Please find some of our older blog posts below, with hits in brackets. This news archive from the official Pontypridd Town website only runs from 2014 when we moved the old html, css site over to WordPress. Previous years work (1998-2014) has unfortunately been lost in the ether somewhere.
Fight Back Against Political Correctness – 28 December 2018
Hands up who thinks that Britain is too politically correct? Careful now you might be called a racist if we see that hand reaching for the stars.
Take these examples: Dennis the Menace no longer carries weapons or gives other kids grief. Punch no longer inflicts domestic abuse on Judy. Spotted Dick is no more because presumably it insults dicks. I’m not actually sure. Brainstorming is banned now in case someone without a brain objects. Union Jack flags, ‘The Who’ t-shirts etc. are often banned in case it offends someone. Massive, bouncing, lactating, porno breasts have been banned from the BBC. Oops, sorry that was just ‘Titty’ in Arthur Ransome’s novel Swallows and Amazons. And of course all superheroes must be banned because they use violence to save the world.
The point is political correctness has distorted not just politics but society itself. Political correctness has become a cancer that has infected public life but worse than this it destroys ordinary people’s faith in the system by treating their genuine and decent concerns as somehow immoral.
Although political correctness began in the 1970s as a form of radical Left-wing politics by students with too much time on their hands, one generation’s students are the next generation’s establishment.
So this mental (see what I did there?) mindset of 1970s students ended up becoming the mindset of the establishment. Places like the government, BBC, councils and offices up and down the land.
Political correctness is now the norm in public life. To be acceptable, behaviour has to conform to it.
Jeremy Paxman has criticised the BBC for being ‘biased and politically correct’ and called for the licence fee to be abolished because ‘if Amazon and Netflix can do it, so can they.’ Paxman also criticised the public service broadcaster for focusing stories on ‘the disabled refugee from Syria’ rather than examining how managing a disabled refugee’s needs might affect British taxpayers.
Having a female Dr Who doesn’t bother most people but why not also have a drama with a Trump-like racist as the hero? Not going to happen. Katie Hopkins might be a bit dodgy but at least allow us to listen to her, same with Tommy Robinson. Then we can make our own minds up about whether they are right or just looneys.
This kind of political correctness that censors offending views and refuses to allow the discussion of certain topics is very dangerous because human beings evolve through intellectual inquiry and endeavour.
If we simply stop debate and block off some ideas and views, then we become the thing we are supposed to be fighting against – small-minded. A society cannot ignore the views of the majority and allow a minority to force upon them their views. That would be madness.
So how do we fight back against these nutters?
Well, one way is to stop paying the BBC licence fee or at least sign a petition to abolish it. Another way is to switch off any programme where pc-views are being forced down our throats, like the BBC news for example. As viewing figures dive so the case will become stronger for a fairer TV channel. Remember the ‘OFF’ switch is a powerful tool, use it and reclaim your sanity. Don’t let them force feed you their warped agenda.
If a Facebook group is too political or biased towards either left or right just leave the group, join another or even start your own.
Or you could just check out completely of course, read a book, walk the hills or go for a pint with your mates down the pub. Plenty of non-PC discussion there but don’t tell anyone or they’ll be banning pubs next!
Now that would cause a paradigm shift.
Looking to Expand Your Pontypridd Business? Success is Only a Click Away – 27 December 2018
Countless businesses throughout Pontypridd have already expanded into the realm of online retail sales, and for good reason. Not only is the associated overhead much lower when compared to brisk-and-mortar ventures, but the fact of the matter is that they now have the ability to tap into a truly global marketplace. These are two massive advantages for any entrepreneur who wishes to increase his or her scope of operations without committing unnecessary amounts of capital. Let us take a look at some of the most recent advancements within the e-commerce community as well as what goes into choosing the
best ecommerce platform when the time is right.
Leaps and Bounds: A Look at the Modern E-Commerce Platform
The entire concept of e-commerce has evolved incredibly during the past ten years. While major providers such as eBay and Amazon were commonplace, the average individual was not normally able to leverage the benefits of online exposure. Why was this the case? The primary hurdle to be overcome is that the majority of software bundles were not intended for smaller businesses. Furthermore, many of these packages were not based within the cloud. They instead involved a one-time download. Updates were difficult to come by and those which could be implemented might not have been entirely appropriate for the business in question.
Furthermore, most older e-commerce solutions lacked the agility required to address the changing needs of a start-up business. Organisations were therefore forced between choosing functionality over end-user appeal. These were obvious drawbacks and at the time, little could be done. Things have now changed thanks to the introduction of bespoke cloud-based architecture that possesses the capability of being moulded around very unique needs.
Putting it All Together
E-commerce platforms now come in all shapes and sizes. The best are those which offer a friendly user interface (UI) as well as the ability to undergo on-the-fly adjustments when required. Another key benefit which can be attributed to this design is that the overall experience of the customer tends to be heightened thanks to a streamlined nature. This encourages future purchases and of course, they can remain confident that help is always close by in the event of a question. Shopify is a shining example of just how far the e-commerce sector has come in recent years and thanks to the host of tools at the disposal of the business owner, even the most targeted of retail needs can be addressed.
However, you still need to define your parameters if you hope to take full advantage of the qualities mentioned above. What are your online retail goals in 2019? What types of products do you plan to offer and which audience should be the most receptive to your campaigns? While these are all basic sales strategies, they are essential components of success. Anyone who is hoping to boost their income in the coming year is encouraged to take a further look at what this system has to offer.
How to plan a perfect night out in London – 21 December 2018 Planning a festive night out in the capital? If so, you’ll be happy to know that London is one of the best places to head to if you are wishing to enjoy a night out on the town full of festivities. Many people simply arrange to meet up for a few drinks, but the bars and pubs are heaving at this time of year so you are best off looking for something different to do – this could be more fun too! Here is a guide for how to plan the perfect festive night out in London so that you have a fun and memorable evening. Look Online For Inspiration First, it is worth taking a look online to see what is happening around London. There is so much to see and do in areas all across London at this time of year, so it can be hard to keep up with what is happening. Common wintery plans include:
- Ice skating
- Watching Christmas films at a pop-up cinema
- Visiting wonderful Christmas markets
- Heading to Carnaby for the Christmas light displays
Confirm Numbers It is also important that you know how many people will be attending your festive night out. This will allow you to make a suitable plan and allow you to book ahead – this is important around Christmas because places and events can get booked up very quickly. Activities If you are looking for something special to do, then here are a few suggestions: Theatre: Christmas is a great time to catch a show as there are always lots of excellent productions on at this time of year and you can easily find cheap theatre tickets online too. This is a chance to experience culture, dress up and do something a bit different. Sporting Fixture: The sporting calendar is always a busy one at this time of year so look into a sporting event in the capital. Football is a good choice as there are a few teams in London and the atmosphere is always electric at these events. Gigs: Similarly, there are often a lot of live music shows around Christmas and watching live music is a superb shared experience particularly if it is a band that you all enjoy. Equally, catching a small local act somewhere can be fun and a goodway to find new music. Festive Events: There are a number of Christmas based events happening all around London, such as Christmas markets, which can be a great way to get into the festive spirit. Travel It is a smart move to plan your travel ahead of time as London is very congested at this time of year. The trains and tubes can be a good way to get around but be prepared that they will be crammed especially early evening. Wrap Up Warm Finally, be sure to wrap up warm no matter where you go as the temperatures can be very cold in the evening! Hopefully this information will help you to plan a great night out in London which allows you to get into the festive spirit and catch up with friends. There are many fantastic things happening all over the capital over Christmas so keep your eyes peeled and plan ahead of time for a successful trip. (1659)
Druids Drink – 20 December 2018 Well, it’s that time of year again. When lapsed druids from all walks of life gather for a handshake, a toast to the ‘stones’ and a good ole fashioned chinwag. Rock stars, dog walkers, retired adult movie stars, chemical engineers, poets, probation workers and photographers will once again be in attendance as it promises to be a great occasion. A quick sip of Sainsbury’s finest champagne or Aldi’s strongest mead (whatever your preference), colourful umbrellas twirling (weather permitting), a quick chat through hungover eyes and it’s back home to mutilate one of God’s creatures (or a lone Onion in Davis’s case). Started in 2013 by members of www.pontytown.co.uk, the annual Christmas Day ‘morning drinkies at the druid stones’ kicks off again at 12:00pm. Massive crowds (half a dozen of us anyway) are once again expected to converge on the Rocking Stones, Pontypridd Common, for what some have called the new Glastonbury. Well, it’s usually muddy anyway. For the real stalwarts the party continues at the Llanover Arms at 1:00pm and everyone is welcome. Merry Christmas Ponty People. (1305)
Boxing Day Swim – 18 December 2018 The ‘Boxing Day Swim’ at the National Lido of Wales is back for 2018 and doors open on Wednesday, December 26, Online bookings are already open. Sessions will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. N.B. No telephone bookings will be taken. The first Boxing Day Swim session will commence at 8:30am. Admission is £3 (Children), £6 (Adults), which will include a hot drink and a festive pastry although whether these are vegetarian we don’t know. More than 500 people visited the swimming pool on Boxing Day last year. This will be the last chance to swim at the lido in 2018. (1041)
Why Christmas Day? – 14 December 2018 Have you ever wondered why Christmas Day (that time when we scoff too many sprouts, we get inundated with socks and the Llanover Arms, Pontypridd closes weirdly early) is celebrated on December 25?
