Mae'n bont rhwng Llydaw (Plouie) a Chymru (Merthyr Tudful)/ A bridge between Brittany (Plouye) and Wales (Merthyr).

My co-ordinates

Pub/Bar info.

Degemer Mat, Bienvenu(e), Welcome, Croeso i Lydaw ag i 'Tavarn Ty Elise'. Ambiance positive acçeptée, ambiance negative rejetée.
An hent /Route de Collorec
Bro Gerne/Cornouaille
29690 Plouie/Plouye
Penn ar Bed/Finistere
Twinned with Carrog in North Wales
All times are negotiable between 6am. & 1am., but
generally is as follows:
Llun/Lun/Mon: Fermé
Maw/Meu/Mar/Tue: Fermé
Mer/Wed: 15h > 23h
Iau/Yaou/Jeu/Thu: 15h > 23h
Gwe/Ven/Fri: 15h > 23h
Sad/Sam/Sat: 12:30h > 23h
Sul/Sun/Dim: 12:30h > ?
(33)(0)229250115 (pub) leave message.
Mobile: 0699724935

A little bar lost in the Breton countryside with a clay floor, wood burner, an eclectic music collection, Welsh, Irish, Breton, World, & pop/rock we don't have hip-hop/rap/techno, no juke-box or pool table. We do have real ale, organic artisanal beers and local farm cider, malt whiskies(Scotch, Irish, Breton & Welsh) and bourbons. Priority given to live music; wifi.
Coreff Ambrée: Pint = 5 euros, demi = 2 euros 50
Coreff Blonde Bio: Pint = 5 euros, demi = 2,50e
Coreff Blanche: Pint = 5 euros, demi = 2,50e
Coreff I.P.A.: Pint = 5euros, demi = 2,50e
Coreff Stout: Pint = 5 euros, demi = 2,50e
Pint of cider = Pint = 4euros, demi= 2e
My photos of Brittany taken when I was out of work on sale for 2,50euros each.
T(ee)-shirts: 15e au bar; 20e p+p.
Bar games: draughts; chess; dominoes; cards; solitaire; backgammon. Extensive parking & large beer garden opposite.

PLOUIE/PLOUYE, Breizh/Llydaw/Brittany/Bretagne:

(The original premise: "Mainly banter, slightly rambling reminiscences, a little bit political, slightly cultural and a touch of publicity for my bar in Brittany".)

Ambiance positive acceptée, ambiance negative rejetée.
(Positive ambience accepted, negative ambience rejected).
Le mot clé est 'convivialité' - 'Conviviality' is the key word.
Degustation, appreciation, conversation, tout en écoutant la musique.

Up in smoke

Regrettably my Pub 'Tavarn Ty Elise', a little bar in the Breton countryside between Uhelgoad (Huelgoat) & Karaez (Carhaix), (Bro Gerne) Finistere, Breizh/Llydaw/Brittany/Bretagne burned down in the early hours of friday February 19, 2010. Thirty years of my life up in smoke, but in spite of that the phoenix has risen again and the red dragon is back.

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Thursday, 6 January 2011

A Merthyr Boy's Story; from the beginning to 1979

The story of my life in Merthyr, warts and all: It all started for me in the infirmary, Saint Tydfils Hospital, Merthyr Tudful Cymru/Wales, on August 3, 1951, from where after roughly 10 days I was moved to 30 Trevethick Street, the house of a  Mrs Lydia Pugh, where Sylvia Pugh aged 8 also resided, as did at this time Mr Fred Walters, Mrs Phyllis May Walters and  Maldwyn Kenneth Walters aged 4; whilst there I slept in one of the drawers of a chest of the same, there being not a lot of room. During the just under two years that I lived there I began to learn that Phyllis & Fred were mammy & daddy, that Maldwyn was my brother Havard, a name I'd picked up on hearing and misinterpreting the name of his infant school headmistress, Sylvia was my cousin, and Lydia my maternal grandmother who moved down to Merthyr from Hen Sir Faesyfed/ Radnorshire in Powys when she was 17, leaving the family farm 'Marchell' near the village of Llyswen, she went to the family church at Boughrood, and to market at Welsh Hay (Y Gelli Gandryll), although she couldn't speak a word of Welsh and considered herself English, the family name being Handley; she gave her address as Llanstephan, pronounced 'stuphan'; it was only later in life I realized the connexion, that Marchell was the mother of Brychan, who was the father of Tydfil. Uncle Elfyn, Aunty Cassie and cousins Marion & Denise lived four doors down at No 26, and there was another Marion one door up at No 32; Apparently because of the lack of space daddy went to see a certain councillorTal Lloyd, who was to gain renown 17 years later for his Election loss to S.O. Davies, the ousted sitting MP; from thence there was a move to No.9 Heol Bryn Man, Gellideg, a brand new council housing estate on the Swansea Road.
    We and the Richards family were the first in the street, I used to sit at the window sucking on the lead paint of the window sill ledge watching the bulldozers and the houses over the road being built, including that of Frank & Joyce Harrington and their son Francis. My first friends in life were: Frances & Michael Vaughan, Shwnny (Sioni), Dai, Pat & Christine were their elder siblings and Philip came along later; Gareth Richards, Stewart was his elder brother; John Woods who lived on Heol Tai Mawr; Francis Harrington when the family moved in, and my cousin Howard Davies followed by his younger brother Malcolm who lived on Georgetown Square between Joseph Parry's cottage and the skinyard or tanyard next to Jackson's Bridge over the Tâf river; it stank. I used to go to sleep in a cot with a rag doll, which I used to undress to see what was underneath, and a golliwog, sharing the bedroom with my brother Havard, or Maldwyn. Francis Harrington used to have a red tricycle with a boot, mine didn't, and a train set upstairs in the box room, he had little grey flannel trousers, I wanted the same and got, and because he had birthday parties so did I, mine stopped when we moved away. My favourite toy was a little peddle horse which for some reason my parents took away from me, I still don't know why, perhaps because a road passed in front of the house; one day a child came down the road on the back of a similar one with his father which I took to be mine, I ran after him and tried to grab it back. In the house we had a little dark cubby hole where my brother and I used to turn a film to watch Micky Mouse and friends cahorting about on the wall. We all had great fun playing in the sand of the construction site which was the shops and I remember one day falling out with Frances Vaughan with the result that she scrammed my face. Frances died very young, being found unconscious in her bedroom. As there weren't any shops, the Harp Inn at the top of the road served to buy crisps and chocolate, while the Walls van came around the streets selling ice-cream in the summer. Just below the houses the Tâf Fechan ran under Cefn Viaduct, this was our swimming pool until one year there was a polio scare. My first swimming costume was a girl's cut down to fit me, my second that lasted years wasn't a proper one and embarassed me no matter how often or hard I pleaded, I was always being big headed or never satisfied, I  had to do with the lowest common denominator, when it always seemed to me that they got it right for my brother.  From the street I could see a castle in the distant woodland that I would admire from afar, which was the house of one of our local ironmasters when Merthyr was the largest town in Cymru/Wales; Nelson's cannons were made here with two being kept back for display where my mother would go for walks with me in the pram, and later I would play on these cannons; there was a museum showing off Merthyr's industrial greatness in its prime; an art gallery, and behind these a grammar school to which I always dreamt of going and did. When we left the house to go shopping or to visit my grandmother, for I only had one, and no grandfather, I couldn't leave the house without my harness or reins, I've never seen another child wearing them. We went to church in a tent at the bottom of the estate.
                         On my visits to my gran I made friends with: Christopher Jones; Martin Weaver; George, Susan & Leslie Quirk;  Joyce, Eileen & Ronald were their older siblings and Colin & Hadrian yet to be born; Billie Doe was older; David Purcell/Roberts; Malcolm Evans & Alan Watkins; Raymond and David Adler yet to be born; Valerie Brace; Frank Price and his cousin Joanna. I remember going up to the top of Trevethick Street with my mother on the way to Penydarren and wondering where the Earth was going to end.  
                             My cousin Howard went to Georgetown Infants aged four, as did everyone else my age, I wanted to go as well but by the time I went I was a year behind everybody else, I wanted to go on the bus with all the other children but my mother insisted on coming along, I don't remember anything except standing in assembly a row and year behind my cousin Howard, and going down the steps to a gate and looking out, and it was here I met my cousin Susan Woods; then I was five, moving to 20 North Street Penydarren, to this day I have always considered Heol Bryn Man my home; we moved into a mouse ridden old house lacking in all the modern facilities we had in Gellideg, no hot water, no inside toilet and no bath, it was traumatic for a five year old who'd already suffered the loss of his favourite toy, and my toy pedal car was immobilized so I couldn't go on the road, it's no wonder that I started wetting myself, plus the fact that I left my neighbours & friends whom I'd felt were a part of me.
                    My mother gave me the choice of schools, Penydarren, which was down the road or Queens Rd. where all my Trevethick Street friends went but further away behind my grannie's street over the back of an ironwork's tip between Penyard and Twynyrodyn; I chose Queens Rd. and my mother made arrangements with Sandra Owens from across the road to take me and bring me back. I joined my friends in the second year and met Paul Jenkins; Mark Powell; Elisabeth Protheroe; Vincent Price; Lilian Richards & Carole Anne Harris. Carole was the best reader in the class, but I like to think that I caught up with her before going on to Penydarren Juniors. I don't remember being a strong reader previously, although I had an interest in books due to my father reading childrens classics to my brother that I caught on to, I mainly remember the Hans Christian Andersen stories, then one day my parents questioned me on the pronunciation of a word that seemed to trigger something in my brain, from then on I became a prolific reader and an under age member of the Carnegie Central Municipal library in town, my happiest time as a child was looking through the treasure trove of books in the childrens' library, as a 6 year old I had my first experience of horror, it was not a pleasant experience; Noddy went out for a pleasant drive untill he reached a forest where golliwogs were hiding behind the trees, on his approach they jumped out, stripped him and stole the car, he ran back to his friend Big Ear's house where he received blankets & comfort; I also discovered King Arthur & his Knights, the Anglo/French de Troyes/Mallory usurped and adapted version. I spent so much time there with good memories that on returning there as an adult I couldn't get over how small it was. Another place I seemed to habitually go was the Hollies Clinic for poultices and somesuch, often I used to run around and got to know the faces and the smells, but for the life of me I can't remember why, because as a child I was never ill, except for a bout of mumps and I had warts for a short time; same thing, I remember often going to young Dr. Thomas's nearby, both in the town centre. I wonder if Carole remembers this? One day I was one of the last to leave the school, not before going into the cloak room to collect my coat, it wasn't there so I picked up a similar one to wear home, although it was patently a girls coat with the buttons arranged differently, I could see by a sewn in label that it belonged to Carole, so we took it to her house in Darren view and swapped hers for mine, the following day Carole & Lilian Richards were laughing at me because in their mind I was the one got them mixed up, but it was you Carole who had earlier left with mine. I don't remember much about the school except that there were two Mrs Davies's; that I wet myself and had to go to the staff room to dry out; there was a sand pit we never played in, catkins in the grounds, and that it had a flat roof; that in jumping over a bush I badly cut my knee, after it started to heal I picked the sore which all my schoolmates took for stitches and counted them in the toilets; Paul Jenkins broke his arm; slapping someone on the back in assembly making a great noise and being moved to the girls line as punishment; going with Mark Powell after school to the Brunswick pub down the steps past the synagogue into town which his parents ran instead of going home with Sandra, thereby causing my parents unnecessary worry, Mark showed me a photo of his brother Andy in Abermorlais school with my brother, with whom I drank 13 years later in the Lamb and the Anchor, but never ever met up with Mark again after leaving infant school, although I'd see him around town occasionally, I don't remember how it worked itself out, my parents not having a telephone; laughing at one of my classmates because he didn't believe in God; Peter (Snobby) Horrel's nose was always running, walking down to Rudman's corner shop with a girl who was wearing a tartan skirt attached with a big pin, I was later told that we were in school together in Cyfarthfa but I never found out who she was; and learning the days of the week in Welsh as well as phrases such as 'Bara 'Menyn' and 'Bara Chaws' (Bread & Butter and Bread & Cheese).
