Technology is just alien to me…

Dinosaurs still rule the earth, so call me Mr T.Rex.

I recently read a fascinating article in the New Scientist magazine (I buy it for the Heavenly Bodies on Page Three) commenting on the astonishing advances in technology that have occurred in a relatively short period.

Geologists claim the Earth is 4.543 billion years old, yet it’s only in the last couple of hundred years that that amazing things like the electric light bulb, radio, telephones, cinema, television and Krispy Kreme doughnuts were invented.

In the blink of Time’s eye we moved from walking around in tiger-skin leotards catching voles for supper (to make ra-vole-oli!) to driving around in Model-T Fords.

Was the Industrial Revolution secretly spear-headed by aliens who planted genius ideas into the minds of (among others) Sir Humphrey Davy, Thomas Edison and the bloke who created soft toilet paper, in order to speed-up our scientific progress?

Many think that’s the only explanation.

Then again, many people watch “Love Island” – and there’s no explanation for that.

Today, unless you keep up with every technological advancement – such a person is officially known as a ‘geek’ – you’re considered a dinosaur.

This was brought home to me when talking to a young relative about a newspaper article that claimed many hotels will soon dispense with key cards.

People will be able to access their rooms using their mobile phones.

I made the mistake of saying, “That’ll never happen. What if you don’t own a mobile phone?”

When she looked at me with such a baffled expression you’d swear I’d spoken in some ancient Sumerian language, I realised she was completely unable to grasp the concept of someone not owning a mobile phone.

As mobile phones have only been around for 20 years, I think we may have had a second visit from those intelligence-enhancing aliens.

But if they called at my house, I must have been out!

Will having an unhealthy body really lead to a healthy mind?

Do we go for an unhealthy body to have a healthy mind?

I have been browsing through the news recently during my morning coffee and, to my surprise, as I took the first bit of my breakfast multi grain, fibre filled, gluten free, wheat free chocolate muffin, I found an article which I found truly fascinating.

Apparently, middle aged people who are obese are far less likely to suffer from dementia related illnesses when they reach their twilight years.

Now this got me thinking: are the professionals now telling us that its OK to be overweight because it will lead to a healthy mind in the future?

Is this not totally the opposite of what we’ve been told previously – that being overweight is unhealthy?

Not long ago, alcohol was bad for you, then a report came out that a glass of red wine every evening (if you are over 60) is good for you, so I have come to this conclusion: life is too sort to worry about everything all of the time, “everything in moderation” is my new motto.

A cake now and then, a glass of wine here and there, some exercise and lots of cwtshes and laughter. Now I do think I may be on to something here….

Watch out for those aliens!


It didn’t make the front page of the South Wales Evening Post, but on New Year’s Eve, Lower Cwmtwrch was invaded by aliens.

Nobody noticed them popping down for a celebratory glass of Prosecco and a ham sandwich amongst the cacophony of fireworks, renditions of “Agadoo” and general revelry for which Lower Cwmtwrch is renowned.

No. I’m not clutching a half-empty bottle of scrumpy.

The aliens were characters in the new science-fiction comedy film “Canaries” and were accompanied by a film crew under the supervision of Swansea-born director and writer Peter Stray.

The film, which depicts aliens gate-crashing a New Year’s Eve party, stars Kai Owen, Robert Pugh, Hannah Daniel and Cwmtwrch-born Craig Russell, who is also the producer.

Craig’s a busy boy.

Earlier this year he starred in the S4C comedy series “Anita”.

Despite “Canaries” being filmed in other locations as far-flung as Washington DC, Vietnam and Martha’s Vineyard, amazingly the budget was less than £30,000!

On such a tiny budget it was only possible to make the film because the cast and crew believed in the script so much they were willing to defer salaries.

Craig said the film also had enormous help from the local community

“My mother, who runs the post office, together with Ruth Levy, did all the catering, and housed the cast, crew . . . and the aliens!

“We filmed next to my mother’s shop in a converted chapel, knocked on doors asking if we could plug things in and filmed late into the night, but no-one complained.

“They even closed The Castle pub just to let us film.

“I’m very proud to come from Cwmtrwch. There’s nowhere else like it in the world!”

But just remember, if aliens try and gate-crash your New Year’s Eve party this year, don’t let ’em in.

Because they won’t be actors!

“Canaries” will be released soon.

Where can I arrange my sunny summer?

Well I’ve dug out my Speedos, filled up the paddling pool, repaired the barbeque and prepared the patio area in readiness for the best summer to date.

Weather gurus Ruth Wignall and Derek Brockway are already optimistic, so that’s good enough for me.

Already every garden in the street is blooming and the local garden centres could possibly have the best trading year to date, according to reports.

Now, what we actually need for a perfect summer in Wales is our sunny days to run one after the other.

From February to November, we probably get enough beautiful sunny days to make a whole sunny summer, they are just randomly dotted throughout the year, scattered between rain, snow, hail, sleet and anything else the weather gods deem fit to throw at us.

Anyone know who I can call about this?

Just about anything is available to arrange on the internet now, so surely there is something the Met Office can do to make sure summers are always sunny?

Actually, I wonder if controlling the weather will be a thing of the future?

Off to make a few enquiries….

