Massage your Head, in Aberdare

This bizarre sign appears above the staircase in the Ieuan ap Iago Wetherspoons pub in Aberdare. 

Dwyliwch Eich Pen
Please Mind Your Head

Someone has wrongly transcribed

Wetherspoons Aberdare, Ieuan ap Iago sign
Wetherspoons Aberdare, Ieuan ap Iago sign

the Welsh word “gwyliwch”. There is no such word as “dwyliwch”.   


This sign has been in place since this branch of Wetherspoons first opened, in November 2002, in the town’s former Post Office building.

In 2016, the Bute Arms pub in Victoria Square was refurbished… And the same sign appeared in that pub.  Someone has copied the sign without realising it is incorrect.

The Welsh word for hands is “dwylo” and the suffix “wch” is often added to the verb-noun to create the imperative form.   Perhaps the translation means ‘hands on your head’, or ‘massage your head’.  But only in Aberdare. 🙂

Sir Michael Sobell bust at Sobell Leisure Centre, Aberdare

A bust of Sir Michael Sobell, in the foyer of Aberdare’s Sobell Leisure Centre.  He was a major philanthropist and his charitable foundation provided major funding for the Michael Sobell Sport Centre in Islingon, London, as well as the Michael Sobell Leisure Centre in Aberdare.

I’ve no further details on this bronze bust at present.  

Cocooned within Concrete

I was a windscreen tourist today.  On the morning commute I was struck by the clouds as I drove the winding road of the Graig mountain, above Aberdare.   The clouds seem to be stratified in parts with a layer of grey and a layer of lighter blue peaking through.  

I was cocooned within concrete again for most of the day, barely noticing nature.  It was, as I’ve mentioned previously, merely ‘wallpaper‘ for me. Something to be viewed through the screen of my office windows, in the distance, abstracted.

I feel at ease noting the absence of contact with nature and noticing the feelings and thoughts that arise.  As I try to establish a practice to support this nature diary, I am reminded of the advice of Natalie Goldberg in one of her books – perhaps it was ‘Writing Down the Bones’ (1986).  She advises noting meditation… when you practice, when you sit, what arises AND also when you DO NOT practice or sit.  I think what I’m trying to explore here in this Nature Diary is my relationship with nature and with practice.

That’s enough.   Tempus fugit.


Happy New Year at Aberdare Park

A New Year seems like a great place to begin Nature Diary III, my ongoing experiments with noticing nature around me.

Today on 1st January 2019 I visited Aberdare Park located in Trecynon near Aberdare. 

The first thing I noticed was a female sparrowhawk (Accipter nisus).    Blurred in the photo taken on a smartphone.  What a spectacular bird to see on a walk in the park. Other birds noticed today : a treecreeper and nuthatch.   

Light conditions caught my attention.  I noticed the subdued afternoon light over the lake and a brighter blue sky over Llwydcoed in the Cynon Valley.

  There were plenty of squirrels darting about, some more brazen than others.  When I waggled my arms at some of them they creeped up closer to me expecting to be thrown a tasty nut.

The green daffodils shoots are beginning to push through the soil.  My rhubarb stalks at home are about the same height.