A Letter To The Future

Dear fellow humans and robots. My name is Wizbit, born in the 20th century, close to the millennium and I have seen many changes in my 34 years of existence; so significant, yet to your generation, probably little. However, I would like to explain what life is like in 2017 so you can share in history classes, for this is as honest as you are going to get.

Firstly, do you know your ‘electric toothbrush’? Well, we called them electric because, in my day, we used to have to use manual brushes. Well, you can guarantee that OURS will run out of charge when you’re covered in toothpaste and dribbling like a Saint Bernard.

Second on the list is Donald Trump. We cannot foresee what this international cunt has in store, but please know, 99.9% of the world did not want him in power. It took the other 1% slightly longer to realise that they elected the antichrist, but please forgive us his every sin.

Next, there’s fake tan. Yes, there was a time when white humans sprayed themselves orange and drew on their eyebrows with Sharpie pens to keep up with the latest trends. I can only compare it to being as bad as shell suits in the 90s. It’s a mystery already why the world is turning orange, but God help what you lot are going to think about THAT crime of fashion.

Then, we have to talk about Korea. At this moment of 2017, we are regularly hearing that some fat bastard in North, Korea Kim Jong Un is testing nuclear weapons in preparation for the U.S. He and Trump seem to be playing a game of who has the biggest cocks, Again, we apologise for his future misdemeanors. In 2017, we’ call him a twat.

Finally, and the most important point I would like to make is that, despite in my generation we saw the invention of 3D printers, the internet, smart phones, cars that park themselves and Poptarts. We have seen the Berlin wall fall, a man base jumping from the outer limits of our earth and a total eclipse that only appears every 100 years. We have come so far, yet, we still cannot legalise cannabis even though it is proven to treat cancers, reduce raping of rainforests and relieve pain.

If I could hand down the ideal world, the war on marijuana will be nothing more than an historical laughing stock that goes with religion, little green men from out of space and the world being flat. I wish, so much, that the future generations will unlock the potential of THC and CBD oil. This was a gift from the heavens. Not wine.

 

Advertisements

Welsh Traditions – Halloween

Welsh Traditions: Halloween

October 31st is now generally known as Halloween; a contraction of All Hallows Eve. The eve of the feast of All Saints, which occurs on the 1st November, it is now another excuse for a party and an opportunity for confectionery sales. Widely regarded as a bit of fun for the children, and also by many as a time not to answer the door, Halloween is a long, long way from its Celtic origins.

Calan Gaeaf; the eve of Winter

The Welsh for Halloween is Nos Galan Gaeaf; it is the night before Calan Gaeaf, the first day of winter. In Celtic tradition the time was known as Samhain and stood for roughly the same thing but translates as ‘end of summer’. November 1st is the beginning of the Celtic New Year and therefore the night of October 31st is seen as the limbo time between summer and winter. In this transitional time it was believed that the world of the living and the world of the spirits were close enough for the spirits to walk the earth. All the hearths were extinguished and not re-lit until the next day as a precaution against the dead feeling too at home.

November, or Tachwedd, is also traditionally the month for slaughtering the animals to provide meat for the winter. At this time bonfires were lit to sanctify the cattle for slaughter and even nowadays some still walk the cattle between two bonfires.

Halloween is steeped in ancient Welsh tradition

Many of the familiar practices that we now see at Halloween have their roots in ancient lore. The immigrants took these practices to America and as they have gradually changed to fit the times many believe them to be American customs. But behind the plastic, the fake blood beverages and the garish sweets there are still clear glimpses of these ancient beliefs and by upholding the traditions we are actually honouring our past.

One such belief was the bonfire. In Wales it was known as the Coel Goeth and was believed to hold powerful magic. Each member of the family would mark a white stone and throw it into the fire; if any stones were missing the next day it meant there would be a death before the year was out. The practice of burning bonfires was gradually replaced by the carving of pumpkin, or often most likely a swede, and placing a candle inside. Seen as a time for divination and fortune telling, there were ritual games with nuts and apples which were thought to possess magical significance. Apple bobbing, or Twco Fala, was said to indicate the future; it was believed that whoever brought up the first apple between their teeth was destined to wed soonest; a popular practice amongst young girls who couldn’t wait to have a home of their own. In fact, despite modern changes, it would probably get the girls gathered round the trough even today.