Well, it wasn’t always so. In fact, for the first three centuries of Christianity’s existence, Jesus Christ’s birth wasn’t celebrated at all. Religious holidays were Epiphany on January 6, and Easter, the date governed by the appearance of the full moon. The first official mention of December 25 as a holiday honouring Jesus’ birthday appears in an early Roman calendar from 336 A.D. So was Jesus really born on December 25? I doubt it. God’s guidebook doesn’t mention his exact birthday and the Nativity contains conflicting clues. For example, the presence of shepherds and their sheep would suggest a spring birth or that Dolly Parton wasn’t the first mammal cloned.
How did it come about then? Well, there are a number of theories. One idea is that March 25 was the first day of spring and so a good date for Jesus (considered by many to be the ‘New Adam’, after the last one cocked up so badly) to have been conceived. So if you think of this day as his day of conception (when God, the Hadron Collider or some random Jew who happened to be passing Mary’s hut when old fogey Joseph was down the Inn with the boys, ‘created’ him) and then go forward nine months from then he was born on December 25. Another theory says Jesus died on the Jewish Passover, so again they came up with March 25. Jews believed that prophets (or magicians or whatever) such as Jesus were born (or conceived) on the same date as they died (bit Derren Brown I know) so go forward nine months again and there you have it – easy! If you combine these crazy notions with the fact that church officials also wanted the date to coincide with existing pagan festivals so that it would be easier to brainwash the locals (i.e. the Romans) then it all made perfect sense. As the years passed it then became pretty straightforward for the Romans (and other civilisations) to accept Christianity as the empire’s official religion. What a stroke of marketing genius eh! Even though the celebration of Christmas spread throughout the Western world over the next several centuries many Christians continued to view Epiphany and Easter as more important. In fact, the Puritans even banned Christmas because they saw the offering of gifts and decorating trees as being linked to paganism. In the United States (after revolution and independence) celebrating Christmas was considered too British.
Of course the damned Yanks made up for it when in 1870 they made Christmas a federal holiday. Then things really went downhill. Santa became Coca Cola coloured and more recently Black Friday (our last drinking Friday before Christmas) has turned into the post Thanksgiving Amazon shopping fest! Some early believers didn’t just ignore Christmas Day (as they considered it a pagan practice) but also really expected their Messiah to return and bring about the end of the world as foretold in biblical prophecies. Now whilst us educated and enlightened folk will probably think this is all mumbo-jumbo we do have Brexit, Trump, China, the Marrakech accord and the mother of all stock market crashes to come…
So what about this Druid’s Drink then?
Well, quite simply, I feel that the over commercialisation of Christmas when struggling families are bombarded with adverts telling them to buy the latest ocean-polluting plastic Dinosaur finger puppet while food and energy bills continue to rise, is just not fair. We need to return to a far simpler, more honest appreciation of this special time of year. Make the festive season a time to reflect on the planet and our place in it. Move away from capitalism, exploitation, the evils of social media, consumerism, destruction of our environment and so on, and move back towards nature, friends and family. Whether you believe in some omnipresent, black transgender with a white beard who lives on a cloud in the sky who lets elephants, whales and children die or you’re more of a Brian Cox kind of fellow it doesn’t matter. For one hour a year let’s forget our differences, gather, in person, as social humans have done since caveman times and raise a glass (not plastic btw) to the goodness in all of us. Beer, lager, champagne or mead, whatever your poison, just bring a little along to the Rocking Stones, Pontypridd at midday, Christmas Day and smile and be merry. (1271)
Everything You Need to Know About Click-Through Rates and Online Pontypridd Businesses – 10 December 2018 The new year is nearly upon us and we will be facing many unknowns during 2019. There is no doubt that the effects of the Brexit will weigh heavily upon many local business owners. Other issues such as the domestic economy and the potential for higher rates of inflation are likewise confounding factors. Unfortunately, no one possesses a crystal ball. While it is impossible to accurately predict what awaits, there are a number of steps which Pontypridd businesses can take if they hope to enjoy a greater degree of stability. Why are click-through rates an important component of any online retail venture? What do these number signify? Are there any ways that you can interpret their meaning? Each of these questions deserves a bit more attention if we hope to get a better idea of the “big picture”. Click-Through Rates and Their Relationship with Success Click-through rates are only a single concept with a veritable sea of online business-related abbreviations. OTR, SEO, CRM and B2B operations are a few other examples. However, the sheer importance of click-through rates is impossible to overstate. To simplify the concept a bit, these rates highlight how many individuals are visiting a specific page of your website. They will also illustrate how long these individuals will remain on a certain page. So, they can be used to interpret which sections are the most popular as well as other areas that might need to be improved (or deleted altogether). Higher click-through rates are normally associated with a greater degree of revenue generation over time. Low or fluctuating rates could indicate that a certain sales or marketing strategy needs to be adjusted. Now that we have obtained a rather basic understanding of the fundamentals behind click-through rates, what are some of their primary influencing factors.
How are Click-Through Rates Influenced?
There are many ways in which you can obtain further details in regards to the status of your click-through rates. Many comprehensive tools such as Google Analytics will provide in-depth results. Still, we need to highlight some of the primary factors that will cause these rates to change over time. A handful of the most important include: – The status of a PR or sales campaign – The time of the year – The quality of the products being offered – How easy it is to navigate a web page (as well as how long it takes a page to fully load) – The online ranking of your website The last factor is especially important. It only stands to reason that page which rank higher within a search engine results page (such as Google) will receive more inbound hits. Thus, there are greater chances that a visitor will take the next step and commit to some type of action. This could include a request for further information, an email subscription or a product purchase. This is also why click-through rates and the proper SEO techniques must always enjoy a hand-in-hand relationship. So, be sure to research the most appropriate keywords and to structure your page in a way that is appealing to major search engines (more research can be performed if you wish to understand some relevant suggestions).
Short-Term Movements to Interpret Long-Term Trends
Click-through rates may appear to be fickle on a day-to-day basis and yet, these numbers will provide a clear picture of where your Pontypridd business is heading over time. As opposed to looking solely at daily figures, instead focus on weekly and monthly movements. The chances are high that you will soon notice patterns. Some common causes for momentum include: – More inbound hits during the holiday season – Searches that include region-specific keywords (such as Pontypridd city centre retail, etc.) – Higher rates directly coinciding with the launch of a new sales or marketing campaign However, it is important to note that predicting click-through rates is not an exact science. You should always include a slight margin for error. This is why such rates are known as a key performance indicator (KPI) but they are certainly not the only one. The best way to truly leverage the power of click-through rates is to combine the observed results with other powerful metrics such as SEO strategies, timely blog posts and social media engagement. This will enable you to better obtain the whole picture as opposed to merely a slice of the proverbial pie.
What Will 2019 Have in Store?
Although the principle role of click-through rates is not expected to change, they will likely be influenced more by organic search terms and how often you are willing to engage with your client base. Modern consumers are looking to enjoy a more personalised online experience as opposed to a generic approach. This is why it is important to know where your business is headed so that they appropriate changes can be made when the time is right. (3797)
Africa Photos Exhibition – 2 December 2018 Local photographer Dave Lewis is exhibiting a small selection of his images from a recent trip to southern Africa. As well as the usual favourites, like ‘Spillers Records’, ‘Tenby’ and ‘Blue Boats’ he will also be displaying a number of new photos from Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Gartholwg Lifelong Learning Centre Dec 3rd – 15th Free entry The centre has a large exhibition space and cafe so why not pop along and see the photographs close up. All images are framed (either 8×12 or 12×16) and can be bought direct from the gallery, so if you’re stuck for a Christmas pressie look no further!
For more information, send an email to Dave’s website or contact the centre.
Gartholwg Lifelong Learning Centre St. Illtyd’s Road Church Village Pontypridd CF38 1RQ Telephone: 01443 219589
How to be happier in 4 easy steps – 29 November 2018 Being happy should be everyone’s goal. Not because it isn’t important to make money so that you can support your family and provide for their needs, but because if you cannot manage your job and your mental health things can take a turn for the worse. Mental health is not something to scoff at. It will affect you and your productivity whether you believe in it or not. This is particularly important in hard-working nations like ours, where the average employee works almost ten hours more than western nations like the United States. Not only that, but the pay scale is significantly lower, meaning that we need to work harder for longer and for less pay. It’s no wonder that almost half of all employees in the private sector have some sort of mental health disorder, the two most popular being anxiety or depression. These ailments will cost you in productivity or even your life. Being happier isn’t just a lofty goal, it is a health requirement, and you can be happier every day by following these four steps:
1. Improve Your Baseline Health
When you want to be happy, you need to be healthy. Sure, you can be content, but physical pain and fatigue are hard to get around, especially when you still need to go to work the next day. Better your routines, however, and your body can be in peak physical condition every day moving forward. You can have all the natural energy you need to work well, and can do it all without anything holding you back. So try to be stricter with your bedtime and morning routines, eat healthier, and of course exercise on a daily basis.
