My Music

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Monday, 30 December 2013

Oddigartre'

I think some of you; deliberately perhaps, or not, as the case may be, missed my point about the greatest activists having been born outside the areas where their arguments were applied. The two arguably biggest proponents of Breton music, Alan Stivell and Gilles Servat were both born outside the 'land of their fathers'; ditto the 'Irish' revolutionaries at the post office in 1916 at the height of the first world war; Eamon de Valera was born in New York to an Italian father. Napoleon wasn't French; Hitler wasn't German; Stalin wasn't Russian; inversely, Jean-Marie le Pen was born in Brittany. Think about it; perhaps a knight on a white charger might come in to save Cymru; for a while in Merthyr we thought it was Emrys Roberts but it didn't last. We were fortunate for a moment in that we had Emrys, Dafydd Wigley and Gareth Foster, they even took power but they were eventually outmanoeuvered by the local labour cabal.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

We are entering into dangerous right wing territory here; we the Welsh have an indigenous culture that we want to preserve, it's lasted for two thousand years and we, or certain amongst us want it to continue, but it shouldn't be a reason for explusion of other cultures so long as they become inclusive and they know that they live in Cymru. Perhaps the most inclusive forign community is the Somalis in Cardiff, they are Cardiffian Welsh, Tom Woodward Jones is Welsh, Shirley Bassey is Welsh. Someone living in Cardiff is like a doctor who only sees illnesses or a policeman who only sees criminals. I am an optimist, sorry I don't live there! Don't you think that thousands of people in the valleys would take it as an insult that because they don't speak the language they are not considered Welsh?

Friday, 27 December 2013

Tendentious

I'm getting a bit fed up of these tendentious polemical arguments; we're all on the same side. WE know what's going on, there are too many outsiders, but many of our worst enemies lie within. The anti-social element couldn't care less anyway, it doesn't help when they are brought in from the London council housing misery. The English pub owners get out their shotguns to vacate the premises of their Welsh speaking natives for their forthrightousness in having spoken their first language which they deign offensive, even though they don't make an effort to understand where they actually live. At a pub in Llangadog I was told by an English landlord that he was a Paki basher, although the West Walians are alright, the North Walians are worse than the Pakistanis. How many times have I heard that English speakers, not English but South Walians, go on holidays to North Wales, enter into a pub where everyone was speaking English only to speak Welsh as they entered, blatant nonsense, who's going to speak his second language, English, only to turn to his second language, Welsh' to satisfy some kind of racist whim, I've got news for these people, they were speaking Welsh all the time, stupid as it may seem. We know from the last census that the language is growing among the Welsh born, but is diminishing on the whole through the influx of foreigners. Sorry Gareth I'm with you all the way and I think there's been a misunderstanding between us, but although Cymru has its 'downs' it also has its 'ups', although for the moment the 'downs' are greater than the 'ups', which they have been since Gruffudd ap Llewelyn lost his kingdom, who knows what could have happened if he could have held on for just another couple of years with a Welsh sovereign dealing with the Norman king resulting in no Norman lords of Glamorgan, Gwent and elsewhere, unfortunately that was not to be our destiny, then there was Llywelyn Fawr, Llywelyn ein Llyw Ola' who couldn't do for the Welsh what that other llyw did for the Chinese; then there was Owain Lawgoch who invaded the CHannel Islands on his way home only to be called back to help the eastern Friench in their war with the Angevin Empire and to be assassinated by a Scot taken into his confidence; then there was Glyndwr, a mighty royal Welshman but only a rebel lesser tenant in chief and a traitor in English eyes. Then as always was the Mab Darogan, this time it was Henry Tudor of dubious claim to the throne of England who conquered England with the help of (Sir) Rhys ap Thomas; the whole of the Welsh middle class built great mansions on former English estates; his son Arthur died, the intended rebirth of King Arthur of Britain, Henry Vlll took over the throne, annexed Cymru into England, we lost everything, we shouldn't really be in a state of existence, look at the former Welsh lands of Cumbria/Strathclyde. What are they proud to be today. THere's only one Welsh song that has any status in Brittany, except for the common national anthem, and it's Dafydd Iwan's 'Yma o Hyd, need I say more?
I was brought up in Merthyr town centre, roamed around the council estates and never heard a word of Welsh until I was accepted into the local grammar school at 11 years of age. My first day in the Welsh class our teacher asked how many pupils had a smattering of the language, about 5 or 6 children raised their arms, which took me completely by surprised because I didn't know that anyone in Merthyr spoke Welsh, so what's new? I'm a bit in the situation of Frank Hennessy, that until Ronnie Williams took him on a journey around Cymru (Wales) he didn't realize that there were still Welsh speakers in the country.

Caerdydd!

Just to be clear about this; when did Cardiff end being a little town in Wales, and when did Wales become a little part of Cardiff?; oh yes I955, when a Welsh town, of no previous value became, with a limited historical veracity or credibility allowed circumstances to dictate that after it took the iron & coal from Merthyr, Aberdare; then later the Rhondda, after outgrowing its boots, asked the Queen of England (I wrote King earlier on, seemed so long ago, but it was very recent) if it could become the capital based on its wealth & size, and was accepted. It became the most important town of Glamorgan, which for Glamorgan meant the same thing as most important in Wales, Gwynedd people have always seen it differently, so has Dyfed. Too late now to change the status quo and for the Welsh themselves to decide our own capital city, it would have been nice to have been asked in a national plebiscite, but except in sporting terms we weren't yet a nation, not fully grown and mature, which by the way we are still not!