                                  My brother who had regained his name Maldwyn by this time, as I've stated, was a pupil in Abermorlais Juniors, or Primary School, and that is where most of my friends went after Queens Rd, except for the ones who went to Twynyrodyn, and Paul Jenkins, Valerie Brace, if she was in Queens Rd.; Lilian Richards; Carole Anne Harris & myself who went to Penydarren. Abermorlais was known to have a higher success rate than Penydarren at 11 plus, with even the Bs passing, in Penydarren not all the As passed, nobody in the Bs. For some reason we all went into the Bs, with Paul early on being transferred to the A stream. I learnt to write properly, the multiplication tables to 12 x 12, the months of the year in Welsh, we had our own little library which contained Beatrix Potter's Brer Rabbit stories, and were regularly given reading tests which were their guide to our abilities more so than mental arithmetic. I was put on the top table and before the end of the year Carole and myself were transferred to the As ready to start 2A with our new friends. In our first year we'd had various teachers, I mainly remember a Mrs Raspbridge who taught me a lot, otherwise it was noticeable that outside the A stream there wasn't a high standard of teaching because the children weren't expected to go far in life and the teachers and the headmaster were mainly Labour Party hacks. We were very fortunate that in years two & three we had two of the best in Anita James & Kenneth Adams Morgan, neither of whom were members of the Labour Party, they must have been good because they were both given headships relatively young, when normally 'members' were the first to be moved on. I remember Mr. Morgan in standard 3 setting us a composition, it didn't become 'essay' until grammar school, on our home life and how we ate; at home we had a varied menu that changed every day from a  stocked up cupboard and fridge. There was a Mr Heinz who supplied us with much of our food although we didn't go to the whole 57 varieties, every day was different, we had : ham & chips; egg & chips; sausage & chips; beans & chips; spaghetti & chips (inconceivable to the Bretons); fish fingers & chips; as I got older I was allowed the luxury of sausage, egg, beans & chips; pie & chips & fish & chips we could get at the local fish shop; sundays we had boiled potatoes, meat, veg & gravy; later on we had steak with onion gravy on tuesday nights. There was  Lynwen Rhydderch , our resident 'Welsh' teacher who taught us songs in the Welsh Language and got us to sign up to membership of  'Urdd Gobaith Cymru', the Welsh League of Youth, not surprising perhaps having a name like that she should be so taken with the culture; one day she invited me on a coach trip to the Urdd camp in Llangrannog on the Cardiganshire coast, when I asked my mother permission she refused, leading to a ticking off on the monday because waiting for me made them late starting off. However, she wasn't the person giving us our regular Welsh lessons, it was an elderly lady from Penydarren and I hated every second of it, I have always reacted more to the teacher than the subject.  Our teacher in year four was a pipe smoking  Mr Davies M.A., can't say I remember much about him, an easy going sort of person, perhaps I preferred them stricter with direction, always needed a bit of direction, my mother used to leave me in bed in the mornings, I was always going to school the following day with the excuse that I'd slept late, bringing giggles from my classmates, it was only 2 streets down; she didn't see the need for education, our 'caste' left school at fifteen, it was for others to get on and be looked up to, it wasn't our place, too much reading gave one ideas, which is what I had, and it was bad for the brain. My memories include three for Linda Treharne; a little disagreement with Gillian Connor; her singing voice which beat Carole every time in the annual school eisteddfod; and being regularly told off by the teacher for forever asking to go to the toilet after coming in to class from playtime; Carole had the voice of an angel, but perhaps didn't have the strength & resonace of Linda's to carry across the school hall. If there was any trouble out in the school yard it was put down by Frank Price, usually it was started by a boy by the name of Graham Price, not the future rugby international from Pontypool,  a bit of a trouble maker who came in to his own later on in Vaynor & Penderyn; there wasn't much point in messing with Frank; another good hard boy was Derek James, Degaz or Degsy. At the end of year 4 and the 11 plus results we all got split up with Derek leading his team to Castle and Frank to County.
                            On moving house to Penydarren my new close friends were: Geoffrey Palmer, my next door neighbour; Vivian Jones, Geoff's cousin who later became Dunlop and lived 3 doors up, and Robert Lloyd down the bottom of the street at No. 8. Most of my playing was in Trevethick St. with happily many sorties still to Heol Bryn Man because Uncle Tommy, Aunty Lydia with cousins Howard aka Custard, & Malcolm had moved up there, that reattached my link with the Vaughans and John Woods, gave me new friends, friends of my cousins were my friends, namely Bernard Popp and Narrow; reinforced my link with Francis Harrington, which hadn't been broken due to his having an aunt and gran in North Street where I lived. I also went often to a family of friends round the back of Nantygwenith St. when visiting Aunty Mary in Georgetown, I'd see them at the factory christmas party the once a year occasion when my hair would be smothered in vaseline, but I lost touch with them many moons ago and don't even remember their names.
                             Every sunday I would change into a collar & tie, cream shirt and suit and go with my brother to St. Mary's church for sunday school, it was a satellite of St. John's Penydarren, opposite the General hospital on the same side of the main road, it wasn't very far from my gran's. St. John's itself was only a few hundred yards down in the next street, so it was inevitable that we change churches. When I was about nine we got a television, before this we'd go to neighbours' houses to watch 'The Lone Ranger' or go down to Mario Basini's parents' cafe on Penydarren High St. to watch 'Hawkeye' and at the same time to enjoy the Italian cafes' speciality, a steak & kidney pie, steamed by the nozzle of the coffee percolator inside an enclosed metal container, delicious! On sunday afternoons there was a feature film, 'The Sunday Matinee', I persuaded my mother to let me watch it every sunday, it was the thin end of the wedge and it wasn't long before I stopped going altogether.
                          Before we had a television we used to play society games as a family, ludo and snakes & ladders, and there was always a pack of cards in the house, and we communicated as families are wont to do, but post television, our home turned into a cinema, we'd be sat in a line, my father with his own armchair near the fire, we on the settee,  looking at the screen in front of us only about a yard away, not allowed to speak anymore, unless it was to share an orange or a bar of chocolate bought down the road, meals were no longer eaten at the table but in situ.
                       My father used to have his newspapers, the Daily Mirror and the Empire News, which was bought out and replaced by the News of the World, whilst I and my brother had the Dandy &  Beano, which my father had read before us, of which I found an example, an old copy minus the photos as it was decades previously, in my parents' bedroom wardrobe. When growing up and deciding to change to comics more suitable for my age I had great difficulty in doing so, the Dandy & Beano being so much a part of the family, eventually I managed to persuade my mother to subscribe to the hornet. When I was twelve years old we went on our first ever family summer holiday, my parents rented a caravan in Lavernock Point, the place where Marconi's message was first received, from another Walters family higher up the street who were the local undertakers, their carpentry shop where they made the coffins was a few buildings up and I used to hold my breath as I walked past, however I digress. There was a shop on the site that sold something that was to change my whole outlook on life; Superman D.C. comics: The Justice League of America; Superman; Batman; Aquaman; The Green Lantern; Wonderwoman; Hawkman; The Flash; Atom Man, with their offshoots; Superboy; Supergirl; Starboy; Brainiac; Lex Luther; I was mesmerized and never read a book again for many, many years. I bought and read 12 in the fortnight I was there and a girl in the caravan next door bought me another one for my birthday. There was one thing in them that would be go against the grain in todays philosophic awareness; they were always had a feature, eager to show how the native Americans were becoming assimilated, joining in as full members of their society, becoming good Americans, and they'd give examples. When I got back to Merthyr I found Tanner's on the High St. selling them, I couldn't get them in my own newsagent' Lewis's nearer to my house. A few years later I had so many that I decided to sell them up in Dowlais Market, a decision I regret to this day; I got a penny each for them, which was no where near their face value, and to top it all they were first editions, No 1s; I'd gotten in at the beginning, today they would be invaluable and I wouldn't be in here now writing. Although I said I stopped reading books, I never lost my taste for reference books, and I was subscribed to 'Knowledge Encyclopaedia', it came out in weekly editions and cost 2 shillings, at least I was subscribed until my mother cut off the subscription for no other reason that she didn't see the point, too much learning being bad for the brain.

