We keep a welcome for everyone – not just NATO leaders…


It was really quite something to feel the buzz around South Wales ahead of the NATO Summit.  OK, so in Cardiff and Newport we moaned about road closures, diversions and interruptions to our daily lives, but it was only for a few days and we got over it.

According to news reports ‘Wales is well and truly on the map’, well actually we have been around for quite a long time. Remains have been found in Wales dating from the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic eras. The first copper and bronze tools appeared in Wales about 2500BC and the Romans mined for gold at the Dolaucothi mine in Pumpsaint, Carmarthenshire.  Quite a long history wouldn’t you say?

Wales has 641 castles, 11 million sheep and around 3 million people. It has 750 miles of coastline and is beautiful place with mountains and valleys, a bustling capital city, interesting towns and villages, and some very welcoming people.

Come, Visit Wales and see for yourself.

Watch the video welcoming the NATO Leaders to Wales

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy St David’s Day!


Welsh Flag(Getty Images)

Welsh Flag
(Getty Images)

1st March is St David’s Day here in Wales. It’s the day when children are allowed to leave school uniform at home and dress in something resembling National Dress. Tradition has it that the ladies wear a daffodil in their lapel and the men wear a leek – not the real thing, just a lapel pin. The daffodil and the leek are National Emblems of Wales, along with the more widely know heraldic symbol of the Red Dragon.

We also tend to eat Welsh Cakes – haven’t a clue why, but they just taste good.

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Cardiff also had Royal visitors today, in honour of St David’s Day

TRH Prince of Wales 7 Duchess of Cornwall

TRH Prince of Wales & The Duchess of Cornwall

A Bank Holiday in Wales


 

As there seem to be lots of people “stay-cationing” this year ( that’s holidaying at home to you and me), I thought I’d tell you about a  great festival taking place on the Bank Holiday weekend in Bangor, North Wales -“”Gwyl Y Faenol Festival 2010”.

Westlife will start things off on Friday 27 August with a concert at 8pm, followed on Saturday by an Opera Gala night with Bryn Terfel and Rolando Villazon.  Bryn Terfel actually started the festival and it will be great to see him back this year.

Tan y Ddraig switches to Sunday night when there will be a great combination of top Welsh bands playing together with acts like Masters in France, Pete Lawrie and the BRIT award nominated band The Feeling. Shed Seven, Athete  and The Roads are also on the bill.

On Bank Holiday Monday,New Zealander Hayley Westenra  and Rhydian appear in a lunchtime session then later, there is the Battle of Britain 70th Anniversary Concert  at 1.00pm, in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund

Closing the Festival will be Al Murray, the “Pub Landlord”  with his own special brew of jokes and stories.  He will be joined by Ed Byrne and Lloyd Langford with other names to be added to the bill soon.

A first for this year, will be Boulevard Bwrd Bryn; a wonderful food market showcasing local produce, together with a brilliant display of art and craft, all the work of local talented artists,  Waitrose are sponsoring a demonstration kitchen, so there will be something for everyone.

Tickets are on sale now and you can see more by visiting the Festival website

A Tale of Two Bridges (with apologies to Charles Dickens)


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times………………”

Earlier in the year, it was announced that the toll on the Humber Bridge was going to be increased. The people of Grimsby and surrounding area, reacted to this news by starting a petition against the increase and getting it signed by 10,000 people!  In the face of this huge opposition, the Minister of Transport refused to increase the tolls.

 In October it was announced that the Government was giving a grant of £6m to the Humber Bridge Company, so that they can freeze the tolls until 2011, the grant will be used for necessary maintenance.  In announcing this, the Minister for Transport, Sadiq Khan, said that “the Government is committed to doing everything it can to protect communities and businesses from economic downturn and to help the country recover”

 The news of the grant was met with an angry response by transport and haulage companies on both side of the Severn Estuary. Many companies who operate across this Welsh-Anglo border, rack up tens of thousands of pounds each year in tolls just to cross the river and though the Government’s commitment to reducing costs is very welcome, it should be applied across the board. The Freight Transport Association responded to the Minister’s comments by issuing a press release calling for the same commitment to be given to Wales and the South-West.

 However, it is not just transport companies who are affected, although the tolls they pay are the highest in the UK. Paying the toll has a knock-on effect for every company who use the Severn crossings in the course of their business. It is seen as huge a disadvantage by many large companies when looking at this part of Wales as a possible business venue.

 Both bridges are owned and operated by Severn Crossing plc, but the ownership of the bridges should not be a reason to do nothing. There is a solution to every problem if you try hard enough to find it.

 The Government, in its’ wisdom, decided to add VAT to the tolls back in 2003. The tolls were not increased, so this slipped relatively easily under the radar and they just agreed with the company to extend their term of ownership.  This has meant that the bridges will not revert back to public ownership now until some time around 2016 and we just go on paying………….

So, although age has curbed my former redheaded temper, I just felt that I couldn’t sit on the sidelines on this one.  I feel that the people and businesses of Wales have enough on their plate at the moment; times are tough out there and we need all the help we can get!  After the initial rise in blood pressure, I decided that I too would start a petition, to ask the Government for help for the Welsh economy too. And, in this highly computerised world we now live in, I chose an e-Petition.

If you feel as strongly as I do about the inequality of this gesture by the Government, then please will you follow the link and sign the petition. I am told that if we get more than 500 signatures the Government has to respond.

 http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/helpWelsheconomy/

Thank you!