This week we introduce you to a face of Carmarthen, Emlyn Schiavone, Mayor 2018-19. The Mayor also has the title of Admiral of the Port of Carmarthen, granted by a Charter of Henry VIII in 1546. Henry granted a 'Charter of Admiral to the Mayor and Burgesses and Commonalty to the town of Carmarthen and to their successors forever upon the River Towy from the bridge of Carmarthen to the bar of the said river’. Emlyn is a charismatic figure around the town who works hard to serve as best he can.
Trenchfoot provides the music on the video, a track called Lead Hurts. Some of the supplementary photos have also been donated by T.S. Thomas photography, Carmarthen.
Last week we viewed the Open Day at Island Farm. Richard is such an enthusiast and is just one of a large group of volunteers that work so hard to offer these days throughout the year – great stuff, long may it last.
Last weekend we got to Freshwater West nice and early Sunday morning. I got the time wrong. Four coffees later and a lot of landscape shots of the spectacular beach, the volunteers arrive. The Beach Clean organised by Surfers against Sewage: great event as part of a Beach Clean Week in Wales – looking forward to editing that one.
Next week we’ll take you to the home of poet Ellis Evans, known as Hedd Wynn. Yr Ysgwrn, just outside Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd, has become a memorial to the Welsh language poet who was killed July 31st 1917 on the first day of the Battle of Passchendaele during World War I. He was posthumously awarded the bard's chair at the 1917 National Eisteddfod. The video will also include some footage of the multi-media performance of the National Poet of Wales, Ifor Ap Glyn.
We are going to visit the town of Kidwelly very soon and hope to get some great video interviews from local characters and a special visit to the castle. At the moment, Seimon and myself think we got enough video footage and subject matter covered now for the next couple of months and need to start editing what we got. Big job but slowly, slowly!
This week, Hut Number 9, Island Farm in Bridgend takes centre stage. Enthusiastic volunteers curate the World War Two German prisoner of war camp, organising Open Days at regular intervals. On 10th March 1945, 70 German POW’s attempted to escape digging a tunnel out of their wartime imprisonment. It became known as The Great Escape in Wales.
The Tommy Jenkins video has had some great comments. He’s had to postpone a few gigs lately through ill health but is up and running again for his summer engagements and has a new album out soon. Here’s a link to a video about Tom Paine, an American patriot. He wrote the political pamphlet Common Sense. It is credited as playing a crucial role in convincing colonists to take up arms against Britain.
“Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain.” John Adams
The sun has been shining all week we did a video shoot down Oxwich on Gower. What a beautiful place, first visit to the beach this season. We had a small road trip around Gower taking in the sights and smells of the wild horses of Cefn Bryn. What a wonderful day but we should have taken a few sandwiches! Man cannot survive on ice cream alone!
The mantra is as Warren Zevon said, Enjoy Every Sandwich! Oh there’s another one, I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead.
This week Tommy Jenkins allows us an insight into the musical life story of one of Wales’ most unique folk singers. His work in the folk scene in South Wales is unparalleled as a solo artist and in various bands including Cromlech. I have an album of theirs in my collection, Igam Ogam on the Sain record label.
A self-taught Welsh speaker, he gives us an in depth view into his career. I wanted to edit the video down to ten minutes so that more viewers in this digital age would watch. It’s well known that the short attention span of the You Tube generations want an experience that is quick and short. Tommy comes in at nearly thirty minutes, I urge you sit, relax and listen to Tommy’s story.
Tommy has released several albums over the years including Songs of Swansea and Gower. By the end of April he is hopefully releasing a new album
I’m off tonight to watch coracle fishing on the River Towy in Carmarthen, a 9.30 p.m. start. We will be filming them soon and putting together a documentary on the history and folklore of the unique fishing craft through the ages.
Next week Mother Bear are off to film in a recording studio in Gorslas, Carmarthenhshire and capture the unique sound of Ron Savory and Liz Crippin before they set out an extensive tour of post-Brexit Europe.
This week we introduce you to Trudi Petersen who is running an independent shop, Found and Seek in the county town of Carmarthen.
I first met Trudi in a Cross Hands Working Men’s Club at a Spoken Word Open Mic. As a performance poet she is a very able artist with a great stage presence and a cultured use of language. She made me smile and she made me laugh. I’ll let her tell you her story in her own inimitable way.
Last Friday Mother Bear travelled to Trawsfynydd. What a day! A 5.30 a.m. start meant we were up in Yr Ysgwrn in time for breakfast. The last productions of The Empty Chair were extremely powerful and the one-man multimedia show of Hedd Wynn’s life was performed by the national poet of Wales, Ifor Ap Glyn.
The croeso at the bwythyn was warm and welcoming. The bara brith and panedd o de very much appreciated. It wasn’t for the first time in my life that I was sorry for the lack of a fluent Welsh tongue in my repertoire. I urge you if you visit Wales you must go to the home of the poet. http://www.yrysgwrn.com/home .
We’re off this week to meet up with Anna of isea surfwear. An independent bespoke print and design business being run out of a barn in Llanteg, Amroth and if we can fit it in Columbus Campers in Swansea run by the illustrious Jimmy Page. Although not the Led Zeppelin guitarist, James does play a guitar beautifully. Coincidentally, I bought tickets for a Robert Plant show in the Lyric Theatre, Carmarthen in April. It’s not the usual show they put on in the Lyric. We’ll have to try and get an interview and ask him about Led Zep’s impromptu performance at the Silverdales Caravan Club in Pendine in the 80’s!
