Saturday, 28th November, 2015.

Cruel Cuts

     Those of us who treasure Welsh culture are saddened by the news that S4C may have its funding cut by the Wasteminster government.   Even Guto Bebb, the Aberconwy Tory MP, is showing his displeasure at such a decision.

     I am not yet fluent in Cymraeg, but – though an immigrant to Wales – I am a keen learner.  And there are many, many incomers like me.   To lose a telly station which uses the ancient language is losing a source of brushing up one’s Welsh.   Sitting watching a programme on the station gives us the chance to learn not only the words, but also how the language lilts along.

     But what can be done?   A cross-Wales petition might put the right pressure on Wasteminster – a place which is a long way from our land.

Saving The Reminders

     It was interesting to hear that, up in Aberystwyth, a cast-bronze war-memorial has been replaced at the site from where it was removed due to a serious fire.   The fire destroyed Y Tabernacl, a place of worship in the town.

     And the statue will stand as an icon, reminding people not only of that terrible war, but also of the building which used to stand nearby.

     And yet “developers” are about to knock down this Aberystwyth building.   It’s the old Gas Offices building – and, in my opinion, a nice-looking place.   But there’s money involved, so Aber will be changed by the “developers”.  So another reminder of the town’s history may disappear.


     Beware of the word “development”:  it is a weasel-word.

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Saturday, 21st November, 2015.

Archbishop Supports Non-Violence

     Wales’ Archbishop, Barry Morgan, approves of our Assembly Government’s idea to make it illegal to smack children

      The motion to change the law was defeated down in Cardiff Bay some months ago.   But the Archbishop still wants to make it an issue.   I suppose he has a lot of clout in religious circles, and will be listened-to by many of The People of Wales.

     I believe that a quick slap on the wrist to correct a child who’s doing something wrong is not a bad idea.   But, given the amount of child-abuse which seems to be going on, we must be sure that the wrist-slapping goes no further.   And that the punishment for child-abuse is far more severe than it seems to be presently.

Panic Over Refugees

     Wherever I travel in our land, I hear people talking about the fears they have if we accept refugees who are fleeing from the violence in Syria.

     Well, we shall see what happens.   Aberystwyth will be welcoming a batch of them within a few weeks.   Then Powys – not sure exactly which part – will be having many of them next year.

     Before we all get involved in the fear of these poor people causing major problems in our land, we must realise that the overwhelming majority of them are genuinely afraid to return to the terrors of Syria.   And remember that Wales took in many refugees from Hitler’s Germany in the 1930s and 40s.   That was done out of the kindness of our Welsh hearts.

Batten Down The Hatches!

     The weather – always a popular topic here in Wales – is going to very wet, very windy this weekend.   But I have a question.

     There have been many warnings about the rain, because it can cause and has been causing flooding.   Indeed, railway-lines and roads have been put out of action due to all the wet over the last week or so.

     Yet the winds – up to 80 mph in some places – have caused damage, too.   Trees have been blown down and I’ve seen whopping great branches lying on our country roads:  usually on dodgy bends.

      So be careful, out there.   And, though we are into the dark, dreary days before Christmas, always bear in mind that Spring will come.

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Saturday, 14th November, 2015


    I was good to know that, in several cities, towns and villages in all parts of Wales, Remembrance Services were held on the right Day and at the right time.

    The guns of the First World War fell silent at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.   That was the time and date chosen by governments for everyone to remember the fallen in that war.

     There have been many other wars since then, and many of our service personnel have died in those conflicts.

     Yet Remembrance Sunday – the nearest Sabbath to the proper date – seems to be the better known day.   It was changed to a Sunday by Those-Who-Know-What’s-Best-For-Us so that two minutes of silent remembering meant that production times in British factories would be lessened.   Make of that what you will, considering as you ponder that there were millions of working-people who had “given” their lives in that War To End All Wars.

     Let us not forget to observe, as all those cities, towns and villages in Wales did, the two minutes silence on the proper day in future.

Our Main Topic Of Conversation

     Yes:  the weather!

     It’s been a rough old week with some rather nasty winds and lots of rain.   As we go through this weekend, the storms will not abate.   On Monday, according to Derek the Weatherman, things may improve.

     Is this the “suffering” all those miseries said we’d be having for that lovely, warm Summer?

     Worse is still to come, allegedly.   A very bleak mid-Winter is about to come upon us.   Heavy snowfalls and impassable roads may make things difficult.

     I’d advise, without being an alarmist, that we prepare our homes for such Winter weather.   Having a bit extra in our larders would be a good idea.

But Is It Right . . . ?

     Permission has been given by The Ministry of Justice to dig up some very old graves along the Head of the Valleys road.   This is to make way for “road improvements”.

     The Ministry of Justice (London-based, I believe) may have given permission – but is the Ministry’s decision just?   Think on.

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Saturday, 7th November, 2015

Under Attack

     As my readers will know, I am a keen learner of the Welsh language.   It is an ancient tongue and very much a part of the heritage of Wales.

     Wrexham Council, though, does not seem to have recognised its importance.   Implementing the new Welsh language standards, the Council says, is far too expensive.   Figures of thousands of pounds have been bandied about.

     The Welsh Language Society claims that the Council’s figures have been exaggerated.   The Council, of course, denies that.

     I’m sure we shall hear more of this battle to protect our heritage.

More £££s News

     Carwyn Jones, our First Minister, denies that the estimated one-billion pounds to build Newport’s M4 relief-road.

     Though he hasn’t come up with any alternative figure, he says the cost will be “way below” one-billion.   I hope he’s right!

