The Manx Code

Until I was around 18, reading novels at my own leisure was sadly not something I did…. at all!

It was only after my mother suggested Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’ that I watched the film and read the book – both in the space of a fortnight.

So what, you’ll most definitely be asking?

Well, as someone who always ended up giving up on books because I’d get lost and lose the path of the story, seeing the film’s adaptation really laid down the journey of the story making it easier for me to follow. It may well have simply been my interest in the content, but I believe the motion picture set me up nicely to fly through the book…. and 10 days remains a record for me finishing any novel of that particular length.

****

Users of Facebook will be all too familiar with the way we’re given a snapshot into our social media activity from years gone by each and every day. Kind of an ‘on this day‘ sort of thing.

Rarely do I take much notice but today I felt the need for a browse. I came across the following video that I shared on this day back in 2013:

Aside from being super cool, this video really got me thinking as I remembered back to when I read Dan Brown’s popular novel.

I’m sure, as [Celtic] language enthusiasts, we would always prefer to place the native language first in any bilingual post, video or article etc. But familiarising myself with the content in my native language of English first made my broken knowledge of Manx much more able to understand the Gaelic version. I picked up so many more words, phrases and sentence structures than I’m sure I would have had the Manx been before the English.

Interesting point, me thinks. Maybe I should be putting English first in my bilingual Facebook status updates from now on!?!

:-)

Western FAIL

I’ve heard the term ‘Western Fail’ attached to the Welsh newspaper of a similar-sounding name many times, but the following article is the most prominent sign that the Western Mail really needs to take a long, hard look in the mirror…. or at least spend a few extra seconds at the proof-reading stage of publication:

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Image borrowed from @WelshNotBritish

Now I’m fully aware that the writers down in the Western Mail meant that Jamie Roberts’ Welsh education did not hinder him in any way in gaining a doctorate in medicine through the medium of his second language, but surely the newspaper must now admit that their wording in this particular article was highly detrimental to the Welsh language!?!

It’s been no longer than a fortnight since I posted this blog regarding the type of language employed by journalists etc when discussing the Welsh language. I don’t believe there are too many who would outwardly and meaningfully set out to cause detriment to our ancient linguistic inheritance, but it is sublties like these that ensure our language remains on the sidelines of being taken seriously.

It may well have even become a cliché by now, but I am of firm belief that the powers of multilingualism far outweigh its hindrances (of which there are surely none).
I mean, these guys (and many, many more) did alright for themselves:

And look, #DespiteBeingTaughtInWelsh, I can still write a blog.

Madness!
:-)


 

DIWEDDARIAD/UPDATE

The Western Mail has since changed the article’s content to now say:

She goes to see Wales rugby star Jamie Roberts, who was taught in Welsh until he was 18 and is now a qualified doctor who is currently studying for his Master in Science at Queens’ College, Cambridge.

Their official apology reads:

We sincerely apologise, of course, for unintended offence caused by the use of the word ‘despite’ in the Western Mail version of this article and in an earlier online version. The context of the piece is about the merits of Welsh medium education, which we love and admire.

The reporter’s intention was to make the point that having to or choosing to study later in English at university did not create a disadvantage for a pupil taught in the Welsh language. Far from it, in fact. We are mortified that a different view has come across.

 

O Frongoch i’r Lingos (Gaeilge)

(Cymraeg) (English)

Is féidir linn labhairt faoi na hÉireannaigha bhí Príosúnaigh Cogaidh i bhFrongoch mar a bheith uafásach agus spreagúil – ón chóireáil droch ar na príosúnaigh Éireannacha ag na Breataine a bhí á choinneáil iad, don muintir áitiúla na Breataine Bige ag tabhairt arán agus toitíní breise colceathracha Ceilteacha.

Inniu, tá cuimhneacháin i dtrí theanga sa cheantar a comóradh an campa.

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Bhí sé sin an chéad uair a chonnaic mé na Gaeilge i mBreatain Bheag ó déanamh mo chúrsa san Ollscoil in Aberystwyth. Bhí foghlaim Gaeilge trí na Bhreatnais an-dhúslánach agus freisin an-shuimiúil ach, tar éis a críochnaithe ansin, bhí mé i gcónaí ag déanamh iontais cén áit a mbeadh mé a fháil ar mo scileanna teanga nua a úsáid. Sílim go raibh sé díomá gur tháinig an deis sin liom mar gheall ar an eachtra brónach seo i mBreatain Bheag.

