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Saturday, October 22, 2005 

Nonplus

Today I had to head up to Oxford St in search of a new lamp for my work desk (old one exploded, broken glass and plastic all over my desk, quite a scene.) After emerging from Tottenham Court Rd tube stop (they've replaced the normal billboard ads that run diagonally along the escalators with computer screens, repeatedly showing mini-movies of Robbie Williams and his new album; undoubtedly the biggest waste of money I've seen in some time) I noticed the air was crisp and cool and most definitely autumn-ish.

"Hurrah!" I thought. I've been looking forward to this for some time. Summer is my favorite season by far, but I've really really been eager for fall to appear. Summer in London was odd in a few ways. Maybe it was how the city population was pushed to the breaking point by the millions of tourists who quite literally take over the city. Maybe it was how the complete lack of air-conditioning made 70F (21C) feel like 100F (38C). Maybe it was the bombings. I don't know.

Bundled up in a jacket and scarf, I was struck by the way smells hit you when it's colder outside. Cooking smells from the pasty shop, women's cologne, the emanation of marijuana from the cellar vents underneath the TopShop.....

Having purchased the new lamp, I decided to get back to the tube by walking on a street that runs parallel to Oxford to avoid the crowds. That's where I noticed this very cool building:



"What is that on the facade?" I pondered. Gaelic? Welsh? What?



It just looks so familiar. I got home and googled it, but nothing. It's definitely Welsh, but I still can't figure out what it is or where I recognize it from..... Hrm....

I think "Cymreig" is an older spelling for "Cymraeg" (which means "Welsh"), and Capel = Chapel, in which case (googling for bedyddwyr) the inscription on the building would translate as "Welsh Baptist Chapel".

Disclaimer: I'm not Welsh.

Looks like the Welsh Chapel (as Ollie said) on Eastcastle Street to me, just round the corner from The Gaylord curry house.

Disclaimer: I am Welsh.

How do the English get "Welsh" from "Cymraeg"?

It's those pesky Anglo-Saxons I'm afraid mum, who chose to eschew the use of Cymru and Cymraeg (meaning trust or friendship) and use one of their own Germanic words meaning foreigners/outsiders. The buggers.

Cymraeg is Welsh as in the language
Cymreig is Welsh in an adjectival sense almost.

Didn't even know this existed, but then I'm Methodist (very lapsed)

Mum, it's pure racism that dates back a long, long way. There is a distinction here to be found elsewhere in Europe. Southern Belgium is known as also known as Wallonia. Both Wales and Wallonia derive from a Teutonic term, Whal, which might best be described as meaning half breed. That's to say, neither one thing nor the other - as in a Whale (same derivation) not being a fish nor a mammal (not talking scientifically, but observationally). Specifically, in both, the case of Wales and Wallonia, it means neither Roman nor native. Welsh, meaning go back on your word. is no accident. The barbarians, AKA. the Germans and others, didn't trust these people, who they considered to be too Roman for their tastes, even if they could pass as being natives. The term 'Romany' meaning gypsy has the same source, even if the Romany came from India!

Hmmmm, here I thought that was Portuguese for "Happy Hour Thursday".

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