Author Archives: Geoff Winterman

June Monthly Meeting: Withybush hospital to Saudi Arabia

Barry Vaughan was brought up on a farm near Clarbeston Road and attended Haverfordwest Grammar School so he is a familiar figure with many of our members.

Barry was employed as general manager at Withybush Hospital and when this job folded he found work in a very large, modern, high-tech hospital in the Royal Commission hospital Jubail, Saudi Arabia.  There are two directorates of the Royal Commission, Jubail is on the east coast near Kuwait and Bahrain and Yanbu, is on the west coast near Jeddah and the Holy City of Mecca.

There are very distinct rules which foreigners have to follow when living in Saudi Arabia.  Because he was in overall charge of the hospital he was the person who had to mediate with the authorities when a member of his staff knowingly or more often or not unknowingly broke one of these rules.  Some of the problems that he encountered had the audience in fits of laughter but the way he dealt with the problems was imaginative and could have had serious consequences if he hadn’t been so diplomatic.
He was in post during the first Gulf War and he vividly described the terror when the oil tanks at Kuwait were set alight, apparently the smoke was so dense that day was turned to night and the once prestine white hospital was turned black.

A big thank you is in order because Barry came to talk to us at very short notice, nevertheless, he gave us a fascinating insight into living and working in a country with such a different culture.

Jan Manning 

New Shared Learning Project launched looking at the Castles of Wales

My name is Ruth Smith. I am the leader of the craft group (Crafty Crafters) of Newcastle Emlyn U3A. For those of you who attended the All Wales Conference on 8th May, or have followed the Wales Coastline and Borders Celebration on Facebook, I coordinated the making of the Mwnt wall hanging which involved several of our members doing some part, whether knitting, patchwork, needle felting, fabric painting, embroidery, ribbon embroidery and embellishments, to complete it and, once all the component parts had been made, I stitched it all together and quilted it.

I hope by now that you have heard of the new Shared Learning Project, called Castles, that Chris Winner, our Welsh Trustee, introduced at the conference. The idea, that came from the group sat at our table, was to involve as many U3As from all over Wales as possible in making a “Castles Quilt” and I have agreed to take the idea further, to find out if there is any interest and coordinate the project. I’m now asking all Welsh U3As if they have a craft/sewing/quilting/art group or an individual person who would like to participate by creating a “picture” of a castle in their area which can then be joined with others to create a quilt, or perhaps we should call it a wall hanging as it would be intended to be hung up, not placed on a bed.
Suggested layout
I will limit the size of the picture to fit into a 10″ square. This will allow as many squares as possible to fit into a quilt size that I am happy to handle. (78” x 78”). I think less than 10″ would be too restrictive to produce something worthwhile. I’ve created an illustration of my idea using Excel and have attached a copy to give you an impression of what I would like to achieve. The pictures I’ve inserted are taken from Google just to illustrate the idea, not intended as suggestions of which castles should be included. I’ve tried to choose pictures showing different types of castles, parts of castles and also some old drawings/paintings which could be copied (please ensure there are no copyright issues) in order to show that it would be good to have a variety. Any medium can be used as long as it can be done on fabric or attached to fabric (but not so heavy that it distorts the fabric), e.g. patchwork, applique, knitting, crochet, embroidery, stumpwork, needleweaving, lace, painting (please use fabric paints), printing, felting, machine embroidery, ribbon embroidery, cross stitch. If cross stitch is used, this could be done on 14 count aida fabric and used instead of the calico. The greater the variety, the more interest is created.

I’ve chosen calico for the background of the squares because it’s neutral and it will be possible to paint or print on it as well if that’s what someone wants to do. I picked blue and yellow for the sashing and border as representative of U3A colours, it is a U3A project after all. I would also embroider the names of the castle underneath each in English and Welsh (if different).

10″ squares will allow for 36 castles to be represented which would be wonderful to achieve. If I have offers of more, the ones included in the quilt would be picked by a blind draw. The remaining squares could be finished as separate squares and made into cushions or put into a folder to be displayed at the same time. It would also be good to have a couple of paragraphs about each castle to accompany the quilt. I will ask for the squares to be returned to me by the end of October.

