Cynnig i gyhoeddwyr – ‘Welsh and I’ gan Stephen Rule

Dychmygaf y dylai cynnig ar gyfer darpar lyfr fod yn grynodeb o’r hyn sy’n cael ei gynnwys. Dylid amlinellu’r amcanion o’r hyn sy’n ei wneud yn ddiddorol ac yn ddeinamig i’r darpar ddarllenwyr. Yn lle, wrth chwarae o gwmpas gyda theclynnau plentynnaidd arlein, dewisiais gynnwys delwedd (atodwyd) wedi’i chreu gan ddefnyddio geiriau amlycaf y llawysgrif. Efallai na fydd hon yn ffordd gonfensiynol neu hyd yn oed berthnasol iawn o wneud cynnig, ond, i mi, adrodd stori’r llyfr i gyd mae’r ddelwedd.

Ar ffurf cofiant, af ati i daclo heriau ac i ddathlu llwyddiannau’r Gymraeg er mwyn sefydlu’r iaith fel un sy’n fyw ym mywydau pobl Cymru a’r byd. Fel rhywun sy’ wedi dysgu’r iaith, ennill gradd ynddi ac bellach yn ei haddysgu i blant ac i oedolion, mae fy nhaith bersonol i fod yn rhugl wedi bod yn hunllef ac yn freuddwyd, wedi agor drysau i fywyd arall, ac wedi fy ngwthio i herio systemau addysg ac ystrydebau cyffredinol y Gymraeg.

Mae’r llyfr, Saesneg ei iaith, yn cynnwys 45,000 o eiriau o dan chwe phennod; Cymraeg a Fi, Addysgu’r Gymraeg, Dysgu’r Iaith, Pam Lai’r Ddwy?, Amddiffyn ein Cymraeg, ac Iaith Arbennig. Dyma fydd y llyfr cyntaf ‘rwyf wedi’i gwblhau ond credaf yn gryf y gall fod o ddefnydd i bobl sy’n meddwl am ddysgu’r Gymraeg ond ddim yn sicr am le i gychwyn, i bobl sy’ wrthi’n dysgu’r iaith ac yn ceisio delio gyda heriau’r daith, i athrawon ysgolion cyfrwng Saesneg sy’n chwilio am dactegau a syniadau rhyngweithiol na chaiff eu darganfod mewn llyfrau addysg ‘how to’ cyffredinol, i bobl sy’n siarad yr iaith ac yn awyddus i helpu partner neu gyfaill di-Gymraeg ar y daith i fod yn rhugl, i bobl sy’n cwestiynnu moesau dysgu iaith mor hen, ac i bobl o bob oed sydd wrthi’n aros am gyfle i ymfalchïo mewn iaith sy’n perthyn iddyn nhw gymaint ag y mae’n perthyn i’r bobl a’i siaradodd yma ers canrifoedd.

Trwy gynnwys profiadau personol – o fod yn rhywun oedd am ddysgu’r Gymraeg, wedi dysgu’r Gymraeg, bellach yn addysgu’r iaith ac wrthi bob dydd i ddangos gwerth ein hiaith ni – gobeithiaf gall y llyfr hwn ysbrydoli ambell i unigolyn (neu wlad gyfan, gyda thipyn o lwc) i sylweddoli pa ran all y Gymraeg chwarae yn nyfodol ein gwlad.

Yn gryno, mae’r llyfr hwn ar gyfer unrhyw un a chanddynt unrhyw gysylltiad i Gymru neu’r Gymraeg.

Defining moment

I live in a Labour stronghold in the north-east. Voting Labour has always been the done thing around here. Even in the most recent UK election where the Conservative and Unionist Party turned much of this part of Wales blue, my constituency remained red. And even though I wasn’t one of those whose vote helped Labour hold this constituency, I was rather relieved to see it stay red.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Labour. The rest of my working-class family have always backed them and I know many Labour supporters, candidates and councillors alike who do tireless work in this locality. The Party has controlled the now Welsh Parliament since its inception in 1999 and, aside from their obvious unionist demeanour (often to the detriment of the actual country they serve), I don’t particulary think they done an awful job. Add this to what I believe has been a fair undertaking in the face of the current global pandemic – far better than the way Westminster has handled England’s decisions – and I was starting to feel that Mark Drakeford might not only be cementing his place as a decent First Minister in the eyes of devout Labour voters, but also winning over support from the large numbers of floating voters across the country.

That was until 15th May when he said this; “In the end, I think it’s an inherently right-wing creed that operates by persuading people that they are [nationists] because they are against what somebody else is.” ”I think, in the end, that is a deeply unattractive creed.

Drakeford’s comments came after being asked by BBC Radio 4’s Nick Robinson on whether support for independence for Wales has been strengthened in the face of the current crisis. In truth, it’s not too unexpected a thing to hear from the leader of a party who favours devolution rather than sovereignty, but those firmly part of the growing numbers of independence supporters have been outraged.

