Welcome to the blogspot of Melbourne writer, Elizabeth Jane

Welcome to the blogspot of Melbourne writer, Elizabeth Jane

Friday, December 21, 2012

Not the Corbett Family Christmas Letter

If I were to write a Christmas letter this year, I wouldn't know where to begin. This is not an acceptable admission for a writer. You are supposed to start where you start and, once you have finished the whole piece, work out where it was supposed to begin, then write it all over again. But, it's the week before Christmas and I'm in Adelaide with Mum. After which, I fly to New South Wales to spend Christmas with Jack and Ness. There's no time for creativity. Or to grapple with a piece of writing. I asked Biskit whether he'd consider putting pen to paper again.

No, Liz. I'm putting my paws down this year. Why don't you ask Thelma and Louise to do it?'

'Thelma and Lousie!' My mouth fell open. 'But they're fish, Biskit.' Our new fish, in fact. They live in the pond at the back of our house. I wondered whether Biskit might be a tiny bit jealous.

'Don't you like Thelma and Louise?'

'Can they curl up on your lap? Biskit asked with a twitch of his ears. 'Go for walks? Guard the house? No Liz, I'm not jealous. I'm tired. It's been a big year.'

Biskit had a point. He wasn't the sharpest pup in the litter (despite his journalistic aspirations). Nowadays, he spends his time chasing doggy dreams. But he knows how to look after himself. I thought, perhaps, I could take a lesson from him.

'Send an email,' he said, snuffling up to me. 'Go one. No one needs an epistle. Why not attach that nice photo Andy took of the kids? Tell them Phoebe has enjoyed her first year as a social worker and Monique her first year as physiotherapist. Seth started a Master of Public Policy, proposed to Monique, and started planning for their Australia Day wedding. Priya entered the workforce and Jack has finished his Phd.

'What about the baby? We mustn't forget the baby.'

'Of course not. Tell them that as well as working full time and running early morning boot-camps, Ness is expecting. You and Andrew are going to be grandparents. You have recently sold the family home and moved into a quaint, down-sized, empty nest close to the city. You've also hosted, Sylvia and Pierre Francois, Phoebe's family from Switzerland.

'What about my Welsh? I was on TV. Surely that's significant?'

'No. Keep it simple.' Biskit shook his furry head. 'It's on your blog, if people are interested.'

'Alright, I said, flipping my iPad cover open. 'How does this sound?'

'Dear Friends, as we journey towards Christmas we find ourselves thinking of peace and goodwill, family and friends, and the birth of that one special baby long ago. We trust this email finds you well and that, as you gather to celebrate, you will have time to reflect on the Christmas message as well as your simple every day blessings. We'd like wish you all the best for the year to come.'

Perfect,' he said. 'You could get a job with Hallmark.'

'Hallmark! Really? Is it that bad.'

'It's pretty bad. But you haven't time for anything else. Just attach the photo and press send.'

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mae eisiau S4C binge arna i!

Here is a nice quote:

Hiraeth is in the mountains where the wind speaks in many tongues and the buzzards fly on silent wings. It's the call of my spiritual home, it's where ancient peoples made their home. 
Hiraeth - the link with the long-forgotten past, the language of the soul, the call from the inner self. Half forgotten - fraction remembered. It speaks from the rocks, from the earth, from the trees and in the waves. It's always there.

Not sure where this quote comes from originally but Owen from FFlic TV wrote it on the SSiW forum and lots of people liked it and I pinched it and I'm feeling pretty happy because I've just worked out how to stream videos from my Macbook to my iPad and watch them on our big TV screen. 

There is a a need for an S4C binge on me. 

Mae eisiau S4C binge arana i!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Oh, and this is my new favourite song.

Like the curious case of Benjamin Button

I haven't blogged for a while - in fact forty two days worth of while. I expect you've been wondering what I'm up to. What? You hadn't noticed my sad little absence from the blogosphere? I'm shocked and saddened and, so that you don't become too unnerved by my absence, I'm here to fill you in one what has been happening.

Firstly, we've moved house.
Secondly, we've been on a holiday in the Grampians.
Thirdly we've had guests from Switzerland.
We've also celebrated a friend's fortieth birthday in Sydney.

In fact, I'd have to say we've been out more than we've been in. Busy despite our newly purchased slice of tranquility.

