A Poem for For Howard Bevan


Little Hamston

For Howard Bevan

The surge of green that overruns

the kitchen garden, where it rests

between hawthorn and stone, maroons

the swimming orchard’s sharp harvest.

Green shade, where the last bee drones,

slows the chariot wings, compressed

behind the brazen honeycombs

and Time is stilled, and quiet, blessed.

Welsh slates on the long roof leaden.

Sky curves over dappled gauze.

Nest-filled creepers draw a sudden

blaze of carmine curtains closed.

Though September doors stand open

the parlour flickers, fire on brass.

Flagstones warm, tomatoes ripen

all along the window glass.

The old man sips his evening tipple,

solves another crossword clue,

resting at the oaken table

worn by generations, who

drew their days from crop and stubble,

flock and herd, from morning dew

to twilight’s fall on sty and stable,

Seasons turn and turn anew.

Little Hamston, little jewel

set aside from crowd and noise;

spirit’s strength and soul’s renewal,

all our senseless rush defies.

Good folk, self-sufficient, loyal

follow here their daily lives

In narrow acres, wed to soil,

yet comprehend God’s wider skies.

© Kay Rowe May 2008


Kay visited the late Howard Bevan at Little Hamston, a property in Dyffryn, between 1990 and 2008 and wrote this poem about September. Supplied by Pat Read.





We parked at Llanthony Priory, in the care of Cadw and freely open to the public. The hamlet of Llanthony nestles in the heart of the beautiful Vale of Ewyas. This is the easternmost valley of the Black mountains, described by Gerald of Wales in 1188 as ‘encircled on all sides by lofty mountains, but no more than three arrow shots in width’.

Here in this remote and tranquil valley an Augustinian priory was founded early in the 12th century. A wealthy nobleman, William de Lacy, sheltered in the ruined Celtic chapel of St David, and overcome by devotion decided to found the priory. The Augustinians, popularly known as Black Canons from the colour of their outer garments, were organised on monastic lines but were ordained priests going out to preach and hold services in nearby churches. Nothing remains of the original buildings as the monks were forced to retreat to Hereford and Gloucester by attacks from the primarily English community. The structures visible today date from the 13th century, when the priory was re-established and the Priory church built. Completed around 1230, it was closed 300 years later by Henry VIII during the dissolution of the monasteries. Later a house, now a hotel, was built amongst the ruins where the monks once lived and worshipped.

As soon as we got out of the cars we could hear the loud reverberations of bleating sheep. Nearly all of us peeped over the stone wall (it was high) surrounding the car park to find a huge flock of hundreds of sheep on the other side – had they been brought down for shearing or market?

We walked past the priory taking the footpath towards Hatterall Ridge; it is quite steep in places but a lovely climb on good grass paths which narrow near the top due to bracken. We glanced back at the priory as we climbed and it appeared to shrink while the panorama of the countryside grew. The sweeping upland moorland is shaped by livestock grazing and traditional practices such as heather burning. Here a very special moth, the Silurian Moth, makes its home. The spring buds and leaves of the bilberry plant (known locally as the ‘whimberry’) feed the moth. The purple berries can be foraged by humans but they weren’t quite ripe enough for us. A sign reminded us that by law dogs must be kept on a lead between 1st March and 31st July and whenever livestock is nearby. This practice protects ground nesting birds such as red grouse.

A cairn marked the point at which we met the Offa’s Dyke path, the border between England and Wales. As we progressed along the ridge grazing horses came into view and larks briefly soared. On the side of the next ridge, in Wales, were curious circles shown clearly in the landscape we wondered how and for what purpose they were created. In one photograph I can count 17 of these circles and they seem to be connected by narrow tracks. A mystery!

We strode quite quickly along the ridge as the path is a pavement and thoroughly enjoyed the unusual freedom of not having to look where we were stepping. We took in the view around us: on our right and east, England relatively flat with rolling farmland and to our left, the wild hills of Wales and the Brecon Beacons National Park.

At a large cairn we stopped for a time contemplating and then turned towards Wales, starting our descent through the bracken covered hillside. We lost height quickly and came to a signpost directing us to Capel y Ffin. Now that we were lower the temperature rose and we enjoyed the local flora including some splendid foxgloves and thistles.