2. Take Better Breaks at Work
When you are behind in work, your first solution will probably to stay behind during lunch and see if you can catch up with the extra time it gives you. This is wrong. You deserve to have a break, and taking it can help improve your critical thinking skills and productivity simultaneously. Mental fatigue can plague you whether you had a full night’s rest or not simply because your mind isn’t built to focus on one single problem for too long. Instead, take your breaks and make them as fun and engaging as possible. Play live casino games at Unibet, feel the thrill, and be on top of the world. When you go back to work, you will be happier, and able to look at your previous problem with a fresh set of eyes.
3. Learn Something for Yourself
If your work doesn’t offer much in terms of variety or advancement, then look to improve yourself on your own time. Even if all you learn is a new skill or hobby, it will help you have fun and de-stress. Life isn’t all about work, and maintaining a healthy work/life balance is a key part to your happiness.
4. Make Time for Those You Care About
Finally, make time for your loved ones and friends. If you don’t see them often then make plans. Try to incorporate seeing them into your everyday routine so that you all will have the energy to see one another on a more regular basis. Being happier can help you manage stress and boost your wellbeing. This, in turn, can help you work better and remain perfectly content in all that you do. (1695)
Most popular casino games in Pontypridd – 21 November 2018 Pontypridd residents who enjoy the thrill of the casino are spoiled for choice. The bricks-and-mortar casinos of Cardiff are less than12 miles away, and a host of online casinos licensed in the United Kingdom put their favourite games at their fingertips. These are just some of the most popular casino games the people of Pontypridd love playing.
Poker: Classic Card Game
Poker is popular in Pontypridd because it’s so accessible. Card sharks can get their fix at Cardiff casinos and online, or play at local establishments like Tumble Inn and Treforest Football Club. Texas Hold’em is Ponty’s poker game of choice, especially the high-stakes, no-limits variety. However, you’ll also find Omaha Hi-Lo, mixed games, and other poker varieties in the area. Poker’s popularity may be attributed to its simplicity. It’s easy to follow and bet on, helping novices feel confident after a few hands. There’s also a great camaraderie among poker players, whether they’re sharing pints across a game at the pub or exchanging instant messages in a live streaming game.
Jackpot Slots: Chance to Win Big
Slots are popular around the world, but the people of Pontypridd tend to flock to jackpot machines. There’s something irresistible about the chance of winning a massive cash prize, which climbs higher the longer slot lovers play. There arejackpot slot titles to suit all tastes, including many celebrating pop culture phenoms like “Grease,” “Superman,” and “Justice League.” While the odds of winning an elusive jackpot are slim, players know they’ve got as much chance as anyone else of striking it rich. With thousands of pounds up for grabs, no wonder Pontypridd locals love trying their luck on jackpot slots!
Roulette: Spin the Wheel
Named after the French word for “little wheel,” roulette’s fast pace makes it a popular choice for Pontypridd residents. It looks simple on the surface, with players betting on numbers or colours before the croupier spins the wheel. However, roulette’s various betting options and strategies can be difficult to grasp. If you’re new to the game, visit Casino.com. This online casino with a United Kingdom license has a free play mode for roulette, which lets you familiarise yourself with the game without any financial risk. You can then start playing for the chance to win real money once you’re feeling confident.
Punto Banco: Unique Welsh Favourite
The people of Pontypridd also love punto banco, a close relative of the French game baccarat. Punters bet on whether the punto or banco will have a better hand, much like they bet on the player and bank’s hands in baccarat. However, unlike baccarat, there are no optional plays in punto banco. The winning hand in punto banco is the one with a value closest to nine. Tens and picture cards have a zero value, while other numeral cards retain their face values. With the rise of online casinos, you needn’t drive to Cardiff to enjoy great games like these. Simply fire up your mobile device and enjoy the thrill of the casino wherever you are! (3611)
Why are Pontypridd Businesses Choosing Online E-Commerce Solutions for Their Success? – 9 November 2018 No longer is Pontypridd associated with local economics alone. Community leaders and entrepreneurs alike are now concerned with issues such as the global economy, the looming Brexit vote and what business opportunities await in 2019. It therefore stands to reason that motivated individuals are using all of the tools at their disposal in order to effectively promote the products and services that they have to offer. This often involves a full migration into the digital community. While such a concept is certainly nothing new, times are changing in regards to the tools that are available. Why must the concept of effective e-commerce be taken seriously and what platforms are set to provide results during 2019 and well beyond?
Working Smart as Opposed to Hard
The most profound challenge facing the bulk of Pontypridd businesses is knowing how to find a balance between successful marketing and bespoke product development. In other words, how is it possible to reach as large of an audience as possible while still catering to the needs of the individual user? This is quite difficult to achieve when using traditional marketing techniques, as one concept tends to be sacrificed for the other. Can a local business exert a regional (or even a global) influence while still remaining true to its roots? Bespoke and user-friendly e-commerce solutions are able to effectively bridge this seemingly insurmountable gap. Not only will they provide a host of user-friendly tools, but they can be moulded around the needs of the organisation in question. This is great for a Pontypridd business that is on the cusp of expanding into a new marketplace or any organisation that might be less than satisfied with the results of past marketing campaigns. Still, we should recall that not all platforms are created with the same sense of insight and clarity. Static web hosting services such as WordPress might no longer be sufficient when coping with more challenging demands. So, what alternatives exist?
Educated Choices Equate to Tangible Results
Traditional e-commerce platforms such as Magento were popular in the past. This was mainly due to the fact that there were not many choices on the open market. Times are indeed changing. A growing number of business owners are now migrating from Magento in favour of more user-friendly (and cost-effective) solutions such as Shopify Plus. This only stands to reason, as Shopify is a platform known for its intuitive sense of simplicity. Shopify currently offers a plethora of innovative tools that are meant to cater to the requirements of a single business as opposed to merely providing a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Furthermore, implementation has never been easier. Numerous pricing packages and a scalable framework all ensure that Pontypridd businesses will not need to experience any downtime when making such a change. The world of e-commerce is constantly reinventing itself and it is important for local organisations to keep abreast of the latest changes. This is why encountering effective advertising solutions needs to take centre stage. Thankfully, Shopify is there to help along every step of the way. (1335)
The End of the World is Nigh – 5 November 2018
No, not Brexit. Deal or no deal, Noel Edmunds will sort that one out fine. I’m really not sure what all the fuss is about. No, I’m talking about climate change. You know, that thing Trump doesn’t think exists. And would you trust an orange man with mental hair and a tiny, mushroom-shaped knob?
OK, in simple terms what is it? Climate change is when weather patterns (just think heatwaves, tides, storms, snow, wind, rain, hurricanes, drought, melting ice caps, deserts, soil erosion etc.) alter over time. An example of climate change might be an ice age. Another might be that the planet heats up so much we all die. Lots of things cause our climate to change, e.g. variations in solar radiation received by the Earth, plate tectonics, and volcanic eruptions. Certain human activities also contribute to these changes. One of the nasty little things we as a species do is global warming.
What is this and how do we do it? OK, first we chop down forests. This is really bad because trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and it is increased levels of this gas (and others) that make the Earth warm up. As if that wasn’t bad enough though we also burn fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. This is also bad because it also increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the air.
So what? This seems to be the reaction of almost every government on the planet. A death wish you might say. Well put simply if we don’t stop doing these very foolish things we will all suffer. As carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases (and continues to do so) then the temperature of the planet will rise. This will result in many things, one of them is climate change. We don’t know for sure what will happen but a good bet is that we get more severe weather – this could be hotter summers and colder winters. It could be stronger hurricanes, more deserts, tsunamis and so on. Sea levels will rise from melting ice caps. There will be floods, mass extinctions of plant and animal life, really crazy weather, lack of food and water – not good. The UN has just released a report which makes dire reading. Scientists have warned about this for fifty years or more and we as a race have done nothing. Just blindly continued on a path to self destruction.
So when exactly will we all perish? Who knows? But it could be sooner than we think. One thing is certain, it will be before the sun blows up in a few billion years. In fact, it may be as soon as a week next Thursday. We’ve all seen the plastic pollution in our oceans, we know palm oil is bad, we know we should walk more and use the car less yet we continue to breed. Yep, babies. The death of us all (including the new babies). Human population is increasing at an alarming rate. And what does this mean? Well, the more people the planet has the more fresh water we need, the more food we need, the more medicine, more houses, more cars, more iPhones, more SKYTV subscriptions, more plastic aaarrrggghhh!!!! The future is not looking good.
Can we stop ourselves killing everything? Maybe. On an individual level we can do some stuff. We need to stop having babies. We need to sterilise half the world’s population in fact, especially China, India, Japan, USA, Indonesia and Africa. We need to stop buying crap, especially if it’s wrapped in plastic. We need to use less of all stuff. Someone also needs to accidentally put a bullet through mushroom knob’s head. And all world democracies need to elect their governments for fifty years not three or four or five. Weird one you might think? Well not really because we have to stop politicians thinking short term. We need our leaders to put in place ‘one hundred year plans’ not just a few crap policies that the next bozo will overturn when he or she gets into power.
