Tuesday, 27 December 2011

NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2011

Following my concept of having a book printed specifically on the find my father instigated at Llyn Cerrig Bach, I had a meeting with Philip Steele, the editor of this book, who is working in conjunction with the publisher, Robert Williams of Magna Books to bring this book to fruition. Hopefully, it will be launched next July in order to coincide with a collection of Llyn Cerrig Bach that is coming back to Anglesey from Cardiff. These will be displayed at Oriel Ynys Môn from July onwards for three months.

Alan took a picture of Phil and I planning which images that needed to be included in the book from my Powerpoint Images and also the text needed from my lecture notes.



This meeting was followed later by an e-mail from Phil, enquiring as to where in my research I’d found out that TACAN rock, thus christened this by the RAF, was originally called Craig Carnau’r Ebolion. He needed confirmation of this fact before putting it into print in the book. He also queried my translation of Llyn Cerrig Bach, as the Lake Belonging to Cerrig Bach farm. Only this last August I saw again it literally translated and referred to in English as “The Lake of Little Stones “.
.
By going back to my original research source, Ida Owen, Carnau Farm, I was able to confirm that I had translated the title of the lake correctly. Mrs Owen agreed with me, that the translation of Llyn Cerrig Bach should be, the Lake of Cerrig Bach (i.e. belonging to the farm of Cerrig Bach). She stated that all the lakes around that area carry the title of the farm on whose land they are sited on. They include Llyn Traffwll, Llyn Dinam and Llyn Penrhyn, all carrying the names of their farms.


Regarding my title of Rock of ponies’ hooves, Mrs. Owen assured me that the full title on the deeds of her farm property appears as Carnau’r Ebolion and agreed that it refers to hooves of ponies. Hence my remarks about the coincidence that small horse’ bits had been found in Llyn Cerrig Bach. TACAN rock was on their land originally before the airfield took it over. She repeated to me that It was always referred before then as Craig Carnau’r Ebolion. I wonder if the chariots therefore were built to fit the size of these small indigenous horses.

As members of the Anglesey Antiquarian Society, the county’s history society, we have been celebrating its centenary during November. First, an exhibition was launched at Oriel Ynys Môn, with some artefacts being brought back on loan from the National Museum at Cardiff and from the British Museum. Various cabinets can be seen showing artefacts that have been saved by our society over its many years.

A centenary weekend of events then took place. On the Saturday, Alan and I attended a full day of lectures at Plas Newydd, Lord and Lady Anglesey’s residence on the banks of the Menai Straits. It was a beautiful sunny day and the Snowdonia Range looked magnificent across the waters.


I particularly enjoyed the lecture given by the renowned Welsh artist, Peter Lord about Artisan painting 1732 – 1860. Peter himself has bought quite a number of these paintings. He showed a picture of a self portrait by Edward Owen of Penrhos, Holyhead. This Peter re-discovered in a private collection in Massachusetts, America. He will be exhibiting this long lost painting amongst others at Plas Glyn y Weddw, Llandwrog.
You can read the full fascinating story about Edward Owenof Penrhos if you Google his name.



Our second venue for our society’s centenary celebration, was a lunch at the newly re-furbished mansion house of Plas Coch, situated not far along the bank of the Menai Straits from Plas Newydd. The date above the front door – 1569, shows that it was built in the time of Elizabeth 1, 450 years ago. It was built by the Welsh gentry’s family Hughes, descendants of whom live at Brynddu, Llanfechell. They are direct descendants of Llywarch ap Bran, a key official to Owain Gwynedd, the King of North Wales. The present owner has now built luxury holiday lodges in the grounds, from which they have a magnificent view of the Snowdonia Range across the Menai Straits. After lunch, we were taken to an upstairs lounge where we were given an excellent account of the stages and problems that were encountered and overcome during the refurbishment period.