                                        My playing areas were vaste, on the peripheries there were adventure playrounds of waste, slag & quarries ; we have much grassed over dross but unsurpassable natural aesthetics, Merthyr is surrounded by countryside, and as we broaden out there are some of the most scenic views in Cymru/Wales. On the other hand, anything built by man has either been knocked down or is in a decrepit state and is falling down. From my house and anywhere else at the top end of the Borough was a remnant of the old ironworks, a slag tip, but magnificent in its domination of the town, it looked out over everything like a Mt. Rushmore but without the heads, it made Merthyr different, it was unique in its grandeur, it has now disappeared as roadfill. I wouldn't have wanted to be brought up anywhere else, I could play on at least 7 different football pitches within walking distance; 4 different tennis courts; two municipal parks; there were 7 cinemas; innumerable tips and quarries, which to us were hills to climb and slide on; the clean tributaries where we could go swimming which lead to the dirty Taff; there was a single rope swing over Pwll Wat near the Cyfarthfa Works, another at the confluence of the Tâf Fawr & Tâf Fechan and another in Heolgerrig, railway & limestone tunnels; long walks following the rivers, railways & canal, and dangerous ones avoiding mineshafts; a Norman castle/ancient British fort to dream on; the highest hills in South Wales, Cilsanws led to Pen y Fan, Corn Du & Cribyn; Caeracca over the moors of the limestone escarpments to the Chartists cave above the Sirhowy. One weekend, myself and a few of the Trevethick St. boys went up to Penyfan & the Neuadd Reservoirs to enjoy the wilderness in seclusion without a living soul near us, tickling trout from the stream and cooking it over the camping gaz, although we had axes to cut wood; Chris & I had never done this before, but Martin was the all action experienced outward bounds boy, so imagine our surprise when a car pulled up on the Roman track at the top of the hill and Martin's parents got out bringing him food. We had trips to the seaside, Barry Island at Whitsun and Porthcawl in the summer; my brother took me to the ABC Minors, full of adventure films and prizes for birthdays, some children used to go up every week to claim them. My parents took us to the public swimming baths in Gwaunfarren, where, because my brother used to constantly splash and tease me I was timorous of going in deep, preferring to stay on my feet, and in order to encourage me my parents got me a plastic life belt, with a duck's head! I didn't learn to swim until Cyfarthfa School when our P.E. master, a hard rugby man by the name of Dan Jones made me jump in to sink or swim. Not many of us went on summer holidays, except for excursions, the running joke was; Q: Where did you spend your holidays? A: Remainya. Growing up, the only sports worth mentioning were football/soccer & boxing.
                       I was lucky living where I was, I lived just a few hundred yards up the road from Howard Winstone, one of the best proponents of the noble art who has ever taken it up, an elegant, stylish wisp of a boxer who won on points due to having lost fingers on his right hand when younger in the local toy factory, and who became world featherweight champion at the fourth attempt against the Japanese boxer Mitsunoro Seki after 3 epic battles against a bull of a Mexican by the name of Vincente Saldivar who retired after the 3rd fight exhausted. Eddie Thomas's gym was near his and my house where I was fortunate as a youngster to watch world champions training including Ken Buchanan the Scottish lightweight who was taken out unfairly by Roberto Duran of Panama, I even put on gloves and climbed into the ring. Penydarren Park is the home address of the local football club, as a child I would cross the main road from my gran's house with Chris Jones, Martin Weaver, Georgie & Les Quirk, Alan Watkins, Malcolm Evans & Billy Doe to play in the old park in the grounds of the Homfray's Penydarren House which was still standing and we'd run around inside, now it's a private housing estate; at the time whilst playing we'd hear the crowds, 20,000 at its height, you can nearly count them on your hands now; we'd pass through or around the house, approach the fencing and climb over at the gaps, little did we know that we were watching a team that only a year or two previously was the end of a period that for 6 years saw them the best non-league side in the whole of England & Wales, logically Scotland as well.
   There was a boy in the next street down by the name of Mostyn Jones, for some reason we didn't get on, one day we met up in town, started a fight when an old lady came past and gave us threepence each to stop.
                                   Every summer Uncle Harry, my father's brother who was in the army in Burma and never came back to home to Cymru/Wales to live; Aunty Mary, cousins Dorothy & Glyn would catch the train to Cardiff General, change to Merthyr, get out at John St., catch our only traditional black hackney cab to disembark at No. 26 Trevethick St.; Aunty Cassie's, she was the family catalyst who kept in touch with everyone; often I would join them to visit the family, go to the seaside or a restaurant in Caerdydd/Cardiff. One day we were all sitting in an Italian restaurant near St. John's church next to the Old Arcade when on nearly finishing my soup I tilted my plate towards myself and lifted the spoon & soup to my mouth, whereby working class cousin Glyn from Lancaster laughingly berated me for not having followed etiquette by which I should have tilted the soup plate away, not having been taught that in Merthyr I wasn't to know; however, now living in Brittany, I feel more comfortable with everyone doing it my way.Many of my friends went fishing, especially Martin Weaver, so I went to the local sports shop, told my mother the price and didn't get it, therefore I couldn't join in with cousin Glyn when he brought his rod with him from Lancaster to go fishing in the Goetre Pond, which has since been drained for house building, a large part of the Cyfarthfa Park perimeter walk was taken out for a road to those houses. When my friends went fishing I changed friends.
                           Trevethick St. was built on the remains of the old Penydarren Ironworks, it ran lengthways following Trevithick's track that carried the world's first steam locomotive to run on rails in 1804; there my brother taught me to ride Martin Weaver's bicycle when I was seven, finally getting one put together by my father at ten, and a proper one at eleven for passing my 11 plus. We played behind the gardens, sometimes walking along a narrow pathway high in the side of the tip, one day I slipped, fell narrowly missing the iron spikes of the garden railings, and certain death by inches, after that my father barred the way so we had to go right back to the top of the street to get onto it again. Carole Anne's house was on the top of the tip behind my gran's and in the weeks leading up to Guy Fawkes there was war between all the surrounding streets whilst collecting for the respective bonfires.
                Back to school and the 11 plus examinations, it was tremendously nerve racking as I waited for the results declaring that I'd passed and was on my way to Cyfarthfa Castle Grammar School because I'm a 'W', Walters, one of the last names to be called out. If I hadn't gone to Cyfarthfa all my dreams would have been shattered. C.C.G.S. on the blazer pocket surrounding Saint Tydfil. "Castell Cyfarthfa, Caer i Ddysg a Hêdd". In the junior school it was basically my reading ability and what I read, together with my common sense that got me passing exams, I never did any homework, my ideas would have to radically change in the new school, things were obviously expected of me because they put me in the fast stream with all the top scholars, it was the proudest moment of my life, but alas, I was soon filtered out, I think I learned more from my encyclopaedias & dictionaries than I learned from school, but that was my fault. I mentioned earlier that I related more to the teacher than to the subject; I wasn't any good at maths under Mr. Barbarini, under Mr. Warrender I was top in all the tests, arithmetic, geometry & algebra; with Mrs Goodall I was average to not good in history, with young miss Anne Sullivan I was in the top 3; I was good in French when taught by Mr (Twiddles) Davies, not good when taught by Mrs Thomas; I was bad in science because I was always taught by Mr (Tommy Test Tube) Thomas, in my opinion the worst teacher in the school for putting across his subject. I didn't belong to the same culture; in fact I had none! I didn't even know that bread was toasted on both sides, that you could have butter on toast as well as margarine, and thanks to cousin Marion that you could even put jam on it, I didn't know that breakfast cereal should be eaten with cold milk, before I found out, I couldn't abide warm soggy weetabix, since, I enjoy it; and thanks to John Webber, I found out that more than one egg could be eaten with your chips. In Penydarren, Susan Regan & Richard Gray were top of the class, but such was the academic level here, percentage wise they didn't reach the same heights. For some reason we had to wait a year before we could play rugby, I remember my first time with a rugby ball in hand, our sports master coaching us on the top field next to the Bryn Cae Owen, or Top, pond, but in later years he'd stay in the staff room for a smoke, before which he'd throw us a ball, tell us to keep out of the gym and off the football pitch! I never joined in or felt part of anything, which wasn't my initial aim, I wanted to be head boy reading the service in assembly, not to be; I wasn't in a team, didn't take part in any extra-curricular activities, never met my class mates outside of school, except for Trevethick St., in short, I never moved on; when I joined the local rugby club, my mother told me I was too big for my boots, when a rugby shirt became too tight and I wanted it changed my father called me big headed, and they kept me in short trousers until some of my friends started to go out drinking, refusing to replace them because my mother knew a woman whose son was wearing them, which reminds me of the duck headed life belt & the girl's swimsuit, when I finally did get my long terylene trousers I had to wear them to the beach, to town on a saturday night and to school. I have a photo taken in Barry where I went with cousins Glyn & Dorothy, I'm 15 and I'm wearing my school trousers. At a factory christmas party I got the wrong present because my father had given the organizers a younger age, with good intentions, so that I could continue going, but without discussing it with me, no that would be adult and I was only a child so I didn't really count, it's  hard to say but there was no respect, they could say or do anything in the house without redress, which would have been treated as insolence, many is the time that my mother would start something and my father would come down from his shed and finish it, yet when they were in public, even within the family they were wary of being judged, so they'd tell little stories, like going to going to guest houses for holidays, when really we slept in the car or in a little tent at the side of the road, then I'd have to avoid answering questions to my cousin Denise on what it was like staying in them, when I did say something I'd me made out to be at fault, making a fool of me again and again, when I could witness my class mates being groomed for adulthood.  I started going around town in my early teens with Blair Evans & Byron Jones, we'd go to the cinema, down to the new Caedraw flats to play in the lifts and generally hang around, this is how I met Susan James, so important later on in the Loco, & her best friend waiting for their bus home down the valley. There used to be a huge, impressive market hall in Merthyr, which they knocked down to make place for town centre redevelopment with a new precinct and bus station; at the time the buses stopped around the market, I'd bump into Paul Lewis; Gerald Rees who later was to work with me at Ebbw Vale; and Jackie Webber who went swimming in the top pond, got his legs tangled in the reeds and drowned, not before a 12 year old Peter (Mogsy) Morgan jumped in, in a brave but futile attempt to save him, Peter is now President of Merthyr Rugby Club. I remember being offered a violet sweet by Jean Beynon outside the town hall and once or twice we'd call into Adam's café, but we weren't dressed to join in with the trendsetters. It was somewher around this time that I took to helping Peter Mendez sell his Football Echos on his regular stand outside the Theatre Royal cinema on a saturday night, another time I was wandering around the town centre with the Trevethick St. boys when we encountered a gang from Georgetown, my friends ran off and I was beaten up, twice, returning home with a black eye. Although I didn't join in with things in school, in Trevethick Street we formed a football team, never joining a league but going around playing friendlies. David Roberts was a friend in the street, I liked his sister Carole, they moved to Caerffili/Caerphilly and he left me his stilts, I did go down once or twice to visit them. In Penydarren David Showers moved into Urban St. he was a prize winning athlete and had a younger cousin Derek, who growing up was a prolific scorer in his school teams and later played for Cardiff & Cymru/Wales. Dai and I used to run around the tracks in Gwaunfarren and do a bit of shot putting, he came from the bottom of Dowlais and was always returning there to see his old mates and family from Walter St. so his mates became my mates, including Noel Davies and the O'Brien brothers; one summer I helped them deliver shoes from the cobblers on Pant road;  we'd get off with the girls in Urban St. Richard & Sheila Gray's sister was particularly nice. With neighbours Geoffrey & Vivian I'd make arrangements to meet the Pant girls where we'd go on our pushbikes. Our bikes took us on many journeys, usually limited to Brecon.  I became friends with Alan Pembridge and his lovely wife Wendy Miller, going up to their house at least once a week, until the sad moment there was a fatal car crash with Eric Williams driving and his front passenger Marlene Morgan allright, but Alan & Wendy in the back killed outright. Cousin Denise got married to Ronnie Muscles, I've mislaid a good photo taken at the bar of the reception at the Dowlais Labour Club with the big boys: Maldwyn; Alan Beynon; Elwyn (The Bouncer) Morgan; Ronnie & me;  I was always following them around their houses; one day I was leaving Ronnie Senior and Adeline's house in the Mush, Gellifaelog, and it was cold or wet or both and Ronnie Jr. gave me his leather jacket to wear home and his set of chest expanders to train, that was a proud moment for a 14 year old because Ronnie was the leader of the pack, and I looked up to him for his strength and speed. My first friends of the new school were: Anthony (Antos) Jones &  Peter (Greg) Griffiths, the 3 little ones of class 2D (2D was really 1D, but we had: 2; 3; lower 4; upper 4; 5 & 6 and in another twist, D was our A); we used to run up to the baths at Gwaunfarren where I learned to swim; Peter Morgan, whose parents had a paper shop on Brecon Rd., I sat behind him for the first few months in our registration class; In one lesson I sat in front of Julian Cooper and next to Colin Treharne, when I learned they'd come from Gellideg Juniors I asked them who was the best fighter there, the reply was my cousin Howard aka Custard (who were the best & the hardest was an important part of Merthyr culture). It was Stewart in 3A who got me on the roads to Brecon, Hereford etc., but it was Colin who accompanied me to the As to become Tom Sawyer to my Huckleberry Finn or vice-versa in our adventures when we should have been in school; it began when Stewart wanted to miss a lesson but he didn't want to do it alone, but I missed a second lesson, I was outside in the toilets when Nero, deputy head and history teacher appeared at a door and crossed the yard towards me, he caught hold of my ear, took me back inside to Flash the headmaster's office where I was told by the headmaster I could be expelled but was happy to settle for 6 of the best.  In that same year: Colin Treharne; Stewart McIntyre; Stuart Bartz and myself sat in the the back row of Vincent Lee's English class getting up to things that would make Pat Harris & Elaine Bracey look under the desks to see what we were doing. Other friends were: Barrie Sullivan; Terry Cavanagh; Neville Jones; Geoffrey Matthews; Robert Harris; Richard Powell; David Hynes; Christopher Jones x 2; Ewan Park and his cousin David Walker, David played violin in the National youth Orchestra of Wales; Ewan moved away to the English south coast but came home every Christmas with his new girlfriends; we'd meet in Tiffany's or/and I'd sign him in to the rugby club, so I was shocked when I heard in Paris a few years ago that he'd passed on, especially as I think it was a lot to do with knowing Iwan throughout the dark days that was a mainstay in making it easier for me to get back on track. This is the story of my life, and I did say warts and all, so here we go, the dark days included something which made me lose my self respect and unable to look the people I respected in the face; I went to court.  