Will we avert disaster? Nope. The money men, powerful politicians and business leaders and so on will just keep abusing their power and moving the goalposts back until the tidal waves wipe us all out or we the people rise up and overthrow our governments. So on that happy note I’ll leave you to your fate. I’m off to Mars. (1221)
Samhain – 29 October 2018
I often wonder what our Celtic ancestors, or even the more recent Christian preachers, who once filled our chapels and churches up and down the Valleys, would say if they could see us hiding behind the settee with curtains drawn, TV and lights switched off, and the dog’s mouth all taped up the night before All Saints Day!… and all in fear of the dreaded knock on the door from various miniature goblins and ghouls who come calling this dreaded night, with a bag of flour and a brace of free range at hand, should we not be ready to hand over some hard earned cash or tasty treat! For the record, the traditional Christian celebration of All Saints’ Day, or All Hallows’ Day, on November 1st came a day after the Celtic harvest festival of the dead, or Samhain. Later on changed to All Hallows’ Even’ or Hallowe’en. But of course these days we do little to party – pagan or otherwise. We do little to remember or celebrate why this holiday was so special. We just embrace our pumpkins and witches hats, the plethora of costumes and props sold from competing supermarkets, all vying for who can sell the most tacky, throwaway, modern American pop culture, that’s made in China and destined to end the week in Wales’ overflowing landfill. (In the United States, Halloween has become one of the most profitable holidays, next to Christmas, for retailers) Then we moan about the eggs and flour left on our cars and streets the morning after. We moan about how Primary school children are learning the black arts of extortion and blackmail younger and younger these days. But if we must speak out why can’t we campaign to change ‘Halloween’ back to what it originally was? True Halloween traditions survive most accurately in Ireland today, where the last Monday of October is a public holiday. All schools close for the following week, commonly called the Halloween Break and as a result Ireland is the only country where children never have school on Halloween and are therefore free to celebrate it in the ancient and time-honoured fashion. If we did this in Wales we could even ditch Guy Fawkes night (what has some dodgy English catholic who fought for Spain to do with Wales anyway?) and have our own Celtic beer and food festival, that lasts for a week and culminates in a bonfire night of our choosing. After all, if Mr Fawkes had succeeded what difference would that have made to us in third world, post Welsh Assembly Wales anyway? We’d still be poor, forgotten and oppressed. Are you listening Mr Jones? Of course to some fundamentalist Protestants, along with conservative Jews and Muslims the mingling of Christian and Pagan traditions for Halloween, and its assumed association with the occult, mean they strongly object to the holiday and refuse to allow their children to participate in what they regard as its Satanic imagery. Whilst other more moderate Christian churches offer a harvest-themed alternative to Halloween celebrations. Other Christians correctly hold the view that the holiday is not Satanic in origin or practice and that it holds no threat to the spiritual lives of children and the lessons taught about death and mortality are actually a valuable life exercise. Now then, hands up who’s for a week long family festival, starting on Halloween, with a week off work, where we shut off Taff Street, erect huge marquees, serve hot food, real ale, mead, mulled wine, sell local crafts and produce, have street entertainers and Welsh bands, all to help us celebrate the end of summer and aid us in coping with the coming months of ill-timed darkness and seasonal affected disorder! Until someone stops messing with our clocks of course… ah, but that’s another story… (1490)
Roots – Modern Dance Dancers from National Dance Company Wales have been visiting local young people in Pontypridd to teach them some of the moves from their forthcoming tour Roots, which will be visiting The Muni Arts Centre on 8th November. Young dancers have been learning moves from the dances that they’ll see on stage performed by NDCWales’ professionals. Roots is a guided tour through contemporary dance – with the National company for Wales visiting smaller venues across the country, including Carmarthen, Ystradgynlais, Pwllheli, Cardiff, Pontypridd and Mold. Roots takes some of NDCWales’ favourite pieces of dance and combines them with anecdotes and insights of how they were made to help audiences get to the heart of the stories. Each dance piece is a bite-sized short story and different from the one before it, some have been created by choreographers based here in Wales and others by artists who are famous across the world. Bernadette by NDCWales’ resident choreographer Caroline Finn is like watching the outtakes from Great British Bake off, both hilarious and really, very tragic. This piece of comedic dance is very messy, both physically and emotionally: flour and feelings everywhere. Omertá by Cardiff-based Matteo Marfoglia is about the role of women in Italian Mafia families, it’s dark and liberating with powerful music and beautiful black lace costumes. The Company are thrilled to be visiting The Muni Arts Centre, which since being saved by the community has become a central hub for culture in Pontypridd. They are excited work with more local groups in the run up to the show in November; and introduce people who dance performance who might not have previously had a chance to experience it live. For further information about NDCWales, Roots and its participation programme please visit ndcwales.co.uk or book here. (1250)
Dutch to English Translations – 14 October 2018
Dutch to English translation is a universal demand in this day and age. In fact, this demand is so widespread that DutchTrans gets countless requests for translation aimed at the Netherlands. Learning the Language: Many websites are offering services to learn the Dutch language, and many individuals who are planning to live in the Netherlands are taking up these services. This is because the facilities for translation are expensive. When you are in the Netherlands, you will need to know Dutch a lot because although people are using English to some extent, it is better to speak to them in Dutch. The native system is run in the Dutch language, and they have to be courted by learning the language. The Translation Option: You can always keep in touch with DutchTrans whenever you need Dutch translator to help you translate into English or the other way around. Make a call whenever you need someone to translate the language for you, and we will get you an accurate translation for any document. You can be assured that you are not misrepresented, and the rates will be well within your reach. Business Dealings: We recommend professional translation when it comes to business dealings. When you are going for business dealings, you will need your documents translated into Dutch, and our translators are perfectly able to translate just about anything you have, from medical and legal to technical documents. Translations are an ideal way to conduct your business negotiations and get the deal that you want. Small Businesses: We are also ideal for small businesses that run on small budgets. You will get excellent and professional services that are deployed in a professional and highly organized manner without costing a fortune. Trust: When it comes to business dealings, you have a right to demand trust. If you are working with a cheap translator, he is not adequately incentivized to perform at his best. But we are happy with our rates and are here to make sure that you get the best deal out of your business dealings, and you will find us to be a reliable partner no matter if you need translation in a rush or during the weekend. But there will be a lot of meetings! When you are working on establishing your business in the Netherlands, there are going to be many dealings with business owners all through the system. We are here to back you up at every one of those meetings. You do not have to worry about the cost because you will find our rates affordable and agreeable. We will help you build your business the way you always envisioned and make sure that you get the best possible deal out of it. (1749)
Family Cycle Ride – 8 October 2018
Before the clocks move and it starts getting dark we thought it time we had another short cycle ride. So, if you fancy a bit of exercise, great banter and a pint of ale why not pump those tyres up and join the gang for a gentle autumn ride from Trallwn to Ynysybwl. Sunday 14th October Start: 12:00pm Taff Trail by Trallwn Workmans Club Cycle to The Old Bwl Inn (4.5miles) Pint of ale (cider, lager, wine…) Cycle back to Llanover Arms… (4.5 miles) Our last trip, the weather was great and the beer cold. The Old Bwl Inn also does great Sunday lunch if you wish to pile the calories you’ve lost cycling back on, freshly cooked and delicious 🙂 (1240)
Birth Certificate Translation Template – 3 October 2018
There is no particular certified birth certificate translation template one could use because each country has its template. However, as a requirement, the certified translation needs to look exactly like the original, only translated. If we talk about birth certificate translation, then let me tell you that it is an essential document that records the birth of a child. Legitimately, it is a verified copy of a record from the official registry of births. In nearly every country, a person’s birth certificate is significant evidence of his or her identification that is needed in applications for citizenship, driver’s license, bank accounts, social welfare benefits, etc. Hence, it is suggested that only certified translators are selected to translate birth certificates. A common small project translation for DutchTrans is birth certificate translation, which is demanded by both new and regular customers in several languages. Our birth certificate translation service is reasonably translated into more languages than many other types of translation service. We generally receive birth certificate translation requests for Dutch to English translation, Spanish, French, German, and many other major languages, but we also receive various birth certificate translation orders for less common languages as well. The main reason for professional birth certificate translation is for either travel purposes, or for immigration and customs processing. When birth certificates have been translated before arrival at the foreign country of destination, it saves a lot of time. When birth certificates are not translated ahead of time, officials must translate the birth certificate using their translators, and this can take hours, depending upon their availability. Whether the translations need to be used for personal or professional use or visa or immigration purposes, DutchTrans is fully equipped to help you out in every way when it comes to translation, certification, attestation, notarization, etc. Birth certificate translation requires a complete interpretation of all components of the certificate, including names, parents name, birthplace, and date of birth. Birth certificates are legitimate documents as are necessary for many formal objectives such as securing citizenship and lawful residency, qualifying for profits, or getting a passport. An inaccurate or incomplete birth certificate translation can lead to severe results such as the lack of residency, interest or work. Since so much depends on the precision of the information on a birth certificate, a certified translation by a skilled specialist is required. For these purposes, birth certificate translators need to be able to work with both written and printed stuff and to be familiar with various styles and types of birth certificates published in different countries. DutchTrans provides the fastest and most affordable birth certificate translations under any circumstances. We are completely equipped to translate native or other foreign languages into English and vice versa. Our certified birth certificate translation service is the best partner you can ever have in this business without a doubt. Make contact to receive a free quote for birth certificate translation; you’ll be provided with a surprisingly low-cost estimate within seconds. (1635)
