Archive for 2020

Lludd and the three plagues

March 30, 2020 0 Comments
Lludd and the three plagues

Lludd, son of Beli Mawr (‘Lud’ in English) is king of the Island of Britain, and a wise and successful ruler.  From his capital, Caer Lludd (London), he takes care of his subjects, housing them well and supplying them with ample food and drink.  One of his brothers, Llefelys, is king of France.  So begins […]

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Jazz recordings: gwallter’s top ten

March 27, 2020 0 Comments
Jazz recordings: gwallter’s top ten

A while ago I suggested ten favourite blues recordings you might try.  All of them were tracks I’d treasured, most for over forty years.  So here are ten more, this time old jazz favourites, in chronological order.  Actually, these are numbers three to twelve in my list, because my top choices, Billie Holiday and Lester […]

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A journey around my room

March 25, 2020 0 Comments
A journey around my room

One of the many effects of the coronavirus pandemic has been to put a stop to all but the shortest and most qualified kinds of walking.  But if social distancing means that your personal movement is restricted to walking around your own home (and garden, if you have one) and little more, that doesn’t mean […]

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Thucydides on the plague in Athens

March 13, 2020 0 Comments
Thucydides on the plague in Athens

In the bath the other morning I happened to catch an interview with the novelist Kamila Shamsie.  She was asked what books she’d want to have with her if the coronavirus forced her to self-isolate for a lengthy period.  She had some interesting choices.  And she recommended that, instead of raiding supermarkets for toilet rolls […]

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Darllen: a oes argyfwng?

March 7, 2020 0 Comments
Darllen: a oes argyfwng?

Ar 7 Mawrth dathlon ni Ddiwrnod y Llyfr unwaith eto, gyda digwyddiadau mawr mewn ysgolion, siopau llyfrau a  llyfrgelloedd.  Ond ar drothwy’r ŵyl, cyhoeddodd y National Literacy Trust (NLT) adroddiad brawychus sy’n dangos bod darllen er pleser wedi dirywio yn sylweddol unwaith eto yn y DU. Dim ond 25.8% o blant a phobl ifanc (oedran […]

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Grass for pillow: early Japanese travel poems

February 29, 2020 0 Comments
Grass for pillow: early Japanese travel poems

Last year Penguin published a selection of classical Japanese writings about travel.  Travels with a writing brush, edited by the Australian translator Meredith McKinney, didn’t receive much attention at the time, but it’s a wonderful and wonderfully varied introduction to poetry and prose written in Japan between the seventh and seventeenth centuries.  For anyone who’s […]

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Laura Cumming and Degas’ ‘The Bellilli Family’

February 22, 2020 1 Comment
Laura Cumming and Degas’ ‘The Bellilli Family’

Many people have praised Laura Cumming’s book On Chapel Sands: my mother and other missing persons (Chatto & Windus, 2019).  It begins, like a novel, with a sudden disappearance: of her three-year-old mother, in summer 1929, from a sunny beach on the Lincolnshire coast.  Like a detective story it pieces together what happened, and tries […]

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In defence of permanent institutions

February 14, 2020 1 Comment
In defence of permanent institutions

It’s a truism to say that the destruction of trust is at the heart of societal decline.  We’ve known for a long time that politicians come bottom, or close of bottom, in league tables of professions in whom the public has confidence.  It’s no surprise to find that, since the financial meltdown of 2008, bankers […]

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Llangeitho mewn lluniau

February 7, 2020 0 Comments
Llangeitho mewn lluniau

Digwydd bod yn Llangeitho y dydd o’r blaen, ac yn y pentrefan gerllaw, Capel Betws Lleucu.  Pentref digon tawel yw Llangeitho heddiw, ac fe welais neb bron ar y strydoedd.  Ond ganrif a hanner yn ôl roedd pethau’n wahanol: llawer mwy o bobl yn byw a gweithio yn yr ardal, llawer mwy o Gymraeg i’w […]

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Down the rabbit hole: an early example from Gower

January 31, 2020 0 Comments
Down the rabbit hole: an early example from Gower

Alice’s adventures in Wonderland – in Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript it was entitled Alice’s adventures under ground – is probably the best-known of all tales about a child passing through a hole or tunnel in the ground to reach another world populated by strange, small creatures.  It’s a common motif in fairy stories around the […]

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