Later, Labour MP for Rhondda, Chris Bryant, posted the following tweet on the back of his leader’s comments; “That whole nationalist socialist didn’t go too well in Germany did it?” Once again, supporters of independence (and, in the case of Bryant’s comment, anyone with a modicum of intelligence) were very vocal in their displeasure. This audacious, yet all too common, attempt to subtly link the Welsh independence movement with the NSDAP and Nazism of 1930s Europe falls nothing short of total hypocricy. It also seems rather ironic that two serving political figures would attempt to brandish a whole movement in support of independence by making sweeping comments against it using words like ‘creed’ and referring to war-time nazism in Germany…. a fascist tactic in itself.

I meet many left-wing independence supporters who are proud to style themselves as ‘nationalists.’ It always breaks my heart to hear it and it’s something I often tackle.

Take the word ‘communism’ for example. In an attempt to quash the ideology, capitalist states across the globe regularly smear the very word itself – as well as more centrist ideologies like socialism – to keep their own world vision firmly in place. This, in turn, rubs off on the populous who subconsciously shift their own politics towards a capitalist norm that has caused so much inequality in the world.

In similar fashion has the word ‘nationalism’ been smeared by unionists. In a decades-long ploy to deter people from wanting constitutional change in the British Isles, unionist mouth-pieces would often employ references to the fascist NSDAP – a term encompassing both the German words for ‘socialist’ and ‘national’ (not ‘nationalist,’ I hasten to add) – in a clever yet cunning attempt to maintain their status quo.

When one clears the muddied waters (and possesses a decent knowledge of history), it seems so simple to understand that left-wing supporters are not all communists, only a minute number of socialists identify as communists, and that ‘nationalism’ is, in fact, a right-wing ideology better suited to political parties such as the Grand Old [sic] Republican Party in the United States and the Conservative and Unionist Party in the United Kingdom.

We often hear right-wing media outlets refer to the SNP as the ‘Scottish NATIONALIST Party.’ Check again and you’ll see that the N stands simply for ‘NATIONAL.’ Plaid Cymru are often daubed with the term ‘nationalists’ too despite clearly being a left-wing, democratic socialist party.

Whether Labour’s dealings with the pandemic have, in the eyes of those who possess the ability to brush aside party politics in a time of global emergency and strive to be impartial, it’s unlikely Labour will come out of this crisis in any kind of positive light.

The rise of [real] right-wing politics in Wales will pick any holes they can in the Welsh government’s tacking of the virus as they look for any excuse to justify voting for Conservative candidates. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the growing numbers of those supporting Welsh independence will notice Westminster’s sea of misdealings and blatant arrogance towards the three Celtic nations, with Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrates likely to profit in the polls.

When we consider how the smearing of words shapes our modern world, Labour’s public attacks on ‘nationalism’ can be described only as a final cry for aid in a tide that’s quickly turning against them. Whether the age-old tactic of reappropriating terminology in an attempt to smear those against you works for Labour or not, it’s a brave path to walk. Siding with unionism has all but killed off the party in Scotland and, in the long run, is unlikely to hold them in a positive light in the eyes of history at large.

If Welsh

If Welsh was but an afterthought
we might bid bore da
to passers by who, with a smile,
embrace their local jar.

The shops, the stalls, the painted walls
might even case our words.
And signs and lines across the land
sing beauty with the birds.

‘Would you mind?’ a boss might ask,
‘How’s welcome said round here?’
Then up aside the English door
a croeso greets those dear.

Adresses posted hosting names
of lanes and streets and roads
in language once heard freely there
when builders first forged those.

Strolling by some dual-code signs
one merely reads the top.
Then after passing realise
their eyes could reap both crop.

Convention venting social norms
to follow foreign crown.
But names of babies, pets and homes
might now yield fresh renown.

With parents’ backing, lessons learned
in classes ‘cross these lands.
The words and tales of Wales afar;
might shake more western hands.

Social bios – boring now –
might not host mono-speech;
An odd addition of old words
makes broad a narrow reach.

The radios might play some songs
with words some might not know.
And anchors drop the odd nos da
on every evening show.

No longer lingers shirking lark
admitting they speak none.
But pride might find its way to say
some words their mates thought gone.

‘I might say diolch next time
when I buy my morning snack.’
New old words in queuers ears;
shopkeepers smiling back.

If even just an afterthought
we might just check our minds
for chances lost but futures gained
to make a place for finds.

What a difference a word makes

I’ve batted on for years now how one simple change to your life can bring about wondrous outcomes.

The small change I’ve been proposing is the replacing of ‘thanks’ with ‘diolch.’

On today’s daily stroll a man and his son crossed the road for us to continue on our way whilst maintaining a safe distance in accordance with the Welsh government’s social distancing rules.

As he crossed the road, my wife and I bid them ‘diolch’ along with a smile. His response?

“Dim problem. Cymry ‘dach chi?” (No problem. Welsh are you?)

What followed was a short chat in the language of the heavens from across a quiet road of how he was originally from just down the road from where my wife is from originally and how he’d been living here in the north east for 30 years.

A connection was made simply because of the language we speak. How beautiful is that?

With a bit of luck, our ‘diolch-not-thanks’ attitude rubbed off on him and he’ll forever do the same.

