When life gives you afalau.

The feistiest smartphone argument you’ll find these days is the battle between Android and Apple devices. Apple has notoriously occupied the ‘high-end’, ‘look-at-me’ patch but Android users always seem to wear that smug smirk on their faces when they’re told their device doesn’t measure up to Steve Jobs’ brain child.

My technophobia means I’d rather not engage in these debates, preferring to simply sit on the fence whilst explaining how my ten-year ‘love affair’ with a massive array of Apple devices means that, for now and probably into the foreseeable future, I’m well and truly an ‘Apple b*tch’ – whether I like it or not!

I fear I’ll forever be one too. I know iOS and feel comfortable with it and, as the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke….

I like Apple. As I’ve said, I just get it. I can have my calendar in Welsh and my Google searches prioritising my chosen language. Perhaps more important than that, I’ve amassed so many apps over the years that I’d be sad to find that Android couldn’t offer me their equivalents. Changing wouldn’t just mean learning to use another operating system, it would mean learning how to use my current apps in new ways too. Then there’s the iCloud (Apple’s cloud storage feature) issue where I’ve saved every single text message I’ve ever sent to my [now] wife, all the notes and ideas I’ve collated over the years, all the photographs I’ve ever taken and all the music I’ve collected since I’ve used Apple devices. Put simply, changing now would just be a huge pain in proverbial that, in truth, I’m fully able to avoid.

But there’s no denying that there are times when Android is better than Apple; removable storage options, universal headphone jack, wider customisation opportunities, ability to utilise widgets, USB-C charging/link connection, Irish language interface, retro game compatibility…. and many more.

I’d be lying if I said the thought has never crossed my mind about making the leap out of and away from my Apple comfort zone.

In a sense, the Welsh language is a bit like Android. English is a bit like Apple.

Bear with….!

Nowadays in Wales, we all know Apple. Whether someone uses an Android device or not, you’ll probably struggle to find someone who has never ever owned at least one of Apple’s products. Neither would it be a lie to admit that most people here prefer Apple. And, much like we are all comfortable with Apple devices and their operating systems, we’re all aware of and, more than likely wholly proficient in, the English language as residents of Wales.

For ultimately the same, core reason I’ve forever been apprehensive around ditching Apple for Android, making the huge leap away from the language we’ve heard and used throughout our lives is never a decision made lightly. It’s bloody scary, in fact.

There seems to be an intrinsic national ‘shame’ that we don’t speak our national language (perhaps why we can often be ‘over’ patriotic at sporting events to compensate?) and most residents of Wales will tell you they wish they could speak the language fluently. So why the apprehension to learn and/or use it?

We know the benefits of learning and using Welsh. The cognitive avail of learning languages in general is then topped with the ability to converse in a language that was used to shape and forge this nation of ours. Doors open into a new world of culture and literature that English-medium education and media simply do not explore.

‘Cenedl heb iaith, cenedl heb galon’ – A nation without a language is a nation without a heart. We all yearn to ensure that the purest of hearts continues to beat amidst our hills and valleys. But none need despair…. we can all contribute.

Making the decision to learn Welsh is relatively simple in comparison to making the leap into actually using the Welsh we know – whether we’d consider ourselves fluent or not. Getting people signed up to classes or reaching a 50-day streak on Duolingo is not the problem…. it’s getting people to lend their voice to Welsh in order to give the old language its own. Unfortunately, its the ‘using’ where most of us lack confidence.

The fear of mis-mutating is like losing ten years of photographs and memories from your iCloud. Not being able to express oneself effectively in a local shop produces the same frustration as losing the ability to iMessage their mates from their iPad Mini. The potential shame of sounding stupid in front of peers is akin to looking stupid when you can’t find where ‘Settings’ is on the new Android phone you’ve just spent £700 on and have to ask a twelve-year-old who finds it in less than three and a half seconds.

But maybe our job as a society is not to force everyone to use an Android device, but to make them proficient enough to effectively utilise both Apple and Android devices when the occasions when either would be more efficient arise.

Look, pitiful techno-metaphors aside, in order to ensure we bring our language with us to be part of our ever-evolving Wales, we need to understand that not ignoring and bypassing English is just as important as encouraging ourselves and others into using Welsh itself.

For me, bilingualism doesn’t mean having every provision in the land in both Welsh and English (as much as I fully support the current law that everything has to be), it means that there simply exist occasions (or ‘places’) where either can flourish – even if the other language in certain occasions or places doesn’t.

If you don’t feel confident pitching your latest idea to your boss in Welsh but would happily greet them in the morning with ‘Bore da, sut mae?’, you’re bilingual. If your Cymraeg comfort zone doesn’t quite reach as far as telling your mechanic that your engine’s making a funny noise but you’ll happily bid him/her ‘Diolch yn fawr’ to thank them for their work, you’re bilingual. When my mate and I are down at Wrecsam’s Cae Ras stadium we rarely speak Welsh to each other – it just doesn’t feel ‘right’ to me when I’m talking about football – but when we discuss where to meet up for a pint of Wrexham Lager afterwards or how one another’s family is, we’d never even consider speaking English.

Admittedly, at present it seems as though English is the language of choice for the lion’s share of daily life in Wales but this does not mean that, in the first instance, occasions where Welsh is the natural first choice don’t exist and, secondly, that we can’t all encourage ourselves and one another to forge new places for Welsh to thrive day-to-day. Essentially, we can all embrace the occasions when and where Welsh already has a place and then make our own additional places too. Why not talk to your cat in Welsh? Ditch the word ‘thanks’ for a juicy ‘diolch’? Maybe the Cae Ras might become your ‘patch Cymraeg’ where it may never be mine?