Nasty Politics – 1 October 2018
Growing up in the 70s and 80s I saw prosperity and austerity in equal measure, although I’ve only ever experienced the latter. I saw the unions grow powerful which helped give workers pay rises but that was short lived when Thatcher came to power and dismantled everything. Love her or hate her (and I was definitely in the ‘hate camp’) she changed Britain forever. She deregulated the banks and created yuppies, desimated our manufacturing industries, closed all the mines and threw millions on the scrap heap. She supported despotic right wing regimes like Chile, sent assassination squads into Ireland and helped keep apartheid afloat in South Africa. She encouraged poor people to buy shares when she sold off the family silver like BP, British Gas, British Steel, BT and Rolls-Royce. She created social housing problems and slum landlords by getting rid of council houses. She sacrificed hundreds of soldiers lives just to win an election by allowing Argentina to invade the Falklands. She was certainly a bad egg in my book (or should that be basket?). But for me her biggest legacy was how she changed the whole psyche of a nation. She created an ‘I’m alright Jack’ culture where neighbours turned their backs on each other. She made us all selfish. Compared to some of the more specific examples (links above) this may seem like a trivial thing but unfortunately, in my opinion, it is this ‘culture’ of ‘self’ that has contributed to the deterioration in living conditions, the exploitation of the environment, a general lowering of standards and a lack of real community that we see in today’s Britain. In other words ‘nobody cares anymore’. Then in the 90s politics just carried on as normal of course. Long years of Tory oppression were halted by a minor miracle, when the Labour Party finally won a general election. We all had high hopes for the future… but it was a false dawn as Tony Blair just turned out to be the best Tory prime minister we’ve ever had! He continued the ruination of our schools and hospitals by increasing bureaucracy rather than decreasing it as he’d promised, and worse of all social mobility actually decreased under Blair (and Brown). Since then of course we’ve had Cameron and Osborne’s austerity followed by May’s austerity. So, is this the worse time in modern British politics? Yeh, probably. But not because of what we’ve got but what the alternative is. Surely we now have the worst choice we’ve ever had: on the one side we have ‘more of the same shit’; a right wing junta who continue to screw the poor (think how much worse this would be under Boris or Mogg!) and line their own pockets but on the other side we have a left wing, Jew-hater who supports Muslim terrorists and illegal immigration over the white, working class majority that are the only ones who can vote him in! It’s almost as if he wants to lose the next election? OK, in a previous column I highlighted the differences in the Labour and Tory party policies, which even for sceptical me was a no-brainer but ‘foot’ and ‘shoot’ seem to follow Mr Corbyn around like a fart in a phone box. The left wing parties have great policies, like ‘Save the NHS’, free university education, nationalisation of once British, but now foreign owned, industries and so on… but it’s the other stuff that will lose them a shot at power – the political correctness (see Trevor Phillips), sexism against men, positive discrimination (e.g. banning whites from standing for election), banning free speech when it suits them and open borders; which leads to over-population, rising crime, more benefit claims and strain on public services as much as anything else. And yes I blame the media. I always blame them I know, especially the BBC. Not for being right wing or left wing though, but for being so out of touch with the lives of ordinary people, too politically correct and downright lazy when it comes to truthful, investigative journalism, which we still pay for (via the licence fee) under threat of prosecution. Many believe the biggest threat we face is Brexit, but surely this has to be a good thing seeing the mess in Europe that Merkel and Brussels have created recently. In fact, unless the EU reforms big time it is probably finished anyway. And true ‘lefties’ want out anyway so why the lack of reporting on this? The UK is the fourth biggest contributor (just behind Italy) to the EU. Think about that for a moment. Now ask yourselves if you think the EU would survive without Germany and France (the top two payers)? Not hard to see why anyone connected to the EU gravy train is so keen on making it incredibly difficult for the UK to leave. We will probably be just the first when we do. Greece won’t be long, Italy is also an outside bet, as are Hungary, Poland, Holland, Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden and even France! But forget Brexit. That will sort itself out in a few years. For me there is a bigger problem here in the UK at the moment. It is fear and hatred, and it is getting worse. Not fear of Islam. Not anger at the biased media. Not head-in-the-hands disbelief for the distraction from corporate greed that is Trump, not even fear and hatred of the current Tory government (which might make sense) but the truly nasty vileness that the so-called ‘left’ portrays towards anyone who doesn’t agree with them! I grew up a socialist, was proud to tell the world I was one, argued until I was blue (sorry red) in the face about why being altruistic was such a good thing for everyone… but now I’m all confused! Aren’t we socialists supposed to be nice people? Aren’t we supposed to care about others not just scream abuse at them? Take a tour of Twitter if you don’t believe me. Opinions are getting out of hand. There is now a complete polarisation in British politics. The middle ground has been lost. Aren’t we allowed to have more than one view about things anymore? Can’t we ban animal testing yet bring back the death penalty for paedophiles and terrorists? Can’t we support the re-nationalisation of the railways and also deport Albanian people traffickers? Can’t we tax the rich to pay for hospitals yet recognise that we need to increase the numbers of male schoolteachers? Can’t we keep the ‘good’ EU laws, like environmental protection and workers rights but change the ‘bad’ ones like expensive, extra layers of bureaucracy, straight bananas, the Euro and over-population due to unrestricted migration? Can’t we create decent jobs for white, working class men and get rid of PR firms, job agencies and Starbucks? Can’t we have re-runs of Benny Hill, because he was funny, and still adopt the Thai prison model? Can’t we give equality to heterosexuals and taxpayers while outlawing backward, political nonsense like Islam? Can’t we abolish the BBC licence fee until such time as they pay their so-called ‘stars’ the minimum wage like the rest of us? Do we have to subscribe to every tiny facet of an ideology that is being packaged and pedalled by a noisy, middle-class, London minority? A nasty, office-based bunch of career politicians, PC-Guardian readers (but worse still believers) and useless hangers-on who’ve never worked a day in the real world, struggled to survive on low pay or benefits, or had Eritrean rapists move in next door. And while this battle rages between the ‘rights’ and the ‘everyone elses’, who suffers? Yep, the same poor bastards who switch off from politics in their droves because no-one speaks for them anymore. The result is voter apathy and we end up stuck with the same landed gentry, class divisions and extremes of wealth and poverty. I used to find myself blaming the privately-educated, people in power but the more I think about it the real villains are those who pretend to speak for us poor, oppressed masses while feathering their own nests. Why are they so afraid to say what everyone is thinking? Perhaps they really believe the bullshit double-standards they project? Maybe they’re actually scared to get voted into power because then they’d have to do some actual work and carry out the people’s will! Compare these two disgusting people – posh-git Boris Johnson and racist Diane Abbott – which one do you want running the country or with their hands on the reigns of power? Answer? Neither? OK, try these two – Lord Snot, oops, sorry I meant Rees-Mogg or Shami Chakrabarti? If these are our choices, isn’t this just a little bit scary? So what can we do? Easy. Buy my ‘Happy‘ book and live by that code instead. Oh yeh, and start being nice to people again. (2692)
Ponty v RGC – 18 September 2018 As the BBC continues to charge us twice as much as Netflix while it keeps losing top class sport the bonus is that ‘Ponty RFC‘ are now back on the telly. Catrin Heledd presents live coverage of the Principality Premiership clash between Pontypridd and Rygbi Gogledd Cymru. Studio guests include former Scarlets and Llanelli coach Phil Davies and former Wales and Pontypridd outside half Ceri Sweeney – click here. So if you don’t fancy braving the weather this Friday night why not catch up to the telly to watch the boys take on the WRU-sponsored money men of the north.
Sports lost recently – Olympics, Six Nations (sharing with ITV), Golf, Cricket, Boxing… (4494)
Welsh T-Shirts – 10 September 2018 The Welsh T-shirt shop has just had a makeover and we’ve added lots of new designs and Welsh-temed products for you to purchase. We hope to add many more in the future so please check back soon. We also post / tweet voucher codes every month on the Ponty Forum and Twitter feed so you save even more money. Just click here to check out our latest designs and please pass on our web address to anyone you think might be interested. https://shop.spreadshirt.co.uk/wales/
Shopping on Amazon Click here for Welsh-related products (1370)
Pet Food – 29 August 2018 As a dog owner you know how expensive your favourite furry friend can be, especially when it comes to providing the best quality nutrition. So we thought we’d try and help all ‘Ponty pooches’ (and your wallets) by searching the Internet for the cheapest pet food. Our own dog eats Royal Canin, as well as raw meat and various scraps from our plates so we compared various sites for the best deals. We looked at Amazon, Monster Pet Supplies and many others.