The custom of trick or treating

Masks were worn to avoid being recognised by the spirits, and dressing up for Halloween became a remnant of that. There has long been a tradition of mumming, where folk would dress up and travel around giving performances, a glimpse of which remains in many of our modern traditions. Once widespread was the custom of soul cakes, whereby the poor would dress up and go from home to home begging for soul cakes in return for prayers for the dead. Every housewife had a batch ready and they were given and received gratefully. When this custom died out it was gradually replaced by gifts of sweets or money. Add to this the custom of pranking, that was believed to mimic the behaviour of the spirits, and you have the perfect recipe for the now frivolous practice of trick or treat.

No self respecting custom would be the same without its familiar food and drink, but there is very little record of what was eaten to mark this occasion. As we have already seen, nuts and apples were thought be strong elements of magic, and it is no surprise that they are also traditional produce of the season. The hollowed out pumpkin or swede, again a major seasonal contribution, would have been used in a cawl or stew. Both comforting and warming on a dark and frightening night, that was full of real superstition and fear, this bowl of sustenance would have been shared and enjoyed by the whole community. There would have been specially baked cakes, particularly gingerbread, that were always baked to celebrate the onset of winter, as well as the much loved treacle toffee, or taffi triog, which we still enjoy today. Much of these foods are things that I associate with bonfire night, but looking back at the ancient customs, although each has their own significance, they all have one thing in common; a celebration of autumn and winter and the unmistakeable sense of excitement that hangs in the air. Whatever our spiritual or religious beliefs, it cannot be denied that there is a frisson that crackles in the air at this time of year. Perhaps it really is magic. via bodnant-welshfood.co.uk

……………

In Wales people build Halloween fires on the Vigil of Samhain. The celebration is very sombre. Each of the family is to write his or her name on a white stone which is then thrown in the fire. Then all of the family members march around a fire, praying for good fortune. The next morning, after the fire has died out, each member sifts through the ashes to search for the stone. If any stone is missing, it means that the spirits will call upon the soul of that person during the coming year. via jackolanterns.net

……………..

Today, Halloween seems all about plastic pumpkins and trick or treating. But the festival has deep religious roots.
Originally, the end of October was marked by Samhain, when the Celts celebrated the end of summer and beginning of winter.
“Like many Celtic holidays, Halloween was adopted by the Christian church, and was re-created as the festivals of All Saints on 1 November, and All Souls the day after,” said Emma Lile from the National History Museum at St Fagans.

“But even though they tried to adopt the festival as their own, the church still acknowledged elements; that it was a time to remember the dead.”

So traditionally, it has been a far more sombre occasion. Masks were worn to ward off bad spirits rather than for fun.
Instead of dressing up, children would dance round bonfires before running away as the flames died out for fear of the ‘black sow’, chanting:

‘Home, home, let each try to be first,
and may the tail-less black sow take the hindmost.’
It was also believed that if you peeked through the keyhole of a church at midnight, you would see which parishioners were likely to die that coming year.

Bobbing for apples also dates back to this period.

“The size of the apple denoted how much luck you’d get in the forthcoming year,” she said.

“They would also throw the peel of an apple over their shoulder and whichever letter it most resembled would be the initial of the one you’d marry.

“So for centuries, apples have been connected with health and happiness.”

Another tradition popular among single girls was to create a “mash of nine sorts,” which included vegetables, salt and milk, with a ring hidden inside. The first to find it would be the first to marry.

“Girls would also bake a cake with nine ingredients,” said Emma. “They would then walk backwards upstairs to bed, holding their hands behind their back. They would then dream of either a coffin, or of the one they would marry.

“They would also eat salt before going to bed. Whoever they dreamed of coming to give them water would be their husband.”
While the art of carving a face in a vegetable dates back centuries, local people would have used a swede or turnip rather than the American-style pumpkin, and use them to ward off the evil spirits.