I do, however, see why potentially encouraging someone to throw their native tongue at people who are, say, learning Welsh might be a tad daunting.

But look at how two people interact in passing in the street can yield very different outcomes;

SCENARIO 1: Fluent Welsh speaker or learner says ‘thanks’ to monoglot English speaker. Both parties get on with their day.

SCENARIO 2: Fluent Welsh speaker or learner says ‘thanks’ to another Welsh speaker or learner. Both parties get on with their day.

SECNARIO 3: Welsh speaker or learner says ‘diolch’ to monoglot English speaker. English speaker becomes ever more aware the Welsh language lives. “Someone said ‘thanks’ in Welsh to me today” becomes the topic of conversation that evening. Maybe they’re then encouraged to take up learning Welsh on Duolingo or even consider Welsh education for their child(ren). At the very least, both get on with their day.

SCENARIO 4: Welsh learner says ‘diolch’ to Welsh speaker. Welsh person throws fluent Cymraeg at the learner and spooks them for a moment. Then the learner explains how, for the moment, they’re learning and the conversation either ends – leaving both with a smile and a new way to thank people – or a conversation blossoms in which the native speaker will, no doubt, appreciate the learner’s efforts. Both then get on with their day.

In these socially distant times, look how just one word can bring such interaction between people both directly and indirectly.

Worth a go, right?

What a difference a word makes. And the word is DIOLCH.

We support our local team

When I was growing up, my uncle Nigel was proud of his Manchester United season ticket. Every other weekend he’d arrive back around 9pm after another win and would inevitably pop open a bottle of champagne around May time every bloody year.

This was much to the dismay of my dad who, as a Liverpool season ticket holder, would hold fast to the memories he had of Liverpool winning EPL titles year after year until I came along in ‘89.

They were both avid followers of their respective clubs and, on top of their home game commitments, travelled to the continent regularly too. Even their older brother, Stephen, who passed away before I was born, was a big Tottenham Hotspur fan who attended games when he could.

When Nigel finally gave up his season ticket at Old Trafford – just as the price crossed over the £1,000 mark – he continued to watch the games at home on the box. The only difference I noticed was I’d see his smiling face much earlier than 9pm every Saturday afternoon. The champagne still came out every May.

Football was always going to be in my blood but, to add to my dad’s ‘90s-football heartache, my family thought it hilarious to ‘entice’ me into supporting another team my dad loathed; Everton. My impressionable mind fell for it hook, line and sinker, and I was Duncan Ferguson’s biggest fan. At the tender age of six, the 1995 English FA Cup final remains one of my earliest memories of football on the telly.

One of my dad’s mates – one of the many people who eventually succeeded in ensuring my nose was most definitely blue and my favourite sweets were toffees – would regularly give me Everton badges and other memrobilia to make sure I continued to ‘football-disappoint’ my dad every single day. I remember him once giving me a Celtic badge when he had no more Everton ones left, but my love affair with Glasgow’s Green and White is another story.

My first live football game, however, was at the Cae Ras in Wrecsam. A 2-2 draw with Stockport County (for which I still possess the matchday programme) with my dad followed by a pre-season friendly against my beloved Everton; a 4-3 Everton win in a game where Andre Kanchielskis scored all four for the blues and John Parrott sat right in front of me…. in the away end!

FIFA 2000 was my favourite game and, after starting a season with Everton, I would end up spending copious amounts of time in the transfer market until I had all of Liverpool’s players playing for Everton (except Ferguson up top). I soon found it much easier to start with Liverpool and just buy Duncan Ferguson. When he actually ended up going to Newcastle United in real life I was bloody heart broken. Comparing photographs of him in sticker books, it seems he felt the same about leaving Goodison Park too!

Over years of playing as Liverpool on computer games, and with my dad sending me to most Liverpool home games (probably to encourage me to change allegiences and so he could avoid the cr*p football the Anfield faithful had to endure during the late ‘90s and early 2000s), I turned from blue to red – like Abel Xavier or Nick Barmby, if you will.

I always (and still do) keep an eye out for Everton scores – preferring only to hope they lose on two Saturdays per annum.

It was one day walking around Aberystwyth in my university years that I was asked what part of Liverpool I was from by a random stranger. It wasn’t until I realised I was wearing a Liverpool shirt that my mind clicked. “I’m not from Liverpool!” I replied.

The next time I went home to take my washing to my mam, I bought myself the first Wrecsam shirt I’d purchased with my own money. Definitely worth the 14-or-so pints on which I eventually missed out by buying it.

That occasion turned out to be the first and last time anyone ever asked me from which part of Liverpool I hailed. I met another Wrecsam fan in uni – the son of my primary school headmaster – and we made the hallowed Cae Ras our second home. I respectfully turned down more and more trips to Anfield in favour of Wrecsam. The town we first saw daylight, as Amlyn often puts it.

In that same year we were relegated out of England’s football league. I remember my tutor in the university – also from the north east – arrive to lectures on the day we went down wearing all black and he spoke the only sentence of English I ever heard him utter; “It’s a dark day, Stephen bach.” I agreed.

