2 Jul 2015 - Moonwalk to the Beach

It's a full moon again and Dale and I are off for another moonwalk, it's an early 7.00pm start because we wanted to build a fire, cook some spuds and a chicken, catch sunset and go for a swim as well. A lot of things to do which is the reason I didn't get home until 3.00 am. 

We started off with a 30 minute walk to the beach, prepared the fire, dug a pit, wrapped the spuds, onions and chicken in foil, covered everything and built a fire on top, got the fire going just before sunset and took time out to witness the setting sun.

We returned to the fire, built it up again and down to the sea for a swim, I looked over my shoulder and had the most gorgetastic* moment. The moon was full and beautiful and in the sky. We then had 20 minutes in the sea that can only be described as wonderful, wonderful & wonderful, if we swam along the shore there were the colours of the sunset in the distance and if we swum back again the full moon was in the distance and the waves were perfect for body surfing - they were well spaced and large enough to carry you for 30-50 metres to the shore. I didn't know which way to turn and what to do next, a wonderful sunset, a wonderful moon and wonderful waves, the only downfall was that Dale beat me on distance surfing with last wave and we left the sea with him as champion. 

Back to the fire and it was perfect, small flames and glowing red embers covering the pit so we built it up again, the food had another half hour before it was ready. At last time up, we dug everything up and it was all undercooked........... 

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  aaaaaaaarrrggghhhhh....... apart from the onions. Note to self - cook for  at least 2.5 hours next time, maybe longer. All was not lost we re-built the fire with a framework around it and roasting the chicken on a spit, Dale stuck a stick up the chicken's bum, naughty Dale.

Beauty and the Beast - the sun has set beyond the mountains throwing up lovely purples and pinks while the steelworks on the far right belches out steam/smoke. I can't complain, I wouldn't be here now if it wasn't for the steelworks, dad worked there for 27 years and I grew up in it's shadow. 

Howeward bound, a half hour from the beach to the car with the moon lighting the way before us, it didn't do a good job lighting up the nettles though, top down on the Splidge for the journey home. Some great memories were built, new words were formed and new champions were made. Smile on to the next full moon - there's another one this month on July 31st.  


*gorgetastic = a word I just made up to mean a beautiful thing you see unexpectedly, cross between gorgeous and fantastic. I did look in the dictionary for a suitable word but failed dismally to find one, I suspect that someone has already made this one up already but it fits for me.

Other words I've made up include ambididdlemous, the inability to tell left from right 


Someone has suggested it for inclusion into the Collins dictionary - I only just found out was so excited that I've had to tell everyone and consequently this sentence has taken almost an hour to write. 

My daughter Victoria who invented our making up words game called 'milting' was seriously impressed with it. Apparently the word 'milting' has another darker meaning but we won't go there. The game involved making up a word, spelling it out and giving it a meaning, then the next person would have to make up a different word spell it out but the meaning would need to be linked to the meaning of the previous word. We'd normally play it in the car when travelling or if we were out walking.

I invented ambiddlemous in the Neath Leisure Centre while coaching a junior swim session in the toddler pool. At the end of a session I'd most often play a light hearted game with the kids, on this particular day they would have to walk up the pool and I would shout top bottom left or right, top being the top end of the pool, bottom where they started, left and right self explanatory. The game being the last one to reach the wall would be out until there was one winner then start again. I noticed that sometimes I'd shout left and the swimmer would go right and vice versa but it was the same kids who did that every time, just off the top of my head called them ambididdlemous and it stuck. I think I then published this story in the Multisport RC newsletter and eventually submitted it to a non-accepted-words website Unwords.


Back to the Collins suggestion, it looks like all this happened in 2012 so it's been waiting for 3 years, it has been suggested by Elaine and originally suggested by Kimi from Dundee, through BBC Radio Scotland, Call Kaye (with Kaye Adams). The great thing is there is one comment by C Farnham who says..... "Finally ... my affliction has a name! In future whenever anyone asks me for directions in the street I will answer "Sorry, I am unable to help you - I suffer with acute ambididdlemous syndrome" - I'm so impressed with myself that I'm adding it to the list of things that people don't know about me.......

