DSA’s Annual General Meeting will be held on the 11th of February 2015, and we’d really like you to be there! Whilst AGMs might not seem to be the most interesting of our meetings, they are perhaps the most important. This is your Association, and this is your chance to have your say. You’ll get to hear how the year has gone, and be a part of electing a new committee, (including you if you like!) The meeting is on the 11th of February at the normal time and place, 8.00 PM, The Gremlin Club, Carmarthen.
The DSA New Year Lunch will be on Sunday 25th January at Tafarn Pantydderwen in Llangain, which is about 5 miles out of Carmarthen on the Llanstephan road. One two or three course lunch at £8.95, £12.50, £15.95. Bookings to Liz Phillips, Treasurer by January 20th please. Contact details can be found on our Contact Page
Our monthly meeting will be an auction conducted by professional auctioneer Nigel Hodson. This is your opportunity to sell on all those Christmas presents you don’t want, or any items you no longer need. If small enough then bring them along. For larger items and livestock leave them at home but bring along a good picture and description of the item. You may also bring along a promise to auction. The DSA will charge you 10% commission, minimum £1, of the selling price of the item with the option to give more if you wish. So get into those barns and sheds and start looking for those potential money spinners.
The auction will take place on Wednesday, 14th. January, 2015, 8:00pm at the Gremlin Club Carmarthen. See you there.
This month there is no formal meeting, instead we are having a social evening. There is no door fee so you will save yourself £1 by coming. Instead of buying a raffle ticket if you bring a present for the “pot” then you will receive a drawer ticket. Please bring something for the communal food table and be prepared to join in with the beetle drive and quiz for which I believe there is an alcoholic prize (that is a bottle, not a person!)
Our social takes place on Wednesday, 10th December, 8:00pm, at the Gremlin club Carmarthen. See you there.
This Wednesday, 12th November, there will be a talk by the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service on the topic of fire safety. As many of us live in fairly remote locations some distance from the nearest fire station, it is a subject that has relevance to many members. So come along and learn what you can do to protect yourselves! Normal time, normal place, Gremlin Club Carmarthen @ 8:00PM. See you there.
October’s talk comes from Judy Lewis of the Dexter Cattle Society, (http://www.dextercattle.co.uk). According to their website, “The Dexter breed are the smallest native breed of cattle in the British Isles, they are hardy, dual-purpose cattle, producing excellent beef and milk, an ideal suckler cow for conservation grazing.” Sounds ideal for smallholders! To find out more, come along to our monthly meeting at the Gremlin Club Carmarthen, on the 8th of October, at 8 PM. See you there!
This month’s talk comes from Carrie Thomas, who will be telling us about the construction, planting, and growing of typical cottage garden plants.
Carrie is a keen plantswoman, particularly interested in sowing seeds of unusual, gardenworthy plants, sowing several hundred types each year. Her seed company supplies seeds of cottage garden favourites as well as rarely offered items. A gardener since a young child, her passion for plants really took off when she had her first house and garden. Carrie is a qualified teacher, and has an honours degree in Botany and Zoology from Swansea University.
The talk will take place at the normal time & place, The Gremlin Club, Carmarthen 8pm on Wed 9th of April. See you there.
This month Andy Kurzfeld gave a very interesting talk on the Pembrokeshire Islands of Skomer and Skokholm. These islands have been inhabited since long before the Vikings, with early records telling us that rabbits provided an income before more conventional farming with sheep and goats. Since 1950, when the last inhabitants left, several changes of ownership have resulted in the wildlife thriving, but the buildings suffering from years of neglect.
Now a nature reserve, and equally importantly, a marine nature reserve, the islands are managed by the Wildlife Trust and the Countryside Council for Wales. With a £3 million lottery grant, they have repaired the derelict buildings to provide self catering accommodation. This enables staff, volunteers and researchers to stay on the island to carry out vital work. Up to 300 visitors arrive by boat every day at peak times, some of them now able to stay. The income from this enables the island to be self supporting.
Skomer and Skokholm may be small but are certainly not lacking in interest. They are famous for their birdlife, most notably the huge colonies of Puffin and Manx Shearwater, and they are also an important breeding ground for many other species including Storm Petrels, Guillemots, Fulmers, Razorbills and even Peregrine Falcons and Owls who feed on the Skomer Vole which is unique to the island. Rabbits play an important role as lawnmowers, as the grassland is undermined with burrows, nest sites to the Puffin and Shearwaters. Thankfully, there are no rats on the island to steal eggs or young birds and records show that bird numbers are up for most species. I am sure that Andy’s fascinating talk will inspire our members to visit the islands, or even volunteer or perhaps stay.
By Pam Willey
Last month’s meeting didn’t go quite as planned… Due to unforeseen circumstances, our booked speaker, William Silverstone of Silverstone Green Energy, was unable to attend. Thankfully, our chairman, Doug Rowlands stepped into the breach with only six hours to spare!
As I’m sure many of you are aware, Doug spent the majority of his working life at sea; 36 years in total, and the talk he gave was a fascinating insight into what being a mariner in the 20th Century is all about. After learning the basics of his trade at Warsash Maritime Academy, Doug worked for Port Line, running cargo such as butter, cheese, apples, and lamb from Australia and New Zealand back to the UK. Doug referred to Sydney as his second home due to the amount of time he spent there!
After many years running cargo all over the world for Port Line, container ships became the norm, and the way ships were run changed dramatically. As an example, the ships Doug worked on might have a crew of 60-80 people, with all cargo being loaded by hand. Today, as a comparison, the Emma Maersk which is the one of the largest container ships in the world, only has a crew of 13. This was the signal for Doug to change jobs and he moved into cross-channel ferries.
Doug’s sea-faring career was interrupted for two years when he went into business with his brother in Oxfordshire as an agricultural contractor, but the call of the sea was too strong, and he returned to Southampton, first working for the harbour-master, and then moved into cable-laying ships where he stayed until the end of his career. These vessels were responsible for laying the transatlantic telephone cables which have had such a dramatic impact on the world today. So next time you’re on the internet, or on the phone to someone in a different country, just think, it might be all thanks to Doug!
I’m sure we’d all like to say thanks to Doug for stepping in at such short notice, and for giving us such an interesting talk.
Well, that seems to be the end of summer! There’s been a real change in the weather over the last couple of weeks, and autumn is definitely on the way. This means it’s time for the annual harvest lunch. This year, Helen & Pete Gleed have very kindly volunteered to be our hosts, and start time is midday. Details as usual are in the newsletter. See you there!