Cymru am byth - we love Wales!

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
Mike Sales
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Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

Re: Cymru am byth - we love Wales!

Postby Mike Sales » 5 Nov 2019, 1:54pm

pwa wrote:If RS Thomas was regretting the farmer's joy in his tractor, I think he was missing something. I took my Dad (aged 80+ and eyesight starting to fail) to the Museum of Welsh Life, where he was delighted to find an ancient Massey Ferguson tractor that was like those he used in his youth on a farm in Ireland. He remembered with fondness the wonderful impact that machine had on the lives of farm workers, letting them get their work done with less stress. If he could have hugged that thing he would have done. Perhaps RS Thomas, being a soft handed clergyman, did not understand what it is like to do manual work for a living.


A poem can convey aspects which contrast, or even contradict, at the same time.
He surely celebrates Cynddylan's liberation from the yoke, and his pride in his new tractor, but also sees something to regret in his being less close to the realities of nature, sunshine and birdsong.

pwa
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Re: Cymru am byth - we love Wales!

Postby pwa » 5 Nov 2019, 1:58pm

Mike Sales wrote:
pwa wrote:If RS Thomas was regretting the farmer's joy in his tractor, I think he was missing something. I took my Dad (aged 80+ and eyesight starting to fail) to the Museum of Welsh Life, where he was delighted to find an ancient Massey Ferguson tractor that was like those he used in his youth on a farm in Ireland. He remembered with fondness the wonderful impact that machine had on the lives of farm workers, letting them get their work done with less stress. If he could have hugged that thing he would have done. Perhaps RS Thomas, being a soft handed clergyman, did not understand what it is like to do manual work for a living.


A poem can convey aspects which contrast, or even contradict, at the same time.
He surely celebrates Cynddylan's liberation from the yoke, and his pride in his new tractor, but also sees something to regret in his being less close to the realities of nature, sunshine and birdsong.

Yes, I see what you mean. And aren't we all like that sometimes. We focus on one particular thing, for a while at least, and shut out other things that are happening around us.

Mike Sales
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Re: Cymru am byth - we love Wales!

Postby Mike Sales » 5 Nov 2019, 2:26pm

I was Cynddylan!
Between school and university I thumbed up to the Highlands with a tent and climbing gear.
I asked a farmer for work and he showed me a shallow depression (I later realised somebody else had given up there) and put me to digging a hole for a strainer post, 2x2x1 in the sparse, stony soil. After that a couple more, one in a root filled bog.
This got me promoted to his ancient Fergie, which started on one fuel but ran on another. I proudly ploughed and fetched loads of gravel from the river bed.
When let loose on the road I could never quite get the hang of gear changing whilst in motion.

pwa
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Re: Cymru am byth - we love Wales!

Postby pwa » 5 Nov 2019, 2:35pm

Mike Sales wrote:I was Cynddylan!
Between school and university I thumbed up to the Highlands with a tent and climbing gear.
I asked a farmer for work and he showed me a shallow depression (I later realised somebody else had given up there) and put me to digging a hole for a strainer post, 2x2x1 in the sparse, stony soil. After that a couple more, one in a root filled bog.
This got me promoted to his ancient Fergie, which started on one fuel but ran on another. I proudly ploughed and fetched loads of gravel from the river bed.
When let loose on the road I could never quite get the hang of gear changing whilst in motion.

I regret that I have never driven a Fergie. I did once have a go at ploughing with a large modern tractor, but that was an air conditioned techy thing where gear changing meant pushing a button. However, I have dug hundreds of strainer post holes over many years. Last week, visiting the north of England, I found one that I put in 34 years ago and amazingly it is still there and still doing a job. it was put in to support a wire fence to keep the public from trampling over an area planted with native trees and shrubs beside Wayoh Reservoir (Lancs) and the whips we planted then are now proper trees. Very gratifying. And very surprising that the timber strainer posts have lasted.

Cyril Haearn
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Re: Cymru am byth - we love Wales!

Postby Cyril Haearn » 5 Nov 2019, 7:27pm

RST was an intellectual among 'peasants', one might say he lived in 'Cymru profonde', he did learn Welsh but wrote in English
I think his poems are descriptive, sometimes farm life was harsh back then

I must try to get on with the writings of his better known brother (?) Dylan sometime too :?
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pwa
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Re: Cymru am byth - we love Wales!

Postby pwa » 5 Nov 2019, 7:34pm

Cyril Haearn wrote:RST was an intellectual among 'peasants', one might say he lived in 'Cymru profonde', he did learn Welsh but wrote in English
I think his poems are descriptive, sometimes farm life was harsh back then

I must try to get on with the writings of his better known brother (?) Dylan sometime too :?

I find it hard to decipher Dylan sometimes.

rotavator
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Location: North Wales

Re: Cymru am byth - we love Wales!

Postby rotavator » 5 Nov 2019, 8:35pm

Mike Sales wrote:I was Cynddylan!
Between school and university I thumbed up to the Highlands with a tent and climbing gear.
I asked a farmer for work and he showed me a shallow depression (I later realised somebody else had given up there) and put me to digging a hole for a strainer post, 2x2x1 in the sparse, stony soil. After that a couple more, one in a root filled bog.
This got me promoted to his ancient Fergie, which started on one fuel but ran on another. I proudly ploughed and fetched loads of gravel from the river bed.
When let loose on the road I could never quite get the hang of gear changing whilst in motion.


I too used to drive a Fergie on the family farm as a child and it started on petrol then you switched it over to cheaper TVO (tractor vapourising oil, similar to paraffin) when it had warmed up. It did not have synchromesh gears hence it was difficult to change gear on the go. Someone will be along soon to describe double declutching.

