Rhiwbina Living Issue 50

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Summer 2020 issue of the award-winning magazine for Rhiwbina

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Rhiwbina Living

At the heart of the community

Issue 50 Summer ‘20

Your multi award-winning magazine for Rhiwbina


a: 222 Pantbach Road,

Rhiwbina, Cardiff CF14 6AG

t: 07772 081775 / 07974 022920

w: www.livingmags.co.uk

e: editor@livingmags.co.uk or

danielle@livingmags.co.uk

Distribution: 6,000 copies of Rhiwbina Living are

personally delivered by us to every house in the

Rhiwbina ward four times a year in line with the

seasons. We also distribute to local shops

2

Inside this issue

Interview

Meet Rhiwbina

financial adviser

Joel, who set

up an online

band called the

Lockdown Buddy

Band

Green Mile

Movement

The brotherhood

that's pushing to

improve men's

mental and

physical health

Northern

Meadows

Find out how

a campaign

is fighting to

save precious

meadow land in

Whitchurch

History

A look at

newspaper

cuttings from

the local area

taken from

times gone by

Autumn deadline:

18th September

Published October

While every effort has been made to

ensure the accuracy of the contents,

the publisher cannot accept any

responsibility for errors or omissions,

or for any matter in any way arising

from the publication of this material.

Every effort has been made to

contact any copyright holders.

Rhiwbina Living is an independent,

apolitical publication. No part of this

publication may be reproduced

without the express written

permission of the publishers.

Welcome / Croeso

Welcome to your Summer issue

of Rhiwbina Living - our 50th

issue!

It's certainly been an eventful

few months since our last issue

back in November. Sadly, we

had to forego our planned

Spring issue because of the

pandemic. Our lives have

perhaps changed forever but

we take some comfort in the

constants of life. We hope that

this Summer issue will bring you

some source of continuity.

The global pandemic has

touched all of our lives in

so many different ways. For

some, it's been a time of grief.

For many, it's been a time of

uncertainty and worry.

One thing that the pandemic

has done is given us a new

appreciation of the beauty that

is on our doorstep. Nowhere has

this been made more prominent

than Whitchurch's Northern

Meadows, situated between

Asda and Whitchurch Hospital.

The beauty spot is currently

earmarked for development in

the next few years but residents

have launched a campaign

to save what's become their

sanctuary during the lockdown.

We also hear from several

key workers from Rhiwbina,

who have worked while some

of us were ordered to stay at

home. These people have been

instrumental in keeping our lives

moving, even in the middle of a

global pandemic.

Children also have their

say about how the virus has

impacted their lives as they try

to adapt to a new way of living

and learning.

One man who decided to do

something positive with his free

time is Joel Piacentini, a financial

adviser from Rhiwbina who loves

to create music. Joel set up

his own online band with each

member playing in isolation,

and you can read about their

performances that have been

seen around the world.

Another person who has used

their free time to good use is

Samantha Brown, who decided

to pack in her day job and travel

the world as a digital nomad.

She now works freelance from

her camper van as she crisscrosses

the globe.

Writing can help you express

feelings and begin to come to

terms with emotional trauma.

If you're feeling creative, we've

put together a short guide

that shows you how to pen a

short story, whether it's just for

yourself or for publication.

Up in Taff's Well, a new

brotherhood has formed to

help men in particular, with their

physical and mental health. Run

by a former commando, the

Green Mile Movement aims to

bring positivity to our area and

beyond.

Our financial security is one

thing that's taken a hit these

last few months, especially with

the turmoil of the employment

market. With that in mind, we've

got some work-from-home

ideas that you can get started

on straight away. And there is no

better time to prioritise our wellbeing

so we've got some helpful

tips for you.

Our history page this issue

looks at newspaper cuttings

from years gone by while local

gardener Kevin Revell is also on

hand to show us how gardening

can be a therapeutic activity that

promotes wellbeing.

We do hope that you continue

to stay safe during these

summer months. We'll be back

in late October with our Autumn

issue. Until then, take care and

enjoy the summer sunshine.

Danielle and Patric

Editors

@RhiwbinaLiving

www.facebook.com/rhiwbinaliving

@livingmagazinescardiff


Scarecrows take Rhiwbina by

storm in place of festival

Rhiwbina may have missed its annual

Summer Festival this year but a local

trader was determined not to let the

community spirit succumb to the

coronavirus pandemic.

Local business Word of Mouth

Maintenance launched a Scarecrow

Walk instead to bring the community

together and help support local

businesses.

Word of Mouth Maintenance owner

Adrian McGrath told Rhiwbina Living:

“The annual Summer Festival is a

huge community gathering with lots

of local businesses and residents

coming together to share happy

and fun times. We were keen not to

lose that occasion, just because we

couldn't celebrate in the usual way.

Here at Word of Mouth Maintenance,

we wanted to do something

that brought people together

and involved both residents and

businesses.”

Adrian usually carries out work for

Rhiwbina residents or businesses,

and as a gesture of appreciation to

the community, he donates money

to the Rhiwbina Summer and

Christmas Festivals.

“We could see that many people

were out taking daily walks as part

of their lockdown exercise plan so

we thought that a fun and happy

sighting, while out on a walk,

would be a good idea – hence the

Scarecrow Walk was pitched to the

Rhiwbina Events Team and they

agreed to run it. Word of Mouth

Maintenance provided the prize

money and Worzel Marmaduke

Oscar McGrath was created the

following weekend – he was the

brand ambassador!” said Adrian.

The Scarecrow Walk was officially

launched on 8th July and came to its

exciting conclusion in early August.

Rhiwbina residents (including

Pantmawr and Pantbach) were

encouraged to participate by placing

a homemade scarecrow in their front

garden and registering this via the

Rhiwbina Festival Team Facebook

page. The competition was decided

by a public vote.

Three winners were announced

as Strictly Come Dancing (Heol-y-

Deri), Worzel Scrummage (Heol-y-

Deri) and Gareth Bale (Lon Isa). The

winning scarecrows each received a

£50 scarecrow voucher to spend with

any of the Rhiwbina businesses.

20mph limits imposed

Rhiwbina has become the latest part

of Cardiff to be designated a 20mph

zone.

Road markings were painted onto

the streets of the village in early

August, and it is hoped that the

scheme will make the roads safer.

The First Minister Mark Drakeford

argued last year that the

implementation of 20mph limits on

residential roads would result in a

reduction in the speed of traffic and,

in turn, a lower accident rate.

A Department of Transport study

in 2018 revealed that on average,

86% of drivers break 20mph speed

limits. Trials have been taking pace in

Cardiff over the last two years.

news

Squirrels Vice

Chair steps down

Rhiwbina RFC has experienced

a monumental change in their

Senior Section both on and off

the field over the past decade.

This includes promotions, cup

wins, finals appearances, and

significant player and coach

development. In addition,

the development of new

infrastructure and improved

facilities have also been realised.

During this period, one man has

been a significant leader of the

process – David Hobbs.

The Vice Chairman has been

a member for over 25 years

and has been intrinsically

linked to the club’s continuous

improvement. This takes skill,

knowledge, determination but

also a serious amount of effort

and time and, in Hobbsy’s case, a

lot of bare-faced cheek!

Going forward, David has

decided that he wants to take a

step back from his current frontline

rugby role and concentrate

on other club activities, such as

fundraising and continuing the

#7-77 model. To this end, he

is stepping down from his role

as Vice Chairman of the Senior

Section and will be taking up a

new offline role on the Executive

Team.

This will provide an optimisation

of his time in other areas. From

change comes opportunity

and, in the near future, the club

hopes to appoint an existing club

member or associate to continue

the amazing work Dave has

undertaken.

"The Club wishes to recognise

and thank Dave for the incredible

work and dedication he has

shown to Rhiwbina RFC as a

volunteer over the last two

decades and we are excited to

see the impact he makes in his

new areas of interest," said a

spokesman.

3


news

Black Lives

Matter mural

dispute

Village shops close permanently

amid Coronavirus uncertainty

An artwork that depicted Jesus

wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt

was vandalised in June, causing

uproar in the local community.

The mural was created by local

artist Jo Jones, who said that she

was shocked when the T-shirt was

taken from Canolfan Beulah for the

first time.

The T-shirt was replaced but

this was defaced to read 'All Lives

Matter'.

The incidents were reported to the

police and sparked debate across

social media.

Bus service

extended to

Rhiwbina

A bus service that connects Cardiff

City Centre with Cardiff Bay to the

south and Thornhill to the north, will

be extended to cover Rhiwbina and

Taffs Well.

The popular X8 route will run

every 30 minutes from September

7th, and will be renamed the C8.

Adam Keen, NAT group managing

director, said:

"The extension to the C8

service not only provides a more

comprehensive service for new and

existing passengers, it also makes

operational sense incorporating our

new depot in Taffs Well to reduce

‘dead mileage’ and ease driver

change overs."

All NAT bus routes in Cardiff will

start with the prefix ‘C’, while the

‘X’ prefix will be reserved for Cross

Country services.

4

Two of Rhiwbina's longestestablished

businesses have fallen

victim to the fallout of the Coronavirus

pandemic.

Both Beulah Road Dress Agency

and The Olive Branch have closed

their doors for the last time in recent

weeks.

Beulah Dress Agency announced its

closure in July. A message on social

media read:

"It with a very sad and heavy heart

I have to announce that the dress

agency has had to close its doors

due to Covid-19's social distancing

and government working restrictions

that can't be actioned with the Dress

Agency shop.

"Thank you all for your loyalty over

the many years the shop has been

trading. I will miss my customers and

the social interactions I have with

many of you!

Yours, Alyson XX"

A message on The Olive Branch's

Facebook page read:

"With great sadness we announce

that The Olive Branch on Heol Y Deri

will not be opening its doors again.

With the impact of the pandemic and

inability to guarantee social distancing

in an already tight financial situation,

the decision to permanently close

was inevitable.

"Since the Olive Branch first opened

35 years ago, the staff and volunteers

have enjoyed welcoming so many

through our door. Jackie, Kayleigh

and all the current staff want to thank

our customers from the bottom of our

hearts for all your love and support

over the years.

"We are hoping to have a celebration

in memory of the Olive Branch's 35

years in the new year so keep an eye

on our social media for updates about

that."

The two shops follow in the

footsteps of other Rhiwbina-based

businesses that have shut up shop,

including Raybould's Butchers.

Former Squirrel signs for Exeter

A former Rhiwbina RFC Squirrel has

signed for Rugby Premiership's Exeter

Chiefs.

18-year-old back rower lock Christ

Tshiunza signed for the club in June

as he embarked on a new career

with the English club. The highlyrated

second-row has moved up

through the rugby ranks in the Welsh

capital, playing for Cardiff Schools, the

Blues' Under-16s and 18s as well as

Rhiwbina RFC.

The former Whitchurch High School

pupil stands at 6 ft 7 inches tall, after

growing four or five inches taller in

2016.

"I found Exeter a very welcoming

place so I’ll go down there full-time

next month and try to really develop

my game,” he said.


We love to hear what you've been up to

so send us your letters and photos!

We'll do our best to print them all!

editor@livingmags.co.uk

Your letters

Rhiwbina phone exchange

These days, we take the telephone (and the internet!)

for granted. We can quickly contact friends and family,

both here and overseas, from our home phones and

mobiles.

But it wasn’t always so, and for many years, even

local calls could only be connected with the help of an

operator. Here in Rhiwbina, until the late 1950s, calls

were connected on a manual basis, until service was

transferred in 1959 to the new automatic exchange in

Manor Way serving Whitchurch and the surrounding

area.

I moved to Cardiff in the 1980s and wondered where

the original Rhiwbina manual exchange was located.

When the old telephone exchange in Park Street was

being cleared to make way for the Principality Stadium,

they found a cable which had formerly connected it to

the Rhiwbina exchange, but no one had any details of

it.

Do any of our readers remember the old manual

telephone exchange in Rhiwbina, and where it was

located ?

I can be contacted on

michael.clemitson@btinternet.com

Michael Clemitson

New Cancer Centre plan is

archaic

I am a Whitchurch resident and a Consultant

Interventional Radiologist at Cardiff and Vale University

Health Board. Over 90% of my professional work as a

doctor is related to cancer. The views I express here are

my own.

The environmental arguments against destroying the

Northern Meadows are clear. I don’t need to reiterate

these. The reason for writing is regarding good modern

cancer care of the population in the 21st century.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board is responsible

for the health and well-being of the whole population,

which is set out in the Aims of the Health Board.

There is no doubt taking away the Northern Meadows

as they currently are from the local population would

be hugely detrimental to physical and mental wellbeing.

But developing a stand-alone non-surgical

Cancer Centre is an archaic model. Here's why:

Cancer treatment has become more complex, and

cancer patients have increasingly complex issues

frequently needing input from other medical and

surgical specialties. If they become severely unwell in

Velindre, they are transferred to UHW in an ambulance.

Other new cancer service developments are using

a different, better model with specialties on the

same site, such as surgery, cardiology, interventional

radiology, gastroenterology, respiratory medicine,

intensive care and others. In other words, modern

cancer services are physically linked to larger acute

hospitals.

I completely understand why the clinical and

managerial leaders at Velindre wish to retain their

autonomy, which they currently have. But they continue

to disregard other options, and the reviews and option

appraisals are either outdated or secretive such as the

Barrett Review. The world has changed with COVID-19,

increasing the importance of outdoor spaces for

communities.

This model for cancer care is outdated before it is

built. There are therefore important issues to raise:

• Can the 2017 Barrett Review of the plans be made

public? If not, why not?

