CANADA GEESE PERFORM A FORMATION FLYPAST FOR MV BALMORAL

In a formation which would do credit to the Red Arrows, a flight of Canada does a low flypast over MC Balmoral this morning -  heading South. Meanwhile lmoral herself was heading up channel on a popular and well patronised "Three Rivers and Five Bridges" cruise.  cruise.

In a formation which would do credit to the Red Arrows, a flight of Canada Geese carrying out  a low flypast over MV Balmoral this morning – heading South. Meanwhile Balmoral herself was heading up channel on a popular and well patronised “Three Rivers and Five Bridges” cruise. (Photo Steven Huxtable)

Captured on camera from the deck of the M.V.Balmoral at Penarth today – a “V” formation of Canada geese – on heading back home

At first sight they geese might have seemed to be giving-up on the British weather and flying off somewhere nice to salvage what’s left of the summer – but apparently European Canada geese  don’t carry out transatlantic migrations.

Canada Geese were blamed for bringing down this US Airways Airbus - forcing it to ditch in the Hudson River.

Canada Geese were blamed for bringing down this US Airways Airbus – forcing it to ditch in the Hudson River.

A Canada Goose - seen here with gosling - can weigh almost 20 lbs

A Canada Goose – seen here with gosling – can weigh almost 20 lbs

Proven to be big and bulky enough top stop a jet airliner in its tracks, they’re extensively hunted in North America,  so this flight was probably bound for somewhere safer to the south  – like Cornwall or the South of France or maybe just Cosmeston Lakes .

Great navigators, weather forecasters  and superlative aviators though they are – Canada Geese are said to be less welcome in some quarters for allegedly gobbling up crops, begging for food and “aggressive territorial behavior”.

The photo (top) by Penarth photographer Steven Huxtable shows them winging their way at masthead height past Balmoral as 118 passengers embarked at Penarth Pier for a “Three Rivers and Five Bridges” cruise – calling at Clevedon and Bristol.

MV Balmoral (NN File photo)

Despite the grey and wet morning. Balmoral was still  expected to have a capacity load on board for today’s trip after picking up passengers in her other ports of call.

Now all Balmoral’s crew are hoping for drier and sunnier weather for the rest of the summer …and also that those geese don’t know something we don’t.

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DISTINGUISHED HISTORIAN CALLS FOR “TREE FUND” FOR PENARTH

Now you see it ... now you don't . One of the last three trees left on Arcot St is reduced to a stump

Now you see it … now you don’t . One of the last three trees left on Arcot St was reduced to a stump in July last year

The distinguished local historian Alan Thorne is calling for a “Penarth Tree Fund ” to be established  to replace the lost – or felled –  pavement trees of Penarth.

Local historian Alan Thorne - appealing to replace Penanth's lost pavement trees

Local historian Alan Thorne is appealing to replace Penarth’s lost pavement trees

Writing in the current August newsletter of the Penarth Civic Society, Mr Thorne recalls “ I had a tree, ‘now long gone’ directly outside my bedroom window in Plassey Street.”

“As a boy during and after the Second World War” he says “I enjoyed walking the tree-lined streets of Penarth, trees usually about 30 feet apart.” 

[PDN Note :Originally over 70 trees (35 each side) were planted along Plassey Street at approximately 15 yard intervals. Only 24 now remain  – leaving a deficit of 46 missing trees.]

A public petition has been organised to save this threatened chestnut tree in Augusta Road - and prevent it from sharing the same fate as its sawn-down neighbour

A public petition has been organised to save this threatened chestnut tree in Augusta Road  from the depredations of the Vale of Glamorgan council – and prevent it from sharing the same fate as its sawn-down neighbour (right) in the same street.

With – as Mr Thorne puts it – “trees being felled all over Penarth”  he is asking Penarth Civic Society whether it could organise a “Penarth Tree Fund” to replace trees which have been felled .

He advocates putting out an appeal to establish the fund to the public in general and also to “churches, Guilds, Masons, Pubs, Rotary, Schools, Scouts”, and suggests that even the Windsor family – the creators of Victorian Penarth – could be approached.