Integration

Families integrated, as we see in the non-Welsh family names, there was assimilation, there never was any assimilation in Merthyr, except for when we all became Welsh rugby supporters, but only the satellite villages kept their language in a majority until the twenties, the Rhondda miners, a town that didn't even exist until the 1850s spoke Welsh, southern Pembroke never spoke Welsh, in fact for Dewi Sant to communicate with them he had to have spoken Gaelic before they became Flemish! I agree with you Gareth that there is only immigration, there is no inmigration, it was an effort, unfortunately perhaps, to distinguish between three related arguments, Christian English, non-Christians, and open gate Europeans. I KNOW THAT WE ARE LOSING OUR CULTURE, but we have more defences now than we've had since Arthur. Henry Vlll arbitrarily rearranged the borders and annexed the country so that our Tudor supporting middle class built their manor houses in England, conquered by the Welsh, who up till the Tudors were ruled by the French Plantagenets. Britishness was taken to England, 'that red haired Welsh harlot" ruled over the island, her advisors were Welsh, e.g. the Seisyllts (Cecils). There has been a leak since the 16th century, and our first university since Llanilltud Fawr was built at Jesus college Oxford; Caernarfon was the biggest English community in Wales, only North Walians or Welsh learners speak Welsh in Cardiff today, it was colonised from the West Country. If Caernarfon & Bangor Usaf can be Welsh speaking now all is not lost. Welsh, or should I say Cymraeg, is an official language which is more than be said for French rule; the largest French border is at the Amazonian jungle, not with Germany or Italy. There is immigration and there is work to be done, but don't compare ourselves with people who have no chance; we can come through it, others are lost; the Bretons are losing 10,000 speakers every year! They are French, there's only one language in France!
Do we still give Christmas tips (there was a word for it but I can't remember) to the milkmen? My last milkman was Barry Taylor, big friend of mine, brother of Jennifer who married Philip Corke. Their parents kept the Masons' next to Eddie Thomas' gym on Penydarren High Street. Over here for many years we gave a tip to the post men when they brought us a calendar; I don't know whether or not they stopped doing it or whether they left me alone when I was out of work for three years. I'll find out this week probably.
How many people know that England was ruled by a western french family, the Plantagenets, until being taken over by a tenuous link to Wales, the Tudors, claiming England for the Welsh with a Red Dragon on the royal insignia and the first born son becoming a new Arthur king of the Britons. Unfortunately or not he never reigned, he was denied the royal Welsh succession/accession by his early death leading the way for his brother Henry Vlll to annex our country. Not for nothing was it famously written in the Encyclopaedia Britannica: for Wales see England. Now we are Cymru (Wales) again, we have a national identity for the first time in nearly 500 years. We were officially & legally English, we are not anymore, we have an autonomous government no matter how limited its powers; do we go down or up? Does it really depend on demographics when only once in our history we had a united Wales under a Welsh kingdom, Gruffudd ap Llywelyn, it's been a battle ever since the Irish and Northumbrians threw us out of Strathclyde and Cunedda came to Wales. We've always had a fight on our hands so what makes it anymore different now? I've got you, immigration! And after 2000 years you may be right! But we'll still have a rugby team even though you'll have to go to France to speak to them!

Friday, 20 December 2013

What about the language?

What about the Language? It's all very well to go to chapel in Welsh but with nothing on the streets, nor in the factories & offices, or to go to go dancing at a fest noz and waking up the following morning with a hang over and the French language. South Wales was a rich area, the cradle of the industrial revolution, the Rhondda miners spoke Welsh as a first language, Welsh was also the first language of Merthyr well into the twenties, the largest town in Wales a little earlier. Assimilation or protection? Do we want the Welsh language to survive and prosper, or don't we; as I see it most people don't! They are misguided, Wales is Cymru one of the oldest languages in the world with one of, if not, the oldest flag in Europe. The Brythonic army left its homeland in Wales & Cornwall to defend Gaul against the Visigoths on the Loire. Unfortunately we lost and were left wide open to attack from the Irish & the Germanic English, so many of us settled in Armorica which became Britain or Brittany. Now we are under a new attack, the native language is in danger from non-natives, more Welsh (Cymry) are speaking the language than for many years, but the percentage is down due to immigration. Sorry Gareth if it didn't get through to you what I was trying to say

Sorry Gareth

What about the Language? It's all very well to go to chapel in Welsh but with nothing on the streets, nor in the factories & offices, or to go to go dancing at a fest noz and waking up the following morning with a hang over and the French language. South Wales was a rich area, the cradle of the industrial revolution, the Rhondda miners spoke Welsh as a first language, Welsh was also the first language of Merthyr well into the twenties, the largest town in Wales a little earlier. Assimilation or protection? Do we want the Welsh language to survive and prosper, or don't we; as I see it most people don't! They are misguided, Wales is Cymru one of the oldest languages in the world with one of, if not, the oldest flags in Europe. The Brythonic army left its homeland in Wales & Cornwall to defend Gaul against the Visigoths on the Loire. Unfortunately we lost and were left wide open to attack from the Irish & the Germanic English, so many of us settled in Armorica which became Britain or Brittany. Now we are under a new attack, the native language is in danger from non-natives, more Welsh (Cymry) are speaking the language than for many years, but the percentage is down due to immigration. Sorry Gareth if it didn't get through to you what I was trying to say

Welsh! What's that?

How can we dislike foreigners when our whole Christian ethos is based upon a coloured man from the Middle East who couldn't speak a word of English (especially as English didn't exist for another 1400 years)? What a load of nonsense is spoken about immigrants destroying society as we know it. English upset the Welsh, Normans upset the English, French upset the Bretons. Basically we are talking about numbers upsetting the balance of what we know and respect; we are all immigrants, only time has brought us together, and I can't see the Eastern Europeans taking over, only sending a ripple as the Spanish, Irish and English did in Merthyr many years ago, in saying that, in Merthyr we are very content to be speaking English today, perhaps in a few years time we will be proud Roumanian speakers, these things happen; we've lost our Welsh and we seem to be happy enough it's called assimilation, we Welsh are experts at it whether in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada or wherever; we move on, the world doesn't stand still so why should Britain. Follow the Welsh example, open your doors and shut your windows on the world, become multi-cultural when Cardiff is just down the road, there's no need to be mono-lingual any more; St. David himself spoke Latin, Gaelic & Welsh; sorry, what was that, Welsh! what's that?

