Ben Dain-Smith

Ben Dain-Smith presents Vale Drive and writes online content for Bro Radio. You can email Ben at: ben.dain-smith@broradio.fm

Llantwit Major beach had some special visitors yesterday evening as locals spotted seals just off the coast, with one even managing to grab a video of the animals in the water.

The mostly marine-based mammals seemed to give the beach their seal of approval as they casually navigated the waves just off the coast.

WATCH: A video of the seals, originally shared on the Llantwit Major Hub page.

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Credit Chrissy Christiana Arcieri on Facebook

The visitors were caught on film by one Boverton resident who shared the video on the Llantwit Major Hub group on Facebook.

In the film, which has already been viewed over 1,200 times, one seal can be seen riding the waves, even looking directly towards the camera at one point.

The video has proved quite a hit on the social media site, with one resident of the Vale commenting:

"That’s fab, I didn’t know we had seals down at the beach, we will be watching more closely when we pop down there now."

While another added:

"Looks like their having a whale of a time!"

The Llantwit Major Hub can be found on Facebook, here.

The Sporting Foundation, which launched an online "Sporting Memories Club" for older adults in the Vale who enjoy talking about sport to be able to connect with each other back in October of last year, are finally able to begin face-to-face sessions in Barry.

The club, which is for residents of the Vale aged 50+, has been holding online meetings for participants to chat about sport with one another throughout the last year, but will now take those sessions to the Highlight Park Community Centre, every Wednesday afternoon, starting tomorrow (October 13th).

The campaign aims to help those who may be feeling increasingly isolated, or just in need of a chat with like-minded individuals, with participants invited to share their sporting memories with other older sports fans.

Refreshments will be available at the sessions taking place in the Stirling Road venue, and those interested should either call Paul on 07484 134 393 or email professorfate10@gmail.com

South Wales for the Vale of Glamorgan have confirmed the new date for Llantwit Major's Grange Gardens Community Garden Project is Tuesday, October 19th.

The police are looking for volunteers to join PCSO Rhiannon Cummings, for an hour or more, from 10am to 12pm, to restore the overgrown area, turning it over, pulling weeds, and raking the land, as well as making it safe and removing any litter.

Refreshments, all tools, and the necessary PPE will be provided for those who volunteer for the event, with those who are interested asked to contact PCSO Cummings by email on Rhiannon.Cummings@south-wales.police.uk, or via phone on 07970 736 885.

The Penarth RNLI Lifeboat Station has confirmed that their vital, life-saving service will not be affected by the temporary road closure at Penarth Esplanade due to road resurfacing work, though they have had to make a couple of changes to other aspects of their schedule.

The road resurfacing will start from Monday, affecting areas of the highway between Bridgeman Road and Marine Parade, with those roads set to be closed during the day.

The works are taking place alongside a £200k upgrade project at the Penarth Esplanade, with a revamp beginning for the pavilion and the surrounding areas over the coming weeks, including the railings, benches, bollards, lighting columns, decking, the Pier Head Hut, and toilets.

In a post on social media, RNLI Penarth Lifeboat Station allayed any fears that their vital service would be affected by the roadworks, which will be taking place between the 11th and 22nd of October, saying:

"Our lifeboat crew will still have 24/7 access to the station, and the works won't impact our lifesaving provision."

Though their life-saving provision will not be impacted by the closure, other aspects of their schedule will be, and the station has had to make some alterations for the coming weeks, saying in their post online:

"Penarth Esplanade will be closed to traffic next week due to road resurfacing works, meaning a couple of changes to our schedule:

  • Our shop is going to be closed Monday to Friday next week.
  • Our coffee morning planned for Wednesday will be now be held on Friday 29 October."

Speaking of the upgrade work at Penarth Esplanade, Councillor Kathryn McCaffer, the cabinet member for leisure, said:

'We know how important Penarth Esplanade is to residents and visitors alike. It is an iconic location that has proved popular for more than 100 years and one that we believe has a very bright future.''

Dinas Powys is set to have its own regular farmers' market, starting from the 15th October and continuing weekly in the car park of the Star Inn.

The new weekly market, which will be open from 9:30am - 1pm every Friday, will be run by those who host the successful Cowbridge Farmers' Market every Saturday, with the new Dinas event set to become an extra opportunity for residents of the Vale to access high-quality local produce.

The new Dinas Powys Farmers' Market will be home to approximately 30 local traders, offering a variety of goods from fresh fruit and veg, to baked goods, alcohol and sweets.

The Dinas Powys Farmers' Market is long-awaited, with a dedicated page on Facebook offering updates on the status of the venture and many residents eagerly following along, waiting for an announcement on a start date.

