Hello & Welcome

to the February BAY the first issue of 2020

It’s always quite a challenge for Simon, our designer and illustrator, to come up with something different for the front cover series for the year. Our covers, like our content, are quite different from other local publications so we have to put a lot of thought into them. I hope you like this first one of the year, which I think has a subtle Valentine’s Day feel to it.

When the Mumbles train was first established back in the early 1800s, people were very sceptical of its future, much as I am of driverless cars; Charles Wilson Watkins’ article covers the early years.  The illustrations used in the article, were done by Simon’s late father and commissioned by Alan Lloyd owner of the Mumbles shop Treasure, back in the 70s. Alan had them etched into copper and sold them as wall hangings.

A couple of years ago we put out an appeal for money, to develop a wildflower walk in the Botanical Gardens in Singleton Park. This proved very successful and the Friends of the Botanical Garden were able to fulfil their plans. Many of you will have walked through the garden and admired the specially designed wrought iron gates. This year the Friends are campaigning to raise £5,543 to replace the gates to the Botanical Gardens with ones of a similar design to the wildflower garden. Details of how you can pledge money and make a donation, are in our lifestyle & leisure section. Your donation will only be made if they reach their target of £5,543 by the 31 May 2020. There are also details of how you can donate by cheque if you don’t have access to a computer. Let’s see if we can get them to their target.

Last month I wrote about how I fell victim to a telephone fraudster, who convinced me that he was calling on behalf of my bank. Following on from that article, I was contacted by many readers who wanted to tell me how they had been conned out of thousands of pounds. One lady wrote that she had fallen for a telephone call that purported to be from the police and the fraud squad and had been conned out of a lot of money. The thieves had convinced her to move her money into a ‘safe account’. She went on to say that she tells people of how she was duped, in the hope that it stops it happening to someone else. Remember that the police, your bank or any other organisation will never cold call you and ask for your bank details. Never use your bank or building society device to generate codes for anyone. Don’t be afraid to come across as ‘rude’ by saying that you will not discuss your personal details over the phone – if the call is genuine the caller will be perfectly happy if you ask for them to write to you instead of having a telephone conversation.

Now onto a happier subject. Nick Smith continues on his travels in To the Ends of the Earth when he travels to the exotically named island of Zanzibar. Nick’s account dispels the idea of it being just a ‘barefoot luxury’ destination, and we learn that they too harvest seaweed locally.

Liz Barry escaped the pre-Christmas mayhem by travelling to Thailand, where she did some island hopping. In this month’s article she tells of her time on the island of Phuket. I hope that these articles on tropical destinations will give you inspiration for booking your travel in 2020.

Since Dr Alyson Hitch picked up the mantle of reviewing books for Bay, you will have noticed that she chooses quite different genres from the late Sarla Langdon. And thank goodness, for that I can hear some of you mutter. This month I am intrigued by one of Dr Hitch’s choices in particular, Fabonacci’s Rabbits by Adam Hart-Davis. It seems that it is full of fascinating mathematical patterns that appear in our everyday lives – and might help children who are afraid of maths to look upon it as a more enjoyable subject.

I spent considerable time last month sewing pouches for bats, wallabies and koalas that had been made homeless by the dreadful fires in Australia. By the power of social media, millions of people like me started knitting and sewing when a request went out for purpose made beds and cwtches for these poor creatures. Of course, once they had been made they had to be transported Down-Under, and I was directed to a company, Decadent Vapours Ltd in Gorseinon. Their financial director Paula was coordinating the donations from West Wales and Decadent Vapours Ltd was funding the transportation costs. I would personally like to thank Paula and her company for their generosity and for making it so easy for me and so many other crafters to get their work to the other side of the world.

I hope you enjoy this month’s magazine – we’ll be back again in March.