Lincoln in the Bardo


Lincoln in the Bardo is a 2017 experimental novel by American writer George Saunders. The bulk of the novel, which takes place over the course of one single evening, is set in the bardo: an intermediate space between life and rebirth. The book received widespread critical acclaim and won the Man Booker Prize in 2017. The widespread critical acclaim was not supplemented or supported by many members of the Wenvoe Page Turners, as the comments below show (written in a similarly “innovative” and “original” style as the novel itself!).

“Worst book I’ve ever read” Sylvia “Not a book for me” Sandra “I gave up” May “Very refreshing” Helen “Funny and amusing” Tess “Inaccessible” Lynne “Wonderfully original” Tony “I didn’t enjoy any moment of it” Jenny “I didn’t like the style of writing or the subject” Babs

A mixed review for this award winning novel which resulted in 2 scores of 9 and 4 scores of 1, with an average of 4. Everyone did agree that the cakes provided by Babs were worth a perfect 10.



The Knepp Estate Success



Whilst much of the news about wildlife is often negative and depressing, one interesting item that is bucking the trend is the Knepp Estate and anyone with a genuine interest in UK wildlife needs to be aware of it. This is a 3,500 acre estate near Horsham in West Sussex which was not making a profit and where from 2001 this intensively-farmed land was ‘rewilded’ by being grazed by Longhorn cattle, Exmoor ponies, Tamworth pigs and red, fallow and roe deer. These animals prevent the scrub land that emerges from becoming woodland, require little or no supplementary feeding, minimal veterinary costs and generally look after themselves throughout the year. There is a lot more to the process than we can do justice to in this short article but if you want to know more, either read the book Wilding by Isabella Tree or look at the website home. You can also visit the site and go on walks or safaris around the estate.

The results in terms of wildlife alone are dramatic. 90% of the UK nightingale population has been lost since 1970. In 1999 there were 9 nightingale territories in Knepp which had risen to 43 by 2013. Since the 1960s Turtle Doves have declined by 96% and the bird is predicted by the British Trust for Ornithology to be the likeliest to be extinct in the UK by 2020. There were 3 singing males at Knepp in 1999 which by 2017 had increased to 16. Our second biggest butterfly, the rare Purple Emperor, was not recorded at Knepp before 1999 yet is now well-established there with an increasing population. 13 of the UK’s 17 species of bat can be found on the estate including two of the rarest in Europe. All five of Britain’s owls have now been recorded there along with 600 species of invertebrates. Doing particularly well are those that feed on dung as this is uncontaminated by parasiticides which may be used in conventional farming. The rare Scarce Chaser dragonfly, which has been found at only 6 sites in the UK, has now turned up at Knepp with 18 individuals counted on a single day. Raptors include Buzzards, breeding Red Kites, Ravens (which had been absent for 100 years) and Peregrine Falcons are now also here.

Whilst there were many hurdles to overcome, interestingly some of the greatest opposition came from local residents who preferred to see fields that were all green with neatly-manicured hedgerows,

however devoid of wildlife they might have been. Comments like ‘It feels like a foreign land’ and ‘he has turned a fine working estate into a wasteland – someone needs to stop him’ are not uncommon. The most obvious point that the intensively-farmed estate was just running at a substantial loss was not acknowledged.

Those behind the project would not argue that profitable and productive farmland should follow this route but for land which is losing money it is an option worth considering. Recent announcements in Wales refer to the Summit to the Sea project which will involve up to 10,000 hectares of land in mid Wales being rewilded. Whatever the future holds we can be sure that we shall hear and see more of rewilding in the months and years to come.


