: …surfing, writing, cymraeg, apple macs, iphones, tech+gadgets, rambles+rants, book reviews, charting the changing seasons on llangrannog beach, corgis and cute things, retail therapy, craft, the craft, inspirations, randoms… :
Author Archives: kldawes
Went to the Yogafest West Wales at Rhosygilwen in Pembs on Sunday. I have been missing my yoga classes since I moved back to Wales — I am an Iyengar devotee but there are no teachers in the area. The Yogafest showed that there are, however, plenty of great teachers around here. Surender (in pic) does Ashtanga in Cardigan and I’ll be going there soon. I did a workshop with him and a sun salutations one with a Spanish lady which was beautiful (or would have been if there had been room to actually do the asanas — I was third on the list but could hardly get in the room, not really fair). There was a perfect feet workshop with Rose Thorn (and she’s only in Tan-y-Groes!) — Gill my Iyengar teacher used to spend half a class on feet and you could see people getting a bit, why are we doing all this? and then realising when their feet woke up and felt so good. It’s so subtle but so powerful. Made me want to get my feet on the beach (little chance — rough but not surfable, and rain rain rain). Also two breathing/meditation workshops which were quite blissful (but for the bad-breathed man whoooooshing his breath out next to me, ew).
All in all it was very well organised, with plenty of time for people to move from one class to another and lots of exhibitors and people around. However, I really think 45 minutes is too short for such experienced and knowledgeable teachers to explore an aspect of yoga, and too many of the classes were beginner level (the one class that required prior experience was the over-full one). I think they’d tried to cram a bit too much in. Lovely venue though they need bigger rooms for actual practice. Lovely people too, not just ‘witches and hippies’ as someone said in the pub…I consider myself a bit of both of those thank you so don’t knock it! Such a gorgeous day despite the rain; cannot wait to get back into my practice. My body (and mind) are asking me for it.
Saw many things I wanted to buy but resisted, however I saw several people wearing the latest yoga fad, yoga socks. Now these are perfect as my feet are always cold…and they’ll also look cool (strictly only in my own opinion, I’m sure) with flip-flops! I love love love them.
Also just bought Light on Pranayama as I have heard some interesting things about breathing recently — 90% of the energy we need could come from our breathing, if we did it properly (this from the vicar, who trained some of the Welfare Committee on using the defibrillator on Sat).
The latest weight loss tool is a Malory Band; it reminds you to stand up straight, tighten those abs and not stuff yourself ’til you bloat! People are crying ‘bullshit’ of course, and it costs £24 which is a lot for a bit of string. I think they should actually just market it as something pretty for skinny hippy girls to wear.
However, I think it could work in a similar way to the NLP anchoring technique, which does (mostly) stop me picking from the chip bucket at work.
I like this kind of tat and I’m curious, so I made one. Polyester cord is about 99p for 3 metres on eBay; I had some already, and I have fish and yin yang beads aplenty. Cost nothing and took 10 minutes to plait. I’d probably plait it tighter next time — bit worried about it falling off and then having to explain it to people! But you can tie it after threading the bead through the plait.
It’s cute, and it does keep me mindful of what I’m putting in my gob. So far.
Here’s a cool review of the real thing.
Finally the surf is back, in time for my birthday week! It looked good, but it wasn’t…
I will have been surfing the Nog for 20 years this summer…shame I’m still utterly rubbish! But that’s always how I feel at this time of year, when it’s so, so cold and the banks have been trashed by the winter sand-scouring action and the rips are arm-creakingly strong. Soon, soon, it’ll get better, and crappy surfers like me will have a bit more of a chance to catch something that’s not closing out or breaking into six inches of water.
Glorious sunshine came through a few times and there were about 12 diving birds putting on a show. I think they were gannets, though I couldn’t see any of that orange/beige they usually have on their heads. Whatever, they were stunning, splonking into the water to emerge empty-beaked as far as I could see, a quick shake of the head and soaring up again. Very, very skillful.
[A report on my work experience at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth as part of a Welsh in the workplace scheme.]
