Stroll on Swansea!

Re-vamped hotels, caravan parks and twitching RSPB eco-warriors, are now the name of the game in this ancient spot of tourist deliverance. Being an inhabitant myself of this sometimes surly town, with its charming mix of old and new minds, Chapel and High church optimism in a heretical world and faded Street blues, those who are attempting to bring some commercial reality to the place are to be congratulated, well, Covid-19 allowing!

But, and where Ruck is concerned as all you readers will know, there has to be a ‘but’, will all this well-intentioned effort pay off? It is certainly in with a chance, but only if those with commercial intent do it properly and with an eye to the outside world – after all, Swansea is hardly renowned for a cosmopolitan approach to things as I well know. Will the pubs succumb to micro-waved grub and vast plasma screens intent on abusing gentle conversation, be the order of the day? Will caravans determined to leave behind their detritus of holiday fun, be allowed to depart with a happy and forgiving Welsh smile? And will your average, silent twitcher be allowed to twitch without fear of intrusion and dastardly human interference?

Challenges indeed, one might think and not mention the disgusting Castle Gardens and everything else that is the town centre – a concrete jungle! What the Swansea City Council must be thinking of here beggars belief! They’re planning department needs a complete overhaul!

Far be it for me to put the boot in. I am an outsider, an interloping English speaking, irreverent heathen (and actually rather proud of the fact as it happens!) and one unfamiliar with traditional Swansea sensibility but one thing I do know, Wales’s only hope for future economic growth is leisure and tourism. This being the case, local businesses if they are to succeed, must cast aside suicidal Welsh insularity and deadly parochialism, otherwise projects such as the above will last a year and be no more. There is a huge and accessible market-place out there, from South America to China. How I long to see a few turbaned heads and mah-jong players stroll along the High Street, because then and only then, will I conclude that Swansea has finally said ‘Hello’ to the outside world.

Look beyond the Severn Bridge Bridge all you business boyos, invest and good luck!

Men? – SWEP

Are men turning into Big Jessies?

A writer writes about the world as he (or she) sees it. These observations are liked by some, hated by others but there we are, a writer can never ever please everyone and this is just the way it should be.

Now, in my time I’ve had many a medical and surgical procedure, from club feet twists and turns to open heart jobs, brain surgery and a good few items in between. Indeed, my body (such as it is!) bears a strong resemblance to a National Rail railway map, such are the stitched scars etc plastered all over me – actually you know, women have never seemed to have objected to all these nasty little trials of living, makes ‘em all sympathetic, at least they used to be anyway!

Recently I was in hospital having what in my view was a minor medical procedure and certainly nothing to write home about, as it were. Not so it seemed. At least where all these young strapping macho, rugby types were concerned. There they were, gobbling down sedatives, holding girlfriends’ hands and looking as if they were about to face a firing squad! I have to say, I was astonished. The only time I involve my own missus in anything medical is if I know there really is a risk of me snuffing it, then to be fair she has a right to know what is going on, even if it’s only to discover where my last Will and Testament is located.

So, what do you make of all this?

I suppose one can only observe that apparently these days young men are taking longer to dress than young women, male cosmetics are rapidly catching up with the female variety in sales and to cap it all, these young male pioneers of the modern world are starting to blub in public! I mean…..Big Jessies or what?? Take all this along with baby-carrying knapsacks, baby bottle stuffed pockets and nappy liners as handkerchiefs and what have you got?

Men are no longer men, and God help all you girls out there – in spite of the Me Too and man bashing minorities!!! I am all for women’s rights etc but all this is going too far. Next thing we will have men apologising for being men!!!

What a year!!!- SWEP

Apparently, my column is causing some disappointment among some of you Evening Post readers, particularly those who are fans of my books. ‘Too tame’, ‘Not hard-hitting enough’, ‘Not the Ruck we know, at all’, are some of the examples of readership opinion when my novels are compared with columns herein – that’s good isn’t it, legalese and what have you!  

Well, you have a point. It is after all a writer’s duty to offend, we wouldn’t have a Parliament were it otherwise, so in future the gloves are well and truly off and anyone who upsets me had better watch out!  There is an awful lot of argument going around at the moment. The murder of an innocent, Sarah Everard, Brexit, the Markle Affair (I do not take much notice of this, it is a Royal mess again, Merkle is trying to turn it into a soap opera, she will win an Oscar for her performance and Harry is too weak to shut her up!) and so on. As for ‘the murder of an innocent’, I do not know what to say. Some men are undoubtfully perverted but what can you do? Stay safe is all I can say. Do not walk alone and keep your eyes open. Heaven knows what the parents must be thinking, if they think at all in the present circumstances. I have a remote idea what it is like to lose a child, heaven help them.