At the time a totally naïve and innocent 13 year old, I used to play out of bounds; opposite the Cefn entrance to the school grounds and down a lane was the Efi-Astex plastics factory, and higher up the lane back towards Brecon Rd. opposite the gates was an old house which was used as an unsecured warehouse full of novel plastic household, mainly Kitchen implements; in the garden were two air raid shelters in which my friends & I found mattresses so we used them as dens; Those plastic implements were like childrens toys and many were attracted like bees to honey, to play with them, most of them children from our school, with no sense of the seriousness of what they were doing, there were certain implements that were used amongst the pupils as plastic conkers, it was all in fun until one day we were in our den in the garden when we heard voices, we climbed out to see 3 men, 2 of whom were detectives, we were found guilty of larceny, for having broken in and and stolen plastics which were in the hands, as toys of a fully 2 years, 8 classes of pupils up the road, but being naïve we accepted our punishment which was a 12 months conditional discharge for having done nothing but building a den in a garden of an open unsecured, leaking warehouse. In court I was quoted as saying "we were only playing"; I was never the same after that, it scarred me, mentally disconnecting me from my peers, only gradually healing over a period of at least 10 years, although I must say the scars are still with me because of the height from which I fell, I was no longer innocent, and I felt it heavily, I'd had 6 of the best but this was different, I took to missing lessons on a regular basis, going out through the toilet windows, through the woods, Huckleberry Finn & Tom Sawyer style, up the river or hitch hiking to Brecon mainly, but also to Abergavenny and even to Hereford Cathedral and always back by 4 o'clock to catch the school bus home, Billy Smart's Circus came to town, I helped them put the seats in and got free tickets, I didn't need them because I got a job selling ice cream twice a night for a week, my first ever paid job, I remember having a good friend for a week and never saw him after that, his name was Brian McCarliffe from the Georgetown area, a sort of hard independent type; I was taking risks because there were teachers bringing their families, but not recognizing me. Lynnette Chidgey in the Anchor one night told me that wherever she went on the bunking trail she would see 'Bun'  daubed on walls ahead of her; this lasted a couple of years until I once again took up the thread of school life, joining in, albeit on a lower level, making new friends, particularly at this time ; David James; Graham Adler; Anthony (Bonehead) Watkins; Des Thomas; strengthened my friendship with David (Dai Fat) Davies, we went back a long way, Dai used to have crossed wires with certain teachers so he was forever being sent to the headmaster's room; David (Little Dai) Davies, I think he's winning medals as a Territorial Officer; Philip Adams; Selwyn Regan; Peter Lewis, Paul's brother; John Webber; Ken Petersen; Philip Barton; Alan Hargreaves and most of all Maxie Howerd, to the extent that he used to often come to Brittany and stay with us. Bonehead began to get numbness in his back and lose his sense of feel; In my free time, sometimes I'd go down the gym to watch the girls in action, particularly Babs Evans in her little blue shorts; this is where I met Maldwyn & Malcolm (Speedy) Evans's sister, danced with her in Tiffany's, then sadly lost touch, still think of her. Being relegated from the Ds I found my friends amongst the As & Cs, for some reason I didn't hit it off with the Bs; Philip Adams used to live in the grounds of Guest Keen Sports & Social Club, where we played tennis together, later Philip, Selwyn Regan, Peter Griffiths & myself used to meet up every tuesday evening to play snooker on the club's tables, a beautiful building built as a memorial library to John Guest, M.P., iron master, founder of the Guest, Keen & Nettlefolds conglommerate, and who's wife Lady Charlotte Guest translated the Mabinogion into English, we were watched over by a Mr Churchill, an elderly gentleman who used to keep them up to standard. I remember only one time going to a school Christmas party, some of us calling into the Rose & Crown in the Quar, before walking to the school; and seeing Elaine Bracey's well lacquered beehive hair style on the way. Nearing the end I even took to supervising the younger pupils in games down the gym but I never made prefect. Maxie could see that something wasn't right inside so he invited me to the Loco where he had a regular weekend rendezvous with: Mike Jones (Meic Merthyr in Caerdydd); Gareth Davies; Kelvin O'Neill; Neil Quinlan; Stuart Pound; Peter the Lamb & Gary from the pet shop, also Mike's cousin Malcolm and his school mate Wyn Richards who went on to become a champion bowler and 'ENGLISH!!! international, from that day I joined them, one year spending a summer holiday together in a Guest House by the sea in Blackpool, the Landlord and Landlady baked (or bought) me a cake for my birthday, Mike and I took advantage of the proximity and hitched to Lancaster to see my Aunty Mary, Dot's mother and Gareth's grandmother, we met two girls in the house next door from Cwmbran, and I also met a girl from Northern Ireland by the name of Elisabeth Shepherd. Before going there I ordered a made to measure suit in Burton's Merthyr to be delivered, when it arrived I opened the packet, tried it on, they could have measured a prize bull it didn't fit. For about a year before I met the boys, I used to take my father's darts down to the room set aside in the Morlais, every friday to get out of the house, but didn't go any further because I was under age and didn't want to push it, I remember Lilian Richards's sister working behind the bar, and smart she was. Wyn was the person who initiated me into the rugby internationals, and I initiated Maxie, Wyn went to college in Portsmouth, one weekend in August I visited him at the flat he shared with his girlfriend Marion, she never liked his friends' influence on him, anyway I celebrated my birthday at an all night beach party on Hayling's Island, it was magnificent.  Before I was of an age to go out drinking overtly in the town centre I'd go down my gran's on a saturday night, call for Georgie Quirk, for whom later I'd be best man at his wedding with Marilyn from Rhymni, and we'd furtively go up to Penydarren Park, although positioned centrally it was hidden from everything. At the time there was no modern clubhouse but an old shack that had a bar, the Rhys Davies? Memorial Club, later to be replaced by the Maldwyn Davies Jubilee Club re-baptized Strikers, it was frequented only by the most loyal fans, many of whom were getting on, and they used to put on erotic films. Still at school I met Kelvin's cousin Lynne Davies, nothing came of it, but I took her to a New Year's Eve dance in Sands, walked her home, and every so often I'd go and see her at her parents' house just up the road in the Mush, all the time recording my innermost thoughts in a personal diary, I was 17 years old, in less than a year I'd officially become an adult, one day my mother surprised and astonished me by recounting my writings to the family, that was it, to my parents I was their child, I literally belonged to them, so long as I was under their roof they could do what they liked, if I said something was mine that they had bought for me, the reply was that they bought it so it was theirs. I wasn't too happy when they gave away my/their Arthur Mee encyclopaedias to cousin Marion's daughter Beth.
                            I spent the best days of my late teens in the Loco, Susan James was the daughter of the house, Esme & Bill her parents at the bar. Susan had her loyal group of friends with whom we intermingled, listened to Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, played cards till sunrise in Tony's flat on the bottom of Twyn with Shelagh McDonald, her dark haired friend and boys from down the valley, there was a test of strength whereby we had to grab a chair leg at its base then lift it off the floor, sounds easy, but only Bill the landlord; a brickie friend of Susan; and myself were able to do it. Susan's lot and myself went to the Bath Festival, but I got picked up 'en route' near Newport after being stuck in the wind & rain, everyone was squashed in the back of a Ford Transit, I remember going to a pub in Shepton Mallet with Shelagh McDonald & her friend, and drinking bottles of Whitbread Forest Brown.
              Around this time a few of us decided to go to the Gower via Llanelli for the fun of it; we cadged a lift, arriving there about 10pm, went playing 10 pin bowling in the Glen ballroom until closing time before finding a place to sleep on the way, I found a not too uncomfortable bench for the night. The following morning we made our way to Gorseinon, then Gowerton before Llangennith & Rhosili Bay, stopped for a drink high up overlooking the bay before walking over the cliffs to Port Eynon where we met some County School boys, including I think Robert Haines, who had a caravan there; we drank and played bar skittles in the Ship Inn. The following day we headed home. Later the Gower was often on an after midnight itinerary when we'd take a mini bus to Mumbles for a bit of communal nude bathing after the pub.
               Six or seven times I've been horse or pony riding, never learning how to do it properly, as a child on Barry Island beach expecting to be thrown off, 3 times pony trecking at Talybont on Usk when the Trevethick St. boys met with the Troedyrhiw boys, they'd  go galloping leaving me behind to quietly canter along, the last time was when  I met up with Ivor, my mentor, who had a day off work, he met me in town where I was wearing a suit & tie on a sunny summer's day. He invited me to the Mynydd Du to a farm above Llangadog where the farmer on being asked brought out two ponies; I was unprepared being badly dressed for this type of activity so it was no surprise that on stretching my legs to bestride my mount I heard and felt my trousers ripping apart; we did however go for a ride to Llyn y Fan Fach, the source of the legend of the lady of the lake & the Physicians of Myddfai.
                                   Peter Lewis took me to the Lamb between hours and introduced me to his father John the landlord and his sister Cheryl, but it was Maxie who took me there drinking, where I was introduced to the patriotic element: Harri Webb; Ivor Davies; Ronnie the Brigadier; Neil the Colonel and perhaps Cayo after they heard me arguing with him about Owain Glyndwr. The Imp was where it all came together, and where I spent the best years of my early twenties, but it must have been my teens as well because I used to finish up there on a saturday night to go up the road dancing in Sands; before I was 21, I was dancing in Tiffanys.  Sands used to hire the local 'hard nuts' to keep control, one night as we were queuing outside a not very bright person came out declaring that he was the 8th hardest boy in Merthyr to which Degaz grabbed hold of him beat him up on the spot and walked off. another time 'the leader of the pack' Ronnie Muscles was in there when a rumour went around that there were strangers there from Swansea, Ronnie got a punch in the face that knocked him on the floor, I saw a huge grin forming and I knew he was going to enjoy the next few moments. Another story I have concerning my young self is that I was chatting and drinking with Shelagh McDonald and her dark haired friend near the stage when two boys from Ebbw Vale started larking about, one of them pushed past me, so I felt that I had to save face, prove myself and show off to the girls, I grabbed hold of this boy who was bigger than myself,  hammered into him, punching non-stop until he fell, his friend kept his distance then picked him up and helped him leave. It was at the Imp that I met Susan McCarthy with Cynthia McDonald, unrecognizable to me as my former class mate; Valma, & Diane Galea; it somehow became my base and many is the time that I stayed behind being taught Politics by mine host 'Skip'.
                      There used to be trips down to Top Rank Caerdydd/Cardiff organized by the Spina Bifida charity to which we used to go, but as they weren't often I began running my own, to Top Rank, Cardiff, Top Rank Abertawe/Swansea and to Mecca, Bristol. I can picture Diane in the aisle singing 'we're all going to Cardiff on a Morlais bus'. At one time in Top Rank I was dancing with Valmai when the compere asked anyone with a hole in a sock to go up on the stage, not being very sophisticated I found a hole, when in fact every boy there had two; another example was in a restaurant in Swansea, we ordered steak & chips, the waitress asked how did we want them, Georgie Quirk looked up at her bewildered and replied "on a plate". On a trip to Bristol we called in to a nightclub on Whiteladies Road with strippers and a game of roulette, I played and got worried when I started losing because I had the bus money giving me an extra reserve, no problem as I was the organizer, fortunately for me I came out on top and a good night was had by all at the ballroom, only for me to wander off and get lost; luckily at about 3 o'clock in the morning in the middle of Bristol, the coach rolling slowly with everyone on the lookout, eventually came across me nonchalantly walking along, picked me up and drove us all home. There must have been an overlap between the Loco & the Imp, but in my memories they rest distinctive; in between we drank in the Vulcan, nothing to say for it except that it was very popular, it became my tuesday night stop where I'd drink with Jimmy Rees and Clive Ellis, we were young, the beer was rubbish. At other times I'd get some boys & girls together and after stop tap we'd arrange a mini-bus to go nude bathing in Mumbles. Merthyr High Street is about two miles long, and arriving at the age of 17 or 18 there was: The Penydarren End; The Nelson; The Owain Glyndwr; The Morlais; The Imp (Tiger); Ye Olde Express; The Anchor; The Vulcan; The Brunswick; The Belle Vue; Narrow Gauge; Red Cow; The Lamb; The Kings; The Great Western; The Eagle; The Loco; a normal saturday, and that was after some of the pubs on Castle Street had been knocked down. After school I got a summer job at Lines Brothers, Triang Toys with Johnnie Webber, Peter Churchill & a Doctor's son from Cefn; then Kelvin O' Neill, one of the boys, got me an interview at Ebbw Vale Steelworks with John Gaydon who employed me at the Central Engineering Offices, meeting up again with Gerald Rees, who was my lift to work for a while not having a driving licence, he & Evan Kinsey used to pick me up at the Norton bus stop below my parents' house in Penydarren, it was a 10 mile journey, the only time I found it necessary to travel to work, so I needed someone reliable, and Gerald was not.  Evan later explained to me that when he got it into his head, he would deliberately leave me there, so I got more reliable drivers in John James from Heolgerrig & Cled(wyn) Price from Dowlais Top who sang together in the Dowlais Choir and shared the duties. I also caught up with my schoolfriends: Philip Adams; Stewart Mcintyre & Godfrey Lewis, who by this time was Brian, which makes it pretty unfair when years later he brought his college friends into the Anchor and introducing them to me; I asked them if they were all friends of Brian, they laughed, and he never spoke to me again, how was I to know? It was at the works that I met Kevin Viney and Hedley McCarthy, not forgetting Roy Beynon our union rep amongst many others. John Gaydon was secretary of the town rugby Club high in the echelons of the sport in Wales with Arthur Lewis becoming captain of the National team. Many of the players were employed at the works and Denzil Williams a record breaking forward was often to be seen in the office picking up or handing over items relative to the club, mostly, as far as I could see, raffle tickets; one day about twenty years later I found myself standing next to him in the Parc des Princes where I reminded him of it, he wasn't in a good mood because his ticket number hadn't guaranteed him a place. I got to know all the draughtsmen & engineers because I was a records clerk and part of my job was collating the number of personnel and their attendance records, there was an engineer by the name of Des Thomas who worked in the drawing office upstairs and who lived a bit further down the hill than myself in Penydarren, one day he came downstairs into the office I shared with Ann the filing clerk, and the shorthand typists: Dilys; Margaret; Jenny; Cynthia; Andrea; Dorothy & Susan, and rolled out a paper on my desk which turned out to be ambitious plans for a brand new Penydarren social club to complement the redevelopment that replaced the old Plantation St. area. Another day, knowing I was from Merthyr some of the engineers introduced me to the architect of the metal monument at Merthyr shopping precinct, St. Tydfil's Square, whereupon he explained to me his rationale, of why he had given it a broad base for industry, narrowing at the top, a bit like a miniature Eiffel Tower; I don't think it's there anymore, like the gold plated tower of the, at the time, new Mormon church in Georgetown. There was a works canteen across a yard from the office, past the fitting & fabrication shops, it was raining one day so I ran back, slipped on the marble step, slam bang into the corner of a solid oak door face first, i cut a near vertical line down my face splitting my lip wide open, the works was immense with its own doctor's surgery and even its own fire brigade, i went to the doctor who straight away gave me stitches, when I went out that night for a pint in the Vulcan I sat with Mogsy who wanted to know about the fight; in a place like Merthyr, people are sceptical of walking or running into door stories. One time after getting home from work my brother was at home and my mother served what we called tea, but was a substantial early evening meal, I noticed that my brother's meal was more substantial than my own, when I enquired why this was, my father retorted, "because he works, you don't"! I was astounded, he was a maintenance electrician who when there wasn't a job on, would watch television, but he were overalls. I was in an office reading & writing all day returning home with migraine often falling asleep before going off to the pub; BUT I DIDN'T WORK!!

