This category contains 160 posts

Llanyrafon Manor’s country fayre in Cwmbran.


Today was the country fayre fayre at Llanyrafon Manor. Everyone I spoke to said it was a cracking event. I approached a few small businesses selling cider and another selling bread and both sold out within a few hours.

The manor was full of smiling faces and people having a laugh. What is there not to like?

Watch this three minute film of today's fayre.



Do you remember Cwmbran’s weekly newspapers, the Star and the Post


The Cwmbran Post


The Cwmbran Star

These two old papers were found under the carpet of a house in Coed-Eva.

Do you remember them? Was your first job delivering them?

Hot.Hot.Hot…The chilli growing final at the Dorallt pub in Cwmbran


Growing chillies is not just a bit of fun among drinkers at the the Dorallt pub in Henllys. It is a serious competition.

Tonight saw seven competitors bring their plants to the pub’s bar for judging of the first chilli championships.

There was just one simple rule:

1. All forms of cheating are allowed.

The winner was eight year-old Dan Evans. There were rumours that his grandad was involved…

Second place went to Robbie Evans and in third was Clive Perry, the landlord of the Dorallt.

Ten entrants paid £1 for a single seed from the same packet earlier in the year. This made up the prize money. Three people dropped out.

The simple rule meant there was very little similarity between the plants. One entrant claimed he saw a Homebase label.

The packed bar cheered the top three and the talk of the pub was how to make the 2014 contest bigger and better.

Here is a YouTube clip of Brinley Hamer-Jones, one of the three judges, explaining how he got involved and the criteria for picking the winner.


Dan and his winning chilli

Here are the other entries.







Standing naked in Cwmbran and fashion tips from a top stylist

The body scanner in the Congress Theatre

The body scanner in the Congress Theatre

Standing naked in Cwmbran’s Congress Theatre would normally get you kicked out. But shoppers are being invited to do just that to find the perfect sizes for all their clothes.

I went along to the fun event- A Date With Denim– to try out a special 3D body scanner machine and get some fashion tips from Wenda James-Rowe from The Style Room. Scroll down to listen to the two minute interview with Wenda.

The second and final day is tomorrow Saturday 7 September and runs from 10.30am to 4.30pm.

It is fair to say this has been one of the most unusual events I’ve covered for Cwmbran Life. But I can say it was one of the most fun and quirky. The scan normally cost £20 but during this event they are free.

The body scanner

The scanner looks like a large passport photo machine and is set up in the auditorium. I stepped in and was shown how to stand so the scanner gets all the measurements. Then I was left on my own to undress behind some curtains and say that I was ready. The lights went down and an electronic voice told me to stand still. A few seconds later I had been scanned and I got told to wait while they made sure the data was collected correctly. I got dressed and armed with my statistics a stylist went through them with me. I was told to avoid black (but grey is good) and try out some textures and shoulder details. I found out I have a ‘rectangular’ body shape.

A tailor could make me the perfect suit with this information. All the numbers are in millimetres. Find out more about the machine from the Tailored For You website.

My vital statistics

My vital statistics

Women get even more detail and take away an extra report. This shows what my sizes would be if I was a woman along with how it’s different among various shops in Cwmbran.

My recommended clothes sizes (If I was a woman)

My recommended clothes sizes (If I was a woman)

Fashion tips from Wenda James-Rowe

Rowena from The Style Team

Rowen from The Style Team

Wenda James-Rowe is an award winning stylist so this was my chance to find out where I have been going wrong for the last 36 years. Click this link or the play button below to listen to the two minute Audioboo recording of my free consultation. She is holding sessions throughout Saturday and giving tips on getting a perfect ‘capsule wardrobe’.

Chat to local shops

The bar area of the Congress Theatre is packed with stalls from shops in the town. Staff are ready to show off their latest ranges and this is helped by your new found knowledge from the body scanner.

The event’s second day is tomorrow (Saturday) so get along and enjoy the free advice and bargains on offer.

Here are some photos of the shops who have set up stalls in the Congress Theatres and will be there on Saturday.

Nominate Your Cwmbran Community Champion

Do you know an individual or organisation in Cwmbran who has done valuable work in the community?

Why not nominate them for one of Cwmbran Community Council’s “Community Awards?

There are lots of categories to choose from, including caring, serving, volunteering and overcoming adversity.

Nomination forms are available from Cwmbran Community Council’s website. You can also get one by calling the council on 01633 624152 or emailing david@cwmbran.gov.uk or clare@cwmbran.gov.uk

The closing date for returning the nomination forms is 18 October 2013.

Visit the council’s website to see the 2012 winners.

Wales Gurkha Community open day in Cwmbran. A 2 minute video

A replica 'khukuri'

A replica 'khukuri', the traditional Gurkha knife

Hundreds of people enjoyed the Wales Gurkha Community open day at the TA Centre in Cwmbran today. Here is a two minute video of the event that featured dance, food and khukuri knives. Cwmbran has a large Nepalese community.


Former Cwmbran school pupil publishes book of walks for the Wales Coast Path

Harri Roberts at Rhossili

Harri Roberts at Rhossili

A former Fairwater Comprehensive pupil with a lifelong love of hiking has published a book of circular walks along the Wales Coast Path.

