Tuesday 11 March 2014, 12:20
March is upon us, and, while I am loath to even whisper the words for fear of a change, it would appear that spring has sprung. I’ve taken the plunge and removed the winter lining from my parka and have even ventured out to rehearsal sans socks.
The opening week of March was one of varied experiences and music-making for the orchestra. Starting off the week, composer Rob Lane was back with us for two recording sessions of music for a new BBC drama (more of this at a later date). This type of work is done to a click track, in order that the music line up very precisely with the on-screen visuals.
Our wind and brass colleagues got to leave before us string players (not because we were naughty, but there were a number of strings-only bits). They were a little too smug about their early finish - there was a lot of exaggerated tiptoeing from the studio and many sad faces, the expressiveness of which a mime artist would be jealous of.BBC National Orchestra of Wales performing via video link for Ysgol y Bont in Anglesey
The following day had been set aside to do new publicity photographs of the orchestra. This is never my favourite day of the year - I feel rather ill at ease in front...
Monday 10 March 2014, 16:55
Yesterday was the warmest day of the year so far for most of Wales with a top temperature of 17.9°C recorded at Llysdinam near Newbridge on Wye in Powys. This is about 8 degrees above the seasonal average, more typical of May and warmer than some resorts in the Mediterranean!Daffodils. Photo: Ted Williams from Betws, near Ammanford.
It’s a little cooler today but fine and sunny and there’s plenty more dry and settled weather to come this week thanks to high pressure. The main headache for forecasters will be how much cloud we’ll see and this will have an impact on temperature and amounts of sunshine.
It’s unlikely to be sunny everywhere every day this week but where the sky does remain clear overnight it will turn cold with a touch of frost and mist or fog patches. By the afternoon, though, it will feel pleasant in the sunshine with temperatures reaching 10°C to 13°C with light winds.Weather chart for Wednesday 12 March 2014
So spring has arrived but we must remember that it’s still only March and gardeners need to watch out for Jack Frost overnight.
Next week may start dry but the signs are that high pressure will gradually give way allowing the weather...
Monday 10 March 2014, 10:29
Most of us know someone who is trying to quit smoking, and it seems many people are turning to electronic cigarettes to help them. Despite warnings they may not actually help you stop and concerns over their long term effect, the popularity of the e-cigarette is on the rise.
While the debate over their health benefits rages on, not much has been said about the danger of them exploding!X-Ray filming an e-cigarette being tested
Imagine this. You’re sitting at home, have a quiet supper, your e-cigarette on charge. Suddenly there is an almighty bang, there’s smoke, flames, the device is scorched, and there are burn mark across your kitchen. Pretty frightening stuff.
X-Ray has discovered there have been six fires caused by the devices in Wales. And how many minor explosions haven’t been reported?
Trading standards are so concerned, they are getting devices tested. We’ve been to a lab to film these tests taking place. We took precautions with a safety screen and protective goggles while the e-cigarettes were put on charge and their temperature monitored.
So take a look at X-Ray tonight at 7.30pm on BBC One Wales - our investigation certainly adds another element...
Friday 7 March 2014, 12:37
Wales has produced many fine artists over the years but none are more significant or impressive than the Swansea-born painter Ceri Giraldus Richards.
Ceri was born on 6 June 1903 in the tiny village of Dunvant, just outside Swansea. His father was a tin plate worker but he was also a gifted musician, bi-lingual poet and conductor for the Dunvant Male Voice Choir.
As a consequence of all this artistic endeavour, Ceri and his siblings grew up in a cultured environment where all three were taught to play the piano, appreciate music and literature and enjoy the natural world.
It certainly paid dividends...
Thursday 6 March 2014, 14:09
Iolo's Welsh Sea producer John Gwyn takes us behind the scenes when the team filmed sharks for the last episode in the series.
The Welsh sea is a fascinating hidden landscape full of extraordinary wildlife that most of us will never see first-hand. Most of us rarely experience a view of the Welsh coastline from the sea or have any idea of the activities or history that exists along our shores. Sharing this big secret has been a rewarding challenge.
Shooting for the series began in July 2013. With such calm waters during the first week of filming all our worries about getting good steady shots of...
Wednesday 5 March 2014, 17:02
If the producers of Through the Keyhole were really scraping the barrel, and decided to send whoever it is that has taken over from Lloyd Grossman through the unpaid bills and discarded record mailers blocking my front-door, it’d be all too obvious who I am.
My house is full of records. They lurk on all flat surfaces like a tide of sound washed up every time I go to one of those musty-smelling shops a couple of rows back from the high street. The kind of shops frequented by 38” men, with James May hair, or - increasingly, and happily - hipster boys and girls who are disillusioned by the...
Wednesday 5 March 2014, 14:40
Pontypridd Response Sgt Chris Peters is featured in the new series of Police 24/7. Here he talks about what it is like to be filmed doing his job.
I thought I had experienced everything in my 14 years as a police officer, until last year when I was asked to take part in a new fly-on-the-wall documentary produced by BBC Wales called Police 24/7.
I was apprehensive at first - the prospect of being followed around by cameras was totally alien to me, but after speaking to family, friends, colleagues, and members of the community, I came to realise it was a unique opportunity that couldn’t be missed...
Wednesday 5 March 2014, 10:17
Amanda Harries was the series producer for The Country Midwives, a new series that follows community midwives on the road in Carmarthenshire.
It’s been a real pleasure to be in the lives of ‘The Country Midwives’ of Carmarthenshire over the past 12 months. Being a mum myself in west Wales I know all too well how the midwives’ care and advice are invaluable, and how they make you feel like you’re the only mum they’re caring for. In reality they can see up to ten mums a day. So having this behind-the-scenes glimpse into the community midwives’ work has been amazing. I am in awe...
Tuesday 4 March 2014, 15:05
It's Shrove Tuesday/ Pancake Day and tonight the usual batter mixes will be adorning kitchen ceilings throughout Wales.
But for a change why not try the traditional Welsh version - crempog or 'ffroes' instead?
Tuesday 4 March 2014, 14:16
There has been something of an explosion of interest in family history over the past two or three decades as people try to unravel their past and get in touch, historically speaking, with their distant and long-gone ancestors.Celebrities with Welsh surnames/stage names: Tom Jones, Huw Edwards and Katherine Jenkins.
In England, as far as researchers are concerned, a person's surname might well be a good indicator of family connections. As John and Sheila Rowlands have recently written, with regard to English names, in The Surnames of Wales (Gomer Press):
“it would not be uncommon for a...