At the end of the Castles Self Learning Project, there will be the question of what to do with the wall hanging as it would be unfair for it to be kept by just one person/U3A. Suggestions so far are raffling it for charity (we would have to check if it is possible for U3As to hold this type of raffle), donate it to CADW as some Welsh castles are in their care, or possibly donating it to St Fagan’s who have items representing the activities of people in Wales.

I propose purchasing all the fabric myself and posting the squares to those taking part. I have worked out an approximate cost for the quilt of £160. This will depend on where the fabric is purchased from and how many U3As take part. I would need to ask if those U3A’s completing squares would be able to contribute towards the cost. If there are 36 U3As, the cost would be only £4 – £5 each. I will be able to confirm the amount when I know how many participants there are.

If your U3A, or someone in your U3A, is interested in taking part, please contact me directly at neu3atreasurer@outlook.com and I will be happy to discuss it further.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE

May Monthly Meeting: A walk around Haverfordwest

A talk by Robin Sheldrake

Robin Sheldrake is a well known authority on the history of Haverfordwest, having been the Chairman of the Civic Society.  With the assistance of photographs he had taken he took us along the Heritage Trail of Haverfordwest.

The trail commenced with a photograph of the Cleddau looking down stream and then turning back towards the weir, the large warehouse on the new quay, with a view of The Bristol Trader and the new Council Offices.  It is difficult to believe the quay saw sea going ships coming in on the tide, leaving their cargo at the warehouse and picking goods for transportation around the Country and beyond. 

It was delightful to be reminded of the old Haverfordwest, Foley House the substantial property in Goat Street designed by the famous architect John Nash, now standing empty with signs of decay visible.  The substantial properties in many parts of the town provided town houses for the landed gentry who, having visited the town, needed a residence in which to spend the night.  The Palace Cinema formerly the Corn Market, Temperance House, Hermon’s Hill House and others what a fascinating past the properties enjoyed.  Then the sadder part of our history, Union Hill so called because it led to the Union Workhouse.  A most interesting talk given by a gentleman who certainly knows his subject.

Penny Thomas 2nd May 2019

March Monthly Meeting – Pembroke Castle

A thousand years of history...

We are all very familiar with Pembroke Castle, a place where many of us have taken visitors.  Our Speaker for the month of March was Jon Williams General Manager of the Castle.  One thinks of historic buildings as having a curator rather than a General Manager but it became apparent that the Castle doesn’t function from simply being a well know Castle.  Jon, a local lad from Saundersfoot, explained he was a frequent visitor, with his parents, never dreaming for one moment that, in 2007, his career would take him to a managerial post.  It is a position which he clearly loves but uppermost in his mind is always ways to generate income to enable improvements and repairs to be carried out. 

To begin his talk we were show a short film documenting the history of the Castle narrated by none other than Eddie Butler who has a deep interest in Welsh History. 

Each year there are between 110,/120,000 visitors and Jon has some very inventive ideas for entertaining both adults and children.  The Castle is now providing a venue for outdoor concerts, weddings and of course, The Antiques Road Show. 

Penny Thomas 7th March 2019

February Monthly Meeting – National Trust Volunteering in Pembrokeshire

Ian Hextall – National Trust Volunteer

Ian Hextall gave a most interesting and sometimes humorous talk about his work as a National Trust Volunteer.  The National Trust owns some 7770 acres in North Pembrokeshire alone with very few fully employed Rangers   overseeing its’ management thus volunteers are a very important labour source.  The Southwood Estate is one of Ian’s favourite Trust properties he gives guided tours of the farmhouse and works alongside others on the land to include weeding the farmyard by hand, no herbicides are permitted!  With reference to an old Ordnance Survey Map it could be seen hedgerows had been removed leaving a large open field the Trust decided to reinstate the hedges, the work of planting many hundreds of trees fell to the Volunteers, the time of year chosen November, Ian showed a photograph of said Volunteers looking decidedly like mud larks!

 The National Trust helps to maintain and reinstate important historical sites for future generations to enjoy but it became apparent during Ian’s talk the Trust would struggle without the help of its’ many Volunteers.

Penny Thomas 7th February 2019

January 2019 Monthly Meeting – Pembrokeshire Shipwrecks

The speaker at the January Meeting was Mr James Hedley-Phillips who gave an animated and most informative talk about shipwrecks off the coast of Pembrokeshire.  Surprisingly there are some 1000 wrecks.

