Long Live the walls we crashed through
2019 is a funny place. Support for human rights for everyone is at an all-time high, but bigotry still lurks and rears its ugly head. Arguably, there’s never been more support for women’s rights, for lgbtq rights, for the rights of people of colour, for equality for everyone. But that support doesn’t amount to changing the world, because the people who are most often in support of equality aren’t the people running the world. I say this as a generalisation – there are, of course, politicians and world leaders doing their best to make the world a better place – but the bad outweigh the good in many instances.
America, a big powerhouse in the world’s political landscape, seems to be living in a dystopia. Between a newspaper editor in Alabama calling on the Ku Klux Klan to lynch Democrats in February (of this year, definitely not the 1800s) to marital rape still being legal in states like North Carolina, to the anti-abortion bill in Georgia banning abortions beyond the six-week mark of pregnancy – before many women even notice they’ve missed their period. To even an article in The New York Times in February of 2019, stating that thousands of immigrant children had been sexually abused at government-funded detention facilities in the United States.
There are countries in the world where women don’t have citizenship. There’s a country in Europe where if a woman harms a man who sexually assaulted her (in self-defence), she gets a life of imprisonment, and he gets a slap on the wrist. There are countries in the world where a young girl is a bride and a mother before she is even fifteen.
The MeToo movement is one I wholeheartedly support, as is HeForShe and every other equal rights activism movement on behalf of women. Because it’s a brilliant thing that we’re talking about it and that we’re fighting against it. But my God, isn’t it a terrifying thought that whilst opinions have changed and evolved, women are still dying in fields holding their stillborn child because of their lack of adequate healthcare.
It’s a terrifying world to be in as a woman. I’m simultaneously shown how strong and wonderful women can be, in any outfit they so choose; but the mute button can still be pressed at any time on my beliefs. It’s a terrifying world where I’m sat in my room, studying at a brilliant university, but Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head for attempting to receive an education. A terrifying world where experiences of being unable to walk home alone at night as a woman are universal.
Loving someone of the same gender in many countries is still illegal. Only last year did India legalise homosexuality. But there are still countries in the world where loving who you love makes you a target and causes all types of violence. There is, of course, nothing wrong with loving someone of the same gender, but in 2019, that sentiment isn’t shared with everyone. Even within the UK some have their prejudices against same-sex relationships. The whole world seems like a nightmare where some want to
pretend loving in the way which isn’t ‘traditional’ to them is impossible.
What a strange world. A world where pride flags of the lgbtq community are both celebrated and burned. A world where two women kissing is acceptable when it’s fetishized by creepy old men for music videos, but not when it happens between two consenting people in love. A world where ‘coming out’ is still mutually exclusive with being lgbtq and being heterosexual is the ‘norm’. A world where hate crime is still so common. A world where being yourself is both being celebrated and being banned.
Imagine being pulled over and having to be scared that something might happen to you because of the colour of your skin. Imagine being a part of a world where your culture is used as fancy dress but is ignored when you’re fighting to save it. Imagine being shot by the people who are meant to stop the bad things happening because you’re deemed a danger based on your ethnicity. Imagine being in a world where because you are a person of colour, you are constantly watched over. A world where because of the colour of your skin, the bar is equally so much higher and so much lower. The bar dictating whether you are deemed a ‘revolutionary’ or a ‘criminal’. Imagine a world where only one actress of African descent has won an Academy Award for Best Actress. Imagine a world where Black Panther was the first superhero film with primarily actors of African descent, but only in 2018 did this happen.
Imagine what a ridiculous, harsh world that would be. But that world isn’t imaginary. It’s the world we’re living in. Right now.
2019 is as bizarre as it is incredible. As terrifying as it is remarkable.
Don’t make the world scarier, make it kinder. Be nice to people. Question your prejudices. Stop making arguments for the sake of arguments and start making arguments on the matters that really count.
The world shouldn’t be ruled by those who do so simply for power. Power means hunger. Don’t feed the beast, fight it.
‘I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you’.
By Tirion Davies
Vestry Roof Repair. At long last the contractor has been appointed to replace the lead stolen from the vestry roof, earlier in the year. The new roof covering will be of zinc metal and the work will also include the repairs to the vestry walls, ceiling and floor. It will be a relief to all to get the vestry back in working order. Watch this space.
