Blog posts by year and month March 2012

Posts (103)

  1. A national television advertisement for the National Lottery's Good Causes holds special significance for Cardiff war veteran Leslie Godwin. Leslie Godwin Leslie is one of over 50,000 people who have made commemorative trips through the BIG Lottery Fund's Heroes Return scheme. ...

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  2. What a glorious weekend: lots of super Spring sunshine with afternoon temperatures more like June than March! Great weather for everyone taking part in Sport Relief including me and my colleague Sue Charles Porthmadog in Gwynedd was the warmest place in the UK on Saturday with temperatures...

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  3. James Callaghan - the only 20th century prime minister to hold the offices of Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary - was born a century ago today. Callaghan became the Labour MP of Cardiff South in 1945. After serving as a junior minister in the Attlee government, he became Chancellor of the Exchequer when Labour returned to power in 1964, overseeing the controversial devaluation of the pound. Following his resignation, Callaghan, or 'Big Jim' took the post of Home Secretary between 1967 and the summer of 1970. Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party Jim Callaghan in Abingdon electioneering for the 1979 General Election. As Home Secretary, Callaghan took over from Roy Jenkins' role and witnessed the ratcheting up of violence in Northern Ireland. During this period, British troops were deployed to protect the minority community. The Portsmouth-born south Wales MP's stint as Foreign Secretary was cut short as Callaghan went for the leadership of the Labour Party following the surprise resignation of Prime Minster Harold Wilson on 16 March 1976. Callaghan, with wide support from his party, defeated Michael Foot. In this BBC News clip from July 1976, Callaghan is on his second day of a visit to south Wales. Here the Prime Minister is searched for contraband as he prepares to enter the west Wales colliery at Betws New Drift Mine that was planned to open in 1978. Throughout his premiership, Callaghan was hampered by a lack of a clear majority. Very early on in his role as Prime Minister he was forced to rely upon the support of the Liberal Party and with the British economy in strife, amid high inflation and rising unemployment, a controversial decision to seek an emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund caused tensions within the party. Between 1976 and 1979, Callaghan's government introduced the Police Act, the Housing (Homeless Persons) Act in 1977 and the Education Act of 1976. The economic turmoil that raged throughout the 1970s culminated in a number of strikes during the winter of 1978-1979. Infamously dubbed The Winter of Discontent the industrial and social strife proved too detrimental for the Labour Government under Callaghan and a motion of no confidence was called by opposition MPs in March 1979. As Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government famously won the 1979 election, Callaghan remained Labour leader for another year before handing over to the man he once defeated in the leadership election, Michael Foot. In 1987, Callaghan was made a life peer and Knight of the Garter. He died on 26 March 2005, on the eve of his 93rd birthday, becoming the longest living former Prime Minister.

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  4. The City and County of Swansea together with the Friends of Oystermouth Castle are looking to produce a 2013 calendar for Oystermouth Castle, that features photographs of the castle taken by the public. Oystermouth Castle They are looking for recent, as well as past photographs of the Oystermouth Castle to create a calendar that will be sold at the castle when it reopens in June, and a few outlets in the Mumbles area through the summer. Andrea Clenton, project manager for Oystermouth Castle said: "We've seen lots of stunning photos of the castle, and we're sure that visitors over the last few years will have their own memories and photographs of this magnificent structure. If you have any that you'd like to submit for possible inclusion, then we'd love to see them." Photos sent in will be added to a slideshow of images on the Oystermouth Castle website, with the very best being appearing in the calendar. If you would like your photograph of Oystermouth Castle to be considered for the calendar, email the picture to marketing@swansea.gov.uk. If your photo is chosen for inclusion in the calendar, you will receive a credit your photograph and as well as a printed version of the calendar. The competition closes at the end of April 2012. Oystermouth Castle was founded by William de Londres of Ogmore Castle early in the 12th century. The well-preserved castle stands on a small hill with a magnificent view over Swansea Bay in the resort town of Mumbles. Work began on Oystermouth Castle in the autumn of 2010 to undertake essential works to conserve the castle structure. The castle interior has a 30-foot high glass viewing platform The castle temporarily re-opened last summer complete with new visitor facilities, an educational space and a 30 foot high glass viewing platform and bridge that leads to Alina's Chapel. The completion of ongoing conservation works at the attraction will soon allow people to explore parts of the castle that have been inaccessible for generations. The majority of work was originally scheduled to be complete in 2014 but funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Visit Wales mean contractors are aiming for an end of May finish. The castle is due to re-open on the Saturday 16 June 2012 with a medieval tournament. Find our more about the competiton and events taking place at Oystermouth Castle on the City and County of Swansea website.

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  5. The name Johnny Onions - Sioni Wynwns in Welsh - was a term of endearment, a nickname, given to any and all of the onion sellers from the Roscoff area of Brittany who came to Wales and most parts of Britain in great numbers during the 20th century. In particular, Johnny Onions was a familiar ...