  • I'm distantly related to Oscar winning film star Ray Milland, he was married to my great auntie's cousin on Mum's side and there is also a link on Dad's side too.


  • I was once the manager of a pop group. It was only for about two weeks and I failed to get them a gig, but when eventually 'Two Minds Cracked' found themselves a decent manager they reached number one in the Italian pop charts.


  • I once 'flicked over' and caught a stack of 72 beer mats. It was late one Saturday night  in the Baglan RFC clubhouse ! Beermat turning for the uninitiated is a beer drinkers game of skill.


  • I once kept a football up for 1752 kicks, I was about 13 years old and the ball was in the air for about half an hour.


  • I once dislocated my shoulder sneezing.


  • I once paddled in a kayak across Swansea Bay from County Hall to Mumbles Lighthouse and back.


  • My great great grandfather built Victoria Gardens in Neath


  • The company my great grandfather started built the DVLA in Swansea


  • When I grow up I want to be a backing singer on the Rolling Stones song 'Sympathy for the Devil'


  • I once charged a conversion over. - When Baglan Youth were playing Pencoed in about 1978 we were losing by about 40 points but ever the optimist I tried to charge  a conversion down. The ball was destined to go under the bar and my touch tipped it over.


  • Bobby Sullivan, the olympian (Judo) and husband of singing sensation Bonnie Tyler coined my first nickname 'Smiler' while I was attending his judo classes at the Afan Lido !


  • I invented a word that has been suggested for inclusion into the Collins dictionary - ambididdlemous - http://www.collinsdictionary.com/submission/293/ambididdlemous


  • I have a very bad memory - last night I remembered something that should go here but now I've forgotten it.


30-flower1.jpg (304360 bytes) Tonight's questions are what are these flowers that are gowing by these here sand dunes ? 

Flower 1 (left) ?

Flower 2 (right) ?

I'm struggling to find either of these by browsing the web but have found an interesting section on a national UK wide website that covers plant life in Wales.....  http://www.plantlife.org.uk/wales

it didn't show me photos of the above plants but it did give me a list of plants growing in the area and I'm pretty sure flower No 1 is a pyramidal orchid, we found a couple of these but I drew a blank on flower 2 because I'm floweryclueless ( a person that is unable to identify flowers)

More on flower No 1 - I don't think it's a pyramidal orchid anymore because I found one somewhere else that looks more like one..... I'm just confused :(

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A big thanks to Andy Williams (of Georgie Dog rescue fame CLICK HERE  ) for identifying flower number 2 as Viper's Bugloss. Andy says he first found this flower in the middle of Port Talbot Steelworks which is not a million miles from where I photographed this one. Ta Mate 

More info can be found on this plant here on the Plantlife website 


Apparently it is the county flower of East Lothian / Haddington so it's probably on holiday in Wales for a wee while but it better not pack it's bags and head off to the states with it's cousins' because the Americans in Washington have waged war on it. That's what Wikipedia told me anyway and that it's also known as 'blueweed'.


4 Jul 2015 - Sunset Stretch - Aberavon Beach

Just a short walk for a pilates & stretching session on Aberavon Beach - a high tide pushed me right up against the dunes, it was a glorious evening but low clouds covered the setting sun for the last 5 minutes, still there were some nice colours and a three quarter moon in the sky for the drive home.


5 Jul 2015 - Sunrise on Fan Hir & Swim in Llyn y Fan Fawr

I met up with my butty Geraint at 4.00am for 2 classics in one outing, a walk on the Fan Hir ridge and a swim in Llyn y Fan Fawr. They'd given good  weather until 10.00am and we wanted to catch the sunrise so an early start was necessary. As we climbed Fan Hir a view of the sunrise was looking dodgy for 5.04 and so we missed that beautiful yellow ball of hot fluff poking it's head up on the horizon. Two minutes later however the mists cleared and she was still low enough to throw out some great colours for the clouds to catch, and she was looking extremely good just above the mountains in the distance. 