 

Ní raibh sé go dtí thart ar cúig bliana ina dhiaidh sin go fuair mé an iontais Duolingo. Is clár saor-in-aisce é agus tá sé ar fáil ar chuid is mó na fóin chliste inniú. Múineann sé teangacha trí, creidim, teicnící an-éifeachtacha.

Ó tháinig le 1.5 milliún úsáideoirí eile atá ag foghlaim na Gaeilge ar an suíomh gréasáin, tá mo chuid Gaeilge ag feabhsú an t-am. Ní féidir liom fanacht chun cuairt a thabhairt ar na Gaeilgteachtaí agus úsáid mo chuid Gaeilge anseo – agus freisin baint úsaid as frásaí ar shráideanna i mBaile Átha Cliath agus áiteanna eile.

Le go leor de mo rath i nGaeilge ag teacht trí Duolingo a úsáid, bhí mé an-fonn a chinntiú go raibh an cineál céanna deiseanna ar fáil d’fhoghlaimeoirí na Breatnais freisin. I Nollag 2015, thosaigh mé a bheith mar chuid de ghrúpa le thart ar a hocht díograiseoir Breatnais eile ag cruthú cúrsa i mo theanga fhéin. Tá mé ag súil nuair a léann tú sin beidh an cúrsa ar fáil ar fud an domhain agus beidh sé ag cabhrú le daoine a fhoghlaim níos mó na Cymraeg.

An féidir libh a spreagadh ar cainteoirí na Breatnaise a thriail ár gcúrsa agus freisin aon aiseolas a tabhairt ar aon botúin a fhaigheann sibh? Tá súil agam go léir na canúintí san áireamh ach is gá dúinn cúnamh ó dhaoine eile chun a chinntiú go mbeidh an cúrsa ceart.

 

Nuair a chríochnaigh mé an cúrsa Gaeilge ar Duolingo (agus trí bheidh mar chuid den fhoireann a tháirgtear leagan Breatnais) bhí mé ag cinntiú go bhfuil níos mó de na teangacha Ceilteacha ar fáil a fhoghlaim leis an gréasáin. Go han-luath, tá súil agam go bheidh mé ag tosú ar na Coirnis, Manainis, Gaeilge na hAlbain agus na Briotáinis – más mian leibh chun cabhrú liom leis na tionscadail sin, téigh i dteagmháil go díreach liom trí Thuítear; @SteCymru14. Nó is féidir libh aon chomhfhreagras a seól go Rúnaí Brainse na Bhreatain Bheag sna Conradh Ceilteach.

O Frongoch i’r Lingos (Cymraeg)

(Gaeilge) (English)

Gellir disgrifio’r hanes tu ôl i’r caethion Gwyddelig yn Frongoch mewn dwy ffordd; sef ofnadwy a chalonogol – ofnadwy oherwydd triniaeth y Gwyddelod dewrion gan eu dalwyr Prydeinig a chalonogol oherwydd hanes y Cymry fu’n gweithio yn y safle ar adegau’n rhoi ‘chwaneg o fara ac o sigarennau i’w cefndryd Celtaidd.

Cofir y safle heddiw yn y pentref cysglyd hwnnw gan blac mewn tair iaith sy’n rhoi dipyn bach o wybodaeth am y gwersyll.

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Gweld hwn ‘roedd y tro cyntaf i mi ddod ar draws y Wyddeleg yng Nghymru ers i mi wneud fy nghwrs yn y brifysgol yn Aberystwyth. Bu dysgu’r Wyddeleg trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg yn heriol ac yn syfrdanol ond ‘roeddwn wastad yn poeni ymhle y cawn gyfle i ymarfer ac i ddefnyddio fy sgiliau ieithyddol newydd. I minnau, bu’n siom enfawr y ces i’r cyfle oherwydd digwyddiad mor drist ar dir y Cymry.