Clearly missing the buzz of live football, my uncle soon joined my mate and I and remains a Wrecsam season ticket holder in the Mold Road stand to this day.

“Whether the football’s good or bad,” he’d say, “these are the cards we’ve been dealt and we’ve got to play them. It’s our bit of sky, up here.” As beautiful as those words were and for however long I’ll remember them, there have many times over the last 12 years when I’ve hoped we were dealt a 13 in Pontoon and we could ‘burn the cards’ and have another go!

Truly finding Wrecsam was the best footballing thing I ever did – even if they were always with me anyway. I went from being a Liverpool(/Everton) fan who kept an eye out for Wrecsam, to a Wrecsam fan who quickly realised the only attraction to England’s top leagues was the incredible support, rather than the fancy, showcase football on the pitch. The lads who played at Wrecsam were probably earning not much more than me, didn’t roll on the floor when they were tackled (unless they really were injured) and wore boots that disn’t have their names on. This was football and nothing will ever beat walking to the Cae Ras in the darkness and depths of wintertime with our massive floodlights guiding the way to our place of sporting worship.

My love for the Town has taken me to York, Kidderminster, Altrincham, Macclesfield, Northwich and many more including Wembley and a trip to Flintshire’s own chester FC – whose name I still can’t bring to capitalise.

Pre-season was in no way out of bounds either – in fact, it was watching Wrecsam play against Connah’s Quay, Rhyl (RIP), Bangor City (RIP), Airbus, Cefn Druids et al that opened the next chapter in my footballing story.

In recent years I’ve made more and more of an effort to not only watch Sgorio on S4C, but to actually go to Cymru Leagues (formerly the Welsh Premier League) games. Just this season I’ve seen Cefn Druids, Airbus, Porthmadog, Buckley, Caernarfon Town, Newtown, Llanfair United, Bala, Connah’s Quay and a few others for whom my memory fails.

I often stand (yep, seating is few and far between at most of these places) and ponder how Wales’ domestic football scene might look if the crowds mirrored other nations. Uruguay, who share a similar population to Wales (and are bordered by nations with powerful domestic scenes) average around 5,000 per game, with the top clubs seeing averages of 20,000. Not looking too dissimilar to Scotland, I might add.

So what’s the problem with Wales? Well, the elephant in the room is quite clearly that 5 of our top sides (of whom two are quite clearly at another level to everyone else in the country) play in the English pyramid. The history behind this often leaves English fans who moan about ‘adopting’ Welsh sides a little bemused as our participation predates the establishment of seperate English, Scottish and Welsh systems. In many cases, the English system would never have developed the way it did without the Welsh clubs. In truth, it’s only Newport County who truly can refer to themselves as an ‘exiled’ Welsh club.

Even if we ignore for a moment the ‘foreign five’ (cool name, huh?) [Cardiff City, Swansea Town/City, Wrecsam, Newport County and Merthyr Tudful], attendances at Welsh club-level games rarely peak above 1,000; a far cry from Uruguay and Scotland.

I once made the argument in favour of a truly, all-Wales league that saw the ‘foreign five’ compete IN WALES week in, week out. My favourite response stated we’d just be another Scottish Premiership with two teams dominating to which I replied, “GOOD!” Imagine thousands of people coming out supporting their local sides, multiple tasty derby matchups pretty much every weekend and the carrot of European football for at least three clubs every year. I’d love the Welsh system to be as respected as the SPFL.

The reply to that? “What about promotion in England?”

To take my beloved Wrecsam as a mini case study, I find it shocking that our supporters believe that the holy grail of football resides in the fourth division of English football and not in potential European football back at the Cae Ras. Cardiff and Swansea’s arguement is, admittedly, slightly different here. But I guess staying in England means we might get a one-off cup game against Crewe Alexandra and get stuffed 6-0 at home…. That’s the pinnacle, right?

Another argument that pains me is “but Welsh football is poor quality” (or words to that effect). In honesty, and as difficult as it is for me to admit, most sides in the Cymru Premier would give Wrecsam a game and the argument around money is no good either because many players have left Wrecsam over the years to play in the Cymru Leagues and have been paid much more handsomely than when they were on Wrecsam’s books.

Cymru C (Cymru Leagues select XI) vs England C (National League select XI) matches have seen a narrow defeat 3-2 away in Salford and a 2-2 draw in Newport in recent years proving there’s not much difference in the standard of football between the two divisions. Then look at League 2 and how sides promoted from the National League regulary challenge for promotion spots to League 1 and the standard of Welsh football already appears to be in decent shape.

In the (sadly unlikely) event Wrecsam were to switch to the Cymru Leagues, the only reason behind a drop in attendance would be that maybe our fans aren’t as passionate and as ‘where you go we’ll follow’ as we are led to believe. A tough pill to swallow for the lion’s share of Wrecsam ‘fans.’

But the truth is, even with Colwyn Bay returning to the Welsh system and Merthyr Tudful toying with the idea in recent years, a Welsh league for ALL Wales’ clubs is mightily unlikely. Even when Wales gains its independence from the UK, there’d be no obligation for our clubs to leave the English system.

