Blog posts by year and month August 2010

Posts (152)

  1. Lostprophets, Katherine Jenkins, Only Men Aloud and Shaheen Jafargholi are all part of an... 'eclectic' line-up to celebrate the coming of the Ryder Cup to Wales this year. The Welcome to Wales event, staged at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on 29 September, will also feature the two Ryder Cup ...

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  2. Here's a short clip from my latest appearance on the Jamie and Louise Show on BBC Radio Wales, this time presented by Mal Pope and Lisa Rogers. I'll be back again next Friday for another chat. Have your say! If you want to comment on this or any other BBC blog, you will need to sign in to your BBC iD account. If you don't have a BBC iD account, you can register here - it'll allow you to contribute to a range of BBC sites and services using a single login. Need some assistance? Read about BBC iD, or get some help with registering.

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  3. I'm afraid most of Wales is in for a soaking over the next 24 to 36 hours and the Met Office has even issued a weather advisory for heavy rain. Most of us are in for a soaking tonight and tomorrow and again on Saturday. The rain will be heaviest on higher ground in the south and west and in...

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  4. The cream of the world's golfers will be coming to Wales on 1-3 October this year, but the Ryder Cup doesn't do much for the people of Newport, believe Goldie Lookin' Chain. The rap crew, fresh from the success of their big-up to the city in song, have announced their own golf tournament and gig. On Saturday 25 September the city's municipal golf course will be the venue for a typically-GLC shindig featuring an initial line-up of the band, Olympic athlete Jamie Baulch, Pritchard and Dainton of Dirty Sanchez and our own Bethan Elfyn. The golf tournament is free for Newport residents to watch, while an evening gig on the same date, at Newport Centre, is £5. The gig will be headlined by the GLC, supported by 2Rude and Dirty Goods. "Golf can be a bit stuffy, so we're going to do something golf-orientated that everyone in Newport can get involved in. We're going to put the 'olf' back into golf and give something back to the people of Newport," said GLC's P-Xain. "This is going to be the golf event to end all golf events. They'll probably cancel the Ryder Cup after seeing this," added Emma Corten, organiser. Feel free to comment! If you want to have your say, on this or any other BBC blog, you will need to sign in to your BBC iD account. If you don't have a BBC iD account, you can register here - it'll allow you to contribute to a range of BBC sites and services using a single login. Need some assistance? Read about BBC iD, or get some help with registering.

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  5. Environment Minister, Jane Davidson opened another section of the coastal footpath recently, linking Pendine with the Pembrokeshire border. The extra four and a half miles of path means it's now possible to walk from Pendine in Carmarthenshire to Borth in Ceredigion. Last month the minister o...