A new Archives building was opened recently in Llangefni. The Talwrn Archaeology group, which we attend their lectures, had a special viewing evening of its new research and storage areas. Amanda Sweet and Pat West gave us an interesting guide as how to make the best use of these new facilities.
As if completing my blog in time each month is not a sufficient challenge for me, I have now volunteered to keep a HAND WRITTEN diary throughout the coming year. Different age groups will be taking part in this project.These diaries will then be placed in our Archives at llangefni. It is hoped that these will give future generations a snapshot of life on Anglesey during 2012.



Our next Talwrn Group gathering was at the Christmas Dinner. This was held in the restaurant in the new extension built at the back of Plas Coch, which also has a huge Spa. We had a fantastic evening dinner and enjoyed sharing the company of our dear friends Chas and Helen Parry-Jones. Sadly, Plas Coch is not open to the general public, so we were very lucky to have an insight to both the old and new parts during the course of one month!


Since last September, Alan and I have been attending a course of lectures given through the medium of Welsh by Rhys Mwyn at Llanfairpwll. These have been on the Archaelogy of Anglesey and North Wales. Evidence as to how good these lectures were, lies in the fact that we started in September with 25 members and the 25 members kept on attending to the end of the term. We are all looking forward to rejoining the class again in January. I am hoping to start a similar Monday evening class with Rhys at Llanfaelog Village Hall in the New Year. The format for this class will be bi-lingual and based mainly on the History and Archaeology of Anglesey. I also hope to set up a Beginners’ Evening Class in learning Welsh at the same venue.
follow Rhys’ blog – rhysmwyn.blogspot.com



News that saddened me recently, was hearing that the History and Archaeology displays at the National Museum will be moving from Cardiff to San Fagan. I fail to see how anybody from North Wales will be able to visit this display in a day, as one is able to do now; being the museum is sited conveniently in the centre of Cardiff. By the time you’ve travelled by train down to Cardiff and then caught a bus to San Fagan, you’ve very little time left for viewing anything. This means that anyone travelling from North Wales will have the extra expense of an paying for an overnight stay. As a result of my talks, so many of my associates, including school children, have been to view the Llyn Cerrig Bach display. I have written to implore the powers to be at the museum, to at least lay on a shuttle bus service at convenient times from the museum door to San Fagan. Probably, the whole of San Fagan Heritage site would benefit from such a service.
If you also wish to state your objection to this move, do write to -
Nigel Williams, National Museum Cardiff, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NP
or e-mail: nigel.williams@museumwales.ac.uk

Sunday, 6 November 2011

OCTOBER 2011

At the beginning of October, I had the pleasure of being my daughter Delyth’s accompanying guest to the Station Commanding Officer’s invitation at RAF Valley.

To begin with, we were taken in groups of eight in a mini bus on a prior event tour around the base. What I enjoyed most, was sitting behind a trainee pilot in a simulation cockpit of the new Hawk aircraft. In front of me was a massive cockpit “window” and we “flew” along the Welsh coast and amongst the Snowdonian mountains. I had always wanted to fly low enough above Wales to see the landscape from above and this turned out to be the next best thing! The cockpit screen technology is completely different from the old Hawk, so all the pilots need to be retrained. The sad news told to us was that 120 students had recently lost their places due to the government cutbacks. Not only had it been so upsetting for the students and their families, but also for the staff at Valley who felt their loss.

We then went inside the new hanger I’d watched being built last year as the heavy transport lorries passed Llyn Cerrig Bach each day. They had brought into the hanger the new Hawk for us to see and also one of the Squadron 22 rescue helicopters. It is one of these helicopters that Prince William flies ( Wales as he is known on camp). Dominic, Delyth’s long term partner’s work is to maintain these helicopters. Very often he has chats with Prince William while he waits to board his helicopter. As you can see, I enjoyed my visit on board one of them - I’ll let you guess if it’s Prince William behind me in the picture! Afterwards we were treated to a cocktail party with the Station Commander where I chatted to lots of very nice people.



