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The border that runs through our lives

 
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marianneh



Joined: 30 May 2013
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:06 am    Post subject: The border that runs through our lives Reply with quote

The day that our friend Cath was buried in a wicker coffin in the churchyard in Llanfihangel Curcorny was sad but not unpleasurable. Even the priest behaving badly could not detract from the beauty of the rolling border country.

I'd previously been invited into the lovely stone houses in the village in my capacity as an interviewer in Market Research. It was not just nature but the characterful houses that gave the village its identity. Raymond Williams was born here during the First World War.

In his introduction to his novel 'Border Country', he says that he knows the country but this is not an autobiographical outpouring. It is hard to believe that.
It's a lush novel. Most of the pace names have been changed but you can tell it is the area around Abergavenny.

Even the verdigris colour of the copper spire on the town hall is referenced. It's evocative of the shared past in so many ways. It's not just the story of the General Strike and how the strikers had to reconcile their principles with necessity. There is much emphasis on tomatoes, seedlings and gardening in general.

Then the novel reminded me that black Victorian cooking ranges were used well into the twentieth century and it used to be common to meet girls called Eira. Our protagonist has two Christian names. He is known as Will in the Abergavenny area. Once he goes away to university, he is known as Matthew.

His father worked on the railways, and became part of the General Strike, but he supports his son taking the scholarship and going to university. As a lecturer and researcher Matthew is working on the demographics of people flocking to the coal and steel towns of the valleys during the Industrial Revolution but it all seems unreal.

He is living in London with his wife Susan, a former student, and his two small sons who will see London as home. He has to go back to the border country as his father has been taken badly ill. He feels cut off from his past, as if he is not the person he used to be.

Had he stayed, he would be working on the land or the railways and would probably have married Eira with whom he grew up.He is hurt that no one has told him that Eira married the local doctor.

Eira's father who was an ideologue during the Strike, only reluctantly went into trade later, and felt he was selling out to capitalism. He accuses Matthew of becoming a snob, and says he thinks he is too good to grow tomatoes, but he is not too good to eat them.

The story is geographically set in border country, but the border also functions as a metaphor. Matthew thinks he is cut off from his old life and his former self.

But perhaps it is a false dichotomy. What do any of us have in common with the child we were at five years old - except that we happen to be the same person?


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:51 am    Post subject: the wheelbarrow Reply with quote

At the Eisteddfod this year, aspiring bards had to submit a poem on borders. An exhibition tent also featured local literature, including 'Border Country' by Raymond Williams.

The performance artist Catherine Wynne-Paton felt compelled to draw attention to the need to keep our local library open. At the same time, she thought the Eisteddfod in Abergavenny was an excellent opportunity to showcase 'Border Country', a novel she loved. This local classic is not as well known as it should be.

Each day of the Eisteddfod week, we agreed, we would stand outside the library at 11 am with a vintage wheelbarrow containing local soil and a cluster of gem tomatoes and lettuces, little seedlings that we would give away generously, and which symbolised the seeds of knowledge and culture. The wheelbarrow also supported the first six chapters of the novel in large print on a roller.

We would tear part of the text off and give it to interested members of the public. Catherine also had a soil proof sound system to play music written especially for the occasion.

I met the composer Mary from Hereford on the last day. She had been inspired by the novel but was also keen on folk music, and a minor key running through the composition did remind me of Breton folk music.

The idea was that Catherine would read the accompanying speech in English. She is from Oxfordshire and had little confidence in her ability to read the Welsh translation of her speech. My part was just to read the Welsh version.

We then trundled the barrow to the Eisteddfod Maes where my role became more important. According to the strict rules of the Eisteddfod, no language was to be spoken on the stage but Welsh. So I recited it twice from the stage in the Monmouthshire tent, and innumerable times from a stage in the open air.

Catherine finally had the idea of constructing a tangible paper streamer which could be rolled out in the background. This functioned as a tangible series of sub titles illustrated with wheelbarrows, hearts and so on. The sound system guy gave me the microphone and told me to 'boom it out nice and loud.' This was a first. People usually tell me to shut up or keep my voice down. I didn't need telling twice!