But perhaps the biggest life change of the last forty two days ago has been my bike. 

Now, I made a lot of noise about my intention to cycle more once we moved to Coburg. But I don't think anyone, including myself, actually believed this would ever happen. When Andrew handed me my bike helmet on our first night in Rolls Street and said: enough, let's go and get a gyros. I wasn't quite prepared for it.

What now? I gulped, looking down at the helmet as if it had teeth. Can't we just walk the first night.

No. Apparently we had to start as we meant to go on.

We donned our helmets and headed towards Sydney Road.

I have to admit, before this fateful night I'd scarcely ridden a bike in the last twenty five years. I'd stopped at the tender age of seventeen (when I first got my driving license). But putting my helmet on and riding out to dinner that first night and then packing our grocery shopping into my panniers to ride home again felt like the Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

I felt myself growing younger by the minute.

Since then, I haven't been able to get enough of the experience.

I've ridden to Welsh in the city and home along Sydney road. I've done a Boroondara Cyclewise course and overcome my phobia of public showering. I've ridden to work. Eaten at Beatbox, joined a yoga class and shopped at the Coburg night market. In between, I've walked my dog, finished the SSiW intermediate course and danced to Fflur Dafydd's, Martha Llwyd in my living room.

But most importantly of all, I've been writing.

Yep, that's right. My muse has followed me to Coburg. In fact, I'd have to say she rather likes it here. I'm putting this down to genetic programming. I mean, think about it? Before my parents emigrated, the family had never lived in anything bigger than a semi-detached house in Essex. Yep, that's right small - so this empty nest, masterfully renovated Federation cottage suits me perfectly.

In fact, I'd even go as far as saying I've probably been overwhelmed for the last twenty five years.

Not that I regret the experience - kids, guinea pigs, school fetes, and trivia nights - a woman needs those things. But now my nest is empty and, although Andrew is looking around wondering where his audience has gone, wrth fy modd or in my element as the half-Welsh-woman in me is wont to say.

So folks, this blog is a great, big long winded way of saying I'm fine but you may not hear from me for a while. Oh, yes, I know it's heart breaking. But don't fret. Just think of me at my writing desk, drinking coffee, taking power naps, or smiling like a gate as I ride the wide flat streets of Coburg, and know I've got a novel to write.

Hopefully, 2013 will see it finished.

Tan fy mlog nesaf - Hwyl Fawr!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Just one last photo

And another

That's it. We're gone.

Goodbye Phyllis Court

If these walls could talk they'd tell a simple but ordinary story.

A young man brought his family to Melbourne. They had no friends. No family for support. Money was in short supply.

They bought a house in the eastern suburbs, not a dream house by any stretch of the imagination. There were rat droppings in the oven. The carpets were damp and mouldering. The gas hearter leaked into the living room.

They knew struggle a plenty in those early years - illness, sadness, empty pockets. Oft-times laughter too. They made friends. Cared for their neighbours. Belonged to a faith community. Then fortune carried them to another part of the world.

Coming back after four years in the pacific, the suburbs felt endless and monotone. But they raised a family there - safe between the cream bricks and plaster board. Gained three daughters. Watched another spiral out of control. And all the while their friends and neighbours were there helping to ease the load.

Now they are leaving the eastern suburbs. Their friends and neighbours. This house where they raised their family. It's been hard and it's been easy. At times just plain ordinary. But they are grateful for twenty four happy years.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I think we might be moving...

Vacant rooms

Empty cupboards

Trolley loads

Piled up belongings

Tears forming

Yes, it's happening

We're finally moving

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Understanding Welsh words - or, should I say, misunderstanding? :-)

Last month I attended a Welsh language Summer School in Aberystwyth. It was one of the most tiring, inspiring and exhilarating holidays I have ever been on. I reeled through the days drunk on words and meaning. When I got home, I found the Welsh language had entered my dreaming. If you've been reading this blog, you may have spent some of those moments with me.

What you won't know is that I also got filmed for Welsh television.

What? I hear you say. How could this be Liz?

Well, that's a good question, and, if you are patient I will explain. But from the outset, I have to say, there was a fair bit of misunderstanding involved.

Right, now we've got that out of the way, let's start at the beginning.

First, I learn Welsh. I go to the classes at the Celtic Club in Melbourne, do Mp3 lessons when I'm walking the dog. I also watch Welsh language television. Now, if you know anything about television rights, you will know that watching Welsh television from Australia involves an element of illegality. But for the purposes of this blog, let's just say I watch short segments of Welsh language television on YouTube.