The following morning, it was off to Llangefni to attend the ceremony of the Freedom of Anglesey to RAF Valley. I was very moved, when the Chairman of Ynys Môn County Council, Cllr. Gwilym Jones during his speech from the podium, described how my father had made the significant discovery of the Llyn Cerrig Bach artefacts whilst extending the runways at Valley airfield during World War 2. Also, how privileged they were to have me present at the ceremony. Cllr. Jones announced that some of the Llyn Cerrig Bach artefacts will be coming up from Cardiff to Oriel Ynys Môn next summer for 3 months and that the Llyn Cerrig Bach book will be launched to coincide with this. Last week, Philip Steele, the editor, visited me once more to discuss its content in readiness for the final draft goes into print.

This is a picture of Cllr. G. O. Jones inspecting the RAF contingent



During school half term I took my 7 year old granddaughter Awen twice to the Ucheldre Centre at Holyhead. The first visit was to an evening performance by the GLERORFA. This is a folk orchestra of about thirty musicians, all on stage together, playing traditional Welsh melodies. There were three playing the Triple Harp, which is a traditional Welsh harp. This has three rows of strings rather than the usual two, so is very difficult to play as you have to reach inside the outer rows of strings to access the middle one. It is small harp in size and has no pedals. Other musicians played the pibgorn – a form of old traditional flute. They were accompanied by a quite a number of fiddlers. As you can imagine it was all very exhilarating to listen to! At times, two of the musicians relinquished their fiddles clog dancing.
I have seen them this time last year at Ucheldre also so keep a look out for their next visit.



Awen and my second visit together to Ucheldre, was to a live performance of the old classic Wind in the Willows. This was given by members of the travelling Riverbank Productions. It was an excellent performance as they were all so enthusiastic and their annunciation was perfect. There was plenty of audience participation with the children, so that I enjoyed not only the performance but also watching the children’s faces.

Again this month, I was invited to give my presentation on Llyn Cerrig Bach, this time to the Welsh Historical Society at Benllech. A good crowd had turned up on such a dreadful stormy night. They appreciated so much seeing the facsimiles that Alan has created of the main artefacts.

Last Thursday, we went with Ynys Môn U3A to Liverpool. We were dropped off at the Albert Dock for a couple of hours. It was a lovely sunny day – it can be quite cold a windy there. Be warned though if you have walking difficulties – there is no public seating there, only chairs belonging to cafes. If you need to sit down, you therefore have to buy food! I approached a site attendant to state my concern. He explained it was due to Health and Safety should there be a fire – people might trip over the benches. I jokingly told him that I’d already tripped over two of the café chairs on my way around!


We then went to the Empire Theatre to a beautiful performance by the English National Ballet company. They danced and sang the music of Gershwin. The orchestra had such a fantastic conductor. At times, he was dancing and jumping around to the rhythm of the music. Also, the costumes were exceptionally beautiful.



We have been busy this month as members of Project Rhosneigr arranging the switching on of the Christmas Lights Evening. I have managed to book the highly popular North Wales Saxophone Group to entertain again. Father Christmas will be travelling along the High Street and there will be free mince pies and mulled wine or juice. This is a prior notice as it will be happening next month on November 26th from 5 – 7pm. Croeso i Bawb / Welcome to All.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

September 2011

Alan has decided that he will produce representations for me of the most significant items of the Llyn Cerrig Bach artefacts. These are to fill in the gap whilst I wait for Oriel Ynys Món to produce the proper replicas which I collected funding for two years ago. I had also planned with others to produce videos of how they were made during the Iron Age. They were also to be accompanied by a school’s interpretation pack. I still live in hope that the making of these replicas and their accompanying package will come to fruition in the near future.

When we were at the National Museum in Cardiff six months ago, Alan mentioned to Adam Gwilt, Curator of Prehistory at the museum, how he’d made a copy of the crescentic plaque. Adam said he would be very interested to see it when we were next in Cardiff. This month therefore, we took it to show him and as you can see from the picture, he was duly fascinated and impressed with the way Alan had managed to produce such a good copy from basic material.

I took a picture of Alan with his “plaque” alongside the cabinet which houses the original plaque. As you can see he has done an excellent representation of it.