• Is Velindre right and everywhere else in the UK

wrong?

• The new UHW build was not an option in the past

but it is now, and needs revisiting urgently.

• Has there been any recent engagement with Cardiff

and Vale UHB as integration of cancer services on that

site is now an option?

• Has this been revisited as an option since the

COVID-19 pandemic?

Those who oppose the new development and

destruction of the Northern Meadows have been

branded as anti 'cancer services' but this is not true,

and is indeed offensive. The application must be called

in and the proposed model of care reviewed.

Dr Ashley Roberts

Whitchurch

Since Covid-19

They say life is a gift without guarantees

Since Covid-19 we know what that means

It’s a good time to think of our favourite things

Like to walk with our loved ones and sit by the stream

Or enjoy the success of your favourite team

To dance at a concert as if in a dream

Or meet with our friends for afternoon tea

To run on the sand and dip in the sea

To remember the best things in this life are free

I reflect on something my wife said to me

‘Let’s make kindness as contagious as Covid-19’

Paul Brown

Email


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Northern

Meadows

Whitchurch and Coryton's Northern Meadows have provided a

green space for decades. Now they are under threat of destruction

They have been the lifeline

for many during the COVID19

lockdown. A beauty spot that has

allowed many to maintain their

physical and emotional well-being;

the living, breathing lungs of the

local area.

Yet Whitchurch’s Northern

Meadows are now facing extinction

of their own as residents fight to

save them from the development of

a new cancer treatment hospital.

One of the old bridges

along the footpaths

The 23-acre site of meadow,

ancient trees, shrub and grassland

are earmarked for the new Velindre

Hospital development. The area

is bordered on three sides by the

Forest Farm SSSI Nature Reserve

an abundant, diverse wildlife haven,

local heritage sites, housing and

schools.

David Powell, Velindre’s Project

Leader said:

“We have pledged to keep our

selected site green. This means

maintaining and enhancing

community access, supporting the

ecological diversity and natural

environment of the site, while also

implementing sustainable transport

and a Green Travel Plan.

“We want to provide patients

with a better, more peaceful and

restorative healing environment for

treatment. The Northern Meadows

provides a great site with planning

permission to do this.”

But residents are not happy.

There are over 300 households in

local community without a garden

and locals say that the Northern

Meadows have provided them with

access to green spaces.

The Save The Northern Meadows

campaign was recently launched

to help fight the plans. Their aim

is to see the incorporation of the

Northern Meadows into the nearby

Nature Reserve and secure it for

future generations. In a recent

survey of 400 residents, 91% of

participants said that they were

against the development of the

hospital on the site.

“We recognise the serious need

to update cancer services in Wales.

But we believe this site should

never have been granted planning

permission in the first place due to

its inaccessibility and its proximity to

the nature reserve.

“It will be impossible to keep the

site green as construction demands

the bulldozing of 600 trees and

some of the last 3% of meadowland

in Wales.

“These fundamental flaws in

the location of the site mean any

attempt to access it will cut a

significant number of trees in the

Photos: Catherine Davies


construction of two bridges and a

temporary access road. It will break

up an important wildlife corridor,

ruin a historic representation

of Welsh industrial history and

disrupt pedestrian access to public

amenities,” said Tessa Marshall from

the campaign.

Velindre Cancer Centre has said

that it is committed to working with

the community however.

“I would like to reassure you again

that we want to work with you and

others to minimise its impact and

to enhance the site as sensitively

as we can,” said Velindre Cancer

Centre’s David Powell in June.

“We will respond to concerns

about the surfacing of the existing

road to the north of the Whitchurch

Hospital site, making improvements

if it won’t withstand additional

construction traffic.

“The Trust is also seeking to

extend the period when the

temporary construction road on

the Whitchurch Hospital site can

be used. We want to use the road

both for construction of access to

the new centre and for part of the

construction of the centre itself. As

a result we can reduce costs and

bring forward the opening date.”

The Velindre development has

also had endorsements from

high profile sports stars such as

Swansea’s Shane Williams and

Jonathan Davies.

Velindre has added:

“We all know someone with

cancer or someone who has had

cancer. And the number of people

diagnosed with cancer is increasing.

“But Wales has some of the lowest

cancer survival rates in the western

world. And the 60-year-old Velindre

Cancer Centre does not have the

facilities or space to meet this

future challenge.

“The new Velindre Cancer Centre

will treat more patients and help

more people live longer with

cancer. Our vision is for a Velindre

Cancer Centre which has the

strength to last for the long-term.”

But resident Dr Ashley Roberts,

who works at UHW as a Consultant

Interventional Radiologist, argues

that the plans are an archaic form of

cancer care:

“Those who oppose the new

development and destruction of

the Northern Meadows have been

branded as anti ‘cancer services’

but this is not true. But we should

not spend millions of pounds

of taxpayers money doing the

wrong thing, and destroying an

important natural space which we

would never have back, however

outstanding the architecture is.

“The plans that we are seeing now

reflect the vision for development

Cardiff Council want to see in

Whitchurch, that they are trying to

implement without consultation of

local people,” added Tessa.

“Velindre University Health Board

are swapping their current land

(Whitchurch hospital site) for the

meadow land, which is the property

of Cardiff Council. It’s a land swap to

build houses and make money.

“The meadow land is inaccessible

for housing as building access

bridges will cost at least £30 million

of taxpayers’ money. By swapping

the land, the health boards are

making a profit.

“Our main contention is that the

community has never approved

construction on the meadow,

Photo: Sarah Davies

feature

The meadows are a haven

for a wide range of wildlife

due to its benefits to our physical

and mental health, as well as its

importance to nature. Despite

this history of rejection, Velindre

changed their new hospital plans in

2015/16, moving their new hospital

to the meadow, enabling housing to

be built on Whitchurch Hospital.

“This means that the narrative of

hospital or housing on the meadow

is false – it is hospital AND housing.

Furthermore, the railway cutting,

our only road-free access to Asda

shall never be returned to us.”

The debate is set to rage on but

in the meantime, the meadows

continue to provide a home to an

abundance of wildlife, and a respite

to residents in desperate need of

sanctuary.

For more information or to get

involved, head to

savethenorthernmeadows.wales

Photo: Chris Marshall

A view of the meadows on

a cold winter's morning

9


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We hope you are keeping well. Lockdown is starting to ease, but a number of residents are

still shielding and are grateful for the community help which has been excellent. We would

like to wish the shops and businesses in Rhiwbina every success, many of whom are opening

for the first time in several months. We are sure they will be well supported by local

residents and visitors alike. We have continued to work on your behalf throughout the

lockdown and have attended meetings electronically including Full Council, Cabinet, Police

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kids

Our lockdown

We asked local children to tell us about their lockdown experience

Rosie aged 9

What have been some

of the good things

about lockdown?

Spending time with my

family, learning more

about them, going on lots

of walks, discovering new

places, baking, having an

outdoor cinema night and

making our own restaurant

at home.

What have been some of the difficult things?

Not seeing my friends, not going to school, not going

to the rugby matches and home schooling has been

annoying.

How will this summer school holiday be

different?

It’ll be a little bit different this year as I’ll be able to see

my cousins but not be able to hug them. We’re going

to the beach, seeing friends and spending time with

my friends.

How do you feel about returning to school?

I'Il feel nervous about starting a new year and with a

new teacher. I am really looking forward to seeing my

friends and walking up to school with my little sister as

she starts in the nursery.

12

Evie aged 9

What have been some

of the good things about

lockdown?

I've got closer to my brother

Barnaby and we have been

playing more and I've spent

more time with my family.

What have been some of the difficult things?

To stay away from my friends and not hug them and

stay away from family members that I miss. Having so

much time in the house has been hard with my little

brother too.

How will this summer school holiday be

different?

We won't be able to go to places we normally go and

we will have to stay more local. We might be getting a

camper van and going on holiday to a beach.

How do you feel about returning to school in

September?

I'm feeling happy about seeing my friends and don't

have to socially distance. But this makes me feel a bit

nervous too as the virus might spread and it might go

back to how it was in the beginning when it was really

bad. I'm looking forward to seeing my new teacher too

and excited for what Year 5 will bring.


Giacomo aged 7

What have been some of the

good things about lockdown?

I liked spending time with family,

I enjoyed the walks, finding the

Wenallt and a walk with a good

climbing tree behind our house. We slept in dens,

watched the Starlink satellites, got two kittens, built

monkey bars and bought a camper van.

What have been some of the difficult things?

The worst thing was not being able to see our friends

and family.

How will this summer school holiday be different?

This summer holidays we won't be going to Italy. I am

really, really sad about that. This year we are going to

use the camper van to camp!

How do you feel about returning to school?

I don't want to return to school because it will be too

hard. I am not ready for Year 3.

Javier aged 6

What have been some

of the good things about

lockdown?

Getting to spend more time at

home as a family and getting to

play together more, and cuddle

my pet cats.

What have been some of the

difficult things?

Not being able to hug people who you want to, like

family and friends. Doing school work at home has

been boring.

How will this summer school holiday be

different?

We have already had lots of time off school and we’re

probably not going to be going on our holiday this

summer. We'll go to beaches near us instead.

How do you feel about returning to school?

Nervous because I’ll be starting Year 2. I’m not really

happy to do more work, but my new teacher looks

really fun and I’m excited to see my friends.

Seb aged 9

What have been some

of the good things about

lockdown?

I’ve been riding my bike lots

and spending time with my

family.

What have been some of the difficult things?

I’ve missed seeing my friends and at times, being

around my little sister has been annoying.

How will this summer school holiday be

different?

Jenna aged 9

What have been some of the good

things about lockdown?

Having my lockdown birthday and

having a new bike. I also had my

friends to visit me in the front garden

and had a very nice lunch with my

mum, dad and brother, Jamie.

What have been some of the difficult things?

Learning from home, not going to any of my clubs or

activities and not seeing my friends that often.

How will this summer school holiday be different?

We are not going to Tenerife with our friends. We’re

going to spend lots of time with our ‘bubble’ in

Swansea and they’ve just got a new puppy, Lulu and

she’s smaller than a guinea pig. I’m also going to do a

summer camp with my drama group, CAST and have a

master class with a lady from ‘Matilda’ in the West End.

How do you feel about returning to school?

I am going to be so, so happy. I’m so excited to see

all of my friends again and it will be ‘different but the

same’. I’m so excited to see my teacher and so glad

we’ve got the same one from Year 4 into Year 5.

Lola aged 8

What have been some of the good

things about lockdown?

One of the good things about lockdown

was spending time with my family.

What have been some of the

difficult things?

Not being able to catch up with school work as much

as we’ve missed half of the year.

How will this summer school holiday be

different?

We won’t be able to see our friends when normally in

the summer holidays, I’d have sleepovers.

How do you feel about returning to school?

I'm nervous about going back, even though I know

what it’s going to be like as I went to school a couple of

times. It’ll be a bit weird as I’ll be around my friends but

we’ll still have to social distance.

I was supposed to go to Spain so I’m disappointed I’m

not going. I’ve been down to Cornwall last weekend.

I had fun bodyboarding. I also went kayaking and

coasteering with my

family and some

friends.

How do you feel

about returning

to school?

I’m really happy

about returning to

school in September

because I’ll get to

be back with my

friends.


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“It’s my Coronavirus Protection

Bubble on wheels,” she says,

excitedly.

Meet Samantha Brown. A former

Bishop of Llandaff student, now

travelling the world in her camper

van as a digital nomad. Her work

tool is her laptop. Location: various.

“I feel safe in my van,” she says.

"I’ve got everything I need here.

Somewhere to eat, work, wash and

sleep. I’m off to France next week.”

Sam hasn’t always been a traveller.

In fact, for the last few months,

much like the rest of us, she’s been

trapped in her home. But her sense

of adventure has returned.

"I was always seeking adventure

as a child. Building dens and

experiencing the outdoors was how

I liked to spend my days.

"I always had the desire to

communicate too. As a kid, I used to

record pretend radio programmes

on my tape recorder with my sister.

These days, I have my own podcast.

As a youngster, I was into telling

stories and I'd dream of creating a

cosy little home for myself. I think

that's where this lifestyle comes

from."

Sam attended Bishop of Llandaff

High School and it was here that

she embraced her education.

“The most abiding memories I

16

have of Bishop of Llandaff was

that we laughed a lot. Needless

to say, we learnt a lot too and

we were given a solid education

there. I’m thankful that I went to

one of the best schools in Wales

although I have to admit that I found

assemblies boring. I’d skip these by

hiding in the loos. There’d be a few

of us doing that!

“As I moved into Sixth Form, I

began my love affair with music,

especially Cardiff’s indie scene. I felt

that to my friends, I was a bit of an

arty outsider - but they didn’t love

Nomad

Samantha Brown gave up her 9 to 5 job and packed a bag to start

a new lifestyle, travelling the world and working from a laptop

me any less.

"By the mid '90s, I was working as

a nanny in Paris where I found out

that I was pregnant. After having my

daughter, I completed my degree

in English Literature as a young

single parent at Bristol University

before launching headlong into the

corporate world."

Sam spent 12 years as the Head

of Marketing and Communications

for large corporates and national

charities. She bought her home in

Bristol and felt settled in her life.

But that all changed in 2017, when


Sam's father was diagnosed with

cancer.

"Dad worked hard his entire life

and was due to retire when he

found out that he was ill. He’d

wanted to spend his retirement

seeing the world but sadly, he never

got to do it.