My taid [grandfather] would often encourage me to ‘always leave a place tidier than how we found it.’ Why not make the lives of yourself and others around you a little bit more ‘Welsh-ier’ then when you found it?

Give it a go and dal ati.

I’m off to buy a new Apple Watch.

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An bhfuil mé líofa go fóill?

Ag tús na bliana seo, cheap mé go mbeadh ‘bheith líofa as Gaeilge’ mar rún na bliana nua i 2019 iontach. Scríobh mé alt i mí Eanáir ag míniú cén fáth a bhí mé ag bain triail as sin.

Ach seo mé anois i mí Iúil agus, i ndáiríre fíor, ní cheapaim go bhfuil mé níos gaire don líofacht. Ní cheapaim go bhfuil aon fhocail nó frásaí nua agam agus úsáidim m’fhoclóir mar a bhí mé é a úsaid i mí Eanáir (agus roimhe sin). Níl sé éasca a sheachaint go bhfuil dúlagar orm.

Éistim leis an raidió gach seachtain agus chonaic mé gach físeán atá ar YouTube as Gaeilge anois…. gach físeán! Tá a fhíos agam go bhfuil mé in ann físeáin ar app TG4 a fháil agus breathnóidh mé orthu uaireanta freisin. Déanaim mo chuid Duolingo gach lá (áfach chríochnaigh mé an crann i 2017) agus tá ClozeMaster agam freisin (agus tá mé ar barr an liosta idirnáisiúnta ar sin le 200,000 pionta – tá 4 pointa le gach freagra ceart!).

Is maith liom m’fhoclóir a léamh uaireanta nuair a bheidh an t-am agam agus cheannaigh mé leabhar frásaí as Gaeilge anuradh agus tá sé sin iontach freisin. Ach seo mise…. go fóill…. agus ní bhraithim go bhfuil mé líofa fós!

An t-aon ghrásta atá agam é go bhfuil a fhíos agam go bhfuil go leor daoine sa bhád céanna agus tá siad ag léamh an t-aon airteagail liomsa…. cad is gá dom a dhéanamh tar éis Duolingo?!

Uaireanta bainim triail as ceapadh cad a bhí na píosaí deiridh den mhíreanna mearaí nuair a thosaigh mé ag rá – le muinín – go bhfuil mé líofa as Breatnais agus, seachas an teanga a úsáid gach lá le gach daoine (rud éigin an-deacair a dhéanamh leis an Ghaeilge sa Bhreatain Bheag), ní féidir liom go leor smaointe a fháil.

Is dócha a cheapaim go bhfuil mé ag teip faoi láthair – mar atá mé gnóthach.

Le mo gig ag teacht an mí seo, tá mé ag éisteacht leis na t-amhráin agus, mar sin, níl mé in ann éisteacht leis an raidió as Gaeilge an oiread. Freisin, beidh mé sa Fhraing an mí seo agus is gá dom Fraincis a fhoghlaim – chrioch mé mo chrann as Fraincis ar Duolingo ach tá níos mó am uaim air. Níl áit i mo shaol faoi láthair don Ghaeilge.

Agus labhairt faoin bhFraincis, mothaim go bhfuil sé sin ag dul i mo cheann níos luath ná an Ghaeilge ar chúis éigin. Sa chéad áit, cheap mé go bhfuil sé sin fíor mar atá comhréir Fraincis cósúil leis an Bhéarla (mo mháthairtheanga) ach tá comhréir Gaeilge an-chósúil leis an Bhreatnais – agus tá mé chomh muiníneach i labhairt na Breatnaise agus atá mé ag labhairt Béarla. An bhfuil an Ghaeilge, ag deireadh an lae, ró dheacair domsa agus do phobail eile?

Mar sin, an t-aon fhreagra atá agam faoi láthair é scríobh…. agus caint leis an gcat freisin. Tá sí níos fearr ná mise!

B’féidir go bhfuil mé chomh criticiúil orm féin le foghlaim teangacha nua mar atá mo chuid Breatnais (teanga a d’fhoghlaim mé) fiorfa – b’féidir tá mé ag ceapadh go bhfuil gá dom an léibheal sin a bhaint amach!?!

An bhfuil mé líofa anois ach níl mé é a fheiciáil go fóill?

Ar aon nós, an bhfuil smaoineamh agaibh-se? Cur in iúl dom.

Beidh mé líofa as Gaeilge.

Why the march for independence in Caernarfon will mean a lot more than you think it will.

If you heard about, read about or even rode along with the Welsh indy wave that was the AUOB (All Under One Banner) march in Cardiff recently, you’ll have surely recognised what a special occasion it was.

Myself turning up early to see a couple of hundred people chatting in the sunshine was, in my head, destined to then be nothing short of an embarrassment for the cause of independence…. until a couple of thousand others joined and scores more along the way too.

It was incredible to think that so many people had already opened their eyes to, at the very least, discussing the notion of ruling our own nation for the first time in 800 years.

And after such a brilliant day, it was only going to ever happen again.

Caernarfon called.

At 1 o’clock on the 27th July 2019, people from Wales and beyond will, once again, march for self-determination and national dignity.

On what promises to be another fantastic occasion there are a few things that, should the day turn out to be as successful as the first march, will perhaps make Caernarfon’s event even more significant.

The word on everyone’s lips – indy supporters and unionist alike – is whether Caernarfon’s march will live up to the undeniable success of Cardiff. Was it just a one-off?

It will, undoubtedly, be a challenge to reach the 3,000-strong (as a few articles estimate) hoard once again.