By now, Alan has also completed a copy of the shield boss and has started work on a copy of the votive sword.
However, in no way do these do instead of the properly produced replicas, but even so, as you saw from previous blog entries, it gives adults and children a great insight into their size and how they would have looked until we get the real ones. I took the picture of the shield in the children’s education area of the museum. This shows exactly the positioning of the boss on a shield.





I love going to the museum to see the Llyn Cerrig Bach artefacts and to reminisce how at one time many of them had lain on our kitchen table. This was before my father took some to Bangor museum and mailed others to Cardiff. I have now been informed that all the archaeology on display at the museum is moving to San Fagan, outside Cardiff. For the sake of people that are unable to travel to San Fagan by car or public buses, I do hope that a shuttle bus will be organized, if only twice a day, from outside the museum. Being in the centre of the city, the museum is so accessible to everyone who visits Cardiff, especially if you have to travel all the way down from North Wales like us.



Last week, we had a lovely coach ride along the Lleyn peninsula. The weather was so beautiful; it was just like touring along the Mediterranean coast. The first place we visited was Nant Gwrtheyrn, "Vortigern's Creek". It takes its name from Brenin Gwrtheyrn, a disgraced Kentish king who ruled ancient Britain early in the 5th.century. This was a small quarrying village by Llithfaen, which became derelict when the need for granite diminished in the Midland towns during World War II.



A group of people, led by Dr. Carl Clowes, managed to buy the village and turn it into a Welsh language Centre which specializes in courses for adults who want to learn Welsh. Recently, they have received a £5million grant. All the old Victorian cottages ( except the one you see in the photograph ) have been modernized into 4* accommodation. They have a lovely café and also a new conference hall. The walks along the shoreline here are breathtaking.





The access road down used to be quite hair raising when I first visited the centre years ago. However, it too, has now undergone an improvement. Prior to this, production companies used to send cars and motorbikes here to test them on the corkscrew bends!
We drove safely back up onto the main road, and then continued down the Lleyn peninsular to Llanbedrog. Here we visited the Gothic mansion of Plas Glyn y Weddw, roughly translated - Mansion of the Valley of the Widow. This mansion was built for Lady Love Jones Parry as a Dower House in 1856. Although she never slept here, she visited it weekly by carriage from her other home Madryn nearby. I first became aware of the Madryn estate when I visited Port Madryn in Patagonia. This was named in honour of Sir Love- Jones Parry , who was one of the founders of the Welsh settlement in Patagonia. It was at Port Madryn that the first settlers disembarked in 1865.



In 1979 Plas Glyn y Weddw had become almost derelict, but was bought and restored by Gwyneth and Dafydd ap Thomas. In 1997 it was bought by Friends of the Gallery and is now run by a group of 70 volunteers. The mansion house is mainly an Art Gallery, exhibiting work by prominent artists from Wales and beyond. Upstairs, there is one room with exhibition china cabinets in it, one of which has a collection of the rare Nantgarw Welsh porcelain.
In order to pay their costs, the Friends organise concerts, lectures, craft fairs, weddings and even funeral wakes here! They have a large dining room and also a splendid café which serves excellent homebaked cakes – something I’m always happy to partake in as you’re well aware by now!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

August 2011

Shula, my eldest granddaughter has returned from Uganda.
She had an amazing experience volunteering at the schools. She also visited the local regions taking part in sessions which encouraged mothers to get themselves and their children tested for HIV. She is already looking forward to going again next year.



Mid-month, we flew to the Isle of Man at the invitation of Alan and Fran, the friends we made on the Baltic Cruise in June. They had sent us a DVD to watch so that we could decide together via e-mails, the sites we would like to visit. As it turned out, they showed us every nook and cranny of the island, even taking us around the TT circuit.
We flew over with Manx2 from Valley to Castletown in a Dornier 228. This is a very small plane with only one passenger on each side and VERY noisey. As the plane sat on the runway, I kept thinking of my Dad. He had been in charge of building this runway during the war in 1942. Here I was, not only sitting in one of the German planes that probably flew over Valley then, but being piloted by two Germans. Thankfully, times move on. Our journey was over in 20 minutes! Sad to say, I don’t think they’ll be going again until next summer. We had fine weather on both flights and throughout our stay there. This is a view taken over Rhosneigr.