"It made me question my life. I

realised that I didn’t want to spend

the next 20 years stuck in an office. I

wanted to see the world, so I took a

sabbatical in 2019, not long after my

Dad had died."

Sam went travelling across 12

countries in South and Central

America, picking up work as a

freelance marketing consultant

along the way.

"I eventually came back to my day

job and was toying with the idea

of handing my notice in, when we

were told that the organisation had

failed to retain its contract and I was

handed a redundancy."

Freed from the shackles of the

corporate world, Sam took to the

skies and headed east.

“I spent two months in Bali and

two months in Thailand. I also set

up my blog and podcast to provide

inspiration to others. Christmas and

New Year was shared with a group

of digital nomads on a remote

island. It was wonderful."

Sam then moved on to India. Still

working from her laptop, Sam was

able to combine the experience of

living within another culture while

paying her way through her online

work. That was until Coronavirus's

tentacles began reaching around

the world.

"I’ll always remember 17th March.

I’d just had dinner when I found out

that the EU had closed its border.

At 11pm that night, I booked a flight

home that was due to leave at 7am

the next morning.

"I was in the middle of the Goan

countryside with no taxi available,

so I started knocking on neighbours'

doors to see if anyone would give

me a lift to the airport. Unfortunately

no one would.

"In the end, the only viable option I

had was to use the scooter I'd been

hiring to get me there. I packed my

backpack and headed off into the

night, bound for the airport.

"Out on the highway in the dead

of night, it was only after I spotted

traffic coming towards me that I

realised I was driving down the

carriageway in the wrong direction.

The traffic slowed and I had to try

and manoeuvre my scooter onto

the right carriageway. Then my

backpack fell off and its contents

Main photo: Carles Navarro

spilled out. I’d been relying on my

iPhone for directions - it fell onto

the road and two cars passed over

it. Thankfully, they hadn’t damaged

it.

"I arrived at the airport at 5am,

abandoned the scooter and took a

photo of it so that I could let the hire

company know where it was. And

all the while, I could hear my dad’s

voice telling me to get home.

"It was pure instinct. I knew I was

doing the right thing, even though it

seemed totally crazy at the time.

I was so wired on the initial

domestic flight that I couldn’t sleep,

despite being up all night. When

I finally got on the BA flight to

Heathrow, the crew confirmed that

it was one of the last to leave India

– so my instincts were right.”

Exhausted, Sam eventually made

it back to her Bristol home which

she normally rents out to lodgers

and her daughter whilst travelling.

"The only room left in the house

was the small one I'd been keeping

all my belongings in. I had no

choice but to use it as both my

office and my lodgings. Because

I’d just come back from abroad, I

was forced to quarantine for seven

days. Lockdown then started on the

sixth day. I was desperate to see my

mum and siblings but I had to abide

by the rules.”

And so it was, that Sam was

marooned in her room for 10 weeks,

not sure of when she could restart

her travels or even see her close

family.

"Although I realised I was fortunate

to get home and still be able to

work through my consultancy, I

found lockdown difficult. I lost all

my energy and drive and it wasn’t

until I hit upon the idea of getting

a motorhome that my excitement

people

Sam has the world at her

fingertips via her laptop

returned.

"I bought the van with the rest of

my redundancy money and named

her Juno – after the Ancient Greek

goddess. She’s the protector of

women.

"Juno is completely self-contained.

I have everything I need – including

a toilet, shower, kitchen and WIFI

for me to work remotely. I’m off

to France next week. I’ve always

wanted to see Europe and as we’ll

be leaving it at the end of the year,

it’ll be harder to do that any time

later. I figured that this was the

safest and cheapest way to get to

see it.

"I plan to keep Juno for a few years

whilst this pandemic continues –

after that, who knows where the

road will lead me."

Be inspired by Sam's journey by

following GenerationXit on YouTube

or visit www.generationxit.com

Juno allows Sam to work

remotely and at her own pace

17


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self

care

The mental health repercussions from the COVID pandemic and

its economic fallout are yet to be realised. Here are some tried and

tested coping strategies to help you through these tough times

Looking after

yourself and

others

Not many of us could have

previously claimed to have lived

through a pandemic and like all

infectious disease outbreaks,

the current Coronavirus can be a

scary experience.

It can also take its toll on our

mental health and while it is

important to keep abreast of

ongoing developments, we can't

overlook our own well-being and

the well-being of others. While

the risk to our physical health

remains, so too does the risk to

our emotional health.

Many of us will already be

feeling these effects and as our

country starts to emerge from

the lockdown, there will be more

challenges ahead.

But like most things, there are

ways to cope and manage the

anxiety and stress. Making sure

that your wider health needs are

met will result in new routines

but it is an opportunity to reflect,

reset and respond to our current

situation for the better.

20

Diet

Together with exercise, diet forms

the foundations for long-term

health and well-being.

Eating well can help us avoid

chronic diseases but it can also

help lift our moods and levels of

happiness and contentment. A

balanced diet gives your body the

nutrients it needs to function as it

should.

No single food contains all the

essential nutrients that the body

needs to stay healthy and work

properly. For this reason, our diets

should contain a variety of different

foods, to help us get the wide

range of nutrients that our bodies

need.

Planning your meals will help

avoid the temptation to snack on

the go, which often leads to obesity

and upset our energy balance.

Exercise

Exercise delivers oxygen and

nutrients to your tissues and

helps your cardiovascular system

work more efficiently. When your

cardiovascular system works

better, everything seems easier

and you have more energy for

the fun stuff in life.

Aerobic exercise and strength

training can help strengthen

your body and help clear your

mind. Strengthening the heart

and other muscles isn't the

only important goal of exercise.

Exercise can also help the body

stay flexible, meaning that your

muscles and joints stretch and

bend easily.

You can start off by taking

daily walks but 60 minutes of

moderate to vigorous daily

exercise is recommended.


Avoid sensationalist

headlines

One of the main triggers of

anxiety and stress over the

last few months has been the

sensationalist headlines in the

press. Social media often doesn't

help as many publishing outlets

want you to read their stories so

that they can build revenues.

Get any news you want to know

about from a reputable source

and try to stay away from news

that doesn't directly impact on

you.

Talk to your children

Involving your young family

members in discussions can be

tricky. Children may well feel

confused themselves and you

may want to keep them informed.

Be truthful in your conversations

as any exposed untruths will

cause a sense of distrust between

you. Making them feel safe and

protected should be a priority.

Pace yourself

Remind yourself that you can't do

everything at once. Whatever you

are trying to achieve, it has to be

done over time and with patience.

We will all be moving at our own

pace as we come out of lockdown

- be aware of that with others and

make others aware of that too.

Prepare for the future but focus

on the present and any positives

that it brings.

Sleep

Where possible, try and create

a routine and environment that's

conducive to a good night's sleep.

Sleep is crucial to both your

emotional and physical state

and its effectiveness in helping

you reset and heal cannot be

underestimated.

It should therefore be considered

a priority of your day.

Stay connected

Lockdown has kept us physically

apart, and for some, this has

caused huge distress.

Loneliness and feelings of

isolation have rocketed over the

last few months so it's important

to keep connected as much as

possible.

Many of us have kept in touch

with family and friends using

our phones and internet but as

lockdown eases, it's easy to lose

the connections you built up over

the last few months.

Look out for loved ones too who

have gone quiet. Many people are

struggling in silence and a quick

catch up will make both you and

them feel less isolated. Even a

socially-distanced walk can help

you feel connected to those you

care about.

Control what can be

controlled

Worrying about things that are

outside of your control can take up

a lot of your time and energy.

You may need to be told that there

are many things that happen in your

life, over which you have no control.

That is a simple fact.

You can be a lot more effective if

you focus only on the things that

you have control over. You can't

stop a storm coming but you can

prepare for it so take some time to

figure out the things that you can

control and discard those aspects

of your life that you can't control -

including the behaviour of others.

wellbeing

Three steps to dealing

with stress

Stress is the feeling of feeling

under excessive pressure and it can

cause many emotional and physical

problems. It can also creep up on

you slowly as stressors build on top

of each other before it suddenly hits

you.

Step One - Become Aware

Becoming aware that you are

stressed and understanding what

is causing your problems is the first

step.

Physical warnings are usually the

first indicators - headaches, overtiredness

and tensed up muscles

are all associated with stress.

Work out the connection between

your physical ailments and their

underlying causes.

Step Two - Identify the causes

Identifying the underlying causes of

your stress is your next step. These

can be classified in three possible

ways:

1) those that you can sort with a

practical solution

2) those that will get better over time

3) those causes that you can’t do

anything about

If possible, try and let go of the

worry of the second and third

elements to free up mind space.

Step Three - Review your

lifestyle

Are you trying to do too much? Are

you able to delegate anything?

Prioritise the things you are trying to

achieve and re-organise your life

Remind yourself that there is a time

for everything but only if you do one

thing at a time.

21


Discover the

Northwood difference

We are Northwood, and we like to do property a

little differently.

We are committed to going over and above in everything we do – so our friendly team,

accompanied viewings and local knowledge are not the only things we offer as standard.

We give your home maximum exposure through 3D walkthroughs, professional-style

photography, and Facebook Live events.

It’s a fresh approach.

We’re glad to be back and we’re sure you are too.

Give us a call or come meet us when you’re ready. Let’s discuss how we can help you on

your property journey.

02920 521400

northwooduk.com/cardiff-estate-agents


The Home of Worry-

Free Landlords

"We guarantee to pay your rent on time,

every month, even if your property is empty."

Kate Gwinnutt from Heol Y Deri’s Northwood Cardiff

explains the benefits offered to landlords by their

unique guaranteed rent scheme.

Are you a landlord who wants no

void periods, no rent arrears and

no commission?

Or perhaps you’re a homeowner

who wants to rent out your property

for the first time for a fixed monthly

rental income with no set-up

fees, no renewal fees or any other

‘hidden’ extras?

If you answered yes to any of

the questions above, then our

Guaranteed Rent Scheme is

probably what you’ve been looking

for.

Our scheme offers the following

benefits to you;

• A guaranteed monthly rental

income on time, every month

• To get paid even if the property is

empty

• To get paid even if the rent is late

or isn’t paid at all

• No set up fees, monthly

commissions or hidden extras

• To deal with tenant queries and

questions

• A guaranteed contract start date

– no worrying about how long it will

take to find a tenant

• If ever needed, to cover court

costs and manage the eviction

process

• Periodic property inspections and

maintenance management

• Internal condition guaranteed,

subject to fair wear and tear up to 6

weeks rent

But how does the scheme work?

We effectively become your

tenants, which means we take

the financial risk of paying your

rent every month on ourselves

regardless of whether we have let

the property or not. Because we

work this way, it is in our interest to

find you, great tenants, to manage

them well and to look after your

property. It’s this investment in

your property which makes the

Guaranteed Rent Scheme unique

in the market. We manage the

property throughout the full

duration of the tenancy – leaving

you to get in with your busy life.

Is it an insurance policy?

Absolutely not – only our

competitors think that. Our

service simply provides you with

Guaranteed Rent each and every

month, on the same say, even if the

property is empty.

Why you should trust us?

Northwood Cardiff is an established,

widely recognised estate agent

and the largest provider of genuine

Guaranteed Rent in South Wales.

We have been offering this service

to landlords in Cardiff since 2002.

Northwood has been providing

Guaranteed Rent since 1995 and is

widely acknowledged as the largest

provider of this specialist service in

the UK – today there are over

20,000 Guaranteed Rent landlords

across the country. We are a

founder member of the SAFEagent

scheme, belong to the National

Approved Letting Scheme (NALS)

and are licensed by Rent Smart

Wales.

What are the benefits of

guaranteed rent for landlords?

To put it simply, no void periods,

no rent arrears, no commission,

no set-up fees, no renewal fees or

any other ‘hidden extras’. We can

be flexible with payment dates,

contract lengths, and start dates.

What do I do next?

Give our friendly team in Rhiwbina

a call on 02920 521400 to request

an appraisal of your property and

explain the finer details of how this

can work for you.

1A & 1B Heol Y Deri, Rhiwbina,

Cardiff, CF14 6HA

02920 521400

www.northwooduk.com

Sponsored feature 23


Key Workers

Our lockdown

Lockdown has hit us all hard but for the key workers in our communities, it was a case

of having to adapt to a new way of working. Here are a few of our key worker heroes

Charlotte

Secondary School Teacher

When the lockdown was first

announced, I felt that it was a

completely surreal situation. I felt

that I had to adapt to the changes

very quickly while managing waves

of anxiety.

I worked throughout the lockdown

but it wasn’t too difficult to be home.

I thoroughly enjoyed being with

my family and not on the manic

treadmill of everyday life.

Up-skilling myself quickly on new

teaching software and being sat

at a computer all day was difficult

and a very steep learning curve. I

definitely missed the interaction of

the pupils and emailing them just

wasn’t the same as that face-toface

interaction.

I am quite a positive person, so I

accepted the situation quickly and

on the whole, tried to make the best

of it. As a family, we did the typical

24

things like baking, gardening, the

8pm clap on a Thursday, online

quizzes, bike rides, bingo nights.

I definitely think the highlights for

me were getting time at home

with my family and my daughter

and being personally involved in

various musical projects (Memorial

for Srebrenica and 1,000 Voices

project).

During the Easter holidays I

ordered a skip, as we weren’t going

away and had a long overdue

clear-out of the loft. We also had a

campout in our summer house with

my daughter, where we sat around

the fire pit, toasting marshmallows.