Catherine and I hadn't known each other before. She came to our Welsh reading class in the library one Thursday evening in the hope of recruiting a volunteer. Most of the fluent speakers or all of them had prior engagements.

It became obvious that if I didn't volunteer, no one would. But I hesitated before phoning Catherine to offer my services. I'm often afflicted with shyness, and haven't even totally got over the schoolgirl trait of frequent blushing.

I thought, ''I won't be an asset. I'm a loser.'' But you just have to think of the project and not yourself.

Mercifully, I didn't succumb to pathetic shyness at any point, not even when interviewed on film later. I went to the opposite extreme, hamming it up for all I was worth.

I don't think it was inappropriate in the context of the Eisteddfod. You do see people acting their socks off in an obvious way. It is culturally appropriate to have a stylised presentation just as in traditional Japanese theatre.

We know that Shakespeare spoke against 'sawing the air with your arm' in Hamlet. This craze for underacting reached its peak in the early twentieth century. Fans would be thrilled that Greta Garbo just looked a bit worried in tragic scenes.

They said she was a tremendous actress. She was repressing so much emotion! How can you tell if she was repressing it or just not feeling it?

I recited my 'adrodd' with a lot of hwyl and I'm not sorry. There's no point in reading it woodenly as if you were making a tannoy announcement at Crewe.
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dai



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2016 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just love the title that you chose for this thread - " The Border That Runs Our Lives " - I am sprouting neurons as I jangle these keys in the hope of quickly unlocking something ... in a way there is an Welsh-English border running right the way through my brain and I find it painfully embarrassing to admit to in various diverse kinds of company because it is not just about Welsh versus English - I think that I have told you about this before ?

I could easily blame my Dad for this but he was simply a person who was of his time and each of us is entitled to make our own choices - frankly I do not know how he did it ... He was born in Cefneithin, Carmarthenshire in his grandparents' Welsh speaking home and Mamgu's first language was Welsh - but his Dad was born in Gelli, Rhondda and the Lawrences had come to there from Common Y Coed, Monmouthshire so presumeably had been English speaking for a long while ( I presume but I do not know - my copy of my g-g-g-grandfather Lawrence's will was written for him in English in a very florid piously religious style by a local cleric who was called in to perform the last rites and he then signed it with a very wobbly " + " ) Hence in my Dad's childhood the Welsh-English border was running down the middle of his parents' marital bed - and I always assumed that conversation between them in their home was in English excepting when Mamgu had her relatives or Welsh speaking neighbours visit.

When my Dad was small they were living in Battersea, London but that did not mean that Welsh was not being spoken because there were several Welsh speaking communities gathered around their chapels there. They moved back to Gelli after being bombed out in 1940 and Mamgu's joke about the Welsh spoken in the Rhondda was that when my Dad had won a prize for reciting a poem in Porth Grammar School's annual eisteddfod the headmaster had praised his good Welsh accent ... her joke was that this supposed adjudicator of spoken Welsh could not discern the fact that her son was speaking in a " Cockney Cymraeg " accent having been brought up when small amongst the London Welsh ... or was he ? ... Amongst my Dad's effects I found a sort of curriculum vitae - " Born 1932 in Cefneithin, Carms - NOT ENGLISH " really sticks in my head as demonstrating his disposition towards national identities : he believed in being defined by his personal achievements and so being born to his mother and speaking her language did not count - but speaking her language better than she did probably did count ... he was very prickly about any Welsh word being correctly pronounced - and the word that he most often mentioned was " hiraeth " ...