The big event in May was the Christian Aid Week collection. Every house in the village has been visited with an envelope through each door. The flags and banner outside St. Mary’s were a reminder to all how important this fund raising is. The money is being used to provide safe care and clean clinics for pregnant mothers in parts of the world where these facilities are often very basic. Gwenfo Church in Wales School held a “Big Breckie” on May 17th with the proceeds given to Christian Aid. A non- uniform day was also arranged by the school to help the appeal. Well done!
The church clock is once again striking the hours, the repair being carried out by Smiths of Derby on May 14th. It is worth recording that the church clock was installed in the 1880’s as a public memorial to the late Capt. Robert Lascelles Jenner. The money was raised by public subscription and the clock is now a much-loved community asset.
Church Extension. The new plans have been seen by the Building Committee and we await the visit of the new chair of the Diocesan Advisory Committee to discuss the plans with our Architect. The entire scheme depends on whether we will get approval to breach the north wall of the nave to get access into the new extension which will include toilet facilities etc. Once again watch this space.
Some years ago, when we were given permission to remove a number of sycamore trees from the churchyard extension burial ground, we were required to plant replacement trees. The advice given was for four cherry trees to be planted along the boundary wall on Walston Road. These trees were duly planted, given in memory of loved ones who had died. The dedication ceremony is planned for June 2nd at 3.30pm and suitable plaques have been provided with the names of the persons commemorated. The trees have been in flower this year and provide an interesting contrast to the more sober yew trees, for which our churchyard is well known.
Food Bank. We continue to make regular contributions to the Barry Food Bank thanks to the many donations we received from members of the congregation, during the past 12 months. 3,833 three-day emergency food parcels have been given out and this is an increase of 11% over last year. This month’s requests for basic food items, include tinned meats, tinned vegetables, fruit juices, fruit or milk puddings. Toilet rolls, toothpaste and soaps etc. are also useful.
Messy Church. The next session will take place on
Saturday 15th June in the afternoon. This is going to be an outdoor messy event in the school field at Gwenfo Church in Wales School, with the theme of Father’s Day. Let us hope for good weather so no matter what the mess, it will all be outdoors. The afternoon event is open to all, young and old. They are great fun for the children and parents are also able to spend some valuable time with their children, helping with the craft work, the singing, the story telling and not forgetting the picnic afterwards. Help is always appreciated in setting up and clearing away and any contributions to the food are welcome.
The congregations in Jon’s three churches have been thinking about Jon as he joins the Llandaff Clergy School on their pilgrimage to Compostela in Spain during the week of 13th May. He has promised to get photographed with his hat, pilgrim staff, shorts and nobly knees, plus his certificate to show that he completed part of the walk. This is quite a venture for the diocese and ties in with Bishop June’s vision of the pilgrimage the diocese will have to make in the years ahead.
WENVOE OPEN GARDENS
Discussions have been going on to have a number of gardens in the village, to be open for visiting on the afternoon of Saturday 20th July from 1.00pm-5.00 pm. There will be in excess of 8 gardens to visit and a map showing the locations will be provided. The entry will be £5.00 for adults with children FREE of charge. The entry and maps can be picked up in the churchyard, where refreshments will be available during the afternoon (donations will be welcomed). The church will also be open for visiting, together with the Church Hall for toilets etc. The money raised will be given to the Building Fund and especially to the Vestry roof repairs. Thanks to Brian, Sandra and Mike for all their help in planning this fund raising venture, so pray for a fine sunny day and for lots of people to see some interesting ideas in their gardens.
Thank you for reading and every blessing
From September this year, Wenvoe Playgroup will be changing its structure to Wenvoe Playgroup CIO, securing the group for many years to come. We have a high intake for 2019 to 2020 so if you are thinking of joining and haven’t already done so, please contact us for availability
Here at the Playgroup, we work alongside Gwenfo Nursery providing wrap around care, with many children attending mornings with us and on to afternoon nursery. We do have some spaces available for pick up from Gwenfo Nursery at this time from 11:20am to 12:45pm Monday to Friday £8 per day and afternoon spaces available 11:20pm until 3:15pm on Wednesday and Thursday at £18 per day.
Both Cardiff and The Vale of Glamorgan now offer the 30 Hour Free Childcare which allows you 17.5 hours free at Playgroup, if you meet the Welsh Government,s criteria.
