July 2022 Book Choice




“The Songbirds” By Christy Lefteri

Nisha is from Sri Lanka. She is a nanny/domestic help in Nicosia, sending money home to support her daughter. Nisha has disappeared and her story is written through the eyes of her lover Yannis, and her employer Petra. Petra struggles being a mother to Aliki with whom Nisha has a strong loving bond. Yannis adores Nisha, but we uncover his secret life of hunting and trapping of songbirds, a delicacy at wealthy tables.

This beautiful book provoked a lively discussion, particularly about modern day slavery. All of us would recommend it even though the subject matter was quite harrowing. It was written in compassionate and eloquent language and this compelling novel scored a unanimous 9.

Our meeting concluded with delicious homemade strawberry ice cream. Thank you, Helen

 



Thursday 18th August Walk

 



THURSDAY WALKERS


Walkers meet at the front of the Village
Hall. If you are interested in a walk, just
turn up. Bert – 20594418.
Thursday 18th August.


A walk from Wenvoe Village Hall. Around 5.5
miles. Meet at 1.00pm at the hall. Country walking,
so boots are advisable. Bert.



More Than A Woman



OFF THE SHELF


More Than A Woman. by Caitlin Moran


The author of the international bestseller ‘How to Be a Woman’ Caitlin Moran returns with another hilarious feminist book. In ‘More Than A Woman’ Moran reflects on parenting, middle-age, marriage, existential crises and, of course, feminism.

A decade ago, Caitlin Moran burst onto the scene with her instant bestseller ‘How to Be a Woman,’ a hilarious and resonant take on feminism, the patriarchy, and all things womanhood.

As timely as it is hysterically funny, ‘More Than a Woman’ is brutally honest, scathingly funny, and a necessary take on the life of the modern woman – and one that only Caitlin Moran can provide.

However, our book club readers, apart from one reader, found the author opinionated and did not find the writing particularly insightful and generally found it an indulgent piece of writing. Having said this, it did generate a great deal of debate and discussion around feminism amongst many other things.

Chris Munro

 



Last Formal Meeting



WOMEN’S INSTITUTE


Last Formal Meeting.


Wenvoe WI met again this month for what was their last formal meeting before the summer break.

On this occasion Mrs Viv Turan was our speaker. Viv is very much a ‘friend’ of Wenvoe WI and has a regular ‘spot’ each year in our July meetings. This time she regaled us with ‘Growing Up’ – a veritable ‘trip’ down memory lane as we all relived our respective delights, escapades and pastimes of hopscotch, skipping, marbles, first attempts at make-up, the hula hoop, cherished ambitions and the reality of a job. Viv’s talk was thoroughly entertaining and was enjoyed wholeheartedly by everyone. This was followed by the usual tea and on this occasion – cakes of different varieties.

During August, we intend to hold two informal ‘get-togethers’ in the Wenvoe Arms outside Barn or garden (depending on the weather). These will occur on the 8th and 22nd August at 2.00pm.

The next full meeting of Wenvoe WI is on 1st Sept. in the Church Hall at 7.00pm. This will be a ‘Fish and Chip and Quiz night. New members are always very welcome.

Janet Young (President)

 



Nuclear Power – Discussion Part 2.


Considering tomorrow today


Nuclear Power – Discussion Part 2.

Forum member Glenys Stone presents some ideas.

Are there any sustainable options?

The UK has some unique problems caused by inconsistency in the climate, little space to build and a NIMBY mentality in some of the population. It is difficult to grasp our detrimental effect on the planet without personally seeing the physical effects. While we will for a time reflect on the very high temperatures in July by September it will likely have been forgotten. This human failing is proven as we are only now, slowly taking notice of what scientists have been saying for years. Wildfires, drought, rising sea levels, crop failures, famine – and the consequent economic hardships – are increasing. Who can afford to install solar power or heat pumps? Is all property suitable? Will private landlords accept regulation requiring their property to be converted, with no personal benefit from the financial outlay? Higher rents make poor families poorer. Can local councils afford such expenditure without government grants? Europe now has economic concerns due to fuel shortages, blamed on a war that started in early 2022, but energy firms were going ‘bust’ before Christmas 2021. Huge profits are paid in dividends to those that don’t need the money while the poorest are asked to pay more for fuel and increasingly living in ‘fuel poverty’. We are exhorted to economise, implying that the profligacy of our consumption is causing our dire financial state and destroying of the planet. However, when making comparisons with our childhood are we extravagant? Economising was second nature; use as little as possible, waste nothing, replace only when beyond repair. We were frugal to finance upward mobility. Did the urge to give our children more opportunities and a better standard of living than we experienced, lead to us being thriftier.

