Saturday, 1st June, 2013

Wonder Why?

     For about twenty years, Aberystwyth has had lots of Orthodox Jews visit for their annual holidays.   By the sheer number of them, the town will have benefited from their visits.   They’ve paid for their digs and spend money in the shops.

And they have brought a bit of interest for locals in a sometimes boring town.

They have stayed, in the main, in Aber Uni’s student accommodation while the students go off for the Summer to exotic locations.

Now the Uni authorities have stated that the Jews present a Health & Safety issue.   That’s because the candles they light on Friday nights to mark the coming of their Saturday Sabbath are “a fire hazard”.

A fire hazard?   After twenty years?   Would students be allowed to light candles so that they could study in the evenings if there was an electrical power-cut?

I really wonder if there may be other reasons Aber is about to reject such a big chunk of its holiday-trade.   What do you think, dear reader?

Sad News

_65725331_welsh1     Carwyn Jones, Wales’ First Minister, has started what he calls “a national conversation” into the state of the Welsh language.

     By 2011, the number of places considered to be “Welsh speaking” – i.e. more than half the people of those areas used the language in everyday life – had fallen.   Our First Minister’s concern is as to why there are people who, though first-language Welsh, choose not to use it.   There is the additional concern that many more people are coming to live in Wales from the other side of Offa’s Dyke – and who’s to blame them? – and are not bothered about becoming learners.

Readers will know that I am a keen – if still struggling – learner, and I am an immigrant to Wales.   The “problem”, I reckon, is that local born and bred people who are first-language Welsh are so kind and caring that they automatically switch to English to make newcomers feel welcome.

My sadness comes from the statistics which show only 19% of the people of Wales speak the language, and that places once known to be Welsh-speaking areas are no longer considered so.   Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion are such areas.

Let us not allow the work done by Welsh patriots go to waste.   Let us follow in their footsteps and revive seemingly-flagging Cymraeg!

A National Characteristic

     In recent days, the “typical Welsh reaction” to any situation has been apparent.   According to myth and stereotyping, Welsh folk are natural pessimists.

This time, I blame it on the weather.   It has been fine and sunny all over our land.

And, everywhere I go, I here people saying “Oh, we shall suffer for this” or words to that effect.

Maybe pessimism is not stereotyping in this case . . .

Picture in Archie Lowe, Editor.docimg201

About Archie Lowe

Though not born in Wales, I have lived and worked here for many years now. I love the place and love that mercurial thing "Welshness". I have been accused of being "a Taffophile" - which is pretty near the truth. The question I ask whenever some idea comes up for the whole of the UK is: "What's in it for Wales". I believe in an independent Wales and am so pleased that our Assembly is a big step on that road.
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