One morning last week, I was walking my dogs along the pathway in dear old Swansea (you know, the place that has a Council filled with those people who have delusions of grandeur, full to the brim of deluded self-importance, Sun outrage and those who have nothing better to do). One of my dogs is a greyhound, full of ladylike laziness and a damn your eyes contempt for everyone and the other is a cross between a jackal and a variety that even Heinz has not been able to conjure up yet (I am being polite now!).

Anyway, this woman started coming towards me, armed to the teeth with water-sprays, sticks, protective clothing you name it. She had three lumps of objectionable, haute-couture lumps of snappy fluff with her, in fact they were so small I didn’t even notice them at first.

‘Get your dogs’ away from my little darlings!’ she screamed, as she sprayed and snarled for deliverance. ‘They’re invading their space!’

‘Dogs, space?’ Now this was a new one. The woman was obviously on day-release from somewhere or other. My two were only doing what dogs do, sniffing backsides, bouncing around and generally enjoying themselves. Come to think of it, maybe her dogs were gay, they were pretty camp after all? Of course, I took no notice and just carried on walking. Later that morning I get a call from the police. ‘Sorry to bother you, Mr Ruck (grin, grin)…..but we have to respond to every complaint……’

My dogs are not ‘Dangerous’, and they will continue to enjoy themselves ‘off lead’. And as for you missus, see what happens when you mess about with your Swansea newspaper columnist? You’re lucky I’m not naming you!

Are men equal??? – SWEP

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been pondering this whole equality of the sexes lark. Having lived through all the so-called gender-bender upheavals of the sixties and seventies, I think I am entitled to have a view on the feminist revolution with its subsequent demolishing of what I perceive, to be manly endeavor – let’s face it, all the nagging and moaning that women are famous for! Every second of every day, I come in for it! It is ruining my health!

 I mean, what are all these ante-natal classes, unisex baby changing rooms, trousers stacked with bottles and disposable nappies all about them – not to mention, men running about the place with a harnessed sprog up front pretending they are now the mother’s? Disgraceful. Men should go back to being men, never mind Mars or fifty shades of grey, blackness here we come!!!

You’d never catch me in a baby changing room and that’s a fact besides, even these places are ‘Non-Smoking’ now! Damn, I bet this is getting some of you warrior-like Boudicca’s and born-again Pankhursts all riled up. Enjoy your power that’s what I say! My point is this, the war is over. The chains on the railings have rusted away. Women are in the board rooms, in Parliament, in industry, in the professions…..there’s nothing left to prove.

But here’s the best bit, I can’t understand why the whole movement started up in the first place? Women have always called the shots, talk to any married man, or unmarried man for that matter! The Bard had it right all along, when he penned (I assume he had the missus at the back of his mind at the time), “What is she but a foul contending rebel, And graceless traitor to her loving lord, I am ashamed that women are so simple!”

I spout this every morning, as I’m making my wife her tea, 3.90 second boiled egg and melted butter toasted soldiers, that’s after I’ve scattered freshly cut rose petals on the carpet from bed to bath and all before I’ve hoovered, polished, fed and walked the dogs……..I’d better watch what I am saying here, the missus is hovering around, and you know what that means!

It’s a man’s world, ain’t it just! And what is all this? A Womens International Day, what about a day for men? Fat chance, and that is a fact!

Who is putting the boot in on BBC Wales – long overdue if you ask me?

Somebody is railing about the Welsh language and the Welsh on BBC Wales! I would go along with them on the Crachach (I would like to see the channel having me on again, I would give the goods on all the editors/presenters ((the Crachach, a Welsh speaking middle class elite who want everyone in Wales to speak Welsh, daft buggers, how is 80% of the population of Wales going to tune their vocal chords to a language that can only be used in a small part of the UK?)) taking handouts from the tax payers for their stupid bloody books, which by the way, don’t sell! But the Welsh are kind and giving, and that is that.

And by the way, devolution is receiving attention from the Government, about time too. Get rid of it, once and for all – a population of three million in Wales and a system of administration that runs it – or ‘Government’ as the Assembly likes to call itself. It is a trash can of a deliberate and non-sensical waste of money!!!

Mark Drakeford – SWEP

Welsh administration goes all ‘Social’!

It’s true. Social Policy Professor, Mark Drakeford (a Labour Left-wing aficionado of Corbyn), is the new head honcho for the Welsh assembly – well, you might just have missed it, who knows!

Those boyos up at Cardiff Bay who run Wales, have come off their cruiser pleasure boats to announce that a Social Policy academic is now to be responsible for your life expectancy – a wise choice, don’t you know!!!