But estimates aside, from a personal perspective I remember one such moment where I stopped during the event to tie my shoe lace. Upon raising my head after my shoes were back ready to march, I paused and looked for the front of the line. I couldn’t see it. “I must be at the back then!” I thought, turning my head to the right. Nowhere in sight.

It was incredible!

Don’t believe me?

Look, whether there’s 3,000…. 10,000…. or 300 – the march is happening and it will be yet another opportunity to show the world how united Wales has become over the past decade. Linking the nation all under one idea – one banner – has become somewhat of a favoured pastime of us Welsh in recent years and doing something similar in north west Wales will be nothing to be underestimated. With what has been dubbed ‘Europe’s fastest growing independence movement,’ we’re out to normalise the way independence is uttered.

Much like the way wearers of Welsh rugby or Wrecsam football jerseys have to force themselves to be blissfully unaware and/or unnerved by the harbouring of the dreaded ‘three feathers’ on their crests, Clwb Pêl-droed Caernarfon also depict the ancient symbol of subjugation on their breasts.

The town itself is defined by some unionists as a ‘Royal Borough’ or ‘Royal Town,’ hosting the investiture of Charles as Wales’ prince in 1969 to swathes of both supporters and protestors. There can be no denying that royalism (and, to a lesser extent but still significantly, unionism) is more rife here than in most parts of Wales.

It’s not easy to underestimate how huge this march has the potential to be in terms of turning the tides in favour of independence.

In 2014, despite a niche failure overall, Glasgow, [formerly] the British Empire’s Second City became Scotland’s Yes City with over 60% voting for Scotland to pave its own way in the world – the scale of Glasgow’s success just as politically massive as, with a bit of luck, a few thousand people in Caernarfon; the two places having stood as British beacons behind Celtic ‘enemy lines’ for generations and centuries.

Together with Cardiff’s incredible spectacle and three west Wales town councils formally backing the indy discussion recently, success in Caernarfon would only leave the border lands as targets to spread the word of bringing governance closer to home – to the people who call these places their home.

See you in Wrecsam next summer?

Dônt Têc Mî Hôm

Ers clywed y byddai’n digwydd hyd at, wel, rŵan hyd yn oed, dw i’n gyffrous dros ben am y Gêm Her Ryngwladol (sef gêm gyfeillgar ddibwynt) yn erbyn Trinidad a Thobago yng nghartref pêl-droed Cymru; Y Cae Ras, Wrecsam.

Basai unrhyw gefnogwr/aig o bêl-droed Cymru yn dweud wrthoch eu bod nhw’n cyffroi’n arw am unrhyw gêm mae Cymru’n rhan ohoni; mae yn y gwaed ac yn yr enaid. Dydyn ni byth yn mwynhau’r gemau – mae hynny’n amhosibl – ond mae bendant crin edrych ymlaen atyn nhw.

Ond ‘roedd y gêm hon yn wahanol i fi’n bersonol. Mae’r Cae Ras yn Wrecsam yn eglwys i fi; lle dw i’n mynd bob yn ail benwythnos i addoli fy nuwiau. Dw i wedi bod yn mynychu’r hen stadiwm am oddeutu â phum mlynedd ar hugain erbyn hyn ac dw i ddim ar fin newid fy nheyrngarwch eto – er y poen emosiynol a achosid wrth wylio Wrecsam yn ystod y degawd diwethaf! Felly ‘roedd dysgu y basai fy nhîm cenedlaethol y chwarae yno yn, wel…. basai fy ngwraig yn fy nisgrifio fel actio “fatha plentyn bach!”

Byw yn Wrecsam + Athro llawn amser; nid y cymysgedd gorau i fod yn gefnogwr pêl-droed Cymru. Ni chaniatéir unrhyw amser i ffwrdd o’r gwaith y tu allan i amseroedd y tymhorau a chyda UEFA’n ffafrio cynnal gemau ar ddydd Sul neu ar nos Fawrth yn ystod tymhorau’r ysgol, mae hyd yn oed cyrraedd Caerdydd yn gallu golygu y caf fy ngorfodi i wylio’r cochion ar y teledu yn lle – heb sôn am y bosibilrwydd o fynd i Aserbaisian ac yn ôl cyn amser cofrestru y diwrnod canlynol.

Dw i dal yn cyrraedd ambell i gêm gartref (a Bordeaux hefyd)…. mae fy nisgyblion yn cydymdeimlo’n llwyr gyda mi mewn cyflwr blinedig wedi wyth awr o deithio!

Felly, ar ôl un flynedd ar ddeg, ‘roedd pêl-droed ar ei ffordd adref i’w gartref ysbrydol yn Wrecsam. Yn ôl i’r dref lle cawsom gweir gan yr Albanwyr o ddwy gôl i ddim yn 1877 ac yn yr un stadiŵm lle cawsom gweir arall o dair gôl i ddim gan yr un gwrthwynebwyr yn 1879. Hyd at y gêm yn erbyn Trinidad a Thobago, dim ond dwywaith ‘roeddwn i wedi gweld Cymru’n chwarae yn y Cae Ras – yr un faint ag ydw i wedi gweld fy ngwlad yn defnyddio Anfield yn Lerpwl fel ei maes cartref! ‘Roedd hyn yn enfawr i fi.

Er gwynfyd pur oedd yr achlysur a chlywed ein hanthem yn cael ei chanu’n frwd mewn acen y gogledd ddwyrain, ‘roedd ambell i beth am y gêm wedi fy nghythruddo. Dyma ambell un a glywais cyn y gêm ar nos Fercher;

“Teimlo fel gêm oddi ca’tre lan ‘ma, munn”

Ydy hi? Taith hir, oedd hi? Croeso i realiti ni.