Yesterday I found this graphic from WalesOnline and it absolutely broke my heart.

Via WalesOnline

We’re all aware that WalesOnline is the south Wales arm of the Daily Mirror (the northern variation being the Daily Post) so I take these statistics with a pinch of salt. West Ham was clearly a mix up with Wrexham, right? And how are Leeds not on there?

It broke my heart because English football seems to be all we know and habits like this are some of the most difficult to shake. The whole “I support [insert English club here] because my dad does” is one with which it’s tough for me to argue – my following of Liverpool is down to that very notion.

My passion for all football in general means I’m the last person who’ll try to encourage anyone to break their ties with clubs that have brought them such happy memories. Further, I’m against the jokes made at the expense of people who say they have a ‘second club.’ In truth, my soft spots for Celtic, Liverpool and, of course, my beloved Wrecsam, are joined by a love for Barcelona and their sheer Catalan passion and Sankt Pauli whose cult scene is the best around.

What I will do, however, is fight the case for support of our national, domestic system. Especially in the current climate, and with Rhyl FC (founded in 1879) the first club in the British isles to succumb to the coronavirus pandemic – even if their situation was fragile beforehand, now is the time to get behind the Welsh pyramid which affords Wales an international place in world football and puts Welsh towns on the map in obscure European cities – at least for a week or so in late July.

Find your local side and buy a scarf. Get updates of their results pushed to your phone. Find their rival sides and diss them in the pub. Start a season in the Cymru Leagues on Football Manager. If you’re the betting type, whack a quid on your local side. GO TO A GAME OR TWO every season.

And, for a bit of a laugh, if you’re ever asked who you want to win the “Premier League,” always reply with “anyone but TNS” and watch their faces. Absolutely hilarous! Disclaimer: I make no apologies to TNS fans!

But perhaps more importantly than all these ideas, just don’t bad mouth our league. Without it, UEFA would not allow Wales to compete as an independent football nation and there’d be no Euro 2016 or Euro 2020. Ok so the latter doesn’t work but we still qualified!

Maybe one day I’ll even get back the £800 I spent on flights to Azerbaijan!

Sgrìobhadh….

An-diugh bha beachd agam. Bha mi a’ leughadh an leabhar ‘Scottish Gaelic in Three Months’ ach cha robh mi a’ faireachdainn gu bheil mi rud sam bith a’ ionnsachadh. Gu dearbh, bha faclan ag dul a-steach ach cha b’urrainn dhomh a’ ràdh dè a bha mi ag iarraidh a’ ràdh. Cha b’urrainn dhomh seantansan a’ dhèanamh idir. Bha mi a’ faireachdainn duilich!

Bidh mi a’ cluiche Duolingo a h-uile là agus tha mi a’ smaoineachadh gu bheil mi ag ionnsachadh beagan a h-uile là cuideachd ach chan eil mi a’ faireachdainn gu bheil mi a’ tighinn faisg air fileantas idir.

Nuair a bha mi aig an oilthigh dh’ionnsaich mi Cuimris an-sin. (B’ e sin an oilthaigh far an robh mi ag ionnsachadh Gàidhlig tro mheadhan na Cuimris cuideachd!). Bha Cuimris aig gu leòr daoine ann agus b’urrainn dhomh bruidhinn leo airson cleachdadh. Cuideachd, bha na h-òraidichean an sin a ’toirt obair dhachaid dhuinn – sgrìobhadh, sgrìobhadh, sgrìobhadh. Bha e gu math trang ach bha mi ag ionnsachadh.

Chì mi e a-nis; mura nach eil cothrom ann cànan a bhruidhinn, feumaidh sinn e a sgrìobhadh co-dhiù.

Mar sin, seo mise a’ sgrìobhadh, a’ sgrìobhadh agus a’ sgrìobhadh. Tha mi toillichte gu robh mi comasach seo a’ sgrìobhadh (le cuideachadh am faclair agam, gu dearbh!).

Agus sinn uile air ‘glasadh sìos,’ is dòcha gu bhidh mi a’ sgrìobhadh barrachd cuideachd. Chì sinn.

Crafu cnau?

Mae cryn sylw wedi bod ar un o farrau siocled mwyaf adnabyddus Mars, Snickers, yn ddiweddar ac mae wedi codi sawl cwestiwn unwaith eto ynglŷn â sut mae pobl – nad oes ganddyn nhw (fel arfer) unrhyw gysylltiad pa beth bynnag i Gymru nac i’r iaith Gymraeg – yn trin a thrafod yr iaith ar gyfryngau cymdeithasol.

O fewn dwyawr roedd ymddiheuriad swyddogol gan y cwmni ond, erbyn hynny, bu sawl chwerthin di-angen am ben yr iaith.

Gwelwyd ymatebion i’w hymddiheuriad fel ‘We can’t even laugh at the Welsh any more’ sy’n codi pryderon mwy dwys, a dweud y lleiaf.