“They believed that the distance between the living and the dead was far closer, especially at this time of year,” she said. via bbc.co.uk

 

12046643_1638464703092828_8875090892876398734_n

The Valley – Short Stories Part 1

With the dying October crisping the air and the Great British wildlife heading for cover, the morning mist covered the valley. From the beacons, it appeared deserted and if I hadn’t lived there all my life, I’d have been led to believe that beneath that fluffy, miserable covering, it was untouched countryside. In the deep valley where I had spent my short life, thousands of resident were imminently awakening to the horrid truth. As I stood the squeezing the last traces of tobacco from my nervously self-rolled cig, the villagers would be checking their social media for the daily gossip, unavoidably bombarded with the revelations spreading like wildfire in secret private messages. Chinese whispers. I should have faced the music. I had nothing left to lose. But freedom is often a prison in itself and I was never good at fighting. 

dc953bfd17e293e6165bfafe618e024a

Maerdy, with a population of 3,500 lies at the extremity of the Rhondda Fach Valley, about two miles from Ferndale. It is a town which possesses a strong community spirit. Maerdy is connected with the Aberdare valley by a mountain road.

The community grew up around the Maerdy Colliery which at one time was the main source of work for the men. Long rows of terraced houses sprung up on the valley sides. This colliery closed in December 1990 and was the last coal mine in the Rhondda Valley, so today there are no mines in Rhondda. There is no trace that a colliery ever existed here. On Christmas Eve 1885, 81 miners were killed in the Maerdy Colliery disaster and in 1985 a memorial garden was opened in memory of these men, at All Saints church {built in 1885). Two of the pit props from the accident were carved into candlesticks and presented to the church and are in use every Sunday.

In December, 1969, there was a near tragedy in the Rhondda Fach in Mid Glamorgan.

One wet and wintry day about two days before Christmas, a young farm hand named Lyn Jones was riding on his horse, Sally, near the Lluest Wen Dam which is about two miles from Maerdy. He had been searching for sheep that had gone astray on the mountainside above the dam. Lyn was glad when they were on their way back to the farm as he was cold and wet, but as the mare galloped across the dam wall, suddenly the ground subsided and Sally and Lyn sank down five feet nine inches into a hole. The frightened Lyn managed to scramble to the side of the hole and raced to Maerdy colliery, a distance of about two miles, to raise the alarm and to summon help.

Very quickly the fire brigade rushed to the scene and managed, after a struggle, to free Sally, the black mare. It was soon realised that the situation was serious and that the dam wall could fracture at any time. The water would then cascade down the valley, sweeping everything before it. This was an emergency indeed! People living in the lower streets of the Rhondda Fach were quickly evacuated from their homes. Engineers were soon on the spot, carrying out emergency repairs on the dam wall but months went by before it was fully repaired.

The residents of the Rhondda Fach owe a great debt of gratitude to the black horse that saved the valley from being drowned.

NB
The village information above is taken from The Glamorgan Village Book, written by members of the Glamorgan Federation of Women’s Institutes and published by Countryside Books. Click on the link Countryside Books to view Countryside’s range of other local titles.

478521376

Welsh Recipes: Welsh Cheese Cakes

(Adapted from the All In The Cooking, see below for original recipe)

Ingredients:

200g short crust pastry (home-made or bought)
2 tablespoons of blackcurrant jam
for the cake filling

50g butter, softened
50g castor sugar
75g all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
icing sugar, for dusting (optional)
Useful Kitchen Jewellery:
12 hole patty tin
rolling-pin
pastry cutter
electric beater
kitchen weighing scales
How to make:

Pre-heat the oven to 350°C/180°F/160°C Fan/Gas 4.

On a lightly floured work-surface roll out the pastry to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 12 rounds using a 3-inch round fluted pastry cutter and line the un-greased patty tin with the pastry. Re-roll the scraps of pastry out into 1/8 inch thickness and cut pastry into thin match-like strips, you will need 2 strips per cake.

Place a 1/2 teaspoon of jam into the middle of each pastry round. Place patty tin into the fridge (especially if the kitchen is very warm) while making the filling.

Put the butter into a medium mixing bowl and sieve in the castor sugar, flour and baking powder. Next add in the vanilla extract and egg.

Beat all the ingredients together using an electric mixer for about 2 minutes or until mixture is smooth and lighter in colour.

Place 1 heaped teaspoon of cake mixture over the jam, then cross two strips of pastry over the top of the cake mixture.

Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes or until light golden. Leave to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Dust over some icing sugar before serving, if using.

Full credit to : https://foodandtools.com