TATA Steel in partnership with local universities, are developing an intriguing system to repurpose and reuse their waste whilst creating a saleable by-product used in the manufacturing of, amongst many other things, filters. This has financial and environmental benefits; and possibly more widespread industrial use if the investment is forthcoming. Imagine all factories recycling their waste while making money?

There is a cheaper, safer, and more efficient form of nuclear power – Fusion, but it could be 30 years before we have a viable system. This begs the question-“WHY?”. Covid vaccines were successfully and speedily developed when the ambition, resources and talent were made available.

The “developed world” is, throwing vast sums of money at the energy problem while the “undeveloped world” with no existing power grids, has the opportunity, but no finance, to start from scratch. Unfortunately, the COP 26 climate conference in Glasgow was unable to devise an urgent and unified approach. If rich countries financed the ability of poor nations to harness power from their natural, reliable resources, could we buy-back power, improving standards of living and offsetting our carbon footprint? Could offshore wind and wave farms in our territorial waters, or hydroelectric power (such as the 28 sites in Scotland and the Huka Falls in New Zealand) be more reliable and suitably NIMBY-proof solutions?

All governments’ decisions are made from a political and economic perspective. More jobs and lower living costs, sell well on hustings. But do we have influence? Could adjusting our personal actions have a ‘domino effect’ bringing about changes at local, national and ultimately global levels? Undoubtedly, actions by individuals and communities will have a personal and local benefit. So, can community projects make a difference to the country’s future, overall, domestic electricity consumption?

I try to have as little reliance on electricity as possible. I minimize my global footprint, reducing my direct and indirect use of fossil fuels by “Buying British” wherever possible and from companies that have Eco, Environmental or Climate-friendly symbols on their labels. I vote with my feet when considering purchases; is it planet-friendly or even necessary? I exercise my right to vote, then send emails or letters to whoever wins, making them aware of my opinions, regardless of my politics. They represent us all and must listen.

Lastly, and obviously, can we morally just do nothing? There is a proverb regarding hundreds of stranded starfish on a beach, they are all dying, it’s horrible. What can you do? You START by putting ONE back into the sea, and then, you put back another, and another, and another…

The above article and the previous part 1 of the discussion are on our Blog site https://wenvoeforum.wordpress.com/ If you have any comments on the articles please contact us via the blog site or e-mail.

………………………..

In the Forum we often say “Doing nothing is not an option”. If you have ideas about activities, projects, education opportunities that could turn Wenvoe into a Climate Conscious Community then please come and join us. We usually meet on the second Thursday of the month at 19.00 via Zoom – e-mail Gwenfo.forum@gmail.com for the link. All are welcome.

We are also on Face Book Contact us by befriending Gwen Fo @ https://www.facebook.com/gwen.fo.1/ and joining Wenvoe Forum @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/635369267864402

 



No Rainbows This Month



The Stress Buster Strollers


There were no rainbows to be seen on the Stress Buster stroll this month; however the multitude of colourful coats worn by the strollers provided enough colour as they walked in windy conditions along the Knap promenade!

Colourful coats are not obligatory, just enthusiasm for a walk!



Giant Hogweed Warning



GIANT HOGWEED WARNING


Just a reminder to walkers, especially now it seems summer has finally come, to be wary of Giant Hogweed when you are out in the country especially if you have your children with you. The picture below shows a young girl who suffered 2nd degree burns after coming into contact with Giant Hogweed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Nuclear Power – Discuss



What Can We Do?


