Thursday, 3 May 2012


It comes as something of a surprise to find a chimpanzee sanctuary amidst the valleys of south Wales. But why not?  I ask. 
Perhaps Wales is a place where chimpanzees, maligned, treated as second-class citizens, passed over in the job-market, and the butt of speciesist jokes, particularly long for escape, and safe haven. 

Fellow Tsimps! Coelbren offer you a new life!

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

( And this reminds me of another thing. Many non-british people think Welsh is just a dialect of English. It is not, it is a language much older, with different roots. Welsh is completely impenetrable and not in the least understandable to an outsider, really, try to figure it out? guess the meaning....  forget it.

Most roadsigns are bilingual, sometimes Welsh first, sometimes English first. My mother, though her parents were Welsh speakers, was dissuaded from using  her native tongue as a child, on the grounds that those who were to succeed in life would do so in English.
So much so that her school handed out punishments if you were heard speaking Welsh.

She could sing in Welsh, and won prizes at the national Eisteddfod , and she could swear wonderfully... As kids, we were in awe of her welsh cussing, which she thought she could get away with in a country of saisnegs.
Sadly, she was no longer fluent in conversation, a thing she always regretted.)
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  1. In my surfing last night I ran across a recording of a male Welsh choir of coal miners from the 1930s. If they are not singing in Welsh, then I am losing my ear for English. :) I loved it. The second song is in English, so now I am more and more certain the first in Welsh.

  2. that happened to so many people, sadly
    .Welsh classes all over the world are full of the next generation or two getting back their heritage.

  3. My grandmother was born in Wales but her parents were fiercely Irish and she was raised to believe she was an Irish girl, citizenship be damned. But she did sing to me in Welsh when I was little. What a difficult language!

  4. Max, Welsh male-voice choirs are a huge tradition still, and the valleys of south wales, coal mining villages, were, and still are particularly rich in their choral tradition.
    That was a great little recording.
    I might post a similar one...

    gz: friends in Machynlleth, or nearby, tell me that welsh classes are thriving, and full of incomers. It seems liverpudlians and brummies seeking admittance to the community think it will ease their acceptance.

    Nag: Your grandmother should have fought against parental programming, and called herself Myfanwy.

    The language is not so difficult, Toddlers and sheepdogs get along with it fine.


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