Saturday, November 24, 2007

Taffy was a ...... well an Englishman actually

I've blogged rather a lot about that talented young Welsh Grand Prix driver of the early sixties, Jack Lewis. Now a Motor Sport interview with the man himself confirms what some of us have long suspected, Jack isn't Welsh. It seems that a Welsh surname and the promise of sponsorship from a Welsh firm - it never arrived - prompted the Ecurie Gallois renaming of Jack's H&L Motors team. Still, the sight of Jack's red dragon emblazoned BRM will always be a part of Grand Prix history.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Son of the Salt

This rather wonderful cigarette card shows Ab Jenkins' Mormon Meteor record breaker out on Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats. As well as breaking more world records than any other man in the history of sport David Abbot Jenkins - his father was from Merthyr Tydfil and his mother from Pembrokeshire - was also mayor of Salt Lake City.

Read some more about him here.

Silly Beggars

It seems that the Beguildy Community Council have recently rejected a request from Powys County Council that they should use the correct spelling, Bugeildy. Now this is an old argument. Back in the 1950s a local farmer, a Mr Harris, refused to sell a piece of land for a new school to the Radnorshire Education Committee because the Committee insisted that the new school should be called Bugeildy. Mr Harris was adamant that it should be Beguildy. In the end, the Education Committee backed down and Beguildy the school remains to this day.

Of course Bugeildy - the house of the shepherd - is the correct form and was written down as such as long ago as 1291. Bugeildy was used by Ieuan ap Hywel Swrdwal in his marvellous description of Bryndraenog and this is the word used in the old rhyme proclaiming the district as the best place in Wales for wool:

O Bont y Clas i Fwlch Bugeildy
Yno mae'r gwlân gorau yng Nghymru.

Of course Beguildy also has its literary associations, in the novel Precious Bane for example by Mary Webb - real name Gladys Mary Meredith.

The best solution would be to let people use whichever form they prefer and if Beguildy Community Council want to carry on using their meaningless spelling mistake, well good luck to them. Radnorian will continue to use Bugeildy.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Radnorshire Bardic Poems, 42

This is a rather over the top praise poem by Lewis Glyn Cothi addressed to Dafydd Goch ap Hywel ab Einion of St Harmon, there are some interesting references to grazing lands in North West Radnorshire though.

No 190, Praise of Dafydd Goch ap Hywel

Good day to the bravest unto Rouen
The stout chieftain of Garmon's land,
Dafydd Goch, perhaps he is better
Than any man, or a hundred times better;
A Beuno of Hywel ab Einion,
Cast on his fair brow and talent;
Hywel's Gradifael of a hundred summers,
The root and great grandson of Adam.

Dafydd is the strongest man,
The richest, most generous stag.
From the thirding of Gwerthrynion,
His third is like the land of Non.
He loves a hundred feasts and to stock
The earth with his young beasts.
His cattle were upon Blaen Marchdeg,
Colouring it with their multitude;
Some on Blaen Gwy, with more to come,
Others upon the soil of Hirddywel;
A thousand colouring the hilltops,
Three thousand about St Harmon.

The cheeriest goodman of the council,
To his world he's like old Bedwyr.
He'll do, he's so gentle,
What Isaac and Esau would do;
Circling the greenwood for the deer,
Loving the staghounds raising the deer,
Charging to fair Nant Hyddgant,
Watching the ford for a chase;
Yonder is Dafydd coming home,
Calling his bard to have his reward;
Settling before me an endless feast,
A whorl of money in the palm of my hand.
In his home Weobley beer is my portion, and venison.
If every man was a suitor for ten lands,
If every mere man was a bard,
From his generosity, he'd have a gift
From the land of Garmon, three times too much.

His feasts, Dafydd had two thousand,
Were greater than the shoots of the forest:
Gentleness, the fairness of the father,
The mildness of his two grandfathers,
The courage of Lancelot and his bravery,
The strength of old Arthur and his height.
He holds, in a southern land,
The power of five giants in every finger,
The power of two great oaks, of twelve,
The power of nine from the land of fair Garmon.
Dafydd has been given Adam's form,
Given a better countenance, given the hand of Nudd,
And a serpent's fist to be turned into a seal,
And the claw of a man of war.

The best of a man is his face,
A man who knows dislike of no-one,
A wealthy, liberal man,
A man whose gold is as much as the river pebbles.
I have the silver of this man,
I share the gold of the same man,
I have the silver coins he wears,
Gold of the same kind upon the grandson of Einion.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Radnorshire Pop

There's currently an exhibition in Cardiff of record covers from Cambrian Recordings Limited, the Pontardawe firm who produced Welsh Language pop in the 60s and early 70s. Seemingly it is kitsch. I wonder if the show includes this 1971 EP from Radnorshire songstress Maralene Powell?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Femmes Pilotes de Courses Auto

Any book which mentions Sterling Moss has to be treated with caution on the factual front and yes this book has more than its fair share of errors.

Rita Don, for example, was not Freddie Dixon's sister, her brother was infact Kaye Don, who the author includes in his list of female racers! At the same time how many books even mention Rita Don and where else are you likely to find a photograph of this 1930s Brooklands girl?

This is not a work of scholarship, perhaps there is too much about the Monte Carlo rally and the Paris-Saint-Raphael-Feminin, and not enough about Le Mans. What the book does have are the glorious photographs and they make the book well worth purchasing.

Pictured are eight Brooklands racers who competed in the Duchess of York race at Brooklands in 1932. The author names from left to right: Eileen Ellison, the Australian Joan Richmond, then three unidentified girls, then Victoria Worsley, Kay Petrie and Bill Wisdom. Anyone care to put a name to the three not named?