Emrys’ Blog

the Town Tour now starts at 10.00 a.m. and not 11.00
Tell me a fact and I’ll learn.
Tell me a truth and I’ll believe.
But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.
 

 

The following stories have all been published in Papur Dre

 

£1,750 collected for charity with Emrys’ sponsored beard

Emrys ar ol siafio / Emrys beard offEmrys blewod / Emrys with the full beard..and it’s hoped to reach £2,020!
All the funds raised are going to help the great work of St Kentigern Hospice, north Wales.
To contribute please contact Emrys on: 07813142751 or get in touch lvia the email contact form at the top of the page.

Diolch i bawb am eu cefnogaeth /
Thanks to everyone for their support!

Catching my eye

Sounds

Ropes beating masts, seamen shouting, the sound of trucks at the log mill and the foundry. The women striking a bargain at the fish market, children and their hoops and dogs running after them, barking and squealing as they are kicked by the boys. The sound of arguments outside the Patent Vaults as the drunkards fight over a woman or a card game gone awry. By now only the sound of ropes still exists at Victoria Dock.
Sound is a very common thing and each town is full of sounds. Caernarfon is no different to any other nautical town, judging from the sounds above, but there is a big difference here. If you go back a few centuries the native people would have heard the sound of the Roman Legion nearing the Seiont and upwards to what became the Segontium fort. The olden people in their small fort at the top of Twtil would be astounded by the sight of a long line of foreign solders arriving, but it’s relatively certain that they would have heard of the attack on Anglesey and the destruction of the Derwyddon across the Menai.
In the 13th century there would have been completely unfamiliar sounds echoing through the area as thousands of workers raised the walls of the Norman town, and the giant castle on the shores of the Menai and the Seiont. The sound of men straining to lift stones in order to build the walls to defent the town and the castly would be heard for years and would have struck the people of Caernarfon as the death knell of the House of Gwynedd .
Owain Glyndŵr’s attack on Caernarfon in the early 15th centuary was not successful despite the fact that he and his soldiers kept the town under seige for many weeks, however there was the sounds of Rhys Gethin commanding his men to try anything to get entrance to the town. Glyndwr failed to take Caernarfon but Madog ap Llywelyn did in 1297.
During the English Civil War between 1642-1651 the sound of buildings being demolished could be heard along the streets of the town and several buildings were torn down in the area of Llanover Street and Boot Street by Cornel Bryon, in order to defend the castle from Cromwell’s army. As these old streets dissapeared, we lost one of the oldest thatched roof houses in the town and the sound of destruction and burning could be heard.
Caernarfon was one of the most important ports in the land to send slate to every corner of the world, and one could hear the sound of slate ships in the Quay and workers in the Harbours creating ropes, anchors and all sorts of goods for the ships that were being built in Victoria Dock with the state arriving in horse drawn trucks from Nantlle and then by the much noisier train.
The people of Brynsiencyn would cross on the ferry towork in the shops, send their children to school and bring their goods to the market on the Square and then went home with their purchases and said their farewells to friends and lovers by the river. If you listen carefully to the language of the Brynsiencyn today, traces of the Cofi accent can still be heard in there somewhere!
You could hear the sound of a bell ringing to anounce that a prisoner will be hanged in the Hanging Tower, and the crowd rushing to see the act and treating the event as a reason for a party!
Very different sounds could be heard on the streets of Caernarfon in the 19th century. The Crier announcing from the town centre that the Mayor would be holding a fair in the Market, although ‘Lloft yr Hol’ is what the Cofis called the market at that time. The cry that Betsan and Robin from Tref Gof who had been burned to death in their impoverished home. The sounds of Rob Robin shouting from the stocks after he was caught up to no good whilst drunk once again!
At the market you would hear the horses, cattle, the trolleys, children playing, gypsies shouting, drunkards arguing, preachers chiding, counsillors talking corteously in order to get a vote in the next weeks’ election, Stromboli the strong man challenging anyone to step into the ring and then lifting a man on each arm. Big Martha, asking people to guess how much he weighed but no one brought scales to find the correct weight.!
It is the people who are the essence of any town, with their shouting, laughing, arguing, chiding, loving and crying and the people of Caernarfon have been creating this essence for centuries.
Now, cars and buses, the steam train, seagulls, (always the seagulls), an ambulance on its way to Ysbyty Gwynedd, singing on a rubgy game weekend, Mansell Davies lories, but the boats on the quay’s ropes are still striking the masts, exactly as they were a hundred and fifty years ago.

