Blog posts by year and month April 2012

Posts (67)

  1. It's National Gardening Week this week and the plants and vegetables are having a watering with low pressure bringing us plenty of cloud and rain. There will be some heavy downpours in places too with a risk of hail and thunder. However, rainfall amounts will vary from place to place. Some p...

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  2. In the foyer of the Lawn Tennis Association there is a statue to Welshman Major Walter Clopton Wingfield with the simple statement: "Inventor of Lawn Tennis". It is a title that still provokes debate among sports historians. The invention of the game is credited to Major Wingfield Today, Wednesday 18 April, is the 100th anniversary of the death Major Wingfield, who died in Belgravia, London in 1912. Born at Rhysnant Hall, Montgomeryshire on 16 October 1833, he was the eldest son of Clopton Lewis Wingfield. He had a successful military career before returning to his mid Wales estate where he was also a Justice of the Peace and a major in the yeomanry cavalry. He subsequently married Alice Cleveland, with whom he had three sons and a daughter. During the latter half of the 19th century there was a growing demand to develop gentle outdoor activities and games for the middle-classes, and, with this in mind, the entrepreneurial Wingfield set about devising games that met this need. He created Sphairistiké, taking the name from the Greek world 'sphairos' meaning ball. However, his friends were none too keen on the game's original name. Arthur Balfour, who would later become prime minister, suggested "lawn tennis". Wingfield later added "or lawn tennis" to the title of his eight-page instruction booklet. It is often said that Wingfield first demonstrated the game at a Christmas party held in 1873 at Nantclwyd, a Denbighshire country house, but this version of the game would be pretty near the final form. In 1869 Wingfield had shown the game to his friend Lord Landsdowne, although it was not until 1874 that he actually applied for a patent for the the game that he devised. Originally Wingfield's lawn tennis court was an hour-glass shape which may have been adopted for patent reasons as it set it apart from the more familiar rectangular courts. Sets of equipment to play Sphairistiké were manufactured and the game became quite popular. Within the first year over 1,000 sets were sold at a price of five guineas. However, other versions of lawn tennis were played before Wingfield began demonstrating his take on the game. Another major, called Harry Gem, and his Spanish friend JB Perera, were developing the game that they had had named 'pelota', which they later changed to 'lawn rackets'. In 1872, they set up the Leamington Lawn Tennis Club, later publishing the Rules Of Tennis. Wingfield may not have been the first to create a game called lawn tennis but it is generally felt that he was the man who first popularised the sport.

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  3. The work of two of Wales' most eminent artists will be exhibited in New York this weekend. Ruthin Craft Centre will present ceramic works by Walter Keeler and Eleri Mills' textile and fibre art at the Sculpture Objects and Functional Art Fair (SOFA) in Manhattan, from this Friday 20 April unti...

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  4. Student-orientated music festival Beach Break Live is back in Wales this year, and has today announced its biggest-ever line-up of music acts, including some up-and-coming Welsh bands. The Maccabees The Maccabees, Dizzee Rascal, Chase And Status, Labrinth and Ghostpoet are among the well-known names. Wales supplies the likes of High Contrast and Cut Ribbons. The full line-up is on the festival's website. Cut Ribbons Held at Pembrey Country Park in Carmarthenshire on 14-18 June, Beach Break has established itself as one of Wales' major events, despite some opposition from local residents. Beach Break founder Celia Norowzian told us: "We're so excited to be returning to Wales for our third year. "To us, Pembrey truly is the most perfect and beautiful festival location in the UK. Aside from how gorgeous it is, the incredible support from the local and wider community is one of the best things about running this festival. "Our final artists have now been added to the bill and the reaction has been even bigger than we hoped. We already can't wait to get back to Pembrey and get started." 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. He might have represented Cyprus at Eurovision in 2010, but these days Jon Lilygreen is making an unusual start to his major-label quest for music stardom. Lilygreen and Jon Maguire - as the duo Lilygreen And Maguire - have recently signed to Warner Brothers records, and are currently on a bu...

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  6. Two Welsh acts have been added to the supporting bill for this summer's Hard Rock Calling in London's Hyde Park. Kids In Glass Houses Kids In Glass Houses will line up as support for Seattle legends Soundgarden on Friday 13 July. Aled Phillips of Kids In Glass Houses told us: "We'r...

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  7. According to the Environment Agency, in south east Wales, the rivers Wye, Usk and Ebbw are at, or near, record low levels following a few months of below average rainfall. The last 18 months have been the driest in South Wales for 100 years! All that is set to change this week as we're ...

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  8. A new pop-up shop with a difference opens in Wrexham next week: rather than tinned or packaged goods, the commodities on offer at Store are live performances. Michikazu Matsune and David Subal during a performance of Store in Bangor. Photo: Dewi Glyn Jones After being invited into the sh...

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  9. A new project has begun to help save red squirrels in the Cothi and Gwenffrwd valleys in north-east Carmarthenshire. The Mid Wales Red Squirrel Project, which has been running since 2002, has received £12,000 funding from Environment Wales to help support red squirrel conservation in the area around Llyn Brianne and the Tywi Forest. The red squirrels here form one of only three key populations left in Wales, and the only one left in south Wales. Isabel Macho, Biodiversity Officer with Carmarthenshire County Council, said: "We are really lucky still to have red squirrels in Carmarthenshire, and their protection is one of our conservation priorities." "The unique nature of the Tywi forest has allowed them to survive here longer than in the rest of south Wales but they remain very vulnerable due to habitat loss and the impacts of grey squirrels." A red squirrel by Steve Davis Dr Lizzie Wilberforce of the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales went on to explain, "Unfortunately, grey squirrels aren't native to Britain and have more or less replaced our native red squirrels throughout Wales." Grey squirrels are much larger, out-compete reds for food and carry a disease called squirrel pox, which is fatal to red squirrels. New funding has allowed the project to undertake a large survey of the Cothi and Gwenffrwd valleys to assess where squirrel activity can be observed and to engage landowners and other interested individuals in red squirrel conservation. It has also supported a carefully designed programme of grey squirrel control that has been targeted to maximise the benefit for red squirrels in their core habitat. Huw Denman, a private forester and member of the red squirrel project, said: "Small changes to the way woodlands are managed, like altering the proportions of tree species you plant, can make a huge difference to red squirrels survival." Working with local landowners, the project hopes to create a better future for red squirrels in Wales. Watch red squirrels on BBC Wildlife Finder

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  10. Did you ever have arguments at school about who was the best guitarist in the world? Maybe it's just me, but my friends and I debated regularly the relative merits of Slash, Brian May, Jimmy Page, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Eddie Van Halen. This was the 80s, so please excuse me. Flicking thr...

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