Barry Island and we carried on doing it in the pubs later in life, in my bar I led the conversation, but out on the road it can be intimidating when a Merthyr man comes on to you without an introduction with my uncultured accent not helping, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't; but the way accent comes into it only applies to the English & Welsh, to the French I could be Dutch, Swiss or Belgian, it doesn't matter. One day in Lorient I went up to a member of the Dowlais Choir, told him I was from Merthyr, turned out we went to the same infant school and he walked away, friday night I tried to enter into a conversation with 'Carreg Lafar', it didn't work out, yet I met a lovely couple from Neath about the same age as myself, opera lovers who'd been on a voyage down the Volga, they were with the Morriston Choir; she had what for me was a homely home valley accent without a hint of snobbery, we had a long chat and got on well.
   When I arrived at 6.30pm I went straight to base camp 'Tavarn ar Roue Morvan' to show my face then went to the 'Palais des Congrés' to pick up a programme, I found a Welsh agenda, saw there was a concert with 9bach going on in the Dome so off I went; as I walked in I espied Arfon Gilym & Sioned Webb who joined me at the bar, later we were to drink together at the Tavarn. The following day on again referring to the Welsh agenda I noticed that Arfon & Sioned were to be present at the ClubK so as is my wont of supporting Welsh acts, particularly friends and especially as the harp is my favourite instrument, having been spoiled by Elinor Bennet's virtuosity when she & Dafydd lived in Merthyr, I walked to the concert hall but on arriving I was informed that it was by invitation only, that being the case it shouldn't have been on the public agenda of the Welsh cabaret programme; anyway on my telling the people at the door that I knew the artistes I was allowed in on condition that I could prove it, so in we went, I greeted Arfon, he reciprocated with "sorry Byn this is a private party", I was escorted back to the door and out, I walked numbly back to the Tavarn where my morale was raised by the joyful and unexpected welcome given to me by Piau Genson & 9bach where we chatted, drank a glass together and photos were taken before they went off for a meal.
   I've previously mentioned our lamentable Welsh pavilion's complete lack of effort to participate, to contribute, the Cornish & Scots made a big contribution, the Irish left it to 'Guinness' who are experienced in this type of thing, there was a significant Galician presence, but the easy 'gold medalists' were the Acadians (who? you may well ask, particularly in the context of Celtic culture, they were the original French Canadians). All in all I'm happy with the new friendships made over the two days, the number of old friends encountered and the general camaraderie, music & dance of the 'Tavarn ar Roue Morvan'.
       I woke up this morning and drove to Henbont (Hennebont) to photograph the ramparts. (notice it would have been Cymraeg/Welsh if the French hadn't interfered; the Breton for 'old' is usually 'cozh' but in this case it's 'hen'.)

Sunday, 5 August 2012

London?

Now that the LONDON Olympics has set a precedent, will we be seeing the Edinburgh Festival in Cardiff, or the Cardiff singer of the year in Newcastle? Or perhaps there aren't any hegemonic old empire pretensions stemming from these places. Believe it or not there is no British team, no flag of Gt. Britain, no British Anthem and this is NOT the BRITISH Olympics.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Welsh 'Pavillon'

Went to the national 'pavillons' in Lorient where everyone was in festive mood drinking, singing, dancing, playing & listening to music; then I went to  see what the Welsh had to offer - lamentable; a Parisienne P.R. who normally handles Welsh affairs in Paris for the Welsh Government, who knew next to nothing of Brittany and its relations to Cymru/Wales, a girl from central France who'd worked in Wales, a boy from Caerdydd/Cardiff who knew little Welsh, and someone I took to be an Englishman completely ignored me though I chatted to the others, mentioning that they could perhaps point out what the maps were for, they later added this information. On hearing of a stabbing the Englishman whom I took to be in charge said "it wouldn't have been handled like that in ENGLAND." After passing by the bars & concerts, our whole display was a fridge with a small selection of bottled beers & micro-wave meals, and a map of the twinned towns & villages with the names written in their French & English forms only; there were a few leaflets, the rest having been left at the Eisteddfod. I noticed that there were microphones set up, they told me it was for a Welsh bagpipe concert in the evening, so I went back at 7 o'clock only to be told that it had been cancelled; very disappointing to say the least, although it must be said that it doesn't help that when the festival was established there was no thought of Wales and its clash with the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol, after all the Irish are Celts whilst the Welsh are perceived as English, notwithstanding this we don't help our reputation abroad by deliberate under-representation. By the way an Irish musician informed me that Ireland didn't have a 'pavillon', but that they were represented by Guinness.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Carolyn Hit(t)s a False Note


What's wrong with you you spellbound easily propagandered woman, wake up, can't you see you & millions of others are being used; these are not the British games but the London games, Defeated Paris should get on the telephone to the I.O.C. and complain that London has gone way beyond its remit and broken its contract, anyone would think that it's the Festival of Britain we are celebrating here. This is a manifestation of a Great Britain in its violent orgasmic death throes, a last stand for Britishness that has been swamping us all year in the media in one form or another and you've fallen for it. I repeat These are the LONDON games, Paris has good reason to complain.
P.S. David Beckham is an over used quintessentially English quality that grates.
http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/need-to-read/2012/07/30/carolyn-hitt-danny-boyle-s-brilliant-olympic-ceremony-has-redefined-britishness-91466-31501919/

British?

