Spitting mad at such poor manners

Last week, I walked into a supermarket in Cross Hands just as a young man was walking out.  As we passed, he nonchalantly spat out a huge, nasty-looking mass of phlegm onto the pavement and walked on, not giving a second thought to what he’d just done.

Spitting was as natural to him as breathing.

Normally, I’d have said something, though in retrospect I’m not sure what.

Maybe, “Excuse me young sir! I think you dropped something!”

No, that wouldn’t have worked.

But his repulsive action made me feel so ill, I nearly retched.

Had I followed through, it would have made an even bigger mess on the pavement…and someone might have written an article about my anti-social behaviour.

There used to be signs in ‘buses that made no bones about how you were expected to behave on public transport…

“No Swearing And No Spitting”

The dark font of the sign looked so menacing, almost daring you to defy it, everyone took notice.

Back then it was rumoured that spitting could spread TB – although it could have been a ruse to prevent male passengers on the top deck of the five am ‘works’ bus from depositing mouthfuls of tobacco-flavoured phlegm on the floor as they coughed-up their lungs, while enjoying their first Woodbine of the morning.

(By the way, I hope you’re not eating at the moment…)

At some point in the last 40 years, those signs were removed on the orders of someone who obviously has never travelled by public transport.

I believe they should be reintroduced immediately – not just on ‘buses but in pubs, parks, shops, bus stations, railway stations, banks, cafes, your street, my street and up every high street.

To make the message clear to the ‘Spitterati’ and the loud-mouthed oiks whose vocabulary is mainly limited to four-letter words, the signs should be in flashing red neon, 20 feet high.

Apart from warning people not to swear and spit, the signs should also say:

Drop Your Chewing Gum In A Bin – Not On The Pavement.

Don’t Ride Your Bike Or Skateboard Through Pedestrianised Areas.

Don’t Sneeze And Wipe It On Your Sleeve – Use A Tissue.

Don’t Shout Into Your Mobile Phone.

Don’t Walk And Text.

And Do Not Scratch Your Doo-Dahs In Public.

With the additional wording:

 “Ignore This Sign And You Will Be Hung, Drawn And Quartered!”

If you think I’m being harsh, you should catch me when I’m in a really bad mood…

Celebrating a true local hero

The highlight of my week was being included in the 80th birthday celebrations at the Gradon Country Pub, Crynant, of one extremely special lady, Eiry Shopland of Aberdulais.

It was evident from the start of the evening that this lady is one of Wales’ most respected unsung heroes, a shining star who has for most of her life been the backbone to so many worthy causes and organisations.

Let’s face it; Wales is just so good at providing such wonderfully caring, warm people in the community. True local heroes.

Eiry is currently musical director and conductor of Cantorion Bro Nedd and started her teaching career in Ammanford Secondary Modern School in 1958, teaching Welsh.

For 20 years, she was treasurer of Neath Council of Churches and continues to play a huge part in the local community.

Not often do I find myself in a room full of people, from all walks of life, who demonstrate such clear evidence of love and respect for one person.

Without doubt, if they ever bring back the TV show ‘This is your Life’, Eiry would be the ideal candidate, I guarantee it. Penblwydd Hapus!

It’s all useless information

I read somewhere that the more songs and photos you put on your mobile phone, the heavier it gets.

Only by a trillion billionth of the tiniest fraction of an ounce mind, but at the airport check in, that weight may make all the difference.

Now isn’t that a useless bit of information?

I seem to attract useless bits of information, and even worse, I have a strong urge to store them up and inflict them on other people.

After one such little gem, a friend suggested that I jot them down in a book and that would get them out of my system without annoying everyone around me.

So, I have bought myself a book and have duly written all the little nuggets of useless information in it. I didn’t realise how much of this stuff is out there, and who is it that comes up with it?

I’m not going to repeat any more, well, not after this last one: annoying your friends can shorten your life – well only by a trillion billionth of the tiniest fraction mind….. I’ll get my coat….

We’ll keep a welcome….but not for you Mr Bond

Wales is fast becoming a rival TO Hollywood.

No, I haven’t been drinking or forgotten to take my medication.

Apart from Swansea’s busy Bay Studios, Bridgend’s moth-balled Dragon Studios recently reopened for the multi-million dollar American TV series “The Bastard Executioner” and Pinewood (Wales) have opened studios between Cardiff and Newport.

