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Winter Solstice

We have approached the winter solstice in our hemisphere; a day which has takes place on December 21. An anniversary to be celebrated.

We are here in Wales. The morning has come beaming down on the Gorsedd stones in Sketty bringing the longest night of the year. It is our ancestors that celebrated this season as the “Yule” before it became known as “Christmas.”

So, this is the winter solstice. It’s the onset of the seasons over the length of a full year; it is the last and the cycle in the season of our winter.

For the next three days, December 22nd, 23rd, and 24th, the Sun will rise and set on the exact same latitude, on the exact same day and the exact time and the same degree for three days.

And in this winter cycle, it is the time it takes for the Earth to orbit the sun in a year or 365.25 days.

We will celebrate our fourth cycle together in this precession of the equinoxes resulting in this day, a difference in the Earth’s orbital on this one day.

We are the measure of these cycles under this fixed background of stars; Taking a solar year for the sun to reappear again; returning to this same position in the sky again.

Could these be the same stars that appeared over 2000 years ago over a little town called Bethlehem…Oh star of wonder.

And they say there are 1,440 within the minutes of a day, and only minutes between the solar years. This is the eve of our winter solstice.

These dates have been recorded for the last 26,000 years by the ancients. Stonehenge is proof of the equinoxes and the solstices shifting and repeating backwards in the calendar.

The winter solstice are the days and nights becoming the winter under this moon and these stars above;

The winter solstice is the reference point for the timing of the celebrations of Christmas and all the times we share together here in Wales

Cartoonist Portraits for Sale

Do you mean What is Wales?

Wales is part of Great Britain and the United Kingdom, but the Welsh are Welsh, not English

Never refer to the Welsh as English…
When you interact with Welsh locals, refrain from saying ‘England’ when you mean Britain or the UK, and don’t using it as a blanket term to refer to all inhabitants of the British Isles either.

For instance, it’s like calling an Australian a Kiwi or referring to a Texan as a Yankee and it could ruffle a few feathers over a pint.

The Welsh are able to speak both Welsh and English, roughly one-fifth of the population speaks Welsh.

The Welsh language is one of the oldest Celtic in Europe and recognised as the country’s official language by the Wales National Assembly.

Belief 

American Girl in Wales


Belief is the ability to put our will to work. It allows us to overcome most of the struggles that are set before us.

For many of us, it seems; there are certain life challenges that may seem like a series of struggles, but maybe if we took our time to change the way we think instead of letting it take over us, then perhaps even the more difficult challenges might not seem so difficult after all.

It’s from there where we find our strength in our passions, to overcome that give us this power of the will to achieve victory rather than defeat in the challenges we face every day.

I wonder how will is garnered. Is will resistance or just letting events stream over us without changing.

Sometimes my struggle changes, and from acceptance of a weakness I can move-on faster than by avoidance.

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A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas – Continued

Part 2 by Dylan Thomas

Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales,

and birds the color of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills,

when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors,

and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the English and the bears,

before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse,

when we rode the daft and happy hills bareback, it snowed and it snowed.

But here a small boy says: “It snowed last year, too. I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.” 

“But that was not the same snow,” I say. “Our snow was not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees;

snow grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely -ivied the walls and settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards.” 

“Were there postmen then, too?” 

“With sprinkling eyes and wind-cherried noses, on spread, frozen feet they crunched up to the doors and mittened on them manfully.

But all that the children could hear was a ringing of bells.” 

“You mean that the postman went rat-a-tat-tat and the doors rang?” 

“I mean that the bells the children could hear were inside them.” 

“I only hear thunder sometimes, never bells.” 

“There were church bells, too.” 

“Inside them?” 

“No, no, no, in the bat-black, snow-white belfries, tugged by bishops and storks.

And they rang their tidings over the bandaged town, over the frozen foam of the powder and ice-cream hills, over the crackling sea. It seemed that all the churches boomed for joy under my window; and the weathercocks crew for Christmas, on our fence.” 