Ni chredaf fod Mars yn trïo codi hwyl am ben yr iaith Gymraeg ac mae sawl ymateb wedi amlygu hynny. Mae rhan fwyaf yr ymatebion gan bobl oedd yn teimlo’n dramgwyddus ynglŷn â’r hyn ddywedodd Snickers yn gadarnhaol ac yn derbyn yr ymddiheuriad.

Y broblem, yn fy marn i – ac un rheswm pam na fyddaf yn derbyn ymddiheuriad y gorfforaeth fyd-eang – ydy nad oedd sylfaen i Mars ysgrifennu’r hyn a wnaethon nhw.

Yn wir, beth oedd pwypas trydar hynny o beth yn y lle cyntaf? Nid oedd ymgais i farchnata’u cynnyrch ac, yn amlwg, ni chredaf y gwelant godi yn eu gwerthiant yng Nghymru oherwydd hyn oll.

Y pwrpas oedd codi hwyl rhad – on the cheap, fel mae’r Saeson yn dweud.

Yn ogystal, yr ail ‘awgrymiad’ gan y cwmni am lefydd sy’n edrych fel bod rhywun wedi eistedd ar fysellfwrdd oedd ‘Rhosullanrugog.’ Wrth gwrs, nid oes ffasiwn le. Rhosllanerchrugog, efallai?

Pob tro y gwnaf sylw am rywbeth fel hyn, ceisiaf gynnig ffordd o wella’r sefyllfa sydd ohoni. Yn anffodus, fel siaradwyr Cymraeg, gwelwn bethau sarhaus fel hyn trwy’r amser ac mae wedi cael ei normaleiddio braidd ers i gyfryngau cymdeithasol ddod yn fwy poblogaidd yn y blynyddoedd diweddar.

Felly, gwnaf eich gadael heddiw gydag ymgyrch y Barry Horns – band pres sy’n canu mewn gemau pêl-droed Cymru ac sy’n hoff iawn o godi sylwadau gwleidyddol ambell waith. Am 59c am CHWECH BAR o siocled sy’n debyg iawn i edrychiad a blas Snickers, dylai pawb gefnogi a phrynu Racer Bars o Aldi.

Get some cheaper nuts!

Anonn agus air ais arís.

Blianta fada ó shin, chuala mé go dtosaíonn carthanas sa bhaile. Bhí sé spraíúil idir na daltaí san ollscoil ag insint dá chéile nach raibh againn ach airgead le dramhaíl ar bheoir (agus rudaí níos láidre uaireanta).
Le gach rud na laethanta seo, má tá rud éigin greannmhar, ní gá go mbeadh sé fíor do dhaoine a chreidiúint. Nó feargach…. is maith le daoine a bheith feargach na laethanta seo freisin!
Ar feadh na mblianta, d’fhan an mothú ar a bheith coimeádach i dtreo mo chuid airgid liom. Tuigim anois níl sé sin fíor ar chor ar bith.

Tabharfaidh mé airgead i bpuicéad do charthanacht anois agus arís. ‘Sparingly‘; mar a deir na Sasanacha. I bhformhór na gcásanna, thabharfainn airgead do charthanais ainmhithe nó do chúiseanna a mbíonn tionchar acu ar mo theaghlach nó ar mo chairde; nó chaothfinn pingin ag duine gan dídean ar an tsráid. Mar sin féin, ní raibh sé seo níos mó ná shrapnel a bhí mar meáchan neamhriachtanach i mo phócaí.

D’fhoghlaim mé le déanaí nach raibh an seanfhocal faoi charthanacht fíor. Nó, ar an taobh eile, tá an seanfhocal fíor ach ní raibh mo shainmhíniú ar ‘bhaile’.

Ag tús na bliana seo, roghnaigh mé go bhfuil mé dul níos mó airgead a thabhairt do chúiseanna níos géara. Anois, ag deireadh na bliana seo, tá mé an-bhródúil as a rá gur bhronn mé i bhfad níos mó ná riamh ar charthanais i mbliana; cibé acu le duine ar an tsráid, le grúpa ag bailiú airgid do chúis, i mbuicéad bailiúcháin nó ar líne do dhaoine atá ar tí léim amach as eitleán!

Níor chríochnaigh mé rún bliana nua roimhe seo. Is mothúchán iontach é.
Ach mar sin a fhios nár chríochnaigh rún bliana nua riamh roimhe seo, b’fhéidir gur chuir sé iontas ar dhuine – mé féin, freisin – a rinne mé DHÁ rún i mbliana!

Bhí mo dara rún níos pearsanta domsa. Dúshlán pearsanta a bhí ann dom; dúshlán a thabhairt dom féin i mo chuid ama féin. Bhí mé ag iarraidh bheith líofa as Gaeilge faoi dheireadh 2019.
Scríobh mé alt ag tús na bliana seo ag leagan amach an dúshláin agus mo chuid pleananna. Is féidir leibh é a léamh anseo, más mian leibh é a dhéanamh! Agus anois, ag deireadh na bliana, tháinig an t-am do chruinnithe nach bhfuil an chuid seo den rún déanta agam. Ach…. níl mé brónach ar chor ar bith.