The original Pinewood Studios have long been associated with the James Bond franchise, so it’s ironic that while Carwyn Jones stood outside the Pinewood (Wales) studios and said…

“The fact Pinewood has chosen to open a facility in Wales is testament to our beautiful landscape, vibrant cities, wonderful historical assets; our highly skilled and dedicated workforce; and the flexible support on offer from the Welsh Government

…over at the Welsh Assembly, the Presiding Officer rejected a request from the makers of “Spectre”, the latest Bond film, to shoot a sequence in the Senedd!

A classic case of the right hand not having a clue what the left one is doing.

As well as “Spectre”, I’m looking forward seeing a new film called “Blood Moon”, a supernatural-Western penned by a friend of mine, Welsh comedy writer Alan Wightman, who’s branched-out into writing screenplays.

From what he tells me, this film only got made thanks to the perseverance of the producers and director. It took seven years from the time Alan wrote the first draft until the cameras started rolling – during which time he completed countless re-writes.

It’s been screened at festivals worldwide, including South Korea, Brussels and the Ravenna Film Festival, Italy where it won the Audience Award For Best Film.

“Blood Moon” features a cast of familiar faces, including Shaun Dooley from “Broadchurch 2“ and “The Woman In Black” and Corey Johnson from “Captain Phillips”.

Amazingly, for a small, British, indie film, “Blood Moon” has just been released on DVD in the U.S.A., while Studio Canal (who enjoyed massive success with “Paddington” and “The Imitation Game”) are releasing it here on DVD and VOD on October 5th.

“Blood Moon” had a Welsh premiere organised by Bafta Cymru at Cardiff’s Chapter Arts and will be screened at independent cinemas around the U.K. – including the Savoy Theatre, Monmouth on October 23rd.

Halloween would have been more appropriate, but that night the Savoy is showing a certain film starring Daniel Craig that won’t include any scenes shot inside the Senedd!

As the Presiding Officer might have said as she slammed the front door shut…

Ah! Mr Bond! We’re not expecting you!

Summer’s damp squib

Please don’t say that I’m the only one who bought a new barbeque and sun umbrella, painted the outdoor furniture and garden gnomes, yet am still waiting for the ideal opportunity to benefit from the work and expense?

In addition to this, my new sandals, shorts and Hawaiian shirt remain unworn in the cupboard, where they will now probably stay until next year, or maybe even the year after!

Like many, I’m sure; this was not the summer we envisaged.

The odd day of sun here and there where we all madly dashed out to make the most of it, as we knew within 24 hours, the rain would return.

But, look on the bright side, it’s nearly Christmas.

Yes, I used the ‘C’ word, better get used to it as it can only be a matter of days before the adverts start to appear on TV….

Now where did I put the receipt for the barbeque and sun umbrella?

Anyone looking for a bargain or swap for some good quality thermal underwear?

Support your local business

Following on from last week’s Cwtsh v Cwtch debate and its colourful feedback, I have since discovered, in the little fishing village of Ammanford, the amazing ‘Gwdihw Gifts’shop, run by the truly talented Wendy Thomas.

Here, we have a shop full of beautiful original, hand crafted gift ideas and ‘Cwtsh’ merchandise (spelt the proper way!).

Clearly, I had not been looking far as this gem of a shop was virtually on my doorstep.

Those of you that know me well will testify to the fact that I tend to look out for different and original gifts which is something I take seriously, and have a passion for supporting local businesses and talent.

This is something we can all do quite easily and by doing so we will make such a difference, as each £ spent locally returns three times more money to our local economy – and that way we can all benefit.

We mustn’t forget that small independent businesses give our community its distinct personality – let’s all get out there and support them!



Triple threat?

Do you always wake up feeling bright-eyed & bushy-tailed?

Do you have perfect teeth, excellent hearing and 20/20 vision?

Was your last visit to the doctors so long ago, your mother accompanied you and the cure for your ailment was a bottle of castor oil?

If you’ve answered ‘Yes’ to all of the above, then long may you stay in such rude health.

Meanwhile, here’s some medical advice to everyone else – never read the Health Section of your newspaper!

