Merry Christmas! Celebrate with these pics of Star Wars Stormtroopers surfing the Severn Bore

Does exactly what it says on the tin…

Stormtrooper surfer on the Severn Bore

In case you’ve not heard of the Severn Bore, it’s a tidal surge that travels up the river depending on the size of the tides. The Severn has the third highest tidal range in the world, which means when the bore is big enough, you can surf it – for actual miles.

And on 27 November 2015, the Galactic Empire sent its foot soldiers in to take on the might of the Severn Bore. To surf the hell out of it.

severn_bore_stormtroopers - 01 severn_bore_stormtroopers - 02 severn_bore_stormtroopers - 03 severn_bore_stormtroopers - 04 severn_bore_stormtroopers - 05 severn_bore_stormtroopers - 06  severn_bore_stormtroopers - 08 severn_bore_stormtroopers - 09 severn_bore_stormtroopers - 10  severn_bore_stormtroopers - 12 severn_bore_stormtroopers - 13 severn_bore_stormtroopers - 14 severn_bore_stormtroopers - 15 severn_bore_stormtroopers - 16 severn_bore_stormtroopers - 17 severn_bore_stormtroopers - 18  severn_bore_stormtroopers - 20

SEVERN BORE FACTS!

There are only two bigger bores than the Severn in the world: Fundy Bay in America and Ungava Bay in the Hudson straits.

The River Severn’s shape and large tidal range means it Severn Bore is one of the world’s longest rideable waves.

The record for longest surf on the Severn Bore is held by local surfer Steve King, who rode the wave for 7.6 miles (!)

There are 60 rivers in the world with bores. Eight of those are in the UK.

The tidal range on the Severn goes up to 15 metres. This, combined with the funnel shape of the estuary, is what causes such a large bore.

Although it’s not confirmed, the largest bore on the River Severn is said to have been on 15 October 1966, at a height of 2.8 metres.

Often the spring and autumn tides are the biggest but generally most month’s high tides will bring a bore down the Severn through Gloucestershire.

severn_bore_stormtroopers - 22

severn_bore_stormtroopers - 21

severn_bore_stormtroopers - 19

severn_bore_stormtroopers - 11

All photos are from the BBC Gloucestershire Facebook page. Why not head over there and see the rest of the set? The Galactic Empire surfs the Severn Bore

severn_bore_stormtroopers - 07

***

Sign up for the weekly We Are Cardiff newsletter

Check out what’s going on with We Are Cardiff Press

WATCH: A day in the life of Cardiff, 1959

1959. What a year. Castro assumed power, the Dalai Lama escaped to India, and Britain recognised the independence of Cyprus.

Cardiff 1959 screenshot

But what was going on in Cardiff? I found this mad little video in the ITV Wales archives on YouTube (while looking for something else entirely, then got so absorbed in this, I forgot what I was doing. THE BLACK HOLE OF THE INTERNET)

Anyway, your turn. See what was going on in Cardiff in 1959!

***

Sign up for the weekly We Are Cardiff newsletter

Check out what’s going on with We Are Cardiff Press

Crafty Devil Microbrewery: Cardiff local business focus

Here at We Are Cardiff, we are all about local businesses and locally produced goods, so we sent photographer Samuel Padget went down to check out Crafty Devil Microbrewery in Canton to have a snoop around. Here’s his report …

Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. Stacked barrels of "Ryan Jones - Welsh Rugby Legends" beer at the Crafty Devil Brewery site, Canton, Cardiff, Wales.
Stacked barrels of “Ryan Jones – Welsh Rugby Legends” beer at the Crafty Devil Brewery site, Canton, Cardiff, Wales.