The Welsh have been British since before the dawn of history, we lost Britain's crown to the invading Angles of Northumbria at the end of the 7th century, we thought we took it back under the Tudors in the 15th; the Scots came into the British picture in 1707. Great Britain as a term (Grande Bretagne) was coined to differentiate the Britons who moved to the Armorican peninsula and the Britons who stayed at home on the Island. The new rulers of Britain called themselves after the Germanic tribes of Northumbria -  the land of the Angles, whilst the Britons & Gaels named them after the Germanic tribes of the south - the land of the Saxons as Great Britain became Greater Germany before the name was given a political as well as a geographical sense with the Anglo-Scottish Act of Union. Ironically if Hitler hadn't been defeated our athletes today would be competing on behalf of another Greater Germany singing the German anthem of the day much as our footballers were expected to sing the German, sorry, English anthem cum anti Scottish war song of today.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Fe Gerddaf Ymlaen


Can't go to Uhelgoat today with my photos, not having protection from the rain, sold 6 in 2 days, stayed in bed, not a good sign. 29 months unemployed there's always a risk of depression, but as I'm constantly working on my photos there's not much risk of that. The big problem is the lack of money that sometimes prevents me from filling up my tank with petrol and taking to the road with my camera.
    This year after having not gone out socially for two years I've decided that a pint or two now & again can do me good, then wake up the following day feeling guilty that the money could have been better spent, notwithstanding, I'm going to make a special effort to spend 3 days in Pontardawe for their now famous festival, I was there in 1979, this will definitely do me good, but I will undoubtedly wake up on the monday with a heavy conscience.
        In september it will be my chance to be the Samaritan, I've had a call from Cymru/Wales to assist a girl in distress in the Algarve who's re-opening a bar but has no money; could I help out for 3 weeks; food, lodge & expenses paid, such as petrol to get down there, no wages, but a beach & good weather, I'm not 21 anymore, I'm 61 (in 5 days). I only came to Plouye for 2 weeks, so is destiny calling? My pub re-opening has been put back once more.
     Before I woke up this morning I dreamt I was at a Cymdeithas yr Iaith festival, back in the old atmosphere meeting old friends, I was local organizer (cysylltwr) for the Merthyr area in I think 1977. In my dream I was writing out posters for my own festival in either Plouye or Merthyr; in Merthyr I used to organize functions for Plaid Cymru, and in Plouye I had the big pub hog roast every August. As I mentioned the other day I also, off my own bat, organized the first Welsh language rock concert in Merthyr at Rhydycar, Merthyr with Injaroc. Depression comes from circumstances suffocating you, taking away your belief that you have a reason to live, I still have many things on the horizon to look forward to, and it's been a while now since I've been sitting here stemming the tears, with no food in the fridge & no money in my pocket. Fe Gerddaf ymlaen.

Friday, 27 July 2012

London Games

Some, including prominent Welsh people, appear to be under the mis-apprehension that the Olympics are the British games, they are not, London beat off Paris for the honour of holding them, and personally I think the organizers should be reported for going outside their boundaries, therefore not living up to their contract. There has always been leeway/licence for nautical sports but this is not the case here. There is also confusion between 'British Team' or 'Team G.B.' which is a misnomer because the competitors represent the U.K. and not G.B. and 'British games' which they are not. The image is that of the 1950s post war London (English) hegemony, almost as though the U.K. in its Anglo-centric form is writhing violently in its death throes, throwing (excuse the pun) up everywhere on the screen any excuse to celebrate Britishness, what, what, before the inevitable will happen, and who knows, perhaps the non- English in 4 years time will be able to sing our/their own anthems in victory and fly our/their own flags; except in team sports of course where there would be a cacophony if we sang our own, better not to sing at all.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Baa-baabel

My Welsh speaking friends would prefer me to write yn Gymraeg, my Breton speaking friends would prefer me to write 'bar' Brezhoneg, my old Merthyr friends don't get it when I put something up en Francais, but the fact is that more than half of my friends now are on the southern end of the Môr Breizh/Channel/Manche many of whom don't speak a word of English, so that my insistence on writing in Saesneg, mainly because it's the only one I can write half decently, means that the majority of my friends feel left out and that many of my messages go by the wayside anyway e.g. As it's sunny I think I'll give my photos an outing tomorrow morning at the market in Uhelgoad but closer to the lake; plastic protected = 5 euros, Glass framed = 10 euros, who knows, I may earn enough to buy a tent to take them out in less salubrious weather, but seriously: demain je pense aller au marché à Uhelgoad/Huelgoat

Not doing for their country


Football-wise we never did well in world terms historically, except for1958 in Sweden when we qualified through the back door, partly because English F.A. managers weren't obliged to release our players. Now that we have a talented but limited squad who are capable of doing things and going places, some of our players are egotistically putting our World Cup chances at risk by competing in a completely unnecessary tournament as far as soccer is concerned in the event of their succumbing to burn out and/or injury.
http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/preliminaries/matches/fixtures.html

Testing my logic

"This is the first event of the London Olympics"!!!!!! Sorry I thought this was Caerdydd/Cardiff, capital of Cymru/Wales. My logic is being strained somewhat.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Gt. Britain/Scandinavia

For Cymru think Norway, for Scotland think Denmark, For England think Sweden, for Great Britain think Scandinavia, British Airways-Scandinavian Airlines. The Scandinavians have an ancient common culture going back to the Vikings/Norsemen, the British go back to 1707 a thousand years later, yet the main difference is that the Swedes, Norwegians & Danes, although they cooperate also act independently of each other when deemed appropriate. At the Olympics this year, if they win gold, you will be hearing the respective Swedish, Danish & Norwegian Anthems and seeing their individual flags. They are closer historically as countries than we have ever been, we ought to be able to follow their lead.
P.S. All parties being equal in mind and body (politic) also avoids that sickening manifestation' of  **** licking toadiying sycophants endeavouring to attain a social status denied them thus far by their psychological make up and accident of birth. We have examples in our sports ruling bodies and our hospital boards.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Postal Orders


I've got to sort these photos out, there's definitely a commercial potential on the best of them. I could send a glass framed A4 photo to anywhere in France & Brittany in a post office package for 20 euros. I can go back to the markets for 2 euros a time plus the monthly insurance but I need a market tent or gazebo 3m x 2m costing about 200 euros, I haven't been able to display any photos due to the constant rain and the fact that I need to print more, which I won't do to have them sitting around the house. I am able to print individual photos on order, just tell me which photo you want and I will post it on.
https://picasaweb.google.com/103071865082105641326

