Martin Tarr

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Chair from the past

The chair that Jennifer Welsher displayed at our “Bards wanted!” session was one that she had won at the 1986 Society Eisteddfod, an occasion that she remembers as the “E-flat Eisteddfod”, for reasons that will become clear when you read this linked account, which is in Jennifer’s own handwriting. Changed days!

Not so changed is the description of EWS in the entry that enabled Jennifer to win the beautiful Jim Graham chair from a field of 27:

There thrives a Society of Taffs
In Church Halls, Skittle Alleys and caffs
Keeping hiraeth at bay
As they sing, talk and pray
Or just get together for laffs.

A different St Andrew’s night!

Friday 27 November 2020

Our “Bards wanted!” Zoom meeting started with the 19 members present raising a glass to the memory of Jean Phillips, whose idea this session had been, but who is sadly no longer with us.

Jennifer Welsher was in the chair – not the one in the image, though she told its story, which you’ll find in this post – and led us swiftly through our 40 minutes of fun. Many dressed for the occasion, with glimpses of tartan, and many contributed their poems. Some of these were a wee bitty political, as one might expect in these strange times, and some struck a somewhat poignant note, but all were good-humoured.

Some of the non-Welsh content was local – Pam Williams talking about Nessie – and some less so, Jennifer’s own contribution ending up with a hint of Uncle Tom Cobley. Some of the poetry rhymed and scanned as intended; in some the poetry was rather more force-fitted than manipulated. If any one can think of a rhyme for Llanelli, Huw Thomas would love to hear!

With so many participants, it’s invidious to single out particular contributions, but Hugh Richards provided examples of haiku, limerick and other verse forms in both Welsh and English, and Alison Hughes read Pam Ayres poem “About Lockdown”. In the final minutes, Nancy Hacking recalled a W H Davies poem that she had learned in her youth. “Leisure” – the one that starts “What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare” –  was indeed one to run out of time on!

Bards wanted!

Our next meeting (Friday 27 November at 7.30pm) is being held as near to St Andrew’s night as is practical, and will take the form of a Zoom party. Please feel free to serve your own haggis, neeps and tatties, and a wee dram, as desired. An article of Welsh or Scottish dress (or both) will be appreciated.

The focus of the evening will be a ‘write and read out’ of your own limerick which should have some Welsh or Scottish (or both) theme.

This means you’ll need to stimulate those grey cells, and energise those pens or keyboards. We’re not looking to find a potential Prifardd (or the next Makar, come to that), but we are looking for something better than Poem Generator can produce!

We will also have an interlude of favourite snippets of poetry for those who would prefer.

If you are thinking of taking part, please let our Secretary know beforehand, so a programme of events can be roughed out. In any event, we need to know ahead of time who is zooming in so you can be given the relevant codes. Please email Jennifer, and do join us.

Croeso by Zoom!

Friday 30 October 2020

The Zoom get-together that had been proposed in EWSNews took the form of a quiz, hosted by Margaret and Chris Brandie.  As with our traditional “Croeso”, this was an event supported by refreshments, though in this case it had to be a BYOB / BYOC (bottle/cuppa)! What would our founder members (one hundred years ago this year) have thought of that?

The composite snapshot above, taken near the start, only tells part of the story: by the time the questions got under way, over twenty of us were sitting in front of our  devices. There had been a request to wear something “Welsh”, and the prize for “best dressed” went to Tristan for his choice of scarf, with honourable mentions for Huw Thomas, Mary Bevan and Jennifer Welsher.

Our minds were less prepared than our glasses, as was shown by the puzzled looks when our general knowledge was tested … and some of us fared little better when challenged by our ability to identify pictures of Welsh places, remember Welsh celebrities, and decipher cryptic clues to Scottish place names.

Huw and Janet Thomas won the quiz, with David and Alison Hughes runners-up and Jennifer Welsher and Wyn Davies sharing the bronze medal. But even those of us who didn’t rate a mention – and were kicking ourselves when Margaret gave the results, and we realised that we should have known the answer! –  really enjoyed that hour in the company of our EWS friends. The technology might have been a bit of a struggle for some, but the smiles and banter made it very worthwhile, and everyone who joined in will be looking forward to our next Zoom event.

Grateful thanks to Margaret and Chris Brandie for making the evening possible.

Quiz tonight!

The Zoom get-together proposed in the latest EWSNews is tonightFriday 30 October – and takes the form of a quiz, hosted by Margaret and Chris Brandie.  This is a BYOB / BYOC (bottle/cuppa) event – think of our traditional “Croeso” – so sit in front of your Zoom device suitably prepared. You can also wear something “Welsh” as there will be a prize for “best dressed”! You will need to log in for 7.30pm and have a pen and paper to hand to write down your answers.

If you have expressed an interest in attending you will already have received the link, zoom ID code and password from Chris Brandie; if you haven’t, talk to Jennifer ASAP!

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