diumenge, d’octubre 01, 2006

Pennseythun Bras! A Great Weekend (English / Welsh / German / Cornish [in the title])

Such a weekend...

They should all be this way! This is why being alive, inspite of the dismal iniquities of life, is worth it after all.

Friday I returned home and planned, utterly, unabashedly, to do absolutely nothing. I drank beer and watched the season premiere of Dr. Who. I spent an evening being a total Whovian geek sliding with alcohol one inch closer to mid-life, and I'm not ashamed at all.

Saturday I woke as late as I could, and pulled myself together in a respectable manner to journey west to Johnstown for the local French club's Dégustation. It was lovely, even though the weather was rough around the edges. In Isabelle's back yard, under and assortment of canopies, we enjoyed fine wine, fine company, and fine nibbles. We had three reds and three whites to try, and my favorite of each was the "Enfant Terrible" and the "Domaines de Pouy" respectively. Among our nibbles were some mini-quiches, mini-samosas and caviar. A very genteel afternoon indeed.

After the dégustation, I went to Anna's house, and then we went north to Clifton Park, where we tried Salty's Pub. Although it's located in a little slice of suburban sprawl-hell, the place was great. They bartenders know how to follow instructions and make good martinis, and the food was copious, tasty, and rather cheap. Then Anna and I headed south again, and picked up a movie about a lesbian comic. I don't remember the title, but it was a decent movie.

Today, I woke rather early in the morn and popped a bara brith (see note below) into the oven. I had been thinking of going to church, but the lure of my bed was too strong, so once the bara brith was in the popty, I was back yn y gwely till it was done. It was lovely to awaken once again, but to the smell of bara brith baking in the oven. I got the bara brith wrapped up and made myself presentable. I had to leave my warm little loaf off at my friend Pam's house so she could take it to the Gymanfa (see other note below), while I was off walking in the rain at the Albany AIDS walk around Washington Park.

The weather really was crap, but the walk went on, and I found my church group and had a nice, but soggy puddle-jump. As we were assembling, Welsh Society member Darhon's husband, Paul, a Lutheran minister, found me in the crowd, and we both resolved to make it across town to Hamilton Union to get some Welsh snacks after the walk. Additionally I was pleased that FUSS had around 20 walkers present ranging in age from around 8 or 9 to 50-something. We must have been one of the larger church groups!

Due to the inclemency of the weather, the walk was abbreviated, but even so, as we approached the end, the skies opened up and nearly drowned us. Soggy, I wended my way back to my car, and put-putted up Western Ave. to the nucleated settlement of Guilderland and Hamilton-Union church where I met the Gymanfa halfway through. I knew some people in the Welsh Society would take ombrage that I wasn't there, but unfortunately, I wasn't able to be in two places at once, and so, having raised money for the AIDS walk, I had to make that a priority. Nonetheless, I was still able to attend at least part of it, and belt out a couple Welsh hymns, and especially the Welsh national anthem, which I sang as loudly as I could, well in the most socially acceptable way a person who sings flat can... since relatievely few of the people there could sing it at all, even with the words in front of them! Afterward, I made my way to the Social Hall, where I grabbed some of my own bara brith and an assortment of other goodies. One of the best things our current president Leslie has done, although she did it long before she was president, was make our te bach (light tea) more Welsh, setting a precedent where people would make traditional Welsh bake goods. I was happy to see that of the three loaves of bara brith, mine was the first to be gobbled up!

One of the people in attendance, much to my surprise, but also joy, was the Reverend Tim Lake. It was good to catch up with him and hear his news, although not all of it was excellent. One of the funny things about the day was even though I didn't go to church, I saw no fewer than four clergy whom I know personally: my own minister Priscilla, Sam from the Albany Church, Paul and Tim!

After the Te Bach, I came back home and changed my closed to go on a date in Saratoga! No reason to give too many details on that point now, but it was a lovely time. We had some nice martinis, and a nice meal, and a long conversation. No, poppets, no sex, but I do have a second date next Sunday, and being that next weekend is the Columbus Day (eg. The Lost Italian's Day(eg. The Lost Genoan's Day)) holiday, Sunday will really be like Saturday, and that means it should be a very nice date indeed!

All told, it was a most lovely weekend, ein sehr, sehr schönes Wochenende!!


Bara brith: a lovely loaf made with dark brown sugar, flour, an egg, and currants soaked overnight in a half pint mixture of strong black tea and whisky liquer. It goes wonderfully well with Irish butter and British Blend tea. I am of the opinion that I make the best bara brith west of Azores.

Cymanfa Ganu (also Gymanfa Ganu): A coming together to sing hymns. Begun in the 19th century during the religious revival in Wales, it's a tradition which has fixed itself solidly, and for this iconoclast, sadly in the midst of Welsh Americana. It is generally accepted as an obligatory event for most Welsh Societies, often called St. David's Societies.