By Ceri Shaw, 2020-11-30
Hi from North Wales
I hope that you’re all keeping safe and well.
I’ve got a special offer to share with you – perfect for a few enjoyable hours.
Audible have given me codes that allow FREE downloads of the audio version of my Inspector Drake novels. The great thing is that you DON’T need to have a subscription to Audible to enjoy the audio books.
I only have a LIMITED number of codes and they are only for the US and the UK so if you’re in Canada or Australia or elsewhere my apologies.
Some of you may have taken up the offer of codes for Brass in Pocket the 1 st Inspector Drake novel narrated by the super talented Richard Elfyn.
Now I’ve got FREE code for Worse than Dead the second Drake adventure. If you’d like one, then click on the link below.
I always enjoying hearing from my readers so do please get in touch.
Regards / Hwyl fawr
By gaabi, 2020-11-29
Deann recently joined AmeriCymru as A Fairy House Studio , where she creates unique, one-of-a-kind mixed media sculptures.
AmeriCymru: How would you describe what you do?
Deann: I make sculptural fairy houses from selected natural, botanical materials. Some of them include jewelry or small figurines or other things in them and they all include fairy lights. Each one is completely unique.
AmeriCymru: How did you start making fairy houses?
Deann: I’ve been an artist of some kind for most of my life. I was a dancer, a multimedia sculptor and I just like to make things. Years ago, I had a serious heart attack and afterwards my physical activity was really limited. My doctor told me to take long walks to help heal and build up my stamina and I did that.
On my walks, I spent a lot of time in the woods and along nearby marshes and rivers and for fun imagined fairies living in these places, just out of sight, and what would their homes be like? I started looking for material on fairies, where did they come from, etc, and found first British fairy stories and then that there were Welsh fairies. I can’t remember where I read this but I did read something that described at least some of them as what we often think of today as fairies, tiny women with wings, like Peter Pan’s Tinkerbell, and houses for them seemed to be what I wanted to make.
AmeriCymru: Where do you get the inspiration for your houses?
Deann: I mostly get my inspiration from my materials, find an interesting branch, some interesting leaves or lichen or moss or a flower I want to dry, and those things eventually inspire the house I want to put them in. Inspiration can also come from a piece of costume jewelry or a small figurine of some kind or as I collect things, all of a sudden they fit together and then I start working on something new. I love to make beautiful things and see people take pleasure in them, that’s what fulfills me.
I also include a string of fairy lights with a battery pack so they can be lit in the dark and present a completely different appearance than they do during the day. Each house is completely unique and gets its own name.
AmeriCymru: They’re very beautiful , they look like they take a long time to make and aren’t particularly for children.
Deann: No, they’re not and they’re not for placement outside. The materials on them are real - dried roses, dried mosses and ferns, dried leaves, acorns, bark and other elements, attached with adhesives but still fragile. They’re definitely a display piece you have indoors and don’t handle. People have talked about them as meditation aids, Pagans and Wiccans have used them as religious shrines, but I think for most people they’re something beautiful to enjoy looking at, especially in the evening with their lights on.
AmeriCymru: What’s been the response to your work?
Deann: So far, everyone who’s seen them has said they’ve loved them, they get a lot of attention online. I think right now people are looking for things that give them joy, that are calming and pleasant.
AmeriCymru: I see that you’ve got a house with a Welsh name, what’s your connection to Wales?
Deann: Mainly two things, I have some ancestors from different parts of southeast Wales. When I started making these houses I went looking to see if there were Welsh fairies, and of course there are, and found first British fairy stories and then that there were Welsh fairies. Yes, I made one house named after the Tylwth Teg and I want to do some more Welsh-themed houses as I find out more about those stories.
AmeriCymru: I hope we'll get to see more of your work and more fairy houses?
Deann: Thank you, yes! Right now I’m just going to keep making fairy houses. They’re the thing that’s most inspiring me.
AmeriCymru: Any message for AmeriCymru readers?
Deann: Ha, buy my houses? Seriously, though, I hope people like looking at them and find the something that makes you happy, I suppose? Making these and looking at them makes me happy. I hope they make other people happy.
By Ceri Shaw, 2020-11-26
By Ceri Shaw, 2020-11-26
By Ceri Shaw, 2020-11-26
By Ralph Jones, 2020-11-23
Can you possibly imagine, being no more than a child?
To be pulled from your bed, and dragged off to work as you cried
At an age where all you want to do is play
Not to be dragged down a coal mine, for a pittance of pay
Used in seams so damp, wet and narrow
Where even the pit ponies wouldn’t go
Crawling on your hands and knees, harnessed like an animal
Soaking with sweat, clothes ripped to shreds. Is this natural?