...My Dad often reminisced about his later childhood in Gelli and Tonpentre - but he resolutely never returned to South Wales other than very occasionally to visit me in Cardiff ... I was twenty seven when he finally decided to make the journey to take me to introduce me to our relatives in Cefneithin and I witnessed him stumble into a conversation in Welsh with them after thirty years : I had never even heard him hold a conversation in Welsh with his mother and my natural assumption was that his prickly rule-bound Welsh was because of what he had been taught at school ... What caused my Dad to cross over into England and having done so heap up his own private Offa's Dyke around the Welsh language but not around his sense of being " NOT ENGLISH " ? ... One thing he explicitly told me : the obsessively studious son of a railway worker and a house maid who were always holding down two jobs and eeking out their wages with an allotment had won a university scholarship only to encounter the severe class divide that existed even in the provincial University of Wales College in Cardiff - which was still very evident in 1980 when I came to study in its lower-brow companion college UWIST - which at that time automatically offered all of its linguistically challenged students the chance to take elocution lessons. ...

Acquiring an " RP " - received pronunciation accent - was regarded as an absolute requirement for those who were planning to become teachers i.e. you might say that this meant all those who were not middle class and therefore had no other realistic career paths besides the armed forces. Furthermore my Dad studied maths and chemistry and therefore German which was the international lingua franca for these subjects : perhaps as my Dad's horizons widened the Welsh language began to look utterly irrelevant and perhaps if you read up on the struggle for Welsh medium education you will understand why ... Before the invention of the printing press there were cutting edge technical books written in Wales - but once The United Kingdom had seized control of what could be printed and banned its use other than in London where it could be censored getting a book published in Welsh let alone in Wales became very difficult. The Welsh literally had to write their own books and make copies by hand and share them and this severely limited the kinds of book available : imagine trying to create enough copies of books to use in one school. ... My Dad made a rational and necessary life decision and obliterated his " Cockney Cymraeg " - or however it was that he spoke then, his elder brother still sounded broad Valleys to me I think - excepting this : he never quite mastered " RP " because he was originally a Welsh speaker and therefore like his language he was a rule-bound person linguistically and so he taught his rationally organised and therefore systematic mistakes in speaking English to me as a child and so I still repeat them e.g. Daf often takes the " p " out of my " pronounciation."

But another part of my Dad's linguistic history which may be equally psychological I have only recently begun to guess at having found that " curriculum vitae " and pondered something which I found astounding : he never went to school until the family ran back home to my great grandparents' in Gelli, Rhondda i.e. before he was eight years old ... I am sure therefore that despite his later academic success he must have been at least one - possibly two - years behind and at a critical time in such things as learning to read ... This is very curious - but I have a theory : he once told me - quite late in life - that he had had " a spot on the lung " which I took to mean a possible cancer since he smoked thirty No.6 a day and possibly more in his thirties when as the trade union area chairman he had been placed under tremendous stress when the union voted to take on Harold Wilson and Barbara Castle who had broken their promise to grant them a pay rise after a seven year pay freeze imposed on the teachers in further education by Harold Macmillan. But another explanation for this may be that as a child being brought up in what amounted to a slum street behind the ash tips of Battersea power station he had caught tuberculosis - in which case he may have been whisked off to an isolation hospital in a country district beyond London for the benefit of cleaner air. I am rather mournfully speculating that this child of say five years old whose parents may have been too poor to visit him often would not only been eager to please the English nurses by doing the prescribed physical exercises in order to get some kind of motherly attention but may have been eager to speak properly by copying their accents to please them also. One thing that I can assert as a fact was that my Dad was obsessive about practicing sporting and gaming skills - as I have described elsewhere - and he carried this into every aspect of his life and that is probably why he was such an effective trade unionist : he was not prepared to lose so much as a game of tiddly-winks even against his own children - so Harold Wilson and Barbara Castle really did not stand a chance ... but they had him black-listed afterwards.

[ JUST FOR THE RECORD HERE : MY DAD HELPED TO RESHAPE THE ATTI WHICH BECAME THE NATFHE WHICH IS NOW THE UCU & THEY ALLEGED THAT HE WAS A FELLOW TRAVELER OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY - APPARENTLY SIMPLY ON THE BASIS THAT HE CAME FROM THE RHONDDA - BUT IN FACT IN ORDER TO HOLD THE ATTI TOGETHER HE TIRELESSLY ARGUED AGAINST THE DEMANDS OF BOTH THE LEFT AND THE RIGHT WHICH THREATENED TO DESTROY IT ... WHAT I ADVOCATE IS BASICALLY WHAT HE TAUGHT ME : NO UNITY - NO UNION.]