One of my favourite programmes is a show for learners called Hwb and, because I'm a cool info savvy public librarian, I follow the Hwb Twitter stream. I also spend time on a fantastic forum called Say Something in Welsh (yes, if you haven't worked it out by now, I have a mildly obsessive personality). Anyway, in addition to the forum, SSiW sends out a weekly email newsletter and, as SSiW has links to Hwb (yes, Wales is a small place), they give us regular updates on what is happening.

One week, the newsletter said Hwb were looking for dysgywr o ddramor - learners from overseas. According to SSiW the success of Hwb depends on having as much interaction between learners and the program presenters as possible. This set up a rather uncomfortable feeling in my breast. Not only do I watch Hwb regularly and 'illegally.' I also owe my current proficiency in Welsh to the amazing SSiW team. And let's face it there was no denying the fact, I am a dysgwr o ddramor.

'If anyone feels up to doing a two minute Skype chat,' the newsletter said, 'just get in touch with Owen from Fflic television.'

Well, what could I do? They'd even provided the cyfeiriad ebost. I typed it into the address bar and sent a message - about our Welsh classes in Melbourne, my own language journey, the fact that I was planning to do summer school in Abersystwyth. All in Welsh by the way, which is where the word misunderstanding comes in.

Conscience assuaged, I pressed send. And promptly forgot about it. I mean who expects a return ebost from a stranger on television?

You can imagine my surprise when, two days later, I received an ebost from Owen. I pulled my dictionary out. 'Helo Liz,' he said. 'Diolch am dy ebost. We'd love to have you as one of our dysgywr o dramor (at least, I thought that's what he said. It was all in Welsh). It would be incredible if we could come to Aberystwyth and meet you.

Wow! I thought, aren't Welsh people kind. But why come to Aberyswyth, if I'm going to be chatting on Skype? It sounded like an awful lot of bother for a two minute TV segment.

Nevertheless, I sent Owen the dates of my course and turned my attention elsewhere. We were in the throws of buying and selling houses at this stage. I also had a five day stay in hospital somewhere in the middle. Being on Welsh television hardly impacted my consciousness.

Until I received another ebost from Owen.

'I've been in touch with your tutor,' he said (in Welsh remember). We've been given the all clear to film you in class.'

He added a date which was precisely three days after my arrival in Wales.

Great, I thought, I'm going to be jet-lagged on Welsh television.

About this point, it began to dawn on me that this was shaping up to be more than a two minute Skype chat. They were bringing a film crew to Aberystwyth and they were going to spend a whole morning filming me. Added to which, it was right at the beginning of the course. So, I'd be a complete twpsin on on national television. At that point, I made a firm decision:

I'm not telling anyone in Australia about this.

True to their word the film crew arrived in Aberystwyth. They gave me instructions. I understood about a quarter of what they said. I somehow managed to mutter a few things. Had manifold mistakes recorded for posterity and, to top it all off, no one wanted to sit next to me in class that morning.

At the end of filming, I signed the consent form. 'Diolch yn fawr,' said Owen. Bydden ni'n dweud wrthot ti pan bydd y eitem yn ddangos. O ie, hoffen ni'n siarad gyda ti ar Skype nes ymlaen, hefyd.'

By which I understood that the Skype chat was still going to happen at a later date.

I've been back in Australia almost a month now and, last week, I received another ebost from Owen.

'Hiya Liz,' the program will be on television this Sunday, 30th of September. 'Please tell all your friends.'

My friends! Oh, dear, what a dilemma. I sent an ebost off to the course coordinators (I figured I owed them the courtesy). Considered posting a: hey, guess what, on the SSiW forum. But decided against it.
But the big questions was should I spill the beans down under?

On the one hand, this was a big moment. I've never been on television before. On the other hand, it was guaranteed to be embarrassing. I don't even like looking at photos of myself, let alone a short film segment of me muffing up a foreign language. But what about my family? And the Welsh speaking world? It is a small community? What if people found out anyway?

In the end, the matter was taken out of my hands. The SSiW eNewsletter has a new segment entitled: Coming up on Hwb.