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Landerne(au

Friday evening I went to Landerne(au where I heard Cymraeg spoken on the street, albeit with an almost indistinguishable Breton accent; I called in to the 'Keltia', discussed Breton & Welsh history with an interested party, met a member of 'Breini' (a Breton group) who used to teach at Llanharan, then, unknowingly at first, I had the privilege of chatting at the bar with the Welsh speaking former Mayor of the town who told me that the other Welsh speaker on the street was probably his son who had studied at Aberystwyth and was taking a contingent around from twin town Caernarfon. With him at the bar was a Caernarfon County Councillor from Caerffili and a singer/musician from the group 'Dyniadon' of the late 60s - early 70s. An old friend invited me to stay 200 yards from the pub, but about 5.30 am I discretely retired (Je filais à lAnglaise) to my car where I spent the night next to the river Elorn. I expected to meet another old friend Maurice, who was one of the townspeople looking after the Welsh, back in the same bar for an 11 o'clock aperitif, but not surprisingly after such a late night it didn't open. I looked for them at the festival stage where I found them ready to go to an official function, I went back to my car feeling guilty for having spent money on beer that could have been more wisely spent elsewhere, but otherwise content for my evening's experience, and away I went for an afternoon's excursion with my camera, which I wouldn't have enjoyed if I'd stayed at home.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Collective amnesia

For 17 hundred years there's been a Welsh/Breton attachment; the founding saints were Welsh; Welsh/Cornish/Breton was a common language till the early middle ages, the Breton bible had Welsh help for the translation, after the war Welsh civic leaders sent letters to the French government defending Bretons and their rights, some went to stay in Wales but were thrown out by the British Parliament; then in the 60s & 70s there was a cultural renaissance in the Celtic countries, many Parisians from Breton families educated under the French system came to Brittany searching for their Celtic heritage, the musicians amongst them had picked up on Irish music, Bretons went to Ireland to learn their dances; the Celts  were Irish, as were their Scottish cousins where the bagpipes were concerned; in the French mentality that was taking over Brittany the Welsh were English so couldn't be their Celtic compatriots, it was forgotten that their 'gwerz' is Welsh, their 'national anthem is Welsh', their language & their 'saints' were Welsh (some were Irish, but they lacked the vernacular, unless having learnt it on their studies in Wales & Cornwall as well as picking it up 'in situ'), Wales is in England, as they see it, even though it isn't, so doesn't count. I thought of this just now when I intended going out for a mid-week drink for the first time in 2 years because of my restrictions. The French don't have a pub culture, it's wine & food country, but this spectacular upsurge in everything Irish, this 60s & 70s collective amnesia on the one hand, 1700 Welsh years replaced initially in a ten years cultural phenomenon has led to the transition of Breton bars to Irish pubs; the mundane 'Bar du Coin' in Quimper became the spectacularly successful 'Ceili'; equally successful in Quimper is the 'Poitin Still'. It's taken for granted that a decent 'pub' is an Irish thing, whereas any other versions of the snob/posh tendency are English, the rest are 'café/bars, or 'bistrots' which doesn't have the same meaning or significence as across the channel. In Lorient we have the Galway, in Rennes the Westport, in Brest the Tara Inn to name but a few of the best. Because of the lack of a pub mentality, to imbibe in anything like the social atmosphere I understand to be a pub ambiance I have to travel a half an hour to Morlaix, , three quarters of an hour to Kemper, one hour to Brest, or two hours to Roazhon/Rennes. I'd set my mind on going to a Breton 'pub' in Montroulez, the 'Ty Coz', I put on my jacket, picked up my keys, then realized that I didn't have any petrol, so I sat back down and began writing this. I expect to have more than the usual amount of comments.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

28/06/2012

Today Ffrancis Payne visits 'Mynachdy' an impressive house, now a farm, near Pilalau, Sîr Faesyfed; yesterday I visited 'Manac'hty' at 'Trois Fontaines', Gouezec; it's now a cluster of farm buildings, one of  them a shed that was apparently a school which has slate steps that led to the dormitory on the upper floor. Today also saw me standing on the riverbank taking photos of the weir, when on turning around there was a life's first, never read about and never seen on tv; right there in front of me was a brown stoat carrying a snake in its mouth.

30/06/2012 - 1/07/2012

Little conundrum I'll sort out tomorrow; an acquaintance brought me a book today - 'Diocese de Quimper et de Leon, Nouveau Repertoire des Eglises et Chapelles'; on turning to Plouye there was a description of the parish church of Saint Joseph when I've always written 'Saint Pierre', so I looke up the internet where it confirmed 'Saint Joseph', then I looked up the history of the Plouie/Plouye 'patrimoine' where it was 'Saint Pierre'? Three books in three weeks - Th story of John Hughes in The Ukraine; Francis Payne's journey through Radnorshire (2 volumes); and now churches & chapels of Brittany. Yesterday I saw a rabbit at the side of the road, a fish jumping in a river, a 21st century monument to a 17th century mass drowning, participated in a demonstration to return Naoned/Nantes & its region to Brittany, and drank good beer in two good pubs in Kemper/Quimper - 'The Ceili' & 'The Poitin Still'.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Today's drive

Food in the fridge, petrol in the tank; this morning I went taking photos near the Aon (Aulne) south of Pleiben, noticed on a sign-post 'Ar Stêr Aön' and I've been writing 'An Stêr', easier in 'Cymraeg' with just the 'y' and the 'yr'. As I've been flitting from village to village and chapel to chapel I've been thinking of the book I'm reading, with Ffrancis Payne going around Radnorshire but I lack the intimate knowledge he possessedI have to thank Dai Hawkins once again because I can't think of another book with which i could find such empathy. especially as it touches on my maternal grandmother's early life. The chapels take me back to the early Welsh saints, some who settled, some who returned home, and their Irish colleagues, leaving behind the many 'llans & 'plous', consecrating pagan land with their springs converted to holy wells with supposedly wondrous healing powers. the megalithic 'menhir' standing stonesand Gaulish steles having christian crosses stuck on top by the local priests, and phallic stones for barren wives to rub up against in the chapel grounds. Not being as fit & strong as I was only a few years ago due to accidents & illnesses, I've scolded myself for having visited so many holy wells and not tasted a drop, so today I drank from two. Invariably each chapel has its holy well, while each manor has its private chapel; today I visited a spot where the manor being in a state of dereliction had been cleared and the chapel converted into a gite. I drove past quite a few birds of prey out looking for food, some watching from poles, others hovering, I saw a rabbit still lucky to be alive, and a fox & hedgehog dead in the middle of the road having only recently been run over.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Germanics

After centuries of being estranged from the parent country there's a certain irony that after all historic conflicts including WW1 & 2, plus the 100 years & Franco-Prussian wars, that peaceful co-existence sees London  and Paris amongst others looking to their mother/fatherland Germany for stability, both the English & French states were founded by Germans, England taking its name from the Angles, France from the Franks. On a par perhaps was the ruling German aristocracy in London from the 18th century on having to  persuade the Briish working class in the 20th that Germans were now the enemy after centuies of fighting the French; then there was Philip of Spain, King of England with Mary sending an armada to recover his kingdom, but that's another story.