[ TOM DRIVER WAS THE COMMUNIST THAT MY DAD WAS SUPPOSEDLY A FELLOW TRAVELER WITH - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Driver ]


You might guess that my Dad might therefore be a person willing to listen to both sides in an argument but that was not the case ... I think that what he did was decide the matters upon which the two sides of an argument could agree upon and then he mercilessly stripped away everything which stood in the way of that agreement - and that is why he detested politicos and slaughtered their sacred cows : think of him being like the captain of a sinking ship ordering the passengers both to throw their baggage overboard and o man the pumps - and those who will not part with their luggage will get thrown overboard with it ... His wife was second in command and we were the mutinous crew who became politicos - which greatly disappointed him but in consideration of our being his children he gave us each a lifebouy secured with a lifeline and before he allowed us to jump his ship - he was fairly confident that we would simply get a soaking and then we could either swim back or if necessary be hauled in to receive a swimming lesson before he tossed us overboard again to put what he had just taught us into practice - " Keep your head up there - Dai bach ! - Copy your sister please ... concentrate on your strokes - longer and broader - that's better - now put some more effort in - stop day-dreaming ! - oh - all right then : now let's see you trying to do it in the water ... " ... But what has this comedic episode to do with the case in hand ? ... Well this kind of prickly precise parenting probably permanently puts poetical people ... perhaps ... off many things - like Welsh ...

... The reason why I assumed that my Dad's Welsh was learnt in school was the way in which he turned it into a teaching exercise instead of naturally imparting it to me ... and you just do not teach small children languages in the way that he taught us things like football by the endless repetition of basic exercises accompanied by a running commentary of tedious technical criticism ... you run around helping them to have fun and their ball control skills simply evolve ... When I was doing Pure and Applied Maths at A Level I got into difficulties with Pure because it is altogether too much like learning a foreign language with long lists of meaningless equations to learn and nothing for a very visual person like myself to grasp as to what they mean - so I asked my Dad for some help, expecting him to explain them - which he did and thus made everything concerning them as klear as Klingon whereupon my Dad told me to just learn these things by rote so that I could then do them and then in doing them gradually - miraculously - understand what was happening ... interestingly he gave up writing a paper to explain the workings of some hydraulics equations - which he could do as Pure Maths - apparently because in plotting their predictions the graphs seemed to be all wrong to him ... so in a sense there was running down the middle of both of our brains a border which divided father from son : he was on the Pure Mathematics / Verbalisation side of this border and I am on the Applied Mathematics / Visualisation side of this border ... and ...

... interestingly Dafydd / Moritz is also on the Pure Mathematics / Verbalistion side of this border : he can casually knock off several cryptic crosswords whilst simultaneously calculating complex function variables and translating them into Ancient Greek ... er ... I think that it was Ancient Greek that he was vigorously explaining them to me in ... Daf has no problem in reciting very long poems but notably he learns them in a disciplined manner in much the same way that my Dad learned to be a goal keeper - by constantly practicing on his own ... On the other hand when I first showed Daf my proposed interpretation of " The Pyramid on The Cube " as the basis for The Model in 3D he point blank refused to believe what I casually asserted about the geometry of it : I can visualise eidetically and to me such things are obvious and need no explanation - yet Daf refused to believe it until he had sat down and confirmed what I said by calculation ... I am not saying that there really is an impenetrable wall through our heads but nobody has a perfectly functioning well balanced psyche and we each have our bias as we each have our political disposition - that is why it is disastrous to place political power in the hands of an individual or a single community or indeed to imagine that a narrowly defined government of The Centre is any better than a narrowly defined government of The Left or The Right ...