I had my wetsuit packed instead of porridge this morning but G and I agreed that porridge would be a definite addition to our next trip and I made a note to myself about the timings which went like - start  at 1 hour and 20 minutes before sunrise to give us a 10 minute pre-sunrise arrival at a good spot to cook and view the sunrise.

Geraint with Llyn y Fan Fawr in the background - if you look closely you can just make out the outline of the lake.

The mist was still hanging around so photos of Llyn y Fan Fawr are not up to scratch. We quickly found a good ingress location, there are quite shallow bits at the lake with pointy stones and it can take forever to get swimming. 


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walking on the early slopes of Fan Hir Llyn y Fan Fawr in the mist Geraint wrestling with his wetsuit


There were wild campers at the lake who were a bit surprised to wake up to a couple of swimmers in the lake so we swam over to say good morning and to see if their kettle was working, they said they only had a small one and I don't think their kettle was very big either. 

We headed back under the Fan Hir ridge past where the Georgie Dog Rescue took place in January. Georgie is almost fully recovered from her operation and is running again like a good un. We concluded our walk at the newly re-furbished Tafarn-y-Garreg and headed off home at around 8.30am. 

Later that morning 4 people were hit by lightning on Cribyn & Corn Du, two fatally, the mountains can be dangerous places.


 Our thoughts go out to the families of those that lost their lives and we wish those that were injured a speedy recovery. 


07-20150708-jf1.jpg (448357 bytes) 06-20150708-jf2.jpg (357642 bytes) I just popped to the beach for a bit of sunset and there were a ton of jellyfish washed up, they had died and dried on the sand leaving fried egg sized marks.  

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I'd just cycled through Resolven and approaching Rheola had to jump off my bike to walk/escort this grass snake across the road - he was struggling to gain purchase on the tarmac and I did have to stop the traffic to help him. He was happy, I was happy and the driver who stopped was happy to and my new mate Gordon Grass Snake slithered away into the bushes.    

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13/7/15 - MAD BRI & MEMORIES 

My buddy Mad Bri (Brian Murray) was over from Ireland with his family and staying in a caravan in Kiln Park, Tenby, Mad and I go back a long way, we met through triathlon, Bri was an Irish international, I was a Welsh international and we did a few training sessions together, then he moved around the corner from me in Neath and we would meet up very Friday for a few Guinness. Today we visited him, Avril, Cian & Aaron in the caravan. 

my son Dale and grandson Gethin joined us, we walked to the beach with the 'bag of tricks' from the park and had a run around on the beach, then a swim, the competitive side of us is still there and we had piggy back races in the sea and handstand competitions and I'm proud to say I lost every one, I blame age. On the way back I pointed out the army firing range at Penally where I finally decided to hang up my military career after spending the day lying in the rain and the cold and shooting at cardboard cutouts, enough is enough.   


 6/8/2016 - MAD BRI UPDATE - He's only just gone and won Ireland's biggest open swimming event. The Liffey Swim - What a man, what a machine, when I grow up I want to be just like him.

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“I feel very excited, elated, tired, worn out but fantastic”




Armed with my new selfie stick which I hadn't yet learned to work I parked near Dyffryn Church and headed up the mountain to Carreg Bica or Maen Bradwen as it is also known. Having read the first couple of chapters in George Eaton's, a History of Neath From Earliest Times it seems the oldest historical things remaining in the borough that haven't been carted off to the National Museum of Wales or the Royal Institute in Swansea are the two standing stones, Carreg Bica on Drymmau Mountain and Carreg Hir Penrhiwtyn. I decided Carreg Bica was the best option, it being on a public footpath wheras Carreg Hir Penrhiwtyn is in a school playing field at Cwrt Sart. Dai Bevan says of Carreg Bica on the Dyffryn Clydach section of his family history website that it is a 'historic stone standing thirteen feet high on the north-west boundary of Dyffryn Clydach parish. 