Dr Harri Roberts, 35, has written the pocket-sized Wales Coast Path: Carmarthen Bay & Gower for Northern Eye Books.

The book – the third in a series of ‘Top 10 Walks’ along the 870-mile Wales Coast Path – features walks around Laugharne, Llansteffan, Pendine & Marros and Pembrey in Carmarthenshire.

The remainder of the walks are on the Gower peninsula, an area Harri got to know well when he was a post-graduate student at Swansea University.

‘The launch of the Wales Coast Path has opened up coastal walking for everyone and as a result, footpaths are now better signposted than ever before,’ said Harri. ‘Carmarthen Bay and the Gower Peninsula offer some of the finest coastal walking in South Wales and, in choosing these routes, I’ve tried to offer as much variety of landscape and scenery as possible. Hikers will visit long sandy beaches and historic castles, cross rugged cliffs and windswept downs, and even follow in the footsteps of one of Wales’s most famous poets, Dylan Thomas.’

Routes vary from 6½ to 4¼ miles and are suitable for most walkers of reasonable fitness.

Harri will publish a third book, an official guide to the Wales Coast Path between Amroth and Swansea, in the autumn (Northern Eye Books).

Harri has recently launched his own publishing company, Camau (Welsh for ‘steps’) with his partner, Tracy Burton. As a first project, they have been researching a series of walks from castles in the border region of Gwent and Herefordshire and have enjoyed immersing themselves in the turbulent history of the Middle Ages.

There are a number of other projects in the pipeline, including Harri’s long-term ambition to develop an ‘end-to-end’ walking route across Wales, which would connect the south and north coasts of Wales through the middle of the country by linking existing promoted paths such as the Beacons Way and Glyndŵr’s Way.

Harri is a member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild (OWPG) and currently edits the Guild’s in-house magazine, Outdoor Focus.

Wales Coast Path: Carmarthen Bay & Gower is priced at £4.99 and is available to buy at http://www.top10walks.co.uk and www.Amazon.co.uk

Harri’s first hiking guide – Day Walks in the Brecon Beacons – was published by Vertebrate Publishing earlier this year.

A real ale tour of Cwmbran

This has been on my mind for some time so let’s give it a go and see what happens. A few posts on Cwmbran Life’s Facebook page gave some suggestions of pubs to try. The plan is a gentle walk around and half a pint in each. I’ll post a photo and the price. If you’re about and want to say hello please do. Over the next few days I’ll tidy up the post with links, distance to each pub and other relevant info. Cheers


Doom Bar. Sharps Brewery. £1.70.

Nice walk down the incline to the Owl


The Blinkin’ Owl
Rev James. Brains. £1.48.


Castell y Bwch
Golden Seahawk. Cotleigh Brewery. £1.45.



The Three Blackbirds
Blackbird’s Ale. Wye Valley. £1.50.


Odyssey. Brains Craft Brewery. £1.53


John Fielding
Chestnut Red. Lancaster Brewery. £1.15



Mount Pleasant
Summer Daze. Vale of Glamorgan Brewery. £1.50.

Bombardier. Wells. £1.50.




Tribute. £1.50. Plus the bonus of a bumping into the first day of their beer festival that runs until 26 August. 🙂

Butty Bach




Skirrid. Tudor Brewery. £1.50
British Summer. Brains. £1.50.
Long John Silver. £1.50.

Welsh boxing champions reunion in Cwmbran

Local boxer Roger Tayler in about 1962

Local boxer Roger Tayler in about 1962

A former Welsh boxing champion has organised a reunion for current and former amateur and professional boxers. Roger Tayler, aged 67, has booked Llanyrafon Social Club for the get together on Friday 1 November.

Some of the fighters expected to attend include Gavin Rees, Gary Lockett, Robbie Regan, Tony Borg, Eddie Avoth and Sammy Simms.

Roger won titles while representing Cwmbran boxing club based in the now knocked down Abbey pub, Pill boxing club and Newport Sporting Club.

He said: “Wales has a long history of producing top boxers and this is a night to get as many as possible back in the room to reminisce. Although he is not Welsh I’m hoping that Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham will be able to come as well.”

Roger’s uncle was Newport’s Johnny Basham, who became British and European champion at both welter and middleweight during his 1909-1929 career.

It is the second time he has done a boxers’ reunion. The first one was held last year in Newport.

This event will raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Tickets cost £11 and include a buffet and entertainment. Call Roger on 01633 869643.

Cwmbran hosts a Gurkha Community Open Day- “Better To Die Than Be A Coward”

A Nepalese dancer in Cwmbran last year

“Better to die than be a coward”

A fascinating event to give an insight into Wales' Gurkha community is being held in Cwmbran on Sunday (25 August).

Cwmbran has a Nepalese community with close links to Gurkhas who served in the British Army.

The Wales Gurkha Community Open Day is from 2pm to 6pm at the Territorial Army Centre on Ty Coch Way. This is just around the corner from Cwmbran Fire Station.

The event features cultural dances, insights into the lifestyle of a Gurkha and a Gurkha bagpiper.

This is along with face painting, balloon sculptures and children's activities.



The view over Cwmbran

The view over Cwmbran

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