literature

Sarn Helen, end to end

February 10, 2023 4 Comments
Sarn Helen, end to end

Several stretches of Roman road in Wales are labelled ‘Sarn Helen’.  The one Tom Bullough sets out to walk, in a roughly straight line except for a lurch eastward to Brecon Gaer, is the road that leads from the fort at Nidum (Neath) to Canovium (Caerhun, near Conwy).  He has recorded his trip in a […]

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How do you do?

February 3, 2023 4 Comments
How do you do?

When you meet someone new, and especially when you know you might be spending a long time in their company in future, how do you begin the relationship?  Do you try to prime yourself by asking others beforehand?  When you meet, what do you say about yourself, to give the other person an idea of […]

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Y postmon

January 27, 2023 0 Comments
Y postmon

Un o’r ychydig swyddi sydd heb newid yn ei hanfod dros y blynyddoedd yw postmon.  Mae rhywbeth sylfaenol, anostyngadwy am gerdded o ddrws i ddrws lawr yr heol i ddanfon llythyrau a pharseli i’r trigolion, a thorri gair cyfeillgar â nhw ar y ffordd.  Daeth y gair ‘postmon’ yn gyffredin yn yr 1860au, ac ers […]

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Dorian Gray discovers world music

December 16, 2022 0 Comments
Dorian Gray discovers world music

In the cosy light of our post-colonial glow-lamps we tend to imagine that ‘world music’ was discovered, and given its long-deserved recognition, by our own generation.  We still have dozens of LPs and CDs of Indian and west African music, rooted out in Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus in the 1980s.  We kept an eye […]

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Battle of the buildings

November 4, 2022 0 Comments
Battle of the buildings

Felicia Hemans, the leading woman poet of the Romantic period in Britain, came to Wales in 1800 when she was seven years old.  (Felicia Browne was her original name: her father, George, owned a wine-importing business.)  Her first home was a cottage near Abergele, before the family moved in 1809 to St Asaph to live […]

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Lasseter’s last ride

August 5, 2022 5 Comments
Lasseter’s last ride

Our school was just across the road.  I could have left our little brick house, Corton Cottage, at one minute to nine and still have been in time for lessons.  The school building was small, built of warm stone, and handsome in its modest way.  It dated back to the 1860s.  At first not much […]

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The poet and the mapmaker

July 15, 2022 0 Comments
The poet and the mapmaker

As the Russian government continues its murderous and destructive war on Ukraine, it seems a good time to turn to a voice for peace.  Here’s a poem from the time of what is still called, mistakenly, the English Civil War, by an obscure poet from Norfolk, Ralph Knevet.  Entitled ‘The vote’, it is a simple […]

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Mr Bebb’s dislike of the motor car

June 3, 2022 3 Comments
Mr Bebb’s dislike of the motor car

Not many people these days have heard of Ambrose Bebb.  Maybe some Welsh speakers, especially following Robin Chapman’s 1997 biography, but very few others.  His son Dewi Bebb, the rugby player, and his grandson Guto Bebb, the former MP, are probably much better known.  In the interwar period, though, Ambrose Bebb was known for his […]

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Trais yn y pentra

May 20, 2022 0 Comments
Trais yn y pentra

Yn gynnar yn Afal drwg Adda, hunangofiant Caradog Prichard, daw brawddeg sy’n codi ael y darllenydd: Hyd yma [canfod ei fam yn mynd yn ffwndrus] yr oeddwn yn eofn a hunan hyderus, yn ymladdwr ffyrnig ac wedi ennill enw fel tipyn o fwli yn yr ysgol ac ymhlith hogiau’r ardal. Yn ôl pob sôn, cymeriad […]

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John Thelwall at Llyswen

April 29, 2022 0 Comments
John Thelwall at Llyswen

Next week we’ll be completing the Wye Valley Walk, and one of our stops will be the Griffin Inn in the village of Llyswen, on the banks of the Wye half way between Brecon and Builth.  Years ago, my colleague Jean Dane and I would often pause there for a coffee on our way from […]

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