Lovely jubbly! Another repeat


Every day, cable and satellite television viewers are faced with a bewildering choice of hundreds of channels – one of which will be pumping out back-to-back repeats of “Only Fools And Horses” 24 hours a day.

I was a big fan of the late John Sullivan’s sitcom and don’t begrudge his family the repeat fees.

But, who would want to spend all day and night watching repeat-after-repeat of a decades-old sitcom, especially now they’ve been artificially inserted with commercial breaks, unlike when they were originally broadcast on BBC One.

Thumbing through a copy of any TV listings magazines to see what next week’s schedules offer, now takes about as much time as it does to plough through the Christmas double-edition of “Radio Times”.

A friend recently told me he thought the greatest invention of modern times was the set-top box that allows him to record TV shows and fast-forward through the adverts, which he hates.

Then I pointed out that many of his favourite BBC shows, including Graham Norton’s Friday night chat show and The One Show, are  elongated adverts for new films, books, albums and TV series – and he rarely fast-forwards through them!

Give Graham and his team their due, his series features some of the world’s biggest movie stars – as well as some I wouldn’t recognise if they bit me on the leg.

Not knowing Ryan Reynolds from Ryan Gosling is an age thing, I admit it.

But the show is basically a 45-minute commercial allowing Tom Cruise or Matt Damon to sell us their new films – and for Ed Sheeran to plug his new album and tour.

Chat shows exist to persuade viewers to hand over their cash just as furniture stores and breakfast cereal manufactures do in their commercials.

Must go. The 1996 Christmas “Only Fools and Horses” is just starting . . .

Festivals everywhere

Nobody loves a good party or festival more that the Welsh.

It’s as if we were born to perform and we have been holding these events long before the invention of radio, television, internet or newspapers. Now that’s a long time!

It’s a form of ritual, a chance to show off and feel young and alive again, which is undoubtedly a good thing. There is so much choice in Wales . . .

Food festivals, flower festivals, beer festivals, folk and jazz festivals . . .  and, my favourite, comedy festivals.

The festival scene is booming and record numbers are being recorded up and down the country, despite the fact that the weather isn’t always ideal.

These events are so important for the local economy while preserving traditions that our grandparents and great grandparents started generations before us.

It has been recorded, that many people met up with their future partners at such gatherings.

Unlike the internet dating sites of today, the festival scene was often the only way to mix with like-minded people, which made it easier to talk or chat up a future partner.

Some years back, a survey stated that the first thing men noticed about women was their eyes.

Following this survey, women observed that the men in this survey were a bunch of liars.

Behind the scenes

Shhhhh! I’ve seen behind the scenes! Professional top-notch comedy takes weeks of research. I love how Phil condenses hours of thinking into seemingly spontaneous and hilarious one liners. Now that’s genius!

Marc Griffiths Inspirational Ventriloquist.

Keep a cool head in the heat

When it comes to the weather, the British are never content. When it rains, we want it dry; when it’s cold, we want it hot.

Wherever I went last week, the rising temperature was all that people talked about – and not only because they, like all of us, have run out of new things to say about . . . Brexit.

Brexit has dominated the news for so long that the only people who want to discuss it are the people being paid to discuss it.

It’s got to the situation where, according to rumour, the manufacturers of TV sets have given in to public demand and are adding a new button to remote controls.

Press this new button before a news bulletin, current affairs programme or political interview and the sensor inside the remote will automatically mute the dreaded ‘B’ word for the duration of the show. Brilliant or what?

Mind you, like a lot of new inventions it’s had a few teething troubles and viewers have found that it sometimes mutes every word beginning with ‘B’.

So they can end up watching “Enidorm”, ”Argain Hunt” and “Ig Rother’s It On The Side!”

Back to the weather . . .

It seems we just can’t cope when the weather turns warmer.

You’ve probably heard people saying things like, “I like the hot weather, but this is ridiculous. I wish it would rain!”

These are often the same people happy to fork out hundreds of pounds to fly to countries where it’s scorching hot for most of the year.

And (as they burn to a crisp on their sun-loungers and beach towels) they never once complain, “This is ridiculous. I wish it would rain.”

As it turned out, the heatwave was short-lived and the temperature dropped to what’s normal for a British summer – 10 below zero!

Where’s my hot water bottle?

Explore the joys of life on the farm

Open Farm Sunday has now become an event firmly placed in the calendar and each year it’s great to see it’s gaining in popularity. The most recent event proved this immensely.

This is the one day of the year when many farmers open up their farms for the general public to visit and see for themselves what goes on down on the farm on a daily basis.

Farming is a way of life that many couldn’t cope with, but the farming community plays such a big and important part of our lives.

Put simply, we wouldn’t be able to function without our farmers.

Friends of mine, Martin and Nicky Dickenson run an amazing little farm set up near Carmarthen.

They welcomed visitors to come and watch them demonstrate how they bring up cattle and pigs, grow barley and continue to use a vintage combine harvester.

But what amazed me, having had my catch up over coffee and cake, is the fact that so many people out there have never visited a working farm.

Some people have never been near a farm animal, let alone touched one.

Have we now reached the point where the majority of us are so embraced with technology and the modern world that we seem to have forgotten who the people are that provide us with the food that keeps us alive and keeps the shelves in the shops and supermarkets full?