A night in Sarn Meyllteyrn

24 02 2011

Imagine the scene…

It’s a dark windy night and you’re in a Ford Fiesta making your way down the winding roads through Pen Llŷn ( the Llyn Peninsula). You drive through deserted villages where light pours out through bedroom windows as people shelter from the cold. Once you reach the next speed limit sign the streetlights are gone and you drive in complete darkness with only cat’s eyes in the road to guide you on your way.

You drive round a tight bend with a stone hump-bridge and then down a steep hill which curves into a hairpin bend, then back up a hill which takes you so high you can almost see Ireland. 

Finally you arrive at your destination, a bend in the road, and off it a road up a hill where you see a light shining at a doorway.  People loiter at the door of this pub in jovial spirits and they welcome you with thick North Walian accents. You walk inside to a room heaving with people and through to a back bar where people are dancing as if their life depended on it to this…

Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog – Merch y Mynydd (Daughter of the Mountain)

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The lazy weekend hangover

21 02 2011

I usually have one night out of a weekend, but with a weekend in Cardiff for the 6 nations match against Ireland fast approaching I decided to stay off the drink until then.

This morning I’m discovering that you can have a hangover without drinking.

I had lots of plans for the weekend – move my files from my old broken laptop to my new one, sort out my clothes and take some to a charity shop, scrub the bath and sink…and how much did I achieve? Zilch, zero, nada, nothing!

I stayed up late watching films then lay in through my alarm clock. I cooked lunch, decided to go to town to an art gallery and then spent a few hours cooking an elaborative dinner. None of these were on my ‘to do’ list and so I sit here thinking about the long list of things I need to achieve this week.

So much like a drink related hangover I’m left thinking “Why?” and regretting parts of my weekend, but thankfully my bank balance didn’t take its usual weekend hit.





What’s in a name?

27 01 2011



When I tell people my name outside Wales they usually respond with “WHAT?!” When I first left Wales as an innocent (“yeah right” some of you may exclaim) 18-year-old I went by the name Harry because the day I moved into our cramped student digs in East Anglia and introduced myself I was told “Well, you’ll have to change that because we can’t say it.” So Harry stuck and there was more than one occasion that I turned up for work through a bar staff temping agency that I was told “Oh, we were expecting a boy!”

These days I go by my full name and it gets butchered by people who haven’t heard my name before. When I moved to Ireland however the tables were turned and names like Aoife, Caoimhe and Caitríona had me flummoxed. I had to get people to say them for me and then I repeated them over in my head before I called any of these people.  So now I do have some sympathy for those poor people who see my name and call me Gdgasdtadiagdqwiwq. (They’re lucky they don’t have to call up and ask for my friend Llinos!)

Something interesting came up this week which led to me thinking – should a name be pronounced the correct way or the way the bearer of the name sees fit? A perfect example is Llywelyn: more often than not it’s pronounced Loo-El-un when the correct Welsh pronunciation is Llyw- el-in (Ll as in Llanelli). This week I heard of someone called Siân saying their name as Si-ann (si as in Simon). I was all ready for the “That’s not how you say it” rant, but then I thought, If she wants to say it that way then it’s her choice, isn’t it? I know more than one Irish person who grits their teeth when they hear the American singer Ciara say her name like it’s a large family car made by Ford, but should someone go up to her and say “Come on love, now that’s not how you say your name, so stop it!”

What do you think – would a rose pronounced any other way smell as sweet?





Dechrau 2011 / Starting 2011

3 01 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR

BLWYDDYN NEWYDD DDA

I´ve less than a week left here and I can truly say that I´ve fallen in love with Argentina.

The people are so kind and will go out of their way to help you, and the food is to die for – from the delicious grilled meats at the parrilla to the empaniadas which are sold almost everywhere. The countryside is breathtaking, like the lakes around Bariloche which you can swim in on a hot day and still be surrounded by the snow capped Andes. There´s just something about this country, it´s so laid back compared to home and all the stress I felt before I left is back in a forgotten baggage department in an airport in Europe.

It´s great to start a new year somewhere different – we certainly celebrated the New Year Argentinean style, drinking Dr Lemon and Gancia and dancing with young men before dragging ourselves home at 7am and crawling into bed before the midday sun.

Tomorrow we take a 24 hour bus journey from Esquel to Buenos Aires (forget your UK/ Irish coaches; these are like flying 1st class with chairs that become beds and champagne before you go to sleep). Then on Sunday I catch my first flight. I´ll be honest and say I don´t want to head home, especially when the weather here is in the 30s and at home the thermometer is near freezing. I can feel the post-travelling blues already creeping in.

Perhaps I´ve reawaken the traveler within me – 2011 should be an interesting year.





Christmas is coming / Mae’r Nadolig yn dod

8 12 2010

I’ve been walking in the snow singing Christmas carols to myself, mainly in Welsh (because those are what we learnt in school.) Here’s one of my favourites sang by Welsh band Brigyn (you might recognise it.) 

Rydw i wedi bod yn cerdded yn yr eira canu carolau Nadolig i fy hun. Dyma un o fy hoff ganeuon Nadolig gan Brigyn

English Translation:

The White Star is in a fist of steel,
And a shadow of a gun over Bethlehem,
No white angel singing “Hallelujah”.
Raising the walls, closing the doors,
Turning their backs on the value of the miracle,
So dark is the night on the streets of Palestine.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

There’s a barb-wire circling the cradle,
And a scar where once was the World’s creator,
Hope is weeping – on it’s knees.
Guilty – each and every one of us,
Holding Mankind’s coat –
While he destroys every trace of “Hallelujah”.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

The night is dark, The night is long,
Yet there are some that see the truth,
They know the message is more than words;
That from the darkness comes the dawn,
and the music brought the walls down.
There came the hour for us to sing, “Hallelujah.”

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.





Hotel Shampoo

8 11 2010

Gruff Rhys has amassed enough free shampoo bottles to build a hotel.

Gruff Rhys will be live in the Sugar Club, Dublin on Dublin on November 15th.




No place like home

28 10 2010