What we found was that prices do vary but the best overall price was zooplus. To view their products and prices just click the banner above and save yourself some cash. (1259)
Pontypridd music journalist launches memoir – 18 August 2018
Pontypridd journalist Steph McNicholas has published her first book – Town and Country Girl. Steph has written for national and regional newspapers and magazines, including Record Mirror and the Western Mail. She started her career aged just 19 as a local correspondent on the Pontypridd Observer. Steph was also one of the team of journalists who created the Western Mail website icwales, which later became known as Wales Online. Town and Country Girl recalls her time in London in the 1980s and ‘90s, when she freelanced for the national music press. The book’s title comes from her involvement in the campaign to save her favourite venue, the Town and Country Club, from demolition. The venue survived and is now known as the London Forum. Town and Country Girl includes over a dozen original reviews, including shows by Big Audio Dynamite, Madness and Ponty’s very own Tom Jones. “An affectionate recollection of a brilliant time for Music – and a golden age for the Music Press.” – Steve Grant, Journalist It is published as a paperback in August 2018 by Publish and Print. Steph will be donating part of the proceeds from sales of the book to GTFM Community Radio and Pontypridd Food Bank. To purchase your copy – click here. (2232)
The Differences Between a Physical and a Digital Point of Sale System – 1 August 2018
Any point-of-sale system represents the backbone of the modern business. These frameworks are essential during the final checkout process and as a result, they could very well make or break a sale. Such systems are also useful when attaching discounts, “BOGO” (buy-on-get-one) specials and similar promotions. However, they have also evolved in order to accommodate the needs of the digital world. Let’s take a look at the primary differences between virtual point-of-sale applications and their traditional brick-and-mortar counterparts. Physical Point of Sale Systems The basic point-of-sale concept has likely existed since ancient times. From a very broad per-spective, every framework was designed to confirm a transaction between two individuals or entities. They were also employed as a guarantor in the event that the client required a refund after purchasing a product or service. Anyone who has ever worked within the physical retail sector is already aware of some of the components of an average POS system. These will frequently include: – A standard cash register. – Other “impulse buy” products at or near the checkout counter. – The production of a receipt after the sale has been completed. Of course, the rise of the Internet dictated that this basic architecture would need to be dramati-cally modified in order to address the online community. Some of the first point-of-sale systems began to emerge during the 1990s and since this time, they have evolved to become amazingly advanced portals. Digital Point-of-Sale Applications: Cutting Edge Architecture One of the first issues which these newer platforms needed to address was the simple fact that the same levels of safety and security must be ensured. Private payment methods and the ability to work with a number of e-wallets are therefore both realities. Thanks to the inclusion of advanced firewalls such as SSL and TLS (Secure Sockets Layer and Transport Layer Security), all personal details will remain hidden from prying eyes. However, this is only the beginning. A handful of other features which serve to define the modern point-of-sale platform include: – Performance and sales pipeline tracking. – The ability to immediately access client details. – Online promotions and discounts. – An integration with social media platforms. – Inventory management. Shopify takes these concerns quite seriously and therefore, clients can expect to enjoy a stream-lined interface in order to expedite any online sale. Additional intuitive features such as email marketing, CMS solutions, support for QR codes and advanced data analytics will enable sales pro-fessionals to leverage their talents while enhancing the overall customer experience. When we consider that online competition is more prevalent than ever before, it only makes sense that such tools are provided. It is not likely that the core principles behind the point of sale will change soon. However, the tools and applications provided to the end user have come a long way. This trend will only continue and by using the most advanced applications on the market, securing a solid sale is never a challenge. (1213)
How to choose the best salon to go to? – 30 July 2018
Many of us (especially ladies) enjoy visiting the local salon or spa from time to time, in hopes of coming out looking and feeling great. However, with so many beauty businesses around, how do we decide on one that is best suited for our individual needs? Before booking your next visit at any salon, follow these steps to ensure that you get the best experience possible! Check their reviews When looking for a new beauty business to visit, we often turn to friends for advice. They may recommend an exceptional salon, but this is based off of the experience of one one person. Instead of basing your decision off of one client’s opinion, find the beauty businesses online and do some research. Visit the salon’s social media page and read up on their reviews – your friend may have had a great experience at the business, but others may have not. When choosing which beauty business to visit, our decisions are often based on experiences others have had. Peek at work portfolios Checking a salons’ reviews page is oftentimes enough to help us decide on which one to visit, but most people forget to explore the work portfolio, which is just as important. A beauty business might have a 5-star rating, but it may be based on several factors. Many positive client reviews might be based solely on the price clients paid for a product or service and not necessarily the quality. If you have a salon in mind that you would like to visit, look to see if it is on social media pages such as Instagram or Facebook, as these are popular mediums that beauty businesses rely on to share their work. You wouldn’t want to visit a salon, book a hair treatment and leave with a head of regular box colour, which begins to fade after a few washes. The service you paid for may not have been expensive, but the quality may have been below your expectations Look for convenience Although it’s 2018, many beauty businesses take bookings over the phone – it’s fast and fairly reliable, unless staff members are too busy to answer your calls, or you are trying to book after hours. Now that is not very convenient. Instead, look to see if the beauty business offers online booking, either on their website or social media pages. A business with online booking prioritises client convenience, as this feature allows for 24/7 booking and may include automatic appointment reminders. Since we all have many daily tasks to accomplish, forgetting things like a beauty appointment are commonplace – which is why salons with this feature should be on your list. Juliusz is a beauty business blogger at Versum salon and spa software. (1144)
Popular online games on Android in 2018 – 25 July 2018
Android is the world’s most popular mobile platform, appearing on hundreds of millions of smartphones, tablets and connected devices. With such a big audience, it has managed to attract a raft of developers, allowing the Google Play store to become packed with the top gaming experiences around. Here are a few of the biggest movers and shakers in the world of online interactive entertainment that are having an impact on Android in 2018. PUBG Mobile While Fortnite may not yet be available on Android, its rival Battle Royale shoot-and-loot-em-up PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has made the leap to the platform. Players can compete against up to 99 of their peers in vast arenas littered with weapon drops, gear and other items that make it easier to fight and survive. The visuals work well on mobile thanks to the flexibility of the Unreal Engine 4, while the controls are intuitive enough to keep players engaged even if they are more familiar with a gamepad or mouse and keyboard combo. Casumo Up and coming online casino platform Casumo has made a splash in 2018, with its official Android app allowing users to play entertaining slots and impressive table games from their smartphone. You can play for fun without putting any cash on the line, or dive right into the real money games, so it’s a good platform to let you test drive the casino experiences that are on offer in a risk-free way. Regular promotions and sign up offers help to draw in new players and provide good value for money, while the fun and friendly design of the app itself makes it a pleasure to use. Minecraft It may have been on the market for years, but Minecraft still manages to sit pretty at the top of the best-sellers list today. Part of the reason for its enduring success, aside from the raw creativity of the gameplay, is the regular updates that are rolled out by the team at Mojang. Being able to discover new areas, build new structures with new materials and experience an unfolding landscape with your friends online, or as a solo player, is what sustains the global cult following that Minecraft has attained. Hearthstone This is another online-focused Android game that has been around the block but still keeps players coming back for more with its frequent, fresh content updates. It’s technically free to play, but Hearthstone is a collectible card game that rewards those who are willing to part with a bit of real cash to get hold of the latest expansions as they are printed. 2018 is the Year of the Raven within the world of the game, with The Witchwood set arriving in April and The Boomsday Project set preparing to bring the mech tribe back to the forefront of competitive play in August. Arena of Valor A fairly recent addition to the burgeoning MOBA market, Arena of Valor is available as a five-versus-five experience on Android. Take charge of your hero of choice, team up with four other people online and try to defeat your opponents as efficiently and strategically as possible. New heroes are unleashed fairly frequently, and this is definitely a game that will appeal to those who love League of Legends and Dota 2 but want a more compact, quick experience for mobile play. Asphalt 9: Legends The latest entry in this long running series is touching down later in 2018 and promises to bring with it the most incredible mobile driving experience available to date. As well as offering a single player career mode, it will of course come with a multiplayer mode that will let gamers compete against one another in races via the web. The name is intended to highlight the game’s main aim, which is to celebrate the successes of the franchise so far and hark back to classic tracks that fans will know and love. Such is the power of the Asphalt brand that this ninth main edition is offering people the chance to pre-register to get early access to all that it has to offer, rather than holding out until its wider release. (1525)
