Canadian Taffs, Advertising and Bridgework by Vince Nolan


I am of course fully up to speed with the Interweb thing as you might expect (that is a lie because the current Mrs Nolan is a wiz at such matters).  Well, you don’t keep a certain kind of pet and make animal noises yourself, do you (I’m dead!).  Anyway, I internet-bank and every Monday morning at 06.30 my bank sends me a text message with my balance on it.  It’s a cool facility but I don’t think the LOL is really called for.

I read an ad the other day: “The Arctic is under threat.  We need your help.”  Well, I like to think I can make a difference every now and then but that is a bit of a tall-order, even for me.

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Staying overseas, here’s a good international name.  I read with great interest that Angolan artist Nástio Mosquito has been shortlisted for the Artes Mundi Prize in Wales.  “I’ll have to find a snappier name” he said after hearing he had been shortlisted.  He might have also said “I cannot believe I am in with a shout for the £40,000 first prize.”

Staying with names, Mr and Mrs Grylls not being content with calling their son Bear have started something.  According to our local newspaper, Bear was recently joined on stage in Cardiff by his son, Huckleberry.  Yes, Huckleberry Grylls.

I am just off to have a chat with our lad, Agamemnon.

As some of you will recall, our son and overdraft lives in Sydney, New South Wales and we have just exited our first Christmas without him although plans are in place to visit him later in 2017.  This got me thinking about Welsh names abroad and I chanced upon New North Wales and New South Wales, Canada.  You educated types will no doubt have all been fully aware of this but I was not.  It seems that in 1612 (which is just after 4pm), Welsh Captain Thomas Button wintered on the shores of Hudson Bay, at the mouth of the river he named the Nelson. He dubbed his encampment Port Nelson, and the whole of the western shore New Wales.

The region was again visited in 1631 (yes, just after 4.30 pm) by Captains Thomas James and Luke Foxe. Supposedly Captain Foxe, upon discovering a cross erected by Button at Port Nelson, christened the shore north of the Nelson River as New North Wales, and all the lands south as New South Wales.  It was some 139 years later Captain James Cook would more successfully use the name New South Wales for the east coast of what is now present-day Australia.  Nice picture of New South Wales, Canada.

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Sticking with things geographical I was looking at a property the other day on an estate agents’ website.  The property was in Dunster, North Somerset.  Imagine my surprise when the small-print revealed that the nearest railway station was Rhoose in South Wales, some 14.7 miles away “when measured in a straight line using postcodes” it said.  Can you imagine being a visitor and not knowing the relative locations of both places?  By road, ignoring the straight-line post code method, Rhoose and Dunster are some 105 miles apart.   Estate agents – misleading – surely not.  Not doing estate agent jokes so a seasonal one instead:

A penguin walks into a shop and asks the assistant: ‘Do you have any grapes?’ ‘No,’ he replies.  The same thing happens the next day and on the third day the assistant replies: ‘No, and if you come in asking for grapes again I will nail your flippers to the floor!’ Next day the penguin walks in and asks: ‘Got any nails?’ ‘No,’ replies the assistant. ‘Got any grapes then?’ the penguin asks.

In business news, a recent Western Mail banner headline said: “Gender Pay Gap Closing But At Too Slow A Pace.”  This was alongside a picture and article featuring Hayley Parsons, who sold the company she founded, Gocompare, for £44m in 2014.  Don’t know about you but I think that must have helped to close the gender pay gap somewhat.

I have not seen too many rugby matches over the last season or so having decided to let somebody else take the strain for a while.  However, the other Saturday I attended a match at my beloved St. Peter’s and took my place on the “Bob-Bank” behind the posts where age and experience are key requirements for shouting at the referee.  Anyway, it was raining heavily and we all had umbrellas save for a mate and former mentor of mine.  Let us call him Mike, largely because his name is Mike.  Mike had gone one better than us and brought out a full-size patio sunshade which he stuck in the ground.  Nobody likes a show off.  I hatched a plan with another mate whereupon every time Mike turned around to make changes to the scoreboard, we sunk his sunshade deeper into the bank.  Imperceptively at first, so that he was able to duck back under it comfortably but as the game wore on, he must have thought he was growing taller or the bank was sinking.  His field of vision became more and more limited and in the end, he needed to limbo under the thing to stay dry but could not see the pitch.  We had to leave early as we were laughing so much and he has still not worked it out.

One of our recent Sunday journeys took She Who Must Be Obeyed and I to Hay-on-Wye.  If you haven’t been I would encourage you to have a look around.  Not far to drive and a nice river walk with plenty of cafes in the town.  When there I thought of this.

Bridge over the River Wye  

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Bridge over the River Kwai

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And finally, a completely random matter:  Henry Purcell, the English composer died in 1695 at the tender age of 36.  Not news perhaps but it is said that a friend asked him if he had made his peace with God and he replied “We’ve never quarrelled” which I think is a rather neat way to sign off.

Stay safe in ’17.