Under this weeks heading it says:

'We meet Liz Corbett from Melbourne who attended a Welsh language course at The University of Wales, Aberystwyth. (Liz also learns with SSiW and some of us met her at the Eisteddfod).'

That's the thing about the World Wide Web. It disseminates information.

SSIW has 23,000 members. Many in Australia. Some who even go to my Welsh class - the cat was well and truly out of the bag. Therefore, before any of you stumbled across my stuttering Welsh presence, I thought I'd better announce it.

Here it is, for the first and, possibly, last time in history, a YouTube of me speaking Welsh on national television.

Corbett kids at Phyllis Court for the last time

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Living in Australia

Some years ago our famIly were randomly selected to be part of a survey called the Living in Australia. The survey was initially piloted by Melbourne university and was supposed to last only three years. That was about ten years ago and, quite frankly, the whole routine is getting a bit tired. Nevertheless, I keep participating because three of my kids studied at Melbourne University.

Anyway, the living in Australia lady turned up today and I thought, right let's just get this over with. We went through the usual round of questions and and a few ransom tests unique to 2012, and I'm thinking come on let's just get this over with when all of a sudden she asked a question that smacked me around the ears.

'Does anyone in this household speak a language other than English?'

'Yes,' I said. 'I do. I'm the only one.' I added. 'So I don't get much opportunity.'

'But, you can hold an every day conversation? Over a range of topics?'

'Yes,' I said, thinking of emails and Skype conversations, phone calls, travels planned, books ordered and read. 'Yes,' I said, 'definitely. There are people I relate to entirely in that language.'

'Right,' she said. 'What language is it?'

'Welsh,' I said. 'I speak Welsh.'

It was one of the proudest moments of my life.

Just thought I'd better share it. :-)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Tri nofelau fyr - three short novels

Yn ôl. Wedi gorffwys. Yn barod am waith yfory. Ond, os ydych chi'n tybed beth wnes i wneud gyda fy amser sbar pan ro'n i'n yng nghymru, dyma'r tri llyfr darllenais i. Back. Rested. Ready for work tomorrow. But just in case you were wondering what I did with my spare time in Wales, here are the three books I read.

E ffrindiau dweud y stori o ddau dysgwr - un yn byw yn Awstralia, un yn byw yng Nghymru. Mae nhw anfon negesau ebost ei gilyd yn Nghymraeg. Trwy eu negesau nhw dyn ni'n dod i wybod eu gobeithion, eu, breuddwydion a cyfrinachau nheulu. Roedd y stori yn ddidorol a eitha hawdd i ddarllen. Roedd restr geirfa cymorth ar bob tudalen. E ffrindiau tells the story of two learners - one living in Australia, one living in Wales. They send email messages to each other in Welsh. Through their messages we come to know their hopes, dreams and family secrets. The story is interesting and quite easy to read. There is a helpful word list on each page.


Pwy sy'n cofio Sion dweud stori am Leni, fenyw ifanc a uchelgleisiol sy'n gweithio am gwmni radio. Pan ei bos hi'n rhoi tasg diflas arall i Leni mae hi'n benderfynol i profi ei werth. Ond, pan mae'r dasg yn profi peryglus. Mae Leni yn gorfod i adolygu ei chynlluniau a ei gwethoedd. Beth yw hi'n moyn gwneud gyda ei bywyd hi? Pwy sy'n cofio Sion tells the story of Leni an ambitious young woman working for a radio company. When her boss gives her another boring assignment she is determined to prove her worth. But when the task prove dangerous. Leni is forced to revise her plans and her values. What does she want to do with her life?


Budapest dweud y stori o Gwyn a Margrit. Unwaith, pan roedd yn ddau yn myfrwyr eu bod nhw yn cariadon. Ond dros y blynyddoed mae nhw wedi tyfu ar wahân. Nawr mae'r cwmni Gwyn wedi enill cytundeb yn Budapest. Tybed Gwyn, beth yw Margrit wneud gyda ei bywyd hi? Ydy hi'n briod? Yn hapus? Ddylai hi'n bod hapus i'w weld e eto ar ôl cymaint blynyddoed. Budapest tells story of Gwyn and Margrit. Once when the two were students, they were lovers. But over the years, they have grown apart. Now, Gwyn's company has won a contract in Budapest. Gwyn wonders what Margrit has done with her life? Is she married? Happily? Would she be happy to see him again after all these years?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cwrs Haf - Prifysgol Aberystwyth

Ar y dechrau o Cwrs Haf, ro'n i'n meddwl baswn i'n ysgrifennu bob dydd - at the beginning of Summer School I thought I would blog every day. Pam lai? Ro'n i'n meddwl. Bydd llawer o amser sbar gyda fi - why not? I thought. I'll have plenty of spare time.