On Thursday, I headed down to check out the Crafty Devil Brewery in Canton to see what they were all about. Having opened two years ago, it’s still a small operation with partners Adam and Rhys running the business and brewing side of things and Rhys’ dad Gareth taking care of the newly opened shop. With brewer Adam operating out of a unit in an industrial estate in Canton, they are still managing to fill Cardiff’s pubs with Crafty’s beers appearing on the guest circuit of craft ale behemoth Brewdog and a permanent tap in the local favourite the Lansdowne.

Even if you can’t find a tap anywhere, there’s always the newly opened Crafty Devil’s Cellar on Llandaff Road, Canton. The store is open Tuesday-Sunday, with a bar area at the rear that is open for occasional events (check Crafty Devil Website for bar opening times). Having opened on 30 October, the shop stocks a full range of Crafty’s beers along with carefully selected craft beers from around the world.

Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. Brewing equipment at the Crafty Devil Microbrewery, Canton, Cardiff, Wales.
Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. Brewing equipment at the Crafty Devil Microbrewery, Canton, Cardiff, Wales.

 

Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. Stacked barrels of "Ryan Jones - Welsh Rugby Legends" beer at the Crafty Devil Brewery site, Canton, Cardiff, Wales.
Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. Stacked barrels of “Ryan Jones – Welsh Rugby Legends” beer at the Crafty Devil Brewery site, Canton, Cardiff, Wales.

 

Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. Brewer Adam checks the stocks of fresh hops at the Crafty Devil Brewery, Canton, Cardiff, Wales.
Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. Brewer Adam checks the stocks of fresh hops at the Crafty Devil Brewery, Canton, Cardiff, Wales.

 

Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. Beer pours into a vat at the Crafty Devil Brewery's microbrewery site.
Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. Beer pours into a vat at the Crafty Devil Brewery’s microbrewery site.

Crafty_Devil_Samuel_Padget - 07

Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. Beer pours into a vat at the Crafty Devil Brewery’s microbrewery site.

 

Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. Brewing equipment at the Crafty Devil Microbrewery, Canton, Cardiff, Wales.
Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. Brewing equipment at the Crafty Devil Microbrewery, Canton, Cardiff, Wales.

 

Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. Brewer Adam stands by brewing equipment at the Crafty Devil Microbrewery, Canton, Cardiff, Wales.
Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. Brewer Adam stands by brewing equipment at the Crafty Devil Microbrewery, Canton, Cardiff, Wales.

 

Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. Products on display at the Crafty Devil's Cellar, Canton, Cardiff, Wales.
Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. Products on display at the Crafty Devil’s Cellar, Canton, Cardiff, Wales.

Crafty_Devil_Samuel_Padget - 12

Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. The newly opened Crafty Devil's Cellar store in Canton, Cardiff, Wales
Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. The newly opened Crafty Devil’s Cellar store in Canton, Cardiff, Wales

 

Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. Crafty Devil Beer
Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. Crafty Devil Beer

 

Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. Storekeeper Gareth serves up a pint at the Crafty Devil's Cellar bar.
Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. Storekeeper Gareth serves up a pint at the Crafty Devil’s Cellar bar.

 

Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. The newly opened Crafty Devil's Cellar store in Canton, Cardiff, Wales
Cardiff, United Kingdom, November 26 2015. The newly opened Crafty Devil’s Cellar store in Canton, Cardiff, Wales

 

Visit the Crafty Devil website

See more of Sam’s photos at Samuel Bay Photography

***

Sign up for the weekly We Are Cardiff newsletter

Check out what’s going on with We Are Cardiff Press

Creative Cardiff: a new network for the city’s creative economy…and a Christmas party!

If you’re creative and are based in Cardiff, it makes ALL THE SENSE to join the wonderful new Creative Cardiff network. Plus, they’re having a Christmas party on Wednesday 16 December in Chapter – go along and get involved! Here they are to tell us more about it.

Christmas party flyer

Over the last year we’ve been working to build a new city-wide network that connects people working in any creative organisation, business or job. You may have been to our freelancers’ breakfast, to our event at The Abacus, or have met with one of our team to share your thoughts about what this should or could be.  

