Huw Llywelyn Rees


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28th December

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By: Huw Llywelyn Rees
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Ivor_the_Engine_c1962_Hardback     Ivor_the_engine

Ivor the Engine was first released on television on 28 December 1959.

Ivor the Engine is a children's television series that tells of the story of a little green locomotive living in the "top left-hand corner of Wales". His friends include Jones the Steam, Evans the Song and Dai Station.  The series was later revived in 1975 when new episodes in colour were produced for the BBC.

The series was written and narrated by Oliver Postgate, with his friend Peter Firmin providing the artwork, which originally consisted of cardboard cut-outs painted with watercolours.  It was produced in a disused cow shed at Firmin's home near Canterbury, with the sound effects being endearingly low-tech, for example, the sound of Ivor's puffing was made vocally by Postgate himself. 

Postgate drew inspiration for the series from a World War II encounter with Welshman Denzyl Ellis, a former railway fireman, who described how steam engines came to life when steaming them up in the morning. Postgate decided to locate the story to North Wales, as he considered it more inspirational than the flat terrain of the English Midlands.  


Born on this day 1861 in Swansea

David 'Dai' Gwynn - former Wales rugby international, whose playing career was notable for being in the side for Wales's first home game, at St Helens's against England in 1882 and then in 1890, being in the team that beat the English for the very first time.  Gwynn later moved north and played for Oldham and when he retired, he became heavily associated with Swansea Cricket Club and umpired for the club.   


Charity fundraiser Andrew Craig made his 52nd ascent of Snowdon, on 28th December 2011  to end his marathon of climbing Snowdon every week for a year.

Craig from Caernarfon braved snow, ice, fog, heavy rain and blistering heat to raise money for Breast Cancer.  It was the idea of his wife, Lynne, who suggested he should do the challenge after one of her best friends died from the disease and another had been recently diagnosed.  

  Bethlehem Santa MRM

O Little Town of Bethlehem (in Wales)

The Welsh Bethlehem is a remote and peaceful village that lies in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons in the Tywi Valley, to the northeast of Llandeilo,  However in December every year, thousands of people visit the village, to receive a Bethlehem postmark on their Christmas cards, which results in the local post office, that usually only opens on Tuesday, having to open for six days of the week.

The Welsh Bethlehem is overlooked by an old Iron Age fort, Carn Goch, with both the Welsh castle of Dinefwr and the Norman fortress of Carreg Cennen located nearby.  The name Bethlehem came into common parlance in Wales once Bishop Morgan translated the Bible into Welsh in 1588 and while the village was originally known as Dyffryn Ceidrich, the name Bethlehem was soon given to the local chapel and by the time of the Methodist Revival in the mid 19th century, the village was also being called by the name of its chapel.  


Traditionally in the Western Church, the First Day of Christmas is Christmas Day, therefore 28th December is the Fourth Day of Christmas.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me - Four Calling Birds

Calling appears to be an Americanisation of Colly, the Old English term for ‘black,’ Colly birds, therefore, refer to the common blackbird. 

The blackbird was the fifth most spotted bird in the 2013 Big Garden Birdwatch in Wales.

The Common Blackbird was seen as a sacred in Greek folklore and like many other small birds in medieval times, it was trapped as an easily available addition to the diet.  A sixteenth-century amusement was to place live birds in a pie.