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Showing posts from 2015

The latest 'On Song' column from the Llanelli Star

The latest 'On Song' column (about the choral and concert scene in and around Llanelli) from the Llanelli Star - 
Llanelli concert promoter and impresario Cerith Owens is looking forward to a busy 2016.
Mr Owens has worked tirelessly during 2015 to develop his stable of ‘Rising Stars’ at Loud Applause Productions.
And he has now added a new tier of ‘Aspiring Loud Applause Rising Stars’ to his team.
Mr Owens explained: “I think it is crucially important to give youngsters opportunities to perform on concert platforms.
“We start by nurturing them gently with small-scale appearances at intimate events, gradually building their confidence for full-blown concert appearances.
“I have been heavily involved in concert promotion in Llanelli for a number of years, but I could see the need to provide different platforms to help develop young talent in the area.
“We’ve got so many talented youngsters in the area and they all need careful tuition and mentoring to fulfil their potential.
“My core …

The latest Phil Evans column from the South Wales Evening Post

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The latest Phil Evans column from the South Wales Evening Post.
Comedian Phil Evans is from Ammanford. He is known as the man who puts the ‘cwtsh’ into comedy.
www.philevans.co.uk


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So! 2015 is all over bar New Year’s Eve celebratory drinks in bars all over.
No matter how 2015 treated you, bid it a fond farewell and greet 2016 with a smile on your face. It could be the year you’ve been waiting for.
Personally speaking, 2015 created some good memories, some not-so-good and some I never want to think about ever again.
For example, I’ve completely wiped from my memory the night I spent in a rundown cantina in a small Mexican town. The place was so sleazy, to gain entry you had to go down three steps – physically and socially.
It was there I met two beautiful senoritas – Rosita and Juanita.
Rosita dressed in red.
Juanita dressed in under a minute.
We laughed together, we danced together, we ate chilli bean enchiladas together...and we drank 18 bottles of teq…

The latest 'On Song' column from the Llanelli Star

The latest 'On Song' column (about the choral scene in and around Llanelli) from the Llanelli Star -

Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir members are looking forward to a trip to Ireland next year.
The choristers are planning a short tour to Mayo and Galway in Ireland at Easter.
“One of the joys of being a member of Côr Meibion Llanelli is getting the chance to tour abroad,” said choir secretary Fred Elias.
“Down the years, we’ve covered the globe. We’ve been to Australia and New Zealand, the United States of America, Canada, and a whole host of countries in Europe.
“Côr Meibion Llanelli members are highly regarded as being ‘ambassadors of song’.
“Our former chairman always used to say that if countries sent out choirs rather than armies, then there would be more peace in the world.”
Mr Elias added: “In recent years, we have been to Austria and The Netherlands. The boys do like the odd half pint of Guinness so it seemed appropriate to go on a mission to Ireland in 2016.
“There is a …

The latest Phil Evans column from the South Wales Evening Post

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The latest Phil Evans column from the South Wales Evening Post.
Comedian Phil Evans is from Ammanford. He is known as the man who puts the ‘cwtsh’ into comedy.
www.philevans.co.uk


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So this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun.


So sang John Lennon in 1971 – and if you’ve been listening to the radio, and shopping in supermarkets and department stores in the last couple of months, you’ll be aware he’s still singing it, 35 years after his death on December the 8th 1980.
It’s become as familiar as every other Christmas-themed song, from Slade’s raucous “Merry Christmas Everybody” to the gentler “Last Christmas”, yet it’s only recently that I’ve taken any real notice of the lyrics of “So This Is Christmas”.
Maybe it’s because I’m no longer in the first – or even second – flush of youth, but the opening verse strikes more of a chord ( no pun intended ) with me now.
Or perhaps this year’s terrible events in Paris, Tu…

The latest Clay Shaw Butler Money Matters column from the Carmarthenshire Herald

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The latest Clay Shaw Butler Money Matters column from the Carmarthenshire Herald.
By Mark Jones, director of Carmarthen-based Clay Shaw Butler chartered accountants and business consultants.


Everyone knows that it pays to check the small print.
So it is with the Government’s Autumn Statement.
Over the last couple of weeks, Money Matters has focussed on some of the main items in the Government’s ‘state-of-the-nation’ autumn housekeeping, such as the U-turn on Tax Credits.
This week, the focus is on some more of the small print in some of the personal tax issues (for those with business and employment tax issues, we will get to these topics in the coming weeks).
The Chancellor George Osborne combined the Autumn Statement and with what is called a Spending Review when he presented his key points to Parliament.
Here is our summary of just some of the key personal tax issues –
Taxation of dividend income:
Currently, when a dividend is paid to an individual, it is subject to different tax rat…

The latest 'On Song' column from the Llanelli Star

The latest 'On Song' column (about the choral scene in and around Llanelli) from the Llanelli Star -