It is called Carreg Bica or Maen Bradwen. It is referred to in a charter of King John given to William de Braose in 1203, marking the boundary of Gower on Drumau Mountain. It is said that it bathes in the river Neath on Easter Monday! It is identified as an ancient Menhir, though its original function is wreathed in mystery - it could be either a monument of a buried Celtic chieftain or the capstone of an ancient cromlech or just a boundary stone. According to historian Rhys Phillips a gold torque and sword were once found at the foot of the stone. Today it stands at the side of a field gateway and is built into a field wall. There are, too, several Bronze Age burial cairns near Carreg Bica.' It seems that standing stones shrink with age just as we mortals do, Phillips gives the height as 14 feet and Dai Bevan says 13 feet, so maybe it's 13 and a half. After standing next to it though I can tell you 'it's a big bloody stone' 




I went picking wild strawberries & found some and also some wild raspberries as well but I can't say where, some secrets are meant to be kept especially the yummy ones. But I will let you in on one little secret, it's been handed down for generations in our family, it's the recipe for 'untamed yoghurt'. 

The ingredients: wild fruit (in this case strawberries & raspberries) - your favourite yoghurt (in my case Yeo Valley strawberry, but I used the medium sized instead of the large size because we can't get the large size from our local co-op), a bowl, a spoon

Directions: Release your wild fruit into the bowl, immediately pour over the yoghurt to prevent escaspe. ATTACK the fruit with a spoon - throw it down your neck with the yoghurt show it NO MERCY.    

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wild raspberries + wild strawberries + yoghurt  = scrummy tuck



I dropped Mrs Walk-Around-Wales at her sisters in Brynamman and trudged off into Cairnucopia, the western edge of the Black Mountain. The cairns in this area are amazing, every mountain top has one and some of the cairns are actually bigger than some of the mountains in England. Honestly, and talk about England I only bumped into one person on the mountains who was Steve from Herefordshire in that very country, Steve was off to meet his parents in Brynamman after doing part of the Brecon Beacons Way. Steve allowed me to take a photo of his boots which I'm adding to the www.walk-around-wales.com logo at the first hopportunity, that's my attempt at a pun, hopportunity. Steve whose boots are under the 'a' is the first person under 70 to be added............ 
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Back to Cairnucopia, a new word for the day which means 'being plentiful of cairns, mainly on top of mountains'. So I did the following tops with cairns on Foel Deg ar Bedol (385mts), Pen-y-Clogau (523 mts) this had a major cairn on it and there was a good view of Careeg Cennen Castle from the top too and Garreg Fraith (500 mts). The latter had two modern day unmarked on the map cairns. I headed to the road from there and caught a lift with my thumb with Dai from Cwmgors, Dai had been to the Dolcothau Gold Mines for the day and we championed Alexander Codell because one of his characters Hywel Mortymer had worked there. Thanks for the lift Dai.  


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Foel Deg ar Bedol (385mts)

the arrow points to a massive cairn in the distance.

Pen-y-Clogau (523 mts) Garreg Fraith (500 mts)




This was the 47th running of this annual event in my home town of Port Talbot, I cycled down to Aberavon from Glynneath on my trusty Roberts mostly on the national cycle route along the canal. It's a lovely ride passing by many places of family historical importance, for instance the house I lived in Llantwit is next to the canal, my grandfather grew up a little further along near Zoar's Ark and so on. The swim is an aquathlon a running and swimming event and it appears on this page because I had to walk from registration to changing and from changing to the start line, and as they say in Carnoustie on a frosty November morning 'a walk is a walk when you go for a walk'. The event is about an 800 metre run to the sea, swim around the pier, about 800-1000 metres depending on the state of the tide then an 800 metre run back to the Aberavon Green Stars clubhouse. I made this year my 30th attempt at winning this classic event and for the 30th time I failed, not as dismally as last year when I was only off crutches a couple of weeks and had to start on the beach (over 50s are allowed to walk to the beach and start as the first runner enters the water) and hobble back. I finished midway in the 20s which was pleasing. 

You can always count on a good night in Green Stars clubhouse after the event and this year was no exception. I teamed up with my old mates Steve Wilkinson, Martyn Powell, Chris Price, Huw Pascoe and Nathan Rees. Included in the festivities was the new 'paper clip olympic' sport of 'touchie nosie'. The rules of this game are simple. You have to touch your nose with your pint glass in an artistic manner, the winner being decided by popular vote. Unfortunately I don't think anyone pulled out a camera for the championship 'touchie nosie' moves of Chris Price and Huw Pascoe but here's one of Martyn, Chris & myself. Yes we are all adults, at least I think we are. 