“Duw, ydych chi’ch lot yn ‘neud y dreif ‘na BOB gêm gytre’?”

Yndyn siŵr, gyfaill. Yndyn siŵr.

Braidd yn sgows lan ‘ma, i’fe?”

Braidd yn ‘Gymoedd’ lawr yne, dydi?

“Fi wostod yn edrych mas am sgôr Wrecsam!”

Felly dylech chi hefyd. ‘Rydyn ni o’r un wlad sy’n chwarae, fel timau chi, mewn cynghrair gwlad estron. Does dim ond 5 ohonon ni sy’n ‘neud – wrth gwrs y dylen ni aros efo’n gilydd!

Ac yn olaf; yr un ‘roeddwn i’n disgwyl (ac yn edrych ymlaen ati) ei chlywed yn cael ei chanu o’r teras yn y Cae Ras (sydd yn Wrecsam; sydd yng NGHYMRU):

Don’t Take Me Home

MI YDYCH CHI BL*DI ADRE’!

A dyna oeddwn i. Llawn casineb a blinder. Felly stopiais fy hun ac ailfeddwl. Dyna yw problem ein cefnogwyr a, mewn gwirionedd, ein gwlad ei hun. Ni allwn ymfalchïo yn ein gilydd.

Mae’n beth rhyfedd iawn. Mae fel darganfod fod dy dad wedi bod yn dysgu Cymraeg ac wedyn trïo newid arfer bywyd yn siarad Saesneg i siarad Cymraeg. Dydy hi byth mor naturiol ag y hoffech fod. Neu mae fel trïo ymfalchïo yn y gamp o adeiladur Mur Mawr Tseina fel camp yr hil dynol yn lle dim ond pobl Tseina. Neu ddod o Rwsia ac ymfalchïo mewn Apollo 11 yn glanio ar y lleuad – er mai o’r un blaned ydyn ni i gyd sy’n rhannu’r un lleuad!

Rŵan, ‘te. Efallai bydd hyn yn anodd ond trïwch y prawf bach hwn. Dewch o hyd i’ch ardal leol a thrïo ymfalchïo mewn pob dim sy’n dilyn fel y dylai unrhyw berson o Gymru;

I bobl gogledd ddwyrain Cymru: Alright, la? Mae Gareth Bale (Caerdydd) yn dod o’r un wlad â chi ac ‘rydych chi’n byw yn yr un tir â’r Wyddfa (Gwynedd).

I bobl de orllewin Cymru: Shwd i’chi? ‘Roedd Owain Glyndŵr (Clwyd) yn ystyried ei hun fel yr un cenedligrwydd â chi. Ambell waith bob blwyddyn, mae Stadiwm Dinas Caerdydd (Caerdydd) yn gartref i chi.

I bobl gogledd orllewin Cymru: Iawn, mêt? Mae gan eich gwlad y draphont ddŵr uchaf ar y blaned (Clwyd) a chyflwynwyd y hafalnod (=) gan ddyn o’r un wlad â chi (Penfro).

I bobl de ddwyrain Cymru: Orite, butt? ‘Rydych chi’n un o’r un tiroedd â Phadrig Sant (Penfro) ac mae’ch gwlad yn gartref i un o enwau llefydd hiraf y byd (Ynys Môn).

Mae POB un o’r pethau uchod yn pethyn i BOB un ohonom ni fel Cymry! Llwyddiant, galar a baich i gyd.

Wrth gwrs mae elfennau tywyll i hyn hefyd. Er enghraifft, pan foddwyd Capel Celyn, boddom ni i gyd. ‘Roeddem ni i gyd yn sefyll wrth wal yr hen swyddfa bost yn yr Wyddgrug ym 1869 pan laddwyd 4 dyn am geisio siarad Cymraeg ym mhyllau glo Coed-llai. ‘Roeddem ni i gyd yn chwilio’n ddi-baid am blant Aberfan. ‘Rydym ni i gyd yn ddioddefwyr trychineb Groesffordd. ‘Rydym ni i gyd yn llyfrau gleision a Thaffî’r Cymro go iawn. Pob un ohonom ni.

Rhannwn mewn cymaint o dristwch a phrydferthwych unedig ond ni allwn osgoi’r teimlad na allwn ni uniaethu â Chymru gyfan dim ond oherwydd nad ydy pob dim o’n milltir sgwâr ni. Peidiwch â rhoi’r bai ar ein trafnidiaeth wael – mae hon yn broblem ein hymennydd. Y tro diwethaf i’r Cymry uno, coronwyd tywysog newydd ar ôl dros ganrif o aros, sefydlwyd llywodraeth a chynlluniwyd eglwys genedlaethol a dwy brifysgol o safon uchel. How very dare they! Ond dyddiau hyn cawn ein haddysgu o’r crud nad ydym yn wlad unedig; er enghraifft, ‘rydym ni’n credu y dylid sillafu gogledd Cymru a de Cymru gyda phrif lythyren (ie Gogledd Cymru a De Cymru) sydd, yn seicolegol, yn ein gwneud ni deimlo nad ydym yn un wlad gyfan ond rhanbarthau gwahanol. Fasech chi byth yn clywed South Scotland neu North England yn Saesneg? Ond ‘rydych chi wedi clywed North Cornwall, do? Am ryfedd!

Os ydych chi’n ystyried eich hun yn Gymro neu’n Gymraes – dim ots os ydych chi’n cefnogi Tref y Barri, Dinas Abertawe, Tref Caernarfon neu Wrecsam – mae dy wlad yn gartref i’r stadiwm hynaf ar ein planed i gynnal gemau rhyngwladol. Mae gan eich gwlad y stadiwm fwyaf yn y byd gyda tho symudol ac, weithiau, mae’ch tîm cenedlaethol yn chwarae yno hefyd! EICH TÎM CHI!

