My Music

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


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


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.

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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: my story: my photos:    my photos: http://patrimoinebreton/    a.n.other:



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