Emrys Llewelyn – January 2013

 

Castall

Castall

Towers

This town is full of towers. Look in any direction and you will see them:- The Castle’s towers, the towers of the town’s walls, the towers of the churches and chapels and other buildings around the town, and there are more then enough stairs if you go to climb them.
There are 13 towers in the castle and each tower has a name which describes the reason for its existence:- The Fountain Tower, the Cistern tower, The Queen’s tower and of course the Eagle Tower, although it should rightly be known as the Othon Tower. Othon de Grandson was Edward the first’s top general as well as his closest friend, and Edward named the Tower after him.

If you look at the walls and towers of the castle you can see windows, and if you go inside the castle, that is, if you are willing to pay the entrance fee (remember that an entry card is available for free for the town’s residents in the office of the Town Council, all you have to do is request one), you will see something quiet special, that is the Caernarfon Arch. Here is a description of it in a tourist leaflet from 1961 “Another perculiarity popping up in many places is the Caernarvon arch; this is no arch but consists of a flat lintel upon two small corbels instead of coming to a pointed or rounded arch”.  In his book ‘Crusader Castles’, published in 1936, T.E. Lawrencesaid very simply, when writing about Caernarfon.

There are 10 towers in the walls and three Ports – Maes Glas Port, Porth Mawr (Large Port) and Porth yr Aur (The Port of Gold). Porth y Maes (the Port of the Square) was the entrance used day to day by those who had the right to enter the fort. Through this port, Madog ap Llywelyn and his men came to attack and destroy the town. They demolished the castle that was in the process of being rebuilt in 1294, and burnt down much of the original town. The Normans’ Treasury was in Porth Mawr , not the most popular place in Gwynedd. Over the years it has been a Guild Hall, where the Caernarfon Guilds met. There are 4 main Guilds in the town, the Mercers, Glovers, Weavers and Cordwainers. Then the old Guild Hall became a cinema and theatre, and my mum, along with everyone else, called it the ‘Watch and Scratch’ because of all the fleas living in the seats! And now we come to Porth yr Aur: There are two reasons for its name. The first is when the sun sets in the Spring and the Autumn, it can be seen through the Port, so it’s not just San Francisco which has a Golden Gate! Also, in the days of the ships, the keeper waited at the house in Porth yr Aur and when he saw a ship in the distance coming to anchor, he would charge the captain a toll for his goods.

As we go along the walls you will notice the grid pattern of the walled town, where four streets lead away from the castle towards those walls (Pepper Lane and Hole in the Wall, Street 4 and Street 6, Market Street and Castle Street, and finally Church Street and Shirehall Street along with another street (the High Street leading from Porth Mawr to Porth yr Aur). It is possible to walk along a part of the wall which runs from St Mary’s church to the Tower above the Black Boy Inn (with a guide, of course!).

From the Castle’s towers you can see the development of the Slate Quay, the Harbour, and the Town itself. And from Castell Bach (the little watchtower) you can see the entire town spread before you.

The peak of Twtil isn’t a Tower, but it is worth nothing here due to the amazing views of the town when viewed from here.