Y tro nesaf ‘rydych chi’n darllen un o’r ffeithiau hyn ac mae’ch pen yn eich gwneud chi deimlo braidd yn genfigennus o’r bobl sydd ond yn byw tua chwarter awr i ffwrdd o’r llefydd, stopiwch. Dyna’r ormes sydd yn heintio’ch meddwl ac mae’r rhaid i chi ei wrthwynebu. Mae’r pethau hyn yn perthyn i NI – beth bynnag ein cyfeiriad neu god post!

‘Rydyn ni adre’n barod. Waeth i ni ddechrau actio fel bod ni felly.

ISOD: Cefnogwyr Wrecsam, Caerdydd ac Abertawe’n cwrdd y tu allan i Saith Seren er mwyn trafod annibyniaeth i Gymru gyda’r cyhoedd;

Don’t Take Me Home

From the moment it was announced up to, well, this very moment right now I’ve been absolutely buzzing about the Wales vs Trinidad & Tobago International Challenge Match (ie pointless friendly football game) at the home of Welsh football; the Racecourse, Wrecsam.

Any Welsh football fan will tell you they get excited about any Welsh game. It’s in the blood and in the soul. We never enjoy the games – that’s impossible – but we definitely anticipate them with excitement.

But this game was different for me. Wrecsam’s Cae Ras (Racecourse) is my soccer place of worship; my football church. I’ve been going there since I was around 5 or 6 years old and I don’t plan on ending that tradition any time soon – no matter how much emotional pain it causes! So to learn that my national team were to play there was, well…. my wife will happily tell you that I’ve been “fatha plentyn bach!” (like a little kid!) waiting for the big day.

Wrecsam resident + full time teacher has frustratingly proved to be an awful mix for me as a Wales fan. With zero time off allowed outside of school holidays and UEFA putting matches on Sunday and Tuesday evenings during term time, even getting to Cardiff can be a struggle for me – never mind getting to Azerbaijan and back before registration the next day. I still get to most home games (and Bordeaux) mind…. my students are very forgiving and understanding in my ‘under-par’ state the next morning!

So, after 11 years, football was coming back to its spiritual home of Wrecsam. The place where the Scots stuffed us 2-0 in 1877 and in the same stadium as they put 3 past us in 1879. Up until before the Trinidad & Tobago game, I’d seen Wales play at the Cae Ras the same amount of times I’d seen Wales use Anfield as their home ground! This was huge for me.

And despite the ocassion being bliss and our anthem belted out in a beautiful north eastern accent, a few things about the game p*ssed me right off. Here are said few things I heard before and during Wednesday’s game;

  • “Feels like an away game up ‘ere, munn”

Does it? Long drive, was it? Welcome to our world.

  • Duw, do you guys do that drive EVERY home game?”

Pretty much, my friend. Pretty much.

  • “Bit scouse up ‘ere, inni?”

Bit ‘Valleys’ down there, isn’t it?

  • “Always look out for Wrexham scores, I do”

So you should. We’re from the same country playing in a foreign nation’s league system. There are only FIVE exiled teams – of course we should stick together!

And the one I was most looking forward to hearing sung from the terraces of the Cae Ras (which is in Wrecsam; which is in WALES):

  • “Don’t Take Me Home”

YOU ARE BL**DY HOME!

And there I was. Filled with bitterness. So I stopped myself and reconsidered. Herein lies the problem of our football supporters and of our nation at large. We simply cannot bring ourselves to ‘ymfalchïo’ (to find and express pride) in one another.

It’s weird. It’s like finding out your dad’s been learning Welsh and then trying to change your English-speaking habit of 27-or-so years with him. It’s never as natural as you’d like. Or it’s like trying to be proud of the Great Wall of China as an achievement of humans, rather than of only the Chinese people. Or being Russian and taking pride in Apollo 11’s successful moon landing – even though we’re all from the same planet sharing that same moon!

I know it’ll be hard but try this little test. Find your locality and take pride as a Welsh person in the subsequent peculiarites;

To anyone from north east Wales: Alright, la? Gareth Bale (Cardiff) is from your country and you live in the same land as Yr Wyddfa [Snowdon] (Gwynedd).

To anyone from south west Wales: Shwd i’ti? Owain Glyndŵr (Clwyd) considered himself the same nationality as you. At least a few times a year, the Cardiff City Stadium (Cardiff) is your home.

To anyone from the north west Wales: Iawn, mêt? Your country has the highest canal aquaduct on the planet (Clwyd) and a man from your country (Pembrokeshire) first introduced the equals sign.

To anyone from south east Wales: Orite, butt? You hail from the same land as Saint Patrick of Ireland (Pembrokeshire) and your country is home to one of the longest place-names in the world (Ynys Môn).

ALL of these things are ALL of yours! Success, grief and burden alike.

There are, of course, more sombre elements to this. For example, when Tryweryn was drowned, we all drowned. We were all stood against a wall in Mold in 1869 when 4 men were murdered for wanting to speak Welsh in the mines of Leeswood Green. We were all frantically searching for the children of Aberfan. We were all victims of the Gresford disaster. We are all blue books and Welsh Nots. We are all Taffy the Welshman. Every single one of us.