Perceptions

Our so called 'traditions' that through non-conformism spawned our choirs but lost us our dances and most of our instruments except for the harp ruined our culture, no dancing and singing unless it was praise be to 'God' and this superstition is still continuing in so much as even though the chapels and 'worshipping', what a word! is declining, our music is still more adapted to the chapels and prayers than it is to dancing (Devil's work). And I mean good old barn dances where everything was cleared out for the seasonal festivities. Now we are known throughout the 'world' (big word) for clichés such as the quality of our choirs, our rugby limited as it is to the British Empire' and a few more who have the audacity to refer to the 'World Cup' (mind you cricket 'world cup' is even worse); our soccer has too much competition, something our rugby doesn't suffer. We weren't the only country to have had coal miners but it's become a cliché. Scotland isn't the only country in Europe to have bagpipes & kilts and stout isn't an Irish drink, but they aren't perceived as clichés and it works for them! Is it that their respective self-awareness of their own identity outweighs the clichés whereas we in Wales have such a low self esteem that it only carries us through as a nation to a rugby match in Cardiff. We have to explain that we are neither Scottish, nor English, nor Irish, even though we have a heritage second to none, and that the founding saints of Brittany were born here, as was the founder of Donetsk in the Ukraine, plus some of the most famous Hollywood stars, entertainers & poets. But we shouldn't have to keep on repeating ourselves, we should be able to stand up equal to anyone on the world stage, so why doesn't it happen and why aren't we known outside the Commonwealth? A big problem is that once we drop our language we assimilate, something that the Scots & Irish don't do!

No Matter!

May I say that there was a Jewish sandal wearing Arab hippy whom we are told claimed to be the son of 'God', perhaps he was drugged, but as in the legends of Arthur these stories were embellished and written down centuries later, the Roman Empire eventually got them to us in Wales. Think about it; we are now complaining about foreign infiltration when for two thousand years we've been under Middle Eastern propaganda that we would never heard of in the first place if we had never been occupied by the Romans. So what if Roumanians, Hungarians, Czechs and so on come into the country; there are so many of us speaking English now and taking it on as our first language that these people are just ripples, and ripples after the stone has been thrown initially always find their way back to the calm waters, even if we still have to wait a while. Wales has a defensive system in that is becoming an autonomous country insomuch that it's the Welsh in the long run who will eventually decide their destiny, that is if it's not to late to defend its language & culture, then what would it matter, we wouldn't be more Welsh than the People of Strathclyde who have no longer any memories of ever having been Welsh, and the Cumbrians of old. For those non political sports fanatics, it was almost too late for our reborn Welsh football (soccer), will it be too late for our rugby? Will it be too late anyway? Are we on the road to a collective euthanasia? No matter; for the moment we can still put on our red, go down to Cardiff and imagine that we're a nation, get pissed and vote Labour.

Friday, 6 December 2013

R.I.P.

In political terms Neil Kinnock put the 'lower' into 'class; he wasn't accepted, nothing to do with his being Welsh, although 'Welsh windbag' was a convenient alliteration; Margaret Thatcher put 'middle' into 'class' and because of it she was not liked by the main stream of her 'Party'; now we are back to the Dickensien 'ancien régime' where England and her Welsh & Scottish satellites are ruled by the 'upper' class Eton educated millionaires. We believe we have a democratic choice, even though the opposition is a Labour Party of class conscious wannabees, but least there is a choice, limited as it is. In the US of A there's no pretension, even a millionnaire doesn't have enough money outside his campaigns. Which brings me to my point that in South Africa a blackman came out of prison to completely transform the politics of his country, he created a 'Rainbow Country' out of former White supremacist rule, a true revolution, not a stone's ripple in a pond. The world watched as a right wing apartheid régime was brought down peacefully. After having unjustly wasted most of his life in prison there was no animosity on his part, no grudges, he just got on with it. He was a hero to everyone who believes in justice. There will be very many sad people tonight, but there will also be many high level crocodile tears at his funeral.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Breton Entity

The French government under Petain collaborated with the Nazis to the extent that they loaded the trains with Jews, and we know where that lead them. Some Bretons saw the the opportunity to be liberated from the French, but what happened later made the French worse than the Gestapo, the Bretons were persecuted, even primary school teachers of the language were condemned to prison, Breton and anything to do with it was not allowed (and we think we Welsh have problems). Even the very idea of Brittany as an entity couldn't be supported by the French Jacobins to whom the integrity of the French state took precedence. De Gaulle from his seat in London was allowed by the Allies to lead the free French into Paris, then in his arrogance his previous aid was forgotten. He was not the favoured French General neither of the Americans nor Churchill and he never forgot it (which I suppose is a slightly different point, no matter).

Friday, 18 October 2013

It was the Plantagenets who built the wall of castles, not the so called Anglo-Normans. What is an Anglo-Norman? There were Angles & Saxons who shared the crown of Britain before England became a part of the Danish empire, consolidating themselves as English before being defeated by the Normans. Our king Gruffudd ap Llywelyn was killed by his own men in 1063, who knows what could have happened if he'd held on for another 3 years. England lost to the Normans in 1066. William didn't bother us (The Cymry (Welsh) that is, a third of his army was Breton, Welsh speakers 'returning home' whom he settled on the borders of Cymru (Wales). William Rufus, his son' opened the floodgates allowing his barons to cross the border beginning at Chepstow creating the Marcher Lordships, they kept their own laws independent of the king, yet allowed Welsh autonomy. The Normans intermarried with the Plantagenets thereby creating the Angevin empire. Not only is there no such thing as Anglo-Normans but the north Walian ring of castles was not built by the 'Anglo-Normans', but rather by the Plantagenet Edward I, king of a European empire based in Aquitaine, speaking neither English nor Norman but Occitan. The Plantagenets were eventually overthrown in 1485 by the Welshman Henry Tudor. Bynn Walters There were the Cymry (Britons, or in the Germanic languages of the time 'Welsh) who ruled the land from the borders of Caledonia (Strathclyde or Ystrad Clud) to 'Lands End' before for historical reasons crossing to Armorica renaming the land 'Llydaw/Breizh/Brittany. The Northumbrian Angles (Germans) fought many battles against the Strathclyde 'Welsh' & the Gwynedd 'Welsh, sometimes winning, sometimes losing. At the same time the Irish of Dalreada expanded into Welsh territory pushing us against the Germanic invaders creating a Brythonic exile to the north of our present Cymru (Wales). Towards the end of the 7th century we lost our crown but have fought back ever since to hold on to a semblance of a country and a semblance of pride. Taliesin's 6th c. prophecy was that we would lose our land (except Wild Wales) but not our language, yet there are people in Wales today who want to see us losing our language and with it an ancient heritage? I say shame on them.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Our History