We bought a hot tub just before

the start of lockdown so enjoyed

that a lot in the warm weather while

looking for satellites in the sky.

We made some really magical

memories that I will treasure for the

rest of my life. We were also very

grateful to Whitchurch Golf Club for

allowing the public to access their

course. We thoroughly enjoyed our

walks and were very grateful to

have such beauty on our doorstep.

In terms of my job, we are currently

waiting for government guidelines,

so I'm not totally sure how my job as

a music teacher will look (whether

we’ll be able to use instruments or

sing in class).

I look forward though to beginning

extra curricular activities, as these

give pupils so many skills and

opportunities.

The sense of community in

our neighbourhood and the

appreciation of our local area and

how grateful we are for where we

live is something that's struck me

these last few months. It's afforded

me the chance to spend more time

with my family and to re-evaluate

life and what is important.

Phil

Postman

I felt a lot of

uncertainty

when

lockdown

was first

announced.

It made me worry about everything

and how it was going to affect the

work I do. I also had health and

safety concerns.

I have worked throughout the

entire lockdown but I think I

adapted very well, both at work

and at home. The one time I did

find difficult was when I was on

leave and had to stay in my house.

Work for me was harder during

lockdown. I had an increased

workload due to people ordering

goods online, but the plus point

was that most people were in to

receive their items.

Going forward, I'm not sure if my

job will change much. One silver

lining of the lockdown was being

able to park my van anywhere!


Jayne

Cardiff City

Councillor

people

Jane

Registrar

of Births,

Deaths,

Marriages

and Civil

Partnerships

When lockdown was first

announced, my first thoughts were

for friends and family, making sure

that everyone was safe and had

plenty of toilet paper!

My role was classed as a key

worker so I worked right through

lockdown, registering deaths.

Going out to work while everyone

else stayed at home was worrying

at first. Driving to City Hall the

morning after lockdown was

announced was so eerie because

the roads were empty, the city

centre was deserted. It’s amazing

how quickly I got used to that.

The government’s Coronavirus

law completely changed the way

we worked and overnight, we had

to adapt and absorb a lot of new

information. When I look back, I

realise how quickly it all changed.

City Hall closed to the public.

Birth registrations, marriages and

civil partnerships all stopped. We

registered deaths by telephone

so that families could stay safe at

home. There were many phone

calls with doctors and funeral

directors and we worked closely

with the bereavement teams at

UHW and Thornhill as we all

adapted to the new legislation to

make sure deaths were registered

and funerals could go ahead.

It’s been very emotional hearing

families share their stories and

experiences of death, loss, grief

and separation.

Looking forward, it’s lovely to get

back to births and marriages and

seeing people face to face again.

It’s smiley work and I definitely

missed it. Every part of the job

has changed and is still changing

day to day to comply with social

distancing and PPE. In New York

State, they introduced Zoom

weddings during lockdown. Wales

didn’t go that far, but I’m sure I’ll

conduct virtual ceremonies one

day!

The things I remember most

about this time is that fact that my

daughters all managed to come

home before lockdown. The kitchen

table was suddenly full of laptops

and cables as they set up office

to work from home. My youngest

daughter took final exams, had her

21st birthday and graduated during

lockdown.

We’ve laughed and cried and

there’s been a lot of banana bread!

We made so many gorgeous

memories and a few new family

traditions but mostly I look back in

awe at the way life carried on and

we just made it work. Clapping for

the NHS on Thursday evenings also

stands out. The whole street got

involved and it became a lovely

time to catch up and check in on

each other. We celebrated a few

birthdays on those days too.

Looking back, we hadn’t all lived

under the same roof for this amount

of time for many years as a family.

This was bonus time for us and

that was definitely a silver lining.

Being locked down and seeing the

local community and businesses

helping and supporting each other

throughout has reminded us how

lucky we are to live here.

My first

thoughts when

lockdown was

announced

were about

the community, and in particular

older people who lived alone. I

worked with the Council to answer

enquiries from residents, and would

like to pay tribute to the amazing

groups of residents who went

above and beyond to help people

with groceries, medicines and even

dog walking.

My colleagues Adrian Robson,

Oliver Owen and I were busier

than ever as we worked during

lockdown. I work from home for

most of my time so I didn't notice

the transition too much. I did miss

the community events, and site

meetings and the exchanges in the

Council Chamber. I became a keen

gardener and also continued my

love of baking - rolls, bread, bagels,

jam, pastries and fudge!

All our Council Meetings were held

electronically, and we continue to

have briefings this way. I hope that

a lot of the briefings and updates

continue to be held this way. I am

a member of the Police and Crime

Commissioner Panel, and we held

a meeting across authorities and

it worked effortlessly. There will

always be a place for face to face

meetings, but electronic meetings

have proved invaluable.

I think there will be more home

working in the future. The pandemic

has really changed the world, and

I think we will see community spirit

continue to grow, and more people

looking out for each other.

I think social media has been

exceptionally helpful and I have

enjoyed seeing and hearing about

people's positive experiences. So

many people are now gardening,

walking in the local area and have

learnt new skills such as knitting,

crafting and baking. I think that they

will continue.

25


12 Pantbach Road

Cardiff, CF14 1UA

02921 358258

www.cubekitchens.co.uk

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* Catflaps, Letterboxes,

New Door Panels

* Stained Glass

Repairs and

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* Glass/mirrors of all

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02920 566694


Although it is not a pleasant thing to think about, it

is important to ensure you have a properly

prepared Will in place. Having a professionally

drafted Will in place provides peace of mind that

your estate should be dealt with in accordance with

your wishes and is likely to make the process far

easier for those you leave behind when you die.

With recent events making many of us anxious and

uncertain about the future, lawyers have seen a sharp

increase in the number of people wanting to put their

affairs in order over the last few months.

Laura Selby, Head of Wills & Probate at Harding Evans

Solicitors, explains why it is so important to plan for the future

to avoid any unnecessary complications further down the line.

Yet, there are reports that surprisingly around

60 per cent of the adult UK population do not

have a Will, which effectively means they will be

allowing ancient laws to determine who receives

their estate.

Making a Will is often not the long, complicated and

expensive process that people often imagine it to

be. Many people have put it off during lockdown,

thinking it would not be possible while social

distancing. At Harding Evans, in accordance with

Government guidelines, we have been operating

throughout lockdown. Our offices are now open to

the public with measures in place to reduce the risk

of spreading the virus.

If you are currently unable to leave your property,

we also offer telephone appointments, video calls

and witnessing of Wills, even via your front window

if required! There are strict rules regarding the

witnessing of Wills to ensure they are executed

properly.

Unfortunately, challenges to Wills appear to be on

the rise, so it is more important than ever to obtain

legal advice when preparing your Will, to avoid

lengthy and costly disputes after your death.

As we can see from the recent case of Clitheroe v

Bond [2020] EWHC 1185 (Ch), not only is it

important to ensure the Will is validly executed, but

it is also important to prove you have full mental

capacity.

In this case, the daughter of the deceased

succeeded in establishing that two Wills made by

her late mother in 2010 and 2013 were both invalid.

The Court found that, following the death of her

other daughter, the mother had been suffering from

a complex grief disorder that impaired her capacity

to make a Will. While she had cognitive function and

was intellectually sound, it was found that she had

experienced “insane delusions” that “poisoned her

mind” against the daughter she excluded from her

Will, causing her to make allegations for which there

was no rational basis. In circumstances where there

could be any doubt as to a person’s mental capacity,

we recommend obtaining a medical report.

Most commonly, when clients show some form of

memory loss, possibly as a result of dementia, this

makes us consider their capacity and we will give the

most appropriate advice. The case of Clitheroe v

Bond is a firm reminder that other health conditions

may exist which may not give rise to memory loss

but could still mean that they may be lacking

capacity. It is recommended to keep records of the

will instructions taken; these records may also help

to protect your estate in the event of a challenge.

If you would like assistance with preparing your Will, please call our

experienced and friendly team to find out how we can help you.

Call us on 02922 676818

Email us at info@hevans.com


Garden

Social

Whether you want

to spend time with

friends or with

loved-ones in your

bubble, holding a

garden party is a

great way to while

away summer days

Firepit

Create a cosy space in your

garden that will naturally give you

warmth during the evenings too.

A great piece of garden furniture

to sit around long into the summer

nights.

www.wayfair.co.uk

Garden Lights

This string of 12 mini mushroom

solar lights is essential for adding

an enchanting atmosphere to any

outdoor space. Each soft, squidgy

mushroom is 20cm tall and houses

one warm white LED for an ethereal

glow.

www.lights4fun.co.uk

28

Cottage Painted

Garden Arbour

Hand-crafted in Britain, this garden

arbour includes a contoured seat as

well as an arm rest and drink holder.

Pugh's Garden Centre

Kids entertainment

Kids love to play in the garden,

especially when water games are

involved.

If your garden is big enough,

provide them with inflatables that

you can deflate and pack away

in the winter months. This giant

unicorn connects directly to your

garden hose and squirts water

from its horn! All you need to do is

inflate it and turn the water on!

www.dobbies.com


outdoors

Hanging chair

The perfect place to sway away the

stress of the day! Set in a beautiful

teardrop design, there's room for

two if you're happy to share.

This delightful outdoor swing chair

comes with a comfy showerproof

cushion, ideal for our inclement

British weather.

www.cuckooland.com

BBQ

Cater for both family and friends

with a quality barbecue set

this summer. Weber are worldrenowned

for their barbecue

innovation and provide the ultimate

barbecuing experience. You can

pick up your very own Weber here

in North Cardiff. Traditional charcoal

and gas barbecues are also

available.

Pugh's Garden Village, Wenvoe

Sun loungers

Sit back, relax and soak up

the sun with a sun lounger.

Outdoor recliners and sun

loungers are the perfect

place to base your afternoon

in the garden sunshine. This

lounger is made from heattreated

ash wood and is

available in traditional wood

or black.

The lower half is separate

from the main section to

cater for all body lengths.

www.wayfair.com

Patio Heaters

Extend your time out in the garden

with a free-standing patio heater.

Powered by gas or electricity,

patio heaters can keep you and

your guests warm with minimal

fuss or fumes. Safe, economical

and a convenient way to heat your

outdoor space, patio heaters can

be used all year round, allowing

you to have a night under the stars

whatever the season.

www.heat-outdoors.co.uk


Rediscovering

the garden

For many of us who were

furloughed during the recent

Covid-19 pandemic, lockdown in

our gardens became a place of

sanctuary; somewhere to escape

the stresses and strains of stepping

outside the front door and the sheer

terror of having to venture out to the

shops where humanity was to be

found in all its seething hordes.

Being at one with the garden,

cast adrift in a calming sea of

green, is most people's idea of

gentle repose, to be enjoyed

with a cup of tea or a glass of

something stronger. We live in a

world that is increasingly beyond

our control. From the worry of

paying the mortgage and utility

bills to increased pressure in our

workplace, we feel under stress.

The garden is a sanctuary for both

mind and body and can prove

therapeutic to those recovering

from drug or alcohol abuse or who

suffer from depression or posttraumatic

stress disorder.

The rituals of the year are devoutly

followed; looking for the first

primrose of spring or the first rose

of summer maintains a positive,

forward-thinking outlook for young

and old alike.

30

Summer affords us the opportunity to pause, reflect and relax.

Kevin Revell looks at the therapeutic benefits of spending time in our gardens

In our gardens we are free; some

will seek peace and solitude in

a tranquil corner of the garden

surrounded by fragrant plants and

the industry of bees; for others,

trundling a lawn mower around can

give a warm glow of satisfaction.

Similarly raking moss from a lawn or

sweeping up leaves provides useful

cardiac exercise; a fit body can lead

to a fit, content mind. The gentle

exercise provided by gardening has

been found to help lower blood

pressure and cholesterol, helping to

prevent type 2 diabetes and strokes.

The Sensory Garden

We are sensory creatures and

respond to certain stimuli which

help to make us feel alive and at

one with ourselves.

In the garden, our senses can be

awakened, we just need to take the

time to appreciate what is around

us and not take our surroundings

for granted. Walking barefoot on

the lawn can be a pleasurable,

relaxing experience which has

been demonstrated to lower blood

pressure, stimulating several senses

at once.

Scent is the most evocative of

all the senses and can trigger

memories of times and places

past. Herbs will yield a pleasant

aroma when touched, brushing

past lavender releases oils from the

leaves that evoke sunnier climes.

The sense of touch is perhaps the

least appreciated in the garden;

running fingers through soft

tussocks of ornamental grass is a

sensation denied to most people.

The sound of running water

from a water feature can also

be relaxing, hearing harmonious

birdsong as we work can block

out the more routine background

noise of passing traffic. The highpitched

buzz of bees can also

prove immensely relaxing. Even the

slightest breeze can elicit a rustle

from tall grasses and trees.

Seeing the flowers of spring and

summer, is for most people, what a

good garden is all about, whether

tasteful, harmonious pastel shades

or a riot of bright clashing colours.


gardens

How to Plant a

Cheerful Pot or

Hanging Basket

Hanging baskets have become

popular in our gardens. Those with

small flats or no garden at all can

usually put one or two by a door or

find room for at least one planter

which improves the visual amenity

of the area.

Pre-planted baskets are readily

available but most keen gardeners

engage in the annual ritual of

planting their own. When filling a

pot or basket, don’t skimp on the

compost - this is the engine room

of the basket and is going to need

to keep it going right through the

summer. Multi-purpose compost

alone will not be up to the task.