We share in so much collective sadness and beauty but are plagued with a feeling that we can’t fully identify with ALL of Wales because it’s not from our ‘milltir sgwâr’ (our locality; our square mile). Don’t blame our appalling transport links – this problem is one of the mind. The last time the Welsh fully united they crowned their own prince after over a century wanting, and then set up their own parliament with a view to establishing a national church and two powerful universities. How very dare they! But nowadays we are intrinsicly taught that we are seperate; for example, we believe that north Wales and south Wales should be spelt with capital letters (ie North Wales and South Wales) so that we look at these places as seperate regions rather than part of one and the same entity. Would you ever write South Scotland or North England? But you’ve probably seen North Cornwall, right? Figures.

If you consider yourself Welsh – regardless of whether you’re a Barry Town fan or a Swansea City fan or a Caernarfon Town fan or a Wrecsam AFC fan – you’re country is home to the oldest continuously used international football stadium on the planet. Your nation has the biggest stadium in the world with a retractable roof and, sometimes, our national team plays there too! YOURS!

Next time you read one of these facts and your brain suddenly makes you a bit jealous of the people who live within 15 minutes of these places, stop. That’s the oppression in you and you must oppress it. These things are OURS – no matter your home address.

We are already home. Let’s start acting like it.


BELOW: Wrecsam, Cardiff and Swansea supporters meet outside Saith Seren to discuss independence for Wales with passers by;

Rúnaí na hAthbhliana

Gach bliain, déanann daoine timpeall an domhain rún na hAthbhliana. Domsa, níl ach rud éigin a dhéanamh idir na Nollaig agus an bhliain nua atá sé. Gach bliain (de ghnáth thart ar mhí na Feabhra!) cloisimid daoine go leor ag rá go bhfuil a gcuid rúnaí na hAthbhliana ‘as an fhuinneog!’

Ach, in ainneoin a ceapaim go bhfuil rúnaí na hAthbhliana maol agus gan éifeacht, gach bliain beidh ceann amháin agam…. agus seo é; ní dhéanfaidh mé rún na hAthbhliana riamh sa bhliain seo!

Cliste, nach bhfuil?

Anuraidh, le mo bhean chéile ag rá go raibh dúil aici ithe seacláid a stopadh (rud ná ndearna sí faoi mhí na Nollag), rinne mise rún na hAthbhliana dáiríre freisin…. agus seo eisean; nuair a chonaic mé aon rud ar suíomhanna meáin-shóisialta sna teangacha Ceilteacha, ní raibh mé in ann neamhshuim a dhéanamh dóibh.

I rith na bliana, bhí mé ag léamh gach rud (bhuel, beagnach gach rud) in aon teanga Cheilteach a chonaic mé. Roimh sin, má nach raibh mé i dtimpeallacht mhaith nó bhí mé gnóthach, bhí mo chuid méasa ag scroláil agus ag scroláil gach uair a chonaic mé rud éigin nach raibh as Breatnais nó as Béarla.

Tá sé cinnte nach léigh mé GACH tvuít nó rud ar Facebook as Gaeilge nó as Coirnis etc, ach thug mé iarraidh mór air. Tá a fhios ag gach duine an smaoineamh coitainta faoi glasraí agus torthaí. An bhfuil sibh ag éisteacht leis agus é a dhéanamh gach lá? Tá sé fíor nach ithim féin cúig glasradh nó toradh gach lá ach tar éis moltaí ‘cúig gach lá’ na realtas, b’féidir ithim dó nó trí ar a laghad anois! Is fearr rud éigin ná rud ar bith, nach bhfuil?

Anuraidh (agus arís i mbliana), tá mé ag léamh rudaí nua agus difriúil as Gaeilge (agus teangacha Ceilteacha eile) gach lá agus nuair a tháinig mí na Nollag i 2018, bhí mé in ann ag rá go chríochnaigh mé rún na hAthbhliana.

Tic. Déanta. Ní raibh orm rún eile a dhéanamh riamh arís. Bhuel…. níl sé sin cinnte go leor. Anois atá ceann déanta agam, ba mhaith liom an mothú sin a bhraitheann arís. Agus i mbliana, tá mo rún na hAthbhliana níos uaillmhianach. I mbliana, beidh mé líofa as Gaeilge.

Do na daoine atá in ann neamhshuim a dhéanamh do mo chuid earráidí gramadaí agus comhréir san alt seo, ná bígí ag smaoineamh go bhfuil mé in aice le a bheith líofa fós…. thug an t-alt seo uaireanta agus foclóirí go leor á scríobh!

Áfach, tá muinín agam as m’fhéin fós go mbeidh mé líofa i mbliana. Tá mé ag éisteacht leis an ráidió gach Satharn nuair atá mé sa chith; tá mé ag déanamh mo chuid Duolingo agus ClozeMaster gach lá; tá mé ag léamh níos mó rudaí ar m’fhón as Gaeilge agus ag léamh leabhair ‘fhisiceacha’ as Gaeilge freisin. Tá mo chairde atá Gaeilge againn ag caint liom agus tá mé ag caint le m’fhéin nuair nach bhfuil aon Ghaeilge eile in aice liom.

Dá bhrí sin, seo mise agus seo mo rún na hAthbhliana i mbliana. Tá a fhios agam nach mbeidh sé éasca ach, go dtí go mbeidh teorainn agam, níl gealltanas dáiríre é mo bhrionglóid.

Agus i ndéireadh na dála, mura n-ithim cúig glasraí nó torthaí gach lá faoi mhí na Nollag i mbliana, beidh mé ag ithe ar a laghad dhá nó trí cinn, nach mbeidh?

Pokémon Coch (Welsh Red Version) – Latest

When something on which you’ve worked rather hard suddenly becomes a true reality that not only you yourself can enjoy but others too, it’s a rather lovely feeling.

For around a month now I’ve been working on translating Pokémon Red into Welsh and it’s going rather well. At a guess I’d like to say that there’s less than 100 phrases left to translate now so the end is nigh!