It’s been quite a year for Llanelli concert promoter and impresario Cerith Owens – and 2016 promises to be bigger and better.
Mr Owens has worked tirelessly during the year to develop his stable of ‘Rising Stars’ at Loud Applause Productions.
He explained: “I was already heavily involved in concert promotion in Llanelli, but I could see the need to provide different platforms to help develop young talent in the area.
“We’ve got so many talented youngsters in the area and they all need careful tuition and mentoring to fulfil their potential.
“My core idea was to provide them with ‘gentle’ introductions to concert stage – and it seems to have worked a treat.
“Many of the Rising Stars team are now familiar figures on bigger concert stages – Samuel Morris, Daniella Difede, Keely Morgan and Jordan Williams, for example.
“They will continue to develop further over the next year and at the …

The latest Phil Evans column from the South Wales Evening Post

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The latest Phil Evans column from the South Wales Evening Post.
Comedian Phil Evans is from Ammanford. He is known as the man who puts the ‘cwtsh’ into comedy.
www.philevans.co.uk


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SMALL TALK IS A BIG BORE:

This time of year, there are four words mentioned in newspapers and magazines and heard in TV advertisements that chill me to the bone.
“It’s the party season!”
With the exception of those that start at two pm, feature jelly and ice cream and ‘Pass The Parcel’ before finishing promptly at four pm with goodie bags handed-out to the little ones as they’re collected by their parents, I cannot abide parties.
I’m a tolerant person, who appreciates a joke – whether I’m telling it or hearing it – and I enjoy a good night out.
But I’m hyper-allergic to those excruciating ‘fun’ celebrations of enforced jollity, surrounded by obnoxious, boozed-up people, as loud music blasts our eardrums while everyone stands around making small talk – something I have never…

The latest 'On Song' column from the Llanelli Star

The latest 'On Song' column (about the choral scene in and around Llanelli) from the Llanelli Star -

Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir will have a host of wonderful guests at their annual Christmas concert at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli.
‘Christmas with the Choir’ will be staged on Saturday, December 12, at 7pm.
Côr Meibion Llanelli musical director Eifion Thomas said: “The Christmas concert is always very popular and hugely appreciated by everyone in Llanelli.
“The choristers love Christmas and the ‘boys’ are getting into the Christmas spirit at their twice-weekly rehearsals.
“This year, we will have some excellent guests taking the stage and we can promise a memorable evening, tailor-made to evoke the spirit of Christmas.
Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi and the popular Phil Harmonics will have dedicated slots in both halves of the programme.
Côr Meibion Mynydd Mawr will join in the final Christmas Medley.
Also taking part will be the school chamber ensemble from St John Lloyd Roman Cath…

The latest Phil Evans column from the South Wales Evening Post

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The latest Phil Evans column from the South Wales Evening Post.
Comedian Phil Evans is from Ammanford. He is known as the man who puts the ‘cwtsh’ into comedy.
www.philevans.co.uk


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They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
I don’t believe it.
If I’m lost on a lonely road in the Scottish Highlands and want to get back to civilisation, I’m not going to show a shaggy-bearded, kilted local a signed photo of Lloyd George astride a Bactrian camel.
I’m going to ask, “How can I get back to civilisation?” and hope the lady knows the answer.
Words are important.
We use them to communicate in texts, e-mails, telephone calls and one-to-one conversations.
In my twin capacities as a comedian and a South Wales Evening Post columnist, I make sure the words I use are so clear and concise, my audiences and readers know exactly what I’m about talking.
Gotcha!
University-educated people have a vocabulary of around 30,000 words.
The rest of us have a vocabulary of around …

The latest Clay Shaw Butler Money Matters column from the Carmarthenshire Herald

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The latest Clay Shaw Butler Money Matters column from the Carmarthenshire Herald.
By Mark Jones, director of Carmarthen-based Clay Shaw Butler chartered accountants and business consultants.


Well, that made us sit up and pay attention!
After all the fuss about tax credits, the Chancellor George Osborne did what can only be described as a U-turn when he presented the Autumn Statement and Spending Review in Parliament.
His speech (the first Autumn Statement of this Parliament) and the supporting documentation presented to the House of Commons set out both tax and economic measures.
Here’s our summary of what happened . . .
In a nutshell, we saw -
changes to the prospective Tax-Free Childcare scheme reversal of most of the tax credit proposals retaining the 3% diesel supplement for company cars which was to be abolished the introduction of an apprenticeship levy proposals to restrict tax relief for travel and subsistence expenses for workers engaged through employment intermediaries the intro…

The latest 'On Song' column from the Llanelli Star

The latest 'On Song' column (about the choral scene in and around Llanelli) from the Llanelli Star -