             Other great friends at this time were Dai Goode & Bryn Williams, Dai lived behind me in Urban St., married Claire and moved to Council St., once, I managed to get a typewriter from the works through the engineers and lent it him, I suppose he's still got it, we used to go to the Imp and dances in the Catholic Hall. Very often they were rugby club dances, in this case I'd get tickets from Philip Corke, at other times they'd be Plaid Cymru fund raisers that sometimes I organized myself and Skip from the Imp would run the bar. Bryn was from Galon Uchaf and used to drive around town in a souped up orange car with Cibie publicity, later he was a bouncer in Tiffany's, his great friend was Bobby Craze from Heolgerrig who sent away for a Bullworker, but sent it back, he was big enough and strong enough already. One by one the Loco boys dropped out with our lives evolving differently, 'till there were Gareth & Mike who stayed on the political side and Maxie on the non-political. In 1970 there was a lot of excitement going on in the town, the Labour M.P. S.O. Davies had been thrown out because of his age, well into his 80s, but no known date of birth, he had represented the town since 1934, and was Mayor in 1945, so this did not go down well withe the populace. The 'Party' chose a leading Trades Union leader, Alderman Tal Lloyd, who'd got us our 1st house and father of my friend Kerry, it was seen as a sad moment and a sure thing for the Alderman. The intrepid SO stood as an independent, won nearly 17,000 votes, Tal Lloyd; 9,234, E. Jones, Con; 3,169, and Chris Rees, Plaid Cymru, 3,076; it was my first vote, and it went to Chris. I was fortunate enough to have been present at the result inside the town hall. Two years later S.O. was dead, leading to a by-election where there was even more excitement with American style cavalcades. Emrys Roberts, on the left wing, republican side of the party, which for years had been at odds with Gwynfor Evans the Party President, had arrived as the Plaid Cymru candidate on the back of close results in the Rhondda and Caerphilly. The Labour Party, shaken by what was going on around them chose an outsider, a very young Edward (Ted) Rowlands), already a junior minister, who had just lost his seat in Cardiff North; both he and his wife Janice were Welsh speakers. For weeks there was a carnival atmosphere, and on the day it was : Ted Rowlands, 15,562; Emrys Roberts, 11,852; with the Conservative, Communist, and Liberal way behind. After everything had calmed down Maxie & myself went off hitch hiking around Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany, landing at Oostende. I was in a bar in Amsterdam and happened to be watching the television when the news came on about the terrorist attack on the Munich Olympics, it was Sept. 5 1972. When I returned home I seemed to gradually drift away from my old friends except for Maxie, Meic & Gareth but developed a never ending host of new ones, This is where Smallville ended and Metropolis began and I became a sort of disciple to a hero of a new generation of Merthyr voters in a newly shaken up and re-organized constituency Plaid Cymru which was to launch the political careers of Dafydd Wigley, Gareth Foster & Bleddyn Hancock (Nacods), and eventually lead to the Party taking control of the Town Hall a few years later. I was brought up Labour; Red Flag, Red Dragon; but the Dragon in the sixties had disappeared from Merthyr it had become an anti Welsh microcosm; we knew where not to tread, until Ted turned up and later Bill Morgan. Control was in the hands of: the McNamaras, the Mahoneys, the Donovans, the Reddys, and right on the top were our own Albert John (hope I won't lose a friend here) & Tal Lloyd; any mention of Cymru/Wales was anathema to them; I went through three Trades Unions; help your fellow man, solidarity to the working class, so long as it follows Moscow's rule and the workers aren't too Welsh, nowhere at any time in either local politics or local Trades Unionism was Wales ever mentioned, except by the ousted MP many years previously causing him 3 times to be ostracised by his party, he was the last of a long line of Independents including R.C. Wallhead going back to Keir Hardie to whom Cymru/Wales meant something, before he eventually lost the plot and was finally asked to stand down. When I was still twenty one years old in 1973, I stood for Mid-Glamorgan County Council against Terry Mahoney, the future Chair(man) of the Authority, on my leaflets was written 'Bernard Walters,  B.S.C.' referring to my work place 'British Steel Corporation'  it wasn't meant to mislead people into thinking that I was a Batchelor of Science, but anyway I came second out of three with a respectable 800 votes, the third candidate being Gerard Kiley the journalist; around this time I met Peter Davies, a big Labour activist, but it was more to do with his working in the bus station with my friend Neil Quinlan.
                         The patriotic element mentioned above had become a constant in  my life in relation to which I became Secretary of the Penydarren Branch of Plaid Cymru with Richard Hicks as my right hand man, Membership & Social Secretary for the Constituency and national delegate to the conference; one of the few active Trades Unionists.
        Because of my Language activities I used to meet Welsh teachers who because they moved in from outside used to share flats; the first lot were opposite the General Hospital in Garth Villas and included Ann Jones & Eldred Evans, the second lot moved in to the new precinct and these were Ann Preston from Blaenau Ffestiniog, Eleri and friends; after Tiffanys opened and after a hard night's dancing, because of their proximity and my sense of friendship and feeling of warmth towards them, I used to wake them up by occasionally calling there after 1 o'clock in the morning, I later found out in the painful way Eleri introduced me to her boyfriend who was a striker for Bangor City that it was never appreciated and that the friendship was hardly mutual, although later on I met her at an Eisteddfod where she approached me, I couldn't respond and walked away due to the hurt I felt. Richard Hicks signed me up to play bowls as a member of the Gellifaelog club in Penydarren and in general my horizons were broadening, I often used to go to Cherry's house in Bargoed from where we would sometimes go to Cardiff, e.g. one day we had a rendezvous at the Mitre, Llandâf, where I remember walking past Llandâf Fields with Rhodri Williams, he'd just been or was going to see his Cymdeithas colleague Alun ap Brinley who lived in Highfields nearby, before meeting up with the others including Vaughan Roderick, spending the night at Vaughan's parents' house in Rhiwbeina on the floor in sleeping bags which in the morning his mother aired out on the clothes line, although most of the time in those days I'd sleep in Al Tal's flat in Llandâf North, later on it became Ian Perriman's house in Alfred St. off Claude Rd. Roath; or we might go to a fund raising effort somewhere in the valleys, a pleasant but dire necessity for a poor Party with few benefactors.
      We very often went canvassing, I was meeting more and more people but I was leaving behind my other friends who weren't involved in politics. Canvassing partners in Merthyr included Eurfyl ap Gwilym, Dr. Harri Pritchard Jones and Charles Cravos. Sometimes when we needed money Dafydd Wigley would ask his wife if she was free at certain times so we would have an Elinor Bennett Christmas harp concert, attended by Philip Madoc. Very often our life saver was a young man down in Glynneath; I'd give a ring to his house and we'd end up with a Max Boyce concert, until one day I gave him a call and there was an agent on the other end, things weren't the same after that. One day we were at a 'do' in Corbett's Club, Caerffili/Caerphilly where I heard my favourite rendition of 'Unwaith Eto 'Nghymru Annwyl' sung by a girl called Linda ? from Abertawe/Swansea. Another time we went to the Rhondda where Glyn James (sadly just died) was guest of honour, and given his reputation I expected something light hearted, but I was surprised when it seemed to go on forever in monotone; a few days later we had a function in Gary Thomas's place at the bottom of town 'The Brandy Bridge' where I was on the top table with Emrys Roberts, Robert Howells and our guest of honour, the actor, Meredith Edwards; I mentioned the do in the Rhondda and how Glyn James to my surprise went on and on; well, I'd put my foot in it because Meredith surpassed Glyn, I was already acquainted with Peter Edwards, Meredith's son, due to his being a teacher at Cyfarthfa before moving on to the BBC as a stage manager's assistant's assistant. I had the honour of being shown around a nascent Dowlais Rugby Club in a side room of the Bruce Hotel, another time I was invited to a charity evening in the Dowlais Catholic Hall where I ate my meal next to the President of Cathods, a British film star of the 60s, name of Keiron Moore.
                           I think it was 1973 that the Conference was held in Rhyl; Mici Plwm, and Hywel Gwynfryn dressed all in white were running a disco for us on the pier, I was staying in a hotel across the road where I met a Scottish maid, after I'd got back home I was out one night drinking, with this girl on my mind, so after stop tap, I went home, got a coat and started walking up the hill in Dowlais towards the Heads of the Valleys road with the intention of hitch hiking overnight to Rhyl through Abergavenny and Leominster, it wasn't easy and when I got there she didn't show much interest. I didn't have a driving license so I used to do a lot of hitch hiking paticularly overnight to the rugby internationals, one day I was waving a big Red Dragon flag on the way to Scotland but drivers were signaling to me that Wales was the other way. I must be fair to Ivor Davies, he took me to many places in his Audi and would never allow me to contribute to the petrol, because, as he said, he was going there anyway. 
                     In 1972 or '73 I held a banner at the head of a rally in Newtown, at the end of which we retired to a local hotel where I was drinking at the bar when I heard 2 distinctive voices coming from the entrance, when I looked across to where the voices were coming from I perceived 2 distinctive characters to go with the voices, the one being Monsignore John Owen, and the other, someone who was to become one of my greatest friends, Mr. Gareth ap Siôn, originally from Pontypridd but for many years since, Caerdydd/Cardiff. Gareth's a real character, a former Welsh junior chess champion who at one time stood for the Blaid in Caerdydd. One time we were all in Merthyr celebrating the historic gain of Merthyr Council by Plaid Cymru. We were outside, it was raining and Gareth decided to go for a pee, unfortunately he was seen by a couple of police officers, as they were putting him in the car Gareth shouted out " you can't arrest me, we've taken over", it fell on deaf ears and he spent a very pleasant sheltered night in the new cells followed by a nice breakfast served, in the meantime we had gone home except for Hywel Williams from Pwllheli who'd sat outside on a bench all night in the rain in solidarity. I remember he had part of a finger missing.
                     At loose end moments I'd go down to Siop y Triban in Wyndham Arcade, Caerdydd, Peter Meazey was the proprietor and a 17 year old Siwsan George from Treherbet was working there, as was Gwynneth Rixon; Pete & Siwsan, together with Stewart Brown, a Scot, went on to form Welsh folk group, Mabsant; or I'd go down to the Plaid offices on Cathedral Road to see if I could give them a hand. Dafydd (Dai Banjo) Williams was the General Secretary, there was an elderly lady called Nan who'd been there for a very long time, Robert Griffiths was doing research, Gwerfyl Arthur was secretary, Les Davies from Aberdare was there helped by Marie? the wife of the first headmaster of Rhydfelen, & Meinir, a pretty girl from Ynys Môn who appeared on the cover of 'Pais' a Welsh womens magazine.; a likely job was to telephone a press release of a speech that was to be released imminently to radio & television. I was local organizer, or cysylltwr for Cymdeithas yr Iaith having taken over from Meic Merthyr Jones, It was he who organized the Easter school in Aberfan, must have been in 1973 because Glynis Williams from Treorchy/Treorci, Helen Greenwood, Gwenith & Marion took time off to help me canvass in Penydarren where I was standing for Council. We had a game of football on Aberfan Fields, I played in goals and shouldered off an opposition forward by the name of Ffred Ffrancis.
          A person who was to become another of my greatest friends is Rhobert ap Steffan, I met him in the London Welsh Rugby Club on the day of an International; We were introduced by my mentor Ivor Davies from Dowlais, later on Rhobert, or Castro as we all know him taught at Bishop Hedley in Merthyr before moving down to the other 'Moel Siabod' in Llangadog. (Sadly since I began writing this he has passed on after a frighteningly quick onset of cancer of the liver & pancreas, this after a long walk over the Andes in Argentina raising money for charity.
       Ivor's brother Maldwyn owned the Theatre Royal Bingo Hall and ran Merthyr Tydfil AFC where I was a regular spectator. I was a member of Ebbw Vale & Merthyr rugby clubs but saturday afternoons invariably saw me at Penydarren Park; grammar school education pulled me towards rugby but my heart was up the Park. I wasn't the only one, there was a boy from school by the name of Melvin Jehu, I like to think he looked up to me from the days I supervised the younger boys down the gym; he had joined the police force and was telling me excitedly about a new flying task force to be able to go anywhere quickly, prepared for emergencies, getting there in Ford Transits, and he'd applied to join. I suppose now we'd call it a riot squad. we lost touch, then I heard he'd become Chief Constable of South Wales. One boy was soccer mad in school and used to get his classmates to go down the Pandy Field to play football, a bit against the school grain, but it worked out for him, his name is Gordon Davies, he played for Merthyr before eventually being transferred to the old First Division. There was Keiron Stratton who had a sister Philomena, one night I met her in the Norton on Penydarren High Street, at closing time we headed off to Cardiff in the rain, she in bare feet, we got to the bottom of town before turning back. I met up again with Keith Lewis, a friend fom infants school, then a policeman whose father was one of the mainstays of the club, definitely not 'fair weather'; My friend Gareth Davies was a regular, and I became friendly with the Merthyr Express sports reporter Philip Howells, before later on becoming editor. One day there was an F.A. Cup match against Llanelli away; Philip spoke to an old man who remembered the epic matches between the two sides in the halcyon days of yore; as I once went with Al Tal & the boys to watch Llanelli v London Welsh, I am perhaps one of the few non-Llanelli inhabitants who has been to both Stebonheath and the hallowed Stradey Park. I was shown around the brand new Maldwyn Davies Jubilee Club built on the grounds, weeks before it was open to the members and general public. Maldwyn the owner introduced me to the legendary John Charles the manager and we chatted and drank together, later I took Ioan Roberts, a journalist with 'Y Cymro' to see him, his wife is a multiple Eisteddfod laureate for her singing, he once introduced me to Huw Jones the singer & record producer at a hotel in Bangor, I think during the Eisteddfod yr Urdd at Porthaethwy.
          I had a movement I called 'Mudiant Adloniant Merthyr', within which Malcolm Llewelyn, my brother Mal and myself ran a mobile 'Welsh' disco, ' Disco'r Dewin', for hire at social functions, we had a big one in Caerdydd/Cardiff, I think it was at an R.A.F. club. I organized a concert in Aberfan with 'Mynediad am Ddim', where a woman begged me to get Emyr Wyn's autograph for her little one, which I did, took it back from the changing/dressing room, gave it to the child and he read disappointedly: " To Byn....I met Ryan Davies at another concert at Aberfan, where he explained to me the origins of 'Ar Hyd Y Nos'. I organized a raffle at a Max boyce concert in Aberfan, where there was a slight confusion over the winning ticket, he complimented me on the way I handled a delicate situation.
        Whilst all this activism and social life was going on I lost my job in Ebbw Vale, leaving an office to become a semi-skilled machine operater/turner in Moss Gears working side by side with David Meredith's father, during this time we worked the 3 day week under Edward Heath's Government.
                           When I frequented the Metropolis our haunt was the New Ely until the landlord got fed up with Welsh speakers taking up his valuable space, we collectively moved on to the Rhymney near the prison where the racist prisoners used to shout at Ap Siôn to go back home to Pakistan, this apparently had more to do with the price of soap than to his blood origins, although he was and is a prodigious curry eater, the hotter the better; his blood brother in curry eating is Castro, they order the hottest in the restaurant, and when it is served ask the waiter to take it back to the kitchen for an extra dose of spices. I remember one day on the way to the Rhymney after a match Gareth gave a huge swing at Castro, missed by a mile, then stormed off. We got into the bar, I went to the toilet and came out to see them both  drinking together at the table. The New Ely was where I met Hervé Kerrain, "the mad Breton" in the Dyddiadur y Dyn Dwad. Hervé was called up to the French army, but was one of a number of Bretons who don't consider themselves French so Gareth persuaded him to go with them to Cymru/Wales, where he was lacking in resources "I 'ave no monet"  but was treated like a king, until the official papers caught up with him then he went to Ireland and lived like a tramp, I found it ironic that a girl sang an Irish song at his funeral, anyway the French used to have a system whereby at the election of a new President there would be a general amnesty, so at the election of Chirac I think it was, Hervé went home only to be put into prison as it didn't count for him, not having already been incarcerated. The New Ely was also the pub where I met Jean-Louis Nano who told me of his project to open up a pub in the Breton hills. On the odd occasion when I missed the last train home I used to stay at Ian Perriman's house in Alfred St. off Claude Rd. in Y Rhath/Roath which his aunt had left him, it was large enough for him to rent out the bedrooms, and I used to doss down there, whilst upstairs Dafydd Huws was writing the 'Dyddiadur y Dyn Dwad', recounting the exploits of a band of friends, all of whom were born elsewhere, even if it was only from Ponty or the Rhondda just up the road, although many of the characters were immigrants from the Gogledd, as was the author himself. It was later made into a film where ap Siôn was an extra watching an actor playing his role; Dafydd also had a regular spot writing in 'Y Faner' under the pen name 'Charles' Huws. The Claude was the sunday morning haunt. Other watering holes at the time were mainly across town; the Conway, Half Way or the Robin Hood, and on a saturday night we were likely to end up at the Blue Moon or Pappagio's down the docks. The only time I was actually at the docks on the waters edge I was with Meic Merthyr, we were taken there by Pete Meazey before going back to his house, where I was dumbfounded by his choice of teas, having grown up in Merthyr where my gran drank Typhoo, my neighbours, Hornimans, and we, P.G. Tips.
This semi-drivel social commentary of which I wrote, and dare test your patience relates to 'Dyddiadur Y Dyn Dwad' printed in the mid-seventies; one piece of poetic licence, they drank Brains Dark.

