OFF THE SHELF
Shuggie Bain By Douglas Stuart- The 2020 Booker Prize Winner
Douglas Stuart’s avowedly autobiographical first novel is a story about poverty, addiction and abuse and therefore was seen by members of the group as a grim experience. However, Stuart portrays such an understanding of the relationship between a child and a substance abusing parent that the book was held in esteem by most of the book club members. Stuart definitely has the ability to combine love and deep sadness, giving equal weight to both. The book is set in the 1980’s in Glasgow’s filthy tenements and progresses to the exploration of life in a mining village just outside the City.
Shuggie’s mother, Agnes descends through the degrading stages of alcoholism, ever more vulnerable to ever more predatory men. Her only constant relationships are with her children, whose knowledge of her disintegration is therefore intimate and private. The oldest, Catherine, marries in her late teens to get away from her mother and moves to South Africa. Alexander, “Leek”, is a gifted artist who carries around with him a two-year-old letter offering him a university place, stays to try to teach Shuggie how to “act normal” – i.e., appear to conform to the norms of working-class Glaswegian masculinity, which does not come naturally. Leek also stays in faltering hope of saving Agnes, until one day she throws him out, leaving the young teenage Shuggie as her sole carer.
Stuart’s depiction of women is very harsh and as one member said it is a book that is ‘heavy on lines, with colloquial dialect and language’. The work shares a picture of a roller- coaster life with immense highs and lows. As the book draws ever nearer to the ending, we are left reeling with many emotions but there was no doubt in our minds how wonderful Shuggie is and how we all shone the light for his future.
The group scored the book 8 out of 10
3. THE MEANING AND DERIVATION OF PLACE-NAMES
Y BARRI / BARRY
We know that the name Barri was in existence before the Twelfth Century because the de Barri family, the family of the well-known historian and Archdeacon of Brecon, Gerallt Gymro – Giraldus Cambrensis, Gerald the Welshman – who was born in 1146 – took its name from that of the area. Scholars believe that the name Barri is derived from the name of a stream, Barren, which flowed from the Buttrills area down to the sea. It’s possible that the element ‘bar’ – which means ‘hilltop’ or ‘summit’ – is part of the word ‘Barren’. (Interestingly, this Celtic – or even Brythonic word ‘bar’ can also be seen in the name Berkshire – which is, as you know, a particularly hilly county.) The name given to the stretch of water between the island and the mainland was Aber Barri – ‘aber’ meaning ‘estuary’ in this instance. In Welsh, the definite article (‘y’) is used with the name – ‘Y Barri’ – and this could be a contraction of ‘aber’ as in Aber Barri – or it was adopted because many other place-names in Wales, which begin with the consonant ‘b’, are preceded by the definite article – y Bala, y Borth, y Bermo etc. (By the way, this use of the definite article with place -names is not only a Welsh phenomenon as it is common in many other languages – The Hague, Las Vegas, El Salvador, die Schweiz, der Iran and so on.) The spelling ‘Barry’ with a ‘y’ is merely the anglicisation of the Welsh name.
This name derives from two Old English words. The first element ‘cold’ developed from the word ‘col’ which has given us ‘coal’ today. In the name Cold Knap it refers to coal works or pits in the area. But the reference isn’t to coal – but to charcoal – which was used extensively in the ironwork and smelting processes. The second element, ‘knap’ is derived from the word ‘knaepp’ which means ‘hill’. So, ‘Cold Knap’ therefore means something like ‘the hill near the charcoal pits’ or ‘the charcoal pits near/on the hill’.
There are two elements to this word also – both derived from Old English words. The first element is ‘Col’, which refers once again to charcoal works in the area. The second element ‘cot’ is derived from the Old English word meaning ‘a building for creating or storing craft items’. Where that building was situated is lost in the sands of time, but we know that it was somewhere near charcoal pits.
Next month – Highlight and Brynhill
Ann. M. Jones
Planning Updates September 2022
The following applications have been approved
• Mary Immaculate School, Caerau Lane. Extension of an existing school dining hall.
