PENARTH BIZWATCH: GRIFFIN BOOKS TAKES OVER AS PENARTH’S INDEPENDENT BOOKSHOP

IMG_5247As of today Penarth has a new bookshop – Griffin Books – on the corner of Windsor Arcade and Windsor Road. 

IMG_5259Proprietor Mel Griffin – who’s been closely associated with the former Windsor Books has taken over the business and  today re-launched it under a new name and distinctive new branding as “Griffin Books”.

Mel, who is well-known in Penarth as churchwarden of All Saints in Penarth, is a former information technology executive for the global IT consultancy Accenture. She and her astronomer husband – Professor Matt Griffin of Cardiff University –  moved to Penarth in 2001.

Mel says it has always been her dream  to start her own bookshop ever since, as a teenager, she took a temporary job in a bookstore. Working closely with Anne and Tony Hallett of Windsor Books over the last three years opened up the possibility of acquiring the business and achieving that long-held dream – culminating in today’s launch.

IMG_5253Regular customers calling in today to congratulate Mel on her start-up were already noticing some changes.

Apart from some keen pricing and special offers, there’s now an aroma of complementary coffee in the popular shop – with book-lovers being invited to imbibe whilst they browse.

Another change is in opening hours – Griffin Books will now be open for an extra half-hour at the end of the day and instead of closing at 17:00 will now close at 17:30 .

The children's section is to be enlarged - and there are cut-price offers on reference books and dictionaries

There are cut-price offers on reference books and dictionaries

There’s also to be “book group” in the shop. That will involve a number of people who have all read the same book during a month and then come together in the shop for an evening chat to enjoy discussing it over a “glass of wine and a few nibbles”.

Several other ideas are in the pipeline including plans to increase the children’s section.

But there’s no change as far as one aspect of the business is concerned.  The bookshop will still be as heavily involved as ever in  Penarth’s forthcoming Annual Book Festival – coming up next month.

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CAN VALE COUNCIL’S £171,000-A-YEAR M.D. “RETIRE” – BUT THEN CARRY-ON PART TIME?

 

Vale Councillors meet tomorrow night to decide whether to let their MD "retire" - but work part-time

Vale Councillors meet tomorrow night to decide whether to let their Managing Director  “retire” – but work part-time

The Labour-controlled Vale of Glamorgan Council is to meet in a special unscheduled session tomorrow evening to decide whether the council’s “Managing Director” can carry on working for the council on a part-time basis after she officially retires in November this year.

The current Managing Director is Sian Davies who has worked in local government in various jobs for over 40 years. She began her current job  – which combines the  role of Managing Director, Director of Resources and the Council’s “Head of Paid Service”  on 1st August 2012 –  two months after the Labour Party took over control of the Council. She replaced the former council “Chief Executive” John Maitland Evans.

The £171,346 a year job  was apparently initiated on what the council calls an “honorarium” basis for a period three years with a review to be held in July 2015. Tomorrow the  council has to decide whether to allow Mrs Davies to continue on a “part- time” basis at the rate of around £100,000 a year .

Cllr Neil Moore (Labour Cadoc Ward) Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cllr Neil Moore (Labour Cadoc Ward) Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council

This is what the council leader Neil Moore (Labour Cadoc Ward)  calls a “phased and flexible retirement arrangement “

Complicating factors are said to be forthcoming cuts in the number of council managers and internal re-organisation,   potential local-government re-organisation (which could see the Vale merged with Cardiff)  and finding a suitable successor  (even though there is already a deputy in place) .

Mrs Davies also carries out the responsibilities of being the Returning Officer for the Vale of Glamorgan. There is a General Election due in May next year – just eight months away.

 

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ARMED POLICE ESCORT LATVIAN MINESWEEPER “VIESTURS” PAST PENARTH

As the  Latvian Navy minesweeper Viesturs passed Penarth she was escorted by three police vessels and two Royal Navy patrol boats

As the Latvian Navy minesweeper Viesturs passed Penarth she was escorted by three police vessels and two Royal Navy patrol boats

The Latvian Navy’s minesweeper  LVNS Viesturs  was escorted by no fewer than five NATO security vessels as she passed Penarth Pier this morning en route for Cardiff.

Viesturs passing Penarth

Viesturs passing Penarth

The diminutive Viesturs – which is only 52 metres long with a beam of 9 metres – is one of a seven-strong contingent of NATO naval vessels which will be in Cardiff and Newport during this week’s  “top level” NATO conference .