... When you want a certain kind of decision made then you seek the special advice of those best suited to make it and balance that against the general opinion of the rest e.g. The Government should not be letting The Bankers decide economic policies but they ought to ask their special advice about finance - and to not confuse finance with economics which is fundamentally about getting those things done which constitute The Public Interest i.e. by ensuring that The People in Wales and The World are not set at each others' throats by the sectarian practices of The Democrats dividing our society by the creation - and in the case of The EU Referendum re-creation - of artificial borders : these are the relics of The Medieval Feudal States which were used by The Hierocrats and The Monocrats and The Aristocrats to enslave The People in Wales and The World - and they are now being used by The Democrats for exactly the same purpose. We must absolutely resist the example of The Democrats in Israel where their big plan is to rescue all of The People in Judaism from their scattered ghettos and bring them together in the biggest ghetto that there has ever been concentrated behind a barbed wire fence patrolled by dogs with armed guards to prevent them from meeting their neighbours ... on the other hand perhaps we might learn from that example in Australia and erect an impenetrable rabble proof fence around The Welsh Assembly to prevent The Democrats in The Bunker from interfering in our nation's affairs ever again. ...

... Yeah - yet another sleepless night - but I think that this was worth it ... mind you - I am obviously having some boundary issues here in distinguishing between night and day ...

... And yet I return to this once more having listened to this morning's news ... er - let me see now ... another curried seagull ( this time the flavour was tandoori instead of tikka masala ) ... well - this is the BBC news website ... in brief Jeremy Corbyn was in Cardiff last week claiming to have defeated the government 22 times in 10 months but this claim seems to be doubtful ... his opponent Owen Smith can not be bothered to lie and has just hurled abuse instead - mostly because the NEC attempted to exclude those who have joined recently who would not vote him but a legal challenge to their changing the rules to deny votes to those who joined after the 12th January ... but the NEC is now going to mount a counter challenge against them - using the extra funds now made available to them by the hundreds of thousands who ave paid their membership fees since the 12th January ... then the NEC held an election for their constituency seats - and everybody who was returned was a Jeremy Corbyn supporter ... so the member responsible for the Labour Party website in Bristol replaced all of the party's material with a rant against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters ... and the Deputy Leader of The Labour & Cooperative Party publicly denounced " Trotskyist entryists " for attempting to use the party as " a vehicle for revolutionary socialism ... in the way that the secretive Militant faction tried to do in the 1980s " ... well - perhaps you too may now begin to understand how I felt in the 1980s when I too was denounced in such terms as these when I was asking some very obvious questions about the proposals for the Cardiff Bay Barrage ... and told that if I asked any further questions that they did not want to discuss they would have me thrown out : this is the kind of behaviour which led me to dub this " Demockery " and led me to realise that it is not that Democracy everywhere now has a problem - but that the problem everywhere is in fact now Democracy : this is why I was compelled to finally concede the fact that Republicanism and Democracy are incompatible - because Democracy is yet another form of Ultraism and therefore it must be vigorously opposed.

DO NOT PANIC !!! - DAFYDD AND MARIANNE WILL VIGOROUSLY OPPOSE THIS !!! - MINE IS A VERSION OF REPUBLICANISM WHICH CHANGES NOTHING BUT THE QUESTIONS TO ASK !!!


In 2012-2013 several things happened which compelled me to agree with " Pure Republicanism " which was something which I never previously expected to : for most of those who dabble in political theories " Pure Republicanisms " are merely philosophical constructs created for polemical purposes - interesting but utterly impractical ... but for me the Republican arguments against Democracy are now irrefutable if unfashionable ... anyway it does not really matter to me what others think of the reasoning behind what I do - and Dafydd and Marianne will agree with me up to that point : if everybody had to be qualified as political philosophers before they were allowed to do any politics then no politics would be possible - who would be qualified to decide who would be qualified to ... etc ... and therein lies the first point : The Democrats claim that they are qualified to do the politics on behalf of everybody else because they have obtained a mandate from the electorate i.e. the widely accepted idea of " What politics is " in the minds of The People in Wales and The World is that they select a representative using some form of voting system and then " their " representatives use some form of voting system to make a variety of decisions which amount to government - and they assert that whatever it is that they decide is in " The Public Interest " ... This is the coy phrase used in The United Kingdom by our " Democrats " to avoid uttering that word which since the 1770s they have used to try infer that some other country is being ruled by criminal conspiracy - i.e. " Republic." Republicanism derives its name from " De Res Publica " which was a book written by the Roman lawyer and philosopher Cicero who later tried to defend " The Rule of Law " from being overthrown by a criminal whose name you have probably heard of ... Caesar - the infamous Ultraist.