You can find out more about the market and follow updates on Facebook, here.

Plans for the introduction of mandatory "Covid Passes" at nightclubs and large events in Wales were approved in a close Senedd vote yesterday, with the measure set to be introduced on October 11th.

These measures mean that the Welsh public will be expected to show evidence of being fully vaccinated or having completed a recent Covid test with a negative result before entry to nightclubs or large events, such as concerts.

The Welsh Government Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan said in a debate yesterday that the decision to introduce such measures was not one taken lightly, but was one she believed would "support venues to stay open and enable events to continue taking place through a potentially very difficult and challenging autumn and winter."

Despite this, politicians in the opposition united against the plan, though ultimately it was agreed, with 28 politicians voting for, while 27 voted against.

There were some difficulties within the actual voting process, with talk of "technical difficulties" preventing the Conservative Vale of Clwyd MS, Gareth Davies from voting, while Conservative Leader of the Opposition, Andrew RT Davies, was also not present due to illness, though Labour agreed for one of their Members of the Senedd not to vote in return.

The Senedd is currently sitting in a hybrid format, with some Members attending in person and some joining via Zoom.

The Welsh Conservatives said of the vote and the current hybrid system:

"A number of members across political groups experienced technical difficulties with the voting system this evening, which demonstrates why the hybrid Parliament in Wales must come to an end.

"We reaffirm our view that such significant votes should be held in person on the floor of the Senedd and Welsh Conservatives remain steadfastly opposed to the introduction of Covid passports."

However, Plaid Cymru's Rhun ap Iorwerth defended the system in a post on Twitter, stating:

"Unless there's very good reason and/or with advance approval… I think you should be able to vote only from your offices at home/Senedd/constituency."

Presiding Officer, Elin Jones, gave a statement addressing the issues, saying:

"I gave every opportunity for the member to be present - including providing ICT support - but the member was unable to be contacted.

"For members to vote in the Senedd, they must be present, either in the chamber or on Zoom.

"It is a member's responsibility to give themselves sufficient time to secure their Zoom connection in time for voting, just as it is for any member travelling to the Senedd to vote."

A web-based system will be used for the covid passes, with an app scheduled to be available here in Wales in early 2022, according to the Health Minister, Eluned Morgan.

Anyone who is over 16 and has been fully vaccinated in Wales or England, or has had a negative lateral flow test result within the past 48 hours, will be able to get a pass, and under the Welsh government plan that was backed in the Senedd yesterday, they will be compulsory for anyone over 18 to enter:

  • Nightclubs
  • Indoor no-seating events with more than 500 people
  • Outdoor no-seating events with more than 4,000 people
  • Any event with more than 10,000 people, including sports

Will Renwick, from Llancarfan here in the Vale, ran up every mountain peak in Wales over 2,000ft, (a total of 189 mountains), in under a month, averaging approximately 24 miles per day over the entire period and raising over £11,000 for charity.

The Vale resident spoke to Bro Radio's Vale This Week about his challenge, telling the team that he set out to take on a new adventure during his annual leave and had found inspiration via a news report about a pair of fellow walkers' previous conquest.

Speaking of how the idea for the challenge came about, Will said:

"I'm primarily a long-distance walker, I love hiking and, more specifically, I love hiking in Wales - I absolutely love the Welsh landscape.

"When I was 22, I became the youngest person to walk right the way around Wales via the Wales Coastal Path and Offa's Dyke, and a few years later I did the Cambrian Way, which is a long-distance trail that runs from the south to the north, via a lot of the upland areas of Wales.

"About a year ago I read a BBC News article about two guys who had walked something they called the "Dragon's Back Challenge" which is a route from south Wales to north Wales linking up all 189 mountains, that's everything over 2000 feet, and I saw their route and thought 'wow, that looks like it could be an incredible adventure'".

"I would have liked to have walked it like they did, but I didn't think I had about a month to take off, I couldn't really justify the time off work, but I thought, if I could run it, I could do it in about three weeks, so I wouldn't use all of my annual leave, necessarily. So I thought I'd give running a go and see if I could do it and, low and behold, I somehow managed to make it to the finish line!"

Will completed his incredible run at Conwy Castle on Monday and has since been riding on the high of personal satisfaction and public support while recovering from the grueling challenge, but it wasn't all plain sailing. The seasoned outdoors veteran admitted to the Vale This Week that there had been times he had contemplated giving up.

Discussing these moments and the torrid weather conditions he faced while running, Will said:

"Let's just say the last three weeks have been a real test! The first two weeks were okay, I wouldn't say I had great weather but it was tolerable. The last week was very very challenging - I had storms almost every day, which made the nights in the tent really difficult as well, very little visibility, stinging rain in my face...