Wel, wrth gwrs, ro'n i'n anghywir - well, of course, I was wrong. Ar ôl y dosbarthiau, a'r gweithgareddau, a gwaith cartref, a cheisio i siarad Cymraeg trwy'r dydd, ro'n i'n rhy wedi blino i feddwl - after the classes and the activities and trying to speak Welsh through the day, I was too tired to think.

Ond, heddiw, eisteddfod bach gyda ni - but today, we had a small eisteddfod. Roedd bob dosbarth yn gofyn i paratoi rhywbeth i rhannu gyda'r eraill - each class was asked to prepare something simple to share with the others. Roedd grwp pellach - fy nosbarth - yn trio i ddewis rhywbeth gwahanol - the intermediate group - my group - were trying to choose something different. Ro'n i'n moyn bod y gorau wrth gwrs - we wanted to be the best, of course. Pan ro'n i'n cael paned o de, awgrymais i: 'beth am ganu Waltzing Matilda yn Gymraeg?' - When we were having a cup of tea, I suggested: 'what about singing Waltzing Matilda in Welsh?'

'Syniad da! meddai pawb - good idea,' everyone said. 'Wyt ti'n gwybod y geirfa? - Do you know the words?'

Yn ffodus, roedd fy ffrind Dai Tren yn gallu anfon y geirfa - fortunately, my friend Dai Train was able to send the words. Ac roedd actor gyda ni yn dosbarth - and there was an actor in the class. Roedd Aubrey wedi actio fel y Swagman pan ro'n i'n canu'r gan - Aubrey acted as the swagman while we sang the song. Roedd hi'n bendigedig i ganu gan Awstralian yn Gymraeg - it was very special to sing an Australian song in Welsh. Y modd perffaith i fi i baratoi am y daith hir adref - the perfect way to prepare for the long journey home.

Dyma, y araith fyr dw i wedi gwneud i esbonio Walso Matilda ac y geirfa o'r gan - here is the short speech I made to explain Waltzing Matilda and the lyrics of the song.


Heddiw, dyn ni'n mynd i ganu gan Awstralian. Dw i'n siwr bydd llawer o bobl wedi clywed y gan yn Saesneg ond, dyma, heddiw, am y trof cyntaf, mae grwp tri yn mynd i ganu Walso Matilda yn Gymraeg. 

Ond cyn i ni ddechrau, hoffwn i'n dweud wrthoch chi dipyn bach am y gan. Roedd hi'n ysgrifennu yn y bedwaredd canrif ar bymtheg gan Andrew Barton Patterson. Ei enw e barddoniol oedd Banjo - Banjo Patterson.

Mae'r gan yn dweud stori - stori am swagman. Doedd y swagman ddim yn byw yn y un lle. Roedd rhaid iddo fe symud o gwmpas yr wlad ffeindio gwaith. Ar ei gefyn roedd e'n gorfod cario ei wely ac ei ddillad. Bob nos, basai e'n gwersylla ma's dan y sêr. Weithiau, ar ddiweth y dydd, roedd llawer o arian  gydfa fe i brynu bwyd a de a siwgr. Ond weithiau, ffeindodd e ddim digon o waith. Felly, roedd eisau bwyd arno fe. Mae hynny yn y lle bydd y stori yn dechrau.


Today, we are going to sing an Australian song. I am sure many people will have heard the song in English but, here, today, for the first time, group three are going to sing the song in Welsh.

Before we start, I would like to tell you a little about the song. It was written in the nineteenth century by Andrew Barton Patterson. His bardic name was Banjo - Banjo Patterson.

The song tells a story - a story about a swagman. The swagman wasn't living in one place. He had to move about the country to find work. On his back, he was forced to carry his bed and his clothes. Every night, he would camp out beneath the stars. Sometimes, at the end of the day, he would have plenty of money to buy food and tea and sugar. But sometimes, he didn't find enough work. Then he was hungry. That is where the story will begin.