Ces i dri diwrnod o brofiad gwaith yn Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru yn Aberystwyth. Ces i fy nghroesawu ym mhob rhan o’r profiad a ches i syniad da o sut mae’r Llyfrgell yn gweithio y tu ôl i’r llenni. Roedd yn wych cwrdd â llawer o bobl o leoedd gwahanol; ces i gyfle i glywed llawer o acenion Cymraeg gwahanol, sy’n brofiad da iawn.
Roedd yn bwysig i fi i ymarfer fy Nghymraeg trwy’r dydd, ac roedd y profiad gwaith yn bendant yn magu fy hyder. Roedd pawb yn hapus i fy helpu fi, ond doedden nhw ddim yn siarad â fi fel dysgwraig, jyst fel unrhywun arall. Roedd yn grêt i weld pobl yn siarad Cymraeg trwy’r dydd ac yn ddiddorol clywed nad oedd pawb yn siarad Cymraeg perffaith o gwbl — dw i’n teimlo yn fwy hapus i geisio defnyddio fy Nghymraeg nawr.
Y diwrnod cyntaf a’r trydydd, ron i’n gweithio yn yr adran Pwrcasau a Rhoddion gyda Rhiannon Michaelson-Yeates; helpais i drefnu deunyddiau (roedd hen gardiau post, posteri, llythyrau, lluniau a hyd yn oed tlws wedi’i wneud o ddarnau o arian Rhufeinig!) a ches i’r cyfle i fynychu cyfarfod ble roedd pedwar o’r adran yn trafod beth i’w brynu i gasgliadau’r Llyfrgell mewn acsiwn ryngwladol.
Hefyd, ces i daith o gwmpas y ddrysfa o ystafelloedd, grisiau, celloedd, storfeydd darlluniau a choridorau, gyda trysorau ym mhob man (llyfrau, mapiau, llawysgrifau, darlluniau a llawer mwy). Dw i’n astudio llenyddiaeth ac ysgrifennu ym Mhrifysgol Aberystwyth, felly mae diddordeb gyda fi yn hanes, llenyddiaeth a dywilliant Cymru; roedd popeth yn hudol.
Es i gyda Rhiannon i chwilio am rywbeth arbenning — Cadair Eisteddfod Aberaeron 1873. Enillodd Sarah Jane Rees o Langrannog y gadair, ac ro’n i’n moyn ei gweld hi achos fy mod i’n byw yn Llangrannog. Yn anfoddus, cawson ni ddim lwc.
Yr ail ddiwrnod, es i i weithio ar y ddesg a gyda’r bobl sy’n ateb yr ymholiadau gyda rhaglen arbenning ar-lein. Bydd yn ddefnyddiol i fy ngwaith prifysgol i wybod sut mae pethau yn gweithio yno. Helpodd Diana Jones i fi ffeindio fy nhystysgrif geni ar y microfiche. Esboniodd Iwan ap Dafydd sut mae’r system ‘Question Point’ yn gweithio a pa fath o ymholiadau maen nhw’n eu derbyn. Wedyn es i i lawr i’r ‘Stacks’ i helpu chwilio am lyfrau ar gyfer pobl yn Ystafell Ddarllen y De.
Cwrddais i â Gwyneth Davies, sy’n rhedeg y rhaglen wirfoddoli, ac dw i’n bwriadu gwneud cais i helpu yn y dyfodol. Os fydd dim swydd gyda fi ar ôl i mi bennu fy ngradd eleni, bydd yn gyfle i wneud rhywbeth defnyddiol, ymarfer fy Nghymraeg a chael rhywbeth ardderchog ar fy CV. Heyfd, byddwn i wrth fy modd i gael swydd rhan neu llawn-amser yn y Llyfrgell, a bydda i’n edrych am gyfle i wneud cais. Dw i nawr yn gwybod ei bod yn bosib i fi weithio trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg.
Mae’r cynllun yma yn brofiad da iawn i ddysgwyr a dw i’n gobeithio y bydd yn parhau. Diolch i staff y Llyfrgell am fod mor amyneddgar ac am roi croeso mor gynnes i fi.
Last Wave by Paul Hayden
This is another stunning piece of Aussie surf fiction. If the Californians started surf lit off with Dogs of Winter etc., it’s the Aussies who have impressed me in recent years. Along with The Life, The Lost Boys and Breath it’s another tale of surfing that is unapologetically surfy. There’s no explanation of terms or fumbling through learning to surf — surf culture is part of the lives of all the characters; it’s a given that surfing has its place in the scheme of things, albeit still a counter-cultural place.