Visit www.wenvoeplaygroup.co.uk. Telephone: 02920 59749; email email@example.com
WARD COUNCILLOR – Cllr Jonathan Bird
As you may have seen in the press lately, I have decided to resign from the Conservative Group in the Council and therefore resign as cabinet member for Regeneration and Planning. I am not a person to court the press, I believe on getting down to work and get the job done, I feel that I do owe you all an explanation of what is currently happening in the Vale Council.
Some of my reasons for this action are the following;
Roads in the Vale of Glamorgan,
The new leader of the Conservatives wants to drop the work to provide a new road from Sycamore Cross to Junction 34 in favour of putting a Dinas Powys bypass in, I firmly believe that we need a new road to the M4 as the roads around the Vale and especially Wenvoe are approaching gridlock and without the new J34 road we will grind to a halt. We already see higher numbers of cars and lorries using the lanes and roads as rat runs and this will get worse as time goes on. I don’t believe that the bypass of Dinas Powys will give a significant benefit to Wenvoe or the whole of the Vale; just some minor local benefit and therefore not value for money.
Schooling in the Vale of Glamorgan,
Again the new leader of the Conservatives would reverse the decision to close Llancarfan school. My view is that as an old dilapidated school with very small numbers of children coming from the catchment (one this year) it is unfit for purpose and on a very small site not allowing improvements to the standards that are expected today for children’s education. Also with 70% or more of the children travelling from Rhoose daily, and a need for more places in Rhoose due to a huge amount of new housing, is it right to make these children travel or build a new school with all the facilities now expected within walking distance of their homes? Additionally, the money for a new school in Rhoose is available through a levy (section 106) taken from the builders in Rhoose and all in place, as is the land. The school in Llancarfan could not run if the children from Rhoose were to attend a local school due to financial reasons ie class sizes would be too small or have multiple years thus causing a huge deficit budget, therefore having an effect on the wider education budget affecting all children in the Vale. I could go on and on with reasons, I do hope you understand my stance on this.
The new leader of the Conservatives would not have rises in council tax. I hear you all say great, but he has no plan as to how he would pay for the services you all require. Currently the council has had to shave £60m off its budget over the last 10 years with another £6m needed to be saved for the next two years. My concern is that his idea of no council tax increase would lead to huge losses of services with very low levels of service. You are all aware that services are stretched to the limit now so further loss of funding will cause serious failure in many areas including Waste, Social Services and Education.
I firmly believe that we should ensure that we as a Council should ensure that all people, especially the young and vulnerable, receive decent levels of service and care. All this costs money and cuts will put people and services at risk.
I trust that you will understand my reason for leaving the Conservative group and I will ensure that I do all I can to make sure that the ward of Wenvoe continues to thrive. I will fight hard to ensure we get all the services and amenities we all deserve.
I have enjoyed my two years serving on the cabinet and I believe that I have done my best for the residents of Wenvoe and the whole Vale of Glamorgan in a very difficult financial time, as I have always done for the last 11 years while being your Councillor.
Thank you for your support and if you wish to contact me to discuss the issues above or any other problems you may have please do so. JBird@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk 07917142523.
‘SWIMMING WITH CHAUCER
– A STORYTELLER’S LOGBOOK’
Canadian storyteller Dan Yashinsky will be making a stop in Wenvoe at the end of June to perform at a house party concert.
Dan is a storyteller, writer, and community animator living in Toronto. He has worked for the last five years as the storyteller-in-residence at Baycrest Health Sciences, telling stories in the psychiatry and palliative units. He was also the storyteller-in-residence at The Stop Community Food Centre, Toronto Public Library, UNICEF Canada, and Queen’s University Education Department. His most recent book is ‘Swimming with Chaucer – A Storyteller’s Logbook’.
‘I once memorized the Miller’s Tale’, says Dan. ‘It has accompanied me on long drives, long swims, long walks, and a long vigil for our son in the neonatal intensive care unit. Stories and poems are useful, especially the ones we carry in our heads and hearts. Mixing life stories and folktales, this evening explores how and why stories are such wise road-companions.’
While he is in the country Dan will be contributing to the volunteer training for a new project. A diagnosis of a neurodegenerative condition like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS or others, is a life changer. ‘Something is wrong in your brain!’ is the message, and it can feel like an assault on your sense of self, your very identity. It takes a bit of getting used to. Supported by The National Lottery Community Fund and hosted by storytelling charity Beyond the Border (Charity no 1144275) Slow Motion Selfies, is a programme of activity designed to help individuals affected by neurodegenerative conditions to find a new creative self. Donations received on the evening will go to the project.
