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  1. A haven of industry

    Thursday 17 April 2014, 15:25

    Phil Carradice Phil Carradice

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    On 20 April 1961 the BP oil terminal on Milford Haven opened for business. The terminal was not a refinery, merely a pumping station that took oil from in-coming tankers and then sent it via a pipeline to the refinery at Llandarcey outside Port Talbot. Nevertheless it was an important part of a major industrialisation of the Milford Haven waterway.

    Milford Haven, with its deep water and gently sloping estuary sides, was ideal for the massive oil tankers of the 1960s and '70s. No less a person than Admiral Horatio Nelson had once called it the finest natural harbour in the world and there is no doubt that the place had been under-used for years.

    Oil refinery jetty, Milford Haven. Copyright Philip Halling and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence Refinery jetty, Milford Haven. Copyright Philip Halling, licensed under Creative Commons

    When, in the late 1950s, the demand for oil – for industry, for petrol, for household usage – increased rapidly, the oil companies looked towards Milford.

    The proposal to build refineries on the waterway was announced and there were immediate protests from concerned environmentalists. The National Parks Commission was horrified at the idea and renowned writers and naturalists like Ronald Lockley led the campaign but ultimately work began on the Esso...

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  2. The death of the Hanging Judge

    Thursday 17 April 2014, 09:33

    Phil Carradice Phil Carradice

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    The date 18 April may not mean much to most people but on that spring day in 1689 Judge George Jeffreys, the famous 'Hanging Judge' of the 17th century, finally died, appropriately enough in the Tower of London.

    Jeffreys was a Welshman, the sixth son of John and Margaret Jeffreys from Acton Hall on the outskirts of Wrexham. His childhood on the Acton Hall estates was quite privileged as his father, although supporting the forces of the king during the early stages of the English Civil War, managed to reconcile his beliefs and change sides once it was clear the Royalists had lost the war. He duly became High Sheriff of Denbighshire in 1655.

    Patrick Troughton as Judge Jeffreys in the BBC drama Lorna Doone, 1963 Patrick Troughton as Judge Jeffreys in the BBC drama Lorna Doone, 1963

    George Jeffreys was educated, first, at Shrewsbury School, then St Paul's and, finally, Westminster Schools in London. He went up to Trinity College, Cambridge, but left after just one year, without taking his degree, to enter the Inner Temple and study law in 1663.

    Married twice – reputedly for money – his second wife, Anne, was a woman with something of a temper. She was supposedly the only person Jeffreys was ever frightened of and a popular, scurrilous ballad of the...

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  3. Spotting the space station

    Tuesday 15 April 2014, 16:53

    Derek Brockway Derek Brockway

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    There was a beautiful full moon last night and the red planet Mars was visible too, just above and to the right of the moon.

    Here are some of your amazing pics from my Twitter feed:

    A fantastic full moon in Carmarthenshire by David Rice 

    A full moon over Bryn y Baal last night by Rachel Casey

    A beautiful full moon seen from Tongwynlais by Gale Jolly

    Many of you also spotted the International Space Station (#ISS) including Delwyn Ellis and Darren Warburton.

    We've put lots of recent ISS pics together in a Twitter timeline.

    There’s another chance to see the ISS this evening; rising in the western sky at 9.01pm.

    It will pass almost directly overhead at 9:05pm and then disappear in the eastern sky at 9:08pm so don’t forget to give the astronauts a wave.

    Some high cirrus clouds are likely tonight but otherwise the sky will be clear. It will turn chilly again with ground frost in the countryside.

    Near Capel Curig in Snowdonia, the temperature fell to -1°C last night with a slight air frost but in Trawsgoed in Ceredigion the temperature soared to 17°C this afternoon with plenty of strong April sunshine.

    Tomorrow high pressure over Germany will bring more fine and sunny weather.

    Thursday is still...

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  4. More than just a number and a headset

    Tuesday 15 April 2014, 11:30

    Heledd Jones-Tandy Heledd Jones-Tandy

    After nine months of research at The Call Centre I think it’s fair to say that I could now be a fully-fledged member of the Save Britain Money team.

    After sitting through countless team briefs, sales agent call training and the obligatory Nev meet and greet sing-songs, it's safe to say I’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt.

    I must admit, working in a call centre is rather enjoyable.

    Far from the stereotypical mundane, repetitive work you might expect, I was introduced to the fun-loving team-mates.

    Call centre staff Call centre staff Kieran Vye (left) and Kristian Thomas

    What I learnt most about this...