A totally-innocent local yacht was intercepted by armed police off Penarth

A totally-innocent local yacht was intercepted by armed police off Penarth this morning before the flotilla passed.

One of two high-speed rigid inflatable boats (RIB)  crewed by armed police was in the vanguard of the flotilla and intercepted a totally innocent yacht sailing near Penarth Pier to shoo it out of the way as the flotilla drew near.

Quite who was on board LVNS Viesturs to make such a high security presence necessary is not known, but regrettably if it was a VIP , this morning’s grey skies and drizzle will not have had Penarth Esplanade and the Pier looking at its best.

The South Wales police motor patrol boat "Lewis" appeared to have armed officers aboard.

The police motor patrol boat “Lewis” appeared to have armed officers aboard as she escorted the Latvian minesweeper.

Police officers stationed at the Penarth Barrage Control Centre enjoy a morning cuppa.

Police officers stationed at the Penarth Barrage Control Centre overlooking the barrage locks enjoy a morning cuppa.

Another police RIB kept station alongside the Viesturs whilst “Lewis” one of the two South Wales Police motor patrol boats on NATO duty  – decked out in “police-car” checker-board vinyl decals – brought up the rear. It was notable that police officers on NATO security duty – including those on board the police boat Lewis –  had been issued with power-blue baseball caps.

The flotilla was flanked by the two Penarth based Royal Navy patrol boats HMS Express and HMS Biter both of which operate from Penarth Marina .

Armed police are also stationed in the main Barrage Control Centre at the Penarth end of the Cardiff Bay Barrage.

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THE LONG WAIT FOR WAVERLEY’S RETURN TO PENARTH IS FINALLY OVER

The queue to join Waverley stretched almost the entire length of Penarth Pier

The queue to join Waverley stretched almost the entire length of Penarth Pier

The line stretched almost the entire length of the pier this morning as hundreds of people waited for the first sailing of the season by the vintage paddle steamer Waverley.

Waverley hasn’t embarked passengers at the pier since June 21st 2013 – a fourteen month gap which is Penarth’s longest-ever peacetime period without a pleasure-steamer service.

Out of the sun. Waverley approaching Penarth this morning

Out of the sun. After picking up passengers at Clevedon,  Waverley approached Penarth in brilliant sunshine

Soon Waverley – reputed to be the world’s last sea-going paddle-steamer –  hove into sight as she crossed the Bristol Channel after an overnight stop – at anchor off Clevedon.

Waverley approaching Penarth Pier this morning where Piermaster Peter Andrews and his team were on hand to help her berth.

Waverley approaching Penarth Pier this morning where Piermaster Peter Andrews and his team were on hand to help her berth.

Waverley had her maximum complement of passengers. There wasn't a spare seat in sight

Waverley had her maximum complement of passengers on board. There wasn’t a spare seat to be had

Yesterday morning at 7.00 am –  after a two day delay because of bad weather – Waverley had left the shelter of her anchorage in the lee of Great Ormes’s Head near Llandudno and set course around Anglesey and the Lleyn Peninsula, and across Cardigan Bay

She arrived in Bristol Channel late last night and anchored off  Clevedon after midnight.

Today’s inaugural cruise of the season is from Penarth was to Ilfracombe and Lundy Island where there is to be a WW1 centenary service.

Other cruises on Waverley this week are as follows :-

  • On Tuesday September 2nd Waverley will sail from Penarth at 11:15 to Ilfracombe returning at 20:45.
  • On Wednesday September 3rd she sails from  Penarth at 10:00 on a Rivers and Islands cruise returning at 16:15
  • On Friday September  5th  the she sails from Penarth at 12:30 on a cruise of the Holm Island returning at 16:30
  • On Saturday Sept 6th she sails from Penarth at 12:30 from  Penarth to  Minehead returning here at 14:30
  • On Sunday Sun 7th she leaves  Penarth Pier at 09:00am for Ilfracombe via Clevedon returning to Penarth at 19:30 (This is the last sailing of the season from Penarth).
Waverley sounds her steam whistle as she departs Penarth Pier

A plume of steam is emitted as Waverley sounds her whistle on departure from  Penarth Pier

Because of possible last minute changes passengers should check the Waverley website before sailing at www.waverleyexcursions.co.uk or call the booking office on 0845 130464

 

 

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ROLLING THUNDER OVER PENARTH PAVES THE WAY FOR THE PRESIDENT

An RAF Agusta Westland Merlin helicopter  overflies Penarth heading South. (Note to pilot: one headlamp seems defective)

An RAF Agusta Westland Merlin helicopter overflies Penarth heading South. (Note to pilot: one headlamp seems defective)

Residents of Penarth are almost blase about  the sight and sound of the South Wales Police helicopter hovering over Penarth – but this week there’s been something a lot bigger and beefier thumping through the skies over our heads.

