It’s the end of the 4th of 5 weekends in the month of August, I am told that this is the first time for 800 years that there have been five Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays in August and that this will not happen again for another 800 years. I’d like to mark the event with some words from a great Welsh poet. Newport doesn’t have a great tradition for literature although it does have a good reputation for music.
Growing up 10 miles or so away in Cardiff we always thought that best thing that happened to Newport was the M4 extension which bypassed the city centre. The boys who I met at school who all came on “the Newport bus” had different accents from everyone else and seemed another breed. We used to make sarcastic comments that they had a chips on their shoulders and were the poor relation being so close to, yet eclipsed by, Cardiff.
The town, which became a city in 2002, had something of an ambiguous state. It is the largest conurbation in the county of Monmouthshire and was bigger and more important than Cardiff until after 1850 when the docks, coal & steel led the rise of the ultimate capital city. Monmouthshire, later temporarily known as Gwent, has its boundaries defined by the rivers Rhymney to the west and Wye to the East where it is flanked by the counties of Glamorgan and Gloucestershire respectively.
What isn’t widely known is that the county was considered to be part of England rather than Wales until it was finally clarified in 1972. Hence, we used to say that those of us from Cardiff who attended my school were actually ‘educated’ in England as St Illtyds College was to the east of the river Rhymney.
Enjoy your weekends.
WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.