Either add additional slow-release

fertiliser and wetting gel or buy

a specific container compost

formulated for this task.

When it comes to planting, there

are no rules - it is entirely up to

you which plants in what colours

are used but tradition dictates that

there should be a taller plant in the

middle to give a bit of height to the

arrangement. Three or five smaller

or trailing plants are then arranged

around this and if possible, trailing

plants are inserted around the

basket sides and base to give an

all-encompassing show of foliage

and flowers. Ideally, no trace of the

basket or liner should be visible

once the plants are established.

Usually it will be a fuchsia or

geranium giving height and trailing

forms of fuchsias and geraniums

are a popular choice for the rest of

the basket. Trailing lobelias are the

best for inserting in the sides of the

basket as they cascade down and

are available in a range of colours.

Trailing petunias or surfinias are

another popular choice, coming

in many bright colours including

outrageous shades of hot pink and

red. These plants are extremely

vigorous, and three to five plants

will be more than enough to fill a

basket with colour long into the

summer.

Other useful contenders include

the tiny white stars of bacopa, or

blousy trailing begonias which

although slow to get going, will

flower long into the autumn. Of

course, a planted pot, hanging

basket or window box doesn’t need

to be full of flowers if these are not

your thing. It is also a very good

way of growing herbs and salad

vegetables which can still look

attractive and will be out of the

way of marauding slugs and snails

while bees will certainly appreciate

a window box full of flowering

lavender.

It is to be hoped than many who

were confronted with enforced,

increased leisure time will have

discovered the benefits to

improving their outdoor space

and will continue to enjoy home

grown vegetables and flowers. It

will perhaps have sown the seeds

of interest in small children who

helped their parents build raised

beds and wildflower meadows or

even just plant a few window boxes

or hanging baskets. Maybe now,

they will have lifelong memories of

their first minibeast safari and all the

wonders to behold if you just look

closely enough and make a few

adjustments to the way you enjoy

the garden.


CUTTING THE COST OF

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Vibrant

Gardens

• Regular lawn mowing

• Professional garden maintenance

• Lawn feed, weed and moss control

• Hard surface jet washing

• Scarification and power raking

• Hedge and shrub pruning

• Driveway weed and moss control

Regular Mowing

& Gardening Service

Everything you

need to have that

well-manicured

garden

Call Stuart on 07779 132149 for a free quote

www.vibrant-gardens.co.uk

Llandaff Garden Metalwork

Making the practical beautiful

greenmoor nurseries

suppliers of top quality plants throughout the year

South Wales’s largest grower and supplier of

home-grown plants for your garden.

We have a large range of vegetable

plants and flower plants. We also

stock loose seeds, award-winning

hanging baskets, a full range of

composts, greenhouse glass and

perspex, perennials, shrubs, fruit trees

3

bags of

compost

for

£12

and much much more. Visit our website for more

details or call. Bring your children to see

our army tanks!

Toughened greenhouse glass now in stock!

Bespoke metalwork

solutions designed

and made with you

in mind

Do you need a

new gate? Or have

an odd space

that needs some

interesting trellis in it?

We can help!

Contact Jess:

Contact Jess: 07779 296932

llandaffgardenmetalwork@gmail.com

www.llandaffgardenmetalwork.co.uk

www.greenmoornurseries.co.uk

Greenmoor Nurseries

St. Brides, Wentloog

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TEL: 01633 680572

Garden Building & Landscape Centre

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feature

Make money from home

The recent lockdown has made people think twice about how they

can earn a living. Here are some ways that you can create a new

and sustainable income stream from your home

Creating an income

from home

The UK economy, much like the

rest of the world, has become

hugely unpredictable following

the Coronavirus outbreak.

Jobs and financial security have

become a real worry for many

people, even those who thought

that they were safe in long term

employment.

Setting up a side business

at home could be one way to

create an extra income stream

and a possible safety net should

the worst happen with your

employment.

Set aside a small amount of

time each day to work on your

side business and over the

weeks and months, it could

grow into something larger and

profitable.

While there's a whole world

of opportunity to make money

from home, it's worth doing

some research beforehand

to find out what skills and

experience you can offer.

34

Online coaching

The Coronavirus lockdown

changed the way that we interact

with each other forever. Working

remotely became much more

the norm - but so too did online

learning.

It's highly likely that you have

certain skills, talent or experience

that people will pay to hear about.

Think back over your employment

history. Is there a specific area that

you could say that you have good

experience in? There are people

out in the world who don't have

that experience - and need to hear

from someone that does!

You don't need large audiences

either to make money from

teaching online either. In fact, the

more specific the niche, the more

you'll find it easier to find your

audience and to sell to them.

You can either create video

courses to sell via platforms like

Thinkific or Teachable, or you can

offer training over video calls,

either to individuals, or to groups of

people at a time.

Start a blog

A blog is a bit like a website, except

it often has a more informal style

and is usually written by individuals

or small groups.

A blog can range from any topic

such as beauty or makeup, through

to sport of film. Whatever your

subject matter, there are ways

of monetising a blog, whether

it's through online advertising,

selling digital downloads such as

e-magazines, or even charging

subscription fees.

There are some very good

examples of people starting out

with a very simple blog idea, and

seeing it develop into a moneymaking

brand.


Virtual home assistant

Life is very hectic for many of us

and organisation can often be

overlooked as we struggle to

keep up with the pace.

If you have good organisational

skills, why not put them to good

use to help others? A virtual

assistant could be the answer

- someone to do the online

shopping, organise diaries and

events, taking care of household

budgets - the list of services

you could offer to do from the

comfort of your own home is

pretty exhaustive!

Whether you want to charge

per service, or a simple monthly

retainer fee, positioning yourself

as a virtual home assistant could

see you building a new career

from scratch and for the most

part, you don't even have to

leave home.

Dog walking

Dogs always need walking and helping

out your local canines and their owners

is another way to make some money.

Do your research first though - if you

can get yourself certified as a dog

trainer, it will be of benefit to the dogs,

their owners, and the ability to sell

your services. Perhaps start by walking

your family or friends' dogs to get

experience under your belt.

Online shop

There is plenty of money to be made from online shops - and the best

part about it is that it won't cost you much to get going.

There are several ways of running an online shop. First, there is the

traditional way of selling physical goods, whatever they may be. You'll

need to hold stock, manage inventories and take into account shipping

costs.

You can also make money by selling goods that you don't need to

physically store. Websites such as RedBubble and CottonCart allow

you to sell your designs on

T-shirts, mugs, and all kinds of

merchandise. They also take care

of delivery and you get a small

commission for each item sold.

You can also look to open your

own shop on websites such as

Etsy or even eBay, which is a good

place to sell bits and bobs that are

hanging around the house and are

no longer needed.

Book keeping

Many small businesses often overlook the important task of keeping their

accounts up to date. It's always advisable to have some kind of qualification

in this field (you can get this online

too) and if you are just starting out, it's

worth helping people you know so that

you can get to know the processes

involved.

Book keeping is becoming

increasingly digitalised, which means

that you can often work remotely using

specialised software. Working within

a specific niche also means that you'll

find clients easier.

Stock photography

If you're the sort of person that

loves taking photos, you can

always look to make money

from them by selling them on

stock photography websites.

Every time your photo is

licensed, you get a royalty

paid. Check out websites like

Unsplash, iStockPhoto and

Shutterstock to see what sort of

quality they are looking for, and

also to see what kind of photos

are doing well. A great way to

build a passive income.

Become a translator

Your second (or third or fourth!)

language could be translated

into money in your pocket by

becoming a translator.

There are always people

and businesses looking to get

their work translated. It's worth

checking to see what kind of

qualifications you think you might

need but you can complete

these alongside small pieces of

work to get you going.

It's always a good idea to focus

on one industry-specific area

of translation so that you can

become a go-to expert in your

field.

35


Specialist Glaziers with over 30 Years Experience

DANIEL JENNINGS

M: 07775 828009 T: 029 2069 2028

E: dan.jennings@hotmail.co.uk

Repairs & Renewals

Experts in the repair of windows, doors and conservatories

uPVC Products

We offer a full range of quality replacement uPVC products

Mirrors & Processed Glass

Mirrors, glass (standard, safety, greenhouse & picture)

Secondary Glazing

A less costly option to reduce noise & heat loss

Unit 4 St Catherine’s Park, Pengam Road, Cardiff CF24 2TY

029 2048 6797

contact@wrightglass.co.uk www.wrightglass.co.uk


Beating the

virus!

Carpet Castle in

Caerphilly is pioneering

a safe new way to buy

flooring

As retailers all over Wales

reopen their doors following

the Coronavirus lockdown,

we caught up

with Carpet

Castle in

Caerphilly to

find out what

South Wales’

famous

bargain

flooring

warehouse

has done to

keep customers safe during

this time

What changes have you made to

the store to ensure you are ‘Covid

Secure’?

You name it, we’ve done it!

Perspex shielding around the

till area, two metre spacing

around the shop floor, electronic

payment methods, hand sanitisers,

disinfection of carpet samples and

we also limit the number of people

in store at one time.

I can honestly say that customers

should feel really safe making a

visit to the store. It’s a really clean

environment and the staff take these

new measures really seriously.

We’ve been a leader in our industry

for 50 years, so we’ve gone above

and beyond to pro-actively modify

the entire retail experience that

will allow customers to shop with

Sponsored feature

complete confidence.

We were able to trade earlier than

other stores because we have an

outdoor landscaping department,

so we had the chance to iron out a

few things and optimise our safety

procedures well before nonessential

retailing was permitted in

Wales. I think that has given us a

bit of a head start over some other

retailers.

If anybody would like to learn more

about the new measures, we’d be

really happy to discuss it. They can

call the store on 02920 884951. Just

ask for Dai, the store manager.

Have you considered selling online

instead?

We thought about it, but the

feedback we received from

customers is that when it comes to

carpets, there is so much choice that

they prefer to make a physical trip to

the store.

In fact, we are much cheaper than

most online carpet retailers as well.

That’s when we realised the solution

for our industry was just to make the

in-store experience totally safe.

What about home visits?

Obviously, our fitters need to visit

customers’ homes to complete

installation work, so we’ve

introduced additional measures to

keep the fitters and the customers

extra safe when it comes to home

visits.

The fitters wear PPE equipment

that they change for new on every

job. They accept contactless and

electronic payments and we ask that

customers give the fitter at least 2

metres of social distance.

We appreciate that some

customers may be of an age where

they would like the fitters to take

even more precautions and we

do our very best to accommodate

these requests. At the end of the

day, this virus has left many people

nervous about shopping and

especially about letting tradesmen

into their homes so we’ve tried to

make it so safe that anyone, even

‘at-risk’ groups can still have their

new flooring fitted and do it with

confidence.

How do you see the economic

picture developing for retailers over

the next 12 months?

We’re more optimistic then others.

Our shop has been really busy

since we introduced all the safety

measures so I think it’s all about just

making the experience safe so that

customers can happily shop with

confidence.

The more that businesses

and industries adapt, the more

customers will return and the

economy will recover for everybody.

We’re really lucky to have been in

business in South Wales for 50 years

and we intend on being here for

another 50 years!

Andrew Graham is a director at

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Nantgarw Road, Caerphilly

029 2088 4951

www.carpetcastlecaerphilly.co.uk

Extensive safety

measures should make

customers feel really

safe browsing the store


Every man

an emperor

A group in North Cardiff is aiming to improve the lives of men through

physical and mental hardship. This is the Green Mile Movement

Among the dry, summer mountains

and rushing rivers of Taffs Well and

beyond, there exists a brotherhood

that’s shaping up to be a force for

good.

Over the last few months, the

men of the Green Mile Movement

have been pushing their physical

and mental strength to their

limits; developing their integrity,

their confidence, composure,

perseverance, and grit.

The movement is the brainchild of

Chris Flynn, a former commando

from Cardiff who in 2018, formed

a small group of friends to test

themselves physically. As the

months rolled on, the existence

of the group developed into

something more serious and

meaningful.

“I grew up in Lisvane and now live

38

Chris served in multiple

overseas deployments

in Taff’s Well,” says Chris. “I was born

into a huge family, many of whom

still live in north Cardiff.

“For over 12 years, I served in

various roles within the airborne

and commando forces on multiple

overseas deployments. I left the

forces in 2012 and then lived in

Dubai and the US working as a

health safety and environmental

consultant.”

But it was Chris’ return to the UK

in 2017 that left him shocked at the

state of men’s physical and mental

health and he felt compelled to do

something about it.

“After moving back to the UK and

losing my sixth mate to suicide,

I started looking into the state of

men's health. Having been raised

in the military with five brothers of

my own, I have an insight into what

drives guys to the point of giving up.

“I found that statistically, men

do not suffer more than women

as the numbers of female suicide

attempts actually exceed that of

males. However, I do believe that

male identity has been warped

somewhat over the past few

decades for many different reasons

and a stronger path needs to be

cut by us if we are to fulfil our role

as well-orientated members of our

family and community.”

Chris soon hit upon the idea of

a ‘brotherhood’ that could help

support those who needed help:

“I believed that the brotherhood

that I once belonged to was such

a strong and positive force in many

ways, that if elements of it could be

replicated outside then that would

benefit many lost men in need of a

lift up.”

The Green Mile Movement was

born as an extension of Chris’

belief that all men (and women)

should be capable of dealing with

the difficulties of life and a way of

achieving this is through arduous

physical training and personal

sacrifice.

The movement applies many tried

and tested military techniques as

well as other pursuits to develop

certain attributes in its members

- men of all backgrounds and all

abilities.