As was once Brythonic & Caledonian up there in the north, it is interesting to measure, calculate, delineate, or even devine the approach of the Gaels from Dalreada, and/or Ireland, how the Gaels intermarried with the Picts whose descendance was through the female line, for how long they continued to exist, apparently Macbeth was a Pict; and the eventual assimilation, or conquest, of the Northern Welsh pincered between the Irish invaders from the west and the Northumbrian Angles from the east. End of the Northern Welsh & the beginning of the Germanic hegemony followed by Norman rule in Scotland & England, baronial rule in the Welsh Marches with autonomous Princeps, before everything was absorbed into the Anjevin Empire & the reign of the French Plantagenets that only came to an end in 1485 with the Earl of Richmond, Henry Tudor becoming Henry Vll realizing Myrddin's (Merlin's) prophesy that the Red Dragon would once again take the crown of Britain, Arthur once more to take the throne, unfortunately he died at an early age leaving his younger brother to take his place, we all know what that led to, the greatest dynasty of the English and the end of Cymru & another assimilation. Britain stayed in Armorica, England took over Wales' history, then in 1707 another Great Britain was born with the union of Scotland & England. Is this the end or do we have a future and not just a past?

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Laboured

Am I stupid? That was rhetorical, don't answer; I've heard that the Labour Party is looking to be harder on aid for the out of work than the Conservative Party; this is so cruelly simplified in that they are looking for votes for the people in work who are disgusted at seeing rents paid for, new cars bought etc. for their neighbours who are taking home more than themselves at the end of the week/month. The members of the government that will now be capping benefits are multi-millionaires! To resolve the question of a country in debt is not easy, but one thing is sure, it's not the multimillionaires of the Conservative Party who will be suffering in the near future or ever. Shame on the Labour Party that they want to turn the screw on their own as a vote getter to use seemingly simple righteous or moral arguments, which are nothing of the sort, to turn neighbour against neighbour up in the working mens' clubs using petty jealousies that will cost them in the end. The Labour Party was created by the 'Unions' to help the 'working class'. If the English are not careful they will be governed forever by a class out of control whilst the Scots & Welsh will be waving them goodbye. P.S. It isn't right that certain types are taking advantage of a state given generosity, but divide & rule by Eton types is not the answer, and the Labour Party should know better.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité; Who are They Kidding?

Just food for thought, as are most of my offerings: A Welshman is equal to an Englishman so long as he leads an Anglicized life; a Basque is equal to a Castillan so long as he lives the Castillan version of Spanish life; a Kurd is equal to an Ottoman Turk so long as he accepts his subservience; I used to read C.D. comic books during the 60s, they were always showing how the 'Red Indians' (Native Americans), could participate in the 'American' way of life once they dropped their 1000s of years history and joined the 'human race'; and Bretons are welcome to become French so long as they change their crazy ideas. Equality is there for us all at at a price that is so cheap to pay that it is easily acceptable. Market forces work in wondrous ways and we are all susceptible. We open our eyes to blindness and are happy not to see! To expand on this: some Bretons don't like the idea of speaking French all the time, some do; some Welsh don't like that once they leave the house they are forced into speaking a foreign language, it doesn't bother the majority who close their eyes to the fact that they've been so subsumed that they don't even see it as a foreign language anymore and who fight against their own heritage without an inkling that we are able to speak more than one tongue "the dragon has two tongues", the only trouble with that is that it gives an idea of not choice but conflict, when in reality we can accept multiple cultures and more than one language. English was a threat to Welsh for centuries so how the hell that Welsh people think that the Welsh language is a threat to English in Wales beggars belief especially that mono-lingualism is a state propaganda thing of the past. I was on my way out of my pub but had to come to comment that when one's hero decries a whole history & cultural heritage, when hardly anyone speaks the language anymore, one doesn't have to look to the 'Red Indians' (native Americans), one can look closer to home, when Aneurin Bevan stated 70 years ago "there are no Welsh problems, only problems, then we can see that the the monk on the borders of the Severn 1600 years ago on hearing a foreign Germanic language approaching had every reason to be worried. Romans; Germans; Vikings; Danes; Normans; Angevins; when your own man tells you that there are no Welsh problems only problems then you are assimilated worse than any tribes, but the worse thing is, not that you don't know it but that you are proud of it!!! The French subdue all their minorities, even to the extent that they refuse to ratify the charter of human rights concerning minority languages. I have Flemish French friends who have to take their children to Belgium to be educated. It just seems that things don't seem to be right in Wales. After centuries of oppression of the natural culture/language of the country. I am being told that Monmouthshire wasn't Welsh, when Welsh was spoken as far as the Clyde in Scotland it's a totally ridiculous argument, I'm just for fairplay for all, and I think that we can do our bit to raise our culture, even though perhaps most people still won't know that we had the greatest romantic poets of the middle ages. I think that we have a duty to ourselves. The problem is the lack of acknowledgement that it is WE OURSELVES who are being hurt. Of course if through any reason that 'we' do not accept that is 'we' who are being harmed then that is the end of the matter and 4000 thousand years of history goes down the drain. Some of you may be right in asking what right do I have having moved out 34 years ago to criticize you who are living there, especially as I was a Saturday night pub drinker, night club dancer & occasional fighter without many ideas on Welsh culture, but then I began reasoning; how was it that I was an English speaker in an area that had never known that language. I began a mobile Welsh library, a mobile Welsh disco, I set up my own Welsh language classes, got involved in local politics, and even became a trades union activist. Socialism & patriotism with a 'Welsh' (thousands of years earlier than England, with our own egalitarian laws) and not 'English' aspect. My hero and yours Aneurin Bevan turned his back on his country - Cymru (Wales) and I was with him until I realized that yours, his, and my country was being underdone for 'the greater good'. For circumstances beyond my control!! I now have 3 grandchildren in a 'foreign' country, but there again I live in Brittany where more people understand 'Cymraeg' than in Ebbw Vale. We have a greater problem than over there insomuch as the French government does not allow for its minority cultures. Paradoxically if I had my way I would take away the red shirts (all the sports) and then how Welsh would you be? If you think we've got it bad in Cymru (Wales), which is not to say we haven't, although some people are trying to turn things on their head in their blind & bigoted rejection of their own language; I'm drinking a glass of beer now with a Breton, younger than I am, brought up with his grandparents knowing one language, Breton, only to be caned in school for his ignorance, then to be caned again for writing with his left hand!!! This was the late 1950s when Cymraeg was beginning to be taught again. France has one people with one language! 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity'; They can't kid us anymore!!!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