 

Nid oedd tan ar ôl cwpl o flynyddoedd yn ddiweddarach y des ar draws Duolingo. Mae Duolingo yn rhaglen sy’n rhad ac am ddim ac sydd ar gael ar lwyth o lwyfannau gwahanol. Mae’r rhaglen yn annog defnyddwyr i ddysgu’r iaith/ieithoedd y dewisant gan ddefnyddio, yn fy marn i, technegau effeithiol iawn.

Ers ymuno â thua 1.5 miliwn o ddefnyddwyr eraill sy’n dysgu’r Wyddeleg yn unig, mae sgiliau yn yr iaith honno wedi gwella’n sylweddol. Ni fedraf aros i ymweld â chadarnleoedd y Wyddeleg cyn bo hir i ymarfer ymhellach – yn ogystal â thrïo ambell i ymadrodd ar strydoedd Dulyn ac yn y blaen.

Gyda rhan fwyaf o’m llwyddiant yn y Wyddeleg yn dod trwy Duolingo, ‘roeddwn i’n awyddus iawn i sicrhau cafodd dysgwyr y Gymraeg yr un cyfleoedd. Ers diwedd 2015, mae wedi bod yn bleser bod yn rhan bychan o grŵp bychan sydd wrthi’n creu cwrs yn y Gymraeg. Gyda bach o lwc, erbyn i chi ddarllen hyn bydd y cwrs Cymraeg ar gael yn fyd-eang er mwyn i bawb ddysgu dipyn bach mwy am iaith y nefoedd.

Allwn hefyd annog i siaradwyr rhugl y Gymraeg drïo’r cwrs a rhoi adborth am unrhyw wallau gramadegol neu dafodieithol y dewch ar eu traws? Gobeithiwn caiff pob tafodiaith eu cynnwys o’r cychwyn cyntaf ond gwerthfawrogwn gymorth gan bawb er mwyn sicrhau bod y cwrs yn iawn i ddefnyddwyr.

 

Ers cwblhau’r cwrs Gwyddeleg ar Duolingo a bod yn rhan o’r tîm anhygoel sy’n cynhyrchu’r cwrs yn y Gymraeg, mae brwdfrydedd arnaf i barhau â’r ymgyrch o sicrhau bod lle i bob iaith Geltaidd ar y rhaglen lwyddiannus hon. Hoffwn yn y dyfodol agos fynd at arweinwyr Duolingo a chynnig fy amser i greu gyrsiau yn y Gernyweg, y Fanaweg, Gaeleg yr Alban a’r Llydaweg. Pe bai diddordeb gan unrhyw un i’m cynorthwyo gyda’r prosiectau hyn, a fyddech gystal â chysylltu â mi trwy Drydar; @SteCymru14. Neu gallech anfon unrhyw gyfatebiaeth at Gadeirydd y Gangen Gymreig y Gynghrair Geltaidd.

O Frongoch i’r Lingos (English)

(Cymraeg) (Gaeilge)

The history behind the Irish POWs in Frongoch can be described as both awful and heart-warming – from the poor treatment of Irish prisoners by their British captors, to the Welsh locals handing out extra bread and cigarettes to their Celtic cousins.

Today the site is remembered in the sleepy Welsh village by a trilingual plaque commemorating the camp.

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Seeing this was the first time I encountered Irish in Wales since my course in the University of Aberystwyth. Learning Irish though the medium of Welsh was both challenging and eye-opening but I forever wondered where I’d get a chance to use my newly acquired language skills. I guess it was a shame that the chance would arise following such a sad occurrence on Welsh soil.

 

It wasn’t until some years later that I encountered the wonders of Duolingo. A free-to-use application available on most smartphones, Duolingo teaches languages using, in my view, highly effective techniques.

Since joining nearly 1.5 million other users learning Irish alone on the language-learning site my Irish has improved drastically. I can’t wait to visit some of the Irish language’s heartlands very soon to test it out – as well as attempting the odd phrase on the streets of Dublin etc.

With so much of my Irish language success coming through Duolingo, I was extremely keen to ensure the same opportunities were afforded to those learning Welsh. Since Christmas of 2015, I’ve had the pleasure and honour of being part of a group of around 8 other Welsh enthusiasts to create a course for my own language. With a bit of luck, by the time you read this the course will be available worldwide for people to pick up some more Cymraeg.