Arriving in the valley we disturbed a couple of black sheep, hiding in the bracken, and climbing a stile followed the road back to Llanthony. One of us had camped here many years ago and was able to share stories of all the various haunts they had explored.

On reaching Llanthony we walked around the ruins of the priory and the church of St David’s. A sign stated ‘Welcome to St David’s built on the earlier site of the monastic cell of St David, patron saint of Wales. This is one of the ancient and holy sites of Wales and has welcomed pilgrims throughout its history.’ It had a peaceful atmosphere andone of its stained glass windows has a white dove against a rich blue background – beautiful.

Walk7.25miles 1200ft ascent. Map OL13





Looking Forward

As I write this we are half way through our Summer Holidays and looking forward to a very busy year at Playgroup from September.

The Playgroup is now full for morning sessions with limited space on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons only. We have started a waiting list for morning spaces for 2020 and people are already registering interest for September 2020, especially those who are hoping to attend with wrap around care at Gwenfo Nursery.

As mentioned in July What’s On, we are offering breakfast club for those who are due to start at Gwenfo Reception from September. We still have a few spaces remaining should you wish to attend Breakfast and onto Reception @ £5 per morning from 8am. Breakfast is flexible with days, you don’t have to do all five, however, you will need to do the same breakfasts each week during term time.

We can also offer limited space for breakfast and onto Gwenfo Nursery from 8am @ £5 per session or if you are eligible for Government Free Child Care, 50p per session. Again, you don’t have to do everyday, you can just do a couple of days as long as they are the same each term week.

For further information please telephone us on 02920597494 or email us at wenvoeplaygroup @btinternet.com and speak to Sandra.

Please view our website and read our Admissions Statement of Purpose and Operational Plan which highlight our practice and costs. www.wenvoeplaygroup.co.uk

We look forward to seeing everyone return on Wednesday 4th September



Love Island People Are People


People are people

This summer, just like the majority of the nation, I spent each night watching ‘Love Island’. For two months, I dedicated part of my day to watching a bunch of people, not that much older than myself attempt to find the loves of their lives. I feel like over the two months I formed opinions on those people, and recently I found myself having to take a step back and remember that these are real people.

With the ever-changing status of ‘celebrities’ in this day and age, everyone has an opinion, and everyone feels their opinion deserves a platform. But, when you’re seeing people attack someone online, the lines can get blurred and dangerous. As a society, we put celebrities on a pedestal, but sometimes people on the internet can forget that celebrities have hearts of their own. And when they’re thrust into celebrity life by shows like Love Island, they may not be as strong as they appear in a villa, cut-off from the outside world. Re-entering everyday life when everyone suddenly knows who you are must be hard, but especially when it also comes to comments about their appearance or being vilified for their reasoning behind entering an environment like Love Island.

This year’s Love Island final seemed close, far closer than the one we all endured in 2018. Despite the fact that Molly-Mae Hague and Tommy Fury were the longest-lasting couple to have made it to the 2019 final, Amber Gill found love in Greg O’Shea after being mistreated by Michael Griffiths. The final seemed close, and despite the fact that Greg and Amber hadn’t long been coupled-up, Amber’s status as the nation’s sweetheart suddenly meant the final was hard to predict.

But whilst I, like probably about 80% of the UK, impatiently waited for the result, I decided to check Twitter to see if I could predict the final vote. What I found, however, was that ‘#MoneyMae’ was trending on Twitter. I laughed for a second, but then I realised that this is her life. Molly-Mae would be leaving the solitude of the Love Island villa, at just 20 years old, to a status as ‘fake’ by just about everyone on the internet. I admit, some of her actions on the show seemed as though she was desperate to win, but never did I question her love and admiration for Tommy. And let’s be honest, if you’re joining Love Island, finding fame (and maybe getting some of that prize money) must be in your peripheral. Molly-Mae was vilified for playing the game, but others won our hearts for being better at hiding the fact they were doing the same.

