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Christmas with BBC NOW

This Christmas, we at the BBC National Orchestra of Wales are offering audiences in Cardiff, Swansea and Haverfordwest the perfect antidote to the Yuletide onslaught, with festive concerts suitable for friends and family alike.

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    Dylan Thomas

    Forget the poetry and the dissolute behaviour, mention Dylan Thomas to anyone who is the slightest bit interested in literature, in literary biography or literary history and the chances are they will respond with ‘Under Milk Wood’ or ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’.

    The quality of Dylan’s play for voices is well known but, increasingly, ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’ is being seen as a wonderful piece of writing. Because of its ability to conjure a time and a place when, as someone once said ‘All the world was young’, it is seen by many readers as the modern day equivalent of Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol’.

    Since its first appearance back in the 1940s, ‘A Child’s Christmas’ has grown in popularity and has become something of a symbol for the way Christmas and the Christmas season used to be celebrated – and maybe will be again – not just in Wales but across the whole world.

    Dylan Thomas had been writing radio scripts for some years when, in 1945, Lorraine Davies, producer of…

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  • Drover's Arms shrouded in mist by Kev. Wood

    Moist south-westerly winds are bringing plenty of low cloud, rain and drizzle to Wales today. However it’s much drier and even a little brighter in the rain shadow of the north-east. It's also very mild here with temperatures in Flintshire reaching 14° Celsius, 6 degrees above average and more like May than December!

    There is more rain, drizzle and hill fog to come today and tonight. This will be heaviest on high ground. The Cambrian Mountains, Brecon Beacons and Heads of the Valleys have a weather warning in force until 6am tomorrow. The heavy rain is accompanied by a strong to gale force wind with a risk of flooding in places - see Natural Resources Wales for details.

    Tonight a cold front will move south-east and the heavy rain will clear later in the night. The wind will ease and temperatures will drop once the rain clears.

    Weather chart 19 December

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  • How’s your Christmas shopping going? Have you wrestled with your fellow man over the last toys in shopping centres?

    With each passing year, I find the run up to Christmas increasingly stressful; there is simply never the time to do all that you plan to do, meet all the people you plan to meet, nor the cash to gift all the gifts you would like to gift. Additionally, as reports of snow in Ireland begin to circulate, my annual ‘will I make it home for Christmas’ panic has begun in earnest.

    In all the crazed tearing around that we put ourselves through during the festive period, how often do we miss out on actually enjoying this beautiful festival? How often do we not make the time to enjoy doing nothing, or being entertained, in our loved ones’ company (and passed out with exhaustion together on the couch post-Christmas Day feeding frenzy most certainly does not count)?

    This Christmas, we at the BBC National Orchestra of Wales are offering audiences in Cardiff, Swansea and Haverfordwest the perfect antidote to the Yuletide onslaught, with festive concerts suitable for friends and family alike.

    We will be joined by Welsh tenor, Wynne Evans at each concert, and our wonderful choirs…

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  • The weather is on the change again tonight with a warm front moving east bringing in milder, wetter and windier conditions from the Atlantic. Some heavy rain is likely, especially on the Cambrian Mountains, with 30 to 50mm of rain expected tomorrow. The Met Office has issued a warning for this rain.

    South-westerly winds and tropical maritime air will bring a lot of moisture in from the Atlantic. Generally, as the moist air hits the Welsh mountains it is forced upwards producing more clouds and rain - the technical term for this process is 'orographic enhancement'. See 'Why does it…

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    Highland cattle on Moel Famau by Steve Warrilow,Deeside

    Low pressure brought plenty of rain and strong to gale force winds last night. A gust of 65mph was recorded at Mumbles Head in Swansea while 20 to 30mm of rain fell overnight with flooding in parts of mid Wales including the Dyfi Valley. There was also a landslide at Cwm Ystwyth.

    Cwm Ystwyth landslide by Bryn Williams

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    Last month, BBC National Orchestra of Wales performed in Brecon, Aberystwyth, Bangor, and Llandudno as part of their tour to mid and north Wales. Laura Sinnerton kept a diary of the tour – exploring what life is like on the road with the orchestra.

    Friday 28 November

    The drive to Aberystwyth is quite a mission, but I always feel compensated by the prospect of a wander around the arts centre gift shop and its amazing book store. This evening is the first outing of our Celtic Impressions programme. It opens with William Mathias 'Dance Overture', a work that I am rather fond of. This is…

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    It’s a cliché but, as the old saying goes, every Welsh man and woman can sing like an angel. Whether that statement is true or not is another matter.

    But even if it is only partly accurate, it could be one of the reasons why Welsh recording artists have had a more than generous distribution of the spoils when it comes to hit records. Even the briefest study of Top Ten successes since records (no pun intended) began back in the 1950s will show a considerable number of Welsh singers regularly appearing in the lists. Plus the much coveted Christmas No 1 hit single has been claimed by…

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    A deep area of low pressure near Iceland brought stormy weather to the far north-west of the UK today with travel disruption, power cuts and huge waves crashing onto the west coast of Scotland.

    Fortunately Wales escaped the worst. It's been a bit windy today but nothing out of the ordinary. Wind gusts typically 45 to 60mph, 67mph was the highest recorded at Aberdaron on the Llyn Peninsula.

    Tonight will bring a mixture of clear spells and showers. The showers will be heavy in places with hail, and wintry on higher ground in mid and north Wales with a little sleet and snow on the…

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    Last month, BBC National Orchestra of Wales performed in Brecon, Aberystwyth, Bangor, and Llandudno as part of their tour to mid and north Wales. Laura Sinnerton kept a diary of the tour – exploring what life is like on the road with the orchestra.

    Thursday 27 November
    November is drawing in dark and cold. Over the last few days, I've been wrapping up warm when leaving the house (gloves in particular now being a must) only to have to strip off a dozen layers when entering the sub-tropical micro-climate of the Hoddinott Hall studio. I've got fairly rubbish circulation, so a thorough…

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    Snow on Hay Bluff by Simon Powell

    There’s been a dusting of snow in places during the last 24 hours. Most of the snow has fallen on higher ground, in particular the hills and mountains and the Horseshoe Pass near Llangollen was closed earlier today because of icy conditions.

    We’re going to have just about everything thrown us at this week including rain and gales with Met Office warnings in force.

    It’s not surprising…

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