Christmas Concerts

The time is going so quickly and it is hard to believe that we are now firmly in the throes of practising for our Christmas concerts!
We have had a very busy few weeks and the children have engaged in super learning experiences:
Years 1 and 2 enjoyed a wonderful party as a grand finale to their Happiness Topic.
Years 3 and 4 enjoyed a hugely enjoyable trip to Pizza Express as part of their Global Gourmet topic. They had great fun learning about and experimenting with ingredients with tasty pizzas being made by all!
Year 6 pupils visited Abernant for a 3 day residential trip. During their visit, they engaged in activities such as raft building, zip wires and abseiling. The children were an absolute credit to school and their families.
The Soroptomists paid a visit to Year 6 pupils recently; they gave freely of their time and spoke to the children about Kiva, an American charity which supports families in developing countries to become entrepreneurs.
We were very sad at the end of last term to say goodbye to our wonderful school cook, Mrs Sian Farrugia. Sian has taken up a new post working for the Salvation Army. We are delighted to welcome Mrs Nicola Perkins to our Wenvoe team.
Christmas is fast approaching with all the excitement and preparation that entails in school! We are

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This photograph shows German and British soldiers standing together on the battlefield near Ploegsteert, Belgium, during the Christmas Truce. On the far right a football match between Allied and German soldiers was supposed to have taken place during the Christmas Truce. How much truth is there in all this?
On a frosty, starlit Christmas Eve in 1914 a miracle took place on the Western Front. Peeking over their trenches for what must have been the first time in weeks, British soldiers were surprised to see Christmas trees lit with candles on the parapets of the enemy’s trenches. A melody drifted over the darkness of ‘No Man’s Land.’ Men of the British Expeditionary Force heard German troops in the trenches opposite them singing carols and patriotic songs and saw lanterns and small fir trees along their trenches. Carols and messages began to be exchanged between the trenches. First “Silent Night,” then “God Save the King.” This was followed by the cry of “You no shoot, we no shoot!” The Christmas Truce was a brief, spontaneous cease-fire that spread up and down the Western Front in the first year of World War I. The incident has become a symbol of peace and goodwill.
Letters home reported the wonder of the Christmas Truce. Corporal Leon Harris, 13th Battalion, London Regiment wrote, “This has been the most wonderful Christmas ever. We were in the trenches on Christmas Eve and about 8.30 p.m. the firing was almost at a standstill. Then the Germans started shouting across to us, “Happy Christmas”.
In his letter home, Rifleman C.H. Brazier commented on soldiers leaving their trenches and entering ‘No-Man’s Land.’ “Half-way (across) they were met by four Germans. They gave our fellows cigars and a bottle of wine and were given a cake and cigarettes. When they came back I went out with some more of our fellows and we were met by about 30 Germans, who seemed to be very nice fellows. I got one of them to write his name and address on a postcard as a souvenir. All through the night we sang carols to them and they sang to us.”
British and German soldiers met and exchanged gifts, took photographs and some played impromptu games of football. One British Officer even claimed his regiment actually had a football match with the Germans who beat them 3-2. The incident was famously remembered by Edmund Blackadder in the funny and poignant final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth. “I was never offside! I could not believe that decision!”
Most historians think it was unlikely that there was actually a football match between the Allies and Germans and emphasise other features of the Truce. Both sides took the opportunity to bury casualties and repair trenches and dugouts. After Boxing Day, meetings dwindled. In any case, the Christmas Truce was not observed everywhere along the Western Front. Some fighting continued and casualties did occur on Christmas Day. Some officers were unhappy at the Truce and worried that it would undermine fighting spirit. After 1914, the High Commands on both sides tried to prevent any truces on a similar scale happening again. Despite this, there were some isolated incidents of soldiers

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FREE Childcare


First of all apologies for not sharing our news of late. We have been very busy since the Summer with many changes that are taking place at Playgroup. The biggest change took place in October when we signed up to the Welsh Government’s 30 Hour FREE Childcare Offer with Cardiff. Many children in Ely and Caerau are benefiting from the 30 hour FREE Childcare with the Playgroup and Gwenfo Nursery. However, there are still more children who could benefit from FREE Childcare. Children who live in Cardiff will be benefiting from the FREE Childcare Offer in 2019 as they expand across all areas of Cardiff. Children can access care at Wenvoe Playgroup as it is all about where the Child lives and NOT where the provision is.