“Get back to the postmen” 
“They were just ordinary postmen, found of walking and dogs and Christmas and the snow. They knocked on the doors with blue knuckles ….” 
“Ours has got a black knocker….” 

“And then they stood on the white Welcome mat in the little, drifted porches and huffed and puffed, making ghosts with their breath, and jogged from foot to foot like small boys wanting to go out.” 

“And then the presents?” 

“And then the Presents, after the Christmas box. And the cold postman, with a rose on his button-nose, tingled down the tea-tray-slithered run of the chilly glinting hill.

He went in his ice-bound boots like a man on fishmonger’s slabs.

He wagged his bag like a frozen camel’s hump, dizzily turned the corner on one foot, and, by God, he was gone.” 

To be continued…

A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

From the prose work a ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’ by Dylan Thomas

Audio https://youtu.be/Hv4-sgFw3Go

Chapter 1

One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six. 

All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen. 

It was on the afternoon of the Christmas Eve, and I was in Mrs. Prothero’s garden, waiting for cats, with her son Jim. It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers.

But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats. Sleek and long as jaguars and horrible-whiskered, spitting and snarling, they would slink and sidle over the white back-garden walls, and the lynx-eyed hunters,

Jim and I, fur-capped and moccasined trappers from Hudson Bay, off Mumbles Road, would hurl our deadly snowballs at the green of their eyes. The wise cats never appeared. 

We were so still, Eskimo-footed arctic marksmen in the muffling silence of the eternal snows – eternal, ever since Wednesday – that we never heard Mrs. Prothero’s first cry from her igloo at the bottom of the garden. Or, if we heard it at all, it was, to us, like the far-off challenge of our enemy and prey, the neighbor’s polar cat. But soon the voice grew louder. 

“Fire!” cried Mrs. Prothero, and she beat the dinner-gong. 

And we ran down the garden, with the snowballs in our arms, toward the house; and smoke, indeed, was pouring out of the dining-room, and the gong was bombilating, and Mrs. Prothero was announcing ruin like a town town crier in Pompeii. This was better than all the cats in Wales standing on the wall in a row. We bounded into the house, laden with snowballs, and stopped at the open door of the smoke-filled room. 

Something was burning all right; perhaps it was Mr. Prothero, who always slept there after midday dinner with a newspaper over his face. But he was standing in the middle of the room, saying, “A fine Christmas!” and smacking at the smoke with a slipper. 

“Call the fire brigade,” cried Mrs. Prothero as she beat the gong. 

“There won’t be there,” said Mr. Prothero, “it’s Christmas.” 

There was no fire to be seen, only clouds of smoke and Mr. Prothero standing in the middle of them, waving his slipper as though he were conducting. 

“Do something,” he said. And we threw all our snowballs into the smoke – I think we missed Mr. Prothero – and ran out of the house to the telephone box. 
“Let’s call the police as well,” Jim said. “And the ambulance.” “And Ernie Jenkins, he likes fires.” 

But we only called the fire brigade, and soon the fire engine came and three tall men in helmets brought a hose into the house and Mr. Prothero got out just in time before they turned it on.

Nobody could have had a noisier Christmas Eve. And when the firemen turned off the hose and were standing in the wet, smoky room, Jim’s Aunt, Miss. Prothero, came downstairs and peered in at them. Jim and I waited, very quietly, to hear what she would say to them. She said the right thing, always.

She looked at the three tall firemen in their shining helmets, standing among the smoke and cinders and dissolving snowballs, and she said,

“Would you like anything to read?” 

To be continued.

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About Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas was born in Wales on 27th of October 1914 at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive in Swansea, Wales United Kingdom. One of Wales greatest sons. His life includes many great written works of prose and poems which remain so popular throughout the world. Works include; ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales, Death Shall Have No Dominion, Fernhill, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight.’ And he is also famous for ‘Under Milkwood’ in his play from which was broadcast by the BBC in 1954. It was debut one year after his death. Dylan Thomas died 9, November 1953.