Recent meetings

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Gymanfa Ganu 2022

Sunday 6 March 2022

A good turnout for our Gymanfa. As David Hughes was still testing positive, Huw Thomas and Jennifer Welsher stood in. It was lovely to be back in the Reid, and once we had finally located our Welsh hymn books and calmed down from the panic, our gymanfa began. Our members requested their favourite hymns and Huw Thomas played the piano and we sang. This was followed by a much appreciated cup of tea and slice of bara brith provided by Lilian John and a chance to chat, much missed over lockdown.

St David’s Day dinner

Friday 4 March 2022

Thirty three members and guests enjoyed a splendid meal at the golf club. We were well looked after by David Henderson and his team. Our President was sadly laid low with Covid but our lovely “First Lady” Alison stood in for him beautifully. Margaret Brandie said grace and we tucked in.

Following the meal not one but four guest speakers shared their reminiscences of the Society over the years. First, Jennifer Welsher’s daughter, Gilli, who grew up thoroughly embedded in the Society from the age of 5. Then Huw Thomas, President from 1991–2, recalled that he was welcomed not only to the Society, but to the strong Llanelli contingent. Thirdly, we heard how Megan Whitelaw joined as a student, left to concentrate on her finals, and joined again when she heard Jennifer’s name on the radio. And last but by no means least, Huw John, President from 2004–5, rounded off the evening with a toast to Dewi Sant. All four were delightfully funny, moving and entertaining. The evening was rounded off beautifully with community singing, led by Jim Hughes, assisted by Huw Thomas.

Christmas Carols and Lessons

Sunday 20 December 2020

Margaret Brandie, with splendid technical support from Chris and Olivia, devised our Christmas carol service to which all were welcomed, and thirty came. Margaret used the mute button with discretion, so we could all sing the lovely Welsh carols and hear clearly the five Bible readings, some Welsh, some English, with the words displayed on the screen.

There was time afterwards to greet new members and guests and catch up with everyone over a virtual cup of tea and mincepie, before we waved goodbye – till next time.

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!

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.

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