FREE Childcare is available the term after the Child’s 3rd Birthday, until they enter reception class. Both parents must be working 16 hours or more per week at minimum wage if both live in the same household. One parent families can also claim if working 16 hours or more per week. If you would like more information, then please get in touch. There are many ways to contact us on our website

Unfortunately, The Vale of Glamorgan don’t plan to pilot their 30 Hour FREE Childcare until September 2019 and then we understand it is other areas of the Vale that this will be on offer. It looks like Wenvoe Children will have to wait a little longer. The Government have proposed that it be available to all areas by September 2020, so we are planning now by extending our hours and moving forward building our provision. We have been piloting a breakfast club and will offer breakfast club 5 mornings a week from January 2019. We will keep you all updated via the What’s On and our Website moving forward.

We understand that the Vale of Glamorgan Family Information Services (FIS) will be dealing with enquiries for all Vale of Glamorgan Children. If you google the Vale of Glamorgan 30 Hour Free Childcare Offer, minutes from the decisions with responsible persons are shown. This is all the information we have at this time.

Due to a high intake in January, we have now started a waiting list for April and beyond. Children who are  registered with us from 2 years and 4 months will have first choice of extra sessions as the offer becomes available. So please don’t miss out, register your interest today. The FREE Childcare offer is coming to the Vale so make sure we have your child’s name on our waiting list to contact you.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all Parents and Persons in the Community who support us here at Wenvoe Playgroup and wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year.



Introducing Thursday Walkers

The “Thursday Walkers” are an afternoon social walking group who meet monthly. The walks are organised by Bert and usually cover some 5 miles with a cut-off point for those undertaking a shorter route. They also include a visit to a coffee shop either during or at the end of each walk.

The photograph was taken during a visit to the Parc Slip Nature Reserve Tondu and shows the group sitting on the monument to the 112 men and boys who died following an underground explosion at the coal mine on 26 August 1892. In total some 112 stones have been used to create the monument.
The mine, which commenced operating during the 1860’s, was closed in 1904, but was re-opened as an opencast mine from the 1960’s to the 1980’s.
After landscape restoration work, Parc Slip became a nature reserve in 1999 and is managed by The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. The reserve has a number of paths for visitors to take walks which are well sign posted. There is an excellent coffee shop in the reserve and Trust volunteers’ are usually on hand to give advice etc to visitors.



Sheena Crossley – Cardiff Parks Department

President Madeline welcomed everyone to the meeting. A special welcome was extended to our visitor, Carol Atkinson, who is retiring as our WI Advisor.
We held a minute’s silence in memory of Eira, who sadly passed away. Eira had been unable to attend monthly meetings for some time due to her failing health. We have missed her and will continue to do so as we remember Viv and all Eira’s family.
Sheena Crossley was our speaker on this occasion. Sheena’s involvement in horticulture has included working for Cardiff Parks Department, lecturing in Pencoed College, broadcasting on Radio Wales and organising school workshops. We all thoroughly enjoyed Sheena’s humorous talk, whilst showing slides of beautiful colours in lovely gardens, many of which were local, such as Dyffryn and St Fagans. “Gardens of Wales” was certainly a way of brightening up a dark winter’s evening.
After refreshments the evening continued with WI business. An invitation had been received from Sully WI to attend their coffee morning on Saturday, 3rd November. Members chose their menus for the Christmas meal to be held on Monday, 10th December at 12.30pm in the Wenvoe Arms. Names were collected for our Carol Service on Thursday, 13th December at 7pm at Wenvoe Church.
As agreed at the meeting, on Sunday, 11th November, Madeline placed a wreath at the Wenvoe Memorial, on behalf of our WI, to remember all those who gave their lives, plus all those who have suffered, physically and mentally, as a result of war.
Our next meeting, on 6th December at 7pm in the Church Hall, will be our Christmas Party. It would be greatly appreciated if all members could bring along a plate of food (sweet or savoury) for the buffet.
The President and Committee would like to wish all members and their families a Happy Christmas, with peace and good health in 2019



December Planning Applications

Planning applications.

• Dyffryn Spring, St Lythans Road, Dyffryn. Construction of a two storey building with a wedding venue function. Planning permission has been granted to a previously designed building, this latest proposal was not supported by the Council who considered it out of keeping with its countryside location,



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