It’s proving to be a busy Christmas for one of our popular male voice choirs.
Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi will be joining Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir for a Christmas concert at Ffwrnes on Saturday, December 12.
The choirs will be teaming up again after the success of their recent concert staged at the Princess Gwenllian Centre in Kidwelly.
Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi secretary Derrick Rowlands said: “The Kidwelly concert was a very successful night and we are looking forward to joining Côr Meibion Llanelli again on December 12.
“We are old friends with Côr Meibion Llanelli and we look forward to a wonderful evening of festive entertainment.”
Mr Rowlands said Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi choristers and musical director Davinia Harries were looking forward to a busy Christmas.
Events for the Llandyfaelog-based choir include -
Tues December 8, Red Lion, Llandyfaelog (Private Party )
Sat…

The latest Phil Evans column from the South Wales Evening Post

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The latest Phil Evans column from the South Wales Evening Post.
Comedian Phil Evans is from Ammanford. He is known as the man who puts the ‘cwtsh’ into comedy.
www.philevans.co.uk

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Best medicine: 
Doctor Phil Evans, specialist in humour-ology, here!
At your service 24/7.
Do step into my consulting room and take a seat.
No! Not that one! The cat was just sick over it.
What caused it to be sick? How do I know? I’m a doctor, not a vet.
It’s often been said that laughter is the best medicine.
Although if you’re diabetic, I wouldn’t advise you to chuck out your insulin and binge on a boxed-set of Dad’s Army DVDs . . .
However, it’s on record that people with serious illnesses can be helped back to recovery by having laughter therapy.
In one American study, heart attack patients were divided into two groups: one half was placed under standard medical care while the other half watched comedy DVDs for 30 minutes each day.
After one year, the ‘humour’ grou…

The latest Clay Shaw Butler Money Matters column from the Carmarthenshire Herald

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The latest Clay Shaw Butler Money Matters column from the Carmarthenshire Herald.
By Mark Jones, director of Carmarthen-based Clay Shaw Butler chartered accountants and business consultants.


Regular readers of the personal finance pages of our national newspapers might be wondering ‘what’s occurring’ with the State Pension.
Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions have revealed that most people retiring after the New State Pension comes into effect next year would be better off under the current system.
Almost 500,000 State Pension statements were issued between September 2014 and October 2015.
These statements compare what level of State Pension applicants would have received under both the current State Pension system and the New State Pension, giving them the higher figure as their starting amount.
According to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), a whopping 80% of those statements were based on the current system, meaning that they would be better off with the current St…

The latest Phil Evans column from the South Wales Evening Post

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The latest Phil Evans column from the South Wales Evening Post.
Comedian Phil Evans is from Ammanford. He is known as the man who puts the ‘cwtsh’ into comedy.
www.philevans.co.uk

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ARE YOU BEING SERVED? NO!
I recently visited Newport on business and set off early in case I ran into heavy traffic or a jack-knifed lorry. Luckily, I didn’t meet any such problems.
You seldom do when you travel by train.
I arrived early and wandered into a cafe, sat down and was immediately approached by a pleasant lady who asked me if I wanted to order a hot drink.
She didn’t work there. She was just the curious type. (Joke!)
I said: “I’d like a coffee and a cheese toastie, please. And I’d like the coffee with the sandwich and not before. Thanks.”
What, apart from a glass of water and a biscuit, could have been simpler?
Two minutes later a cup of coffee arrived – just as I hadn’t requested.
A couple sat at the next table and ordered two full English breakfasts.
A different…

The latest 'On Song' column from the Llanelli Star

The latest 'On Song' column (about the choral scene in and around Llanelli) from the Llanelli Star -

Côr Meibion Llanelli are busy rehearsing for what promises to a great Christmas concert at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli.
‘Christmas with the Choir’ will be staged on Saturday, December 12, at 7pm.
Côr Meibion Llanelli musical director Eifion Thomas said: “The choristers love Christmas and the ‘boys’ are getting into the Christmas spirit at their twice-weekly rehearsals.”
On Saturday, the choir were at Parc y Scarlets for the European Champions tournament fixture between the Scarlets and Racing 92.
On an emotional evening, the choir paid their special tribute to the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks by leading the crowd in a rousing rendition of ‘La Marseillaise’.
Mr Thomas said: “I think everyone has been shocked by the events in Paris, so our singing of the French anthem was to show some solidarity with the people of the French capital and France as a country.
“We are a well trave…

