Elizabeth Jane Corbett

writing her way home

Tag: cwrs haf

Blog five – a matter of false information

Those who know me and can be bothered counting, may have noticed this is my fifth visit to the UK in the last ten years. You may also have observed that now and again (cough) I like to talk about the place. I mention the walks I’ve been on in Wales, the beachside amusement arccades, pubs which allow dogs (very civilised) the way people eat mushy peas with their fish and chips (maybe not so civilised) and how the Brits have a tendency to strip down to their Y fronts whenever the sun peeks out from behind a cloud (need I comment?). What you may not realise, is that I may have been guilty of giving you false information.

The misinformation, has its origins three years ago when, one Sunday, during my month long Welsh language Summer School, I decided to walk from Borth to Aberystwyth. It was a warm, blue sky, day, with only a whisper of cloud. I meandered along the Ceredigion Coastal Park, taking in the heather covered hillsides and spectacular sea views. Just short of Aberystwyth, I stopped for a drink at the cafe attached to the local caravan park. Having spent a number of summer holidays in Aussie Caravan parks, I enjoyed seeing how the Brits (largely from the Midlands judging by their accents) did the summer holiday thing. No, sun smart campaign, judging from the lobster-coloured backs of the children paddling on the beach. No trees for shade, or sun shelters and some of the caravans had two doors. Oh, my! How quaint! Semi-detached caravans!

Roll forward three years, and you will find me a little further along the coast with a group of Welsh speaking friends looking out over a different caravan park. The day wasn’t quite as sunny and, if I’m honest, it was a tad more windy (like blowing a force ten gale). As I sat shivering on the walls of Harlech Castle, I fell to making random summer holiday observations:

‘We don’t have castles in Australia so … this is not a normal summer holiday activity for me (nor the chattering teeth). Do many people stay in tents? Those semi-detached caravans you have are quaint.’

Silence. Four sets of eyes turned on me. ‘Semi-detached caravans?

‘Yes. I’ve seen them, near Aberystwyth.’

‘Really? I’ve never seen one.’ One by one, they all agreed.

Now at this point, I probably should have backed down. Four born and bred, British people, one who has an onsite caravan in a Welsh caravan park were telling me there was no such thing as a semi-detached caravan. What other evidence did I need? But here’s the thing about me. As well as telling tales of Brits sunbathing in their Y fronts, I may also have mentioned the semi-detached caravans a few times. Okay, so more than a few – and I was pretty damn sure they existed. I mean, why else would a caravan have two doors?

Our holiday finished without further reference to the great two door caravan fib. But back in Corris, I could not let the matter rest. I knew the Corris Caravan park wasn’t far away. I set off, camera in hand, to gather evidence. Imagine my delight when I came upon this scene.

I immediately sent a Facebook message to my friends.

‘Tystiolaeth!’ (Evidence)

‘Efallai’ (maybe)? The friend with the onsite caravan wrote. ‘Neu jyst carafan dau ddrws’ (or just a two door caravan).

No need to tell you what I thought of that idea. Who would be potty enough to make a caravan with two doors. Another friend messaged that she would best visiting the seaside town of Aberdyfi later in the week. She would do some research. I decided to join her This was too important a matter to leave to prejudiced minds.

We set off after dark, two middle aged women sneaking round a sleepy caravan park. Fortunately, we were in west Wales, where the crime rate is quite low, or we may have been arrested. Especially when we started circling two door caravans and peering through windows.

‘This one only has one storage box,’ my friend said.

I had to admit she was right.

‘And one number plate.’

Right again.

‘And look this one only has a name.’

I looked at the caravan in question. Number two, Seaspray, and there was only one storage box. I had to admit the evidence was stacking up against me. But what to do? How to tell my Aussie friends that a glorious West Wales holiday in a semi-detached caravan was no longer a possibility? And what about all my other stories. Maybe those men weren’t wearing Y fronts after all?

I’m not sure where all this doubt would have lead too, if not for the quiet persistence of my friend with the onsite caravan. Quite apart from our nighttime escapades, he’d been conducting his own quiet research. It’s called the World Wide Web, in case your interested. Far more sensible than creeping around caravan parks at night. Here’s the picture he sent me.

There may not be semi-detached caravans in modern Britain but once upon a time they did exist. In fact, if enough people make enquiries about semi-detached caravan holidays in West Wales we might be able to bring them back again. Meanwhile, I’m conducting another branch of research. Can someone please tell me why some British caravans have two doors?


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 pawbgood 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 geirfafortunately, 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.

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.

Ychydig 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.

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.

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.


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. 🙂

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