"Before setting off on this I said to my girlfriend, Hannah, because she was worried about me doing this, I said 'when this stops being fun, I'll stop' but it stopped being fun about two weeks into it, and then with a week left, I couldn't just stop then, I had to keep going.

"I had to grin and bear it for the last week, but looking back now, I'm glad I did because I'm just chuffed to have done it and I'm chuffed to have, so far, raised over £11,000 for Mind Over Mountains and it looks like that total is just going up and up which is just unbelievable."

Will had initially aimed to raise £2,000 for the charity Mind Over Mountains, using the fundraising aspect of the challenge to fuel his motivation, but ended up smashing his target and, at the time of writing, has raised over £11,600 in total.

Speaking about the work of Mind Over Mountains and why he decided to choose them as his charity, Will said:

"It's a small charity and it's quite young, but they've been doing incredible things. I wouldn't say they're just changing lives but they're saving lives, and what they do is provide memorable and, kind of life-changing experiences for people who are going through difficult periods with their mental health and struggling with their wellbeing.

"They take people out to wild places, into nature, and give them access to places where they wouldn't necessarily normally have the access to, and along the way, they provide them with support from counsellors and even just company and someone to talk to.

"I know they do amazing things and I know the person who founded the charity and they're great people and it just seems like the most appropriate one possible and I'm so proud to support them."

You can find Will's JustGiving page online, here. Additionally, you can listen to his full interview with The Vale This Week on Bro Radio from 7pm this evening.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council is urgently recruiting Residential Care Staff for various roles within their care homes across the county.

Previous experience working in a care home is preferred but not necessary to apply for the roles. The council is asking residents to express an interest on their website for the three vacant positions. These are:

  • Care Assistant - Grade 3 £9.81
  • Cook - Grade 4 £10.01 to £10.41
  • Kitchen Assistant - Grade 1 £9.43

In a post on their site, the Vale Council said of the ethos in their residential homes:

"Our aim and objective is to improve our residents’ life experience and overall wellbeing by providing a quality service in a safe and homely environment, with care and support that is value-based, outcome focussed and most appropriate for the individual."

The post on the council's website added:

"At the Vale of Glamorgan, we recognise that our greatest asset is our workforce and are proud to offer great benefits and career opportunities."

Further details and how to apply can be found on the Council's website, here.

This month marks 'Adoptober' for the RSPCA, a month where the charity urges people to follow the mantra of "Adopt Don't Shop" and shines a light on those animals in their care who are in need of a forever home.

As part of 'Adoptober', the RSPCA is highlighting the importance of understanding our pet's behaviour and body language so that we know how to keep them happy and healthy.

Many of us in Wales are new pet owners following the pandemic, with a number of families using the period as an opportunity to spend time bonding and training a new animal. In fact, this past year has seen a huge surge in pet ownership and the RSPCA rehomed 28,740 animals in 2020, with 1,162 of those rehomed in Wales.

Dr Sam Gaines, head of the companion animals team at the RSPCA, said:

"There has been a boom in pet ownership during the pandemic and whilst it's great to see so many pets becoming a real source of comfort during the last year, it's important that we remember that our mental health can impact on that of our pets and we need to make sure we consider their mental health and know how they are feeling.

"From changes in their behaviour to their body language, our pets can give us insight into their mental wellbeing and it's important that as pet owners we know how to spot these signs and act on them."

As part of 'Adoptober', The RSPCA has shared information on the various body language tells of common pets, including dogs, cats, and rabbits.

Dogs

As dog owners go back to offices, the charity is concerned that some dogs may struggle to adapt to being left alone for short periods. One of the major reasons that dogs are relinquished is due to behaviour problems and research suggests that 85% of dogs may be affected by separation-related behaviours - which is why it's important to be able to spot the signs if your dog is unhappy.

Body language of a worried or unhappy dog

  • They are standing but their body posture and head position is low. Tail is tucked under, ears are back and the dog is yawning.
  • Dog is lying down and avoiding eye contact or turning their head away from you and lip licking with their ears back.
  • They are sitting with their head lowered, ears back, tail tucked away, not making eye contact, yawning, or raising a front paw.
  • Dog is standing with a stiffened body posture, weight forward, ears are up, hair raised, eyes looking at you with pupils dark and enlarged. Their tail is also up and stiff and they may wrinkle their nose.
  • They are lying down and cowering, their ears are flat, and their teeth are showing with their tail down between their legs.