Or left all alone for hours on end, guarding the ventilation doors!
Alone, for ten hours or more?
In the darkness, silence and gloom, the time seems endless
The cold, biting into the young bones, terrified, scared witless
Childhood, the most important years!
They should be cherished, not sent down a mine in tears
Shackled to a coal haulage implement, in places so wet and so low
Clinging on with fingers bruised and bleeding, scared to let go
Some working fourteen hours a day, seeing very little day light
Dragged off to work in the middle of the night
Coming home, sometimes with little to eat or a place to bathe!
Their young lives passing them by, to the mines they were slaves
The coal mines, where the word safety didn’t exist
Many of the children, to be put on an early deceased list
Children taken to the mines by their father
Fathers mostly unable to read or write, never knowing any better
The families were all very poor
If they don’t work, no money was coming through the door
Sometimes the whole family went to work in the mines!
Still they barely survived, even when their money was combined
The younger children who worked there
Would be pushing the heavy wooden tubs of coal, often in pairs
Back breaking work for those so young
Pushing heavy tubs of coal to pit bottom, not out playing having fun
The hurriers harnessed to the tubs, like small pit ponies
Thrusters, pushing from behind, children hands so small and bony
Children, many catching illness’s, they were unable to be saved
These children, who had no childhood, destined for an early grave
A life where puberty can be thwarted
Legs, knees, spines and feet horribly distorted
Girls, who develop pelvic deformities
That could later life cause childbearing difficulties?
Collapse of the digestive organs was also common
Diseases of the heart, causing inflammation
Stomach pains, cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting
Caused by contaminated water drinking
Those who were lucky enough to survive, by God’s grace
Would be sent to work in the coal face
Working with a candle or a safety lamp
Hot, cramped, squalid conditions, many perishing with the firedamp
Firedamp or methane, call it what you may
No taste, no smell, but in a flash, it would take you away The
silent killer, always lurking in the coal mines
No mercy, no warning, not understood in Victorian times
So, as you watch your children playing happily in the sun
Try to imagine these children, lives over barely before it’s begun
Sitting in the cold and the damp, behind wooden doors
Dark, dinghy, foul smelling, sitting on a sodden dirty floor
Waiting all day in the dark, as a door keep
Frightened to fall asleep
If they did, they may be beaten, and their meagre pay docked
Just sitting in the boredom, waiting for the door to be knocked
Victorian times, where the factories were flourishing
Where the workers were like slaves, working for next to nothing
Those days, when there was no such thing as electricity
Where coal was a much sought-after commodity
And the mine owners were quick to see
Give the parents a job, the children work almost free!
The mine owners generating vast wealth
Not caring about the worker’s health
Uneducated people to them, only fit to work underground
Cheap labour to them, with very little work to be found
Except the mines and the factories, all owned by the paymasters
Living in depressing squalor. The paymasters houses full of laughter
Where children on the Sunday, the Lords day, day of rest
Would stay in their beds, not go out to play, they had no energy left
The modern day mines we thought, were hard and uncompromising
Nothing like the Hell these children endured, not living, just existing
By Ralph Jones, 2020-11-23
Sunday morning a day of solitude and creativity
Alone but not alone, at home with my privacy
I listen to a young woman’s voice
A rich mellifluous voice, in which many will rejoice
I sit at my desk, filled with ineffable sadness
Trying to imagine people living in loneliness
People in a lonely uninhabited place
Where you can see the sadness in their face
The young woman’s lyrical, melodic tone tells of isolation
Of people living in desperation
People who have to live alone in seclusion
Some mentally unstable, in a state of confusion
Not seeing another person, since who knows when
Wondering if they will ever see someone again
The rich tone of her voice, mellow and euphonious
As the plight of confinement, reaches out to us
Confinement that can lead to paranoid delusion
Clinical depression, anxiety and illusions
As the young woman continues to relate to us
An ineffable beauty descends upon us
But these words of indescribable beauty
Are really a lament of brutal reality
Of how people are being let down
In our own cities and towns
People, who are being forced to live in isolation
As a viral infection causes untold devastation
People who are being forced to self-isolate
Elderly people who need help, before it’s too late
As I look at the images of masks and coffin lids
Again and again she talks of Covid
A virus causing people to isolate behind four walls
A virus that we must tackle, before it kills us all
So, as the mellifluous voice may be sweet on the ear
It is also makes it ineffably clear
That if we don’t challenge this viral infection
We face the prospect of more solitude and isolation
By Ceri Shaw, 2020-11-22
By Ceri Shaw, 2020-11-20