May I also encourage speakers of Welsh to try out the course and to give feedback on any mistakes you might find? Hopefully all bases and dialects are covered but we need the help of others to ensure the course is right for all.

 

Since completing the Irish course on Duolingo and being part of the team that produced the Welsh version, I’ve been enthused to continue ensuring that more of our wonderful Celtic languages are available to be learned using the site. I hope to have Cornish, Manx, Gaelic and Breton accepted very soon and should anyone wish to help me with any of these projects, please contact me via Twitter; @SteCymru14. Alternatively, send any correspondence to the Welsh Branch Secretary of the Celtic League.

The FAILURE of WELSH

Bore da, bawb.
Ymddiheuraf na fydd y cofnod canlynol yn y Gymraeg. Arweinir felly at gynulleidfa eangach na siaradwyr ein hiaith yn unig.

I’ll be the first to admit that the desired effect of teaching Welsh as a second language in secondary schools has not been fully realised. Students are largely switched off in lessons and see the time as a ‘lesson-off’ between the ‘important’ subjects about which they learn each day. The goal of producing young people who are both competent and confident in using the ancient language of our peninsula has not been achieved. Change is due.

Despite the many massively enthusiastic teachers who are now coming to the fore in the world of teaching Cymraeg to today’s youth, it seems that it will never be enough for many language campaigners. We’re all entitled to our opinions, of course.
My defence to the current system, if I’m afforded one, would be that it was a Welsh learner (at that time my school teacher in an English-medium secondary centre) who inspired me to progress with my studies in the language. I’m now myself a teacher of Cymraeg in an English-medium school and there the positive change in attitudes towards the language in recent years has been, even to myself, a dream come true.

 

Question: When a headline like ‘Welsh second language failure in schools’ appears on someone’s Twitter feed and/or Facebook timeline, do we honestly believe that most of the population will open the article? Are we naïve enough to think, even with 1 in 5 inhabitants of this land possessing the ability to speak Welsh, that 20% of people who see the article will open it and take genuine interest in reading and assessing it? Gyfeillion, I can promise to you now that, for the most part, the only words that will stick in the minds of the vast majority of our population (in Wales and elsewhere) when encountered which such a headline are ‘WELSH,’ ‘SCHOOL’ and ‘FAILURE.’ In my view, it is these subtleties that maintain our language as second class amongst switched-off learners – as well as amongst disinterested parents whose own scapegoat is that Welsh lessons were boring when they were in school. I challenge anyone to put those 3 words into any order and produce a positive case for Cymraeg.

SCHOOL.

WELSH.

FAILURE.


It’s all well and good that we, as protectors of our native language, blindly moan about the fate of our language but rarely do we offer a means of rectification or advice on how to progress.

So as I resist the urge to invite writers of such headlines and articles (that are both damning and detrimental to our language as a whole) to spend a year teaching Welsh in an English medium school, I offer a proposition. I propose that we do away with any detriment concerning our language and teachers (of any capacity) and we make one simple change in our lives. And I genuinely believe that we can make a noteworthy and effective change with one word….

Is it really that difficult to say DIOLCH?

It’s one word which is intelligible – not only within our lands, but around the planet – but how many Welsh speakers actually say it on their own doorstep?

Whenever I go outside of Wales, I make a genuine effort to learn the native language of the area I’m visiting. Simple words and phrases that, in my experience, regularly place a grateful smile on the faces of local shopkeepers and bus drivers. But even before I get my head around things like how to say ‘that one,’ ‘please’ and ‘hello,’ I ALWAYS wrap my tongue around ‘thank you’…. without fail. It is a basic word that not only shows appreciation and gratitude, but it shows that you’re not an ignorant bigot and that you appreciate your surroundings and your fellow human beings.

It always brings a smile to my face when holiday makers proclaim they’re brushing up on their French when visiting Paris. I love hearing that friends have purchased a ‘Learn Catalan’ book for their weekend in Barcelona.

But there seems to be a taboo (or maybe simply a downright ignorance) amongst people who maintain the simple ‘thanks’ when in Wales – and in ALL the Celtic lands for that matter. Welsh speakers, who are the first to explain and bemoan the decline of our language, are perhaps the most guilty of this when they are required to speak English.