However, he spoke, in the main, about the schooner Frederick constructed in 1833 for Sir John Tobin who, like some of the period, made his fortune from the slave trade.    The Frederick sailed from Liverpool bound for West Africa loaded with trinkets and muskets for trade, onward to America’s Southern States where the slaves where offloaded after which the schooner would return with cotton and other commodities.  The schooner sunk off the coast of Pembrokeshire having been caught in a gale. 

Schooners were replaced by steam ships, the next element of the talk concerned the ship “Nimrod”, constructed in 1843 just ten years after the Frederick but now with the benefit of steam propulsion with additional sails.  The Frederick too was to founder just off the coast near St David’s Head breaking in to three parts. 

James showed photographs of items recovered from the stern where the first class berths were to be found and the dining room, rows of silver spoons, serving utensils and forks but no knives! 

It is amazing to think what lies on the sea bed not far from where we paddle and to be told there are some 300/400 wrecks alone in the locality of Ramsey Sound, a really entertaining and interesting talk.

Penny Thomas 3rd January 2019

November Monthly Meeting – Redundant Churches by Joe Rielly

Our Speaker for the November monthly meeting was our own Joe Rielly who is the leader of the Architecture and Design Group. The talk was entitled Redundant Churches – Who Cares.  Joe cares deeply, although a humanist, he is concerned that many of the disused Churches are falling into disrepair and will be lost to future generations.  The Church was once the hub of every village, in fact, yesterday’s Community Hub a place to meet your neighbours, marry, take your children for baptism and finally where you would be laid to rest in its’ cemetery.

Joe first gave this talk to Narberth U3A and has repeated it no fewer than seven times to include Swansea and it was not difficult to understand why.  Joe and is Wife Margaret had visited many redundant Churches in Pembrokeshire and Cardigan.  I am sure many of us will remember the explosion at the Texaco Oil Refinery many years ago following which it was deemed the village of Rhoscrowther was an unsafe place in which to live and in consequence the inhabitants relocated leaving the Church of St Decuman, which is Grade 1 listed, being left without a congregation but now in the care of Friends of Friendless Churches, what an apt title.

A most interesting and thought provoking talk which left you feeling you wanted to visit the Churches for yourself, in fact, Joe had prepared an information sheet with directions and post codes he must have known we would be inspired to do so!

Penny Thomas  1st November 2018

LOCATIONS OF THE PEMBROKESHIRE CHURCHES IN THE CARE OF

THE FRIENDS OF FRIENDLESS CHURCHES

Parking at Bayvil, Hodgeston and Manordeifi is very limited. Flimston is not accessible when the firing range at Castlemartin is active. Access is generally possible at weekends and bank holidays. Check this range number before setting out 01646 662367 or search on Google for Castlemartin Firing Range times.    The post codes are very approximate. The grid references are Ordinance Survey. The map numbers are Explorer or Landranger

1

BAYVIL.      SA41 3XN    o/s ref 101 406     map OL35 Exp or  Lan 145
Located off the Newport to Cardigan A487 road. Take the B4582 to Nevern, continue on this road past Nevern church for about 11/4 miles. Look out for the very small sign for Bayvil Farm on the left. Go up the lane to the farm and turn left at a bungalow on the corner.

HODGESTON       SA71 5JU   o/s ref   029 995   map OL36 Exp or Lan 158
Located on the A4139 that links Pembroke and Tenby

3

LLANDELOY    SA62 6LJ    o/s ref 856 266  map OL35 Exp or Lan 145
Located off the A487 Haverfordwest to St Davids road. At Penycwm take the minor roads signposted to Llandeloy.

4

MANORDEIFI     SA43 2QN    o/s ref 229 432    map OL35 Exp or Lan 145 
Located on the A484 Cardigan to Newcastle Emlyn Road. At Llechryd, coming from Cardigan direction, at the cross roads, turn right over the Teifi- river- bridge by the Castle Malgwyn Hotel. Then Immediately left, up the very narrow lane opposite the Hotel gates, to Manordeifi.

5

RHOSCROWTHER       SA71 5EB  o/s ref  904 022    map OL36 Exp or  Lan158
Located on the B4320 Pembroke to Angle road. Take the minor road on the right to Roscrowther, pass the refinery and continue down the hill where the church is located in the valley.