From here you can see why the Normans located the Castle and the Town where they are now. There are two rivers visible, the Seiont and the Menai, the Cadnant, which now runs underneath the town, as well as the gigantic ditch on the current side of the Square. These four elements made the site into a cape and an ideal place to build a castle and a town. You can see, too, how Caernarfon has grown in five directions from the centre of the old Town, towards Bangor, Bethel, Llanberis, Beddgelert and Porthmadog exactly as described by Ifor ap Glyn in his poem Bysedd Caernarfon (The Fingers of Caernarfon) in his collection ‘Cerddi Map yr Underground’ – Carreg Gwalch Press, 2001

Trowch y dre ar ei phen
A gwelwch Gaernarfon
Fel machlud ar y map,
A’i lonydd yn belydrau allan i’r wlad,
I Fangor a Bethel,
Pwllheli, Llanbêr a Weun.
Turn the town on its head
And you will see Caernarfon
Like a sunset on the map,
Its roads are rays into the country,
To Bangor and Bethel,
Pwllheli, Llanber and Weun.

If you go for a walk on a nice day, to the top of ‘Pen Twt’ as the Cofis call the peak of Twtil, and see the town spread out before you, something will surely catch your eye.

 

LOST

As I walk about the streets of Caernarfon, I ask myself ‘Where did the Pavilion go?’, and ‘Where did the Hamers shop go?’, Plas Mawr, Porth Mawr, the Barbican, the Pont yr Aber (Estuary Bridge), the Station, Nelson Emporium, Mantico Cafe, the Baths over the Estuary, and dozens of other places?

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The simple answer is that people who should have known better supported their demolition, at times for no good reason except for ‘modernising’. What a modicum of money and foresight could have saved for this town and it’s people, who knows. But there’s no sense in imagining, what about describing the treasures that are lost.

The Pavilion where hundreds of people went to concerts, to listen to Lloyd George talking, and to enjoy fairs, circuses and markets. In 1878 came to Blondin to Caernarfon and performed his death defying acts high above the people and traversed 200 feet, 35 feet above the floor. Many people will have a copy of the LP when the last concert took place at the Pavilion before it’s demolishion in 1962.

The Hamers shop, this is where Tafarn y Porth is by now and this is where I got my first fishing rod from my grandfather, using it to catch nothing but a cold!
Then, we have Plas Mawr, which was based on the Elizabethan town house in Conwy, but which was demolished due to its poor condition and replaced by an indoor market. The market was referred to as ‘Lloft yr Hol’ by the Cofis, and this is where they held a butter fair every Christmas, where the upper crust were given a spoon to taste the butter but the great unwashed had to use their thumbs!

Porth Mawr and the Barbican played a key part in the Town’s defences, but the Barbican was torn down and the Great Gate has been changed beyond recognition over the years. The Barbican was the first line of defence and would have given the garrison time to raise the drawbridge and close the gates whilst defending the Barbican when the troublesome House of Gwynedd attacked. The Great Gate was the Norman Guild Hall which eventually became the Guild Hall Cinema, lovingly dubbed ‘Watch and Scratch’ by the Cofis!

Then, to the east where the station and the train to Bangor and beyond. The station, which opened on 1 July 1852, was named “Carnarvon”.   On 5 January 1970, Caernarvon was closed to all services. However following a fire that destroyed the Britannia Bridge over the Menai Straits on 23 May 1970, the branch and goods yard were temporarily reopened for freight traffic until 30 January 1972. The branch line to Caernarvon station was finally closed with the resumption of rail services to Anglesey and Holyhead in February 1972.  This is where we would go for the Sunday school trip to Rhyl every year, but sometimes to Butlins in Pwllheli. The Sunday school trip was a great adventure for the children of the town and we saved our pennies only to spend it  all at once, in the first half hour of arriving at Rhyl!

The Baths over the Estuary were a Lido in the true meaning of the word, with hundreds of children and their parents there in the summer, but that too was demolished, where today it would be both a historical attraction and a place to go for a dip.

