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.