Saturday Night Pangs

I've had to put going out on a saturday night out of my mind since I ran out of money in August 2010, not easy for someone who hasn't stayed in on a saturday since he was 12 years old watching match of the day in gran's while my mother took her down to the local for an hour or two. I started going around town when I was 13 with a group of us beginning the evening at one of our three cinemas before generally adventuring until the last bus took me home at 11pm. A few years later I joined the drinking hordes in the packed pubs of Merthyr, eventually moving to in Brittany where it became my job and my pleasure to go the other side of the bar for a 30 years term until the fire put the kybosh on that 28 months ago, but as anyone can tell you, putting things out of one's mind is a necessary discipline when the means aren't there, and anyway I should be beginning a new term in the near future. For some reason my mental discipline lapsed while sitting here today, I got saturday night pangs, although with the consolation that the Australia - Cymru/Wales match was televised, disconsolately the score had to remain the same as this morning.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Hughesovka


Written by me to Susan Edwards:
Listening to Roy Noble just now got me thinking of your old friend, hockey playing Michelle, who came into my pub in Brittany 20 years ago; John Hughes & Hughesovka cropped up in the conversation, she was surprised that I knew anything about him & it; today I would be surprised if anybody didn't know anything about them; she told me about your research and the resulting booklet, promising me before leaving that I would be hearing more on the subject, which I did when you sent me this autographed booklet together with an added photo of the oxen driven boiler mentioned by Roy. As you can its a bit charred having got caught up in the fire that destroyed my pub.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Wales & The World

There's something that's been on my mind for many years, a little bugbear, and that is our lack of an international transmitter. It would help Cymru/Wales to play an ever greater part on the world stage, every country sees its necessity and has one except us apparently, there's no 'Wales & the world' without one. We have the aerial on Wenvoe hill that serves domestic purposes only facing north from a position in the south, I have difficulty receiving Radio Wales when out for a drive and I am only just down the road so to speak, in the house there's no longer a problem these days as technology has advanced, we are still however an unequal participent in the world of broadcasting.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Such is Life

In two weeks I'll have paid off my debt to the housing association, and in six weeks I'll have paid off my debt to the insurance company for my car, thereby lightening the burden a little, but it still leaves the electricity company. Although I don't find life without electricity too much of an inconvenience my ex-wife, the mother of my children, regards it as a stigma, and is worried that I'm not right in the head. I'm heating the water on the gas for my tea and to do the dishes, I'm filing a backlog of papers, writing on here by battery power, then going to bed early with either a book on Welsh folklore, where today I came across the spelling 'Proseliand' for 'Broceliande', the enchanted forest just up the road a bit from where I'm living, so they claim at Paimpont, written in 1859; or catching up on my schoolboy 'Laureata' poetry book that somehow never got handed back.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Us & Them

Millionaires/Billionaires!!!!! WE are told to make sacrifices unselfishly, whilst THEY selfishly make. There's something sick in a society that has the Tory rich telling the poor that sacrifices must be made, that austerity is the only way, as they go on getting richer & richer. I'm not quite old enough to remember the post-war Labour government which invested in the infrastructure, putting people back in work and building us out of trouble, leading  to a 2 decades long successful economy, but I am old enough to have reason to be grateful for the council house with all mod-cons that we moved into in 1952. They knew we didn't deserve austerity after a 6 year war so they spent us out of trouble, wisely investing, earning the country a net profit, so it can and has been done. 

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Discipline & Disappointment

I'm a social animal; I have never stayed in on a saturday, whether out playing as a child, going to the cinema, cruising the town as a teenager, spectating at matches, or going to the pub, and dance afterwards. I've had the discipline to put it out of my mind for the last 21 months out of the 27 I've been out of work, having to stick to a strict budget, but tonight for some reason it's hurting, similar to the need for a cigarette for some, or a beer for others. Nothing's going right, with the exception of Merthyr's promotion; Cardiff lost, though I'm not really a Cardiff supporter I want them to do well, ditto Wrexham; Lleuwen came today with Caradog and I forgot to get my camera out of the car, though I remember heading for the door more than once but failed to retain the intention, then I settled down to watch Matthew Stevens lose to Ronnie O'Sullivan again at his brilliant best, and to go back a day Plaid Cymru, my party, didn't do well; we are trying to emulate the success of the SNP, but now we've frightened people off with talk of independence, not saying we shouldn't, just saying we have, we've perhaps judged them ready when in fact they aren't yet, and Carwyn is coming closer to us, following Rhodri in keeping his distance from 'Head Office', pity about Peter Hain; the Labour Party knows it frightens people off with talk of socialism. I remember in a pub in Merthyr after we'd taken control, "I voted Plaid Cymru, Emrys Roberts is brilliant, it's those Welsh nationalists I don't like". I don't know what this tells us, but I was surprised, if not shocked to see that in the 11 wards of Merthyr there were TWO Plaid Cymru candidates, one of whom came bottom. Anyway, 3 visitors this week, the 2 Welsh came for a cup of tea, the Breton brought his own Guinness, last week I went with Terry, yesterday's visitor, to his Welsh friend's house in Trebrivan where we were offered a cup of tea. Went shopping in Carhaix this morning, my strict budget flew out of the window, it wasn't the birthday card I bought for my 3 years old granddaughter that did it, just the weekly shopping, only the 2nd time in over a year that I've shopped as per the norm, and now I'm sitting here with saturday night pangs with one eye on the telly and one eye on my computer; see you tomorrow most probably. PS. It's not like I even feel like a beer; it's possible that the chocolate I've eaten today has weakened my discipline, or it just might have been Lleuwen awakening my senses to the pungent atmosmeric smell of fish & chips with its accompanying salt & vinegar, while queuing for our takeaway on a saturday night, when  we were talking about Pontrhydfendigaid, Abaty Ystrad Fflur, Aberystwyth, Tregaron, Machynlleth & Pennal, and she mentioned that the best fish & chips in Cymru/Wales are served in Llanbedr Pont Steffan.Lampeter/Llambed