One of the massive NATO helicopters over Penarth tonight as it heads back to Cardiff Airport

One of the massive NATO helicopters over Penarth tonight as it heads back to Cardiff Airport. This one seemed to be loaded with boxes of equipment in flight-cases and still had its loading ramp down.

A pair of big khaki-coloured RAF Agusta Westland Merlin helicopters have been busy overflying Penarth at heights varying from 1500 feet to almost clifftop height.  Yesterday the cloud-base was so low the big military machines had to fly in driving rain at just 250 feet above the Penarth seafront.

Both headlights were working on this helicopter

Both headlights were working on the second helicopter in the gathering gloom.

All movements of the military are top secret during the run up to the NATO conference – being held in Newport and Cardiff – but one theory was that the aircraft are operating a VIP shuttle service from Cardiff Airport to the helipad at Blackweir for Cardiff Castle and also operating into the grounds of the Celtic Manor Resort Hotel in Newport where the conference itself is taking place next week .

One said it seems highly likely that President Obama and other top political figures are also likely to fly the same route over Penarth – taking in the scenery of the sea front, the Pier and the Pier Pavilion –  after they arrive at Cardiff Airport in a few days’ time.

"Did you remember to shut the back-door?". "No . Didn't you"?

“Did you remember to shut the back-door?”. “No . Didn’t you?”

However closer inspection of these exclusive PDN photos seems to reveal that both machines carried nothing more than equipment-cases.

 

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PENARTH’S ‘BULLMASTIFF BREWERY’ BROTHERS BREW THEIR LAST PINT

A beer pull plate for Bullmastiff's  "Son of a Bitch" beer

A beer pull plate for Bullmastiff’s “Son of a Bitch” beer

Two brothers from Penarth – Bob and Paul Jenkins –  who together set up the award winning Bullmastiff Brewery in Penarth Docks in 1987  have finally decided to retire and have put the business up for sale.

The brothers were both born in 65 Windsor Road, Penarth and have been starting work at their brewery at o3.30 every morning for 27 years.

The Bullmastiff Brewery was moved from Penarth to 14 Bessemer Close off Hadfield Road, Cardiff when Penarth Marina was developed and has operated from the Leckwith site every since  – winning a clutch of awards and plaudits from real-ale aficionados.

Amongst the memorable brands the brothers brewed were “Son of a Bitch” promoted as having been voted the “World’s Best Beer” and was so-called for the scale of the hangover it allegedly bestows on imbibers.

Another was “Welsh Gold Ale” which was nominated as  one of the Champion Beers of Britain  – a title which the brewery won in 2000.

All their beers were served by traditional real-ale pubs where landlords  served them on tap with hand-pulled pumps.

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HEAVY RAIN FORCES VALE TO CARRY-OUT EMERGENCY REPAIRS ON PENARTH LIBRARY

The front of Penarth Public Library

The front of Penarth Public Library

Emergency repairs are having to be carried out on Penarth Public Library after heavy rain earlier this summer – and in the last few days – leaked through the roof and first-floor ceiling of the building.

The first floor of the building has not been closed to the public but access to five computer terminals on that  floor have had to be restricted because of the rainwater ingress and the machines have been isolated.

The Chief Librarian Marcus Payne says that as far as can be ascertained there has been no damage to books but all the stock will be checked before it is placed back on display. The rest of the library is operating normally.

Scaffolding going up outside Penarth Library for "emergency repairs"

Scaffolding going up outside Penarth Library for “emergency repairs”

The library – a gift to the people of Penarth – was first opened in 1905, its construction having been funded largely by the Carnegie Trust on land donated by the Earl of Plymouth.  It’s now owned by the Labour-controlled Vale of Glamorgan Council which has been blamed in the past for tardy maintenance on other public buildings in Penarth including Albert Road School.

The library has previously suffered a pipework problem in the basement – the popular area which stocks children’s books –  although this has now been rectified.

Earlier this month the Vale of Glamorgan Council, which is keen to cut expenditure on public libraries throughout its area, at last authorised the expenditure of £88,000 on essential maintenance and repairs to  “address damp” in Penarth Library  – but that work is not actually going to be done until the  financial year 2015/16.

The emergency work currently getting under way is separate from the longer term maintenance work to be carried out in 2015/16.

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