Goronwy Jones he wrote a book
An epic in its way,
The life and times of Cardiff Welsh
This book it did portray.

Goronwy Jones (our Dafydd Huws)
From the land of Gogs he came,
And strayed into the Ely
To the boys of 'steddfod fame.

He wrote about these boozers
For people all to read,
The chapels didn't like it
But Goronwy took no heed.

The chapels didn't like the way
They lived their life of joy,
But gambling, girls and beer
Mean a lot to a healthy boy.

Who was it they wonder
Who stirred up such a row,
Who else but the boys of the Ely
Drunk on their Bulmers 'Bow.

There was ap Siôn and Perryman
or Connolly and Penniman,
Dai Hopcyn or Dai Corduoroy
Dai Shop or Shep, one hell of a boy,
Denver too of Cross Hands fame
Stan Crossroads now is his new name,
Marx Merthyr also, he was there
but print his name I wouldn't dare.

Now, when everything is said and done
One question needs an answer,
I've read the book from front to back
But who the hell's Greselda?

   I went for an interview to Coleg Harlech, Alan Williams (Al Tal), now of Pontardawe, took me up there in his little Robin Reliant 3 wheeler, amongst other things I was asked about Alexander Cordell's writings, which was fortunate having read all his historical novels, notably 'The Rape of the Fair Country' & 'Song of the Earth'. After the meeting I was told by Sulwyn ?(definitely began with an 's') that it had gone well, but as they had no proof of my staying power, to go home, sign up for some night studies and return the following year. On my return to Merthyr I began studying: English; French & Social Studies at the local College of Further Education; for some reason I didn't stay the course and have forgotten why.
                  I became a 'Man from the Pru' meeing up again with Gareth Davies, it didn't work out. Whilst I was working there Gareth Foster had introduced me to Philip Goodwin and a Man called Eddie both from Pontypridd; Eddie was an insurance salesman who'd set up his own autonomous branch company of the 'Target' unit trust group. He asked me to join him because of my Prudential experience and knowhow, as he saw it, but I wasn't ready to leave, when my situation altered I went to see him and he employed me. It turned out badly, bit of scandal with police involvement, leading to Target taking over our office directly but without Eddie, then we in turn set ourselves  up as self employed brokers working with the big names on a commission only basis; I wasn't making any money so I left.
             All of a sudden, with a few exceptions, my friendships built up and cultivated over the years through school, the streets & the pubs had been displaced, moved aside, our common interests had in some cases seismically shifted, altered the focus, lessened the conversation, although you don't lose your friends, you only lose touch, there was now a new bunch in my life, my natural instincts, my early thoughts and my later philosophies were coming together towards a more 'Welsh' as against 'valley' way of life centred  around the: Eisteddfod Genedlaethol; Eisteddfod yr Urdd; Cymdeithas yr Iaith; Sefydliad Cymru; Plaid Cymru & Cilmeri, more of an awareness of Cymru/Wales's distinctive history, language & literature and its complete anonymity on the world stage, far, far less even than our closest cousins, the Irish & Scots, the only National intellectual forum being an institution fabricated by 18th & 19th century romantics, namely the Eisteddfod, and a futile, toothless 'Grand Committee in London not really worth mentioning. The way I saw it was that our fate unfortunately lay in the hands of the English labour movement with its ambitious, if not out and out sycophantic Welsh members whose main interest was getting out, selfishly improving themselves, denying the existence of Wales, lining their own pockets, and bringing up their children to  become English gentlemen, using workers' solidarity as an excuse to deny their roots, outrageous to the extent that the bigger the Parliamentary majority, the less that got done. Aneurin Bevan, great as he was, didn't see Welsh problems, only problems, thereby sewing the seeds for 3 decades of wanting, windbag wasters in the valleys, caricatures for our neighbours across the Severn to ignore unless an opinion is needed on a match. Where does it end, no Welsh children only children? It's ridiculous and an excuse to think in English, sorry, British terms, which in the long run is the same thing, if you deny your own you choose the other; there has to be a starting point and mine is Wales, then if the Welsh miners want to help the Durham miners all's well & good, but don't use solidarity as an excuse otherwise in times of unrest they'd be picketing St. Etienne, Lille & the Ruhr. My heroes include Owain Glyndwr, and Arthur of the primitive sagas, I believe that autonomy is strength, that overstretching leads to weakness. Solidarity is strength when every facet of it is equal. "Nid cadarn ond brodyrdde", "Unity is strength" Unity means as one, but neither Scotland nor Wales is as one with England. "All for one, and one for all". but there is a lack of concentricity. The Scandinavian countries are free and equal, the Baltic Countries are free and equal, the British Countries are not. Welsh MPs are free to jump on the gravy train. The smallest Country in Scandinavia, Norway, has a population of 4,346,000; The smallest Country in the Baltic, Estonia, has a population of 1,459,000; Gibraltar is just over half the size of Merthyr, Greenland has as many people.
The proud valleys of the Rhondda,
The renown of Merthyr Town, 
They put their trust in what they had,
But the smell of power let them down

One hundred years of Labour
A boon to the working man
to climb the social ladder
as high and as far as he can

No longer to live in the valley, 
when London makes its call 
get out, get on, get up there,
go and have a ball

Pretend to be a socialist
so long as you are there
of course your real reason 
is to become a millionaire

No more the council house for you
No more the valley floor
Buy a property in London
Or three or four or more

But I'm real Welsh he says
Valley born & bred
Just listen to my accent
It won't go to my head

Ask me my opinion
on anything in Wales
I'm a fan of Cardiff City
And can tell you rugby tales

Dont ask about the Senedd
For us it's just not right
I think it's great for Scotland mind
For them the future's bright

Wild Wales it's been a struggle
It's been a long, long road
Two thousand years of fighting
An historic path bestrode.

Roman, Saxon, Viking, Norman, 
They tried to bar our way
but it was our inner strength
that helped us to hold sway

The enemy without took rout
but what about  within
A famous couple you may know
Who knock and knock and make a din.

Though that was in the ays gone by,
before the referendum.
When the tide of change flowed down the docks
Next to our other millennium.

Westminster governs us less & less,
No longer the houses in London to buy
Cardiff is serving its purpose at last
It's Taffside not Thameside the place to fly.

Cardiff rules only to a certain extent
But laws are being passed here at last,
Nearly a thousand years we've waited for this,
A government here at the present, no longer a dream of the past.

So Carwyn you are now at the helm
Show us just what you can do
Can we trust you to bring us the bread
And perhaps some jam & butter too.

Cymru/Wales is relying on you.