England, What England?

The Mid-West, North, & South-West of the country we now call England is undoubtedly Celtic. The country shouldn't be called England as the Germanics who landed there and who lent it their name after the heptarchie became united was conquered by the Vikings of the mouth of the Seine whom we call 'Normans', so the name 'England' should have disappeared with the conquest! Then there was the Angevin empire of which England was but a minor party, and the Plantagenet French wh ruled the country until the Welsh Tudors took over at the end of the 15th century; England, what England?

Our Heritage

Just been informed that Huw Lewis is our new education secretary. One of Neil Kinnock's disciples, as are most of the 'valleys' A.M.s; doesn't bode well for our language & heritage. When one thinks back to when the Vale was invaded by the Normans the valleys managed to keep the native language & laws with little interference. At least getting on doesn't necessarily mean getting out any more, and we are an officially bi-lingual country. A lack of objective education over the last 100 years or so has people believing that English (or Wenglish in its transitional form) is the language of the valleys, whereas in reality it's only become the prime medium of expression in Merthyr for example since the '20s, and in some parts of the borough only since the 60s. Unbelievable to listen to some people from the western valleys wantonly replacing their heritage & culture with that of a neighbouring country, throwing out thousands of years of history & literature; shame that the only world renowned Welsh poets such as the two Thomases, R.S. & Dylan were the first to write in that foreign Germanic/Latin tongue we refer to as English; without Cymraeg (Welsh) we wouldn't hear of perhaps the greatest romantic poet of the middle ages - Dafydd ap Gwilym. But there again it isn' our language is it; what blatant propagandist non-historic nonsense. I can only despair at such a wanton denial of a heritage that gave us Roman emperors, the second Pope, the first university; romantic poets of the middle ages, all before the English language existed. A heritage second to none that we shouldn't be afraid to shout about from the roof-tops & the hills (obviously we wouldn't) but where's the education, and who's the new education minister? I repeat 'I despair."

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Another Fantastic Evening

What a fantastic evening with wonderful music; pity there weren't more people, improvised as it was. Tourists are starting to dribble in, Germans from Stuttgart yesterday, some cyclists are calling in to get out of this miserable weather, namely 3 men last friday who'd just cycled up from Foret de Fouesnant on their way to Uhelgoat; they approached the bar, and in their best French ordered a few beers, and in my best valley accent I advised the boys from Abercarn, Blackwood & Pontllanffraith which were the best choices available, having as I do the best beers of the region, if not further. Dumbfounded as they were on finding out that I'm from Merthyr we had a little chat, especially the bit about the one from Abercarn organizing a do in the local rugby club with Max Boyce who made them proud with a mention in one of his most famous rugby trip songs about 'The Boys From Abercarn'. Loads of live music since the reopening with a few quiet days, not being near any towns I'm fortunate in that people come so far out of their way. The beer I sell is artisanal (craft) therefore not of the 'popular sort', it doesn't go down well with the local farmers who prefer the gassy chemical sort of beer that they've been brought up with, but it does attract customers from all over the country, so I took a gamble to give up the majority of the locals and instead to have a minority of every town & village in Brittany (& elsewhere), only time will (eventually) tell.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Nomers

Looking at the 'genets' on my raised chimney got me thinking that If the Plantagenets were really English kings and not just kings of an England which was part of the greater Angevin Empire the 'Brooms' would have been on the throne instead, and the Tudors who followed them would have been the 'Merediths' if Owain had chosen his father's and not his grandfather's patronym on moving to England.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Breton Culture in the Bar

What a fantastic evening last friday in the bar; story tellers and singers from the locality, including a choir, entertained a packed pub in the Breton tongue, the true (together with Gallo in the Eastern part) but unofficial language of this country, with the bonus of contributions from Katell Kloarec & Lleuwen Steffan giving a bit of cultural diversity with their bi-lingual offerings, once again placing Cymraeg (Welsh) next to Brezhoneg (Breton) in fraternal empathy.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Missing Gesture of Solidarity

I'm restarting at zero, some people are helping me begin to decorate the bar, and my first beers are on credit, BUT, CREDIT AGRICOLE (my bank) in 2010 telephoned me with a gesture of solidarity, which was an advance of a sum of money, half of which was to help me in my troubles, and the other half to be kept back for the reopening. Now there's been a change of staff resulting in nobody knowing anything about it! At the moment I've managed to get 1/3 of the sum they've agreed to give me which is 3/5 of the sum promised. Come on Credit Agricole, keep to your word.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Dydd Gwyl Dewi Sant & Pub Renovation