Flowering cherry trees in April 2015 in growing along Westbourne Rd Penarth

Flowering cherry trees in April 2015 in growing along Westbourne Rd Penarth

Mr Thorne says that if such a fund was set up, it should be selective in the species of replacement tree that it plants . He suggests that the replacement  trees should be “almond, cherry, etc, rather than forest trees“.

In his article Mr Thorne also thanks past and present members and committee-members of the Penarth Civic Society for a “surprise retirement gift” which he has been given by the society.

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PENARTH LIFEBOAT LAUNCHES IN THE TEETH OF A THUNDERSTORM

The smaller of the two Penarth lifeboats - the D-Class iInshore lifeboat Connie Dains putting to sea this afternoon as a thunderstorm rolled in

The smaller of the two Penarth lifeboats – the D-Class inshore lifeboat Connie Dains putting to sea this afternoon as a thunderstorm rolled across the Bristol Channel

The smaller of Penarth’s two lifeboats, the D Class “Connie Dains” was launched late this afternoon as a thunderstorm loomed over the Bristol Channel .

The lifeboat had been tasked to what was first thought to be a vessel in difficulties off Penarth – but in fact the casualty proved to be much further out in the Channel – almost two miles off shore  .

En route, the lifeboat checked out a separate incident in which one yacht skipper had come to the aid of sailing cruiser without power and and rafted the yachts together to bring them back to port

En route, the lifeboat checked out a separate incident in which one yacht skipper had come to the aid of sailing cruiser without power and rafted the yachts together to bring them back to port

It appeared that a cruising yacht had gone aground on the sandbank West of the Monkstone lighthouse.  En route the lifeboat checked out  a pair of yachts making way whilst secured breast together . The engine of one vessel appeared to be out of action vessel .

The "casualty vessel - hard aground on the sandbank east of the Green buoy

The casualty vessel – lay hard aground on the sandbank east of the Green Mid Cardiff buoy

Further out in the Channel the lifeboat located the stranded vessel – solidly aground on the sandbanks . Fortunately the sea is relatively calm otherwise the hull could be damaged by being pounded onto the hard sand

The water was so shallow two members of the lifeboat crew got o0ut and waded to the stranded yacht - leaving the third to look after the lifeboat itself

The water was so shallow two members of the lifeboat crew got out and waded to the stranded yacht – leaving the third crew member to look after the lifeboat itself

Because of the shallowness  of the water two members of the lifeboat crew – in torrential rain and with thunder and lightning overhead – left the lifeboat and waded through chest-high seas towards the stranded yacht which had heeled over at an acute angle on the sandbank.

At 21:00 re-floated yacht Zipper heads for the Cardiff Barrage Locks - co-incidentally alongside the party boat Dame Shirley

At 21:00 re-floated yacht Zipper (foreground) heads for the Cardiff Barrage Locks – co-incidentally alongside the returning party boat Dame Shirley

Refloating the grounded  vessel could only be done when the tide had risen sufficiently – which meant a long wait for those on board. The stranded yacht Zipper was successfully refloated and returned to the Penarth barrage locks under her own power at 21:00 as the party boat Dame Shirley was also returning to port.

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“WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT?”

This is a photo of a main thorouighfare somewhere in Penarth placed onTwitter by local resident Tom Houghton

This is a photo of a main thoroughfare somewhere in Penarth in the early hours of this morning  which has been posted on Twitter by local resident Tom Houghton – (and no, despite a lot of electronic tweaking, PDN can’t make out where it is either)

Penarth residents found several streets in the town were plunged into total darkness late last night – as a result of the latest cost-cutting measures by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

Local resident Tom Houghton described it on  Twitter as – “One of the busiest roads in Penarth yet feels like I’m in the middle of the countryside”.

Another Twitter poster - Ashley - queried whether the WW2-style blackout in Penarth was really safe.

Another Twitter poster – Ashley – queried whether the WW2-style blackout in Penarth was really safe.

The Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council has decided  to reduce street-lighting to save money with Penarth becoming the first town in the Vale to be targeted. Equipment has been installed on hundreds of street lights  in selected areas to switch them off automatically at midnight. They don’t go on again until 06:00 in the morning.

A so-called “Part Night Lighting Project Board”  has been set up to  “risk-assess” the areas of the town which are getting their lights turned off at midnight.  The board has assessed there is “no risk to anyone by turning the lights out “.  