The Nelson Emporium was one of three large shops in the Town, the ‘Afr Aur’ and ‘Angor Aur’ were the other two and this is why Caernarfon was called ‘The Regent Street of Wales’ in the 19th century. All three shops have long since disappeared but most of us of a certain age will remember the Nelson with it’s ‘ceffyl siglo’(rocking horse) which survived the first Nelson fire but perished in the second!.

Then we have the Mantico café, where a craft shop now resides. Here was our Social Club in my younger days, and here I would spend hours drinking Coca Cola and listening to everyone from the Rolling Stones to Edwin Starr on the juke box.

Pont yr Aber – The Estuary bridge, there are songs written about the old bridge and it looked much finer than the modern unimaginative bridge that crosses y Seiont  today. The old bridge was taken down during the time of the investiture, and a soldiers’ pontoon bridge was put in its place temporally.

I wonder what was on the minds of the councillors who were responsible for demolishing the Estuary Bridge, and all the other treasures?

Perhaps it’s true they have all disappeared, but they are still alive in my memory and they still remain as part of the story of Caernarfon

Emrys Llewelyn 2012

Little Blue Boat

Every time I look through the window of my bedroom I see it, every day, in every weather. It’s as neat and tidy as a child’s boat – aslways the same, rain or storm, sun or showers.

It’s called ‘Uphill Struggle’, and for shame on whoever gave it such a silly name!
It never gets moved, but sits on the beds of Cregin Gleision between Traeth Gwyllt and the beach at Tan y Foel. But, sometimes, there will come a cry of “it’s moving”! And I get such a thrill watching the Little Blue Boat steaming towards the old Mermaid pub, and then back again!

Tan y Foel is where the Caernarfon ferry docked, and a ferry in those days was much more significant than simply carrying people from one shore to another and charging for the service. Rather, that service was the public transport system, or the website on the water! Besides just people, the ferry would carry goods of all kinds, animals, post, and children to the school in Caernarfon, as well as carrying gossip and stories from the area.

At one time, there were 6 ferries crossing the Menai: Caernarfon to Tan y Foel and Abermenai. In Felinheli there was the Moel y Don ferry, and from Bangor, the Menai Bridge and Porthyresgob ferry, and lets not forget the Beaumaris ferry!

The last ferry to sail from Caernarfon was the Motor Launch ML Arfon, which departed on the 30th of July 1954 at 5.00am from Caernarfon, and then headed back towards Caernarfon at 5.15am, for the final time, concluding a service that was over 700 years old!

There are several songs written about Caernarfon and the see, but the following song is about the walls of Caernarfon and the Menai Straits. It’s a perfect description of what you would often see when walking along the prom, past Porth yr Aur and over to the Estuary Bridge. To this day, nobody knows who wrote this song.
Waliau Caernarfon/The Walls of Caernarfon
Un noson ddrycinog mi euthum i rodio
Ar lannau y Fenai, gan ddistaw fyfyrio;
Y gwynt oedd yn uchel, a gwyllt oedd y wendon,
A’r môr oedd yn lluchio dros waliau Caernarfon

[One stormy night we went to stroll
on the banks of the Menai, quietly daydreaming;
The wind was high, and the surf was wild
And the sea was tossed over the walls of Caernarfon]

Ond drannoeth y bore mi euthum i rodio
Hyd lannau y Fenai, tawelwch oedd yno;
Y gwynt oedd yn ddistaw, a’r môr oedd yn dirion,
A’r haul oedd yn t’wynnu ar waliau Caernarfon.

[But the next morning we went to stroll
Along the banks of the Menai, silence was there;
The wind was quiet, the sea was considerate,
and the sun was shining on the walls of Caernarfon.]

To get back to that little blue boat, the one I can see through my bedroom window, I have just crossed the Menai in order to see it before my eyes, as it were. Looking closely at ‘Uphill Struggle’, you soon realise that the poor girl has rusted, and that it is not, in reality, a Little Blue Boat, but a Little Rusty Boat!