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  6. Seventy years ago this week, on 19 August 1940, three German Junkers bombers, escorted by two ME109 fighters, flew in over the Pembrokeshire coast and dropped their bombs onto the oil tanks high above the west Wales town of Pembroke Dock. The tanks contained thousands of gallons of vitally important fuel oil and when one of the bombs hit its target it started a fire, the like of which had never been seen in Wales before. A sheet of flame leapt into the air and the noise of the explosion echoed around the town. Then a huge column of smoke began to billow out of the stricken tank and climb like the sword of Damocles into the sky. The smoke hung there, above the town and the desperate Civil Defence workers who fought to quell the blaze for the next 18 days. The Pembroke Dock oil tank fire was the largest fire that Britain had seen since the Great Fire of London in 1666, and the resources to fight it were pitifully few. Initially just one tank had been hit but despite the heroic efforts of Pembroke Dock fire chief Arthur Morris and his team of part-time firemen the flames soon began to spread from one tank to the next. Hurried appeals were sent out to fire brigades all across the country, asking for men and fire fighting appliances. Help came from all quarters, from Milford Haven and Narberth and from places as far afield as Swansea and Cardiff. But, at this early stage, nobody quite realised what was facing them. As one Cardiff fireman later said: "We'd got as far as St Clears when we noticed the cloud. We didn't realise what was going on until we got a bit further and by then, of course, we were right in the middle of it." In the end 22 brigades were involved, over 500 men, from places as far away as Birmingham and Cardiff. The blaze raged for 18 days and, eventually, 11 of the 18 tanks were destroyed, their valuable contents just burning, vanishing into the ether or running in a great black river down the road towards the town. For a while there was a very real possibility that the fire would spread even further than the tank farm and citizens of Pembroke Dock lived in constant fear that the burning oil would set all of their houses alight. Dozens of firemen were injured and overcome with exhaustion. Tragically, five Cardiff firemen were killed when the wall of one burning tank just splintered or ruptured and a sea of burning oil engulfed them. Their names are still remembered in Pembroke Dock - Frederick George Davies, Clifford Miles, Ivor John Kilby, Trevor Charles Morgan and John Frederick Thomas - and on a memorial at the site of the inferno. Molten oil ran out of the tanks, coating the firemen who, in those days, had no specialised equipment or clothing. Sometimes it seemed as if it was raining oil. The men who fought the fire never forgot it: "Oh, the flames, they were 30 or 40 feet up in the air and you wouldn't believe the width of them. And then the smoke. And oil dropping down. You couldn't go too close because it was so hot. "What we were doing was cooling the unaffected tanks and the ones on fire. But as one tank seemed to empty another would catch fire." When the fire was eventually extinguished controversy erupted. Arthur Morris, hero of the hour, a man who did not leave the scene of the blaze and had slept only in snatches - at the side of his Merryweather Fire Engine - for 18 days, was passed over in the awards so liberally given out to others - several of whom spent virtually no time at all at the scene of the disaster. Arthur Morris was never a "yes man," always being regarded as a fireman's fireman. But if he had been critical of the operation then no one ever knew. He remained tight-lipped and took the secret - if secret there was - with him to his grave. The Pembroke Dock fire was soon to be eclipsed by other fires in London, Coventry and Birmingham as the German bombing offensive gathered momentum. However, that should never minimise the significance of the disaster and seventy years ago this week it was a real and terrifying ordeal, not just for the firemen involved but for the whole of the small community of Pembroke Dock. At 11am on Thursday 19 August a service for veterans who fought the 1940 fire will be held at the South Pembrokeshire Golf Club with wreaths being laid at the memorial stone near the clubhouse. The service is open to all and is being organised on behalf of the town's Sunderland Trust and Museum Trust, in conjunction with the Golf Club. Read more on the Pembroke Dock Community Web Project. Feel free to comment! If you want to have your say, on this or any other BBC blog, you will need to sign in to your BBC iD account. If you don't have a BBC iD account, you can register here - it'll allow you to contribute to a range of BBC sites and services using a single login. Need some assistance? Read about BBC iD, or get some help with registering.

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  7. This weekend one of Wales' best festivals will open its gates at the Glanusk Estate in the Brecon Beacons, on the outskirts of Crickhowell. I've been to every single Green Man since hosting a stage there in 2004, with 1,000 merry friends walking around the Baskerville Hall - the previous year just 300 friends gathered. This year it'll be over 11,000 at the sold out site ready to party to headliners Doves, Flaming Lips, and Joanna Newsom, as well as dozens of stunning artists from all around the world from Efterklang to Laura Marling - Green Man is always a place for firsts and a family, community, musical environment. As you can see I'm a huge fan, and I'll report back with photos from the weekend, but in preperation for a weekend in the Welsh mountains, I caught up on Radio One with Jo Bartlett, founder with partner Danny of the festival, to see where things are at this year. Here's a clip of our chat: Jo also did a special Greenman mix for the show - head to our website to listen back from tomorrow: www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/bethanelfyn This weekend I'll be broadcasting live from the site for BBC Radio Wales, hijacking the Greenman Radio studios from 6.30pm, tune in anywhere!

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  8. In a recent blog article, we touched upon the role of Welsh pilots in the Battle of Britain. One of the most notable men that faced the might of the German Luftwaffe in 1940 and beyond was Wrexham-born Air Chief Marshall Sir Frederick Rosier. This rare BBC News clip from April 1968 catches u...

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  9. Yesterday I went to the Pembrokeshire County Show in Haverfordwest and met loads of people at the BBC Wales stand. It was a damp morning but thankfully the weather cheered-up quite nicely during the afternoon. After lunch, two members of the Pembrokeshire Young Farmers Club - Rosalind and ...

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  10. The height of summer is an excellent time of year for spotting dragonflies and damselflies. Seeing these small, colourful insects darting around rivers and ponds, it's hard to imagine that in prehistoric times, some of them would have had wingspans of up to 70cm in length - double the length o...

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