Poet on a Hill

Thursday, 13 August 2009

I’ve got a Phonesave Account with the Alliance and Leicester Bank.
And when I checked I found it was only paying .1% interest. For the non-mathematically minded, that’s a tenth of 1% – gross. The net is .08%. You can’t think that small. So closing the account became a priority.

It has one of those 0845 numbers and the sales screed says it’s open 24 hours a day 7 days a week ad infinitum. So I dialled it. And I dialled it again … and again … But it’s a dead line. I mean. What the hell use is a dead line on a Phonesave Account. It’s like having a lead lifebelt on a riverbank.

Anyway, not to be deterred I went online. My fallback plan was to shift all the money out of my Phonesave into my current account. But it wouldn’t let me. No matter what I did I always ended up having to leave the last pound in the Phonesave – to keep the account open. But I don’t want to keep the account open. It’s a no-good account. It doesn’t pay interest and its line is dead. At least, the number I’ve got is dead.

Am I missing something here?

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Hi. This is the view from my office window. When you visit me here you can enjoy it too.

The edge of the Welsh Valleys, these low worn hills mark the southern limit of the ice sheet in the Ice Age. The valleys themselves were carved by glaciers. The Ridgeway Footpath runs along the top of the hills. Larger versions of the pictures appear below.

The picture above shows Drope in the foreground with glimpses of St George's and St Bride's before arriving at Llantrisant, the town that stands on the hill. The valley that opens between the hills to the left of Llantrisant is the Ely Valley. To the right of Llantrisant, half way up the picture, you can see a big house. This is The Grange at St-y-Nyll. Beyond St-y-Nyll is the mouth of the Rhondda Valley.

St-y-Nyll is in the centre of this picture with Cwm Rhondda opening up beyond. In the valley between The Grange and the wooded hill to the right of it lie Creigiau and Groes Faen.

And this is Garth Hill with the village of Pentyrch on its western flank. To the right, on its eastern side the hill drops into the Taff Vale where the A470 runs up to Merthyr Tydfil then on, through the Brecon Beacons and mid Wales to Snowdonia in the north. There are two mounds of tumuli on the top of the hill, ancient Celtic burial mounds - maybe 3,000 years old.

Hugh Grant made a film about Garth and Pentyrch called An Englishman Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain. Which I think is a bit long winded. But anyway it's about the time that a guy came up from London to do some survey work for map making. And he called Garth a hill. But the locals called it a mountain. But he insisted that it was a few feet short of being a mountain. So the villagers formed a chain gang, carrying rocks up the hill until it was high enough to be a mountain. But it's still officially called Garth Hill.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009



1 A Community Walking Co-ordinator.
2 A Lifestyle Adviser.
4 A Promoting Healthy Weight Adviser. Salary £41,000
5 A Mass Participation Worker. Salary £19,000
6 A Cheerleader.
7 Teen Funk Instructor.
8 A School Crocodile Guide. (To lead dribbles of kids to school)

Answers on toilet paper please


No. You Silly Billys. You were all wrong.

It isn’t Wonderland or Neverland.
It’s Engerland and Scoterland.

Shut up you! It’s good for the economy!


OK. One last chance to win this week’s prize –
a tattered pair of my Aunt Glad’s old red flannel drawers.

In which town in which country does the
National Health Service supply Viagra to a 71 year old paedophile
for his personal use?


Well done, that dirty old bugger at the back 
in the school cap and flasher’s raincoat.

Yes. It’s Peterborough, Engerland.
We’ve all got human rights you know.

Oh Yeah. Except for victims of course.
But that’s their role in life – victim!


First – Something to be Proud of

111 Norman Keep

Cardiff Castle
The Norman Keep

The Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Home From Active Service in Afghanistan

86 Royal Welsh

90 Royal Welsh

The Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Regimental Band


 92 Royal Welsh

The Regiment Marches Through the City Centre

108 Royal Welsh

100 Royal Welsh

The Royal Welsh Parade in Front of the Castle
to Receive Their Service Medals

109 Royal Welsh
And the Castle Looks on

When you see the young people of the armed services it makes you
proud to be British. And by the word British I include those people
from Eire and the Commonwealth Countries who have travelled
countless miles and faced God knows what problems to throw their
in with our people. These young ones, all of them, have opted
for discipline, service and selfless comradeship. I salute them. 

I salute the people of Britain too. I’ve watched on many occasions
as they turn out to cheer and clap their home coming heroes.

About – Cardiff Castle
Parts of the walls that surround the grounds date back to Roman
times. And the Keep is Norman. There are guided tours and it’s a
good place to spend a day.

Then it’s Back to Reality - Contrast

It’s ironic, but when we were going to  watch the heroes of the
Royal Welsh march though the city centre we passed this Gypsy
beggar woman, sitting on a doorstep, hand outstretched, asking
for alms.
She couldn’t speak English so I guess that she’s
Romanian or something. She looked it. I’ve seen Romanian
Gypsies in action in Greece. They don’t work. The young women
sit begging on the streets. Usually they are nursing a baby and
when they see you coming they give it a pinch to make it cry.
It’s a good pitch; goes for the heartstrings. The middle aged
women go round the young women collecting their takings and 
entering the results in a book. I’ve not just heard this – I’ve
seen it  in action. While this is going on the young men are
mingling with the tourists, picking pockets. And, at the same
time, the children are going round cafe’s and food stalls,
begging for leftovers. Again, I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
It’s a family business and it works. These guys are experts.
And the middle aged men? They don’t do anything.
They’re the bosses. They’re above all this work nonsense.
So what’s it all about?
What is a Romanian Gypsy woman who can’t speak English
doing, sitting begging in a town in Britain? I mean what
contribution is she making? Surely everyone who goes
to a new country goes to make a contribution. And surely
every country that lets a newcomer in, expects them in to make
a contribution. It’s all about personal pride and responsibility.
If someone wants to beg, they should stay in their own country
and beg. That’s basic common sense and decency.