It feels like because reality-TV stars are putting their lives out to the world, the public think they owe us more of their private lives. Sometimes, with people like Gemma Collins, we see some reality-TV-made celebrities as more of characters than real people. We can sometimes perceive their personality as an act; but making comments on their personality can be harmful. It’s easy to forget that these are real people. These are people who, despite putting parts of their life to the public, deserve privacy.

I was astounded recently when I saw that Good Morning Britain had practically forced Love Island contestant Curtis Pritchard to label himself as bisexual. On the Love Island Reunion show, which followed a week after the live final, the host questioned islanders on whether or not they’d slept with one another since leaving the villa. Surely, they deserve that privacy? They’ve put their lives in the spotlight, but we don’t need to know every little detail of their life. It must feel as though they’re living in The Truman Show and you can imagine how disturbing that must feel.

Then there’s the trolls on the internet. People who think they deserve a say in everyone’s lives and do all they can to promote negativity. Why waste your time on nasty comments? I should hope they have jobs to do, or lives to live. ‘#MoneyMae’ might seem like a bit of fun, but it can easily be considered trolling. There’s joking about certain decisions or actions made by celebrities, but there is a point where things can be pushed too far.

As of 2019, two former Love Island contestants have committed suicide due to online trolling. Allegedly, more than 38 suspected suicides have been linked to reality tv shows worldwide. Love Island has dozens of therapists ready for the islanders; Amy Hart of this year’s cast said she had visited the therapist numerous times whilst on the show and needed desperately to visit them again when she got her phone back. Molly-Mae Hague and Tommy Fury have been told to stay away from social media since their return to everyday life due to the onslaught of negative comments they’ve received. We as a society are obsessed with the lives of others, but it is important to remember that these are people, not characters in a fiction show.

As the saying goes, ‘it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt’. Be mindful of the comments you are making on others’ lives. They’re still people.

By Tirion Davies



Music Shop History Request

I am embarking on a project to document the history of music and record shops in Cardiff, Barry and Penarth and I would love to have some help from Wenvoe residents. I am hoping to publish a book which will document the hidden history of music and record shops from 1850 to the present day- the first 170 years. Very little has been published on this specific topic locally and I felt it was a subject that deserved more publicity as these shops were/are an important part of many peoples lives.

Over the last 18 months I have uncovered information on 330 (yes 330!) music and records shops in the area. I am hoping that local residents can help me fill in some of the gaps. I am appealing for help in finding out more about the shops and the people who owned/ran, worked in them as well as any reminiscences of being a customer. Any photos or other memorabilia relating to record shops would be great too.

Of course there were many high street stores such as Woolworths, Howells, Morgans, Littlewoods and specialist stores Virgin, HMV and Our Price etc. However I am particularly keen to find out more about some of the small independent shops many of whom did not just sell records and/or musical instruments but stocked bicycles, TV’s, Radios, electrical and other household items. Before 1900 it was quite common for tobacconists to stock sheet music and musical instruments. I have even uncovered a watch maker stocking musical items.

Most people can remember the first record they purchased and where – however embarrassed they now feel about it! – and these stories could also help with my research.

If you have any information you would like to share please let me know. I can be contacted at nigelrbillingham@yahoo.co.uk or 02920 594708. Thanks for your time




Barry Camera Club Exhibition

Barry Camera Club has an Exhibition on at Arts Central Gallery, Kings Square, Barry, CF63 4RW.

It was opened on June 10th by Margaret Wilkinson, the Mayor of Barry Town Council and Jenny Hibbert the Vice President of The Welsh Photographic Federation and it will run until September 7th.

The Exhibition features 95 prints from members of the Club, including Twyn Yr Odyn resident Roy Carr, who also happens to be the Chairman of the Club. He said: “In today’s digital world, where photographs so often remain hidden on hard drives or mobiles, it’s great to see so many prints up on the walls. It’s also good to see how the work of very different photographers, with very different styles can complement one another when carefully laid out.”

“A few of our members have never printed their work before and their sense of excitement was a delight to see.”

There is also a video featuring over 240 photographs on display on a large screen television.

So why not pay the Exhibition a visit. Arts Central is open Monday to Friday 10 – 4.30 and Saturday 10 – 3.30.





1 2 3 5