“By creating a network of strong

and well-orientated men in cities

throughout the country, men who

believe in respect, encouragement,

discipline and hard work, we can

improve the lives of not only those

men, but also their families and

communities, which is very much

needed in a time like ours today,”

says Chris.

“Physical and mental health are


mutually supporting. They are not

separate entities. The mind cannot

reach its peak of ability without

a sound physical body to house

it and vice versa. We believe that

men's (and women’s) potential is

significantly reduced if they are not

at least pursuing better health.”

The brotherhood holds regular

(and free) outdoor sessions, for

general fitness. These run most

evenings, from various locations,

with some simple warm-ups and

professional instruction.

“Excessive comfort can weaken

us,” adds Chris. "Our lives today are

characterised by making things

more comfortable. We flip this on

its head and practice hardship with

purpose.

“TGMM is not for aesthetics or

for topless profile photos. We

believe the key to health is found

in movement, so we practise many

different ways to achieve this.

Calisthenics is a strong theme in

our group, but we also work on the

hills surrounding the city; we climb

ropes rigged up under bridges,

we carry logs and drag sleds to

the tops of mountains; we swim in

open water and we learn skills such

as eating off the land and clean

water extraction. We do this as a

brotherhood, all supporting one

another to get to the next level.

We even practice swimming and

submergence training in the Taff in

the summer months.”

For Chris, helping others has also

helped support him since leaving

the forces.

“I needed the brotherhood as

much as the other guys may need

it now. When I left what is arguably

the strongest brotherhood in the

country behind in the military, I

was at a loss. Both myself and the

other veterans who support the

movement understand what a force

for good a strong brotherhood can

be for men. We want to share that

experience. We are rewarded by

belonging to a cool group of lads

that like to Train Hard and Live Easy,

which is now our motto.”

The concepts of military discipline

and self-discipline are now breaking

out into the open. TV shows like

SAS: Who Dares Wins has helped lift

the lid on the physical and mental

attitudes needed to deal with

whatever life throws at you.

“Without a doubt, these shows and

the characters in them have lifted

the brand of the military and what

is does. I think people can now see

more evidently what the military

mindset brings about and they want

some of it.

“The military is steeped in age

old ways of doing business that

haven't changed for decades or

even centuries. The reason for

this is because it works and works

well. Its systems are underpinned

by core fundamentals such as

discipline, cheerfulness in the face

of adversity, physical fitness, shared

beliefs, resilience and team spirit.

“In the constant pursuit of

progressiveness today, these

characteristics have been left

behind and even disregarded and

classed as draconian.

“The truth is they are very much

needed to pull us out of the rut we

may find ourselves in as people and

as a nation. Military fitness is geared

towards ability and competence

whereas many more recent fitness

forms are clinging to aesthetics

or image, which doesn't seem to

sustain over time.”

The movement is quickly

gathering pace and they are soon

hoping to be making incursions

nationwide.

“So far, we’ve got 30 members

wearing our Green Mile Sweatshirts.

You must complete seven outdoors

sessions to earn yourself one of

these. We have approximately

another 25 who train with us but

haven't earned their sweatshirt yet.”

The group will also be developing

an outdoor gym, which will allow

the men to train.

“We have acquired a piece of land

in the hills of Taff's Well and are

about to build our first outdoor gym

on it this summer. We have also

recruited a Doctor of Psychology

from the University of South Wales

onto our board and hope to bring

him in on the mindset elements of

what we do in the near future.”

The group was successful in

acquiring CIC (Community Interest

Company) status in January which

now enables them to go and seek

people

Bridge drops form part

of the activities

funding to reach the goals that they

have set themselves,

“We have a number of veteranowned

and veteran-run businesses

lined up to work with us to expand

our service delivery over the next

12 to 24 months. One of our goals

is to increase the number of guys

wearing TGMM sweatshirts to 100

by summer 2021.

“Ultimately, we want to become

a genuine force for good within

the community of Cardiff, and to

expand the movement beyond the

city to support other men who may

benefit from what we do.”

And away from the movement,

Chris is planning to launch other

offensives to help others, even from

an early age.

“I started a children's cartoon in

health and fitness whilst living in the

US, which is currently trademarked

and parked on a shelf until I

can create the time and cash to

continue it again.”

Through practising hardship, Chris

hopes to change the world for the

better, one individual at a time.

More information can be found at

www.thegreenmilemovement.com

or Instagram at

@thegreenmilemovement

Some of the men taking part in

the training regime

39


pets

Your pet

questions

answered

Chris Troughton is clinical director of Heath Vets. He’s here to answer all your pet

questions. If you’d like to ask Chris a pet-related question, drop us a line

Is it sensible to change my dog’s diet

during the summer months? She’s

been moving less during the recent

warm weather but eating the same

amount of food.

Firstly, has she put on weight? If

not, don’t worry about changing

anything but keep an eye on her. It’s

worth weighing her regularly so you

can see if she is gradually gaining

weight – the scales never lie! If you

can’t weigh her at home, your vet will

almost certainly have scales that you

can use. Alternatively, measure her

waist and chest size with a tape (just

in front of her hips and just behind her

shoulders). Write it down and keep a

weekly diary.

If she has gained weight, you need

to do something before things

get out of control, and that means

reducing her calorie intake. Review

what she eats in total and see where

you can cut down – fewer treats,

less dinner, whatever you can do.

Make sure everyone in the family

understands the importance of not

giving her extras.

Generally, dogs do better on a

stable diet; chopping and changing

can lead to stomach upsets. Also,

changing from one food to another is

difficult when you’re trying to control

calorie intake, as you don’t know the

calorie content of the food – it’s not

usually on the label. So if you can,

just reduce the amount of her normal

food. If you do need to change food,

go for the same brand, but the ‘light’

version if one exists. If it doesn’t,

you’ll just have to change to any one

the ‘light’ varieties, and monitor her

weight, being prepared to reduce the

amount you are giving her.

If you’re having any difficulty

controlling your dog’s weight, your

vet team will be very happy to help

analyse her feeding regime and can

supply very effective weight control

diets.

Is fruit safe for dogs to eat? My

partner keeps feeding our dog

strawberries and I’m never sure it’s a

good thing.

Strawberries are fine for dogs – and

they may even be good for their teeth

as they contain a whitening enzyme.

Most fruits that we eat are ok, but

the ones to avoid are: grapes (even

very small amounts can be fatal),

cherries, avocados, and the seeds

from apples and pears. Citrus fruits

and persimmons can cause stomach

upsets. Most vegetables are also

ok, but avoid any of the onion family.

Also, never allow your dog to chew

corn-on-the-cob as it can cause a

horrible obstruction if swallowed in

chunks.

Fruit and vegetables like apples and

carrots make very good treats for

dogs that put on weight easily, and

they can also help keep the teeth

clean.

We have three guinea pigs that

we’ve kept inside all winter but we

are now looking to relocate them to

a larger outdoor hutch. As they’ve

been inside our house all winter and

spring, will it be much of a shock

to their system to now put them

outside?

Now that the warm weather is here

and there is no chill at night, your

guinea pigs will be fine to go in

an outdoor hutch. Make sure it is

protected from the prevailing wind

and has an area of the run that is

covered so they can be outside even

when it’s raining. Actually, coming

from the high Andes mountains,

guinea pigs are quite hardy and

happy with cold weather as long as

they don’t get too wet. Position their

hutch in a sheltered place and cover

it up at night and in bad weather -

they can live outdoors all year round.

In many ways, this is preferable as

the space they will have outdoors

is likely to be larger than an indoor

run, and they are very active animals

and should have plenty of room. The

RSPCA recommend a space of at

least 120x60cm to house two guinea

pigs – and more pigs need more

space.

How do I protect my pet rabbits

from flystrike? I remember one of my

rabbits having it when I was a child

and it wasn’t very pleasant as far as I

remember.

Flystrike is a very unpleasant

condition where flies lay their eggs

in soiled fur, and the maggots that

hatch out eat into the flesh. It can

easily be fatal if not spotted quickly,

so it’s important that rabbit owners

check their bunnies carefully every

day for signs.

The most important way of

preventing flystrike is to make sure

your bunny is clean. There should

never be a build-up of faeces around

the anus, nor wet or soiled fur. If there

is, you must clean it thoroughly. If this

keeps happening, you must get your

vet to have a look because it might

be a sign of another problem that

needs attention.

You must keep the hutch area

clean and odour-free so as not to

attract flies, and you can also use a

treatment called Rearguard which

is applied to the rabbit to prevent fly

eggs developing into maggots. It is

effective for about 10 weeks, so you

should apply it in early summer and

again 10 weeks later to cover the

high-risk period.

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Tales from Yesteryear

The National Library of Wales has digitalised millions of Welsh newspaper

articles and pages. Derek Elliott pulls out some interesting local stories

Evening Express

10th September 1896

CARDIFF NATURALISTS HOLD THE

THIRD FIELD DAY OF THE SEASON

The third field day of the Cardiff

Naturalists' Society took place on

Wednesday when, in spite of most

unfavourable weather, a goodly

number of naturalists, among

whom were several lady members,

started in open brakes for a visit

to Whitchurch, Rubina, and Lord

Bute's Vineyard at Castle Coch.

At times, the rain descended very

heavily, but under the guidance

of Mr John Storrie, a visit was paid

to an interesting relic just beyond

Whitchurch, where, what was

supposed to be a tumulus, Mr

Storrie had discovered to be the

remains of an ancient dwellingplace,

probably, in his opinion,

began by the Celts, then continued

by the Romans, and followed by a

still later race. A visit was then paid

to Lord Bute's vineyard at Castle

Coch, and here an interesting

account of vine culture was given

by Mr A. Pettigrew, Lord Bute's

head gardener.

Tea was served at the Mason's

Arms, Tongwynlais, and the return

journey home was made via

Rubina, where Mr Storrie brought to

light some of his later discoveries

- the fossil fish bones of the lower

carbaniferous shale series, but

the weather marred what would

have proved a very interesting day

for the naturalists. At the Mason's

Arms, the party were supplied

by Lord Bute with wine from the

vintage of 1893, at Castle Coch,

considered to be one of the best

years for the vines there.

42

Western Mail

30th January 1897

RHIWBINA AS THE CAPITAL OF

WALES

At a meeting of the debating

society of the University College of

South Wales and Monmouthshire,

held on Friday evening, the

question of which town should

be the capital of Wales and the

location of the university offices

was discussed. After many prefered

speeches in favour of Cardiff and

Swansea, it was decided by a

practically unanimous vote that

the capital should be Rhiwbina, on

the following grounds, which were

deemed conclusive:

(1) It is surrounded, like Rome, by

seven hills.

(2) It was reported to have once

had a castle.

(3) It had a large and important

industry, viz., the manufacture of

cheese and quarrying.

(4) It was situated in the centre

of an extensive railway system,

being three miles and a half from

five important stations: Llanishen,

Caerphilly, Radyr, Walnut Tree, and

Llandaff.

(5) The inhabitants get healthy

exercise in walking two miles and a

half for a postage stamp.

(6) Its rapid growth, having

recently increased from one house

and three souls to nine houses and

40 souls.

The Cardiff Times

15th November 1902

A MIDNIGHT INCIDENT:

WHITCHURCH FARMER AND WIFE

At the Llandaff Police Court on

Monday, John Carey Phillips of

Pantmawr Farm, Whitchurch,

summoned Edward Fuge, a smartlooking

young man, living at the

farm, for threats. Considerable

interest was taken in the

proceedings, the parties being well

known locally. Mr Harold M. Lloyd

defended. When the complainant

was about to give evidence, Mr

Harold Lloyd rose, and, addressing

their Worships, asked whether

he would be allowed to ask the

complainant whether it was still in

his interests to proceed.

There were a great many

unpleasant incidents in connection

with the case, and he thought

it would be better and wiser for

complainant if he withdrew. This

the complainant refused to do, and

the case proceeded.

The complainant in his evidence

stated that he was the joint

occupier with his wife of the

Pantmawr Farm, Whitchurch. The

defendant was engaged by his wife

as a man servant. On 30th October

last, he retired to bed at about

10 o'clock and about 12 o'clock,

he heard a loud knocking on his

bedroom door. The defendant and

his (complainant's) wife kicked the

door, broke the panels, rushed into

the room, and threatened to "do" for

him.

He rushed to the window and in

his night apparel, jumped to the

ground 14 feet below, and went

to a neighbour's house, where he

got the loan of some clothes. He

then went to the police station, and

a police sergeant returned to the

house with him. The defendant was

then in bed. The defendant's room

was broken into, and the defendant


was ejected. Before the defendant

left, he again threatened him in the

presence of the police sergeant. He

had often seen the defendant in his

wife's bedroom. On one occasion,

the men in the hayfield saw the

defendant doing his wife's hair.

In cross-examination by Mr Harold

Lloyd, complainant admitted that

he had some drink at Carey's and at

the HollyBush before going home.

He may have been drunk about

20 times this year, but he was not

drunk on this occasion. He denied

that it was only his wife that was at

the door threatening him. He also

denied that he had engaged the

defendant at 8s per week. Both the

defendant and his wife were under

the influence of drink.

Mr Harold Lloyd: With reference

to the defendant being in your

wife's bedroom. When do you say

this happened? - I saw him in the

bedroom with her in June last year.

I also saw him on one occasion

doing up her hair.

Mr Harold Lloyd: Do you mean to

tell the Worships that having seen

this in June last, you allowed this

man to stay on during the whole of

this time? - Yes.