Grand party to celebrate the rising of the phoenix from the ashes on its meeting with the dragon of Cymru/Wales on the day of the Patron Saint David/Dydd Gwyl Dewi Sant, March 1 (2 & 3) for the reopening of 'Tavarn Ty Elise' after 3 years of closure, at Plouie (Plouye), Finistere, Brittany.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Pub Reopening

March 1/2/3: Fête of Welsh/Breton bar, Tavarn Ty Elise, Plouie (Plouye), reopening after 3 years of forced closure due to incendie, coinciding with Welsh national festival of Saint David/Dydd Gwyl Dewi Sant. Music & dance over 3 days accompanied by mesdemoiselles Ambrée, Blonde, and Stout, there for your pleasure.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Merthyr Town AFC

Another Welsh association football team playing in the English pyramid and doing well, they're in the shadow of the four others, that's because they've drifted out of the spotlight into the nether regions. They have crucial gêms coming up against their promotion rivals, hoping to go up a division for a third successive year. I've followed them since I can remember because my gran used to live opposite, below Penydarren House in Trevethick St., we'd play where there were once bluebells in the grounds of the old Homfray mansion, and where F.A. Cup Final referee Leo Callaghan & others built their bungalows after the council knocked the house down; before we lost our childrens' football pitches where our coats served as goalposts, on a saturday afternoon we'd hear a murmur, walk through the skeletal house to see what was happening, and sneak in through a hole in the fence to see a real football match. Back in the fifties when clubs were voted into the Football League they were the best team in the land for years outside of it & the top Scottish clubs, but no matter how many times they applied they couldn't get the votes. In the end they couldn't get back to where they once were in the 1920s when they played against Aberdare in the 3rd Division South, so after years of frustration from banging their heads against a wall they slipped to their current position. After a lot of trouble & financial strife they seem to have got themselves back into the groove and are moving in the right direction, ask Owen Money. Up, up, up The Martyrs.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Dylan Thomas

Pol Huellou got in touch with me today about the launching of a project 'Dylan Thomas, his Wales & his family' that will see poetry recitals in French together with excerpts from the autobiographies of his wife, Caitlin, and daughter, Aeronwy, accompanied and/or followed by music to be staged with a strong possibility at the bar on Sun. May 12. Watch this space. He also sent me 2 c.ds, one a volume of songs sung by the late Liam Weldon in collaboration with Pol, they toured together for 15 years, Liam once brought a 17 years old Davy Spillane to the bar with him back in the pub's very beginning about 34 years ago; the second, a poem 'Si la musique doit mourir' by the Tunisian poet Tahar Bekri, in 6 different languages, it is available through the internet on: iTunes; Deezer; Amazon, etc. In the meantime, today I drank a beer at the bar for the first time since Feb. 18 2010, THREE YEARS AGO, things are looking up, I expect to see a few of you on Saturday for an informal drink and a chat, but the pub isn't completed yet, so don't you expect too much, the opening day with festivities is March 1.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Paris Trip 2013