And now we’ve launched Creative Cardiff – a network which provides information and promotes new opportunities as well as enabling its members to find new people to work with, build their audience and promote their work. There’s already lots going on in Cardiff and there are many creative networks but, unlike other cities such as Edinburgh, Bath and Dundee we didn’t have something here which pulls it all together in one place and encourages people to work together across all the different creative sectors. We believe that by playing this connector role Creative Cardiff can help to make our city the most creative place it can be.

Over the first year we’re offering a programme of ‘52 Things’ which we want to make with and for the city’s creative community. Online we’re profiling the people and places in the city which give it a unique identity (look out for our forthcoming city guide which we’ve worked on with ‘We Are Cardiff’ and ‘I Loves the Diff’). And we’re running events – so far we’ve held a ‘Show & Tell’ event where people shared their work, we’ve had an ‘In conversation’ event with Dick Penny from Bristol’s Watershed and later this month we’re having a Christmas party

Come and join us at Chapter for a Christmas party for the creative community on Wednesday 16 December from 7:30-11:30pm. We’ll have music from DJs, GRLTLK, and live performances. And we’ll have a few surprises up our sleeves too! Celebrate the work you’ve done in 2015 and you might even meet some new people to collaborate with next year. Tickets are just £10 and include a glass of mulled wine and a hot buffet. Buy tickets.

Creative Cardiff is free to join. You’ll receive our fortnightly newsletter, invitations to our events and the opportunity to list yourself on our members’ directory. To find out more about the network and join for FREE visit: www.creativecardiff.org.uk
Creative Cardiff is run by Cardiff University with support from BBC Wales, the City of Cardiff Council and Wales Millennium Centre.

***

Sign up for the weekly We Are Cardiff newsletter

Check out what’s going on with We Are Cardiff Press

Cardiff Bay, the docks, the barrage, through a vintage lens…

Hi. Helia here. So here’s the thing. I’ve got a Nikon D3100 DSLR, for which I am roundly (and loudly) mocked by all my pals who are into photography. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert enough to even know the difference between this and any other DSLR, so I’ve never been bothered about upgrading.

red brick toothy fish, cardiff bay

Stuff upgrading. In fact I’m downgrading … I’ve abandoned the original auto-focus lens that came with the camera in favour of this old Nikkor 28 lens that I found for pretty cheap on ebay (other ecommerce sites are available).

There is a plethora of information for DSLR photographers wanting to use old lenses on newer cameras … the only bummer is that there is nothing automated about this process (more advanced camera than mine will do some automated processes), but that’s meant speedy learning about aperture sizes, shutter speeds, and ISO. So MATHS …

Anyway, despite all the difficulties, I am sold on this lens! Things look lovely through it. Here’s a peak of Cardiff Bay on wintery days in November (there was no editing of these photos after I’d taken – apart from straightening some of them up, because apparently I am living perpetually on the diagonal).

2015-11-23 14.56.01

2015-11-23 14.53.32

2015-11-23 14.52.54

2015-11-23 14.45.04

2015-11-21 11.44.06

2015-11-21 11.44.44

2015-11-21 11.44.26

Royal Hamadryad General and Seaman's Hospital sign

Women chatting, Hamadryad Park

2015-11-21 11.48.40

2015-11-21 11.53.04

Cardiff Bay Trail sign

One of the old docks, Cardiff Bay

2015-11-23 14.37.57

Telescope, view over Cardiff Bay water

One of the old docks, Cardiff Bay

Crane in One of the old docks, Cardiff Bay

Over exposed, Havannah Street Butetown

2015-11-23 14.42.19

2015-11-23 14.48.03

2015-11-23 14.49.14

2015-11-23 14.48.20

2015-11-23 14.49.56

2015-11-23 14.50.38

2015-11-23 14.51.17

2015-11-23 14.43.10

Victorian lamp post, Cardiff Bay

2015-11-23 14.46.08

Over exposed crane in One of the old docks, Cardiff Bay

More of my vintage photography journey to come! And if you’re an avid photographer who’d like to share some of your pictures with us, please get in touch –  wearecardiff@gmail.com

Til next time …

Peas!

