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News to (mostly) make you smile

Written by Ginnie James on

When I was on holiday last week I must admit that I didn’t spend much time keeping up with the news, but when I came back to the reality of everyday life I thought I had better take a look at what had been going on in the world.

The main headlines are never particularly joyful, and often these days downright scary, but there were a couple of stories of a lighter and far more positive nature. First of all, and it’s not really that surprising as any Welsh rugby fan already takes it as fact, it has been reported that of all the Six Nations stadiums, on average, the Millennium Stadium is the loudest. The recordings have been taken by sports journalists with specialist equipment and although (and we will say this in hushed tones) Wales did lose to England, the average decibel level in the Cardiff venue was 92db.

The actual loudest moment so far was at the final whistle when Ireland triumphed over France in Dublin and this came in at 101db but the crown in the Millennium Stadium did also manage to reach a level in excess of 100d. No wonder the atmosphere feels electric when the 70,000 strong crowd is as loud as a pneumatic drill! Wales is welcoming more and more visitors from China every year and to try and bridge the gap between the languages and cultures of the two ancient nations Visit Britain is harnessing the Chinese tradition of given Mandarin names to popular destinations, people and food.

Within China, people had the opportunity to look at a place name and pictures and devise new names that would better resonant with them. Nearly 30,000 voted on Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch with the final choice coming in as Healthy Lung Village!

Nothing to do with the original origins of the name or even the location but they are right, it does take a good deep breath to get through the name! Two other alternative names that I thought really summed up well the places they were describing were ‘Grab a torch to visit the castle’ for the brooding Carreg Cennen Castle and the evocative 'Mountain River Walkway’ for the Brecon Beacons.

It was with sadness that I read of the death of prominent historian John Davies. His book ‘The History of Wales’ was one of the first text books I purchased when undertaking my degree and is widely acknowledged as a definitive guide to Welsh history.

It is so much more than just a text book. It truly does read more like a novel and I still now dip in and out of it to refresh my knowledge as it is a great read. I do watch quite a few history programmes and when he appears as a commentator his passion for his country tempered by his obvious intellect always makes him a joy to listen to. To end on a happy note, it was lovely to read of a bible dating back to 1837 being reunited with its original family.

The bible was donated to charity shop in Wrexham supporting the Nightingale House Hospice and, using the generations of family inscriptions inside and with the help of the local news, it is now back in its rightful place to carry on the recording of a long family history!

Ginnie James

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I am Ginnie & I began working for Wales Cottage Holidays in August 2000. My blogs cover a wide variety of subjects, from Welsh history (I have a bit of a thing for castles) to its modern culture (I also have a bit of a thing for rugby players!)