Today I noticed that my domesticated wild daffodils are beginning to flower. As you all know I'm almost back in my bar so 3 days ago I decided to have a last fling and drive to Paris. I put 38euros worth of petrol in my old car thinking correctly that a vehicule that can get me to the Algarve in the south of Portugal can get me there no problem, and hoping that it would be enough because my budget was very tight with a limited amount of money at hand, but not to worry because the little amount spent would be reimbursed on opening day of the pub, whether provisional or official. This may be my last chance to meet old friends who follow rugby but who don't visit Brittany, I expect that after 3 years of unemployment I will be at the bar till I drop. I drove through the centre of Brittany, I could have gone through Saint Brieuc but I chose Loudeac, the roads converge near Saint Méen le Grand anyway and continue to the motorway tollgate on approaching Laval where I got my ticket at the entrance to show at the exit, it rained all the way and in some places there was fog. At the end near Paris I put the ticket in the machine to calculate the kilometers travelled followed by my bank card; with a queue building behind me my card was refused, strange because I'd already used it to fill my tank with petrol, a lady came across, looked at it, and told me that my type of card was not accepted with no further explanation. I drove on to Paris driving around with my petrol tank emptying trying to find a free parking space, impossible, I didn't want to waste my money nor time nor petrol so I ended up taking a risk, which got me a parking ticket and a 35euros fine to pay later instead of a 26euros parking fee to pay straightaway. I parked near the Eiffel Tower that meant my crossing the Seine (took four tourist photos from the bridge and one at the tower)to catch the Metro leading to my destination, Corcoran's Irish bar, just a little way from the Place de Clichy station, knowing that I'd meet up with the people and the ambiance I was searching. I totally upset my timetable & my budget but it was worth it, I met friends of friends from my next street, and from Rhymney, friends of Mogsy of MTRFC & The (in)famous Wyndham Arms on Glebeland St. who introduced me to Coombes the new forward from Merthyr's father, others introduced me to Robert Jones a former Welsh scrum half. Great atmosphere, it was an Irish pub but behind the bar there was an Argentinian, Bulgarian, Englishman and the Dutch barman who was working there the last time I visited, who shook my hand before I left telling me he was happy to see me again. Before I got back there on the saturday I lost my way after the Arc de Triomphe while time was getting on, I stopped the car to ask someone and it couldn't have been more simple; drive to the peripheral road, continue to the Porte de Clichy, turn off and straight on to Place de Clichy where I parked my car in a multi-story before rejoining the pub with a little time to spare. I drank with the earlier crowd from Rhymney, a couple who were cousins to Philip Joll the opera singer from Cyfarthfa School & Gellifaelog Tce and Robert his brother an ex policeman who went to the same sunday school as I did, big friends of Philip Beynon, cousin of Jane, who married my friend Malcolm, and Alan who used to unmercifully bully him in school, and if I remember rightly whose father died in the Aberfan disaster, and uncle re-established Merthyr Rugby Club after the war. I watched the match and went through the emotions, until the referee blew for the end of the match (incredibly we'd won in Paris after one of the worst records in our history of 8 straight defeats), in a round with a group of boys, 3 of whom were Parisians, the fourth was an ex-college international from Ferryside who played in the same side as a young James Hook, went to Paris as a chef, married a Finnish dancer working at the Moulin Rouge, had their first child in Finland and are now both back working in Paris. I met a man with his wife at the bar who worked for a year in Lloyd's Bank, Merthyr, before I left I paid with my card. Sunday I left the multi-story car park, ticket followed by card, same principle as the toll but this time was successful. I drove up to Porte de Clichy on red where I knew there was a petrol station, ordered my petrol on the 24h pump, put in my card but it was refused. My petrol gauge was almost on red, I was on the outskirts of Paris sitting in my car in the snow in a nightmare situation not knowing what to do next, was it my card? because I paid with it in the pub and the car park, or was it because there was no more money in my account? Someone asked me if I was going to move off, I explained my situation, he wished me good luck, after I'd driven off to a bleak immediate future I realized that I could have made a cash exchange for the use of his card, but now it was too late. I'd taken a calculated risk but had I miscalculated? With a sickly feeling I drove on in a westerly direction only guessing I was on the right road, I was on the motorway with no sign for Rennes, there was one for Rouen, I wisely decided against, it was snowing, I could see myself stopping on the side of the road and hitch hiking in the snow with my petrol can in hand to the next services, I drove on with one eye constantly on the gauge scared of what might come about, until, I believe these things are sent to test us, I espied a petrol station up on the right; I left the motorway still not to sure what was going to happen, I filled my tank, as I was so doing a swarthy stranger came up to me and said "are you Bernard Walters", bloody hell I'm famous, even known here on the outskirts of Paris; oh no, there's been a serious accident in the family and the police are out looking for me; "this is your credit card, you dropped it." I gratefully took back my card, went inside to pay and mercifully this time it worked. I had a close look at it, it didn't look any different to any other card, but in small print it said 'ELECTRONIC USE ONLY'. I asked the way to Brittany, I was on the right road straight on, thank goodness for that, but the weather was filthy, snow in Paris, then sleet for a long way and rain & fog until almost in Brittany where it was night but clear, then against the odds I got lost again outside Rennes, taking the Lorient instead of the Brest/Saint Brieuc road, unbelievable, lost in the centre of Paris, lost on the way out, and now lost in Brittany, a country I know well, Unbelievable because the last time I went to Paris in my car it went off perfectly, without error. I drove around central Brittany, just avoiding an accident, clipping a roundabout I didn't see until the last moment, watching the petrol gauge descend until I saw a sign for Merdrignac knowing that the road would get me to Loudeac, Rostrenen, Carhaix and home to bed. Got out of bed today and saw the yellow buds of my wild daffodils. Although the whole journey was misjudged and potentially ill-judged it was however all well worth it. Now for the pub, beer pumps installation in the morning.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

'The King's Grey Mare'

In Rosemary Hawley Jarman's book mentioned earlier it was Lord Stanley, and not as I was taught, Rhys ap Thomas who placed the crown "...with great drama and reverence..." on the head of Henry Tudor, the Earl of Richmond, in the field after Henry had finished wetting himself and had turned to vomit that "none saw", "...; not through any squeamishness..." mind you; although she has it both ways - "Let it be over quickly, and let none see my fear.", and it was Henry and not Richard III who had the 'princes in the tower' murdered, but gradually the Tudors come into their own: "Jasper will breed for us a Dragon, Of the fortunate blood of Brutus is he, A Bull of Anglesey to achieve, He is the hope of our race..." There is one little slip up that's hardly worth mentioning, but I will anyway, where the proof reader couldn't cope with the Welsh, for just after writing 'Maredudd' correctly we get 'Marredud! He/she could have conferred; but fair play to her the end of the book mainly belongs to Henry VII. "He knew himself the offspring of gods and princes...,"The Dragon was so powerful, with its rippling body and serpentine tail, its fierce gory colour. "He sat still calling up his ancestors. The great Uther Pendragon and his greater son, Arthur, not dead but sleeping under green banners and silence. Down through a female line, past Owen, the dreamers and warriors of Wales; through Llewellyn, Rhys, Gruffydd, Owain, Maredudd, Hywell (sic), to the misted splendour of Cadell, Rhodri, Merfyn, and last, the Lady Ethil, of the Isle of Man." "That Tudor must destroy Plantagenet,... One by one , until , as the dying Cadwallader prophesied, we are supreme in England, ..." "Arthur had come again. The token of greatness fleshed; the prophesy fulfilled." "...he had received the blessing of God,...and possibly Cadwallader, for whom he was very nearly named." "He (Henry)leaned over the swaddled, grizzling infant and whispered in Welsh; whispered of Llewellyn, of Gladis, of Merfyn and Rhodri, of Iorwerth and Gruffydd, of Iago and Cynan; of Noah." "I will have a realm that my son can rule with the grace of Uther Pendragon, of Llewelyn the Great." The king's grey mare died yesterday, long live His Majesty King Henry VII and Prince Arthur. For the sake of God, the catholic church and Cymru/Wales don't have a second son.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Stammering Start

Reminder: Digor betek-gouzout/Agoriad dros dro/Ouverture provisoire/Provisional opening: sad/sam/sat;sul/dim/sun 16/17-02-2013, but the following for the real opening: http://www.facebook.com/events/328239657292001/?ref=22

Pub in Need

Anything to do with a pub that you're not using bring it over; I used to have a 'Bass' & a 'Guinness' mirror, pumps that pulled half pint measures, Welsh plaques; dart board (I haven't decided on that yet, nobody plays); don't forget that I'm starting from scratch and I'm living in a country with no pub culture, these things would be difficult to get even if I had money. Anything you can think of, like bar mats, beer mats I can get, that add to the atmosphere of a traditional pub. There are so many places closing that there must be stuff lying around in the breweries going spare.