Fyddwn ni ddim dweud am pa mor hir gwariais i ysgrifennu'r ariath fyr - we won't talk about how long I spent writing that short speech - neu pa mor nerfus ro'n i'n teimlo  - or how nervous I was feeling - neu llawer drafiau ro'n i'n wneud - or how many drafts I made. Achos, dw i wedi gorffen un mis o ysgol iaith dwys - I have finished a month of intensive language school.

 Dyma yw nos am falchder - this is a night for pride.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Back safe in Aberystwyth

A lovely walk. It only took a couple of hours.

Walking from Borth to Aberystwyth

It's 2:55 GMT. I've made a bit of a spur of the moment decision to walk from Borth to Aberystwyth along the coastal path. The views are stunning.

But if i don't update this in about five hours, assume the worst.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Gwaith Cartref

Am gwaith cartref, roedd rhaid i ni ysgrifennu cerdyn post disgriffio gwyliau ofnadwy - for homework, we had to write a post card describing an awful holiday. Achos, gofynodd llawer o bobl: sut yw'r tywyth yn Awstralia? Because lots of  people ask: how is the weather in Australia? Ro'n i'n meddwl fy mod i'n gosod y record yn syth - I thought I'd better set the record straight.


Annwyl Mam a Thad,

Cyrhaeddais i  Cairns ddydd Iau diwetha - I arrived in Cairns last Thursday. Roedd y gwesty yn gyfforddus ar y ddechrau - the hotel was comfortable in the beginning. Ond dyw hi ddim wedi stopio bwrw glaw am chwech diwrnod - but it hasn't stopped raining for six days. Tymor gwlyb yw e! It's the wet season. Ond siaradon nhw ddim am hynny yn y dudalen ymwelwyr. But they didn't say that in the tourist brochure. Mae'r dŵr llifogydd yn codi o gwmpas y gwesty ac mae'r trydan wedi torri ac mae'r staff cyfeillgar wedi gadael - the flood water is rising around the hotel and the electricity has broken and the friendly staff have left. Dw i'n sefyll ar y to gwesty gyda y llyfaint 'cane' a gweithi am help - I am standing on the hotel roof with the cane toads and shouting for help. Ond does neb yn gallu fy ngweld i neu fy nghlywed fi - but no one can see me or hear me. Dw i'n rhwymo y cerdyn post hon i'r simnai - I am binding this post card to the chimney. Os, dw i ddim yn dod yn ôl, rhowch fy nhgasliad stampiau i Oxfam - if I don't come back, give my stamp collection to Oxfam.

Eich mab cariadus chi Siôn - your loving son, John.


Dyma ni - there we are. Dw i'n siwr wedi gwneud llawer o camgymeriad - I'm sure to have made lots of mistakes. Ond mwynheus i ysgrifennu'r carden post yn fawr iawn - but I enjoyed writing the post card very much.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

ychdig o luniau - a few pictures

Ychdig o bobl wedi gofyn am luniau - a few people have asked for pictures. 

Felly, heddiw, pan ro'n i'n cerdedd o'r brifysgol i'r dref, tynnais i ychdig o luniau - therefore, today, when I walked from the university to the town, I took a few pictures. 

Dychmygu, dyn ni'n cerdedd i gyd - imagine we are walking together

Dw i'n mynd i ddosbarth yn y adeliad yma - I go to class in this building

Mae'r brifysgol ydy lan y bryn uwchben y dref - the university is on a hill above the town

Mae llawer o blodau yn y Haf - there are lots of flowers in the summer

Siop y pethe - a Welsh Language book shop

Dyma 'r olwg o'r castell - here's the view from the castle. 

Treehouse, ydy y caffi organic - Tree house, is the organic cafe. Dw i'n prynu fy mara spelt i yma - I buy my spelt bread here. 

Adeliadau llywodreath - government buildings

Dyma y olwg o'r fynwent - here's the view from the cemetery 

Beth ydych chi'n meddwl - what do you think? Aberystwyth ydy dref hyfryd - Aberystwyth is a lovely town.

Dw i'n sicr byddwch chi'n cytuno - I'm sure you will agree.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Gwaith Cartref

Am ein gwaith cartref ni, ro'n ni'n gofyn i ysgrifennu am ein teulu ni - for our homework, we were asked to write about our family. Dyma fy nghwaith cartref i - here's my homework. Dw i'n sicr fy mod i wedi gwneud llawer o gamgymeriad - I am sure I have made lots of mistakes. Ond, mae rhaid i ni siarad Cymraeg yn ddrwg, cyn i ni gallu siarad Cymraeg yn dda - but we must speak Welsh badly before we can speak Welsh well.  


