October & November Events

Oct 16th. We were delighted to welcome back M&Co to give us another fashion ashow. We were shown a variety of autumn and winter outfits culminating in a selection of sparkling outfits for the festive season. A big thank you must go to our three members who modelled the clothes making the evening a success.

Oct 30th. John Sheen returned to give us another talk which was entitled “The Happiest Days” and was about growing up in the 1950’s and memories of school from that time. We were encouraged to tell of the things we liked/disliked about our own schooldays.

John brought along a few objects which we all remembered such as the exercise book covered in brown paper as a dustcover and an Oxford geometry set.

The memories of school were interspersed with poems by several authors including Gervais Phinn and Gwyn Thomas which were all very amusing and appropriate.

John went back to his own career as a schoolmaster and we heard some letters written about children’s absences from school which made us laugh.

We then heard some school reports from a variety of celebrities , including this one from Dame Judy Dench – “Would be a very good pupil if only she lived in this world”.

It was obvious from the reaction of the audience that teachers make a big impression on us and John’s talk gave us something to talk about. On a cold winter’s evening it was a pleasure to listen and be amused by such a talented orator as John.

Nov 6th Nick Craddock, from local family-run cider farm, Vale Cider, talked about how they make craft Welsh cider. He described the whole process from planting the apple trees to bottling their award-winning ciders. Vale Cider involves all the family with Nick and his son, Joseph being the business partners who do most of the work but other members helping at the busy times.

The farm is in the heart of the Vale of Glamorgan, between Bonvilston and Welsh St Donat’s and a variety of different apples are grown to provide the balance of flavours needed for the best ciders. Welsh bees in their orchards pollinate the apple trees as well as giving honey – and Nick’s pigs love to eat the rejected apples and the dry pomace after it has been pressed.

Vale Cider does not just make award-winning traditional ciders. They also make fruit ciders, mulled cider punch, apple juice and apple cider vinegar. Nick’s talk was illustrated by lots of photographs and short video clips to make it entertaining as well as interesting – and everyone got a taste of their most popular cider, “Serious Scrumpy”. Vale Cider has a website (www.valecider.co.uk) and a facebook page (facebook.com/valecider) which have more information and photos about what they do.

Nov 20th When Janet Sully came to talk about the impact of World War One on Llandaff, we were very surprised to learn that little was known or had been recorded. The war memorial showed the names of people killed in the war but Janet wanted to find out about the people left behind. Fortunately Parish magazines provided the source she needed.

We were shown some interesting pictures of Llandaff at the beginning of the twentieth century when Llandaff had a population of around 2,000. We saw a picture of the Cathedral school before moving to its present site and the High Street before it had shops. The Cathedral school sadly lost 56 of its former pupils in the war.

In 1914 a quarter of a million Belgian refugees came to Britain and 55 ended up in Llandaff. Street collections were organised to help them and some were housed by wealthy locals or in the two houses that were set aside for them. At the end of the war the refugees left without a trace.

Some existing buildings were adapted to repatriate wounded soldiers and when The Lodge became too small, St Michael’s college took over and it accommodated around 70 soldiers, mainly officers. They were visited by locals and we saw the picture of a wedding that later took place between a visitor and a soldier.

Rookwood became a military hospital looking after the more seriously wounded and was staffed by the Red Cross or VAD Glamorgan. Some Llandaff ladies gave up normal working duties to help at the hospital. Rookwood was the only building to continue as a hospital once the war ended.

Two large houses became supply depots where the women made bandages and clothes to send off to a central depot. ‘Comforts’ were made here for soldiers and schoolgirls also helped by knitting socks, hats and gloves. Local parish magazines itemised the articles that were made by the ladies and schoolgirls.

In 1917 a big effort was made by the Government to encourage schools to save money by collecting war saving stamps. Those doing well had an extra day off. Girls at Howells School saved money by having certificates as prizes instead of the usual books. Llandaff was asked to raise £40,000 for four aeroplanes but actually managed to raise double that.

It was felt appropriate to honour those who went to fight and at first cards were produced but as numbers increased and names were added this developed into a beautifully illustrated book of honour where a cross was placed alongside the name of those who died.

When the war ended the question of a memorial was raised and this included the restoration of the bell tower and the removal of the two adjoining houses. Subsequently the site for the memorial was moved to the north end of Cathedral Green. The monument, which was erected in 1924 consists of three standing figures on three separate granite plinths and has two soldiers with a female figure in the centre. A fitting tribute to the ladies of Llandaff