Well, we beat the Irish and the nation partied. They are an outstanding group of athletes dedicated to their professional sport. For me it is very gratifying to see local players coming through the system and to have coached them at a younger age, Kenneth Owens and Jonathan Davies dedicated their lives to rugby from a young age and they deserve all they get. Llongyfarchiadau.
Perhaps it’s wrong to say it at this time of celebration and optimism but Welsh Rugby isn’t in a good place. I haven’t got statistics at my fingertips but from what I observe amateur grass roots rugby is dying fast. Second team rugby, social rugby is nearly dead and Youth rugby not far behind it. We live in a different world of professional sport and the emphasis of sport for all in rugby has now switched to providing the National team with the highest quality but it is at the detriment of social rugby. Sad to say but rugby isn’t what it used to be. Rugby clubs are fighting for their survival. Could be a video on the subject?
Into our third week already. We had a few hiccups last week and had to delay release but hopefully we’re back to the Friday release day from this week on. Monday was a big editing morning. There’s a need to be on top of it if we are going to get things out on time.
This week we introduce you to Iannis Ireland, self-publishing, self-financing author of the recently released, The Educator. Brought up on Bond Avenue , Penyfan overlooking The Morfa in Llanelli and educated at Bigyn Primary School and Coedcae Comp. Now living in Devon with his family, Iannis is a head teacher of a Primary School. He returns to Llanelli regularly to visit mum and dad and also to perform in The Spoken Word at Y Ffwrnes Theatre.
In his first novel Iannis uses his experience as a teacher to delve into the lives of the people around him:
The Educator - A Matt Greaves Investigation
Control And Dominance? Can He Survive? Self-Control Is Not An Option?Grisly murders! Targets carefully chosen!
Enter Year 3 teacher Matt Greaves, divorced, slightly jaded, thirty-something. Greaves will see his life changed forever in a battle where there can only ever be one winner, and where the lives of many others hang in the balance. Greaves will be the only one who can teach his opponent the hardest of lessons.
Mother Bear is hard at work this week, hoping to visit Yr Ysgwrn, Trawsfynydd later in the week for the final show of The Empty Chair – a multimedia poetry show, revisiting the life of the Great War poet, Hedd Wyn and exploring the nature of loss and identity. A video for the future with Americymru.
Oh yes and if you’re in Tenby for the Grand Slam weekend you will find Iannis educating friends on how to play obscure self-penned drinking games in The Lifeboat, singing karaoke in The Three Mariners and throwing some shapes in assorted nightclubs and bars all across the town!
This week we introduce you to Nora Evans, who reminisces about life on her grandparent’s farm, Penrhiwbeili in the village of Talog. We were asked by Carmarthen Museum to put this small video together as the contents is now in situ at the Museum in Abergwili, and the video will form part of the exhibition.
I’ll let her tell you her story in her own inimitable way – enjoy.
We hope you all enjoy it as much as we did.
Hope you enjoyed Alun Gibbard at Number 5 Cwmdonkin Drive?
We had some great feedback. Thank you. We hope to re-visit the house later in the year for an update.
This week I’ve been editing our video on the town mayor of Carmarthen. When you know the person pretty well it’s hard to keep to set questions in an interview! I threw my questions away in the end and let him talk. Reacting to what he was discussing made everything far more natural. Hopefully we’re learning all the time!
I got to mention this link. Last Thursday on BBC 2 Wales there was an It’s My Shout short film, The Wall and The Mirror. I love the detail in the documentary. Clare Potter has directed it with a passion and care for the community of Cefn Forest. Do a search on BBC iplayer and you’ll find it.
Please take fifteen minutes out of your day and enjoy. We’re learning all the time!
ISLAND FARM, GERMAN POW CAMP OPEN WEEKEND
Seimon and myself are off on a big adventure on Sunday morning. We’re taking our camera, tripod and zoom recorder to Bridgend. The last time we ventured east we got lost up Blaenavon looking for Trehafod. We had to stop on the way back to Ponty, in a Tredegar petrol station. We needed Jelly Babies, our sugar levels were low. We were out of our comfort zone for sure.
We’ve got some friends who curate Hut 9, Island Farm in Bridgend, willing to share the secrets of this World War Two German Prisoner of War camp.
In the afternoon we return to Pete King’s Sycamore Studios - Swansea's longest running professional studio. Pete will be a subject of a forthcoming video. The Welsh Cakes have a rehearsal, the first in three weeks. We think we’ll be ready to perform by September with an opening gig planned for Pontardawe Arts Centre. You’ll have heard one of the lead singers, Lorraine King singing in the last video, No 5 Cwmdonkin Drive. The music on Penrhiwbeili is by Welsh folk singer Tommy Jenkins.
If you would like to visit Carmarthen Museum, you can find out more about it here and find the museum at
For Saint David's Day, and Mother Bear Productions' inaugural video with us, Alun Gibbard, author of Cardiff Before Cardiff (Y Llofa) and many other titles, introduces us all to Number 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, Swansea, the birthplace of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.