Nuclear Power – Discuss.

Part 1 – Forum member Glenys Stone sets out a problem

Energy prices are through the roof. ‘In the short- and long–term, which if any of the available power sources is most practicable, safest and least harmful for the planet’? Is a cheap, sustainable solution even possible?

I am of the generation for whom this sort of “discussion piece” was routinely set by teachers. The idea being that, limited by a set number of words, the subject was addressed from both sides of the argument. No conclusions drawn, just “Food for Thought”. The style was set by which subject was involved, either one of the Sciences or one of the Arts. This one could be addressed from many perspectives, but will probably be one of emotion, so, is this a Scientific or Emotional problem? Column inches are also a major consideration so I will try to limit this enormous subject to just two parts.

I abhor nuclear energy.

The radiation leaks caused by the Tsunami in Japan and at Three Mile Island in the USA (and the subsequent cover-up) were to me, a wake-up call. Then there’s the concern shown by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), (during the recent Russian occupation) over the continuing need for micro-managing the huge amount of radioactive contamination in the area surrounding the damaged Chernobyl Plant in Ukraine. The nuclear fallout from this explosion spread, literally, all over the globe, notably for us on our Brecon Beacons and the resident sheep. Welsh lamb dinners were off the menu for many years. There are several hugely informative documentaries on this subject. One was aired very recently on Channel Five. Then last but by no means least, Germany! They closed their nuclear power plants in the wake of Chernobyl and solved (or so they thought) the problem of the obsolete fuel rods by storing them in their disused salt mines. They then proceeded to store (at a price) nuclear waste from other countries. Unfortunately, the damp salty atmosphere is corrosive and is now destroying the nuclear containers well before their original life expectancy. No-one seems to have a solution to this urgent problem, which is a potential environmental disaster for Germany and, if not contained, for the rest of the world, costing millions to resolve.

I am not reassured by small amounts of fallout being neutralised in a comparatively short time. Some areas already are and will be “no go” places for humans and domestic animals for tens of thousands of years. Most of my apprehension is about the storage of spent nuclear fuel rods. No one has currently come up with an effective way to dispose of, or even store, this nuclear waste. I have heard comments such as “Well someone, at some point in the future will find a way”. But is this a morally defensible position? I’m afraid that, to me, this cannot be the case.

So, my concern over this form of power is not only for our immediate safety but for the sake of our children’s, children’s, children ad infinitum: – What mentality assumes that storing anything as dangerous as spent nuclear fuel rods – for a future generation to deal with – no matter how far into the future, is an acceptable thing to do? But the aims of the Anti-Nuclear movement would appear to have been largely swallowed-up and forgotten, in the very real concerns about the planet’s immediate welfare.

The UK Government British Energy Security Plan includes increasing the proportion of our energy generated by nuclear power to 25%, touted as the cheapest immediate option (kicking the can down the road again?). This includes some Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) that can be quickly built, have a relatively short lifespan, estimated to be around 10 years. At which point they will need replacing as they will no longer be guaranteed as safe or capable of delivering enough power for our needs. Therefore, this cannot possibly be considered a future-proof solution! This little nugget of information was dropped unsuspectingly during an early BBC Wales news report about Wylfa on Anglesey, I notice that no one has mentioned it since the UK government’s sudden and wholesale embracing of the nuclear option. But if this solution is not future proof from a physical safety perspective, how can it be future proof economically?

…………………………………………

Should nuclear energy be part of the picture in Britain? Is it just too hazardous or can we “not manage without it”? Please leave a comment on the Forum’s Blogsite – https://wenvoeforum.wordpress. com/

Next month the discussion continues.

New Forum members are always welcome to join. Contact us on :-Facebook: Gwen Fo @ https://www.facebook.com/gwen.fo.1/ and Wenvoe Forum @ https://www.facebook. com/groups/635369267864402. twitter @ForumGwenfo e-mail us on gwenfo.forum@gmail.com

 



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