     But such a road is needed, and needed as soon as possible.   So let’s get the wrangling over and get the job done.

     If you don’t agree with spending lots of money on the project, try driving on the M4 near Newport during the rush-hour (well, it lasts more than just an hour!).

A Small National Emergency!

     People are saying that the sudden lack of a water-supply in West Wales is “not a major problem”.   Those are the people who have not been affected by it!

     It’s a reminder of how much we rely on a good, clean water-supply.   And Welsh Water, bless ’em, have been doing their best to sort the problem – which mainly affects Pembrokeshire, I believe.   Bottled-water has been supplied in the meantime.

     But to have a proper turn-on-the-tap supply is something everyone relies on, even those in supposedly “remote” rural areas all over our nation.

     Welsh Water are to renew a lot of their pipework, etc., starting next Spring.   And, gradually, supplies are being restored to households.

     Remember, then, good people:  wherever you live, make some sort of preparations for such emergencies.   And, with the terrible Winter we’ve had forecast, perhaps it’s an idea to stock up our larders a little in case we get snowed in.

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Saturday, 31st October, 2015

At Last ! ! !

     If I sound overly delighted by using a headline like that, I am!   So, I believe, will many, many other people when they know there is to be a by-pass built to avoid the bottleneck which is the town of Newtown, Powys.

     Regular road-users who pass through the town – local residents, delivery-men, holidaymakers, etc. – have, for umpteen years to my personal knowledge, complained that there are five sets of traffic-lights in about three-quarters of a mile along the main road thr0ugh the place.

     The good news was broken after Edwina Hart, Transport Minister, approved the project.   And it will be fully open by . . . oh, dear . . . 2018.

Support Your Local Beauty Spot

     Lots of people in important office here in Wales are telling us we must promote our beauty spots to attract – wait for it – more businesses, more holidaymakers, more jobs . . . and more affordable housing.

     I would have no objection if those jobs and affordable houses were going to be occupied by local people:  The People of Wales.   But you know as well as I do that such promotion will encourage more and more people from our Eastern neighbour to settle here.

     That, then, will weaken our culture.   The language will be under even more threat than it is now, for instance.

More Job Losses Loom

     Caparo Industries, who specialise as a steel company, has decided to cut many jobs here in Wales.   Their Wrexham and Tredegar plants will disappear.

     I hear that cheap imports of steel from abroad are the cause of the shutdowns.

     Remember, good people, that Wales had many thriving industries in the pre-Thatcher days, from coal-mining to steelworks.   They have gone – and not gradually, either.

     And teach your children well.

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Saturday, 24th October, 2015

Facts Must Come First!

     Plaid Cymru have plans “to integrate health and social-care”.   The idea sounded perfectly sensible – until Party Leader Lianne Wood was interviewed on Radio Wales “Good Morning” programme.

     She was asked how much the plans would cost if they went ahead.

     She did not know.

     The plans were revealed at the Party’s Conference in Aberystwyth (a good and fairly central venue, by the way), and it is claimed that the cost of the plans will be worked out before the Assembly election next May.

     So it’s pencils and paper at the ready for her advisors to get calculating . . .

Health Matters

     I keep hearing the name of Betsi Cadwaladr and wondering if I know her!

     In fact, she is a health board in North Wales.   And has been under “special measures” since it was discovered that there was patient abuse up there in the Gog.   There’s also been an investigation into alleged financial fraud in Betsi’s domain.

     Our Health Minister – wonder how many of The People of Wales know his name – says that the special measures will continue for another couple of years.   I suppose that’s to give the miscreants time to leave the board’s employment and for the decent folk who are left to sort out the shenanigans.

Speaking Of Employment . . .

   Ten companies in Wales have been paying their employees less than the legal Minimum Wage!   Personally, I wouldn’t get out of bed to earn that legal pittance.   But those ten companies should be named and shamed.   Here they are, then:-

Elgan Davies, Ltd., Cardigan;  Beyond The Fringe, Cwmbran;  The Bargoed District YMCA (!);  KJM Autos, Ltd., Hengoed;  Ceredigion Couriers, Machynlleth;  Forward Life, Ltd., Swansea;  DK Forecoursts, Ltd., Caerphilly;  DK Forecourts, Ltd., Pontypool;  Coach Travel Wales, Aberystwyth;  Regency Autos, Penarth.

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Saturday, 17th October, 2015.

Helping Mother Nature

     It’s hands-across-Hadrian’s-Wall-and-Offa’s-Dyke time!

     Due to Wales’ dwindling pine-marten population, Scotland has supplied us with a few breeding-pairs to restore our wildlife stock.   I don’t know what made our population of these pretty animals dwindle, but thanks goodness someone has cared enough to do something about it!

     Alas, I have a report from Ceredigion to say there’s already been one flattened on one of their roads.

     Such is the nature of humankind’s development.


     Good news from Newport!   The once-closed-down Liberty Steelworks is being reopened after more than two years of closure.

     That will provide more jobs, of course – a rare thing in the current financial crisis.

     At first, only one part of the works will be open for production.   But the company which runs the place hopes to expand on that once they see what’s happening in the industry.

More Liberty

     Still in Newport, the Council is pressing on towards a ban to stop beggars using the city-centre.   And, of course, sleeping rough will be included in the ban.

    But Liberty, the human-rights organisation, says the ban would “criminalise the most vulnerable in the city”.

     A question which must be asked is:  “Why are so many people sleeping rough in Newport – and many other places, large and small, in our land?”.

     Couldn’t be due to the rotten financial slump which is affecting so many of us, could it?

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