Sunday, 29 May 2011

Book and Craft Fair today

I'm doing a Book and Craft Fair at Rhosygilwen today -- and looking forward to a pleasant occasion in the company of other booky people.  We have grotty weather just at the moment -- but let's hope it brightens up as the day goes on.  I HATE unloading books from the car when it's raining.  Books and rain don't go together at all well.

Anyway, let's hope I sell a few books.  Even if I don't come home with two hundred quid in my pocket, it's always good to talk to readers about the Angel Mountain books and about Mistress Martha.  It's called public relations..... and if you don't do it, you are in trouble.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

The Cnapan Game

Three pictures from the Cnapan game on Traeth Mawr this evening -- in rather poor light, and with a bitterly cold wind coming in from the sea.  But a couple of dozen brave souls joined in, and took the game very seriously.  It was TOUGH -- no quarter asked nor given.  To his eternal credit, Griff Rhys Jones joined in, and took some pretty hard tackles, emerging more or less unscathed........

The match was arranged by Pete and Ursula Smith, for a TV documentary in which Griff RJ follows the old pilgrim route from Aberystwyth to St David's -- stopping off to examine assorted quirky things (such as Cnapan) along the way......

The players enjoyed it, and agreed that if we could just get 30 players per side, we could mount a fantastic spectacle.  The game is unrelenting and very fast, and with a bit of thought from players and coaches, it could be very sophisticated from a tactical point of view, and also great to watch.

Click on the photos to enlarge.  Giff is on the left, in the middle photo.

Two walks coming up...

I'm leading two walks this coming Bank Holiday weekend -- one on Saturday, starting and finishing at Bedd Morris standing stone, for the PLANED Preseli Walking Festival, and then another on Bank Holiday Monday, 30th May.  That will be one of my normal "Literary Walks" on Carningli, taking in some of the key locations in the Angel Mountain stories.  I enjoy these walks, especially if I have a group of maybe 6 or 8 people.  More than that, and I have to deal with a crowd, and less that that, things feel a bit thin.  That having been said, it has happened, more than once, that the weather is so bad that nobody turns up at all, apart from me.  In that case, I go for the all all on my own, enjoying the solitude on the mountain when it is in one of its darker moods.....

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Cnapan returns to Big Beach

Tomorrow at around 6 pm there will be a "game" of cnapan on Traeth mawr (Big Beach) in Newport -- staged with the help of around 60 rugby players for a TV documentary featurung Griff Rhys Jones.  Griff is following the old pilgrim trail from Aberystwyth to St David's, and is hopping off to look at assorted quirky things along the way.  he and the TV producer were quite kaken with the idea that cnapan used to be played on the beach -- so Pete and Ursula Smith have done their best to rustle up a goodly number of beefy individuals to have a go at the game on the sand.  We'll try to make the game as authentic as possible -- but I dare say the players will not be too well up on the tactical niceties of the game.

The last time that the game was played on the sands was in the 1990's -- for an S4C programme.  before that, we played the game for a decade of so around 1985 - 1995, for an annual "Cnapan Trophy" -- with teams from the parishes of Newport and Nevern competing.

Why is this relevant to angel Mountain?  Well, the game features quite prominently in the stories, and of course one of the great tragedies of the saga -- the death of Martha's husband David -- occurs in the middle of a cnapan game on Traeth Mawr.

Friday, 20 May 2011

The Mynydd Melyn settlement

I had a pleasant walk yesterday from Bedd Morris to Pengwndwn, up towards Carn Enoch, and then back via Mynydd Melyn.  It's just a gentle summit but there's a lot of rough ground around it, and lost among the gorse bushes there are several ring cairns / roundhouses / circular enclosures.  They are rather like those near Carn Edward, but one is very strange, seemingly divided into segments.  Must go and examine it again in more detail..... but in the meantime I'll speculate that these features belong to a small Mynydd Melyn Community, probably dating from the Bronze Age, and confirming yet again that there was quite a sizeable population (several hundred people?) living in a number of distinct clusters on the upland ridge of Carningli and Dinas Mountain.