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Vote for Plaid Cymru

I've just written two long passages, they've both crashed, so I'll just say that today's the day we'll see whether we are going back to the 20th century with the Labour Party or forward and onwards with Plaid Cymru. We can see that Leanne Wood is a breath of fresh air, she's highly principled and our candidates know that they follow her example or else, she is the leader of her party, not a puppet with the strings being pulled by their 'betters' over the border in London; there is no Welsh Labour Party, nor Welsh Conservative Party nor Welsh Liberal Democratic Party, THERE IS ONLY ONE WELSH POLITICAL PARTY? THAT IS WHY IT IS CALLED PLAID CYMRU/THE PARTY OF WALES. The Party that puts Wales first as its 'raison d'etre': Welsh speaking; English speaking; Urdu speaking; or Somali. Blow the cobwebs away, it's time for a Spring clean.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Good Snooker


I missed out on the snooker/billiard halls or 'lucanias (lukies) in Merthyr, Penydarren and Dowlais; the one in Penydarren becoming Eddie Thomas's boxing gym where he trained world champions, Howard Winstone & Ken Buchanan, Howard lived only a few yards up the road on the High St., however when I was a teenager I used to play on the tables at the Guest-Keen Sports & Social Club, built as the Guest Memorial Library. Philip Adams used to live in the grounds and every tuesday I'd meet up with Philip, Selwyn Regan and Peter (Greg) Griffiths. I've always had a feeling for the game, so I was very fortunate to switch on the telly two days ago to see the great Ronnie O'Sullivan back to his brilliant best, potting & placing at will, a pity is was against our own ex world No 1, Mark Williams. Then yesterday saw the former favourite to win the tournament, Judd Trump, participating in one of the most nail biting finishes possible in any sport, against Ali Carter; Ali had come back to draw 12 all, he threw his arm up in victory in the final frame only for Judd, refusing to admit defeat, coming back to the table and almost snatching victory through 'snookers', but ultimately failing. Referring back to f/b there was a message from Lleuwen who was out for some fresh air with her new family, I put my new family in the car, and a camera in my pocket, but I missed them by two minutes and came back to my photos, not before taking a snapshot of our 'lieu de rendezvous'. In the meantime I've finally finished my 'Penguin Modern Poets - John Ormond; Emyr Humphries; John Tripp. Most people these days seem to think that poetry has of necessity to do with rhyming; they ought to read John Tripp.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

I Value Clichés

 A response to a comment that we can't judge the past by today's standards:  The past created the present, we are as we are because of it, and short of time travel nothing can be altered, we can however learn from the past never again to make the same mistakes. We now have a government in Cymru able to redress the balance, based on what we judge to be today's needs, to put right past grievances within its domain, to the extent of its limited power. The perception of what was and wasn't a mistake differs depending on one's point of view, everything is relative and different people see different rights & wrongs, The Labour party sees fewer grievances and the need to stay attached to England; whilst Plaid Cymru sees poverty in a rich country and an ancient culture, its language & literature, brought to the point of extinction as a result of this blind attachment, and would redress the balance by attaching ourselves instead to the wider world. The only reason I'm mentioning the Tories is that the longer we bury our heads in the sands of England the longer we will be stuck with them.

The French Trip

Writing the previous reminds me that I still have a story left; I've been asked to write something but I thought I'd run out of material,  now memories of a certain French trip are coming back. I'm the type of person who, knowing that I've got friends to go back to I like to be by myself; one evening I went wandering around the Pigalle and entered into one of the 'sleazy' clubs, the kind that have someone standing outside enticing potential customers; anyway I went in, I was the only customer there, ordered a drink and sat down. A rather smart girl came and sat down by me, we got chatting and after a while we were served champagne; I said "I didn't order that", to which the waiter replied that that was the way it worked, I refused to pay, no question, I was outnumbered, dragged to the manager's office where he took my wallet from my pocket and the amount for the champagne. Not to be intimidated by this I told the manager that after that he could buy me a drink, I went back to the bar, got served, drank my beer and left. Outside there were hundreds, if not thousands of red scarves; when I related what had happened they wanted to go in and smash the place up, the club was lucky that I put it down to experience. I wandered forlornly down the road until I came to a bistrot with a door that had a window, I looked through to see a bar where the only customers were girls; the cockles of my heart warmed to the situation, the previous encounter put out of mind I walked in and ordered a beer. I got chatting to one of the girls who was very down to earth & friendly, just like Merthyr, I felt at home, they were mainly Arab, all coloured, except for a blue eyed blonde English girl behind the bar. Mealtime came, the English girl went across the road and came back with food that she apportioned and I got a share. None of the girls were customers, they all worked there, and my friend politely began to insist that I go around to the back room with her; she was very nice as I explained that I'd just had a bad experience and that I'd only come in for a drink in good company, although she did continue asking and I continued saying no, after a few more drinks I succumbed, we went into a back room where she told me how she wanted it, after a while of this unexpected erotic exercise, she complimented me, I paid her the sum requested and we went back to the bar where her friend asked me now that we'd finished would I go with her, I said, "I only came in for a drink and to relax. I passed a good evening in excellent company before leaving and heading back to my hotel. 

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Under Orders

My response to a reply that teachers weren't under orders to force our children to wear 'The Welsh not', that they were themselves Welsh people happy to collaborate. The Welsh language was banned in schools in 1870 by an order of an Act of Parliament, after a government inspection of the state of education in Cymru/Wales by non-Welsh speaking school inspectors decided that our home tongue was a negative influence. The children were forced by government legislation to speak English; some were shamed into letting go of their birthright, some like O. M. Edwards refused to be humiliated, on the contrary it put their back up, and he personally worked all his life to further the language ironically becoming chief inspector of schools in Wales; his sentiments carried over to his son Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards who founded 'Urdd Gobaith Cymru', an all Wales youth movement where children play & learn, in fact all activities, through the medium of Welsh. I began with the greatest of English ironies, I end with a Welsh one.