Emrys Ll –2012

 

 

Language – (and the traces of languages)

For centuries, Caernarfon has been an international town. Before the Romans came and established their fort here in Segontium, the Brythonic peoples had established their own fort atop Twtil. There is no evidence of the language they spoke, but that language is what eventually developed into the Welsh language of today. Therefore, the language you will find on the streets has been here for over two thousand years, although it has of course changed drastically during that time.
During the sixth/seventh century AD, we advanced in Wales and begun speaking a Brythonic form of Welsh. The Anglo Saxon did not have much luck here in Gwynedd and the Vikings fared no better – those scoundrels were driven back to Dublin!

Pres Cofi

Pres Cofis

Who came next but the cursed Normans, with their castles and weapons and brutal military town, and as the French language they used mingled with the Anglo Saxon, there developed a primitive English language, and combined with French and the occasional Welsh word stolen from the natives, there was a stream of languages flowing through the streets of the old town of Caernarfon. This can be seen in the changes to the name of the town throughout the centuries: Caer Seiont, Caer Segont, Segontium, Caer Eudav, Octavium, Caer Sallwg, Caer Salloch, Sallulium, Caer Cystenydd, Caer Cystenyn, Constantium, Minmanton and, by now, Dre [Town]!
During these linguistic developments, the local people were still busy farming, fishing, marketing, loving and fighting in Welsh. When seamen of all kinds came here to the Slate Quay and the Dock, they introduced new languages to the town: English was predominant, but the languages of Europe and even further afield could be heard throughout the town. From the English came the word ‘Cofi’, derived from ‘Covey’, the word for comrade or friend. The myth that someone must be born within the walls of the town to be a real ‘Cofi’ is untrue, as we are all Coveys in reality!
By now there are new languages to be heard around Dre, because there are people from Bangladesh, Poland, Hungary and several other places are being represented and heard amongst the town of the Cofis. But, most importantly, there are still Cofis in the Dre who speak the old language of Cofis, and you will hear it spoken not only on the streets but in cafes, shops and pubs.
The Cofis are famous, not only throughout Wales but around the world, for their ability to turn everything amusing, humorous, frivolous! The language of Cofis is a very effective for comedy. Here are some of the sayings that have caught my ear: It’s too cold to think! It’s cold enough to freeze a fart! My head is in my bum! A cow’s chick eating field fluff! See you, unless I see you first!

The unique vocabulary:
Caernarfron, Crips, Piri, Llerfith, Naru, Stagio, Strew, Beilandar, Rhegad, Patro, Giddil, Bewri, Napar, Giaman, Fodan, Apad, Ar Lab, Copio, Cowlsilons, Cheuso, Dwgyd, Dw’l Ali, Dyn tywyll, Giami, Gwymad, Lyrcs, Mags, Migmas, Sgran, Slop, Swalo, Talfar, Llardy, a Jinipedars.
And then we have the nicknames given to people – who were they and what was their history? Is there anyone who knows?
Martha Hwb, Owain Jos Dau Funud, Cwd Bwdin, Smoli, Twt, Dryw Bach, Hwn a Hwn Amen, Mari Gwcw, Ifan Gogoni, Dafydd Cranc, Twm Sens, Twm Sentimen, Wil Tŷ nain, Mari Binna, Gwynab Dima, Rob Robin

And of course, the Mags and Giaps:
Half a Bwl, Half a Croch – two shillings and sixpence. Hog – shilling, Sei – sixpence, Magan – farthing, Sgrin – a pound. The words come from England or France and have been borrowed by the Cofis and made our own, but naturally the young people of today do not use the old terms for old money, and these days every type of penny is a ‘P’! It’s strange that they pay for things in peas! But we, the old Cofis, own the word Niwc, which is Cwin backwards [Cwin is the Welsh spelling of Queen!]. It must be remembered that Caernarfon is unique among all the Norman towns, because it has successfully kept its Welshness despite so much oppression and foreign control over the centuries.
People of the Dre, keep at it, keep using words like Cofi, Co, Niwc and Mag, Giaman and Fodan – or they will disappear like the old slate ships into distant sunsets.
 