Rugby legends honoured at Carmarthenshire's Sporting Hall of Fame

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Two sporting greats have been honoured in a special ceremony at County Hall.
Late rugby legends Ray Gravell and Stuart Gallacher were formally inducted into the council’s Sporting Hall of Fame (SHF) earlier this month.
Mari Gravell, Ray’s wife, and Stuart’s wife, Jan and his children, Jonathan and Debbie, represented the pair at the ceremony, along with councillors, officers and SHF members. The Sporting Hall of Fame recognises sportspeople from Carmarthenshire who have contributed to the legacy of sport and are an inspiration for the next generation of sporting champions.
The council’s executive board member for leisure, Cllr Meryl Gravell said: “Both Ray and Stuart have dedicated a large part of their lives to sport in Carmarthenshire and Wales. They are both legends in the world of rugby and we are extremely proud to be honouring them in this way.”
The Sporting Hall of Fame is part of the Carmarthenshire Sports Personality Awards and invitations for 2015 are now being taken. Twelve oth…

Two people fined £75 for dropping cigarette ends in Llandovery

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Two people have been fined £75 for dropping cigarette ends.
Council environmental enforcement officers issued the fixed penalty notices to the two men in Llandovery.
They were on patrol in the area ta the time of the offences.
Failure to pay the fixed penalty notices could lead to prosecution in court and a fine of up to £2,500.
Executive Board Member for Environmental and Public Protection Cllr Jim Jones said the council had a zero tolerance approach to littering.
Smoking-related litter - predominantly made up of cigarette ends – can be found on around 80% of Carmarthenshire streets.
Not only are cigarette ends difficult to clean up but they can affect the environment and wildlife by contaminating water supplies with toxic chemicals.
Cllr Jones added: “Cigarette ends fall into grates and cracks in the pavement and cannot be removed by normal cleaning methods.
“Hopefully these fines will help to raise awareness of the problem and deter people from dropping this type of litter.
“Our enforcement…

Llandovery business fined £100 for waste offence

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A Llandovery business has been fined £100 for failing to have proper arrangements in place for the disposal of its waste.
The owner was issued with a fixed penalty notice by council environmental enforcement officers.
All businesses must have an agreement in place with a fully licensed waste company to make sure that any waste produced during the course of their business, is stored, transported and disposed of without harming the environment; known as their ‘Duty of Care.’
Executive Board Member for Environmental and Public Protection Cllr Jim Jones said: “The business in question was given 21 days to resolve the issue; however it failed to do so and was fined as a result.
“The majority of businesses in Carmarthenshire are compliant with the legislation but we will not hesitate to take action against those who are not.”
For further information visit the council website or call Carmarthenshire Direct on 01267 234567.

Santa Cycle Ride aims to raise cash for Home Start

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Cyclists are being urged to don their Santa suits and white beards for charity.
Organisers of the annual sponsored Santa cycle starting at Pembrey Country Park are hoping to attract 100 St Nick’s on bikes on Sunday, December 6.
All proceeds from the Pembrey and Burry Port Cycle Club event will go to Home Start Carmarthen-Llanelli.
To enter just bring a bicycle, Santa outfit and helmet. Entry for U16s is free but must be accompanied by an adult. All participants will be treated to a free mince pie.
The cycle will start at 11am from The Sidan Cafe and go along the Millennium Coastal Path to Llanelli Beach and back.
The council’s executive board member for leisure, Cllr Meryl Gravell said: “This is such a great event and gets bigger every year and more importantly it’s for a good cause.”
Participants are asked to meet at the cafe at 10am on the day and bring their sponsorship money with them.
The Sidan Cafe manager, Stephanie Thomas said: “We’re delighted to welcome back the organisers of this …

Aberystwyth University welcomes European experts on economic impact of agricultural science

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A team of international scientists gathered at Aberystwyth University this week for a meeting on an EU-wide project, IMPRESA, hosted by the School of Management and Business.
The €2.1m IMPRESA project is led by Professor Peter Midmore of the School of Management and Business at Aberystwyth University.
The project is funded through the European Union’s Framework 7 programme over the period 2013 to 2016, and is studying the economic impact of scientific research on agriculture across Europe.
The project team includes academics and scientists from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland, as well as from Aberystwyth University.
UK research, undertaken by academic researchers in the School of Management and Business at Aberystwyth University as part of the project, focuses on the impact of the creation of the Dairy Fertility Index over the last 15 years.
Other projects are looking at products to combat varroa mites in bees, renewable energy for biogas, conversion to organic rice…

Full report into women and children’s services received by Hywel Dda Board

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has provided Hywel Dda University Health Board with its full report into women and children’s services, which will be discussed at the next Board meeting to be held in Withybush Hospital Conference Centre on Thursday 26 November.
The report provides more in-depth information and specific themed recommendations for each service area, over and above the headline recommendations that were contained in the interim report released in September.
Medical Director Dr Philip Kloer will introduce the report at full Health Board and will describe some of the activity that has already taken place in recent months, including:
• development of the Phase 2 Business Case for improvements to accommodation at Glangwili Hospital underway, including putting a project structure in place, and ongoing writing of the business case and staff engagement on the schedule of accommodation
• improvements to transport services for patients, with good use being ma…