          Robert Griffiths wrote a biography of S. O. Davies that brought him up to the Miners' Hall for a lecture, when it was over we went back to the Anchor for a drink, where at the table he introduced me to Hywel Francis, future MP and son of miners' leader Dai.
            During the 1974 Eisteddfod at Caerfyrddin something was going on at the Half Way tavern in Nantcaredig which induced my friends and me to go, I'm glad I did because I had the honour to meet and discuss with arguably the greatest name in Welsh rugby, a certain Mr. Carwyn James. The Half Way was run by my friend Hywel Williams, but I didn't know that nor him at the time.
          In 1975 I was supposed to meet Marc Kerrain in Merthyr on our way to the Cricieth Eisteddfod, but because he was late we went on, leaving Meic behind to welcome him at his parents' house in Penyrheol(gerrig), we all met up again outside the Brynkir Arms, sometime later Breton musicians were playing in the garden and I was drinking, sitting with my back to the window sitting next to Vaughan Roderick using a copy of the 'Welsh Nation' to explain the finer points of how to précis interviews in written journalism. Castro (Rhobert ap Steffan) and his mates were making waves in a pub across the road, something about who was or wasn't circumcized. Marc's elder brother was the famous 'I 'ave no Monet' mad Breton of Dafydd (Goronwy) Jones's 'Dyddiadur y Dyn Dwad'.
             In the Aberteifi/Cardigan Eisteddfod in 1976, Harri Webb wrote for me"There was a young fellow called Bun who thought the Eisteddfod was fun, in Cardigan town he was drinking it down 'cos Plaid Cymru in Merthyr had won", also, "Bryn Watkins is feeling annoyed and sad is the face of Tal Lloyd; all the old gang are going to hang 'cos their racket has now been destroyed". referring to the council elections earlier on in the year when the Labour Party lost control to Plaid Cymru in an historic takeover.  King Emrys Roberts came riding into Merthyr Tydfil on his white charger to nearly upset all the odds, he'd been ostracised from Plaid Cymru but was back at full gallop, a brilliant speaker, perhaps it was too much to take the town from Labour at first attempt but hestayed on winning himself a place on the council for Plymouth ward with a house in Troedyrhiw, the momentum was with him so much so that he built up a table of white knights and with his immaculate Galahads they took control of the council, although to be fair to Emrys 18 months, he'd be the last to consider himself a saint, they had unknowingly been infiltrated by a fifth columnist, a staunch Penydarren Labour Party family member had joined the Party uniquely to stand for election, won, got nominated to the housing committee and voted himself a house, thereby losing the Party all semblance of the moral high ground that got them into power, and to be honest he wasn't the only unfortunate councillor, their talent base not being as broad as they would have liked in their scent of victory. There was a close result in the Park Ward between two Plaid candidates, Terry Rees & David Williams which Terry conceded; David, magnanimous in his gratitude to Terry,  stated that his ascension to public office wouldn't change him; a nurse, he soon afterwards found the tables turned as a ward patient, on one occasion he asked to see the doctor, with the nurse replying that the doctor concerned was busy, David's reaction was: ""TELL HIM COUNCILLOR WILLIAMS WANTS TO SEE HIM", not what one would expect, with the result that Plaid has fallen in popularity approximately to the state it was in during the 60s.
               At this Eisteddfod I'd been invited to sleep at the village baker's in Pencae, Llanarth by Gwawr whom I'd met at Llangrannog and who was to leave us far too early whilst studying for exams at Bangor. She & Siân Tesni, daughter of the house decided to go on a peaceful protest to which I was invited to sit in the back of the van, Siân's sister Heulwen Thomas asked to come with us but it was decided she was too young, we drove around the winding country roads, stopping every now and then for a few minutes before carrying on; by the morning there were many more signs painted green in the Sir Aberteifi/Cardiganshire countryside, another episode in Dafydd Iwan's "Peintio'r Byd yn Gwyrdd". In order to get back to the Eisteddfod Aled Eurig picked us up in his car. There was a concert organized by Cymdeithas yr Iaith starring Edward H. davies, I couldn't get in because it was full, however I met a friend, Hefin Tomos, who got me in  on security; we were told by Wynfford James to watch out for overexcited girls coming storming screaming down to the stage approaching the end of the Edward H. concert. Being from the valleys and never having heard of them, I took this with a pinch of salt, but fair enough there they were, running to the stage, where I and my fellow security men got together grasping hands forming a human chain barring the way, preventing the hysterical girls rushing up on to the stage, unbelievable. During one Conference I was sitting there enjoying myself in the hotel singing 'Flower of Scotland' with a band of young scots in traditional costume, dirk included, before it became officially accepted as the National Anthem, when the barman declared the bar closed. Dafydd Wigley gave me his key number so that I could stay on till the early hours, when on trying to leave everything was locked. I eventually left by the front window, accidently cracking a pane on the way. At the Conference I was making good friends including Phil & Dorothy Richards from the Cynon Valley. One day Cherry & myself wanted to go to a one day conference so we managed to get a lift off Dr. Phil Williams & his passenger Owen John Thomas; Phil was a close friend & colleague to Cherry's father Les Lewis in the Cwm Rhymni Plaid, a highly respected member in Bargoed who gave his name to our Les cards for calculating support at the polls.
                I got a job in the Castle Hotel as a handyman but it didn't last long because I patronized the hotel bars in the evenings which was frowned upon, so a friend of mine named Ron Williams, whom I'd got to know through his studies of Welsh history, that combined with my politics got us chatting in the Vulcan, where he invited me to help him on a costermongers round he'd established in the Cynon, Rhymni & Tâf valleys; as it was unofficial, at the end of the day there was no money involved, but he'd give me some fruit & veg for giving him a hand, it didn't last long, he ambitiously opened a delicatessen in Merthyr before its time, the locals weren't ready for it, I think he had one regular customer, the new landlord of the Vulcan, and it failed; then he came to me for a testimonial or job reference for the new Peacock's store as an under manager and he got it.
                 At around this time I received a note from Margaret Roberts, Emrys's wife, informing me that Joseph Parry's old place of worship, Bethesda Chapel, was being saved (ironic pun) and they needed volunteers to clean it all out for restoration as a community centre, I was only too happy to help out, later on John Barnard Jenkins found a job there as a counsellor and I'd pop down from Brecon Rd. at lunch times to have a chat, it was only a couple of hundred yards, others there became colleagues on the works council, the constituency wide trades Unions forum, which was mainly a medium of influence for the local Communist Party.
           I was having a quiet drink in Merthyr Rugby Club when someone introduced me to the foreman of a subsidized work scheme on the college site, he asked me if I could paint, didn't wait for an answer, so the following morning I got myself a job as a painter on Mid-Glam Council with a 6 month contract never having lifted a paint brush in my life, two months later the man who had employed me got the sack whilst I carried on painting till the end of the contract before joining Merthyr Council at Brecon Road yard. Every morning we would all turn up, stand in the yard, and depending who was or wasn't at work we would be designated our respective tradesmen; I worked on the roofs with a tiler; I was a fitter's mate with my friend John Price from Dowlais who had a cabaret act 'Soft touch', that, and storeman were my best jobs; the most frustrating was as brickie's mate in the Gurnos where every day we'd be building the same wall which was pushed down every night. I was also shop steward so when I was needed in the manager's office for discussions the foreman would put his head out of the window and shout out into the yard 'Plaid' which was me, a fly in a Labour bee-hive, at the end of every month I'd get a small envelope containing a bonus to my regular wage. After a while I moved to the Dowlais yard as storeman to replace Elwyn Beynon who was on long term sick; the men would come in to pick up what they needed to clean up the town, sign the book and leave, from then on until the end of the working day I'd answer the phone and intermittently fill the lorries and JCBs with diesel, blue for one and red for another, saturday mornings I'd be paid time & a half for basically opening and closing the door once, waiting for midday, locking up before walking to my parents' house across the 'Bont' football pitch, the only one in the borough ungrassed, being composed of ash & industrial waste that could cut you up on falling onto it. When the unexpected happened and the storeman came back from the sick, especially after his cousin & school friend Alan Beynon, whose sister Jean I've already mentioned married my old friend Malcolm Llewelyn, told me in the Castle Hotel one night that he wouldn't be back and that I had a job for life, they put me on the ash lorries, nothing funny about going around the Gurnos Estate, one of if not the biggest in Europe at 5 miles an hour lifting rain sodden zinc ash cans from every house up to the shoulders and into the back of the lorry; Another day they gave me a brush & shovel and sent me with another worker to clean out an under pass, his reaction when we got there was that now no-one was watching we could take it easy. Their special one bonus day off a year was coming up on the date there was a Cymdeithas yr Iaith Easter school somewhere in West Wales, I think it was Pontarddulais, anyway I took it upon myself to organize a trip to Abertawe/Swansea, left everybody outside a pub in the city centre and caught the train, at the end of the night a Cymdeithas member, trainee solicitor by the name of Alison John got me back as the pubs were closing just in time to catch the coach home. It was whilst I was at Dowlais that I got up the courage to move out of the nest and rent a room with shared toilet facilities & shower at Garth Villas opposite the General Hospital and around the corner from Trevethick St. the place where I began domestic life and was more or less brought up; I was very fortunate in that you'd be surprised what people throw out, my new friends on the lorries putting aside that which they thought might be handy, thereby helping me to partly furnish my new abode. I used to run a lot of trips, Vaughan knowing this called me to organize one to Caerfyrddin/Carmarthen for the celebration of 10 years since Gwynfor got elected to Parliament in 1966, that famous night when Welsh history was rethreaded, or put back on the rails, there were two sisters on that coach, daughters of a famous current affairs producer who still haven't paid.
             On that subject I organized a dance in Merthyr with the new Welsh super group 'Injaroc', comprising amongst others: Caryl Parry Evans; Endaf Emlyn & Cleif Harpwood or Prendelyn; at midday we went for a curry in Hal Al's that was a bit greasy, wrong time of day. I had to change halls, there were two in the centre, because not enough people in Merthyr could understand the reason for rock music through the medium of Welsh, but in the smaller hall the atmosphere was all I could have hoped for, with a mention later on in 'Y Cymro' that it counted amongst their best gigs, unfortunately not enough money was collected to fully pay the group. At times I used to run trips to Glansevin mediaeval banquets where Meinir Lloyd would be the resident harpiste, I've forgotten the name of her singing friend who went to a 'Welsh' school in the Gwendraeth Valley and I met later on in the Top Rank ballroom Caerdydd for a rugby international, scarred as a result of a car accident. Quite by chance I have just uncovered an old vinyl disc, signed: Meinir Lloyd; Eleri Llwyd; Karen; and Rhian Pont. I have since met Meinir & Peter Hughes- Griffiths in Lesneven but wasn't recognized. At other times Gareth Westacott would telephone me with the dates of dances at Coleg y Drindod, Caerfyrddin/Carmarthen to which I'd organize a coach, and every now and again we'd go to dances at the James family memorial Hall in Pontrhydfendigaid.
                   After a week-end in Llangrannog, where amongst others I met Gwynneth Rixon who related to me the story of her having been refused entry to a cycle race somewhere in England because she had put the postage stamp, therefore the Queen's head, upside down on the envelope containng the application form, I was very disappointed on coming back to Merthyr on the sunday night, where I stopped off in the Vulcan for a drink when someone came in informing me that it was Skip's last night as landlord of the Imp, I put down my pint, rushed straight up there only for him to refuse me entry and not listen to why I couldn't be there and that I didn't know about it anyway. We were close over the years so it hurt that he must have thought that I was taking advantage turning up late; I haven't seen him since that night.
            I'd heard about a man in Aberdare called Iago Roberts who was setting up autonomous self-learning Welsh class groups by the name of 'Sefydliad Cymru'; Malcolm Llewelyn, my brother and I went to see him at his home where he advised us how to set one up in Merthyr, at the same time Chris Priest was setting one up in Casnewydd/Newport. I went around chapel vestries and pub lounges by myself looking for suitable venues to hold classes, and it was to Peter Meazey I went to buy the recommended text books 'Cymraeg Llafar', I got together a trunkful of books in Welsh and about Cymru/Wales which I used to lend out; I don't know what happened to the trunk, I hope the books are still of use. I got them together by starting off at Dowlais Top, one of the last outposts of the indigenous culture whose language had held the linguistic crown of Merthyr until well into the 1920s, I explained what I was doing, some people donated, but in others the books were too valuable as with a beautiful copy of a translation of John Bunyan's ' Pilgrims Progress'.  Nancy & Austin ran the Crown at the bottom end of Merthyr High Street, we used their lounge for lessons, she a Welsh speaker from I think the Pontneddfechan area, so the Language was encouraged at the bar, not only that at the end of an evening in town we could always get a welcome and a late drink by surreptitiously tapping on the front window, whenever I encountered  Welsh speaking newcomers to Merthyr I would take them there, although one day I met Ffred Ffrancis in the High St. prospecting for customers and I took him to the Loco for a pint, at the time it was run by Dafydd Gittins from Aberhonddu/Brecon and his partner Maldwyn Morgan; however if the visitors were special and had time I'd take them to my secret haven of Carreg Cennen Castle followed by a visit to the rustic Red Lion in Llandymddyfri/llandovery, run by two brothers who'd fill the glasses in the back room and serve them at the hatch into a room with high settles against the walls, with the bonus on a wednesday night of the local choir coming back after practice offering a rendition of part of their repertoire. The lounge bar of the Six Bells in Heolgerrig proved popular and there's a photo of a class there on a Youtube video of Max Boyce singing Idris Davies's 'When I walked to Merthyr Tydfil(in the moonlight long ago)'. I was invited on to a Welsh learners' television programme where preprepared questions were asked in panel form to which I gave my answer, with a few minutes to go the panel chairwoman shot me a new question that caught me out, but forunately when I watched it at home it didn't show.
                        Because of my involvement in local politics in Merthyr I often used to get into discussions with local characters, one such being Eddie Thomas, the boxing champion & trainer of boxing champions, I used to love listening to his tales of his younger days and stories of the old town; one day we were standing at the bar of the Castle Hotel, when he told me he was going into the restaurant to eat with a crowd of friends including the Chief Constable, and to my surprise he invited me in; don't forget I was still in my early twenties and in awe of these people; another being The Rev. David Protheroe, son of a respected Penyrheol family who, wanting to do good, joined the local police force, but once told me that he gave it up because he thought he could serve society better through the church. There was derek Williams, Labour Mayor of the town whose local was the Conservative cub, where the President was my old junior school teacher, Kenneth Adams Morgan, son of another respected family; and the Rev.Bill Morgan, not an ex-policeman but an ex miner who entered in to politics and under the auspices of the church melded the two by socially experimenting, establishing schemes to help the youth of the town in jobs & housing, his wife Barbara taught me social studies and they came to visit me in Brittany; he was my mother's vicar in Penydarren and left us far too early. Another thing was my interest in the Welsh Language, which got me into conversations with the older people whose Welsh is the Gwenhwyseg dialect and different to other parts of Cymru/Wales, but as I was picking up this remnant of the Glamorgan/Gwent speech I moved to Brittany. I often used to chat with the editor of the Merthyr Express at lunch time in the Belle Vue pub down the street from the offices; his chief reporter and photographer were the couple Robert Haines & Melanie Doel, Robert is an old friend, who has moved away and just published an album of photos depicting the characters of his youth, which they are in the process of filming, one of whom, Jackie Webber(he who drowned in the Top Pond)'s brother Melvyn, a so called hard man was blasted to death through his front door on  the Gurnos, I worked with him for a while at the Dowlais yard; while Melanie moved on to the BBC. I had the great honour of the both of them flying over to Brittany to cover my wedding for the paper. 
       At Dowlais Yard, with no interest in the job any longer I applied for a vacancy, still with the Council, at Rhydycar Sports & Leisure Centre, where I'd organized the Injaroc concert; I became a Shop Steward again, defending the rights and arranging holiday rotas of the cleaners & ancillary staff; My boss was Dave Evans, he told me that he went to Millfield with Gareth Edwards, reminding me of his after match statements " What did you think of the match Gareth? Grêt, Grêt", how did the tactics you employed serve you in regard to the eventual victory? Grêt. The under managers were John Stokes &  Philip Davies, and one of the supervisors was Football League First Division referee, Gerald Morgan. I was working with my cousin Sylvia's husband Granville Jones, and the job entailed setting up and preparing for sports, concerts and exhibitions, working behind the bar, particularly for Christmas, generally seeing that everything was in working order and kept tidy. Have you ever thought of the work that goes into wiping the squash ball marks off the walls? that and collecting rain sodden ash bins mentioned earlier are the two worst jobs that I've had the misfortune to undertake, luckily I had a willing partner in the person of Roy Jehu.
                        One day some of my Cardiff friends came up to Merthyr, we finished the evening with a curry in Hal Al's where they told me they were off to Brittany and that there was room for one more. I claimed my two weeks summer holidays, travelled with them, met Elise, returned home after the fortnight, the following day we were followed by a band of Bretons, including Elise, en route to the Caernarfon National Eisteddfod. My holidays over I asked my boss for a week's extension, to which he replied in the affirmative. We all went up to Caernarfon, the first night the Bretons and myself sleeping in a large, slightly cramped tent, when a very considerate Louis l'Official got up in the middle of the night, went outside for a while, came back and announced that he had pitched a smaller one for the benefit of Elise & myself.  spent a week there, at the end of which Elise and her Bretons went home, and I went back to work. One month later Elise turned up on my doorstep wanting me to come back to Brittany with her, and that's the start of another story. (To be continually revised and augmented as my memory returns).

