Archive for 2020

The Republic of Wales

October 23, 2020 3 Comments
The Republic of Wales

A few days ago a distracted weather presenter on Sky News, missing out a few words of her script, uttered the phrase ‘Republic of Wales’.  The news spread quickly round Twitter.  There was wide agreement that the phrase had a highly appealing ring to it.  So, too, the Welsh version, Gweriniaeth Cymru.  Since then I’ve […]

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‘Ymharadwys’: Pentre Eirianell

October 16, 2020 0 Comments
‘Ymharadwys’: Pentre Eirianell

Yn ddiweddar digwyddodd imi fod mewn sgwrs ebost â thenant presennol Pentre Eirianell.  Hwn yw’r hen dŷ fferm ar ymyl Bae Dulas ar Ynys Môn lle magwyd ‘Morysiaid Môn’ – Lewis, Richard, William, Elin a Siôn (neu John) Morris – yn gynnar yn y ddeunawfed ganrif. Gwelais i’r tŷ am y tro cyntaf ym Medi […]

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Sophonisba’s game of chess

October 9, 2020 0 Comments
Sophonisba’s game of chess

Not before time, the seventeenth century painter Artemisia Gentileschi is now receiving just acclaim, in response to the National Gallery’s new exhibition in London (alas, out of bounds for those of us who are locked down).  Even if her ultra-violent ‘Texas chain-saw massacre’ dramas are too much for you, you can always admire her picture […]

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In praise of Kathleen Jamie

October 2, 2020 0 Comments
In praise of Kathleen Jamie

The half of me that’s Scots lies buried, and usually dormant.  It comes to life when visiting Scotland.  But since my parents died, there’s less obvious reason to go, and we’ve not been there for a few years.  Sometimes I daydream about moving to live in a newly independent Scotland, released from bonehead, vicious British […]

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Vernon Watkins: a second visit

September 25, 2020 1 Comment
Vernon Watkins: a second visit

This year’s Haf Bach Mihangel, the forecasters say, will come to an abrupt end tomorrow, on the autumn equinox.  But today’s a perfect day: hot, with sunshine from dawn to dusk, and only the slightest of breezes.  I’m walking the coast to Oxwich.  After climbing out of Pwll Du Head the path is easy going, […]

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Cwm Amarch

September 18, 2020 2 Comments
Cwm Amarch

There are places in Wales – places no one would call remote – that few people, even those living here, have visited, or even knew existed.  Cwm Amarch, it would be safe to say, is one of them. I got to Minffordd early enough – before ten o’clock.  Normally, on a Monday in mid-September, you’d […]

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Maen Madoc

September 11, 2020 0 Comments
Maen Madoc

We’re on the south slope of the Fforest Fawr, north of Ystradfellte.  It’s quiet and still at ground level, but above us clouds rush past from the north; some are innocent, others threaten rain.  At Blaen Llia we leave the narrow road that descends Cwm Llia, and follow on foot the Roman road heading south-west.  […]

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Anorffenedig

September 5, 2020 0 Comments
Anorffenedig

Bu farw Edward Lhuyd, un o’r ysgolheigion Cymreig mwyaf, yn ei ystafell yn Amgueddfa’r Ashmolean, Rhydychen ar 30 Mehefin 1709, yn 49 mlwydd oed. Pedair ar ddeg o flynyddoedd cyn hynny, yn 1695, argraffodd e gynllun uchelgeisiol iawn i baratoi a chyhoeddi llyfr mawr, amlgyfrolog, amlddisgyblaethol.  Teitl y cynllun oedd A design of a British […]

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John Ballinger

August 31, 2020 2 Comments
John Ballinger

There’s something faintly ridiculous about the phrase ‘librarian as hero’. But just occasionally librarians come along who, if not exactly heroic, at least have the capacity to astonish their successors with the number and breadth of their achievements. John Ballinger (1860-1933) was one such example. Ballinger was the Librarian of the Cardiff Free Library1 and […]

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Biscuits: gwallter’s top ten

August 28, 2020 4 Comments
Biscuits: gwallter’s top ten

In 1968, at the height of the student rebellion, Alethea Hayter published her influential book Opium and the English imagination.  In it she traced the critical role laudanum had on the creative work of Coleridge, De Quincey and other leaders of the English Romantic revolution.  I can’t make any such claims for the effects of […]

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