Bhí a fhios agam ag tús na blianta nach raibh tasc éasca é foghlaim teanga (bhuel críochnaigh foghlaim teanga). Agus inseoidh mé an fhírinne, níl mé líofa fós. Tá mé fós ag éisteach ar an raidió as Gaeilge agus rud ar bith a thuiscint. Tá mé fós ag lorg físeáin YouTube i gcónaí gach deireadh seachtain agus ag brath ar fhotheidil. Tá mé fós ag féachaint ar leabhair Gaeilge roimh chogar “lá amháin, mo chara” liom féin.

Ach freisin i mbliana, tá gach leibhéal ‘óir’ ar Duolingo agam, tá mé ar bharr ceannaire idirnáisiúnta ar chluiche ar líne d’fhoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge (ClozeMaster), tá ceithre alt as Gaeilge scríofa agam, d’éist mé le níos mó Gaeilge i mbliana ná riamh, agus ar an iomlán seo, d’eagraigh mé an chéad ghrúpa cainte do Ghaeilgeoirí sa Bhreatain Bheag.

B’fhéidir gur chóir dom a bheith líofa faoi láthair. B’fhéidir gur chóir dom níos mó airgid a iompar i mo phócaí. Slí amháin nó mar sin, ba bhliain iontach í an bhliain seo.

Iascaireacht do Mholadh

Níl ach dá bhlag a scríobh mé i mbliana ina bhfuil mé ag triail a bheith líofa as Gaeilge. Ar ndoigh, níl a lán gaeilgeóirí anseo sa Bhreatain Bheag!

Cuidíonn scríobh blaganna liom le m’fhoghlaim ach ní bheidh sin amháin dóthain. Freisin, níl sé éasca blaganna a scríobh gan smaointe maith. Níl an t-am agam a bheith smaoineamh ar thopaic AGUS é a scríobh i dteanga nach bhfuil mé líofa ionti fós.

Mar sin, ceapaim go bhfuil an an dara rud is fearr ná aistriúchán rudaí atá agamse anois. Nuair a thagann smaoineamh nua scríobhfaidh mé faoi sin ach, faoi láthair, seo rud a chuala mé as Breatnais ar an raidió thart ar sheacht mbliana ó shin le aistriúchán Gaeilge.

****

Bhí iascaire óg, aerach sásta lena shaol. Bhí grá aige ar a theach beag i sráidbhaile beag ar chósta na Breataine Bige. Bhí sé sásta leis a phost simplí agus a thealagh iontach a bhí aige. Bhí aige gach rud a theastaigh uaidh agus níos mó fós. Bhíodh sé ag dul iascaireacht ar maidin ina bhád beag, adhmaid; bád a bhí a athair a úsáid, agus a athair eisean, agus a athair eithean. Ghabháilfeadh sé neart éisc chun a theaghlach a bheathú sa lá agus, tar éis a lá oibre, chaithfeadh sé an chuid eile dá oíche lena bhean chéile agus a pháistí ina dteachín beag te. Bhí tine acu gach oíche agus bhí boladh bia dúchais i ngach seomra. Bhiodh sé ag seinm a ghiotár agus ag dul a chodladh tar éis caibidil don leabhar is fearr aige a léamh.

Aon lá bhí an t-iascaire amach ar a thrál laethúil nuair a tháinig long iascaireachta mór gar dó. Bhí sé i bhfad níos mó ná bád an iascaire – i méid agus i stádas. Ach ní raibh sé seo ina ábhar imní don iascaire óg mar a chonaic sé go leor long ag dul thar na blianta le scamaill ag dul sa spéir.

Ach, den chéad uair riamh, bhí mairnéalach na loinge eile ag tabhairt aire agus ag iarraidh aird an iascaire a ghabháil. Bhog sé go han-mhall i dtreo na loinge mór chun an méid a bhí le rá aige a chloisteáil.

”Tá moladh agam duit, a chara” d’adeir tiománaí na loinge mór.

”Agus cad é sin?” d’fhreagair sé.

”Feicim ualach féideartha agat – ar mhaith leat a bheith ina fhear saibhir?”

Shos an t-iascaire óg mar a bhí sé ag iarradh níos mó a chloisteáil ón iascaire saibhir.

”Bhí mé mar tusa blianta fada ó shin. Bhí bád beag agamsa, agus saol shimplí freisin. Ach ní raibh sé dothain liom. Aon lá, chinn mé go ndéanfainn iarracht níos mó éisc a ghabháil ná mar a theastaigh uaim; ansin iad a dhíol agus brabús a dhéanamh. Bhí sé seo iontach mar, nuair a bhí dothain airgid agam, cheannagh mé bád níos mó – i bhfad níos lú ná an bád atá agam anseo anois, ar ndóigh. Bhog mé ó bhaile go baile, agus gach am bhí na tithe níos mó agam agus bhí níos mó daoine ag obair dom. Tar éis cúpla bliain d’obair chrua, bhí deich mbád iascaireachta agam; agus bhí gach aon ag déanamh brábus dom. Faoi dheireadh, thosaigh mé cuideachta i Londain agus d’fhás mo ghnó, le cabhair ó chairde cliste, feadh na slí. Rinne mé cuid mhór airgid.”

