BBC HD and cucumber sandwiches


As I am sure you are tired of hearing, it was the Royal wedding yesterday. Although I am not a Royalist, definitely not a monarchist, or even  a fan of the Royal family, I did watch nearly all of the coverage and took part in the celebrations. The media have more than covered all of the highlights so I’ll restrain from cooing over the dress and giving a moment by moment commentary, instead I’ll give the best things about the wedding, some silly details, and then more seriously, the flip side of the celebrations, almost completely unmentioned by the media.

I’m pretty sentimental, probably why I enjoyed the day a bit too much, so I loved the tributes to Diana. Will gave Kate his mother’s engagement ring (obviously didn’t see it as a bad omen) and they played ‘Guide me, O Great Redeemer’ as her tribute to the princess (the hymn was played at her funeral).

The Welsh elements of wedding also went down well here. Firstly, the couple chose a piece from a completely unknown Welsh composer, Paul Mealor to be played at the wedding. Will also held up the tradition of giving Kate a wedding band made from Clogau gold. Since 1923, royal wedding bands have been made from the pink gold mined from St.David’s mine in North Wales. The women in my family have quite a lot of Clogau gold jewelery, it’s like the Bennetts and the Royal family shop in the same jewelers. Ha.

Kate didn’t vow to obey Will- good woman in my opinion. What do you think? BUT she did wear a veil, although I seriously doubt she was a virgin. Your wedding day is the only day in your life when you will be able to wear a veil, I’m glad she stuck with tradition and wore it personally.

Princess Beatrice with her monstrous hat

At my sister’s party, we ran through the whole BBC coverage again to identify the best and worst outfits. Vicky B won best hat, and no guesses who got worst. I thought it would be the lady with the wedding cake hat, but Beatrice had slipped under my radar- what an absolute blunder. Someone buy the woman a mirror- clearly her blood and fortune have not bought her taste. Are there any fans of the hat?

Is Pippa smaller than a size 8?

On another superficial criticism, how skinny are the Middleton women? They must not have eaten for months. More seriously though, the Royal cleaners went on strike the day before the wedding to ask for their wages to be risen to average rate for a cleaner in London. At the moment the cleaners are paid £6.45 per hour, a whole £1.40 per hour less than the average cleaner in London. The strike barely received any attention from the media however, and so is largely unheard of.

And the other big controversial point is the decision not to invite previous Prime Ministers Blair and Brown. This is allegedly because they are not Knights of the Garter, unlike Thatcher and Major. At Charles and Diana’s wedding, all living Prime Ministers were invited though. Simon Schama, interviewed on the BBC, said this was a

Vicky B's lovely hat

mistake because all PMs play a big role in British history, they add to the country and nation we are, and since the wedding was clearly purposefully a very British affair, with all traditions upheld, it seems rude not to have invited them.  What do you think?

Did you watch the coverage or just enjoy the day off from work? How did you celebrate or boycott? Or are you just simply sick and tired of hearing about it, and glad the whole thing is finally over?

For my international readers, I’m dying to hear your thoughts about the wedding. The American film about Will and Kate was given awful reviews here, that is not anywhere near representative of British life! Just a heads up…

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Sport time: First Weekend of the Six Nations


Chris Ashton celebrates his first try

The first weekend of the Six Nations is over and it certainly hasn’t disappointed. Two fast paced games, and one absolute nail bitter made for good viewing, and boy did the fans make some noise in the stadiums.

England vs Wales was a fantastic opener. The result was an English win, the first in eight years at the Millennium Stadium. It was a closely fought battle, England edging it at 26-19, however, England always looked like the better team. They dominated a Welsh scrum which was left limp without two of their Lions stars, Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones. England also came out on top in the backs with some very convincing performances from Toby Flood and Chris Ashton. Flood was instrumental in Ashton’s first try and, was very successful at bringing the big men around him into the game. He was deservedly named man of the match, and cemented his place at fly-half over Jonny Wilkinson. Wales showed some signs of what they could do; it never really felt like they were out of the game. Unfortunately, they failed to finish off the chances they created, which has been a massive problem for Wales for some time.

Italy put in a brave performance against a weakened Irish side, but once again failed at the final hurdle to get the victory, losing as they did 13-11. With a strong forward effort they managed to stay in the game right up to the end. They scored a try about four minutes from the end of the game giving them the lead, however, missing the conversion hurt them dearly. It meant that Ireland only needed a drop-goal or penalty to win. It was the experienced Ronan O’Gara who slotted over the last three points they needed and allowed Ireland to snatch victory away from the Italians.

Richie Gray powering through the French defence.

Defending Grand-Slam champions, France showed their class by brushing off a very strong looking Scottish side. After a quick opening try Scotland were left trailing for the rest of the match, which ended at 34-21. The French team looked very dangerous in attack, but showed some holes in defence that Scotland was able to capitalise on. Honourable mention, however, goes to Richie Gray, the young Scottish second row who was very impressive in both attack and defence.

Until next time,

Paul

Coming up: Paul will be posting some  pre-match thoughts later in the week

Sport time: Six Nations for beginners


The Six Nations, as the name suggests, is fought out between six countries: Italy, Wales, England, Scotland, France and Ireland. The completion began in 2000 when Italy joined. Previously, it was known as the Five Nations which was first competed in 1910.

There are 6 trophies to compete for within the tournament. The most important being the Six Nations Championships and the Grand Slam. The Six Nations Championship is won by the team with the highest points; they get 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss. The Grand Slam is awarded if a team is able to win all five of their games. The other trophies of the competition can only by won by certain teams. The Triple Crown is competed for by Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. The winner is the team who can beat all three of the other teams involved. The Millennium cup is awarded to the victor of the Ireland versus England game and the Calcutta Cup is awarded to the winner of England versus Scotland. The newest inclusion is the Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy which has been competed for between France and Italy since 2007.

The tournament will begin tomorrow (Friday) when England will play Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Coverage will be shown on BBC one from 7.30pm.

Mynd ymlaen Cymru

St. Dwynwen’s Day


You probably have never heard of St. Dwynwen, she is Wales’ patron saint of love. Dydd Santes Dwywen (St. Dwynwen’s day) is celebrated on the 25th of January. Like Valentine’s day, cards and gifts are given by people to their loves.

St. Dwynwen’s story is mainly known through folktales and Celtic stories. People did not write her story down because it was thought to be a virtue to pass the tale through word of mouth- isn’t that romantic?  You can read four different versions of Dynwen’s story on Wikipedia (link below), but the essence of her story is that she wasn’t able to marry the man she loved. She begged an angel to thaw her love because it hurt so much; Mealon (her lover) was frozen in a block of ice by the angel. But God gave her three wishes, she asked for to unfreeze Maelon and for him to be happy, and, lastly, that she would never marry. All three were granted. Dynwen became a nun and left her island (Anglesey) to devote her life to helping others through love and sadness.

Celebrating St. Dwynwen’s day has risen in popularity lately, even Tesco have started printing welsh cards for the day! You don’t have to wait until Valentine’s day to spread the love, tell someone you love them today.

You can even learn to say it in welsh: Dw i’n caru ti, or download a card to give them from here:

http://www.visitwales.co.uk/upload/pdf/dydd_santes_dwynwen.pdf

Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Dwynwen