Our first call was to The Manx Museum in Douglas, where we were staying. To start us off, we entered a small viewing cinema showing us an excellent informative film about the island’s history.
Despite it not being very big The Manx Museum is bursting with national treasures including hoards of Viking silver and gold. They have several extremely well done displays and naturally, a display of motorcycle memorabilia. Most galleries have interactive interpretive screens. It was nice to come across a group of children engrossed in making rubbings of Celtic stone engravings.

Always conscious of Llyn Cerrig Bach’s votive significance, I was especially interested with this votive sword that had been purposely broken in two places across it. Llyn Cerrig Bach also had a purposely bent sword that is thought to have been for a votive purpose.



We ended up spending most of the morning studying the periods that interested us most, resulting in us having to do a quick tour of the rest before having lunch at their very nice modern café. The visit had given us a fascinating insight into the island’s history before commencing our 5 day tour.

The next day, we visited Peel. Here, the castle dominates the town. However, as you might have guessed by now, it was their museum we wanted to visit. The House of Manannan was built in 1997. It is partly new and partly the old Peel Railway Station. Manannan is the Island’s mythological sea god and protector and he could shroud the island with a cloak of mist to protect it from its enemies. Maybe this is one reason why the Romans never came across it!
I really felt this is such a brilliant museum. It covers the history of the island, from ancient times to the present day. It highlights the Celtic links, the early Viking settlers, the coming of Christianity, and the various wars fought there between rival English, Scottish and Viking warlords. It emphasis The Isle of Man's links to the sea with exhibits that tell you about smuggling, exploration, trade, fishing, Trafalgar and the Mutiny on the Bounty.

The centrepiece of the museum is "Odin's Raven", a replica Viking longship built in Norway in 1979. It was then sailed to the Isle of Man to arrive in Peel harbour on Tynwald Day in 1979.



The House of Manannan is wheelchair accessible throughout. The story unfolds as you enter first the Iron Age round house. Set amongst the various room artefacts, are lifelike authentically dressed mannequins. Here, as in the other rooms you will enter, there are short video films with soundtracks to tell you the background stories. There are also interactive screens, and tape recordings you can listen to. As you enter each room, you enter a new phase of history. My only problem was, that my camera was useless at taking pictures in the lighting conditions there as you can see from this one I tried to take of a Viking.



We visited two Celtic Crosses' collections. Our first visit was to Maughold where one of the stones had an unusual loop with a hole at its top. I have my finger in the hole in the picture.



The second visit was to the church of St. Peter in Onchan. The collection is inside the church but the church was locked. However, the sexton was working outside and when he heard that we were over from Anglesey, he insisted on showing us enthusiastically around its inside. As we left, I remarked about a large church bell on the ground outside. It seems that the members had decided to get a new steel bell instead of the old one. The day arrived for the new bell to be rung and a large crowd had gathered for the occasion. They couldn’t believe their ears though when they heard a ting, ting rather than the usual bong, bong! The new was duly taken down and the old re-installed. If you know of anyone in need of a very large bell, its there for the taking but it would need to be transported by sea! In the picture,you can see a few of their collection of Celtic crosses.

a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-PMranK1sC4s/Tl_e_IQleaI/AAAAAAAAAQQ/e3hyggpay8w/s1600/ST.PETER%2527S%2BONCHAN.%2B-%2BR.jpg">

We also visited a burial site across the road to the Laxey wheel, called King Orry’s grave.This is a Neolithic chambered long barrow over 4,000 years old. It contains three chambers once filled with burials. When excavated in 1953 only one burial and bowl had survived. The name King Orry's Grave is probably early 19th century and supposedly coined as a joke! King Orry in Manx history usually refers to a Scandinavian king who claimed to be present when the west end of the barrow was opened in the 1830. Previous to this, the monument was nameless.