 

 

 WAXWING

Cynffon Sidan
Bombycilla garrulus

These wonderful little birds (they are the size of a Starling) with a large crest on the crown make them a delightful bird to watch. A small flock have arrived in Caernarfon recently and are to be seen at the Balaclava car park, high in the trees above Balaclava Terrace and they have been ravishing the berries on the smaller trees much to the displeasure of the thrushes and blackbirds!

It is the first time in five years that they have returned to Caernarfon and they are well worth taking your binoculars and looking for the crowd. There must be twelve or more in the trees.

They breed in northern parts of the coniferous belt, often in remote, lichen-rich, mature forests. Flocks move south in winter reaching Western Europe from Scandinavia and Russia where they are found eating Rowan berries in suburban roads.

 

 

Segontium

On a knoll above the town of Caernarfon, there are traces of another ancient town; the Roman fort of Segontium. Julius Agricola, the Emperor of Britain, established the fort around 77 A.D. after he had mercilessly destroyed the local tribe, called the Ordovices. Segontium might be named after the Segonti, a local tribe, or perhaps after the river Seiont.

When we look at the remains, there is nothing very stricking to be seen, only low walls of grey rocks. But if you go past the small museum (which is currently shut) you will come to realise that the site is quite extensive, and with an extensive story to go with it.

Segontium was the main fort in North Wales after the Roman conquest, and it was extremely important in the Romans’ economy. The first Cohort of Sunici is the only name that has been recorded for the regiment that originally established Segontium.

A history has been chronicles which describes the regiment of the Segontinese fighting in south-eastern Europe (now called the Balkans). This was during the 4th century. I wonder if there were any local Cofi soldiers among them?

There were two parts to the fort’s position, Segontium being the main one at the top of the hill, then the Old Walls, the lower fort, port and depository above the river. The main fort is torn by the Llanbeblig road. It is worth going to the other portion of the fort, even though it is not open to the public, although the local boys do go there to play football and drink lager! Part of the wall can be seen as you go down the patth opposite the museum entrance, and it stands at about two thirds its original size.

There is a story that a crew from Town went on a bus to Beddgelert, and that some were sitting on the higher floor of a double decker. One Cofi shouts, as they pass the old walls of the Segontium fort, “look, they’re putting footings down here, are they building some new houses or what!?”.

The Dream of Emperor Maximus is part of the old Welsh folk tales. According to the story, Maximus falls asleep and in a dream he has a strange vision. He is traveling over the Alps, over the English Channel and arrives in Grea Britain. Then he walk to the north-west of the island and sees a splendid fort near a quay, with wild mountains and trees behind it, and a fertile island opposite. This was The Fort of the Sain, what is now known as Caernarfon.

Local legend insists that Emperor Cesar was re-buried at Caernarfon Castle once the Normans came across his grave at Segontium. The Cofis are very fond of stories and are willing to believe anything involving the Romans!

The dramatist Gwenlyn Parry lived near the fort at one time, and he insisted that the Roman ghosts would move his bacon while he was trying to make a sandwich in the kitchen of a morning!

In the 1980s, while they were opening ditches to develop a housing estate in the area, they came across a temple to the got Mithras. Mithras was a Persian god who was adopted by the Romans around 68 A.D. Those houses are still called ‘The New Houses’, and it appears that their occupants are living above the temple of a god which existed 1,800 years previously!

It’s lovely to think that this town has been a site of great importance for nearly 2,000 years, and that the traces of those who came here to conquer are here to this day, and that tinges of their languges paper the Welsh that we continue to speak today.