Fy Nheulu i

Symydodd fy nheulu i Awstralia pan ro'n i'n pump oed - my family moved to Australia when I was five years old - Mae fy mam i, Linda, a fy nhad i, David, a fy mrawd i, Ian, a fi - my mum, Linda, and my dad, David, and my brother, Ian, and me.

Ar ôl symydon ni, ro'n ni'n deulu niwcliar - after we moved, we were a nuclear family. Doedd dim modreb neu ewythrod gyda fi yn Awastralia - I didn't have aunts or uncles in Australia. Doedd dim cefndyr neu gyfnitheroedd neu hen rieni gyda fi chwaith - I didn't have cousins or grandparents either.

Ar y dechrau, roedd e'n anodd - in the beginning, it was difficult. Sut oedd Sion Corn yn mynd i ddod yn'r haf - how was Father Christmas going to come in the summer? Pam doedd y goed ddim yn gollwng ein dail nhw - why didn't the trees drop their leaves? Ond, dros y flynyddau, dysgon ni i garu Awstralia - but over the years we learned to love Australia.

Pan ro'n i'n pedwar ar bymtheg oed, ro'n i'n priodi i Andrew- when I was nineteen years old, I was married to Andrew (ie, dw i'n gwybod, rhy ifanc - yes, I know, too young). Ond dyn ni'n dal yn briod - but we are still married.

Mae pedwar plentyn gyda ni - dau mab a dwy ferch - we have four children - two sons and two daughters. Mae hena ddau plentyn yn briod - my two eldest children are married. Felly, am mab yng nghyfraith gyda fi - therefore I have a son in law. Andy yw ei enw e - his name is Andy. Mae merch nghyfraith gyda fi hefyd - I have a daughter in law too. Vanessa yw ei henw hi - Her name is Vanessa. Yn mis Ionawr, bydd fy mab ifanca yn priodi - In January my youngest son will marry. Bydd merch yng nghyfraith arall gyda fi - I will have another daughter in law.

Mae fy nhad i wedi marw nawr - my dad is dead now. Ond mae fy mam i yn fyw - but my mum is alive. Mae teulu mawr gyda hi nawr - she has a big family now. Teulu mawr Awstralian - a big Australian family. Dydy ein teulu ni ddim yn niwcliar nawr - our family isn't nuclear anymore.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Ar y diweth y diwrnod cyntaf

Wel, dyma fi ar y diweth o'r diwrnod cyntaf - well, here I am at the end of the first day.

Dw i ddim yn teimlo pell o gartref heno - I don't feel far from home tonight.

Dw i wedi cwrdd llawer o bobl o dros y byd - I have met lots of people from around the world - America, France, Brittany, England, Wales, Japan and even another dysgwr o Awstralia.

Dyn ni'n dyma i gyd am y un bwriad - we are all here for the one purpose - i siarad Cymraeg - to speak Welsh. Mae'n gyfforus yawn - it is very exciting. 

Dw i'n yn y dosbarth pellach - I am in the intermediate class. Dw i'n deal popeth yn yawn - I understand everything. Ond dw i wedi blino iawn heno - but, I am very tired tonight.

Mae rhaid i fi fynd i wely nawr - I must go to bed now.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

It pays to speak Welsh

Dyma fi yn Aberystwyth

Dw i wedi mwynhau aros dros y nos gyda fy nghythnifer, Joyce - I have enjoyed staying overnight with my cousin, Joyce.

Heddiw, dyn ni wedi gyrru i Aberystwyth - today, we have driven to Aberystwyth. Roedd y wlad yn hyfryd - the countryside was lovely - ac roedd yr tywyth yn braf - and the weather was fine.

Dyma fi yn y llety prifysgol - here I am in the university accommodation. Mae'n dawel ac unig - it's quiet and lonely. Mae ofn arnai - there is fear on me. Ond bydd e'n iawn pan dw i'n cwrdd pobl arall yfory - but it will be fine when I meet other people tomorrow.

Dw i'n gobeithio - I hope.

Noswaith 'ma dw i'n teimlo fordd hir o fy nghartref - this evening I feel a long way from my home.