Mike Sales
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Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

Re: Cymru am byth - we love Wales!

Postby Mike Sales » 5 Nov 2019, 8:39pm

rotavator wrote:
I too used to drive a Fergie on the family farm as a child and it started on petrol then you switched it over to cheaper TVO (tractor vapourising oil, similar to paraffin) when it had warmed up. It did not have synchromesh gears hence it was difficult to change gear on the go. Someone will be along soon to describe double declutching.


Thanks. I could not drive a car at the time, and McColl offered no instruction!

PDQ Mobile
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Re: Cymru am byth - we love Wales!

Postby PDQ Mobile » 5 Nov 2019, 9:26pm

R.S.Thomas.

Reservoirs.

There are places in Wales I don't go:
Reservoirs that are the subconcious
Of a people, troubled far down
With gravestones, chapels, villages even;
The serenity of their expression
Revolts me, it is a pose
For strangers, a watercolour's appeal
To the mass, instead of the poem's
Harsher conditions. There are the hills,
Too; gardens gone under the scum
Of the forests; and the smashed faces
Of the farms with the stone trickle
Of their tears down the hills' side.

Where can I go, then, from the smell
Of decay, from the putrefying of a dead
Nation? I have walked the shore
For an hour and seen the English
Scavenging among the remains
Of our culture, covering the sand
Like the tide and, with the roughness
Of the tide, elbowing our language
Into the grave that we have dug for it.

PDQ Mobile
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Re: Cymru am byth - we love Wales!

Postby PDQ Mobile » 7 Nov 2019, 10:58am

Thought this might interest Bryn (if he hadn't seen it!)
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-50322413

Cyril Haearn
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Joined: 30 Nov 2013, 11:26am
Location: Leafy suburbia

Re: Cymru am byth - we love Wales!

Postby Cyril Haearn » 7 Nov 2019, 11:08am

PDQ Mobile wrote:Thought this might interest Bryn (if he hadn't seen it!)
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-50322413

Plus Two, 18 000 books about Wales
I might have 180 :?

There is a link to a story about a shop in Casnewydd selling books for free :wink:

Whatabout Welsh art, anyone for Kyffin?
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Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
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pwa
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Re: Cymru am byth - we love Wales!

Postby pwa » 7 Nov 2019, 11:20am

PDQ Mobile wrote:R.S.Thomas.

Reservoirs.

There are places in Wales I don't go:
Reservoirs that are the subconcious
Of a people, troubled far down
With gravestones, chapels, villages even;
The serenity of their expression
Revolts me, it is a pose
For strangers, a watercolour's appeal
To the mass, instead of the poem's
Harsher conditions. There are the hills,
Too; gardens gone under the scum
Of the forests; and the smashed faces
Of the farms with the stone trickle
Of their tears down the hills' side.

Where can I go, then, from the smell
Of decay, from the putrefying of a dead
Nation? I have walked the shore
For an hour and seen the English
Scavenging among the remains
Of our culture, covering the sand
Like the tide and, with the roughness
Of the tide, elbowing our language
Into the grave that we have dug for it.


Whenever I see that phrase in Wales I wonder, would it be deemed acceptable if we substituted any other nationality? Would it be okay for me to go to a district of Bolton (where I come from) and start lamenting the prevalence of the "Pakistanis" and their language? No, it would not. And i wouldn't dream of doing it, or even thinking it. But somehow it is deemed alright if the group you are castigating is "the English", meaning everyone who is English, from the youngest baby to the oldest of old ladies, regardless of their beliefs, politics, personal histories and life experiences. They are just "the English", to be despised by a Them and Us way of thinking. I don't see wisdom in that. I see weakness.

Cyril Haearn
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Location: Leafy suburbia

Re: Cymru am byth - we love Wales!

Postby Cyril Haearn » 7 Nov 2019, 11:23am

The poem is about drowned villages, specifically (?) Capel Celyn that was drowned to provide water for Liverpool

Whatabout me? Like most on here, I am half Welsh and half English :?

The scum of the forests, what does Cugel think of that?
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mattheus
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Re: Cymru am byth - we love Wales!

Postby mattheus » 7 Nov 2019, 11:51am

I think I preferred the one about the bloke's new tractor.
: -/

PDQ Mobile
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Re: Cymru am byth - we love Wales!

Postby PDQ Mobile » 7 Nov 2019, 1:40pm

pwa wrote:
Whenever I see that phrase in Wales I wonder, would it be deemed acceptable if we substituted any other nationality? Would it be okay for me to go to a district of Bolton (where I come from) and start lamenting the prevalence of the "Pakistanis" and their language? No, it would not. And i wouldn't dream of doing it, or even thinking it. But somehow it is deemed alright if the group you are castigating is "the English", meaning everyone who is English, from the youngest baby to the oldest of old ladies, regardless of their beliefs, politics, personal histories and life experiences. They are just "the English", to be despised by a Them and Us way of thinking. I don't see wisdom in that. I see weakness.
d
Oh I sort of agree. (I am a white settler!)
It is not my favourite Thomas.
And years ago he annoyed me with some of his pronouncements.

I, like you, find him rather cheerless and too sombre at times.

But still, taken as a lament about what is a partial loss of a culture( to many factors) it has some merit, I think.

The line;
" and the smashed faces of the farms with the stone trickle
Of their tears down the hills' side.";
certainly seems fitting and sadly beautiful.

For the "Tyddynwr" (cottager) way of life has all but completely now dissapeared and the ruins of those old houses do indeed trickle stones down the hillsides.

It was a very hard life but actually in terms of little waste, a fair dose of self sufficiency, and low energy usage something that many moderns would see as laudable.
Whether they would really manage the harshness and tedium of such an "eco" lifestyle is questionable.