If you live in a part of Penarth with orange dots then the street-lights go out at midnight.

If you live in a part of Penarth with yellow dots then the street-lights go out at midnight.

An “interactive part night lighting map” on the Vale Council’s website (http://tinyurl.com/qbg6ngf) shows which lights are going to be off (or as the council describes them  “part-night lights“).  Part-night lights are marked in yellow, LED lights in green and standard lights in orange.

 Cllr Gwyn John of the Vale Council's

Cllr Gwyn John of the Vale Council’s “Visible Services” department

Street lights selected for the switch-off  have a sign attached to the lighting column.

Cllr Gwyn John (Llantwit First Independents, Llantwit Ward) who is the ‘cabinet’ member for the somewhat inappropriately-entitled council department called  “Visible Services” says “We have undertaken rigorous risk assessments to ensure the safety of residents as we introduce part night lighting to the Vale of Glamorgan.”

…But today Twitter posters in Penarth clearly think otherwise.

PDN Note: For younger PDN readers who’ve asked about the headline  – “Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?”, it’s the title of a 1968 Doris Day movie based on the the “Great North West Blackout”  of 1965 – the largest in the US history – which affected eight North American states .
Posted in Penarth Daily News | 17 Comments

OLD 8mm MOVIES WANTED FOR NEW “HISTORY OF PENARTH” DVD

Penarth Esplanade 1950 from 8mm home movie

It’s film like this of Penarth Esplanade in 1950 which Downwood is hoping to use in “The History of Penarth” . This particular frame is from an 8mm home movie  on YouTube acquired by the distinguished Cardiff film maker Harley Jones (www.cinenostalgia.co.uk) 

Anthony Hontoir of Downwood Film Productions shooting sequences for the forthcoming DVD "The History of Penarth"

Anthony Hontoir of Downwood Film Productions shooting sequences for the forthcoming DVD “The History of Penarth

A production company which is making a “History of Penarth” DVD is appealing for anyone who has vintage 8mm home movies of Penarth to lend them their old films for inclusion in the production.

Porthcawl-based film-maker Anthony Hontoir of Downwood Film Productions has already been shooting material for the production for several weeks  – including some sequences filmed aboard  M.V.Balmoral  but says he is in particular need of original old home movie footage which shows “scenes from Penarth in times gone by”.

1950 Penarth Beach

 Penarth Beach 1950 (Harley Jones www cinenostalgia.co.uk)

Anthony thinks this is the sort of footage which  local residents might have in their own personal archives. – “Not so much family films, but movies that happen to show Penarth as a backdrop“.

Anthony says he just wants film as opposed to video footage and guarantees take great care of any material sent to him and return it to the lender  as soon as it has been copied.

Any old film of  the Billybanks would be welcome. (Billybanks demolition still frame from Urbex Photography video)

A Penarth landmark – the Billybanks – disappears (Still frame from Urbex Photography video)

Anyone who has any film that might be suitable (the older the better)  on Super 8mm or standard 8mm film from the 1950s to the 1980s can contact Anthony at  Downwood Film Productions, 13 Marlpit Lane, Porthcawl, Glamorgan, CF36 5EG  Phone 01656 771775
Mobile: 07510 934299 Email: anthonyhontoir@hotmail.co.uk.

 

 

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CONGRATULATIONS – BUT CAVEATS TOO – FROM CONSERVATIVES ON GCSE RESULTS

Reading between the lines: Whilst Penarth pupils did well the rest of Wales didn't close that gap with England

Reading between the lines: Whilst Penarth pupils did well in the GCSEs, the rest of Wales didn’t close that gap with England.

Penarth Assembly Member and Leader of Conservatives in the National Assembly, Andrew R T Davies has congratulated students and teachers in the town and across the Vale of Glamorgan on yesterday’s GCSE results.

Stanwell School students picking up their GCSE results yesterday

Stanwell School students picking up their GCSE results yesterday

As reported by PDN yesterday Stanwell School was the best-performing secondary school in the Vale with 87 per cent of pupils achieving A-Star to C grades  (up from 82 per cent last year) whilst St Cyres delivered a remarkable 12% increase in its pass rate. But most schools in Wales didn’t do so well.