Incase you should think we spent all our days going around museums and gravestones, we also managed to see the Point of Ayre lighthouses, the Calf of Man, Creagnesh Folk Village, the Laxey wheel, the Castle and House of Keys at Castletown with lovely lunches at Niaryl point and Milntown mansion house. This was all due to the fact that we were lucky enough to be chauffeured around by Fran and Alan in their very spacious car.
This is me on the balcony of our room overlooking Douglas Bay, before we went for an evening meal with them at Norman’s Bar ( named after Norman Wisdom) before going on to the Gaiety Theatre nextdoor. Here again, we were enthralled to see such a beautiful Victorian theatre.



Having seen the DVD my cousin Ken has recorded based on his lecture on the bonesetters of Anglesey, I decided it would be a good idea for me to do the same on Llyn Cerrig Bach. I have therefore being involved in composing text and filming it on site at various locations that appear in my lecture. This turned out to be very different from speaking in front of an audience. I also had to remember to wear the same clothes each time! Having completed the site visits, the next recordings will be done whilst sitting in my study. I have a major job therefore doing some paper clearing on my worktops before this takes place.



September !st tomorrow, so managed to get my August entry written in time!








Saturday, 13 August 2011

JULY - AUGUST 2011

July flew by – Project Rhosneigr, of which I have been a committee member now for 3 years, had the official opening of the new seating area performed by the new chairman of Anglesey County Council, Cllr. Gwilym Jones. This is a small area of land above the boating pool, named Pwll Cwch. A grant was successfully acquired through Menter Môn, so that the sea wall has been strengthened and benches and a picnic area set up. This project of ours was due mainly to the vision and planning of our Chairman, Derek Brown with support from the rest of us on the committee. As you can see from the picture, an amazing view from Rhosneigr to Cymyran Bay is to be had from this point.

Another rewarding function happened this month, when I attended my eldest granddaughter’s graduation at Bangor University. Both mother and daughter received their cap and gown on the same day! In the evening, all the members of our immediate family joined up together for a celebratory evening meal at a local restaurant. It was a very happy and proud occasion for me.

On July 14th, it was my son Gorwel and Fiona’s 27th wedding anniversary! According to plan, we celebrated by going for an evening meal at the Galeri at Caernarfon and then on to an Art lecture at Fort Belan. It was a beautiful summer’s evening and the views from the fort were fantastic. We felt so close to Anglesey across the Menai Straits. Also Snowdonia was magnificent in the sunshine, but even better when we were leaving, as the moon was just appearing over the mountains.

The fort was built by Lord Newborough, who owned Glynllifon nearby. When I took a large party of U3A members on a visit to Fort Belan, they had such an interesting day. We were welcomed and shown around by Jean Blundell, the present owner, seem with me in the picture. She and her family have strived so hard to bring back the fort’s glory. Throughout the summer months, they arrange various classical concerts and residential art courses. There is plenty of accommodation to be had in the various sized of refurbished cottages. A website has been set up recently. www.fortbelan.co.uk

At the end of July, I visited the excavations that had been in progress for 3 weeks by Dave Hopewell. the Director of the dig and his team at Tai Cochion, Brynsiencyn. This was in the field next to the one that they excavated last July.
This, it seems is the first residential Roman site to be found in North Wales. All the others have been forts. The significance of this site is that it is opposite the Roman fort of Segontium in Caernarfon. Carbon dating some of the finds will give a true date for it, but it seems to be from the period when Segontium was being abandoned by Edward 1st,ie mid 3rd. centaury. The foundation of a large high status dwelling has been unearthed, with a veranda having been added on later around it. Amongst finds, dating from about 100 – 300 AD were the remains of a set of bronze age scales, a bronze fish broach and loads of other finds from the same period. Excavations have just come to an end now until next summer. There is a dig diary written by Tegid Williams of GAT – to view it, just google “tai cochion dig 2011”. Iwan Parry from GAT, seen in the picture, was my guide when I visited the site.

I also came across two brothers dressed as Roman soldiers, who are the sons of an old friend of mine, Robin Griffiths, the Headmaster of Bodorgan school.