Emrys Llewelyn 2012

 

 

 

The following stories have all been published in Papur Dre

The Men on the Maes

Should you go for a walk along Y Maes (Castle Square) in Caernarfon on any day of the week except Sunday you’ll inevitably see them there. Five stalwarts who are putting the world to rights.
At one time they used to stand and lean on the ‘Queen Mary’, which they called the fence which resembled the deck of the famous liner and was situated in front of the Pater Noster building! But when the rain is pelting down, the lads will be in a café enjoying a cup of tea and a chat or an argument.

Y Maes Glas  Mor the Castle Square has been the focal point of the Town for decades. Not only has this area held the market over the years, but also cattle markets during the morning and horse fairs in the afternoon. One would have seen cock fights, and bull baiting. It was on the Maes where the troops were welcomed home after fighting all over the world. The buses used to leave for the country villages at 10.00 in a pantomime of kissing and fighting.
The Maes is a meeting place for each and every one and this is where Jack, Irfon, Jeff, Ifor a Sam meet. Each one a Cofi or Cofis Lâd (Country Cofi)!
The subjects of their conversation would fill the Encyclopaedia Britannica, they’ll discuss football, traffic, Salman Rushdie’s latest book and even discuss what the town’s Mayor is during on the roof of Cofi Roc in a suit!
But, the main topic is the fence and where has this latest disappearance gone! The ‘Queen Mary’ which was perfect to lean upon and enjoy a chat in the sunshine and why another has not replaced it?
The Men of the Maes also point out the dangers of removing the fence. Often, children will whiz pass from the Pater Noster building, running ,or on their bikes or scooters without looking for traffic. They usually head for the fountain without a thought for any car or van!
But, the motley crew always make me lift my head and say ‘sumai’. They are friends and Cofis, and after all that is what Cofi is. Cofi means friend, but that’s another story.

Emrys Ll Jones – January 2012

 

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Shirts

Four shirts dancing on the clothes line and each with a rugby story to tell.
The first is a ‘Redland Crabs’ from Brisbane, Australia where Y GOGs (Geriatrics o Gymru) visited in 2003. Y GOGs are Caernarfon’s Golden Oldies Rugby* team and we attended the World Golden Oldies Rugby Festival which was held in Brisbane.
The friendship with the ‘Crabs’ continues even though they are more than 10,000 miles away. This e-mail business is a wonderful invention!
Y GOGs and the Crabs became friends in the 2001 Festival in Toulouse, France and continued after 2003 when some of Y GOGs went to Edinburgh for the 2008 World Festival. I played with the Crabs and some of the team came to Caernarfon for a few days. Graham (Madog) thought that Porthmadog had been named after him! (He is called Madog because he plays like a mad dog on the pitch!)
The second shirt is the G?yl Goffa Bob Anderson Memorial Festival, which was the first All Wales Golden Oldies Festival and an opportunity to remember Bob Anderson who died suddenly in 2010. Bob had been a latecomer to Y GOGs but had enjoyed a few tours with us and he will be sorely missed by all of us.
A quite colourful shirt comes next with: ‘Te Puma Tavern’ on it. It is the tavern of the ‘Oil Blacks’ a team which Y GOGs joined for the 1995 World festival in Christchurch, New Zealand. The city was devastated by earthquakes and many of the places which we saw in 1995 have now disappeared. The shirt reminds me of the people I met and brings many good memories back.
The last shirt reminds me of the 2010 European Festival which Y GOGs organised here in Caernarfon. We welcomed over 1,000 visitors to Caernarfon in June 2010.  Y GOGs attended the ninth festival in Madeira with over 40 teams from 16 European countries taking part. There were 33 teams from 15 different countries registered to attend with almost 1,000 participants”. “Figures show that between £500.000 and £600.000 will be ploughed into the local economy during the 4 days of the Festival”. This was a real G.O. Festival where Fun, Friendship and Fraternity were evident throughout the event and the people of Caernarfon are still asking ‘When will they be back!”
Four shirts, and four stories which bring back many, many memories and experiences which is the privilege of being one of Y GOGs.

Emrys Ll Jones – October 2011

 

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