Helia x

***

Sign up for the weekly We Are Cardiff newsletter

Check out what’s going on with We Are Cardiff Press

Have a mezze Christmas with Meat and Greek!

We popped along to the Meat and Greek pop-up restaurant in the Corys building on the corner of Bute Street last night. It was super special for a couple of reasons….

6

The building is grade II listed, and was built in 1889 for the Corys Brothers & Co. The business included ship’s chandlery, brokerage and the sale and export of coal. Ever since I’ve lived in Cardiff, this building has been boarded up, seemingly derelict.

4 5

The ever-wonderful Meat and Greek, who are a local Greek Cypriot family, have lovingly painted and cleaned the lobby of the building, and built an absolutely gorgeous inside garden, made of wood and pallets and fairy lights. This is not your usual thrown-together pop-up. They must have spent days and days making this place look so beautiful.

21

The second reason it’s such a wonderful experience is the food! The menu is tastefully short – offering one starter, two platters (one meat, one veggie) and one dessert. Platters comes with decent sized portions of pork, beef, halloumi, stuffed peppers, Greek salad, potatoes, aubergines, spanakopita (a savoury pastry), hummus and tzatziki….

The service is fast, everything is reasonably priced, and the staff are incredible. It’s only open for the first three weekends in December, so don’t miss out on this extra special pop-up!

There’s more info on their Facebook page.

Hana xx

3

12314002_1548623085398292_6330905141612301942_n

Come out to play at the cabaret….

12240368_954165074650091_203533163751962782_o (1)
It’s that time of year when Mary Bijou Cabaret get their baubles out for everyone! Yay!

This year’s performance, the usual mix of circus, comedy, sketches, music and lots of other kinds of ridiculousness, did not let us down.

The show began with a sultry rendition of Joni Mitchell’s River, followed closely by a playful Chinese pole act from Kate McWilliam. Trailing a bouncing silver balloon behind her, she flipped around the pole with a massive smile on her face!

Co-founder of the cabaret, George Orange, who we interviewed a couple of years ago, entertained the crowd between acts, drawing attention to the cock-ups in the customary Mary Bijou way. After finishing her own, special rendition of Silent Night, ‘Maxine’ (aka Paul Evans) got stuck suspended in mid air dressed as an angel. It took a good minute or so for the crowd to realise that it wasn’t part of the plan…

Other highlights included the bizarrely hilarious Austrian ski dance to a techno version of Vogue (I can’t explain it any better that that), George’s slackline, Kitsch n Synch‘s little sandman ditty, Catriona and Ben’s furious sketch about Christmas (“IT’S ONLY JUST BEGUN, ARGHHHHH!!”
), Maxine’s powerful static trapeze routine, Olga and Hannah’s silks act, where they transformed from toy dolls into real women to a Beastie Boys soundtrack and, of course, the finale – Eric’s unbelievable straps performance.

DSC_0436

Mary Bijou shows have a warm, social vibe where everyone ends up dancing at the end of the night and acts are so close to the audience that you can feel their breath. The performers are a motley gang of incredible talent, and you always feel as if you’ve just dropped in on a house party where someone decided to hastily arrange a talent show, in the best possible way. Their shows are edgy, socially conscious, experimental and rib-achingly funny.

Oh, also a special shout out to Ernie Sparkles’ set design, which according to him included 4 tonnes of glitter….

If only they were doing more than two shows! Guess you’ll just have to wait until next year…We made a little video for you too – see below.

Han x

 

Being poor at Christmas: you can help people in Cardiff

Today, Hana from We Are Cardiff Press talks about what it’s like to be poor at Christmas, and what you can do to help people in your community.