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Jean-Claude Dreyfus, & Merzhin au bar Ty Elise

Post-cards sent to pub/bar

The discoloration on certain cards is from the cigarette smoke and open fire due to having been pinned to the ceiling for many years.

Bro Gozh ma Zadou

Meic Stevens - Rue St. Michel (leaning against my bar)

Glenn Devant le Pub/Bar Eté 2009

Those with an advanced musical aptitude who have trodden the clay floor

Jim O' Rourke; An Triskell; Glenmor; Youenn Gwernig; George Jouin; Liam Weldon; Jean-Yves le Roux; Alan Stivell: Dan ar Bras; Yann Tiersen; Davy Spillane; Meic Stevens; Paddy Keenan; Patrick Molard; Les Freres Morvan; Alan Simon; Tornaod; Lleuwen Steffan; Soig Siberil; Nolwenn Corbell; Steve Eaves (& Cerys Matthews, according to Steve's daughter Lleuwen Steffan); Gwennyn Mammen; Jackie Molard; Glenn le Merdy; Youenn Bihan; Twm Morris; Gilles le Bigot; Laurent Jouin; Eric Marchand; Pierre Crepillon; Les Freres Quere; Jean-Jacques Milteau; Rhys Harries(Trwynau Coch); Jean-Claude Dreyfuss (o.k. so he doesn't sing); Gweltaz ar Fur; Siân James; Derek Smith (Mabon); Gareth Westacott & Guy (Toreth); Plethyn; Yr Hwntws; Bernez Tangi; Gaby Kergoncuff; Louis (Lulu) Roujon; Louise Ebrell; Annie Ebrell; Jean-Claude Lalanne; Bernie Smyth; The Halby Brothers; Brian McNeill; Jamie McMenemy; Jean-Michel Veillon; Patrick LeFebvre; Fanch Landreau; Linda Thompson, from Fairport Convention; Mick Tems & Pat Smith; Peter Meazey, Susanne George and Stuart Brown (Mabsant); Dom Duff; Dedé Hellec; Michel Caous; Michel Clec'h; Ti Jaz; Anweledig; Kristen Nikolaz; Kern; Christian LeMaitre; Dezzie Wilkinson; Sean Corcoran; Jim Rowlands; Gazman; Maffia Mr Huws; Yvon Etienne; Iestyn ap Rhobert; Gafin Morgan; Côr Caron, Tregaron; Côr Seren Burma Star Choir, Abertawe/Swansea; Hastan; Fanch le Marrec; Katell Uguen; Katell Kloareg; Brigitte Kloareg; Fran May; Jamie Bevan; E.V.; Laurent Bigot; George Cadoudal; Re An Are; Mona Jaouen; Denez Abernot; Pat Kilbride; Aelodau'r Anweledig; Aelodau'r Mim Twm Llai; Aymeric; Matteo Cargnelutti; Jean Baron; Katelsong; Dik Banovich; not forgetting the Peruvian native American who made a point of calling in to play 'en route' to concerts in Paris, Berlin and London: Would those of you with better memories than myself please be kind enough to let me know who I've inadvertently left out.



Independence Cymru

Owain Glyndwr

Pan anwyd fi,

'Roedd gwyneb nef yn llawn o ffurfiau tanllyd,

A rhedai'r geifr o'r bryniau; a'r diadelloedd

Ddieithr frefent yn y meusydd dychrynadwy:

'R arwyddion hyn a'm hynodasant i,

A holl droellau'm bywyd a ddangosant

Fy mod uwchlaw cyffredin ddyn.

(Shakespeare: Henry IV)

Wales - W. Watkin Davies

Wales - W. Watkin Davies

Destiny of the Britons - Taliesin

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Wales United

"If they decide to unite," he said, "they would be completely invincible. This nation would be fortunate....if they could accept one prince, and he a good one." - Gerallt Cymro (Giraldus Cambrensis)
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The result was that the king, Henry II, with his mighty army, was forced to retreat, and in his anger he blinded his hostages and burned the churches.

Putting the Record Straight

At a time when the vast majority of the French abandoned their fate into the hands of Marshall Pétin, many Bretons chose, and that as early as 1940, to go to England to continue the fight. At the end of 1940 the Bretons made up 70% of the resistance while Brittany only comprises 7% of the French population. The resistance went on to attract more and more men and women, yet at the end of 1943, only six months before the Normandy landings, the Bretons still represented 40% of the Free French. This is not to forget the resistance in Brittany itself, a vast uprising of the whole people, which retained many German troops in the peninsula, for these, had they been allowed to reach the Normandy front, would have pushed the Allies back to sea. It is also thanks to the Bretons that France, whose authorities had massively collaborated with Nazi Germany from 1940 to 1944, could recover her honour. The brutal repression which was triggered after D-Day against all forms of Bretonness, seems all the more disgraceful. Bernard Le Nail

Bethesda Chapel, Georgetown, Merthyr Tydfil

Bethesda Chapel, Georgetown, Merthyr Tydfil
Joseph Parry worshipped in this chapel as a young boy before going "off to Philadelphia in the morning". One day I received a note from Margaret Roberts, Emrys's wife asking me to volunteer to help to clean it out, which I was happy to do. Later on John Jenkins had an office there and I used to go down to see him for a chat at lunch time."



Richard Trevithithick Commemorative Plate

Richard Trevithithick Commemorative Plate
2004 Bi- Centenary Limited Edition No. 110 out of 200, a gift to me from Llinos Davis representing the school

The first steam locomotive to run on rails in the world, Feb. 1804

The first steam locomotive to run on rails in the world, Feb. 1804
Designed by the children of Ysgol Santes Tudful, Merthyr Ty(u)dfi(u)l

Football Results, Surprise, Even The Welsh Championship

Online Encyclopaedia

Profile (1)

Born Merthyr Tydfil, Cymru/Wales/Galles
Georgetown Infants,Queen's Rd.Infants, Penydarren Juniors, Cyfarthfa Grammar, Merthyr Tydfil
Sold ice-cream in Billy Smart's Circus, Merthyr Tydfil
Records clerk, Ebbw Vale Steelworks
Turner, Moss Gears, Merthyr Tydfil
Insurance salesman, Prudential, Merthyr Tydfil
Handyman, Castle Hotel, Merthyr Tydfil
Asst. Costermonger around the streets of Rhymni, Merthyr & Cwm Cynon Valley
Industrial painter, Mid-Glam C.C.
Storeman;night watchman;refuse collector;street cleaner;toilet attendant;brickie's,plasterer's,fitter's,
roofer's mate;Town Hall caretaker;General handyman, Rhydycar Leisure Centre,all with Merthyr Borough Council
Shop Steward;Political Ward Branch Secretary;Constituency Membership Secretary;National Delegate;Area Organiser Welsh Language;County Council Candidate;Election Agent, Borough Council;member of Merthyr Tydfil and Ebbw Vale Rugby Clubs;member of Gellifaelog Bowls Club;life-long supporter of Merthyr Tydfil F.C., founder member of extra mural Welsh classes; signed Merthyr's 'Visitors' Book' after Charles and Di; moved to Brittany in 1979, landlord of 'Tavarn Ty Elise';
voted in newspaper, person who comes to mind when one thinks of Brittany; more than one guide book refers to my Pub as an 'institution'; largest open air music festival in France conceived in my Bar. Helped to establish first 'Real Ale' micro-brewery in Brittany. Alan Stivell is my niece's godfather and my daughter's godmother is a daughter one of the 'Soeurs Gouadec';Yann Tiersen played in the pub;Jean-Claude Dreyfuss drank and acted in the pub for a video-clip.
For my Wedding, the Merthyr Express sent over its Chief Reporter Melanie Doel and her photographer boyfriend Robert Haines. Best Man to George & Marilyn Quirk; Usher to Mike & Rhiannon Jones. Pall-bearer to Erwan Kervella. Grandfather to Goulwen, Glen & Awena.

Profile (2)

My photo

Born Aug 3 1951, Merthyr Tydfil, Cymru/Wales.Moved to Brittany Sept. 1979.I run a rustic Bar in a village of fewer than 800h.Real ale& best whisk(e)ys.At the moment I'm occupied with photos, flowers and music. For more information look up my site & blog: http://crwtynrhifnaw.blogspot.com my story: http://taffawrnantmorlais.blogspot.com my photos:http://picasaweb.google.com/BynWalters    my photos: http://patrimoinebreton/blogspot.com    a.n.other: http://mymiscellaneous-bynbrynman.blogspot.com