Now, believe it or not I used to train various advisers in Social Policy, indeed my own stepdaughter has obtained a degree in the subject from Bristol University no less – she still thinks Beveridge is a cup of tea but we won’t go into that. Anyway, I am still trying to work out what the evolution from the Poor Law to the Welfare State and all the academic fluff that goes with it, has to do with a hernia or for that matter diabetes?

The Welsh government never ceases to mystify.

As usual, the erstwhile Carwyn has put style before substance and allowed Mr Drakeford to be filmed wandering around the empty caverns of the Assembly building wearing Welsh tartan trews and a jumper, his statesmanlike elan on show for all to see. In fairness though, I’m told that AM’s have apparently been instructed to go all casual, you know, men and women of the people etc etc, also such attire is easier to wash, particularly after a night out on the town.

So, a Cardiff University academic will now decide on your needs. God forbid that Drakeford and his Merry Men, should recruit someone from the hard-core world of private sector business administration or even NHS administration for that matter, can’t have that now can we? Some talent from across the Severn Bridge?  Don’t be silly, this is the Welsh public sector for heaven’s sake, and must be kept exclusively for the Welsh-speaking Welsh, to hell with everyone’s health.

Before I go, and I hate to harp on (I don’t really, I’m just being politically correct), but I hear on the grapevine that our Drakeford is about to try and pass an haute couture Bill, that will  make all AM’s wear tall, black Welsh hats (regardless of gender) from the moment they enter the Assembly building. Outdoing Paris, Milan, New York and London in the fashion stakes is the name of the game apparently.

Drakeford’s Peelers will enforce this new cultural diktat, I’m told.

Kick the Assembly in the arse!!!

A ‘Government’, who the hell are the miscreant politicos trying to prove to us that they do a good job. Investment is down, and the Crachach rule every single body that is available to their clicks of endurance. Let us all speak Welsh and have done with it!!!! (we can join the 20% of people who do). Like hell, I will challenge every jot of Welsh speaking nonsense that I come across. So beware Mark Drakeford (he is a Welsh speaker as was his predecessor), you have won bugger all, apart from a home for the Crachach.

Devolution? Christ! And I was denied an interview by any of the Labour lot in the Assembly (not so with the Tories), this just goes to show how they alter the facts and don’t allow any criticism of their holier than thou positions. Wake up Wales, and get rid of them!!!!

Now, let us see what you can do to me, you mindless buffoons. I am not employed by anyone – and certainly not the public sector (which only employs Welsh speakers, this is a fact, no wonder the Principality is in such a state).

Welsh? – SWEP

Now, I can remember a headline that said, ‘All Welsh must speak Welsh’. A bit irresistible you must admit.

In case any of you have forgotten, the article concerned Carmarthenshire County Council’s passionate foray into film making ie producing a promotional video for the leisure and tourist industry, you know the sort of thing, pull in English tourists to enjoy all our hotels, B&B’s etc And no harm in that, we need the business. We’ll leave schools out of it, they have already done a great deal to demolish education.

The thing is they employed a young Welsh lad to do the talking on the video, give the English a bit of genuine Welsh way of life seemed to be the idea. Fair enough again, just one problem. No-one in England could understand what the young chap was saying! According to some market research done in Sheffield of all places (come to think of it, have you ever tried understanding what Sheffieldonians are saying?), the boy’s accent was far too strong and therefore difficult to understand for those of a non-Welsh persuasion, come to think of it, those people who are Welsh too!!!

But here’s the best bit, a spokeswoman for the council was heard to ponder, “the young boy had lost his two front teeth just prior to filming, which made him more difficult to understand”.

Good job then, he wasn’t auditioning for the Milky Bar Kid!

Naturally, the Army of Home Rulers (Plaid Cymru) got in on the act and declared, “Local accents should be treasured (what happens if you can’t understand them?) and they play an important part in our identities”. Well fair play here, local accents are indeed de rigueur in broadcasting at the moment, so far be it for me to start open warfare with Plaid – these aficionados for independence, nothing like self-righteous delusions where this type of thing is discussed, where on earth they are going to get the billions of pounds subsidised by Westminster from heaven knows – the thing is though should ‘local’ deter bucks coming into the coffers of our cash-strapped leisure and tourism providers?

You decide.

Finally, the article reminded me of an occasion recently (you may well have read something about this), when I had to do a 101 to Dyfed Powys Police. The recorded voice that came on the line was so ‘local’ I couldn’t understand a word. And the fellow wasn’t speaking Welsh either!

Conclusion? God help any foreigners who come to Wales with toothache or have their dentures pinched!