Today Andrew R T Davies has congratulated Vale pupils and teachers  but has lambasted the Labour-controlled Welsh Assembly Government – which is in charge of education in Wales – for their “inability to sufficiently raise Wales-wide results and fulfil their vocal commitments on GCSEs.”

“DOING BETTER THAN ENGLAND”: THE FORECASTS THEY GOT WRONG

First Minister for Wales Carwyn Jones, Leader of the Welsh Labour Party

First Minister for Wales Carwyn Jones, Leader of the Welsh Labour Party

The Welsh Government First Minister Carwyn Jones (Labour Bridgend) had said in the Welsh Assembly  this year  We’re in a good position this summer to be on a par and, we hope, doing better than England when it comes to GCSEs”.

Welsh Government Minister Huw Lewis is in charge of the education of all children who attend state-schools in Wales

Welsh Government Minister Huw Lewis is in charge of the education of all children who attend state-schools in Wales

Last month the Welsh Government’s beleaguered Education Minister and Penarth resident Huw Davies (Labour Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney) went even further and said  I wonder whether, this summer, we’ll see that gap close to nothing, or even, and it’s quite conceivable, that Wales overtakes England in terms of attainment at GCSE.

Both the Labour First Minister and the Labour Education Minister turned out to be totally wrong . The GCSE results show that the so-called “achievement cap” between Wales and England has actually widened.

Andrew R T Davies said “Whilst many families celebrate and consider their children’s futures, it is also now the duty of Labour ministers to concede their failures and consider their mistakes.”

Penarth Conservative AM Andrew R T Davies

Penarth Conservative AM Andrew R T Davies

Davies says “Overall results across Wales are – regrettably – still lagging behind England. In fact, the attainment gap has widened. That’s despite clear promises from Labour’s First Minister to turn performance around and challenge – and surpass – English results.

“Carwyn Jones” – Davies says – “has failed in that commitment and in doing so, he has failed students in their efforts to get higher, and more consistent, grades across the country. Even he has admitted his party has taken its eye off the ball on education since it took up the Welsh reins in 1999. A different approach and effective progress are now desperately required “

Davies is now demanding that First Minister Carwyn  Jones and Education Minister Huw Lewis make an urgent statement on the GCSE results for Wales as whole.

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PENARTH CAN BREATHE AGAIN AS PAGET ROOMS VINTAGE VENT IS REPLACED

The new ventilation cowl - made in powder-coated stainless steel - is an exact match for the Victorian opposite number at the rear

The new ventilation cowl – made in powder-coated stainless steel – is an exact match for the Victorian opposite number at the rear (Photo David Moorcraft)

A brand new replica of one of the two original Victorian-era ventilation cowls has now been installed on the apex of the roof of Penarth’s Grade II-listed Paget Rooms.

The nearest of the two original green vents - had been blown down in a gale in January - leaving just stump

The nearest of the two original green vents  had been blown down in a gale in January – leaving just stump surmounted by a salvaged conical cap

The original vent had rusted through and partially collapsed in a gale on January 9th this year leaving only the stump of the main funnel .The cowls have no moving parts within them but were designed in Victorian times to draw stale air out of the (1904 Edwardian era) Paget Rooms and vent it to the outside atmosphere without letting rain in.

The newly-made vent cowl is madei nstainless steel

The newly-made vent cowl was made in stainless steel (Photo David Moorcraft)

As reported earlier by PDN  a  local firm Bayside Engineering – based on an industrial estate off Penarth Road – used 21st century laser-profiling technology to reproduce an exact replica of the complex design of the 19th century original.

It had been hard for Penarth Council to find any fabricator to undertake the complicated on-off job but then someone recommended Bayside Engineering –  a firm virtually on the town’s doorstep and they were more than happy to tackle the  elaborate task

Bayside Engineering is run by two brothers  John and Robert Coates both of whom are Penarth residents said they throughly enjoy the challenge of complex jobs like this one.

There’s one difference between the new ventilation cowl and the original . The old one was made out of iron and sheet steel  – the new one is in stainless steel – powder coated to match the exact shade of green of the other vent . That means this vent should never need replacing again .

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