Body language of a happy dog

  • Dog has a relaxed body posture, smooth hair, mouth open and relaxed, their ears are in a natural position, with a wagging tail.
  • Dog is inviting play with bottom raised, smooth hair, high wagging tail, their eyes are normal shape and their ears are in a natural position. They may also be barking excitedly.

Cats

Most cats like routine and a disruption to this routine, like us returning to work and being absent from home, may leave some feeling stressed or anxious. Fighting for resources with other cats, a change to their food or litter, a house move, or a new pet, are all factors which could lead to your cat becoming distressed. A cat's body language is much more subtle and so it is important to regularly observe your cat, understand what is normal behaviour for them and when that behaviour might be different so you know how they're feeling.

Body language of a worried or unhappy cat

  • They are in a crouched position, muscles are tense, body is held tightly, their tail is tucked tightly into their body, and the ears are slightly swivelled sideways. Their head is slightly lowered and tucked into the body, pupils are dilated and mild tension shows in their face.
  • Cat is lying down, body is flattened, ears are flattened to the head, their pupils are dilated, and the tail is held tightly into the body.
  • Cat is lying down, body is flattened, ears are flattened to the head and drawn back, body is slightly rolled over to one side, pupils are dilated, mouth is open and tense, and their teeth are showing.
  • They are standing and their back is arched, with their body held sideways and their hair is raised. Their posture will be tense, with the front paw slightly lifted off the ground (ready to swipe if needed), ears are lowered and pointing out to the side, mouth is open and tense, their teeth are showing, and the tail is tensed.

Body language of a happy cat

  • Cat is standing with a relaxed body posture, their ears are in a natural position, and tail is held upright with the tip of the tail curved, eyes are normal shape, mouth is closed.
  • Cat is lying down, belly is exposed, body posture is relaxed, body is stretched out, ears are in natural position, eyes may be partly closed, mouth is closed.

Rabbits

Rabbits can often be a misunderstood pet because people assume that they are simple to care for. Rabbits are complex, social animals who can become distressed when they don't have another rabbit friend, or the space they need to exercise and plenty of enrichment. Like cats, their body language can be subtle so it is good to get to know how your rabbits normally behave so that you can recognise when there are changes.

Body language of an unhappy or worried rabbit

  • They are in a crouched position, their muscles are tense and their head is held flat to the ground, ears wide apart and flattened against the back, with pupils dilated.
  • Rabbit turns and moves away flicking the back feet. Ears may be held against the back.
  • Rabbit is sitting up on back legs with front paws raised displaying boxing behaviour. Their ears are pointed upwards and facing outwards. The rabbit may also be growling.
  • They are standing with their body tensed and their back legs thumping on the ground. Tail raised, ears pointing upwards and slightly turned outwards, facial muscles are tense and pupils dilated.
  • Rabbit is standing tense with body down and weight towards the back, head tilted upwards, mouth open and teeth visible. Ears are held back and lowered, tail raised and pupils dilated.

Body language of a happy rabbit

  • Rabbit is lying down, with a relaxed body posture and legs tucked under the body.
  • Rabbit is lying down with a fully extended, relaxed body. Back legs are stretched out behind the body and the front paws are pointing forward.
  • Rabbit jumps into the air with all four paws off the ground and twists in mid-air before landing (known as a binky)

Dr Sam Gaines added:

"This Adoptober we're urging anyone thinking of getting a pet to consider adopting rather than buying an animal. Anyone who is thinking of getting a pet should do their research and check they have the time, money and lifestyle to care for an animal for its whole life."

Vale of Glamorgan MP, Alun Cairns, will be hosting a surgery tour this Thursday, giving local residents the opportunity to bring their issues to his attention.

Cairns, who has served the Vale as an MP since 2010, will be visiting Barry, Llantwit Major, and Cowbridge on his day-long tour, holding surgery sessions under a blue gazebo, with no appointments necessary.

The MP's schedule is as follows:

  • Barry - Kings Square - 10-11:30am
  • Llantwit Major - next to Greggs - 12:30 - 1:30pm
  • Cowbridge - Town Hall - 2:30 - 3:30pm

In a post on social media regarding the community surgeries, Alun Cairns MP said:

"Come and chat to me about any local issues. You’ll find me under the blue gazebo, hopefully the rain stays away."

It's been a busy time for the MP recently, who completed the London Marathon on Sunday, managing a very respectable time of 3 hours and 32 minutes. It was the former Secretary of State for Wales' 9th London Marathon in total, with 21 other MPs from across the UK taking part in the iconic 26.2-mile race across the streets of the nation's capital.

Mr. Cairns was running in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, the event's official charity, and also for Atal Y Fro, a women's aid charity based here in the Vale.

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