Kernewek

It's fascinating looking at Kernewek (Cornish vocabulary) as a sort of intermediary between Cymraeg (Welsh) & Brezhoneg (Breton) e.g.: bora (C. Voc. bore), m., dawn, morn; replaced in M. Cor. by myttyn. In Breton morning can be 'beure' or 'mintin' depending on the region. At first glance it looks as though 'mintin' is a corruption of the French 'matin' until one notices 'myttyn'?

Tudor Ancestry

'The King's Grey Mare' by Rosemary Hawley Jarman, p.208 - Queen Elizabeth wife of Edward V is at Ludlow Castle with the future Edward VI, she is chatting to Lady Margaret Beaufort who brings her son's name into the conversation - 'I believe your Grace has never seen my son,' she said. 'My Henry Tudor. Descended,' she said proudly, from (wait for it) the royal house of France.' His Welsh Tudor forefathers airbrushed from history. Is there some small comfort they get out of pushing Cymru/Wales aside, is it arrogance, is it ignorance?; that is definitely not the sentence I was expecting, but there again.......

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Contemplating

Went to the brewery this afternoon to sort things out for the re-opening, everything o.k. Had a meal with friends in Scaer, decided to drive on to Kemperle (Quimperle) to finish the evening, lost button off my trousers, first time for years that I haven't worn a belt, trousers kept slipping, drove home early. During my meal I heard something interesting, never really contemplated it "if the Breton communists had their way Stalin would have marched on to Brest". France was in a mess, the government allied itself to the Nazis, De Gaulle the self appointed saviour of the French nation called the country to arms, it was mainly the Bretons who responded, other Bretons saw their opportunity to liberate their country, Brittany that is; the free French fought against the French army in the Middle East, Far East & North Africa, De Gaulle from his offices in London tortured his unbelievers, other French who didn't see him as their leader; he was thought by Churchill & Roosevelt to be a megalomaniac not to be trusted while they worked with other French generals active in the field, in Brittany there were patriots wearing German uniforms, communists killing the perceived enemy, the Maquis bombing the German army and on every Breton village square the German reply was the machine gunning of the local male populace. The allies defeated the Nazis, De Gaulle marched in to a liberated Paris, Bretons were jailed, the more extreme either executed or became 'persona non grata', they had their citizenship stripped from them that ironically they never wanted, but their couldn't look to their own 'country' for help, it was left to the Welsh to bombarde Paris with letters on their behalf, some went to their Brythonic brothers in Cymru but were forced to move on to their Gaelic cousins in Ireland. Algeria was given its independence, much against the will of the military right wingers who saw Algeria as a constituent part of France much the same as Brittany etc. De Gaulle said that where France was concerned he was neither left nor right but above, and he never forgot his countries liberators, Churchill was vetoed out of Europe and the Americans were kicked out of France.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Re-opening

I didn't want customers choosing their music, I wanted a free flow so I'd tell them that it's not a juke box, I preferred to let it roll as with dice, guaranteeing something new everytime, but on a shuffle, not knowing which was coming up next, but after the re-opening I'll allow access to possibly the largest juke box in Brittany. http://www.last.fm/user/BynTyElise?utm_s Tavarn Ty Elise, Plouye, Breizh/Llydaw/Brittany An uncommonly large amount of Breton, Welsh & Irish music together in one collection, but otherwise very eclectic and getting larger every day. It will be re-organized into categories and sorted for the pub re-opening as not every track here will be suitable for a convivial pub atmosphere. On the other hand, as previously mentioned, if it's anywhere in the collection and you want to hear it it will be played for you. When is the opening date? http://www.facebook.com/events/328239657292001/ Tavarn Ty Elise, ail-agoriad/eil-digoradur/re-opening/re-ouverture 1 March 79 people are going

The Merediths

By the 15th c.the Welsh were on the cusp of choosing the English form of surname, one of the earliest examples is 'Tudor', chosen by Maredudd ap Tudur for his son Owain; on moving to London he decided to change his son's name from the Welsh form of Owain ap Maredudd to Owen Tudor, jumping back a generation to Owain's grandfather, Owen was Henry VII's paternal grandfather so if he, Maredudd, hadn't made that decision then the English wouldn't have had that most famous of 'English royal dynasties - The Tudors, but would have been ruled over by the Merediths, can you imagine Mary & Elizabeth Meredith queens of England?

Friday, 25 January 2013

Jag

Watching 'Jag' on this St. Dwynwen's day, I doubt that the programme planners knew the significance but it was very apt and fitted my mood perfectly.

Happy! St. Dwynwen's day

For the girl of my dreams who has been imprisoned for life inside my brain, my consolation is that she can never leave me, BUT I wake up everyday without her by my side. Who knows, I might be doing the dishes or pulling a pint in my newly refurbished bar, I look up, and in she walks framed by the doorway with an aura about her, she joins me at the bar and catches my hand to take me with her on a long & pleasant journey, I look back and there I am lying on the floor motionless. It's been a long wait but we are together forever at last.

Fleeting Visit

Yesterday the sun called by fleetingly, first time that she's deigned to give us a visit since early October as far as I can recollect. I thought I'd go out today to thank her for her efforts and to praise her virtues, but too late I should have done it yesterday as she must have been in a hurry to carry on to farther climes, she's left without giving us any idea of when she'll be coming back. The last time I saw her was in Portugal where she seems far happier to spend her time annoyed less by her cousin rain who in turn appears far happier to spend his time amongst us in Brittany & Cymru (Wales), so much so that on occasion he asks his kinsman snow to join him.

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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