Ponty Boy Wins The Voice Kids! – 9 July 2018
Daniel Davies, a Hawthorn High School pupil, who lives in Pontypridd has followed in the footsteps of Stuart Burrows, Geraint Evans and Tom Jones and many other great Ponty singers. Dan has been chosen as the overall winner in this year’s final of “The Voice Kids UK”. Having heard Daniel sing many times we can confirm that he is a brilliant, young singer, and after his winning performances for ‘Team Pixie’ he will surely go far! Proud dad, Mark said, “It is fantastic to see a young man from this area having the opportunity to show how talented he is. We’re sure he will be a credit to the town of Pontypridd.” Dan wins £30,000 towards his musical education and a trip to Disneyland where he will no doubt teach Micky Mouse and friends how to sing! To support Ponty’s latest star click the links below and hear for yourself just how good he is. Daniel sings: ‘Any Time You Needs A Friend‘ ‘This Is Me‘ ‘Seasons of Love‘
Official website – click here. (3869)
Judy Durrant Wins Welsh Poetry Competition! – 2 July 2018
The Welsh Poetry Competition 2018 organisers have announced the winners of the 12thinternational competition, judged by acclaimed writer Sally Spedding, and the overall winner was Judy Durrant for her poem Prayer To A Jacaranda. The winners were as follows: 1stPrize PRAYER TO A JACARANDA – Judy Durrant, Victoria, Australia 2ndPrize HEFT – David J Costello, Wirral, Merseyside 3rdPrize THE MOLE – Jean James, Mayals, Swansea Sally also choose another seventeen poems for the ‘Highly commended’ section with another thirty-four poems also given a ‘special mention’, such was the quality of entries this year. As always winners came from all over the world. All winning poems and judges’ comments can be viewed on the competition web site – www.welshpoetry.co.uk (1187)
Ponty Lido – Summer Opening – 15 June 2018
The National Lido of Wales, in Ponty Park is now open for the summer. It’s now open every day until 3rd September 2018. Timetable Online booking available, 7 days in advance, please book early to avoid disappointment. Weekends, school holidays, bank holidays 7:30am – 10:15pm Lane swimming 10:30am – 6:00pm Casual swimming / activities 6:15pm – 7:15pm Casual swimmers
Term time (Mon-Fri) 7:30am – 9:00am Lane swimming 9:00am – 7:15pm Casual swimming
Please Note: Casual swim sessions also include lane swimming. The use of inflatables and activities will be subject to weather conditions. Admission to the National Lido of Wales, Lido Ponty, is FREE for children (under 16) and £2.00 per adult. More info here – www.lidoponty.co.uk (1610)
4 Ways to Look After Your Work Van – 5 June 2018
If your business requires you to drive from place to place in a van or commercial vehicle, you need to look after it so that it can look after you. Whether you’re delivering goods or delivering a service to people’s homes and businesses, your van is an essential tool for the continued success of your business. With that in mind, let’s look at four tried-and-tested ways for business owners to look after their work van: Get it Serviced Regularly If your van is going to covering miles of ground delivering goods or driving you and your workmates back and forth to jobs, you need to make sure there are no surprises on the horizon, such as faulty equipment and breakdowns. These can’t be helpedin a number ofcases, but tokeep the chances of it happening to you to an absolute minimum, you should seek to have your vehicle serviced on a regular basis. According to the RAC, this should be every six months, but the general rule of thumb is every 12,000 miles. The more modern your van is, the more likely it is that it will inform you of the need for a servicewith some form of light on your dashboard, but it’s worth adding a reminder in your diary for every six months to be on the safe side. Keep Track on Its Usage Another way to look after your van is to record the mileage for every job, particularly if you are using your van for deliveries. If you know how far your trips are going to be, you can fuel up beforehand, and keep track of the usage so that the van isn’t being used for unnecessary trips that will cause more wear and tear on the wheels and the engine, and speed up the need for repairs and servicing. Update It with the Latest Technology The majority of new vans will have GPS built in so that you can plan your journeys and navigate the risk of getting lost and causing delays to your journeys and extra wear and tear to your vehicle. If you have an older model, purchasing a GPS is a must-buy piece of kit. When it comes to your van itself, there are a number ofgreat tools that can help you keep tabs on the general welfare of your vehicle. One of these is wheel nut indicators. You don’t want a blow-out or to lose a wheel when you’re out on the road. Therefore, you should look to get the safest wheel nut indicator in the world and be safe in the knowledge that any issues with your wheel nuts coming loose will be flagged to you, in the form of damage to the indicators. It can help you prevent wheel detachment, and stop you losing your wheels, which can be devastating and could potentially cause accidents if it were to happen on the open road. Keep it Looking Good It seems obvious, but so many vehicle owners simplydon’t look after their property, and it leads to more trouble than it’s worth, usually in the form of breakdown costs and paying out to have parts fixed andchanged. Keep your vehicle clean, inside, outside and underneath, as much as possible, and get into a routine and ensuring that your vehicle is in tip-top condition regardless of the weather. Treat your van to a professional valet once in a while, and if you have staff who will be using the van, make sure they appreciate the importance of cleanliness and taking care of the vehicleso that no issues should arise as a result of dirt and grime. (2168)
New Poetry Collection – 4 June 2018
Pontypridd writer, Dave Lewis, has just released a new poetry collection – ‘Going Off Grid‘ – which is his seventeenth book and his seventh poetry collection. This modern collection focuses on digital capitalism, the negative influence of big tech and our addiction to data. Lewis is deeply concerned with the negative direction mankind is taking and cares passionately about helping to steer us all back to a far simpler, happier place in the far more important offline world. Death and depression, as well as love and nature, are also ever-present themes and the whole package is tightly woven together with some subtle, yet haunting, photographs. “An epic tour de force of modern poetry. The opening poem, (Diet), is reminiscent of T. S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ and this author’s ‘Roadkill’, but this time focuses on digital capitalism. Lewis is primarily concerned with the madness and addiction pervading our online worlds while we neglect the more important offline. The title is a hope rather than a statement. “The book includes a handful of vignettes and reflections of the author’s immediate locale edited in the style of Julia Margaret Cameron that provide an added texture and insight to the text. Another piece of top drawer writing by one of Wales’s best poets.” – Andrew Davies Published as a paperback and e-book in April 2018 by Publish & Print. To read sample poems click here. (1746)
Pop Up Art Exhibition – 12 May 2018
The ‘Pontypridd Pop Up Art Exhibition’ is once again open for business! So why not ‘pop’ along and ‘pop’ in to see the great artwork on display by some of the town’s local artists. Photography, watercolours, ceramics, photo cards, wooden crafts and more. A friendly welcome awaits and don’t forget to take your wallet. Taff St, Pontypridd Open: Sat 12th May – Wed 28th June (1492)
Ponty Family Cycle Ride – 10 May 2018
It was good to see so many local Ponty people had taken the time to dust off the ole Choppers, Chippers and Tomahawks, pump those tyres up and join the gang for a gentle summer ride from Trallwn to Ynysybwl. Sunday 13th May Start: 11:00am Taff Trail by Trallwn Workmans Club Cycle to The Old Bwl Inn (4.5miles) Pint of ale (cider, lager, wine…) Cycle back to Llanover Arms… (4.5 miles) The weather was great and the beer cold. This monthly cycling event is organised by Welsh writer Dave Lewis and aims to help the local community get fitter and improve their mental health by engaging with each other and their immediate environment in a friendly, relaxed way. Look out for the next adventure in about a month’s time… (1156)
Amazon Frown – 27 April 2018
Amazon is inviting registered UK charities to join AmazonSmile, its affiliate marketing service that lets customers generate a donation for charity each time they shop on Amazon. Each time customers shop at smile.amazon.co.uk Amazon will donate a percentage of the net purchase price for millions of eligible products. There is no additional cost or charge to customers or charities for this. Customers who shop with AmazonSmile can choose a charity to support before they start shopping. They can change to another charity at any time, should they wish. OK, sounds good I thought, so I signed up: AmazonSmile – click here Basically, if anyone buys any of my books using the link above, Amazon give 0.5% to Animal Free Research UK. That should net them a few pence every year I thought. But then I did some maths and guess what, it’s probably worse than that! Let’s begin with the numbers, starting with that 0.5% figure. If you spend £20 at Amazon, that’s 10p. Spend £2,000 and £10 goes to charity – provided, that is, that you remember to bookmark or navigate over to my link! The good news is that it’s not just my books but any product you buy after first clicking the link above but even so… What, then, is AmazonSmile? It’s marketing, dressed up as altruism. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of charities put the AmazonSmile logo on their websites. They’re promoting Amazon. Imagine that you spend £1,000 this year buying books from my AmazonSmile link. Amazon gets £995. My charity gets £5. Someone’s doing well, and it isn’t the charity. No wonder Jeff Bezos is smiling. (1449)
Gender Pay Gap – 15 April 2018
We hear a lot in the mainstream media about the ‘gender pay gap’. Well here are some facts that the female dominated media are less likely to share: Paying men and women differently for doing the same, or equivalent, jobs is illegal. It has been since 1970. If you don’t believe me click here. What the biased BBC and others have done is confuse equal pay for men and women doing the same job with what men and women earn for doing different jobs.
Most journalists are women. Most authors are women. Most teachers, lab technicians, therapists, editors, librarians, public relations officers, nurses and insurance underwriters are women.