With the night drawing to a close there was matter of cycling home to Glynneath which proved an entertaining effort, one interesting thing that happened was that I pulled over for a leak on the canal at around 1.00am and some geezer on a mountain bike rode past without any lights on, mad as a hatter I say.

This is a link to the videos page on the Port Talbot Historical Society website. There's a short video of the 1984 pier swim on it with Phill Reed winning, John Baker in 2nd and Kerry Dobbin 3rd, I'm pretty sure that I appear on it towards the end at about 2.15, Rob Moralis shakes the mayors hand then the camera pans to a runner coming in and looking for the flagpole which you used to have to touch at the finish and then give your name to the results recorder, I think that's me, Bernard Donovan comes in next so I just have to find a set of results from 1984 now to confirm this. Others I can recognise from the video footage are Alan Davies (teacher) & Rob Moralis. I'm pretty sure that this was the year when they used the little side only because the waves were massive on the big side, a triangular shaped course was made out of buoys and we swam around those, early on in the video you can see surfers in the water and one walks past with a board, when the video shows runners coming out of the water you can see the waves on the other side of the pier, that was where we were supposed to come out. That year Harry Worth hit me with the inflatable rib that he was using for safety cover, 'are you alright Dai' he asked, 'I was until you hit me with boat Harry' I replied.



The fact that I put away a shed of Guinness the weekend gave me the luck of the Irish as I landed a job as an extra at the Millennium Stadium for a Guinness advert. I'm not allowed to say anything else until the advert is shown so come back at a later date for photos of the shoot etc. I did have nice walk on the Taff trail on this day because I parked 2.5 miles away from the stadium and walked in through Blackweir park Bute Park, a nice walk with good memories of sports I'd played there, rugby, cyclo cross & road running.



30/7/2015 - TWO MOONS THOMAS

With the full moon tomorrow and Dale's day off today we headed up Caerau mountain for a walk local to Dale. The moon rose early and we a great view of it - this is a photo I took from the house the previous day, the new camera arrived recently but I didn't take it out today.

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We hung around at the tip of the mountain for sunset, there were nice views of Mumbles and the Gower but the sun was setting further north. and there wasn't a lot happening in the vicinity.  



I went up the mountain for a stretch, I had to stop my stretch, the sun was setting, I got excited, I took photos of the sunset, I turned around and I went oooooooooohhhhhhhh, there was pink moon in the sky that's supposed to be blue, I took photos of the full moon rising, I run around on top of the mountain like a lunatic loving the colours, loving the moon, loving the sun and whole point of it all, I sent an email to myself to add hat and gloves my sunset stretching list, one thing kept coming into mind 'I'm like a pig in poo here' and I was. So what is it all about, why am I building a website I'll never finish. My ambition is to walk every path in Wales, walk up every mountain, walk along every river & canal, visit every town, have a pint in every pub. I'll be 2000 years old before I ever manage that lot so what is the point............................

Well I know I want to see Wales before I push up the daisies and I know the more I can pay my way doing it, the quicker I can do it so my original idea was to work out ways of paying my way to see Wales so I can do it as a full time job, another reason I use for doing it is to feed my ADHD, (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Doing lots of different things in life helps me keep interested, for instance there's is a ton of stuff going on in the background that's not yet published or linked. But I do find myself rabbiting on a bit on these blog pages about this and that, an I also find myself drawn back to Neath and family history and family roots etc so I'm thinking that maybe I just want to use this website as a voyage of discovery, maybe I just want to find out who I am am what I am made of, today is the 1st of August and I've been watching videos on youtube about ADHD and I woke up from my afternoon nap with my mind racing with thoughts about ADHD that I need to write down before I forget about them so I'm going to start an ADHD blog........................  GO GO GO TO THIS PAGE IF YOU DARE - CLICK HERE    

The photos don't do the experience justice - everything was just beautiful.






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