Second Hand Settee

 I made sure that Doudou was amply provided for when I left the house this morning and took to the road, direction Plouigneau for a 15 euros settee arranged yesterday on the second hand sale site for Finistere. Last week, same direction I took the wrong road 3 times, this time only once; turned out destiny wise not to be the wrong road I thought, as I was going down the hill to Montroulez I espied in the distance what was a magnificent sight of towers rising to the sky in a forest right over on the other side of the valley, I continued down the hill into the town, drove over one of the rivers leading in, thereby crossing the valley and back up the other side to buy my settee, and with help from the boyfriend of the girl who contacted me we squeezed it into the back of my old estate. Coming up the hill I noticed there was a chateau serving as a bed & breakfast, so after I made the purchase I went back, trusting my luck I drove up their driveway, naturally enough, to be met by the lady of the house coming out to ask me what I wanted, strange, I sensed straightaway that she was English before her accent gave her away; it wasn't the chateau I was hoping to find, 'though she tentatively allowed me to take some photos of the front & the adjacent family chapel, but not around the back; I took my photos, then spent the afternoon searching for the round towers. I took different roads and found different chateaux, I even drove straight past to its neighbour, there were three on the same road. On my way back I stopped at a chapel, and snapped three churches. I looked for the round tower that I missed the other day, couldn't find it so I drove home. Doudou came out to welcome me, couldn't find Caru anywhere, for a moment I was worried, I even thought that perhaps she'd somehow managed to get outside and that I'd run her over, but no, I came in and stood still until I heard her squeal, which enabled me to pinpoint her position in a little corner struggling to get out from under some odds & ends left lying around that she'd managed to get to now that she's walking, if I can call it that, by herself. A demain.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Ironic

Isn't this the greatest of ironies:- In 1870 the Welsh Language was banned in schools in an effort to homogenize an English Britain; today there are 64 different languages spoken in the area surrounding Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. London alone has more than 300 different languages; if Matthew Arnold were alive today the shock would kill him.

Reply to a response


Yes, but I come from an area that got stuck between the two, it's referred to as 'Wenglish'. In the history of things it will turn out to be temporary. We should be speaking English correctly, and Welsh correctly, but as our accents are also a signpost to where we come from, there's nothing wrong with speaking an educated, cultured English, but with a Welsh accent; Richard Burton being a good example. I have a f/b friend who speaks many languages, he has chosen to go for an area dialect in each one so that you could mistake him for a native. These days even Eton pupils try to avoid speaking with a received pronunciation. However on his basic point I suppose he's right; personally it's my way of affirming my South Welsh valley identity when conversing to English speakers, so that they are left in no doubt as to where I'm from, if there is a doubt I tell them MERTHYR; it should also reflect my personality, there's no way that I could speak 'posh', it wouldn't be me. Horses for courses.
            The response was an example of an Irish language activist speaking Irish with his home accent, but who preferred to speak the foreign tongue with a received (posh) English accent. It's a good argument and technically correct in a perfect world, but I for one couldn't do it, I wouldn't want to lose my Merthyr accent, I couldn't be a la di da, especially in front of my friends. Coming from a working class background I'd feel as though I was betraying my heritage; the Irish political background is different.

Turmoil & Trauma

A friend of mine was brought up in the Welsh speaking community of Clwydyfagwyr, Merthyr; he went to work at one of the Lloyd's underwriters, when he came back on his holidays 6 months later we went out for a drink, as he spoke his accent could have come from another planet; imagine the turmoil in his mind, his abhorrence of the accent he'd been brought up with; a girl in the room picked him up on it, but as a Merthyr girl herself she wasn't in a position to throw stones as she also spoke a little differently. There are too many of us who have been 'marked' by the presence of our big neighbour causing us to search for the light away from under it's huge shadow both mentally & physically. We have to learn and to teach to have a Welsh standpoint , 'Twickers' is not 'HQ', and to see things from a Welsh viewpoint, it's the Severn Sea', not 'The Bristol Channel', but we are moving forward, Carwyn is holding the fort for the moment until we take up our rightful place at the helm. 

Growing Up

Caru is 17 days old, between being half smothered, licked by Doudou and burying herself in the search for milk, I just witnessed her scratching herself, just like her mother, although she can't yet walk properly; it was amazing to watch her first 'grown up' action..

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Our Language

 What is shame? it's a shame and it's sad that if we Welsh & Bretons could build a portal to let in the the ghosts of our past, and that if we met & hugged our great grandparents, we would have nothing to say to them, because they would be speaking a different language. Can anything be more shameful than the wanton destruction of the key part of our heritage. Admittedly it was state policy in London, but it's now the 21st century and God helps them who help themselves. The Welsh intelligensia from the Tudors and even earlier, including Glyndwr, were educated in London and/or Oxford, so it's no wonder that when Cymru did its part for the enlightenment movement spreading across Europe & America, it was the likes of Iolo Morgannwg and the London-Welsh societies, the Cymmrodorion & the Gwyneddogion who stood for the ethos that "every folk had its own particular identity, which was expressed in its language & culture". In the middle of the 19th c. Lady Charlotte Guest & Lady Llanover worked positively for the language, they were friendly with Villemarque who was their counterpart in Brittany, and the Welsh farm labourer could be counted amongst the most literate in the world, there was a genuine revival. Lady Charlotte translated the Mabinogion to a wider world, Villemarque wrote an anthology of Breton songs & stories. Then it all came crashing down, it became government policy to ban the Welsh Language in schools, decided on after the release of the 1847 report of the inspectors of education, nick-named 'Brâd y Llyfrau Gleision' (Treason of the Blue Books) followed by the education Act of 1870. The Welsh (& Breton) speaking children were humiliated by having to wear a piece of wood around the neck if they continued speaking their mother tongue. I think it's fair to say that it affected us.                                         