If you wish to play version 5, click on this link. Please note that any newer versions will only be posted on this link and will not be updated on this page.


DIOLCH

As a thank you to those who’ve already downloaded the game (and given some wonderful feedback), here are two extra Easter eggs for players of the Welsh version.

FREE MASTER BALLS

After taking Elm’s package to Pallet Town, go back to the PokéMart in Viridian.Once there you should see free Master Balls as the fifth and final item.

MEWTWO

Go over the bridge with the 5 trainers on it in Cerulean City which leads East towards Bill’s House. Instead of visiting Bill, take Route 9 to the East.

Just before the patch of water where you can sail to go to the Power Plant, search through the grassy area.

There are a few Spearows and Ekans hanging around but eventually you’ll bump into a level 150 Mewtwo.

Wouldn’t free Master Balls be handy about now?

Lawrlwytho Pokémon Coch

pkmnc

Cliciwch yma i lawrlwytho fersiwn 9.

DS Bydd rhaid lawrlwytho efelychydd (emulator) yn ogystal â’r ffeil uchod. Mae gwybodaeth ar sut i wneud hyn ar ddiwedd y cofnod hwn.


Nodiadau am y gêm:

  • Dydy’r cyfieithu ddim wedi’i gwblhau eto. Mae dal digon o waith i wneud.
  • Ffeil fyw ydy’r ffeil uchod – byddaf yn ei diweddaru pob tro caf gyfle. Pob tro byddwch yn chwarae’r gêm, mae’n werth ail-lawrlwytho’r ffeil er mwyn cael y fersiwn diweddaraf fydd ganddo mwy wedi’i gyfieithu a llai o namau (gobeithio!).
  • Mae ambell i nam yn codi wrth chwarae – fel arfer gellir mynd heibio hyn trwy bwyso’r prif fotwm sawl gwaith. ‘Dydw i heb ddod ar draws nam sy’n stopio’r gêm rhag rhedeg yn gyfan gwbl…. eto!
  • Dylid sylweddoli mai tasg anodd a pharhaol iawn ydy hon. Mae wedi bod yn anodd cadw’r nodau o dan y nifer a ganiateir gan y gêm ac felly bu’n rhaid i mi gynnwys digon o ‘fratiaith’ (os yw’r fath beth hyd yn oed yn bodoli) a chymysgedd o dafodieithoedd gwahanol – er nad peth drwg ydy hynny!
  • Gweler isod am fideo o’r gêm, gwybodaeth tu ôl i’r prosiect a chysylltiadau at wefannau er mwyn chwarae’r gêm eich hunain.
  • Gadewch i mi wybod os nad ydych yn llwyddo lawrlwytho unrhyw beth o’r dudalen hon. Gellir cysylltu â mi ar Drydar (@SteCymru14) neu drwy fy ebostio.

Diolch yn fawr iawn.
SteCymru14.



Cliciwch yma i ddarllen am fy mhrosiect

i ddarparu Pokémon Red yn Gymraeg.

Cliciwch yma i weld fideo
YouTube 
gyda 90 eiliad o’r gêm.



Cliciwch yma i lawrlwytho efelychydd
(emulator) er mwyn chwarae’r gêm.


Nodiadau am yr efelychydd:

  • Bydd yr efelychydd hwn ond yn gweithio ar gyfrifiadur personol neu ar gluniadur.
  • Er mwyn ei chwarae ar iPhone bydd rhaid mynd i’r wefan hon.
  • Ar ôl lawrlwytho’r efelychydd, bydd rhaid echdynnu cynnwys y ffeil. Gweler y nodiadau yn y llun isod:Di-deitl

Pokémon Coch

Back in early April I found myself in Iceland after another staff member from the school was unable to go. I suppose it was only right that my visit to Lesotho in the southern extremities of the planet earlier in the year should be coupled with a trip to the Arctic Circle – or close enough to it. My only reservation was leaving Angharad (again) in the year we are to wed. Thankfully, as a teacher, she was fully supportive and accomodating of my own teacher duties.

99.99% of everything I saw was incredible. From geysers to tectonic separations; lagoons to glaciers; waterfalls to volcanoes…. it was truly a wonderful place.

The reason, however, I’m that unable to say I enjoyed 100% of the trip is down to a conversation I overheard in a Subway resturant just outside Reykjavíc between a customer and a cashier.

Two people; one ordering some grub, the other serving it. Both Icelanders. Both speaking English!!!!


On our trip we were lucky enough to boast Björn Rúriksson as our guide. This incredibly knowledgable photographer, pilot and writer (amongst many other things) was persistantly interesting as he pointed out each and every nook ans cranny of his home island. He also learnt how to say Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantisiliogogogoch perfectly in a just few hours. Although to be fair, I can say Eyjafjallajökull pretty well!

The reason I mention Björn here is because he was the first person to whom I spoke regarding my sadness and, in honesty, my surprise that two Icelanders would choose to speak English over their native tongue.

It was then he informed me of something about which, as a Welshman, I’m all too well versed; the damning of smaller languages by the many who speak English before their native language(s).

A similar point was made by Abraham Somers in an article for Nation.cymru where he speaks of Iceland’s struggle in keeping up with the English language’s domination of the digital age.

Björn was amazed to learn, considering Wales’ close proximity to the homeland of the world’s new de facto language, that the Welsh language had survived in the manner it had. I refused to inform him that my language boasted twice as many speakers as his own!

We talked for hours about the situation of our respective languages as we passed some of most beautiful landscapes on the planet until eventually we began to consider how our languages might move forward. How might our languages maintain their relevance in a world rapidly losing its languages at an alarming rate?