• Construction site on Port Road, Wenvoe. TPO Fell dead Sycamore tree
• Currys, Culverhouse Cross Retail Park, Retain one retro-frame sign
• Southwinds, St. Lythans Road, St. Lythans. Single storey rear extension to enlarge dining room remov-ing section of first floor existing balcony and utilis-ing roof of new extension as new balcony
• Unit F, Valegate Retail Park. Change of use to D2 (Assembly and Leisure) with ancillary A1 and A3 uses
Planning Applications for September 2022
• 5, Brooklands Terrace. Removal of existing rear lean-to extension and erection of a new ground floor extension with setback first floor extension.
• Vishwell Farmhouse, St. Andrews Road. Detached triple garage, dormer to front of house and first floor side extension with Juliette balcony to rear
At last, we can welcome you to the return of Wenvoe’s Annual Village Show. Gardeners, bakers, photographers, and craft makers of the village are all busy preparing for the event. Run by the Hub, there are several categories to enter: crafts, cookery, art, photography, floral art, home-grown produce, and categories for children. Most of us will have something worthy of exhibit so why not give it a go?
The Community Centre will be open for entries between 08:30 and 10:30 on the morning of the show. You may submit as many entries in as many categories as you wish, with each entry costing £1. On completion of entries, the Community Centre will be cleared for judging.
The doors will be open to the public from 12 noon. The raffle will be drawn at 1p.m. followed by the announcement of the category winners at around 1.30pm.
We believe there is a competitor in all of us but if you would prefer to just view the exhibits, sample the products over a cuppa, or splash out on scones and cream, everyone is welcome. Come along and catch up with friends and expect an enjoyable afternoon.
Run by volunteers for you to enjoy. Organisation takes time, and effort. We need to spread the load more widely: the more people who are involved, the less there is for any one person to do. If you can spare a few hours on the day we would love to hear from you.
For further details, categories, and entry guidelines please call into the Hub or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wave Goodbye To an Old Friend
Another old friend who we will soon have to wave goodbye to. This great specimen on the village green is an elm tree which has failed to stir itself from last winter’s cold and no doubt will soon be set for removal by the Community Council. It is still popular with the pigeons, doves and Jackdaws so enjoy its wonderful form while it is still with us.
FAMILY JUBILEE TREASURE HUNT
Available from The Hub
There is still plenty of time to take part in the great Jubilee Treasure Hunt; especially with the summer holidays at hand. The closing date is not until the August Bank Holiday. You can collect an entry from The Community Hub. Just pop in and ask for a Jubilee question sheet; the opening times of the Community Hub are shown on page 2.
All the answers can be found within our community area which stretches from the village to Culverhouse Cross and out to Dyffryn. All answers are within walking distance for most people but if using the car please park with consideration to others.
What does the quiz consist of?
It comes in four parts:
Part 1 is to locate a series of house names and then discover which letters will help to form a word.
Part 2 is devised with children in mind and requires a visit to some of the community orchards and nature sites, identify a picture of an animal to help find another one.
Part 3 is a collection of photographs; some are within local communities and others require a stroll along local footpaths into the surrounding countryside to identify the picture.
Finally part 4 is questions on local items.
If you have any difficulty locating places or footpath routes etc the staff at The Hub will be only too willing to assist you or will know somebody who can assist. The Hub is located behind the Community Centre in the centre of the village.
ENJOY THE HUNT!
“The Songbirds” By Christy Lefteri
Nisha is from Sri Lanka. She is a nanny/domestic help in Nicosia, sending money home to support her daughter. Nisha has disappeared and her story is written through the eyes of her lover Yannis, and her employer Petra. Petra struggles being a mother to Aliki with whom Nisha has a strong loving bond. Yannis adores Nisha, but we uncover his secret life of hunting and trapping of songbirds, a delicacy at wealthy tables.
This beautiful book provoked a lively discussion, particularly about modern day slavery. All of us would recommend it even though the subject matter was quite harrowing. It was written in compassionate and eloquent language and this compelling novel scored a unanimous 9.
Our meeting concluded with delicious homemade strawberry ice cream. Thank you, Helen