I got a lot of stick from many mother-tongue speakers of Welsh during my time reading the subject in the university for not speaking Welsh as my first language. It hurt. My one saving grace was a question I asked myself…. placed in my linguistic situation, would they have taken the time to achieve fluency in this language? We need to take the little steps that support ALL use of Cymraeg in any capacity.

 

Saying DIOLCH does many things:

  • It shows that we speak (or maybe have at least a few words of) our native language.
  • It shows visitors that we have a language and that we’re proud of it.
  • It shows students in English medium schools that Welsh exists and is used.
  • It shows students in Welsh medium schools that Welsh exists and is used.
  • It shows that we are brave enough to speak our language.
  • It shows those who are perhaps unconfident or who ‘lack match practice’ in speaking Welsh can take it word by word.
  • It can spark and encourage a Welsh conversation.
  • It can force a Google search of the language when placed at the end of an email.
  • Hearing it as a non-speaker may encourage them to take those Welsh lessons they always promised they would.
  • It brings a smile to the face of ALL Welsh speakers and learners.

…. all by saying one word.
 

And how am I so sure of my bullet-pointed predictions? Because they’re not predictions; they’re facts.

Since deciding to scrap the word ‘thanks’ from my vocabulary during the 99% of my life I spend in Wales, I have stopped for a chat twice, overheard at least 3 people tell a (presumably non Welsh-speaking) friend that they’re now going to teach them a bit of Welsh and heard the word ‘croeso‘ so many times that if I had a pound for every time I heard it, I’d have enough money to paint the word DIOLCH on the bloody moon. As is stands, the smile that appears on my face when I get a response to thanking in Cymraeg is genuinely worth much more than the cost of a giant piece of lunar artwork! It merely takes effort. The effort it takes to say ‘hello’ to a friend. The effort it takes to say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ The very same effort it takes to say ‘thank you.’

May we please, os gwelwch yn dda, do away with the 800-year-old misconception that it is polite for Welsh speakers to use English with visitors but it is an ignorant disgrace for us to expect them to even say ‘DIOLCH.’

Am I naïve enough to think that everyone in Wales will read this article? I’ve probably done more damage by naming this report the way I have – which is all the more reason to take on the burden and to pledge, as a reader of this blog, that you will ALWAYS thank someone in the native language of their inhabitance.

I’ve imagined a Wales where no one says ‘thank you’ – and it’s even more polite and green and brave and wonderful than it is now. We may well be far into the depths of January but it’s only been a few days since Welsh New Year so resolutions are still allowed. What have you seriously got to lose?

Thanks.

:-)

Check out my video promoting the use of native-language manners in the Celtic nations….

“Bore da”

Rhy hir am dwît, rhy fyr am flog -ond mi ‘na’ i’w bostio fam’e beth bynnag!

Heddiw’r bore, ddaru fi fynd am dro fyny Moel Famau – brigfynydd Clwyd.
Wrth gyrr’edd y top, ges i’m taro ar unweth gyn Dŵr y Jiwbilî – r’wbeth dwi ‘di isho cael gwared ohoni ers talwm. Byth braint ‘di o i’w welt’i. Ond er ambell i betisiwn ac ambell i dwît gyn i dros amser cythgam o hir, dal yne ma’ fo.
Ddaru fi ddim mentro i’w dringo heddiw’r bore ‘chos, i minne beth bynnag, troed yr heneb erchyll ‘ne ‘di brig y Moel.
Mewn ffor’, ddaru fi fedd’l, ma’ Tŵr y Jiwbilî ‘ne’n crynhoi sut ma’ fo i fod yng Nghymru. Hen beth i nodi llwyddiant y Saeson drosto’ ni – bellach yn adfail.

 
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Ar nodyn fech arall, ar fy ffor’ lawr, a’m hysgyfaint yn ‘m lladd i, des i ar draws sawl berson oedd yn crwydro fyny. “Bore da,” dudwn wrth bob un a wela’ i. “Bore da. Ma’n wlyb, yndi?” daeth ymateb gyn hen wraig a’u ffrindie. Efo’m hysgyfaint yn llosgi a’m hymateb ‘mond yn anadl ddistaw, “ydi, ydi,” dudes i wrthi.

