Well, that’s my Staycation over with for this year. Not exactly the usual ten day trip to Spanish climes but rather a fortnight fabulously spent on my long Lockdown Love Project.
And my gorgeous garden is looking lovely too. Just got to sort the Haven of my lush, little Hacienda and it will all be ready…for Autumn.
Truth be told, I actually felt like spending two weeks lying shattered in a darkened room, all cwtched up with a frothy coffee, and an even frothier read.
Took that time to get over the double whammy of the dazzling digital delight that was Wales Wide Virtual Pride.
And the mean, metaphorical kicking I took, from those who got their knickers in a twist over the word Penrhyn, a peaceful protest, and starter homes.
What a weekend that was.
Who knew that the exact translation of our lovely language would see some citizens absolutely incandescent with rage.
And a damn sight more than they were actually bothered about our black community feeling seriously slighted, truth be told. Go figure.
The sad, sorry tale I told, with, I feel, both frankness and fairness, is laid bare in my Penrhyn Protest Blog.
But as a gentle reminder to those who missed that marvel, or who are deliberately trying to forget the fierce fury it unleashed, it goes like this…
Our Vale Council, who, in my view, are not always as actively supportive of our black community as they could be named a new Waterfront road, ‘Fford Penrhyn.’
Penrhyn as a name, is an anathema to many, whatever the colour of their skin, because of its associations with slavery.
So a peaceful Protest was being planned to try to get this changed – the name and its connotations not the word and it’s Welsh meaning.
I, far too boldly for some it seems, suggested that the words on this road sign, were an error, even if inadvertent, by the Vale Council.
And that, for me, this was an epic fail.
Well, if I did. Cue scores of angry Welsh Language lovers ready to correct me in no uncertain terms for having the affront to suggest that the name Penrhyn would be ‘seen’ as something other than a translation of headland.
And don’t even get me started on the keyboard warriors who piled onto our local Facebook pages to put me, and my ‘epic fail’ in my place.
Seems for me to have the audacity to suggest that a sizeable section of our community felt racially wronged, and we should be more than mindful of that, was just a jump on the bandwagon too far.
(I loved their word to the wise to not ‘mistake passion for ignorance’ by the way – true story that).
Finally in stepped Plaid Cymru Councillor Ian Johnson who took the time, and the access his elected position gives him, to look into what went wrong – because we all knew that something surely did.
Turns out that the Vale Council had made a mistake, and had inadvertently missed a crucial letter out of the signage.
So vindication received with thanks by all those smeared and slagged off. Shame, the victory’s sweetness was soured by the bitter taste the whole sorry saga left behind in its wake.
Not talking about me personally, of course. I’m big enough and hard enough to deal with blows – even those aimed with sneers and spite.
Sue’s View is just that – a view. It’s my take on what hot issues are happening in our town, and why it matters so much to me that I feel passionate enough to put pen to paper.
You can agree or disagree with me but good God, I fail to see how we can’t all accept that there is still so much more to do in the Vale to try to educate, inform. And teach others the value of listening to the actual lived-in experience of Barry’s black community.
Well, if you know me, you know I’m not going to shut up about it anytime soon.
I can’t even whisper quietly so you will so surely hear me shouting loud and proud as an active and vocal ally to our black community – as I have always tried to be.
Black Lives Matter, and not until they truly do, will we have the fair and just society we are fighting for.
Still a long way to go, I know, but from that pivotal moment in time, the vibe is very much being kept alive, thanks to those who stood up strongly in support.
Please let’s keep this energy and activism going to try to make the difference so many of us are so desperate to see.
Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
As a founding member of Stand Up To Racism (Vale) she, promotes the Black-led Campaign Group who, with the strong support of Allies, aim to unite our communities. And also acts as Communications Advisor for the voluntary collective.