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  6. It is Thursday morning and aside from my toothbrush, which I will need shortly, and my travel tea mug, which I will fill just before I leave, I am packed and ready to go. Today the BBC National Orchestra of Wales rolls north for its Spring North Wales Tour 2012! Andy and Mark, our stage and transport managers will already be on the road. Before the orchestra has left, they will have begun the drive to Aberystwth Arts Centre. By the time we arrive for rehearsal, they will have unloaded all the equipment from the Orchestra truck, including a good many instruments, set the stage up, negotiated the stage changes and be ready to ensure everything runs smoothly on stage. When the concert is finished, Andy and Mark will do everything in reverse, ready to drive to the next venue. Under the baton of our Principal Guest Conductor, Jac van Steen, we are taking two programmes on tour this week. Prokofiev's Classical Symphony is exactly what you would imagine it is - a tribute to the Classical era symphony by Prokofiev. We will perform it alongside Haydn's 'London' Symphony so you can hear for yourself what a remarkable job Prokofiev did! Prokofiev's music is fresh, exuberant, elegant and sparkly, and typically contains enough tunes that stick in your head to keep you awake for several nights in a row. It is, however, one of those pieces you could wear your metronome out practicing - it is easy to play under tempo, but not so easy up to speed. You have to keep both the bow and the left hand very organised or the fast passage work becomes muddy, and the slow passages sound flabby. There is one particularly nasty section in the last movement that on occasion can creep up in viola auditions (if the panel is feeling particularly mean). I remember weeping over these four lines in college because I kept panicking and getting my fingers in a muddle! We are also touring Dvořák 7 (I like the Scherzo), and overtures by Tchaikovsky (Hamlet - not very cheerful) and Schumann (Genoveva - quite perky). For me one of the highlights of the week so far has been the return of violinist Vilde Frang to our studio. We first worked with Vilde when she performed the Sibelius Concerto with us and Principal Conductor Designate, Thømas Sondergård. Thømas and Vilde know each other well (he was the conductor for her award winning debut recording for EMI with the WDR Symphonieorchester Köln) and it was a highly memorable performance. This week, Vilde will play the Tchaikovsky and Bruch concertos with us. She is such a beautifully natural musician and with a string of awards under her belt, including the prestigious Credit Suisse Young Artists' Award, this is a fabulous opportunity to see her perform these much loved concerti. I shall report back during the tour and maybe even try to get a few photos of the lovely north Wales scenery. Fingers crossed for good weather!

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  7. For the majority of folk, vinyl records are as outmoded as a ZX Spectrum or Penny Farthing. If records are in the house at all, they're in boxes in the attic, fossils of music waiting to be rediscovered when our alien overlords return and - having watched an episode of The Only Way Is Essex - de...

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  8. Today is a special day - it's World Meteorological Day and the anniversary of the World Meteorological Organisation's formation on 23 March 23, 1950. Each year, on 23 March, the WMO celebrate around a chosen theme.This year, the theme is "Powering our future with weather, climate and water" Robert A. Heinlein said "Climate is what we expect and weather is what we get" and another popular quotation is: "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it". The weather will be a big talking point this weekend as it's going to beach and picnic weather with temperatures more like May than March! It may start grey in a few places first thing in the morning but any low cloud, mist and fog will lift fairly readily and the whole of Wales will become fine with plenty of hazy sunshine. The nights will turn cool but by the afternoon it will feel pleasantly warm with light winds. Top temperatures 16 to 20 Celsius. The average maximum temperature for this time of year is nearer 10 Celsius. So great weather for heading to the beach this weekend but some coasts will be cooler with a breeze off the sea. And if you fancy a paddle, be warned, the sea is still quite cold around 8 or 9 Celsius. This weekend will be great weather for the beach. It will also be ideal weather for a walk on the coast, hills and mountains but don't expect crystal clear views. Like today it will be hazy with dust and pollution trapped in the lower layers of the atmosphere reducing the visibility. If you're taking part in the Sport Relief Mile on Sunday, the weather will be perfect but don't forget the suncream and drink plenty of water. And there is still time to enter. I know some farmers and gardeners wouldn't mind a drop of rain but there is no sign of any. Next week high pressure will keep things dry with plenty more fine and warm weather. In fact this March may turn out to be the driest in Wales for over 50 years.

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  9. The National Library of Wales' entire collection of oil paintings has gone online for the entire population to enjoy as part of the Your Paintings project. Ivor Davies, Branwen 1999. Oil on canvas 122 x 183cm © Ivor Davies, courtesy of The National Library of Wales Over 1,950 oil pain...

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  10. Aberystwyth professor Aled Gruffydd Jones looks at the history of journalism in Wales as part of the Histories of Wales series. You can listen to him present the next episode in the series on Sunday, 4.30pm on BBC Radio Wales. Journalism has been very much in the spotlight this past year. T...

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