Tybed os fedren ni ddysgu r’wbeth yne?

Bore da iawn.

:-)

“With a bit of luck….”

It may be rare for me begin a report with a quotation but I know this deviation from my norm (whatever that is?!) is fully justified. For herein follows a snap-shot of my good, old Taid.

 
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Owen Bach, they called him down the pit. Owen is my Taid’s middle name – as it is mine. After an old uncle Owen of his, he would tell me. Taid had so many stories of him time working as a child in the 1930s. I recall a story of how one day, the area in which Taid worked caved in. After much frantic digging and shouting from his co-workers, Owen Bach turned up behind the disbelieving men with his ‘snapin’ in hand. He’d taken an early break.

All through his life, Taid had time for everyone. Not least for me as he was the man taught me (amongst many, many things) to tell the time from his old, analogue clock that hung proudly on the wall of my grandparents’ home. He’d take it down from the wall and explain how the time was read from it. I seem also to remember him teaching me to break words up in order to read them. Cat-er-pill-ar. My Nan would always, when Taid taught me to read, insist on explaining to me how English was not a phonetic language, unlike its Celtic neighbour’s tongue. I had no idea what she meant until I realised the simplicity of Welsh spelling later in life.

 
I won’t forget how his many friends would remind me of how generous he was – not that I needed reminding. He’d give his last penny to anyone as well as the coat from his back if necessary.

Regularly young lads would turn up asking for Mr Rule to pump up their footballs with his machine-pump. It was a primitive (and rather dangerous-looking) contraption used industrially for tyres etc but it didn’t half pump a football up in no time.

 

Taid was, as far as my family research reached, the only child onto whom his mother passed the Welsh language. He would forever proclaim “nos da, dwi wedi blino” (good night, I’m tired) and “dwi’n mynd i gysgu” (I’m going to sleep). Always calling “tshy’d o ‘ne” (come along) to his faithful dogs. Perhaps it was in these (at the time) unbeknown words that my love of the Welsh language found their beginnings. I remember him mixing between the words for ‘road’ and ‘way’ (both ffordd in Welsh) on regular occasions as his second language refused to grammatically disregard his first. ‘Get from there!,’ he’d shout – a direct translation of ‘cer o ‘ne!‘ instead of the ‘proper’-English; ‘go away.’ I seem to remember his phrase of ‘give over’ when we were being annoying was at least one English phrase he grasped correctly.

His old Flintshire accent still fascinates me. How he would swap letters round in words where penalty would become pelanty – a trait often found in the Welsh language of North East Wales (gafna for a style when thecommon Welsh uses camfa). He’d always refer to a stryd (street) as stryt (pronounced ‘strit’ – something still written on many signs in old Clwyd. Islwyn was his name – always pronounced ‘ees-lin’ or ‘ees-loyn’ much like the modern North Eastern pronunciation of that all-common (and generally difficult-to-pronounce) Welsh diphthong, ‘wy.’
It would be from him also that I would afford much of my time to appreciating music the way I do – Taid was an incredible organist.

His other interests included his rifles (which scared the hell out of me), his dogs (who I remember fondly as being the most faithful I’ve ever met) and his birds (canaries and pigeons kept in the most incredible out-buildings that he built single-handedly).

He loved also his Polyphon – a rare musical box acquired by his father at the turn of the 20th century that plays the most beautiful of tunes. It doesn’t half belt out the Austrian anthem!

On his Polyphon remains the odd photograph of Taid with my Nan and other members of the family as well as a poster from many years ago when he boxed in amateur competitions. Referred to on the poster as Es Rule – despite his name spelt Islwyn. Es (pronounced ‘ees’ or as is in Welsh) was his name to all who knew him informally so I presume he didn’t mind the mistake. He often tried to get me to box. I wish I’d taken more time to appreciate what he loved about it. I’ll never forget the time he asked me to punch him on the cheek (bare-handed)…. twice, may I add?, after the first was deemed too feeble. Nothing much has changed, I’m sure.