At this time of year, while frenetic consumerism takes hold, we get a pang of guilt.

We see the homeless people scattered around the cold corners of the city, the charity chuggers on Queen Street, the leaflets through your door, and the emotional appeals on TV. We all know that spending £20 on bath bombs is ridiculous, but we do it anyway.

Photo by Ben Blyth Photography, from his Behind the Streets project
Photo by Ben Blyth Photography, from his Behind the Streets project

In my day job, I’m a political writer specialising in equality, human rights and poverty. I also grew up in a household that would be classed as ‘in poverty’. I want to try and illustrate why this time of year is particularly hard for people who don’t have enough money to buy food, pay rent, heat their home, and do social things that other people do like buying presents. It’s not ideal to just consider these things once a year, but it’s better than nothing.

Christmas in our house was filled with embarrassment. My mum was embarrassed that she couldn’t give us proper gifts. We were embarrassed that our Christmas decorations were very old, very rubbish donations. We stayed quiet to avoid making our mum feel bad. We were never homeless, but we got very close.

My brother and I knew that we couldn’t have Christmas lists or any kind of requests for presents. We knew that we ‘weren’t as lucky’ as other kids. Anything we received on Christmas day was greeted with a childish joy alongside an uncomfortable understanding – how was it paid for? What would we do without next month? We got into even further debt in winter, and relied on the help of family friends to eat warm dinners and to replace worn-out school clothes.

Going back to school in January was something to absolutely dread. New clothes, bikes, and holidays in particular, were all things we couldn’t compete with. I usually feigned an illness straight after the Christmas break to avoid having to go through the comparison game.

Our family was on a knife edge throughout December, emotionally and financially; the end of Christmas was a relief.

This isn’t an unusual or extreme example.

Nearly a quarter of people in Wales (23%) live in poverty. One third of children in Wales live in poverty. It’s particularly high for lone parents (most are women), disabled people and ethnic minorities.

‘Not having enough money to get by’ is something that becomes much more pronounced at Christmas.

Below I’ve given a crude, and likely not comprehensive round-up of the charity campaigns that I’ve spotted that are running this Christmas in Cardiff for people who are in that 23%. If you know of any more, leave a comment.

