Hello and welcome to the final edition of TheBAY Magazine of 2014

This year really does seem to have passed in a flash, we must have been having fun!

Downing Street
October was pretty eventful in TheBAY HQ. I received a phone call from Byron Davies AM to say that he was invited to bring the editor of a local publication to meet the Prime Minister at Number 10, and would I like to come. I consulted my diary to make sure I didn’t have anything more pressing scheduled, and then said thank you very much, I would be delighted. I put the phone down and turned to Simon and as coolly as possible said.” I’ve been invited to Number 10”. “What THE number 10?” was his re-sponse. How many houses are there in the world that are known just by a number?

Ten Downing Street must be one of the most famous addresses after Buckingham Palace and the White House --- and I was going there! I spent the next couple of hours on the phone sharing my news and two questions kept cropping up. Why? And what are you going to wear! The answer to the first question was because it is an opportunity for the Prime Minister to meet representatives of local media prior to the next general election. The second was more difficult, but fortunately our editorial consultant, Sarla Langdon is a regular visitor to the Cabinet Office as a member of the SME Advisory Panel and was therefore well qualified to advise. In fact on the same day that I was meeting the PM in the evening, Sarla was next door with Sir Francis Maude in a business advisory capacity.

I was very impressed with David Cameron’s in-depth knowledge of the working of local magazines. He has a media marketing background, so was completely clued up on how the advertising revenue is the backbone of the industry. He asked about the local economy and whether raising enough revenue from local businesses was difficult. He knew the difference between magazines that are delivered into people’s homes as opposed to being picked up and how they are more targeted.

Almost all publications took advantage of the photo opportunity – they certainly don’t come along very often.

We had a chance to wander around and admire the Grand Staircase with portraits of every Prime Minister, the State Dining room which must be able to seat 30 and The Study which was the regular workplace for Harold Wilson and Margaret Thatcher. I found myself at one point completely alone on the staircase and took a moment to stop and remind myself that very few people ever have a chance to stand in the place that is probably one of the most important political buildings anywhere in the world. It doesn’t matter what political party you favour – this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I thank Byron Davies AM for making it possible.

Bumper Issue
This month’s bumper issue at 180 pages is our biggest yet and we have managed to stick rigidly to our ratio of 60% editorial to 40% advertising which is the industry standard. We have two walks for you this month, one in the Elan Valley with Simon Fry, and the other a re-visit to Penllergare with John Ashley. The Elan Valley walk takes in a reservoir of some note in that it was where Sir Barnes Wallis experimented with his bouncing bomb theory. There is a guided walk on 28 December and more information can be found on the Elan Valley website.

Christmas is coming
The festivities will be beginning very soon and so our thoughts turn to Christmas. There are lots of carol concerts and Christmas fairs, amateur dramatics and stocking filler suggestions in our Snippets section. One that I have made a note to go to is the Vintage Bling sale run by the Blackpill, Mayals and Derwen Fawr Craft Club on 29 November. The club secretary popped into the studio with a sample of the pieces that will be on sale and some were quite beautiful. If you like marcasite and costume jewellery make sure that you get there early.

Tatiana Bento has the perfect Christmas dish of confit duck served with spiced pears and pave potatoes. The beauty of this dish is that it can be made well in advance, allowing you plenty of time to pamper yourself. Lora Gladwin Evans gives us plenty of hints and tips on looking glamorous this Yule.

Rachel Jamison makes sure that vegans and vegetarians aren’t short changed at dinner time. Her mushroom and chestnut Wellington with red wine gravy looks very tempting and surprisingly simple to make.

Competition Time
Last March we ran a competition to win £100. This attracted so many entries that we have decided to run a similar competition again – only this time we have a prize fund of £250. All you have to do to be in with a chance of pocketing the cash in January is to identify the adverts in TheBAY logo. Make sure you get your hands on TheBAY’s Winter edition, turn to pages 178 and 179 for all the info. You will find the answers in the adverts throughout this issue, but you will have to study each advert carefully to find the right ones. The reason we do this is to make sure that you take note of each and every advert as ultimately it is the advertisers who bring this magazine to you each month. Don’t delay because the competition closes at noon on 9th January 2015. Good Luck!

Celebrity Status
Sibling rivalry is alive and well in my family. Not to be outdone by my picture taken with David Cameron, my sister Alison sent me one of her with celebrity chef James Martin at his “pop-up” restaurant on a Pullman train. I like to think that my picture shows that I have a modicum of decorum – or at least that I hadn’t had as much champagne as she had!

A years’ subscription to TheBAY will be awarded to the best photographs of readers with celebrities and a copy of the magazine. We’ll publish the best.

And finally….
I’d like to thank all our advertisers who have given us so much support in 2014, and without whom you would not be reading this magazine! Also a huge thank you goes to all the contributors who provide us with such great articles and copy each month.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading TheBAY this year.

We are now going to have a short break to re-charge our batteries - we’ll be back in February 2015.