Mr Lloyd: Didn't you think it your

duty to thrash him and kick him out,

as any reasonable man would have

done? - No. I am only joint occupier.

Mr Lloyd: And that is the only

reason you have?

The complainant also stated that

the defendant and his wife were

constantly about together and

drinking together.

The defendant, called on his

own behalf, stated that he was

employed by the complainant in

May last at 8s per week. He denied

that on the day in question he went

to the complainant's door and

shouted to him to open.

The next thing he knew was that

the complainant came back with

a constable, and he was then

turned out of the house. He was

still living there, and had seen the

complainant several times and had

been on friendly terms with him.

He denied ever having been in

complainant's wife's bedroom, and

that this was the first he had heard

of it. He also denied being under

the influence of drink. He acted as

a personal servant to Mr Phillips,

who had been in ill health. There

had been no improper relationship

between him and his mistress,

Mrs Phillips. Mr Phillips had never

suggested that he should leave.

He had frequently stopped the

complainant whilst in drink from

committing acts of violence on Mrs

Phillips.

Mrs Phillips, the wife of the

complainant, was next called. She

is of prepossessing appearance

and smartly dressed. She stated

that on the night of the 30th, she

came in late and went to the

complainant's bedroom to demand

an explanation of something

she had heard in the village. The

complainant would not open the

door, and she kicked the panel in.

The defendant was not there. She

had never misconducted herself

with the defendant, and he had

never been in her bedroom. It was

an abominable falsehood for the

complainant to say that he had.

Her husband had on numerous

occasions committed acts of

violence on her. He had struck

her, thrown a lamp at her, and

bruised her. She was not under the

influence of drink on the night in

question.

The Bench bound the defendant

over to the sum of £10 to keep the

peace for six months.

Evening Express

22nd July 1910

THE BIRCHGROVE SMASH.

INJURED MAX STILL DETAINED AT

THE INFIRMARY

The adjourned inquiry into

the motor cyclists' collision at

Birchgrove, near Cardiff, on the

afternoon of Saturday, the 4th of

June, was resumed on Thursday by

Mr. W. L. Yorath, city coroner. Only

evidence of identification was taken

history

on the previous occasion, and the

proceedings were again adjourned

in the absence of the material

witness, Mr. F. E. Wade, of Newport,

who is still in Cardiff Infirmary

suffering from the effects of the

injuries he received in the accident.

The fatality, it will be borne in

mind, happened on the occasion

of the hill-climbing competitions at

Rubina.

In the collision Mr. Frank Dyer,

employed as a traveller by Messrs.

Alger and Sons, engineers and

electricians, Newport, was killed,

and Mr F. E. Wade, architect, of

Victoria Avenue, Newport, was

seriously injured. Mr L. H. Hornby,

solicitor, Newport, was now present

in Wade's behalf.

The Coroner said he had that

morning received a letter from the

resident medical officer stating

that Wade, who has fractured

his kneecap, would not be able

to attend the court until early in

September. His knee was operated

upon only on Wednesday, and it

would be some time before he

would be able to get about.

Under the circumstances (added

the coroner) a further adjournment

was necessary. Mr Hornby

intimated that he would be away

for about three weeks. The Coroner

mentioned that a Bristol solicitor

engaged in the case would be glad

of a postponement over August,

and the 15th of September was

mutually agreed upon as the date

of the adjourned inquiry.

43


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Harding Evans is one of Wales’ top 10 law firms and has a

If your marriage has broken down

If during your lockdown, marriage has we’re broken here to down help.

during lockdown, we’re here to help.

With lockdown forcing so many couples to spend time together for months on

end, reports are that, sadly, divorce rates are set to soar.

Kate Thomas, Head of Family Law and Matrimonial Law at Harding Evans

With lockdown forcing so many couples to spend time together for months on

Solicitors, answers some of the most common questions on seeking legal

end,

advice.

reports are that, sadly, divorce rates are set to soar.

Kate Thomas, Head of Family Law and Matrimonial Law at Harding Evans

For many people, the last few months of lockdown have given Q: What is the actual process I’ll need to go

them a rare opportunity to enjoy Solicitors, spending time answers at home some with their of the through? most common questions on seeking legal

families and reconnecting with their advice. partner. But we know that the A: Whilst you can attempt to manage the process

stresses of the enforced lockdown will have led to misery for many yourself, it’s usually best to contact a specialist divorce

For others, many forcing people, them to last re-evaluate few months their of marriages lockdown have and realise given that lawyer, Q: What especially is the actual if there process are children I’ll need involved to go or if

them this is a rare not the opportunity life they want. to enjoy spending time at home with their your through? partner doesn’t agree to the divorce.

families and reconnecting with their partner. But we know that the A: Whilst you can attempt to manage the process

stresses We’d urge of the anyone enforced to think lockdown carefully will about have starting led to misery divorce for many A yourself, divorce petition it’s usually will best prepared to contact and a specialist filed at Court. divorce

others, proceedings forcing at them this time to re-evaluate of great stress their and marriages uncertainty. and realise But if that Once lawyer, your especially spouse has if there acknowledged are children this, involved you’ll need or if

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some of the most common questions, to help make things clearer will lead to pronouncement of a Decree Nisi. Six weeks

at this difficult time.

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answered

been Financial to prepare issues a Statement and any arrangements in Support to for proceed, children which

some married of the for most over a common year, can questions, prove that to your help relationship make things has clearer may will lead be dealt to pronouncement with either by using of a a Decree local mediation Nisi. Six weeks

at permanently this difficult broken time. down, (citing one of the following grounds; service and one or day via an later, application you may to apply Court for to your determine Decree the

adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, separation for the distribution Absolute. of matrimonial assets and arrangements

Q: last Can two anyone years), get your divorced? marriage is legally recognised in the UK and for children.

A: the You UK can is your get divorced permanent in England home, or and the Wales permanent if you home have been of your Financial issues and any arrangements for children

married spouse. for over a year, can prove that your relationship has Q: may How be long dealt does with it either take by to get using a divorce? a local mediation

permanently broken down, (citing one of the following grounds; A: service This can or vary via an considerably. application to With Court no complications, to determine the it

adultery,

Q: What

unreasonable

do I need to consider

behaviour,

before

desertion,

applying

separation

for a divorce?A:

for the

may

distribution

be possible

of matrimonial

within four to

assets

five months,

and arrangements

but if there

There will be a lot of things to consider, from arrangements for are financial issues that cannot be resolved, an

last two years), your marriage is legally recognised in the UK and for children.

looking after any children and child maintenance payments to how application to Court for Financial Remedy may be

the

you

UK

will

is

divide

your permanent

your money

home,

and property.

or the permanent home of your

required, taking six to twelve months.

spouse.

Q: How long does it take to get a divorce?

A: This can vary considerably. With no complications, it

Harding Q: What do Evans I need is to one consider of Wales’ before applying top 10 law for a firms divorce?A: and has may a be possible within four to five months, but if there

specialist

There will be

team

a lot of

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Family

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lawyers. If you would like to speak to one of the team,

you will divide your money and property.

required, taking six to twelve months.

please call on 01633 760678.


feature

HOW TO WRITE

THE PERFECT

SHORT STORY

If you've been left with time on your hands during lockdown,

writing a short story is a great way to channel your inner creative.

Here's how you can create your own perfect short story

Why write a short

story?

Short stories are a great way to

exercise your brain and provide

you with a creative outlet. They

are also the perfect place to

start your writing career. They

allow you to practise the art of

planning, structuring and then

layering your work. They allow

you to develop characters, to

master plot twists and to create

your own worlds and share them

with others.

The love of writing can also be

rewarded with that warm feeling

when someone tells you that

they were moved by something

you wrote, or that they love your

work.

Whether you’re writing for

pleasure or for money, there is

joy to be had in mastering the

art of the short story, and by

creating something that can be

kept forever.

46

Where to start

Before you even start your short

story, you're going to want to think

about themes and ideas.

It's often hard to come up with

ideas off the top of your head so it's

always useful to carry a notepad

around to jot ideas down as they

come to you (you can always use

your phone for this too).

Look out for possible story ideas

during your every day routine,

whether it's an advert on a Post

Office noticeboard or a second-hand

wedding dress in a charity shop.

Some themes may be of interest

to you and you can blend these

in with any story lines that you are

developing.

There are two main types of writer

- the Planner and the Panster. The

Planner gets the entire outline of the

story down before committing to

fleshing the story out. A Panster may

have a general idea of where their

story is going but takes a more seewhere-this-goes

approach.

Neither approach is right or wrong

but there are significant benefits

to thoroughly planning your short

story, insomuch that you can angle

your story lines perfectly with your

ending.

A short story should ideally come

in between 1,000 and 5,000 words

but you can go shorter if you wish.

Flash fiction often sits anywhere

between 500 and 1,000 words while

micro-fiction ranges between 5-350

words.


Endings

Logistically, and from a planning

point of view, it makes things

a lot easier to start at the end

because from the very start

of your story, you can channel

each and every storyline to the

ending.

In every story, there is usually

some kind of conflict or problem

that needs to be resolved and

if you already know what the

resolution is, you can retro-plot

your characters, objects and

actions to set the ending up

perfectly. Of course, you keep

your reader in the dark about

the resolution until the very end

and you do this by gradually

revealing ever-increasing

problems that your main

character has to overcome.

Openings

With a short story, you don't have time

to create a long, rambling back story.

Instead, you need to drop your character

straight into the action. Suggest a back

story via dialogue if you like but the sooner

your character hits their 'conflict', the

better chance you have of keeping your

reader glued to the page.

Drop something into the opening that will

reappear at the end, whether it's an action,

an object or a piece of dialogue.

Development

Now that you've got your ending and your openings sorted, you need to

get your character and your story from the start to the end via the middle

section. This is where you develop your plot, your characters and your

theme.

Traditionally, the character in a story will face larger and worsening

problems but you won't have time to do that in a short story. Instead,

you'll have to compress the time frame into something smaller - every

word counts.

In addition to the structure

and plot, unless your story is

purely a descriptive piece,

be economical with your

descriptions. Long ruminations

can often cost a short story its

flow.

Keep your pre-planned

ending in mind at all times as

your middle section will be

leading directly up to it.

Editing

Editing is where you hone, prune and

polish your work. A sculptor doesn't

work on their finishing touches until the

very end and this is what editing is all

about.

Once you've finished your first draft

(which won't be perfect), leave it 'stew'

for a few days before returning to it.

You'll be looking at it with fresh eyes.

In a short story, every word counts so

be ruthless with unnecessary words

that will bloat your story and drag it

down. If your story is intended to be an

exciting one, you'll be aiming to use

short sentences in any case to up the

tempo. Once you've done a first edit, leave it for a few days and repeat the

same process over and over until you're happy with it.

Get the full course

The full course is available as a

download from

www.brand.patricmorgan.com

and includes an in-depth guide,

showing you how to create your

own short story, and how you can

make money from them.

Publish your work

Now that you've written your short story,

you can always look to get it published.

There's always the option of

approaching magazines or blogs, or you

can go direct to a publishing house.

Self-publishing is also now one of the

quickest ways to get your work into print

and make money. Look up sites such as

Kindle Direct Publishing or Lulu to get

yourself published.

47


caerphilly

Sitting at the southern end of the Rhymney Valley, the history

of Caerphilly can be traced back to the Neanderthal Age

The history of Caerphilly goes

back nearly 250,000 years when

Neanderthals scoured the then

barren plains for food and shelter.

Leaving little impression on the

landscape, it wasn’t until the Ice Age

glaciers retreated in 7,000BC, that

modern humans began establishing

settlements in the area.

By 4,500BC, the settlers had

cleared large swathes of forests

around the Caerphilly area using

stone axes. Within the next

millennium, they had started linking

to other valleys with pathways that

they had built. Pottery was also

being produced. Over 150 burial

Plaque on Caerphilly Common looking northwest

from the top of the mountain

48

communal monuments from this

time still exist in Wales, although

none have been found specifically

in Caerphilly.

By 2,500BC, metal was being used

for the first time to create tools.

Bronze in particular was being

utilised to create weapons, as the

discovery of an axehead at Rudry

confirms.

Farming soon started to spread

to the uplands around this time

too - Bronze Age burial tombs

still pepper Caerphilly’s ridges

to this day. They can be found at

Cefn Gelligaer, Mynydd y Grug

above Ynysddu, Twmbarlwm

and on Mynydd

Eglwysilan. They

appear as small

mounds of stone

and earth.

By 1,000BC,

the peaceful

settlements were

beginning to

experience unrest

and discord. It is

believed that the

Silures controlled

a lot of the area

at this time and over the following

five hundred years, they built hill

forts such as the one at Coed Craig

Ruperra.

In 43BC, the mighty Romans first

landed on British soil and within four

years, they had taken all of Britain

east of the River Severn. In need of

a boundary, the Romans formed

their western frontier at the river,

much to the anger of the Silures,

who launched raids against them.

By 57AD, the Romans' patience

with the Silures had run out and

decided to silence them once

and for all with an invasion. It took

13 years to complete and once

defeated, the Romans set about

creating a network of roads and

forts across Wales.

A fort was constructed at Gelligaer,

with the capacity to retain a

thousand soldiers. This fort can still

be seen today on the road between

Cardiff and Y Gaer, near Brecon.

The Silures were assimilated

into Roman life, following in the

footsteps of others that had

successfully been conquered, and

integrated into the Roman way of

living. This was commonly known as


‘Romanising’ and was a key aspect

of Roman success.

