Small Laboratory Saucepan?
    By Robert H Olley | June 13th 2012 08:09 AM | 1 comment | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Robert H

    Until recently, I worked in the Polymer Physics Group of the Physics Department at the University of Reading.

    I would describe myself


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    Is your laboratory environment something like this?

    Sosban Fach (meaning ‘Little Saucepan’) is a popular Welsh song which recounts the troubles of a harassed housewife. It is particularly associated with the Llanelli Rugby Union Football Club, deriving from Llanelli’s tin plating industry, which used to tin-plate steel saucepans and other kitchen utensils to supply to the British public.

    I found myself singing it during harassed moments in the laboratory, at first, simply because I like the song, but I came to realize how appropriate, with a bit of interpretation, it was in a laboratory context.


    Laboratory Application

    Mae bys Meri-Ann wedi brifo,

    Mary-Ann has hurt her finger,

    A typical laboratory accident.

    A Dafydd y gwas ddim yn iach.

    And David the servant / farm boy is not well.

    The junior technician (as so often) is off sick.

    Mae’r baban yn y crud yn crio,

    The baby in the cradle is crying,

    The first-year PhD student is demanding help

    A’r gath wedi scrapo Joni bach.

    And the cat has scratched little Johnny

    The second-year was not taking proper safety measures when dealing with laboratory animals.

    Sosban fach yn berwi ar y tân,

    A little saucepan is boiling on the fire,

    A supervised reaction on the lab bench.

    Sosban fawr yn berwi ar y llawr,

    A big saucepan is boiling (over?) on the floor,

    An unsupervised reaction, in an unsuitable place for want of bench space, has got out of control and given rise to a massive spillage.

    A’r gath wedi scrapo Joni bach.

    And the cat has scratched little Johnny.

    As above

    Cytgan (Refrain)

    Dai bach y sowldiwr, ×3
    A gwt ei grys e mas.

    Little Dai the soldier, ×3
    And his shirt tail is hanging out.

    Can one ever get a lab coat that really fits?

    Second verse

    Mae bys Meri-Ann wedi gwella,

    Mary-Ann’s finger has got better,

    The student has been to the First Aid room, and treated appropriately.

    A Dafydd y gwas yn ei fedd;

    And David the servant is in his grave;

    The junior technician has not (we hope) died, but he has left, and will not be replaced due to funding cuts.

    Mae’r baban yn y crud wedi tyfu,

    The baby in the cradle has grown a bit

    The first-year is now more self-sufficient (for the time being).

    A’r gath wedi huno mewn hedd.

    And the cat is ‘asleep in peace’.

    The laboratory animal in question has been sedated / put down.

    (I have one question.  Does the original mean that the cat is simply sleeping, or is it a case of R.I.P. Pussy?)

    Sosban fach yn berwi ar y tân

    As above

    Sosban fawr yn berwi ar y llawr

    As above

    A’r gath wedi huno mewn hedd.

    As above

    Here’s a rendition that seems to have been inspired (a little) by Kraftwerk.

    There are, of course, many other YouTube versions of this magnificent song.


    Love the interpretation, mate.

    And the mystery of y gath's fate is revealed here. Presumably that's where Mary-Anne hurt her finger :)