Join us on Wednesday 26 June for a 7.30 start with refreshments to follow Dan’s performance; he always has an engaging and humorous take on life.
Places will be limited to 25 so please email firstname.lastname@example.org or text/call 07870 212437 by 17th June to reserve a place and receive address details. Last time we sold out!
Please note that this is storytelling for adults and not intended for under 14s.
To find out more about Slow Motion Selfies contact email@example.com
Following on from last month’s article, we thought a little bit more information about the Valeothon event on Sunday 30 June wouldn’t go amiss.
The event will bring up to 200 riders to the village which is where the start and finish is located. We have the use of the Community Centre for our registration area and the Village Hall for a short time for extra toilet facilities. After 9 am the Vale Village Church will be using the Village Hall as usual.
The event will start from Station Road West and the riders will turn right and head out of the village along Old Port Road and up the hill towards Dyffryn.
There is a choice of 2 routes, a 40 mile route which sticks to the Vale of Glamorgan and an 80 mile route which goes through the valleys and up over the Bwlch mountain. The 80 mile route has a refreshment stop just after the descent from the Bwlch and both routes meet in Cowbridge for more cake and sweets before heading home to Wenvoe.
The event is supported by a number of local sponsors and is a non-profit making event. However, we
think we will have some surplus money after totting up the overheads, so we have decided to make a do-nation to Wenvoe School who would like some sports kit and we intend to make further charitable donations too.
However, we are well aware that this event will bring a lot of people to the village early on Sunday morning and we want to ensure that no one is inconvenienced as a result. No roads will be closed. The start/finish area will be marshalled to ensure there are no problems with access to drives and houses. This will mostly affect Station Road West, as this is where the riders will line up before setting off. Riders will start to arrive from about 7.00am and all riders will have left by 9.00am.
We will do our best to keep any disruption to a mini-mum and we will be advising all the riders to be respectful of the residents. We will definitely be picking up any litter.
We hope you will support us and perhaps get involved and cheer our riders on at the start and finish. Of course, we will encourage anyone who fancies a pint afterwards to call in at the Wenvoe Arms.
If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
CURRIED PRAWN KEDGEREE WITH DILL SOURED CREAM
good knob of butter
1 large white onion, finely chopped
2 rounded tsp. PATAK’S medium curry paste
250g good quality brown rice
500g tub fish stock
20g pack of fresh dill, chopped
4 tbsp. half fat soured cream
2-3tsps. Capers, rinsed and chopped
260g cooked and peeled king prawns
25g fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
3 large fresh eggs, hard boiled and quartered
Pre-heat oven to 180C. Melt the butter in a large non-stick pan and add the onion. Cook gently for about 5 minutes until soft but not golden. Add the curry paste and cook for a further minute. Add the rice, stirring to coat in the paste, then add the stock. Bring to the boil then transfer to a large casserole dish, cover and bake for about 20-25 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Stir from time to time. In a separate bowl, mix together the dill, soured cream and capers and set aside. Once cooked remove the casserole dish from the oven, gently stir in the prawns and return to the oven for about 5 minutes to heat through. Once cooked stir through the parsley, top with the eggs.
Serve with the sour cream and enjoy.
THAI GRILLED SALMON WITH WATERCRESS RAITA
100g watercress, roughly chopped
18 fresh mint leaves
generous pinch of salt
2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
2 green chillies, cut in half and deseeded
3tbsp. fresh lime juice
1tbsp. caster sugar
1tbsp peeled and chopped root ginger
1tbsp fish sauce
4 x 175g salmon fillets
lime wedges to serve
For the raita.
200ml Greek yoghurt
100g watercress, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
salt and fresh black pepper
Place the watercress, mint, salt, garlic and chillies in a food processor and whiz until finely chopped. Add the lime juice, caster sugar, ginger and fish sauce, then process to make a paste. Evenly coat each salmon fillet with the paste, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the raita ingredients, season and chill. Cook the salmon on a hot griddle, or a heavy based pan for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Serve topped with a dollop of raita and with lime wedges. Serve with boiled tender stem broccoli and TILDA LEMON microwave BASMATI RICE