Otherwise, you’ll convince yourself you’ve developed the symptoms of every medical condition they mention and you’ll take their advice to do more exercise, live on brown rice and prune juice and cut down on alcohol.

My doctor once memorably declared, “Everything in moderation!”

. . . just before he passed out from downing 18 whiskies, three bottles of Merlot and an absinthe chaser.

You could have heard a pin drop in that waiting room!

It’s impossible to walk down a street today and not encounter someone who obviously eats too much junk and takes no exercise.

I saw a woman yesterday whose backside was so gigantically enormous she could sit down anywhere she liked . . . without requiring a chair.

The trouble is, Government Health Advisers keep moving the goalposts.

(Why they’re allowed into football stadiums to ruin matches I have no idea!)

They tell us to eat ‘five pieces of fruit’ a day, but they’ve never explained if a ‘piece’ is a whole apple, half a grapefruit or a slice of lemon in your G and T.

Recently, it was revealed those ‘five pieces’ were simply plucked out of the air.

They could have said eat ‘three’, ‘seven’ or even ‘25’ pieces – although that number might make me suspect the research was sponsored by Fyffes . . . or Granny Smith.

As for the recommended ‘safe units’ of alcohol we’ve been advised to stick to, last week during a TV discussion ‘”Do The Over 60s Drink Too Much?” a scientist let slip that those ‘safe units’ were just randomly chosen measures.

Anyone over 60 who’s contributed to this country through hard work and paying taxes, deserves to enjoy a glass or two of vino in the evening without some killjoy pointing a bony finger at them to induce a feeling of guilt.

If you’re in that age group, I’d advise you to point your finger (make it the middle one) right back at the researcher…in a vertical position.

And pour yourself another glass!

The old Cwtsh v Cwtch debate

The Cwtsh versus Cwtch debate continues. How do you spell Cwtsh?

Well let me enlighten you. It’s sh not ch.

Trust me, I’ve done my research on this and the evidence is conclusive. You know how you pronounce bach in Welsh?

Well that’s how “ch” is always pronounced in Welsh. Now try saying ‘cwtch’ . . .

I rest my case!

Over the years, I have researched and consulted with people who are considered well-versed on the subject.

I urge you to carry out your own research and then consider the source carefully.

The way I think of the word ‘cwtsh’ is quite simple. I split it: cwt-shhh.

Like something soft and quiet. Same as the word Welsh. Wel sssh. Not Welch.

So there you have it, it is cwtsh.

If you are still going to insist on the English spelling ‘cwtch’, you surely need to replace the w (not a vowel in English) with a U.

Also if you spell it ‘cwtch’ you are making it English – and you can only get a cwtsh in Wales . . . Just sayin’ . . .

Time to take responsibility

Why is it in this day and age, people continue to drop litter without a care in the world or without consideration to others?

Recently, I watched a football match in my home town of Ammanford, a place where the locals are blessed with a beautiful big recreation ground that facilitates several football pitches and a cricket pitch.

And yet, when the players and spectators leave, there are huge amounts of crisp packets, pop bottles and empty cans strewn across the field.

A few more strategically-placed bins wouldn’t go amiss either – as there seems to be only one bin in the whole area!

Why is this happening?

Do we not care enough about the environment anymore?

Are we oblivious to it all?

Or is it just the fact that we are too lazy and it is someone else’s job to pick it all up.

Let’s start taking responsibility for our own mess, each and every one of us.

Don’t even get me started on a whole bag of rubbish being launched out of a car window from a certain fast food chain…McDisgusting!


It’s time to get creative

It’s hard to concentrate when your head if full of ‘things to do’ and ideas that you would love to develop if you just had more time.

Is this just me or do you feel the same?

With this in mind, I’m now forced to be creative over the next eight weeks as I’ve been given the challenge of writing a sit com pilot to be considered by S4C.

This is such an exciting opportunity to experiment in a new and creative way, but now as the deadline nears I will admit that a few feelings of fear and stress have appeared.

Knowing that I now must commit to putting time to one side to develop and write ideas every day is like being back at school, but without the teacher throwing blackboard dusters at you, and having to wear itchy grey uniform trousers.

So far I have come up with ideas from people I have observed in and around Swansea, Llanelli, Carmarthen and Neath, all of which at this point have formed part of a great storyline.

You see, people watching can be very rewarding at times.

Just sayin’….