Rhodri, Labour & Cymru/Wales

I've been listening to Rhodri Morgan on Radio Cymru/Wales; I must say I have a lot of time for his wisdom, an atypical former Labour politician, totally independently minded, highly educated and immensely knowledgable, what the hell was he doing in the Labour party, although he did start late, and I suppose his family was Labour as is his wife. For his generation, circle of friends, and Cardiff society the choice was Conservative or Labour, in the valleys there was no choice so we got lumbered with the Kinnocks of this world where getting on & out was their priority, making a bit on the side was an added bonus. I have no time for the ego-centric Peter Hain; if I was to say what I think of the Kinnocks I would be thrown out of f/b. I like the way that Carwyn Jones is putting Cymru on the political map and raising the the Tories hackles for doing it, but would he be so gung ho if it was Labour in power in London & Peter Hain reining him in as Secretary of State. I'm sorry, no not really, but there is only one Party in Wales that puts the country first, a new start with a new leader, she even speaks like me. To be able to identify with is often the crux, and if you identify with Wales there should be no question; RHONDDA RULES, Bridgend second.

Jibbons

The other day when I went to the supermarket for the first time in months, I forgot to mention to my Welsh friends that I didn't only eat and enjoy Breton Gariguette strawberries, I also bought and relished a bunch of jibbons. Now who else knows what jibbons are? I don't know whether it's an all Wales thing or just limited to parts of the South Wales, like 'bosh' for 'kitchen sink'.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Radar

About mid-day I thought that I might go out on the road with my camera, my chosen subject, St Meriadec's holy well/fontaine at Stival where Cleguerec borders on Pontiv. It turned out to be a very fruitful afternoon with some very special unforeseen extras. I took a chance with the dodgy weather; m new windscreen wipers well served their purpose, and at times the rain left its mark on the photos. All in all I got more than I had hoped for including driving at 80 kph past a 70 kph radar trap on an open road but unseen to me as I followed another car past it, I will now have to wait a week or so to know whether or not I will be losing a point off my driving licence. Something. I've been through worse. Doudou has a boyfriend who I have to keep shooing away from the house, I will have to fix that, cat that is. I didn't have any money to do it previously, and I doubt whether there's enough left to do it now, no reserve for sundries.

Composite Relations

Byn Walters the home based photographer who needs sponsorship to share his oeuvres d'arts with his friends, shares his house with Byn Walters the out of work publican who needs financial aid to set himself up again in business, and Byn Walters the streetwise philosopher who looks after the larder whilst taking it all in; a composite relationship where each takes it turns to further his side of things. Sponsorship could have its returns in food for the eye, in showing an aspect, object or place that pleases aesthetically; financial aid to the out of work publican gets its return in the sight of something cherished reborn, the taste of best of beers & whisk(e)ys, the sound of world music, which leads to money in the till which in turn, if successful, leads to financial re-imbursement, or at the very least, free drinks. The street philosopher will return to the body & mind of the pub landlord, for that is what he is, who will use his earnings to close two days a week to drive around Brittany in pursuit of his hobby of photography, even perhaps at times reaching out as far as Cornwall & Cymru on ferry bargain trips; then all will be well with the world. (But for the moment I still need help).

Friday, 20 April 2012

Saint Herbot and Strawberries

Went out this afternoon taking advantage of my new found freedom to take some photos outside the village for the first time in many months. I didn't go far, only about 5 or 6 miles up the road to a local church. When finished I topped up with petrol in case I want to go out this week-end. The petrol station is in the courtyard of the supermarket I went to two days ago for my week's shopping but I forgot to get tea, also I bought some strawberries the other day that were so good I had to get some more; Breton Gariguette strawberries are so delicious that sugar &/or cream would do them an injustice, I don't think they can be surpassed anywhere. Anyway, Ospreys are on top form against the Dragons, pint of Bavaria red in hand (from Holland), and fish & rice on my plate. I'm taking it day by day, but thanks to a certain person from Austria this has been my best week since Aug 2010.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

A Long Swim Against The Current

The salmon on his way home says goodbye to his English friends as he turns to swim up the Teifi & the Gwy/Wye to spawn his Welsh babies, on arrival he thinks to himself "I was born here, I'm Welsh and proud of it". This is a ridiculous notion, a fish can't think, it relies on instinct; Laurence of Arabia was born in Wales but considered himself English, Lloyd-George was born in England but considered himself Welsh; Cliff Richard was born in India!! A salmon doesn't have the foibles of we humans such as trends & factions , political intrigue and religions, and a memory scarred with injustices. The salmon travels thousands of miles if he can avoid the predators, the Welsh have thousands of years of avoiding a different kind of predator, be it Roman, Saxon, Viking, Norman, English, Industrial barons, and finally a parliamentary system that does us down. We have a memory of a journey just as long if not longer. Is it foolish to fight against the current not for 2,000 miles but for 2,000 years to defend a culture that is all but killed off so that only the very few are left; if the salmon can carry on to the end of its journey purely on instinct then we can do it on thought, we have something the salmon hasn't developed, and that is a sense of IDENTITY, with all its human foibles & quirks, that include a language that was ours  since before Jesus Christ 'till very recently; some of us, a pitiful minority now, have never lost it, we can't let it be eradicated after all this time. Putting on a red & white scarf and/or a red jersey is not enough, we need the right to decide for ourselves our policies & laws, to create our own agenda, to control our own destiny. Salmon don't have the necessary evil of poitics, we do. Go out & vote; vote for Cymru/Wales. Nofiwn ymlaen!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

My New (temporary) Lease of Life

 Lounging in front of the telly watching Chelsea v Barcelona with a glass of Chimay Belgian Trappist beer, a little square of dark chocolate slowly melting in my mouth, which hopefully won't put me off attacking a chicken leg off the chicken I just cooked (micro-wave grilled); why don't we say a lamb leg? I did some proper shopping for food at  one of our 3 local supermarkets today for the first time since Aug 2010. I got a week's shopping in instead of buying piecemeal when something runs out and paying more,  wipersI made sure that Doudou was well provided for. Before that happened it had been raining heavily which forced me to buy new windscreen wipers and I had a free refix of a number plate that was hanging off. Riding around in my car and spending money, drinking beer and eating chocolate, My world is (temporarily) estranged from its two years of turmoil, tomorrow I'll wake up to thursday with everything back to normal, except that my car is back on the road for a whole year, barring accidents, affording (ironic choice of word in the circumstances) me a new found mobility.