This is a coming of age tale where the ocean is the one constant, the thing that’s always there and unites the two main characters as friends. It provides beauty, challenge, a place in the social order, therapy — just everything they need.
It’s a true reflection of the Aussie surf culture as I remember it, with the slang, the laid-back beach crowd vibe, the exuberance and youthfulness of the surfies. The most natural thing in the world for them is an obsession with wave-riding, which I remember finding so refreshing when I got down to the Sunshine Coast and beyond.
Excellent dialogue; really realistic almost-communication from the teenagers. And great descriptions of surf too; it’s all Aussie surf slang but it doesn’t sound over the top.
I don’t want to put any plot-spoilers in as anyone with a love of surfing, the ocean or Aussie beach culture should have a read. So I’ll just say that Owl goes through a lot of shit — the kind of shit that come to us all, like death, serious illness, relationship difficulties and re-evaluations of family, friends and his own life. And in true coming-of-age style, he pops out the other end a change surfie. Honest, deeply-felt and expressed in language that suits the character and situations so well, this is the kind of surfing that reflects the area and the culture in a just-so way. I really, really hope I can capture just a fragment of something similar in my own surf writing. Very glad I took a chance on this — I thought it might be another YA teen-romance book where the surf is nothing but a backdrop. Couldn’t have been more wrong.
Themes that resonated with me (because of my own novel’s preoccupations) were the descriptions of how and why surfing matters, and what it gives you: ‘The surf always fixes something. You get out there and you get wet, water breaks, you push into it, you stream over it, you forget every other thing.’ (page 31).
Surfies are considered bums, losers and dropouts, not good enough for Hayley and Drewe’s father. Owl’s mother feels the same: ‘My old lady’s not keen on the surf, never has been. Tennis is the game. […] I can’t imagine the embarrassment she’s suffered. Well no, I can — she’s told me. “Does your son play, Delia?” “Well, no —“ Oh the horror, oh the ignominy. “He, he…arrgghh…he surfs.”’ (page 54).
And Hayley’s dad again: ‘The old man had a real thing about the surf culture. He was really down on it. He didn’t like the hair, he didn’t like the ratbag scruffy look, he didn’t like the attitude. He didn’t like the drugs and all the other shit he knew was going around — he was really ugly on the whole lot of it. And because he’d surrendered a son to it, I think it made him even less inclined to lose a daughter to it. He didn’t want his daughter associating with that element. […] a pack of surfie mongrels’ (page 91-92).
I’ve been reading and re-reading all the surf fiction I can find (not much above 20 books) for my PhD, in order to see what themes recur and how my own novel echoes them. The texts are all remarkably similar in many ways, and, like surf films, contest coverage, websites, photography and even surf mags (which I don’t read much any more!), they all make me want to surf.
I haven’t wanted to surf much recently. The autumn semester was a crazy scramble at uni and there wasn’t all that much surf around for someone with little free time and zero transport. My excuses are personal to me; they could be different for someone else, but in essence they amount to the same thing — a decision made to drop surfing’s importance down to ‘If I’ve got time’.
Getting out of the habit of surfing was easier than fretting over what, at the time, I just couldn’t have, but surfing is so fundamental to my life (and has been for 20 years) that I am kind of ashamed of myself for letting it get pushed away. I never anything stop me before.
Wanting to surf is an understated way of putting it, and any surfer will know what I mean. You don’t just ‘want to surf’; it’s a hunger, a constant nag, a yearning to put belly to board and start dipping your hands in the water, the anticipation of a session that could be great, could be a stinker, will always teach you something. Surf culture’s creations only exacerbate this need, as does checking the forecast and talking surf with friends. It’s much easier to ignore all that stuff and dampen down the ache for waves, the desperation.
But that feels like a betrayal of my love for surfing and all the time I’ve given it. So I’m making a conscious effort to check the surf, read those books anew, write more surfy stuff and (hopefully this weekend) get in the water! I have to keep that desire going so that I don’t get too far away from surfing, which in the end takes me too far away from myself.