6

FLIMSTON     SA71 5EB  o/s ref  925 956   map OL36 Exp or Lan 158
Located on the range military road to Stack Rocks, at a T junction on the B4319 Castlemartin to Merrion-Camp road.

Most buildings are normally open during daylight hours.

For further information contact  WWW.friendsoffriendlesschurches.org.uk Telephone 020 7236 3934

Please leave a donation when visiting or join the Friends to support their work in maintaining these churches. Please report any damage or problems you see.

Joe Rielly January 2018

 

Mike Green, popular U3A Member and Ex-navy Diver

Mike passed away on Friday 2nd November. 

He was a popular and long standing member of Pembrokeshire U3A, who, members may recall gave a fascinating talk in June of 2014 about his life and adventures as a navy diver. 

We have been given details of his funeral arrangements and they are set out below. 

PLEASE NOTE IF YOU INTEND TO ATTEND, PLEASE EMAIL MIKE’S SON (SEE THE FINAL PARAGRAPH BELOW)

The funeral will take place at:- Parc Gwyn Crematorium,  Narberth, SA67 8UD.

Date – Monday 19th November Time 12.15

Dress code – For non ACA members Informal strictly no black ties.  (ACA is the Association that Mike set up in the services)

The coffin will leave from his house:- 106 Cambrian road, Neyland, Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, SA73 1ST.  Time  11.30 Feel free to leave from 106 Cambrian or meet at Parc Gwyn.  We will then return to “The Bar” Brunel Quay, Neyland, Milford Haven, SA73 1PY.

The family would prefer that flowers should not be sent but money should be donated to  Macmillan cancer support www.macmillan.org.uk 

 Any cards of condolence should be sent to 106 Cambrian Road.

Please RSVP to rayjohngreen@gmail.com and advise if you are attending the Funeral and or the Wake. 

Monthly Talk: “Living on an Island”

The speaker for October was Janet Gibbs, a member of the Canasta Group, who talked to the membership about her time living on the Island of Guernsey.

Photo: GW

Janet lived on the Island for six years, working for a private bank at the time when off shore accounts received tax benefits.  Her husband,was a policeman.  Guernsey to some conjures up Guernsey cows and the German occupation, but Janet told us so much more.  The second largest of the Channel Islands and once the home of Victor Hugo, whose home can be seen today and is, as you would expect, very much decorated ornately in the French style.  With a speed limit of just 35 miles per hour it is strange the racing driver Jensen Button should be a resident! 

In addition to its’ dairy industry, Guernsey was a grower of tomatoes but sadly in the 1987 gales many of the greenhouses were destroyed and remain today mounds of debris because of the difficulty and cost of removal and disposal.  Janet brought with her some very stylish jewellery designed by Catherine Best who has a workshop on the Island of much interest to the ladies!

The talk was both informative and interesting it is always great to hear from a member.

Penny Thomas 4th October 2018

Monthly Talk: “Gathering the Graves” a film

Local filmmaker Bob Phillips presented his debut film ‘Gathering the Graves’.

The story is based on the work of the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission and follows the lives of several characters affected by the loss of Evan, a soldier who went missing on the Western Front during World War I.

An introduction was given by Bob.  He started with a short talk introducing us to a map with numbers written, 21, 13, 870 etc these represented the number of bodies found after the Great War some 10,000 in an area of not much more than an acre, shocking.  The hall descended into silence as Bob explained the reason behind the making of this truly remarkable film, a grandfather, great uncle members of his own family lost, the more he investigated the greater the desire to record events.  We followed the young lives of two friends who had seen the Buffalo Bill Cowboy Show when it visited Pembroke Dock, we saw photos of two boys playing cowboys and Indians.  These boys, as did so many, saw the War as an adventure and signed up to do their duty, my own tears started as we saw them leave, boarding a train which would take one to his death the other to be a prisoner of war.

The film centred on the commissioning of War Graves, those who had wealth were able to arrange for their loved ones to be brought home for burial others lay where they had fallen for some there were no remains.   War Grave Commission headed by Mr Fabian Ware set about finding the bodies buried beneath the killing fields each was given a burial and the grave marked with a simple cross to eventually be replaced by a simple headstone that we now recognise.  

Penny Thomas  6th September 2018