But by the end of the fourth

century, the Roman grip on Wales,

and Britain, was weakening. Attacks

by the Barbarians were causing

difficulties and the Romans were

forced to abandon their territories

and withdraw their troops.

A great deal of uncertainty and

turbulence filled the vacuum that

had been left by the withdrawal

of the Romans. Various factions

struggled for power and in the

latter half of the eighth century, the

Anglo-Saxon King Offa ordered the

construction of an earthern dyke

that appeared to cut off Wales from

England.

By now, Morgannwg had evolved

as an administrative area. The King

of Morgannwg would often visit the

various areas of the ‘cantrefi’ and be

wined and dined by the local lords.

It is probable that one of these

locations was at Is Caiach.

By 1266, 20 years after the Battle of

Hastings, all of England was under

complete Norman rule. Norman

lords were encouraged to push

into Wales. One such lord, Robert

Fitzhamon launched incursions

from his base in Cardiff and took

most of the lowlands. He was

hesitant not to make any attempt on

the higher grounds though, having

come off second best once in a raid

on Gelligaer in 1094.

Over a hundred years later, the

Lordship of Glamorgan was in the

hands of the DeClares. DeClare

commissioned the building of

Caerphilly Castle to counteract

Caerphilly

Castle

remains a pure

example of 13th

century military

architecture and

is the largest

castle in Wales

the threat by the Lordship of

Senghenedd. A stand-off between

Earl Gilbert deClare and Llewellyn

ap Gruffydd, the Welsh Prince

of Wales ensued. Ap Gruffydd’s

patience finally ran out and

he attacked Caerphilly Castle.

DeClare’s army managed to fend off

the attack and ap Gruffydd became

The town was industrialised

after the discovery of coal

increasingly under threat from

the Anglo-Normans. He retreated

to Brecon and never set foot in

Caerphilly again.

By the end of the 12th century, the

Welsh Church had gained influence

and had set about creating

dioceses. Caerphilly fell under the

Diocese of Llandaff. There followed

a substantial build of new churches,

which continued well into the

14th century. St. Barrwgs Church

in Bedwas is a good example of

a church built at this time and

retains a lot of its original build

and features. The Cistercians, of

Norman origin, lived a life of poverty

and silence and in 1179, they built

Llantarnam Abbey, four miles to the

east of Caerphilly. Outlying farms

provided sustenance for the monks.

One such farm was located at Cefn

Rhyswg.

Edward I was crowned King of

England in 1272, and immediately

set about flushing out the Welsh.

Llewelyn ap Gruffydd and his

brother, now forced back to North

Wales rebelled, but paid the

ultimate price. In 1294, after much

simmering resentment, the Welsh

attacked Caerphilly Castle and

burnt the town.

Twenty years later, in 1314,

Llewellyn Bren instigated a

revolt. He gathered an army of

ten thousand men who besieged

Caerphilly Castle and left the town

in ruins. A great battle took place

at Cefn Onn, where Edward’s men

joined the local Anglo-Norman

lords in crushing the rebellion. Bren

was captured and imprisoned in the

Tower of London.

Caerphilly as a town began to

flourish around the time of Owain

Glyndŵr in the 15th century. Over

the following centuries, trades

such as wool and iron developed.

Abercarn was one of the locations

of a furnace, and coal to fuel the

places

furnaces was mined on Caerphilly

Common and from Rudry Woods.

By the end of the 18th century, the

coal industry had revolutionised

the area. Canals and roads cut

through the landscape, and with

it came the population. Churches,

shops and schools sprung up to

cater for the new inhabitants of the

area. Motorised transport and the

introduction of electricity during the

early 20th century brought about

many of the changes that still exist

today in Caerphilly.

A bronze sculpture of the

Caerphilly-born comedian Tommy

Cooper now stands 9 feet tall, atop

a natural stone and granite plinth

in the town. Created by sculptor

James Done, it depicts him wearing

his trademark fez. It was unveiled in

2008 by Sir Anthony Hopkins, patron

of the Tommy Cooper Society.

The town has hosted two food

fairs, the Caerphilly Food Festival,

which is held on the streets of the

town, and the Big Cheese Festival,

which has been held in and around

Caerphilly Castle every summer

since 1998. The event includes a

wide variety of cheese stalls as well

as a funfair, fireworks and a cheese

race around the castle.

Tommy Cooper,

immortalised in bronze

49


Musical Harmony

As lockdown confined us to our homes, a group of musicians

collaborated in isolation to produce a celebration of melody

When lockdown was announced

at the end of March, many soon

realised that life as we know it

would change, possibly forever.

Workers were told to either work

from home or not work at all.

Joel Piacentini was one of them.

The musician from Rhiwbina was

stuck at home, his creative outlet

cut short by the pandemic.

"I'm a self-employed financial

adviser by day and work through

lockdown has been very difficult.

Work just stopped. My wife was also

shielding so as a family, we had to

follow the same rules as her. Like

many others, I found myself at a

loose end, looking for something to

do with my time."

Joel's affinity with music started at

an early age.

"I’ve been an active musician since

I was a child. I started playing the

guitar at 6 years old. My brother-inlaw

Robert taught me my first ever

chords."

50

Since then, Joel has spent his life

performing live music to various

audiences in various different

guises.

"Up until the lockdown, I played

live music regularly and the

frustration of not being able to do

that made me think about doing it

virtually online.

"I celebrated my birthday during

April and I had some basic

recording equipment and it got me

thinking about creating music with

fellow musicians. The first people I

approached were my friend Stuart

and my nephew Gareth and we

released our first recording on 29th

April on Facebook."

Joel and his band's first

performance was quickly shared

around social media, and was

quickly followed up with another.

"It grew from there," says Joel. "I

reached out to other people I knew

in the community, musician friends,

and they put me in touch with other

people, some of whom I've never

met. We've got a young drummer

called Callum on our videos and

I've never met him in real life!" he

adds. "We were all performing in our

own locations so we came up with

the name of the Lockdown Buddy

Band."

The performances have a very

polished feel to them but Joel

is quick to point out that a lot of

unseen work goes into each video.

"When we first set out doing these

videos, we tried doing a live session

over a Zoom call. The problem

was the time lapse and we found

it impossible to create a cohesive

piece of music.

"So we had to come up with other

ideas. Most of the tracks start with

me performing my part on guitar

and voice. I stick to a strict time and

record it on video.

"The next step then is to send out

my video to all the other musicians

who then record and video their


part in isolation. When it all comes

back in, it's then down to me to

stitch it all together.

"Before lockdown, I'd dabbled a

few times in creating music digitally

but I've learned a lot over the last

few months. The technology side of

things has been a challenge but I

understand it a lot better now."

The band doesn't have an official

members list, as Joel calls on a

rotating list of musicians, most of

whom are based in and around

Cardiff.

"Most of the musicians are from

the city. I'm in Rhiwbina but others

come from Cyncoed, Whitchurch,

Lakeside and Thornhill. Our violinist

Kim Thomas teaches at Llanishen

Fach Primary School in Rhiwbina."

In a wonderful twist of fate, Joel's

ex-Cardiffian brother-in-law, who

first taught him how to play the

guitar, now features on some of the

videos.

"He plays piano all the way from

Vancouver so that certainly makes

us an international set up. It's great

to think that technology now allows

us to create music together, even

though we're opposite sides of the

world."

The band plays an eclectic mix of

music, ranging from The Beatles,

through to Elbow and the likes of

The Lumineers and The Fratellis.

"I’m a little older now so we've

been trying to play a few songs

that have been released within

living memory," laughs Joel. "We

felt that people needed cheering

up and we've had some wonderful

comments from people."

The performances have been met

with acclaim from all over, including

from overseas.

"My great grandfather was Italian.

He was from a village in Tuscany

and we've had some lovely

feedback about our performances

from that part of the world."

The warm welcome that the

performances have accumulated

have made Joel think about the

future of his music.

"There has been such a positive

reaction to all of our performances

and our aim has always been to

provide something for people to

focus on when things get scary

out there. We've had people get in

touch who have been very isolated

these last few months and it's really

perked them up.

We have had

lovely feedback

about our

performances

from all over

the world

"Nobody is really sure how long

it will be before live music returns

to our lives so it's given me some

thought about what my future could

look like.

"In the past, I've been performing

as part of a trio that plays to social

clubs, bars and at private functions.

My most recent residency was at

people

Penylan Social Club, but of course,

all that has changed now. Many

of the musicians in the videos are

people I've performed live with over

the years.

"As 'normal life' is slowly starting to

resume, we are going to continue

with the online performances.

Output has slowed a little as some

of our musicians have started going

back to work. Ultimately, I would

love to do at least one concert

locally and recreate all of the tracks

with all the individuals. There's also

been talk of creating a charity CD

or DVD, but there would be things

such as copyright issues that we'd

need to look at before we started

any work on that.

"I definitely want to continue

working with my lockdown buddies,

but perhaps not in our current setup

as we move out of lockdown.

"The list of band members is

still growing. I currently have 16

musicians, including myself, two

nieces, one nephew, one brotherin-law

and my wife."

Joel's vision has kept both himself

and his musician friends busy

during the lockdown, but more

importantly, they've put a smile

on the faces of those who have

perhaps spent too much time alone.

You can find Joel and his band on

YouTube. Search for 'Joel Piacentini

and the Lock-down Buddy Band’.

They are also on Facebook at

www.facebook.com/rhiwbina.ldbb

Top row (l-r):

Joel Piacentini,

Rebecca Thayer,

Jeremy Lukins

Bottom row l-r:

Kim Thomas,

Paul Thomas

51


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BBQ

PDQ

This sizzling selection of quick and easy mouth-watering recipes

are perfect for outdoor dining on a hot summer's day

Pulled Pork

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp pepper

2 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp salt

500-600ml of cider

boneless shoulder of pork (between

2-3kg)

smoky barbecue sauce

soft white rolls

54

☐ In a bowl, mix together the ground

cumin, smoked paprika, brown sugar

and salt. Rub the mixture over the

boneless shoulder of pork.

☐ Put the pork into a large casserole

dish, skin-side up, and pour in half of

the cider over the meat.

☐ Cover the casserole dish with a lid

and cook in the oven at 150°C/130°C

fan/Gas 2 for between 4 and 8 hrs

until falling apart. Check every few

hours in case it gets dry – if it does,

add another mugful of cider.

☐ Take it out of the oven and put the

meat in a big dish, leaving the liquid

in the casserole.

☐ Cut the skin off, then shred the

meat using two forks. Ditch any fatty

bits and skim any excess fat off the

surface of the sauce.

☐ Add a mugful of a good smoky

BBQ sauce to the casserole, mix it

in, then ladle some into a bowl for

dipping.

☐ Put the pulled pork back in the

casserole with the juices so it stays

moist. Season to taste. Can be made

one day ahead.

☐ Serve in soft white rolls with

coleslaw and the bowl of juices on

the side for dipping plus a tomato,

cucumber and coriander salad.

Tomato, cucumber

& coriander salad

6 ripe vine tomatoes, deseeded and

chopped

1 small cucumber, diced

1 red onion, very finely chopped

6 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

☐ Mix together the tomatoes,

cucumber, red onion, and chopped

coriander but don’t season until just

before serving.


Vegan burger

For the burgers

400g black beans, rinsed and

drained

100g cooked brown rice (from a

packet is fine)

1 onion, grated

1 tsp crushed fennel seeds

½ tsp garlic salt

1 tsp smoked paprika

25g panko breadcrumbs

1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf

parsley

For the mayo

100g silken tofu

1 tsp cider vinegar

1 tsp lemon juice

a pinch of English mustard powder

1 tsp chipotle paste

For the guacamole

1 avocado, peeled and stoned

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

1/2 red chilli, finely chopped

1 tbsp chopped coriander

juice of 1/2 lime

☐ To create the burgers, tip all the

burger ingredients into a blender and

pulse until they're combined. Divide

into 4 and shape them into burger

patties. Place them onto a plate and

rest them in the fridge for at least 30

minutes.

☐ Heat your barbecue or griddle

pan to high. Brush the burger patties

with some olive oil and then place

them on the grill. Cook for 3 minutes

before flipping, and cooking for 3

minutes more. Touch the burgers

as little as possible to maintain their

shape.

☐ To make the chipotle mayo, place

all of the ingredients into a small

blender with a pinch of sugar and

food

blend until smooth. Add 2 tbsp olive

oil, and then blitz again until it looks

like mayonnaise. Season, tip into a

bowl, cover and chill.

☐ To make the guacamole, mash the

avocado with a fork, and then stir in

the onion, chilli, and the coriander.

Season and stir in the lime juice and

then chill.

☐ Lightly toast some buns and

then layer the bottom bun with your

mayo. Add the burger and top with

guacamole and some tomato slices

if desired.

Salmon with

soy marinade

1 tbsp lemon zest

1 tbsp minced garlic

freshly ground black pepper

5 tbsp soy sauce

4 tbsp dark brown soft sugar

5 tbsp water

4 tbsp vegetable oil

700g salmon fillet

☐ In a small bowl, stir together

the lemon zest, garlic, pepper, soy

sauce, sugar, water and vegetable

oil until the sugar is dissolved.

Place the fish in a large resealable

plastic bag with the marinade,

seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate

for at least 2 hours.

☐ Preheat the barbecue to a

medium heat.

☐ Lightly oil the cooking grate.

Place the salmon on the

preheated barbecue and discard

the marinade. Cook the salmon for

6 to 8 minutes per side, or until it

flakes easily with a fork.

55

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