[ P.S. - I see that I accidentally edited out the definition of " Ultraism " in the following paragraph - " Ultra- " means " beyond the boundary " - so an " Ultraist " can essentially be understood to be a person who has either placed themselves " outside " of society or - since there are two sides to every border ( which is why I thought of writing about this ) - has drawn a boundary around themselves and declared themselves to be outside of society i.e. Ultraists are hostile to the rest of society and perceive the rest of us to be " prey " or at best they view us indifferently as " other " - hence the opposite ( in The Model which I am discussing here and there and all over Y Repwblic ) is " Altruism " which is derived from " Alter-" meaning " other-" and describes a person who is oriented towards others and perceives the rest of society as worthy of regard and deserving of friendship - as Cicero recommends in his book " On Friendship " as the basis of a good society.)

So I hope that you have immediately got the idea that an Ultraist is somebody who is in a pursuit of political power through illegitimate means - but that does not explain yet what Ultraism means ... but is there such a thing as " political power " at all ? ... I think that this is an oxymoron - like " military intelligence " - because the business of politics is in making decisions and therefore the whole point of a political system is to make decisions well ... and it is not possible to make good decisions i.e. in favour of The Public Interest when those making the decisions are being coerced to make bad decisions i.e. in favour of A Private Interest ... So in a Republican system of government there is a clearly laid out constitution to ensure that the decisions being made are not the result of coercion in favour of A Private Interest e.g. decision making is done in a public place so that the process can be scrutinised and The People in The National Assembly can contribute to it and criticise it rather than being made to sit and watch and forced to accept blatently bad or suspiciously unexplained decisions ... another important aspect of Republican systems of government is that the most powerful but mostly passive institution in The State is the Supreme Court which can not make laws itself but enforces the laws made - and since it is very important that the laws which regulate the constitutional arrangements of The State are enforced it must be independent of the other institutions : the best way to ensure this is to place it above all other institutions - above the politicians and passively in control.

It is this top tier in a political system whose central institution is The Supreme Court which determines whether The State can be characterised as " Republican " or not - its role is akin to that of the king on a chess board : it can not operate outside of The Rule of Law and it can not make new laws to give itself any more power than The People in The National Assembly choose to entrust to it - and in many respects it is not so much independent as isolated because it can not cross the boundaries set for it i.e. the plan of a Republican system of government is designed to refuse any influence over political decisions to The Nomocrats - " Nomocracy " means " The Power in The Law " and can be taken to be a more precise name for the political systems advocated by Republicans. In these political systems The Nomocrats hold the power over The State and the right to make political decisions rests solely upon the presentation of facts and arguments and so the political decision making process can be designed to consult directly by multiple methods with The People in Possession of The Facts and Arguments i.e. it should be designed to not allow decisions to be made by those who possess nothing more than votes : no more voting - no more representatives - no more parties - no more parasites - no more opportunities for Ultraists to coerce political decisions in favour of A Private Interest - so therefore no more Hierocrats, Democrats, Aristocrats or Monocrats - and if The People in Wales still want The Royal Family then they can have them provided that they accept that their " Sovereignty " is ended : The Rule of Law governs rich and poor.

I have spent a ridiculous amount of time upon this - but as to that last remark : I am of the opinion that constitutionally and socio-economically The United Kingdom has de facto been controlled by The Aristocrats since 1688 - and will probably continue to be so.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37029682 - The Duke of Westminster has died at the age of 64.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37033862 - his 25-year-old son Hugh has now inherited an estate worth £9bn.