  • The number of people declared homeless because they are fleeing domestic abuse has risen in recent years. We recently promoted Project Shoebox, but donations END ON SUNDAY 6th DECEMBER. If you want to give more help to women in refuges, check out Welsh Women’s Aid and Refuge’s Christmas present appeal.
  • Cardiff Foodbank provides emergency food for people in crisis. You can donate food, money or time to help them out. Donating food couldn’t be easier- simply download the shopping list, pop to the shops and purchase one or two (or ten!) non-perishable items, then donate them to the warehouse.
    The Foodbank is normally open Monday-Friday from 10am to 1pm, but please call 029 2048 4120 to make sure someone is there to accept your donation.  You can also donate food at Foodbank Centres when they are open, or at one of these locations: Central Library; Fair Do’s, Canton; Llandaff Surgery; Lloyds Pharmacy, Rhiwbina; Tesco Western Avenue; Parkview Cafe, Canton; Sainsbury’s Local, Albany Road; St Mellons Library; Llanishen Library, or Waitrose Pontprennau
  • The Huggard Centre is a Cardiff-based charity tackling homelessness. Services focus around the day centre that open 365 days of the year, a 20 bed hostel with additional emergency spaces, 14 shared houses with tenant support that accommodate 52 clients. In extreme weather conditions they also open the day centre at night, to provide shelter for people who would otherwise be forced to sleep rough. You can help them by donating money, clothes or your time by volunteering in their kitchen.
  • Oasis Cardiff is a centre for asylum seekers and refugees. They offer classes, employability workshops, dance classes, a women’s only area, mother and toddler groups and support with letters and phone calls regarding asylum and refugee issues. You can help them out by donating clothes – they post requests on their Twitter feed.
  • The Bevan Foundation is an important political voice for people in poverty in Wales. They influence politicians and decision makers by producing excellent research and policy proposals. You can become a member of the Foundation for £36 a year.
  • Llamau provide safe places for hundreds of vulnerable young people, women and children in Wales. They need donations of gifts or items to make up a gift for the hundreds of people they will support this Christmas, who without help would not receive anything. Why not make the most of 3 for 2 offers and donate your free item?
    If you shop online, sign up for Giveasyoulive and choose to support Llamau. Every time you shop online, the retailer will make a donation to us, at no extra cost to you. If you’re shopping online anyway, sign up and help unlock donations towards the cause.
  • The Wallich give vulnerable people the accommodation and support to live safer, happier, more independent lives and to become part of their communities. There has been a 64% increase in rough sleeping in Cardiff over the past two years- the charity’s winter appeal asks you to help bring people in from the cold.
  • The Salvation Army is running a Christmas present appeal, asking people to donate new unwrapped toys and gifts for children, families, older people and homeless people in need this Christmas.
  • Cardiff South Debt Centre is run in partnership with The Bay Church and gives free debt help to anyone who feels weighed down by debt. You can find out more about how CAP can help here.
  • Shelter Cymru helps thousands of people every year who are struggling with bad housing or homelessness, and they campaign to prevent it in the first place. They are an effective campaigning voice for homeless people in Wales. You can make a one-off donation to them to help fund their work.
  • Safer Wales is an independent charity based in Cardiff. They work to help people feel safer and improve the life of our communities in Wales. They offer support and services to people who are suffering domestic abuse; hate crime or harassment; or who are being forced to do things that they do not wish to do. They also work with young people in the Riverside Warehouse youth centre and in schools across Wales. You can volunteer for them or donate money.
  • Barnardo’s Cymru run incredibly important service for children in Wales, around fostering and adoption, young carers, sexual exploitation, child poverty and domestic violence. You can help them in loads of ways.

If you’re worried about money this Christmas, Step Change provide debt advice to people in Cardiff who are struggling with money.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation have produced this great video about how the public define poverty:

Celebrating the Casablanca Club – CasaB, WMC 2015

Photographer Lorna Cabble headed to the Wales Millennium Centre to catch Casa B-Side – an event celebrating the history of Cardiff’s Casablanca club. Local artists came together for a night of performance covering the rich musical heritage of Tiger Bay, in jazz, funk, hip hop and reggae.

 

Performing were Li Harding with the Gary Phillips Trio, Afro Cluster, Entaya, Messiah Dub Club, and Roots and Branches.

LCabble_Casa_3

Club regular Keith Murrell reminisced about the club:

“The Casa’s ‘golden years’ began during the 1970s, when High Society Sound System took up residency at the club. Society had come to Cardiff from Ladbroke Grove and the custom-made equipment was a cut above any other local music set-ups at the time. They played mostly new reggae music, including pre-release and dub plate mixes that nobody else was playing.

“Club regulars were mostly our own friends and contemporaries with similar musical tastes. We created our own ‘scene’ from this, which further established the Casa B as an alternative venue for many others from around the city and beyond.”

LCabble_Casa_7

LCabble_Casa_11

LCabble_Casa_15

LCabble_Casa_16

LCabble_Casa_17

LCabble_Casa_18

LCabble_Casa_19

LCabble_Casa_20

LCabble_Casa_28

LCabble_Casa_29

LCabble_Casa_37

LCabble_Casa_38

LCabble_Casa_42

LCabble_Casa_43

LCabble_Casa_45

LCabble_Casa_46

LCabble_Casa_55

Read some memories of the Casablanca (Wales Online)

Keith Murrell on the history of the Casablanca (Culture24)

All photographs by Lorna Cabble

***

Sign up for the weekly We Are Cardiff newsletter

Check out what’s going on with We Are Cardiff Press