One thing that struck me from our conversation the most was how Icelanders had, since the 90s, ensured that as many game developing companies as possible included Icelandic on their games. I guess the reason behind it was to ensure Icelandic maintained its relevance in the world – to ensure that the younger speakers didn’t feel as though they had to learn Norwegian, German or English in order to enjoy the latest games.

Mainly down to our lack of sovereignty as a nation, Wales and the Welsh language were – and still are – totally overlooked when it comes to the gaming world. Even if the population of the world’s Icelandic speakers is less than the entire population of Wales’ capital city, the fact that Iceland boasts its own seat at the United Nations means their language will always have a better chance than ours.


Rarely a day goes by when I don’t spend at least 30 seconds (but often much longer) thinking about how we could strenghten the Welsh language. Sometimes I keep the faith that one day it will hit me and a simple idea will change our language’s future for the better. Most of the time, however, I mainly dispair in the knowledge that via drastic actions only we will save Cymraeg. John Saunders Lewis was indeed correct!

Last week I had an idea. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite the linguistic silver bullet for which I’ve been searching but it at least linked two of my many passions – the preservation and expansion of the Welsh language and retro gaming!

I’ve been messing around with retro games, roms and emulators for years. Little chucks of childhood nostalgia squeezed together in 8-bit colourless harmony. And the best part about being able to relive my gaming childhood is that it’s completely free!

Pokémon Red for the Nintendo GameBoy is one of my personal favourites. It was one of the first games I remember that forced me to lose hundreds of hours and sapping the juice of even more AA batteries.

After (once again) completing the game, I needed a new challenge. A quick internet search led me to various articles on how game text could be edited.

You’ll never guess what I’ve just spent the last 5 hours doing….!

+ Check out my video here with around a minute of gameplay.

Now look, there are a few things I need to mention here:

  • This will in no way save the Welsh language – at best it will give some Welsh-speaking 30-somethings around half an hour of fun.
  • I’m nowhere near completing this ‘project’ and there are various problems such as bugs, dialect choices, character limitations and difficulties in translating such terms as Pokéball and Boulderbadge!
  • I can but hope that my passion for a game first released at the end of the previous milennium enthuses other game developers to contact Welsh speakers with translation requests. Or perhaps Welsh speakers will, themselves, approach gaming companies and pester them to provide Welsh interface options!

Once I’ve completed the first version I will make the game available free-of-charge to all who fancy a try.

Look, I’m under no illusions that this project won’t save the Welsh language like Morgan’s bible translation in 1588 but who knows? Perhaps game developers might take note of the Welsh language in future!

Finally, don’t pity me. It’s actually a lot of fun to do!

🙂


UPDATE: Click this link to download the first version of Pokémon Red in Welsh.

Dam it

In preparation for my trip to Lesotho in February I was told to keep in mind that the differences in lifestyles would be an instant shock to the system. “Wales is a developed country and Lesotho is a developing country,” we were told.

When the time came to farewell new friends after 11 humbling days in Hlotse I had discovered that, in so many ways, the ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ labels had been totally misplaced.

The Basotho’s friendliness, kindness, generosity, happiness, willingness to break into song and dance whenever the feeling arose and eagerness to simply smile at everyone in the street proved that Wales is most definitely still a developing country…. by my definitions, at least.

Despite the whole week being packed with eye-opening and interesting things to do, one of the highlights was visiting the Katse Dam. At 185m tall it is Africa’s second tallest double curvature arch dam producing water on-demand for South Africa’s lowlands who so frequently suffer from drought.

During the pre-visit presentation I enquired as to the circumstances of the many farmlands and homes that were to be demolished prior to the dam’s opening – attempting to create parallels with Wales’ Tryweryn valley flooding in the 1960s.

According to the guide, each displaced person was offered an annual grant of cash (or the equivalent value in maize) and the company encouraged all effected to establish business cooperatives amongst themselves to ensure there was employment after losing their livelihoods. Many established trout fishing farms furter up the newly formed river and have done rather well for themselves.

What’s more, for Lesotho as a nation, the South African government pays around £6m per month (plus extra variable royalties based on calculated water usage benefits) to ensure their nation avoids the droughts that so often destroy lives.

In comparison to Tryweryn we see that, aside from (involuntary) rehoming, the residents of Capel Celyn and surrounding areas received nothing on this scale compared to the people of Katse. No annual payments and no cooperative schemes to rehabilitate those who lost family homes established centuries prior. One of the final monoglot Welsh-speaking villages left in Wales at the time gone without second thought.

The Lesotho government were in agreement that the 1996 project would be of benefit to both nations and their people – contrasting the total disregard by the British Government of the Welsh Government’s displeasure.

In addition, the Katse Botanical Gardens were established to rehome displaced plantlife and a visitor centre teaches children from all across Lesotho about hydroelectricity, renewable energy, ecosystems and cooperative business. Tryweryn got a white water rafting site.

Even in Switzerland, various cantons sell the surplus water they produce to other regions in the country for a modest profit. Wales, however, received no money for the water that leaves its boundaries.

As one who believes unequivocally that Wales will be a successful and welcoming independent nation, the fact that many disregard our potential because they believe Wales has nothing to offer standing on her own feet is incredible.

People talk of oil and infrastructure (which we actually already have) and a successful economy (not that our current overlords – who put us in our economic ‘mess’ – have a great one anyway) as keys to building an independent nation.

When we consider the potential of our natural resources one can only deduce that those not in support of Welsh dignity are either somehow misunderstanding our potential or are simply to scared to turn their back on the bullious status quo. There can be no other arguement.