If we construct our Spiritualities out of our Sensations and Emotions - and then our Religions out of our Emotions and Cognitions - and then our Politics out of our Cognitions and Actions - and then our Economics out of our Actions and Sensations - and then our Spiritualities out of our Sensations and Emotions ... then you can not really blame somebody for the misfortunes of being born rich or poor - or being nice or nasty - but ... when The Duke of Westminster ( deceased ) was once asked about how to go about being a billionaire property developer his nice reply was that you should make sure that you have an ancestor who was a friend of William The Conqueror - WPS ! - ( sorry ) - " Bill The Bastard."


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:53 am    Post subject: ray Reply with quote

Well, Raymond Williams himself did not speak Welsh even when he lived in the border country. He said it had been 'anglicised in the 1840s.' Yet people did have a strong sense of Welsh identity.

In Norman times, castles marked the borderlands. One of the mountains that overlooks Abergavenny has a Norman name, the Blorenge. Stephen Fry says it is the only word in English to rhyme with 'orange.' What about blancmange? They're both loan words from French of course.

Raymond Williams noted that even when he was a boy, some local people would claim to be Normans as if they had just come over. The standard jokey response was ''How are you liking it here?'' He does capture the Anglo-Welsh dialect eg people calling each other 'mun.'

This can be found in the town of saucepans too. My adoptive father used it as a punctuation mark. He once advised his mother, ''When you see the optician mun, tell him mun, you can't read the paper when it's down by there mun. Tell him mun, you've got to hold it up by here mun!''

In Welsh, the verbal tic would come out as 'achan', a variant on bachgen ie boy. My adoptive father was only half Welsh for all his strong dialect and accent. My adoptive mother grew up in London where she had been kept in a constant state of terror by the Luftwaffe.

I never felt quite at home in Llanelli although I feel intense hiraeth for it now. i always felt as if I came from somewhere else even before I knew I did. Most probably this was not a memory of my pre-adoption existence.

I'd probably picked it up from my adoptive mother who never fitted in. In school the other kids answered the register by shouting 'dyma' but I always refused to do this. It sounded all wrong.

It was in adolescence that I acquired a Welsh identity as a way of differentiating myself from my adoptive parents. I had no doubt my real parents were culturally Welsh to the core.

All I knew about where I came from was that I had been born in Haverfordwest, and I only knew that because I could read it on my birth certificate. They would not have voluntarily given me this information.

Imagine how shocked I was when one day, out of the blue, a teacher told us that South Pembrokeshire was known as 'Little England Beyond Wales.' The people did not speak Welsh there!

She chuntered on like an anthropologist describing a lost tribe who had no connection to any of us. She didn't know how she had given a hard yank to my fragile illusions.

I am only half Welsh as it turns out, even geographically. My last ancestor to speak Welsh was a Rebecca Jones from St Davids who was born as long ago as 1847.

I'd like to think she was called after the Rebecca rioters, but I can't know for sure. She was known to her posthumous daughter-in-law, who spoke an Anglo-Flemish dialect as a 'Welsh bugger.'

The Landsker line runs through my heart too, but I know which side of it I want to be on! When my real mother referred to her cousin-in-law Mair from Carmarthenshire as Mai, without even attempting to roll the 'r', I was outraged! I wish I was more Welsh in an ethnic sense than I am.

On the other hand I was repulsed by a Welsh nursery rhyme I found on the internet recently. It made me cringe.

So I have internalised some anti-Welsh racism. I thought, ''We mustn't let English people hear this degraded crap! What will they think of us?''
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dai



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool - Simultaneously posting again eh ? ... Surely " orange " sounds better with a " whinge " ?

Rhyming " Orange " with " Blorenge " and " Blanchmange " just makes me " Oh - cringe ! " so please pass me the " syringe " - and I might be able to pump this one up some more !

-----------------------------------

Marianne it is twelve hours since I finished distracting myself all night long and I am not long returned to review that long post above & I just hope that you will forgive me for just how long that was - and will not mind too much my leaving it there : I am sure that our regular readers will just scroll over it down to the concise journalistic style which is the trademark of your posts.


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