Nadolig Llawen

Nadolig Llawen. Dymuniadau gorau ar gyfer y Flwyddyn Newydd. Ffrindiau a chyd-awduron, Mai 2016 yn cael ei llenwi â chyflawniadau rhyfeddol.

Now the greetings are pronounced, no doubt incorrectly, I’m not planning to work on any resolutions – either today or next week, when I may be under the tree. What’s the point if my resolutions get scrubbed out in February.

And it’s likely that my other glaring errors will return somehow. As Billy Liar says, “I turn over a new leaf every day. But the blots show through.” [And if you haven’t read Keith Waterhouse’s novel, add it to your reading list.]

Fortunately, in this digital age I have a backspace key, a delete button, a built-in editor, and a conscience, so I can correct some blots on my landscape before anyone realises what I’ve done. One problem: I struggle with the editing process, and I know that 2016 might mean a lot of that.

So what is the point of this blog? Well to thank everyone for putting up with me for another year – and to repeat my earlier Welsh salutation, but in English this time.

Happy Christmas. Best wishes for the New Year. Friends and fellow writers, may 2016 be filled with wondrous achievements.

I should add my blessings for the Winter Solstice, as we are still at that point on this dark winter evening here in Wales. Spring is approaching, I hear.

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Lechyd a hwyliau da

horse pulled sled

horse pulled sled (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Merry Christmas, Joyous midwinter celebrations. May our dreams for the New Year be realised in the months ahead.

Lechyd a hwyliau da

Listening to Christmas music from traditional Carols to Country & Western renditions, I know that it is Christmas Eve, and tomorrow is when many will celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ. Family is also central to the festivities, and many will be gathered around beautiful Yule trees. And there will be presents. I will be with some of my family, although aware of the faces that are missing, especially my late mother, Nidia.

On the Solstice, I posted my initial greetings for this special and wondrous period of the year, plus some links to other words of wisdom and wit. In that spirit, I wish to say that my joyful thoughts and wishes go out to all my readers, however and whenever you choose to celebrate the great gifts that are granted to us.

However, the images of those that suffer cannot be ignored and my thoughts and prayers are with them. Whether they are hungry, struggling to make ends meet, in fear of their lives, or persecuted for their beliefs, we have to stand up and fight for their rights while we have food, money and love. Perhaps in 2014 there can be true Peace on Earth, and Goodwill to All Men,

Lechyd a hwyliau da

Two Horsepower

Two Horsepower (Photo credit: Peter E. Lee)

Blessed Solstice

Winter solstice

Winter solstice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dateline ~ Saturday December 21st: This is the longest night of the year, and not yesterday so my apologies for posting enthusiastically early.

For some today’s Winter Solstice is central to their celebrations at this season. To all of them I say, ‘May this Solstice and turning of the Wheel bring you love, peace, and good fortune in the coming year.’

In fact as the days lengthen and the light reduces the night, I repeat that to everyone, wishing you all a wonderful 2014. I realise that not everyone is celebrating tonight or even tomorrow as many are focused on the central day in the Christian calendar, the Birth of Jesus Christ. It is also a family time as well, regardless of the invasion of commercialisation.

And are we forgetting Santa Claus. He will bring joy to many of us, and I will be watching his progress on Christmas Eve with the help of NORAD – http://www.noradsanta.org/.

We mustn’t forget that in other guises Santa has been around since before Christ. There are pagan traditions such as those surrounding Odin and also the Holly King – http://www.paganspath.com/magik/yule-history2.htm – which lend a richness to our culture, if we look. Saint Nicholas ensured that the gifts were passed on to Christians, and Santa continued to evolve, although the roots will always be there.

There are others still to whom the central day in their spiritual calendar has either passed or is a little way ahead. Yet I can still wish them all the awesome best for the season ahead, and the year about to unfold, whether they share our calendar or another.

Perhaps there are others out there – you know who you are – who will be using the excuse of more sunshine to dust off their bike shorts. They too have their celebration, whatever their true belief. Ho ho ho, and definitely not humbug.

So Happy Yule and seasonal blessings to you all.

For me this shortest day of the year began with the timely discovery of this wonderful poem: http://janedougherty.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/a-christmas-wish/

It continued with watching entranced as the characters from two worlds met in France, sharing their thoughts on why this season is of great significance: http://ailsaabraham.com/2013/12/20/guests-for-yule-and-gifts/

As I draw to a close, I need to point the way to another deeper look at the Solstice and its rich history at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wildhunt/2011/12/a-blessed-solstice-3.html

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Black Tea Friday

Americano @ The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Phoeni...

Americano @ The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Phoenix Marketcity (Photo credit: Anil Wadghule)

Should it be Black Coffee Friday? What is it with this Black Friday thing? As far as I can tell, there’s nothing quite like a cup of black tea on a Friday morning, even if I drink a mug of hot water and lemon first thing – every day.

I can understand Thanksgiving as there is so much to be thankful for, as well as the pressing need to help those who are not blessed with the basic necessities. In fact, we should have Thanksgiving here in the UK. That’s one American tradition that should be essential.

However, there are Americans who have moved over here, often like my awesome wife marrying Brits, and they have brought all the Thanksgiving spirit and trimmings with them. Forget McDonalds and KFC, I want Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s all because the colonies left us in such a hurry, just when we needed such wonderful festivities? And what about all that wasted tea? Is that the problem, no tea?

Or is it time to send the Redcoats back so the Queen can sack Congress? Or should she start closer to home?

English: Oven roasted turkey, common fare for ...

English: Oven roasted turkey, common fare for Christmas and Thanksgiving celebrations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But what about these Black Friday Extravaganzas springing up everywhere like weeds?

I suppose that means that I can’t go on burying my head in the crossword, or my writing.  The Black Friday mentality wasn’t over here in the UK… until now. We’re having riots in Asda as it has introduced Black Friday, as have other businesses catering to the goods obsession in the run-up to Christmas.

I’m not surprised at Asda leading the till ringing, not when Walmart owns the UK superstore. My step-daughter-in-law is one of the many Walmart employees that are denied Thanksgiving by having to work on a day when traditionally all businesses were closed. In fact the only families that Walmart cares about seems to be those who spend spend spend to support the current Walton family. Old Sam Walton must be boring himself through to the other side of the world.

English: Statue of Sam Walton and his dog outs...

English: Statue of Sam Walton and his dog outside of Wal-mart in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, that money ethos has been rife in the UK for years as well. The January Sales have existed for decades and are our equivalent of Black Friday – with the same mad, mob mentality. But that was just the beginning. We now have the unstoppable growth of 24/7 online shopping, Christmas starting earlier and earlier each year, and sadly the real message of the Christmas festival is vanishing fast.

Is this commercialisation of the sacred destroying the core of other faiths? Is it just in those countries that celebrate Christmas?

Pour Through

Pour Through (Photo credit: Perfectance)