Leathnaigh súile an iascaire óg. Ní raibh sé éasca neamhaird a thabhairt ar scéal spreagúil mar seo. Ach bhí a fhreagra don iascaire saibhir níos spreagúil….

”Cá fhad a thógfadh sé domsa a bheith chomh rathúil agus saibhir mar tusa anois?”

”Níl ach 10 bliain amháin.”

”Agus nuair a théann tú ar scor, mo chara, cad a dhéanfaidh tú ansin?”

”Bhuel, ceapain go cheannfaidh mé teach beag ar chósta na Bhreataine Bige. Beidh tine ansin agus beidh sé lán le boladh bia dúchais. Suífidh mé le mo thealagh agus caint le mo pháistí. B’féidir beidh mé ag seinm mo ghiotár freisin. Ó, agus b’féidir léifidh mé leabhar deas agus ansin ag dul a chodladh leis an leabhar faoi mo ghrua.”

Ní raibh gá don bhonn ‘bocht’ freagra a thabhairt.

Bridging the Gap

For those, like myself, who prefer to keep his singing ‘ability’ under wraps from others – largely to prevent them bleeding from the ears – the obvious choice for where to blurt out our favourite Backstreet Boys number is in the car. The shower’s just too risky, right?

Half an hour on our own with no one around and no one looking at us. No one peering or peeking on our business – only removing the excess emotion of certain lyrics when another car overtakes us or slows down enough and can make out our face in their rear-view mirror. Where better to express ourselves in a way we wish? No one to tell us to be quiet or to tell us to attend singing classes.

The car is an important place – not only for singing. When my music is off I sometimes play out how I’ll explain a certain concept to my students that day. Others might practise answers for an upcoming interview. Some people air their disapproval towards callers on radio stations with whom they disagree. Some just swear at people cutting them up on a roundabout!

The most wonderful thing about displaying banners promoting an independent Wales yesterday morning was not the cacophony of approving horns and beeps from passers by – that’s far too ‘public’ a response. It was the waves and nods and thumbs-ups aimed at the display. Even the one, solitary two-fingered signal we received made me happier than the horns.

This was people coming out of their shells. People who, perhaps, may not wish to share their positive (or negative) views towards the independence movement in public or even to friends and family for any multitude of reasons. In their short period of alone time, with no prying eyes or potenial for a debate, they gave a second to express their support.

Waving their hand, as simply as they might do to thank another car for letting them pass a parked obstacle in the street, may well represent their first step in supporting this new movement and it was a genuine pleasure to witness that. Croeso!

It doesn’t scream bravery. Cynics will say it represents nothing but cowardice. To us, well, we were just happy to witness the potential first steps of ordinary people getting behind a movement wishing to make the lives of those who call Wales their home better.

When you live in an area rife with a rise in right-leaning views towards the outer world, it’s obvious that there will be some who are against or are closed off to the idea of Wales running her own affairs.

Baines refused to state why he felt the need to include the nature of our demonstration in his public safety announcement (which, after 12 hours, received only one retweet – from another former Tory councillor). He refused to offer evidence as to how he knew brakes were being applied – he was, of course, there with us campaigning for the whole 90 minutes and saw every car and lorry passing below us like we did. He also refused to spell ‘brakes’ correctly. Come to think of it, he also refused to answer my question as to whether or not he was Indy Curious. After ignoring the question twice, I have concluded that he most definitely is on board with the aims of YesCymru and I look forward greatly to welcoming him to our next meeting. He didn’t ask for the details but he knows he can find them on YesWrecsam’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

Former Conservative Councillor Baines wasn’t the only one.

Around half way through the demonstration, a large, white taxi pulled up beside us. Rolling down the window he peered at the flags and politely told us that, due to “just a difference of opinion,” he didn’t support what we were doing. Fair enough.

He then told us he’d had reports of people throwing eggs at lorries.

Before I sarcastically asked him whether they were fried or scrambled because were only lobbing fried ones, I ventured to ask why such reports were being sent to a taxi driver rather than to the local police. Much like most unionists when your response to their “Wales is too poor for independence” rhetoric is “How so?”, he didn’t seem to wish to offer a further response.

The day was filled with a huge number of demonstrations over bridges and at roadsides across Wales. Campaigners in their masses braved the autumnal morning to show others that keyboard warriors too like to appear in person now and again.

We didn’t even ask YesRhuthun to tweet this about our display!:

Following my initial reluctance to hold such an event in the Wrecsam area, I’m so glad we did it yesterday.

It’s moments like these that bring this movement out of the comfort sphere and into the real world. The comfort sphere that is a warm and snuggly place existing only on social media, our own living rooms and the odd few hours spent at local meetings regarding independence.

We all love the comfort sphere where the many supporters of the campaign can tweet and retweet happy stories of our forthcoming greener pastures like when a member of a political party asks their leader a question in parliament and, aside from a modicum of relevancy to whatever point they’re making, the rest of the time is spent licking one another’s arse and wasting time trying to be perceived as being undeniably awesome.

Yesterday was real. The responses were real.

Da iawn, bawb.

🙂