Primary schools are almost exclusively female (88%), while in state nurseries it’s even worse (97%). How about medicine? Well, the number of female doctors under the age of 30 is now 61%, a trend that is continuing. In nursing it’s 89% women compared to 11% men. In fact, it is arguable that women now hold a greater proportion of Britain’s professional jobs than their representation in the workforce would lead one to expect. But what about this pay gap we keep hearing about? Well, take teaching, local government and the NHS as examples. There is a pay scale. All employees who move up the pay scale earn more. Employees doing the same job on the same point earn the same. Women do NOT earn less than men (as is the law). However, some women choose to be in lower paid or part-time roles. Many women take time off to have children and so naturally (and quite rightly) rise slower up the pay scale than a man who doesn’t take a career break. In Wales 67% of women aged 16-64 are in work compared to 72% of men. And what of the future? Men are less likely than women to go to British universities, those who do are more likely to drop out and those who complete their course are less likely to get a good degree. In 2015 there were 35% more women entering university than men. From disadvantaged backgrounds, young women were 51% more likely to go into higher education than comparable young men. Disadvantaged white boys are the least likely of all groups to go to university, with just 8.9% continuing their studies. But what about sexuality? Lesbian employees in the UK earn 8% more than straight women so should we now look to pay heterosexual women more as well? (In the US lesbians earn 20% more!) And women still live longer than men of course. (1289)
Data Protection – 6 April 2018
Most people know that big companies collect our data but few of us realise the extent to which they use it, who sees it and what impact it has on our lives. Well, here’s the thing. It’s important. If it wasn’t the world’s largest and richest companies wouldn’t want it. Take Facebook as an example, seeing as they’ve been in the news recently. Cambridge Analytica used a quiz app to scrape data such as users’ identities, their friend networks, and likes from millions of Facebook users. Users inadvertantly gave consent by agreeing to the user conditions in the app. The company later used that data to build targeted political ads for Donald Trump’s political campaign, the New York Times, which conducted the investigation along with The Observer, reports. Scary enough you might think but Facebook’s terms of service allowed apps to access friends’ Facebook data as well as the user’s own! How worried should you be? Cambridge Analytica says they used this information to create profiling tools, which were then used to target political ads at users’ personality traits. In doing so, many news reports have suggested, the company helped put Donald Trump into office. One thing is very clear. User data (that’s everything you and me look at online, every webpage you visit, every ad you click on, every video you watch, music you buy, books you read, which posts you like, share and email to your friends etc. etc.) is incredibly valuable to advertisers, who can exploit users’ information to target their marketing down to the individual level. Why? Easy – to get consumers to buy a product. Governments are playing catch up In May, the European Union (EU) will put new regulations into effect that will ensure users understand when their data is being collected. The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, requires that companies identify what data they are collecting and why it’s being collected, and allow consumers to access and control that data. The legislation applies to social media networks, which must comply. The United States remains one of the few of the world’s leading countries that has no such legislation in place. Of course, it’s not just Facebook you need to be worried about. Google, Apple and every Tom, Dick & Harry want your data. So what can you do? Well, there isn’t a lot you can do unless you pack up your bags and head for the woods and embrace the zombie apocalypse but a few little tweaks might slow down the march of the machines and big tech: 101 Data Protection Tips (3210)
Lido Opening – Spring – 23 March 2018
The National Lido of Wales will open for the 2018 season on the following dates: Friday, March 30 – Sunday, April 15. and then… Saturday, April 21 and Sunday April 22 Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, 29 Saturday, May 5 to Monday, May 7 (May Bank Holiday) Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13 Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20. The outdoor swimming pool in Pontypridd, which replaced the free paddling pool, will still be FREE of charge for kids but for adults there will now be a £2 charge. Website: click here (1942)
International Welsh Poetry Competition – 2 February 2018
It’s that time of year again folks. Time to dust off those pencils and start scribbling. The biggest and best poetry contest in Wales (founded and based in Pontypridd) is now in its 12th year! Well and truly international with entrants from as far a field as Abu Dhabi, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Corfu, Denmark, England, France, India, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Swaziland, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, USA and Vietnam as well as Wales of course, the Welsh Poetry Competition is a truly international competition, accessible to all (through the English language). The 2018 judge is Sally Spedding. 1st prize – £500 2nd Prize – £250 3rd Prize – £100 plus 17 runners up specially commended The first Welsh Poetry Competition was set up by poet & writer Dave Lewis in 2007. Officially launched on St David’s Day @ Clwb-Y-Bont, Pontypridd, 2007 the aim is to encourage and foster the wealth of creative writing talent that we know exists in Wales but currently languishes in the doldrums. We aim to inspire people to capture life in the present day and to give a voice to a new generation of poets and writers. We are not interested in purely academic types of literature but would much rather see pure raw passion burst onto the creative writing scene in Wales. To find out more visit the website here. (1390)
Happy Birthday – 25 January 2018
Well, I certainly never thought this day would come. It’s 20 years since I started the ‘Official Ponty Town website & message board’. I started it with two things in mind: one, to teach myself html and web design, and two, to try to highlight the problems with our town centre and encourage those in power to do something to improve things. Well, one out of two ain’t bad. Over the last 20 years the site has had millions of hits and given the people a platform to speak out against incompetence, apathy and downright criminality within the borough. Personally, I’ve been bullied, harassed and threatened with legal action because myself and others dared to tell a few uncomfortable truths. We produced a pub guide that had landlords tamping, exposed corruption within public office and hopefully gave you a few laughs along the way. The once infamous message board finally caved in to the pressure of social media and we’ve now moved to Facebook. A defeat for free speech and a victory for capitalism but at least you can still have a rant. And all this for free. Will we still be here 20 years from now? Up to you – the people of Ponty. Use this website (read the stories, share them, click the Google Ads to help pay for the site, shop a little via our links), contribute to the Facebook group and we’ll probably carry on. If you don’t, we won’t. Have we achieved anything? Some would say very little although others might argue differently. What I do know though is that having a voice can help people feel better and if all we’ve done is provide a place for locals to vent their anger, suggest improvements to our local environment, regain some much-needed community spirit and offer solutions to the many problems that a run-down, socially deprived area like ours has then it’s been worthwhile. It’s a start anyway. So, once again, Happy New Year, Happy Birthday and over to you Ponty people… P.S. The committee meets most Fridays in either the Llanover, CYB, Spoons or The Wonky if you want to say hello. (1498)
Could Your Sports Knowledge Be Making You Money? – 18 January 2018
Most people think that players, managers and commentators are the only people who make money from sports, despite the undeniable wealth of the industry. However, thanks to the popularity of sports blogs and YouTube channels, online moneymaking opportunities for fans are on the rise. So, whether you’re a die-hard fan of a particular team or an expert in the game you love, you don’t have to play the game to win, so to speak. If you want to turn your passion into profit, here are four ways you could be making money from your sports knowledge. Sports Blogging Like any other worthwhile venture, sports blogging won’t make you money right away. The potential for earning is almost limitless, however, so there’s never been a better time to start blogging. To begin, you will need to register with a content management platform like WordPress and buy a unique domain name and hosting. This will cost you pennies, and the credibility it will earn your site is worth the investment. Then, it’s up to you to pick a target audience, design your website and share regular sporting content with your readers. Informed Sports Betting Although gambling should never be considered a stable income source, putting on a few bets a month can be a fun way to earn some extra cash – particularly if you’re knowledgeable about a particular sport. If you think you could profit from your sports knowledge, it’s worth subscribing to the Unibet blog for sporting updates and informed betting tips and information. Selling Sports Memorabilia Finding valuable memorabilia is tricky, but it can certainly be done. Depending on how long you’ve been a sports fan, you probably have some memorabilia of your own that could be sold for a profit. However, this does mean parting with some of your most treasured possessions. Alternatively, you can find memorabilia items for sale by scouring flea markets and car boot sales, going to charity shops and auctions and searching on eBay. Buying and selling memorabilia is one business venture where you will need to use your knowledge, as it’s important to determine which items are of value and be able to spot the difference between a genuine article and a fake. Sports Photography Sports photography is a lucrative business, but it’s also highly competitive. You will need to purchase a decent camera and attend regular games if you want to make money from your photos, and it’s also recommended that you take a photography course to brush up on some professional skills. A mid-range DSLR camera, a telephoto lens and a monopod for stability are all you need to get started, as well as a computer with photo editing software like Photoshop. Contact sports magazines and local publications to find out what kinds of photos they publish – then get snapping. Whether your talent is writing, photography, bargain hunting or predicting game outcomes, there’s bound to be a skill that can complement your sporting knowledge. With enough commitment, dedication and media awareness, it’s entirely possible to turn your love of the game into a lucrative business opportunity. (2681)
Pop Up Art Exhibition – 18 January 2018
The ‘Pontypridd Pop Up Art Exhibition’ is once again open for business! So why not ‘pop’ along and ‘pop’ in to see the great artwork on display by some of the town’s local artists. Photography, watercolours, ceramics and more. A friendly welcome awaits and don’t forget to take your wallet. Taff St, Pontypridd Open: Mon 15th Jan – Fri 9th Feb (2601)
Basic Photoshop – 3 January 2018
‘Basic Photoshop – An introduction to Adobe Photoshop’ is an easy-to-follow, set of short lessons on how to begin using this industry standard, image manipulation, software package. Also, knowing how confusing Photoshop can be I wanted to produce a straightforward guide to using the basics of the program. This e-book is for all digital photographers that are complete beginners with Photoshop. The e-book covers cropping, levels, sharpening, brightness, contrast, curves, black & white, hue, saturation, colour balance, special effects, cloning and colour popping. There is also a brief reference section with links to famous photographers and other handy websites. To download a copy – click here. (3043)