Dw i ddim yn gallu peidio â - I can't stop thinking - beth ydwi wedi gwneud - what have I done?

Taswn i'n ysgrifennu nofel basai hyn y eiliad tywyllwch - if I was writing a novel, this would be the dark moment.

Ond, paid â becso - but don't worry. Dw i'n iawn - I am fine. :-)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dyma fi yn Prydain Fawr eto - here I am in Great Britain again.

Dyma fi yn Prydain Fawr eto - here I am in great Britain again (sorry, too tired to work out whether Prydain needs a soft mutation). I must say, it feels freakishly normal to be sitting at Heathrow airport sipping a cappuccino.

The flight over was marvelously uneventful. I had a window seat on the Singapore leg, right at the back, with a spare seat between me and the next person. As an introvert, I would have say, this is the ideal economy location. No one behind, no one beside, just tucked in the corner with no one else to worry about.

I watched a movie: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It was pleasant. But over-rated and entirely predictable. But Maggie Smith played Maggie Smith with her usual aplomb. I also watched an entire season of Big Bang Theory. This was an infinitely more satisfying experience -Oh to create a character as memorable as Sheldon Cooper.

On the London leg, I requested an aisle seat and, I must say that with regular walks and my new black airline socks, my ankles are not at all swollen. The worse part of the whole twenty four hour flight was my food restrictions. I decided to start out as I mean to go on this holiday - with a fructose friendly diet (I will allow one pork pie and one Welsh cake as a holiday treat). On an airline, this proved a bit tricky.

'We don't cater for individual dietary requirements,' the lady at Qantas told me, 'you have to select one of our standard allergy options.'

For me this meant glucose free, lactose free, yeast free, and generally without flavor. For breakfast I had rice cakes with canola spread and a bowl of fruit. Yum! Just what I needed after twenty-two hours flying. People all around me were eating cornflakes, yoghurt, and continental pastries.I could have eaten all these things on my diet, apart from the pastry. But due to a general lack of self control where food is concerned, I had to take the drastic menu option. After twenty-two hours in economy, I would have scoffed down that croissant without a moments hesitation.

To console myself, I watched another nine episodes of Big Bang Theory. With the aid of modern medicine, also managed to get a few hours sleep.

Arriving in London, I faced a first time, momentous occassion. I entered the UK on a British passport. I've been meaning to get my UK passport ever since my son Jack waved his under my nose eight years ago.

'Looks at this,' he said, with all the arrogance of nineteen years, 'I'm more British than you Mum.'

That's not the sort of comment you allow to pass unchallenged.

I approached the customs counter, heart pounding. Would they brand me an imposter? Clap me in leg irons? Send me back to the antipodes?

No, I entered the land of my birth, as a citizen. At last , an acknowledgment of my dual identity. I felt like turning round and announcing it to everyone in the queue.

First thing I did after getting my bags was to buy a SIM card. Now my iPhone is operational, I feel like a modern, fully functional human being again.

I dropped a bottle of wine in the baggage claims area - actually I dropped two but only one of them broke - as a consequence (seriously dripping bag), I left my folder with my Australian SIM card and my National Express ticket and all my travel documents at the tourist information counter. Never mind, I had copies of all my travel documents and, as it turned out, the very kind girl at the counter put it aside for me.

Why do the let me out? It's a good question. It just goes to show - anyone can travel. 😊

So, here I am sitting at Nero's cafe. You have to pay an extra 10p to drink inside the cafe and I suspect I have already out stayed my ten pence worth of welcome. But, Shh! No one in the cafe knows I have a UK passport. I can, therefore, sit in the corner hogging this seat under the guise of an ignorant Australian.

My bus to Wales goes in less than an hour and I am beginning to feel tipyn bach nervous. My aim is to speak as little English as possible in Aberystwyth. A noble aim. Maybe a tad idealistic? But seriously, it can only go two ways.

1) I take myself to the next stage of my language journey, finding reserves of strength and endurance hitherto unimagined while making new meaningful Welsh language friendships.

2) I will pass a silent holiday without connection or basic human fellowship.😊

The reality will probably fall somewhere in between. God, I hope so. Meanwhile, if you watch this space, I will keep you posted.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Morning pages

Welsh tapestry a candle and a Portmeirion mug - perfect inspiration for my morning pages.