Troc

 I'm just back from Plouigneau where I picked up a table for 10 euros, that's two I've got now; don't forget everybody I'm looking to furnish the pub, in front and behind the bar, I'm starting again from zero. I got the table from a page on F/B called 'Achat Vente Troc du Finistere' thanks to Roxanne who being aware of my situation subscribed me. When I turned the key in the ignition the car didn't start as expected, called the neighbour who brought the cables, drove off to Marilyn's house near Plouigneau after having lost my way to the house twice it was third time lucky, problem, I couldn't open the boot for the dismantled table because the one key was in the ignition and I was afraid of not being able to restart, got it tied down to the roof however, saw one or two things I wanted to photograph but was afraid to stop, I can always go back. Drove home, went to the shop for things I can't get at the café-tabac, willing to risk leaving the motor running as I was basically home, wednesday, shop shut, returned to the house, switched off the ignition, switched it back on again, engine engaged. Now Doudou on my lap while Caru sleeps.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Free at last

 Things are moving in the right direction; I haven't been able to use my car for 7 months, making life difficult for me in a little village without buses & trains and taxis out of the question. It was costing me 290 euros a quarter for insurance which I strived to pay for 4 years but had to give up as an impossibility. Terry drove me to the brokers' office today where I paid 240 euros to cover me till next April. He drove me back, I got in the car, turned the ignition, nothing, we got it started with jump leads, I set off for a 20 mile drive to recharge the battery, got back home, switched off, turned the key again, nothing, never mind, its been 7 months and there's always tomorrow, the main thing is that I am no longer a prisoner, I have rediscovered my liberty and there are many parts of Brittany still to be seen, appreciated and photographed; it will have to be seriously budgeted however, and then there's Doudou & Caru to think of; they don't use cardboard boxes any more, they are next to my bed on a wool lined jacket, they've been there for a week and it is SPOTLESS. My priority now is a second hand table on sale for 10 euros at Plouigneau.

Faeces

Byn Walters

Monday, 16 April 2012

'Degustation'

As I've already said, I've never previously drunk beer at home. I've just picked up a bottle that's been in my house for at least twenty years. I got a lot of customers from away who left me alcoholic produce from their regions, this bottle has no label but it has printed paper tied around its neck unfortunately ripped, I can make out 'bière artisanale'. France is not beer country and from its deep strong taste I would imagine that its Belgian. Most beers can be thrown away after a few years, but not the best. Some strong beers diminish in quality but then improve after 4 or 5 years; this beer is definitely quality, I've lately discovered the joy of 'degustation', appreciation of imbibing something special, in my case beer, for others it's wine. I like being solitary after spending 30 odd years standing in public at the bar; now I am sitting on my settee with only Doudou & Caru (pronounced Carrie) for company, 'though it's hardly company with Doudou constantly keeping an eye on and feeding little Caru, with glass in hand watching the CSI series on the television. For the moment I have to put the 1200 euros electricity bill at the back of my mind. I've had the support of  a couple of friends recently, from Caerffili, Cymru/Wales and Salzburg, Austria, thereby keeping the bailiffs & misery from the door, so tomorrow I will try to pay off 300 euros. The trouble is that as with Mr Micawber's famous statement, my monthly outlay of £20 nought and 6 is greater than my income of £20 until I get back on my feet.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Rugby Regions?

Are the top Welsh rugby teams regions or cities, The Scarlets notwithstanding? This evening's match between The Blues & The Ospreys is being touted on S4C as a derby match between two cities. If this is the general perception then let's stop pretending. With a drop in attendances, lack of revenue, and a haemorrhage of players it's time to recapitulate, admit that the experiment hasn't worked out, and let the spectators support an entity they can identify with. Ironically the only area that can truly be called a region, the valleys, isn't even represented; there's talk now of bringing them into the equation, it just might help the concept at least to have one real region, yet there again........

Friday, 13 April 2012

Nausea & Imbalance

The day before yesterday was slightly perturbing; I had nausea & imbalance throughout the day, yesterday the nausea had gone but I still had trouble walking straight, today it's cleared up. I was wondering whether it was anxiety from the stress of being out of work for 26 months, struggling through and it's catching up with me; or it's from sitting in front of the computer screen categorizing my photos 17 hours a day, it's unwise to fix one's gaze on a screen to closely over a long period of time, most probably that, plus a bit of anxiety over my wanting to display my photos straight away, only instead of taking minutes it was taking hours due to my laptop breaking down; or it was my diabetes raising its ugly head because of my sedentary pastime; whatever it was its gone now.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

My Photos & Me

I would have preferred being out on the road this last year or so taking photographs of Brittany than being stuck in my house categorizing them, but by now you all know of my financial impediment, and without sponsorship it had to come to a stop, pity, but it was good while it lasted; it was a brand new life experience, I even slept in the back of my car on occasions, waking up to a local market with the intention of selling some of my wares, photos that I'd framed and carried with me. The petrol took its toll, plus the temporary exorbitant car insurance, and if I wanted to sell them I had to build up a stock with ink, paper & frames that bust me, it was all too much. So now I'm left dreaming of my recent past whilst at the same time dreaming of a near future, but I'd like to be back on the road in the meantime, and if I do eventually get my old position back behind the bar I will arrange things to do just that. I haven't got many years left, but I have two dormant occupations waiting to be awakened from their slumber; the phoenix shall fly high.

Annie Ebrel & Nolwen le Buhe

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Born Aug 3 1951, Merthyr Tydfil, Cymru/Wales.Moved to Brittany Sept. 1979.I run a rustic Bar in a village of fewer than 800h.Real ale& best whisk(e)ys.At the moment I'm occupied with photos, flowers and music. For more information look up my site & blog: http://crwtynrhifnaw.blogspot.com my story: http://taffawrnantmorlais.blogspot.com my photos:http://picasaweb.google.com/BynWalters    my photos: http://patrimoinebreton/blogspot.com    a.n.other: http://mymiscellaneous-bynbrynman.blogspot.com

 

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