This morning I was wondering what to write about when by chance I was taken back to my school days. I put a CD to play on the computer and thought it was, Recovering the Satellites by the band, Counting Crows. However when the first song started I immediately realised that it was a compilation CD I had put together of songs I like.
The first song was Schools Out by Alice Cooper, and this was followed by an extended version of Radar Love by the Dutch Band Golden Earring, a live version of Going to California by Led Zeppelin and then a song by the Welsh group, Love Sculpture, called Sabre Dance.
One of the teachers, I guess it was the music teacher, had asked each member of the class to bring one of their favourite songs to the class to listen to and then explain why we liked it. In those days we didn’t have CD's or mp3 devices to store our music so everyone took their chosen song on good, old fashioned, vinyl. I still have over a hundred of my old vinyl albums, though I haven’t listened to them for many years.
One of my students was telling me recently that there is a turntable available which plays the vinyl records and at the same time records the music to a digital format while also removing the unwanted sounds of the inevitable scratches that the vinyl records were prone to picking up, especially at parties and being played on arriving home late on a Friday or Saturday night after downing copious pints of Brains beer in the pubs of Cardiff.
This school day memory says a lot about me, as at the time I already had long hair and was occasionally reprimanded by one or two teachers because of this, and I was the only one that took a rock song to the class to listen to that day. It is no surprise that I later became a hippie; the writing was already on the wall.
The thirteen I learnt were from 1 to 13, Monmouthshire, Glamorganshire, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Cardiganshire, Brecknockshire, Radnorshire, Montgomeryshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Merionethshire, Caernarfonshire and Anglesey
Moving on from these memories from so many years ago, I recently wrote about The Gower Peninsula, and a little further west from Gower is the town of Burry Port on the Lougher Estuary. The River Lougher, Afon Llwchwr in Welsh, begins in an underground lake at the Black Mountain, Y Mynydd Du situated on the most western edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park. The Lougher Estuary, also referred to as the Burry Estuary supports a flourishing cockle industry as at low tide large areas of sand are exposed.
Not far from Burry Port is Cefn Sidan which translated from Welsh means Silky Back in English. Cefn Sidan is a long sandy beach with sand dunes which forms the outer edge of Pembrey Burrows.
In the past the sands around Cefn Sidan were extremely dangerous for sailing ships and one which was shipwrecked in the area was the Jeune Emma sailing from the West Indies to France. The ship was blown badly off course in 1828 and 13 of the 19 people on board drowned. One of these was Adeline Coquelin, the 12-year-old niece of Napoleon Bonaparte's first wife Josephine de Beauharnais. .Adeline is buried at St. Illtyds Church, Pembrey, between Burry Port and Kidwelly.
In 1928, at the age of 34 she became the first women to fly solo across the Atlantic, landing in Culmore, Northern Ireland having left Newfoundland almost fifteen hours earlier.
Amelia Earhart was of German descent and this leads us back to the present day as today is the final of the 2014 World Cup between Germany and Argentina. I would like Germany to win as I think they have the strongest team and have played some great football over the previous weeks.
Wales were not at the World cup, having not qualified as usual, even though the Football Association of Wales is the third oldest in the world, dating back to 1876.. Wales have some great footballers, such as Ryan Giggs, Gareth Bale and Craig Bellamy; however, Wales is first and foremost a rugby nation.
Colombia did take part in the World cup and got further than in previous world cups, having reached the quarter finals prior to being knocked out by Brazil in an aggressive match where Brazil deserved far more yellow cards than the Spanish referee actually dished out. I think the majority of Colombians were glad to see Germany defeat Brazil in the semi-final especially in such a convincing manner.
I can sympathise with the Colombians, not only because I live here, but because Wales have only been at the World cup once and that was in 1958 when they reached the quarter finals too, and were also beaten by Brazil, losing 1 – 0 to a goal by none other than the great Pele.
Hopefully one day Wales will once again compete at a World Cup, though whether I will live to see the day is debatable.
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