I spent a very hot day at the Eisteddfod at Wrexham during the first week of August. Whilst I helped to man the U3A stall, my son Gorwel took Awen, my granddaughter around various activities for children on the field. In the picture she is in a coracle. This was used in Wales to fish on the rivers. She also had fun rolling inside a see- through balloon on water! I managed a couple of hours with them visiting the Technology and also the Art exhibitions. It was an extra pleasure meeting up with all kinds of old friends that one hadn’t seen for years. I didn’t have a chance to sit in the pavilion but on my days at home, I sat in front of the television most of the day watching the performances and the ceremonies!


I made lovely new friends with the other U3A members from Llandrindod who were volunteering with me on the stall - Patsy, Eileen and her husband John Lewis. In this picture also, is Llyr Huws Griffith, the North Wales Plaid regional AM at the Senedd.

















Wednesday, 13 July 2011

June - mid July 2011

I have a good excuse for being late with my blog entry this time! Alan and I went on a cruise around the Baltic Sea throughout the first half of June. We had been on a river cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow about six years ago, but we particularly wanted to visit Tallinn in Estonia. Estonia is about one-third the size of England and includes 800 islands and twice as many lakes. It lies in the Gulf of Finland, some 50 miles from Helsinki and less than 500 miles from the Arctic Circle, as the crow flies. Luckily, the weather was sunny every day and we even a heat wave in Finland.
In Tallinn, there is a castle on top of a 150 ft hill, built as a defensive fortress in 1229. The picture is of Tall Hermann, a 150 foot tower, standing on the edge of a high ravine. The walls are 10 ft. thick and the top floors were even heated so that they could be used as a sanctuary in case of attack, while prisoners were kept in the dungeons at the lowest levels.



As Estonia is surrounded on all sides by different powers, it is only since August 1991 that it has gained its independence for the first time! In spite of huge apartments being built by the Russians to house their military there, they managed to make sure that their culture and language survived. Proof of this was seen this week with their beautifully dressed choir competing at our National music Festival at Llangollen. Countries from all over the world travel here during the first week of July each year

Our young guide told us about how their previous president, Arnold Ruutel, who was quite elderly, refused to speak only Estonian. However, as George Bush was coming on a visit, he agreed to learn a few pleasantry greetings in English like “How do you do”. As he stepped forward to shake George Bush’s hand, he said “How do you do, who are you”!

We were invited to a very nice evening at the Valley Hotel which Menter Mon had arranged, with Tudur Owen, our local popular comedian as entertainment. This event was to show Menter Môn’s appreciation to lots of us who have done voluntary work over the last few years in conjunction with the Anglesey Walking Festival. Over 1,500 people took part in the various organised walks, many of them from outside Wales. Not only do local people get to see and learn about our island, but also tourists, some arranging their holiday specifically to coincide with the festival. This festival contributes a lot to our tourism trade therefore. All of us sincerely hope, that in spite of the cut backs, funding can found to organise as usual the walking festival again next year.



Our local Welsh Literary Society had arranged a coach trip to Llangollen. We visited the Heritage Centre in the village and had lunch there. A lady gave us an excellent talk on the centre and then we were shown around the small museum they had on the first floor.
Alan and I were surprised to see the door knocker from the surgery of Hugh Owen Thomas, the orthopaedic surgery in Liverpool. He was descendant from the well- known family of gifted bonesetters from Anglesey. In the 18th century, a shipwreck occurred on the coast of Llanfairynghornwy. The only survivor was a young Spanish boy. He was taken in and adopted by a childless farming couple with the surname of Thomas, so he was given the same surname. It became obvious, that he had a gift for re-setting dislocated bones on animals. Then farmers in the area started coming to him for treatment. His descendants became renowned as orthopedic surgeons in Liverpool. Many from Anglesey would specifically ask to be referred to them for a consultation.

My cousin, Dr. Ken Roberts, has researched their history in depth, having been doing orthopedic consultations himself at Ysbyty Gwynedd before he retired as a G.P. He has a most created a most interesting presentation on their history, which he gives to various societies around Anglesey. The photograph is of me and Ken taken in near Corwen, by the site reputed to be Owain Glyndwr’s residence. This was another interesting history day I enjoyed.