After turning the photograph of his son, Stephen – who he lost tragically in the late 1980s – away from the television each and EVERY time Stephen’s favourite horse-racing programme had finished on Channel 4, Taid would always keep an eye out for scores of all football clubs any of us supported. West Ham and Manchester United for Nigel, Liverpool for dad, Tottenham for Stephen, Everton for me and Wrexham for everyone. I bet he’d laugh if I told him that my dad finally got his way in showing me the wonders of the red side of Merseyside for my Premier League following. Bloody blue-noses!

 

On the 24th December, 2003, I remember seeing my Taid in strangely familiar surroundings. As he sat in hospital I remembered him telling me of the times he would walk around the same grounds of the building’s garden silently as my Nan rested before she eventually passed away peacefully in 1998.

Christmas day in 2003 was like any other. Gifts at home with friends and family. In honesty, my youthful naïvety left me sound of heart I’d see Taid again soon – despite it being the first time I’d never seen him on Christmas day.

The next day I’d heard that he had passed away. Saint Stephen’s Day. It was the day my dad and uncle presented me with a belated Christmas gift on Taid’s behalf they were saving for Taid to give to me himself – a fishing box I still own (and treasure) to this day. I know I’ll dust it off soon enough and return to the old pastime I once loved to share with Taid.

The early 2000s were a time when my dad would often give up his ticket for me to attend Anfield to watch Liverpool. The Boxing Day game that year was attended my younger brother, Andrew – I believe Liverpool were beaten 3-1 by Bolton.

His funeral was the first I attended as a conscious mind. I understood why so many people had turned out. I understood why they too were so very sad. The organ in the service was played wonderfully by a man whose name unfortunately alludes me. I remember a rare bum-note during one of the hymns with my pal, Richard, pointing out that Taid would’ve played it flawlessly. I once promised Taid I’d learn the organ and as much as I can find my way (given time) around a set of piano/organ keys, I hope he’d let me off with my self-taught command over the guitar and the ukelele. I’m sure he would.

****

12 years may not seem a significant number of years in which to remember in words what someone meant to you after their conscious time on Earth comes to an end. In truth, I am forever remembering each and every memory I have of him. 12 years since we lost Taid seems as good a time as any to reminisce.

It’s impossible to note each and every memory here but I employ this medium as a start. A good friend once told me that no one is truly gone until they are no longer in our memories. I find in that thought an array of hope and thankfulness that I will once again greet my Taid – in his mother-tongue this time, with a bit of luck.

Cysga’n dawel, Taid.

Nos da.

The Celtic Languages

 

Brezhoneg (Breton) Cymraeg (Welsh) Gaeilge (Irish) Gàidhlig (Gaelic) Gaelg (Manx) Kernewek (Cornish)
Britanny
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Breizh Llydaw An Bhriotáin A’ Bhreatainn Bhig Yn Vritaan Breten Vian
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CELTLANGS

Broughton, Wales, England

My letter to Offa’s Dyke Hotel….

P’nawn da, ‘Offas Dyke’ pub-thingy.

 

My name is Stephen Rule. I recently received a flier through my door advertising your establishment following renovation work and couldn’t wait to respond.

 

I find your advertisement largely misleading as it says ‘Broughton’ (which is Brychdyn in Welsh – nice use of our nation’s language on your flier too, may I sarcastically add?) and is followed by ‘Chester, Cheshire.’
As owners of a business, I sincerely hope you’re aware that Broughton is in Wales and Chester is in England. These are two different countries.
I wonder whether you are actually in England and have accidentally written Broughton on your address or, and this is a more likely situation, you have aimed to totally mislead potential customers by advertising as a Chester-based venue because you think you’ll sound a bit more up-market.
Additionally, the name of your establishment needs an apostrophe in the title…. If you’re going to claim you’re in England, at least use proper English!

 

I for one will be looking forward to doing many other things in my life before even considering visiting your Anglo-centric and highly ignorant establishment. Things like stabbing myself in the eyes with pins, watching soup come to the boil on a low heat and, the old favourite, watching paint dry.

 

I will also invite my friends and family (and other social-media buddies) to bask in your utter and apparent blissful ignorance and advise them with great passion to stay well away from whatever it is you do.

 

Diolch am eich amser.

 

Stephen Rule,
Coed-llai / Leeswood,
Sir y Fflint / Flintshire
Wales / Cymru
England.

I still await a reply….

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:-)