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  5. Plenty more sunshine in store this week

    Monday 14 April 2014, 16:13

    Derek Brockway Derek Brockway

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    A blustery wind made it feel cold yesterday, but thankfully the wind is lighter today and it's a lovely start to the week, thanks to high pressure centred close to Ireland.

    Over the next few days, there's plenty more fine weather and sunshine to come. It's strong April sunshine too, with moderate to high UV levels, so don't forget the sun-cream.

    Forecast chart 14 April 2014 Forecast chart 14 April 2014

    It will become a little warmer over the next couple of days, but with a clear sky overnight it'll turn chilly with temperatures falling close to freezing by dawn with a ground frost in rural areas, so gardeners beware.

    Later...

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  6. Could Offa's Dyke be the gigantic worm cast of a Tremors graboid?

    Friday 11 April 2014, 11:35

    Steven Green Steven Green

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    Exciting news this week revealed archaeologists think Offa's Dyke may be 200 years older than previously thought. 

    Until the discovery it was thought to have been built by King Offa during his reign between 757 and 796. But, crucially, there is no firm archaeological evidence to support this.

    Offa's Dyke. Photo: Homer Sykes Offa's Dyke. Photo: Homer Sykes

    It is the longest linear earthwork in the UK, and one of the longest in Europe, stretching for 177 miles (285km). The modern boundary between Wales and England closely follows much of the route of the dyke.

    The discovery by Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust now dates...

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  7. April showers bring forth May flowers

    Wednesday 9 April 2014, 16:54

    Derek Brockway Derek Brockway

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    People often talk about April showers and there's an old English folk rhyme that states: "March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers."

    Showers can occur at any time but there are specific reasons why April might be more associated with clear, sunny mornings and stormy afternoons.

    During spring, the Azores high pressure system and the polar jet stream tends to move further north.

    However, as the jet stream moves away from the UK, it leaves the country more open to weaker bands of rain and more days when showers are likely to develop.

    The sun is also higher in the sky at this time of year...

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  8. Women making an impact beyond Wales

    Wednesday 9 April 2014, 16:19

    Sian Williams Sian Williams

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    I've been mistakenly called Siân Phillips for nearly fifty years.

    So ingrained is the Welsh actress on the nation’s consciousness that, even though it seems a lifetime since the huge popularity of the BBC TV series 'I, Claudius' (or 'I Clavdivs' as we called it in our house), she’s still the first Sian everyone thinks of. 

    Even the great Siân Phillips has been called the wrong name, though.

    Sian Williams and Sian Phillips Sian Williams and Sian Phillips

    One occasion, when she turned up as the star act at a local theatre, she looked up and saw, in big stage lights, the name 'Stan Phillips'. It remained there for the...

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  9. The Call Centre: The lows, the highs and global recognition

    Tuesday 8 April 2014, 12:16

    Angharad Evans Angharad Evans

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    After my initiation as a runner on the hugely successful first series of BBC Three’s The Call Centre, I came back to work on the Christmas Special and series two, this time as a production management assistant. Phil Wilshire, Stephen 'Twe' Willams and Nev Phil Wilshire, Stephen 'Twe' Willams and Nev from The Call Centre.

    I went from being on the front line of filming and dealing with the contributors, to dealing with all the things that go on behind the scenes that are essential to the smooth running of any production – schedules, budgets, contracts, copyright, paperwork, the list goes on.

    Shortly after the first series aired, we headed...

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  10. Dry and brighter weather ahead

    Monday 7 April 2014, 16:08

    Derek Brockway Derek Brockway

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    We’ve all seen some rain over the past few days, some of which has been significant and heavy rain in places.

    Near Capel Curig in Snowdonia more than 2 inches of rain has fallen since last Friday.

    It wasn’t a total washout over the weekend though as there was some nice evening sunshine yesterday in the north and west which provided a nice rainbow at Penmaenmawr and a wonderful sunset in Carmarthen.

    Views over Gwaenysgor After a day of rain, a lovely evening in Gwaenysgor - Richard Walliker.

    Now for the good news - if you’re fed up with rain, the next few days will be drier with high pressure building over the Bay of Biscay.

    Tonight, scattered heavy showers are likely but by tomorrow, most places will be dry with sunny spells.

    Tuesday will feel fresh and breezy with daytime temperatures around 10 to 13°C and a bit chilly at night too.

    Temperatures in mid Wales could dip as low as 3°C by the end of tonight with a ground frost possible in sheltered places.

    On Thursday a weakening front will move south east bringing light rain to the north. This will clear and Friday and much of Saturday should be dry with some sunshine.

    Derek

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