I had a lovely surprise during this month. I had been e-mailing Arwel Evans, the Public Rights of Way Officer for Ynys Môn to ask him for a flat resting stone to be placed by the footpat on the Llanfaelog side of Llyn Maelog. I sent him a picture of the stone I’d like and a suggested site to place it on. Mrs. Rosemary Phillipedes, had already kindly given me her permission to have such a stone placed on her land. It was such a pleasant surprise therefore, to see such a stone having been placed where I’d suggested. Thank you Arwel!
Older people like me are encouraged to walk as much as we can, but we do need resting points. Thankfully, we can now sit and admire the beautiful view that is to be had across Llyn Maelog towards Rhosneigr.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

MAY 2011


Alan and I went along to Llynnon Mill during the fine weather we had at the beginning of the month. There are loads of websites to read about Llynnon Mill’s history. We have been there many times before, but this was an outing just to go to their café to indulge in their lovely homemade cakes and scones. The windmill looked magnificent and being such a fine day, we chose to eat outside in the picnic table area. You will never regret it should you chose to follow our suit, unless your on a diet!
Open: Easter until the end of September
The lady told me they serve food from 11am – 4.30pm ( closing 5pm)



This month, we also visited the Festival of Heritage Arts & Crafts at Beaumaris Castle. It was nice to meet up again with Anita Diamond from GAT and also, her assistant, Tegid. Last time Anita and I met, was at the Tai Cochion dig. This time she had brought along various replicas of historical items. As there was a cruise ship in port at Holyhead, there were lots of American visitors there. They were really fascinated with all the history related to them. However, I don’t seem to be enjoying drilling a hole into Tegid’s head with this medical tool!



In another corner of the castle, we came across Hero Melia with her mother Lady Alice Douglas. Hero played her own special harp donated to her when she was so successful on “Britain’s Got Talent” Having attended local schools, she is a fluent Welsh speaker and sang beautifully in both Welsh and English. I bought her CD at a very reasonable prize of £3!


Following on from the formal issues of our Antiquarian end of year AGM, we had a most informative talk by Arwel Jones ( originally from Rhosybol, Anglesey), who is now the Director of Public Services at the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth. He drew our attention to the fact that the library is but a small part of the building now. It not only has books but a massive collection of maps, manuscripts, archives, pictures, photographs and electronic resources. In recent years they have had a circular metal theatre, called Y Drwm / The Drum, dropped down into an empty courtyard space. This again is not just used for theatre performances. I have had the pleasure of going there to listen to a harpist and also attending lectures and conferences.
You can easily access a wealth of information on their website. I decided to follow up the history of the first Welsh book printed in Wales in 1585 at Llandudno, after my visit to the museum there. I found its correct title was “Y Drych Cristianogawl” and that I could actually read each page of it on-line on their site.
http://www.llgc.org.uk/index.php?id=ydrychcristianogawl

Do visit their site www.llgc.org.uk but be warned, if like me, you’ll be fascinated for hours!
It seems the first Welsh book “ Yny Llyvyr hwn” was printed in London, before this in 1546.


It was The Anglesey Walking Festival this week and for the fifth year running by now, I met up with a group by Llyn Cerrig Bach. And also Jackie Lewis from Menter Môn, who organize the week. I was really disappointed to learn from Jackie, that Oriel Ynys Môn have missed out on getting the top-up funding needed towards the £4,500 I’d acquired for producing the six most significant replicas from the lake. I came up with the original concept of producing these two years ago. (please read earlier blog entries ) Jackie said, this was because their application wasn’t presented in time before the final closing date in March. By now, I’m having depressing visions that I shall be a buried artefact myself before these six replicas are finally completed!
In the pictures, you can see the group studying the magnificent replica of the gang chain in the boot of my car. This was given to Oriel Ynys Môn by Cardiff, shortly after the Oriel’s opening.