My morning at Blaenafon

Just got home from a morning looking at local independent shops and a coffee at Blaenafon with one of the ward Councillors, Councillor Alan Jones.

Being blessed with a sunny morning I walked through the town heading to Coffi 1860 to meet Alan, what struck me first was the selection of shops on offer and the historic feel of the High Street, with the stone work, quaint mixture of small and larger shops.

Coffi 1860 was a really nice old fashioned café, with the art décor lights and tiled walls complimented with a mix of wooden tables and settees.

Breakfast at Coffi 1860
Breakfast at Coffi 1860

The service was prompt and top class, we were made to feel very welcome, I was really pleased to read that Coffi 1860 uses locally sourced fresh produce, which is an added bonus for the local economy.

They also offer catering packages for buffets, ranging from classic at £3.75 per head to a hot package at £6.95 a head.

Coffi 1869 is located at 76 Broad Street Blaenafon and can be contacted on 01495 790127.

Councillor Alan Jones outside Flowers by Stacey
Councillor Alan Jones outside Flowers by Stacey

Another impressive shop was ‘Flowers by Stacey’ an independent florist who was a pleasure to meet and chat to, the shop had an impressive selection of flowers within and outside the shop.

Blaenafon Councillor Alan Jones at Staceys
Blaenafon Councillor Alan Jones at Staceys

The General Stores down the road from Stacey was my downfall, with a large selection of cakes and biscuits which I couldn’t leave on the shelf, the owner was really friendly and the shop was really well stocked and not all plastic and white shelving like so many, it was in keeping in character with the town, one I will be using regularly.

Blaenafon Cheese company, what can I say except if you enjoy locally produced cheese, then you need to visit this shop!

IMAG1848The highlight to my visit was Artie Craftie, an award winning Art & Crafts shop with a photography studio located at 3 Commercial Street.

Nick the owner was a real gent and explained what services the shop offered, I was pleased to hear that he also offers a professional framing service and a huge range of specialist art and craft items, one of the best craft shops I’ve been in.

Nick & Wendy at Artie Craftie
Nick & Wendy at Artie Craftie

Another bonus was meeting another Giles, a first for me!

Artie Craftie can be followed on Facebook and Twitter.

What really amazes me, is what is actually right on our doorsteps, a huge range on independent specialist shops and services, just waiting to be discovered, you will always get a real friendly service and excellent after service.

A massive THANK YOU to Councillor Jones for giving me a tour of his town this morning, one I can be sure he’s very proud of.

Ward Walk 24th February 2015

Another good ward walk this morning covering the lower half of the ward then the upper part via Harpers Road, not many issues Abersychan end today, but enjoyed calling in for a coffee and a visit to The Barber Shop to say hello.

Pleased to see the trees being cut back opposite Cleaves Terrace, this I asked for a few months ago, again after issues with unstable trees.

Called in to Abersychan Post Office and then walked Ffrwd Road and onto Harpers Road to Garndiffaith.

On my rounds I called in to have a chat with Nicola Davies-House the proprietor of The Head Gardener a local hairdresser located on Stanley Road Garndiffaith, which has been opened since 1985.

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The Head Gardener is one of several hairdressers in the ward and offers a competitive service within comfortable surroundings, prices range from £6 for dry cuts to foils from £28.

Whist there I had great pleasure in meeting ward resident, Betty who was also in the shop.

The Head Gardener is a unisex salon and can be found on Facebook, late opening is also available.

Nicola can be contacted on 01495 774748 for appointments.

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Walking though Garndiffaith I picked up a few issues from residents before calling in at Albert General Stores at Talywain for a chat, where I picked up another issue from a passer-by.

Tomorrow I’m meeting a colleague at Blaenafon  to catch up at Coffi 1860, an independent coffee shop  before looking about the town, so will have to forfeit my ward walk.

I will be available though via Facebook, Twitter or mobile if you have any outstanding issues.

The Best of Torfaen

This morning during my ward walk I called in to visit ‘The Best of Torfaen’ a local company that has an office at Abersychan Industrial and Business Estate.

The best of, I was informed started life in 2005 and over that time has grown into a household name.

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They have coverage in over 300 areas across the UK, showcasing and supporting over 30,000 Businesses and are are proud to be ‘local’ as every area is run and owned  independently by a local person.

Each local ‘franchisee’ has been selected to work with the best businesses and support their community in a variety of ways.

They are dedicated to supporting businesses in the UK and helping them to grow, survive and prosper.

Their ethic is very much like mine, a shared love of the community and the area their passion is to see it grow and prosper for the businesses and people within it.

They also run a free local newsletter for businesses and have a websitehttp://www.thebestof.co.uk/local/torfaen/about if you’d like to know more about this company in our ward.

It was a pleasure to meet Steve Gregory and Megan Dovey today and learn about what they do within the community.

I wish them every success and thank them for having confidence in the ward of Abersychan and opening their office here.

February 6th 2015 – 125 years since the Llanerch Explosion

The Llanerch evening serviceSeveral weeks ago I spoke to my colleague Gwyneira Clark about the lack of progress with finding funding for a permanent memorial for the 125th years since the Llanerch disaster.

We agreed that something had to be done so we came up with an idea of a memorial service to bring the community together and launch a memorial fund.

Straight away we got in touch with the minister of Trinity to book the chapel and then with the church committee we called a meeting at my house to discuss an order of service and hymns, we also decided to invite the three choirs from the area to take part in the event.

After much thought we came up with the readings and decided to ask a few residents to read their poems at the service.

As the event drew near, we were unsure of how many people would support the event and went about publicising it, we were amazed at how much interest was being whipped up and received various phone calls from radio stations and local press who were keen to get involved.

We as Councillors decided to take a back seat with interviews and just keep publicising the event, In the mean time we asked various people to speak on the radio instead.

The Free Press contacted us and asked if they could help and asked if we would go to the Llanerch site for a photo to add to the article, so we invited Mr Alan Betty a long standing campaigner to come with us.

When I got home, feeling moved by being at the site of the explosion, I decided to post on twitter that I was going to walk to the site on the day of the explosion and taking the route families did as they went to the pit 125 years ago at the same time to look for loved ones and lay flowers.

Within minutes of posting I had several requests from people wanting to come with me, I rang my colleagues and asked what they thought about making it official and inviting the two ministers along, one from Noddfa and the other from Trinity, as it would add more to the day to remember those killed.

Then it snowballed and last minute we decided to invite school children along around the same age as the ones who died in the disaster, to lay flowers instead of us.
This was planned within hours of the event and turned out to be a very moving start to the day.

We then spent the rest of the morning and early evening setting up the chapel.

At the Service were Paul Murphy MP, Lynne Neagle AM, Ken Clark from the local history Society, and the Scripture reading by the Rev Bev Morgan from Merchant’s Hill Baptist Church, Peter Walker from the Big Pit Mining Museum gave an address, followed by a reading – Pit Disaster by Joan Targett.

A Miner’s Lamp penned and read by David Davies, put a lump in many a throat and was very moving, the choirs, the Apollo Singers, the Spirit Choir and the Garndiffaith Gleemen added to the evening.

The event was very successful and the fund was launched, raising over £500 on the night.

The following pictures from February 6th 2015 document the community remembering the disaster at the colliery that killed 176 men and boys and later at the church service.

Clear Cuts Modern Barbers – New Barber in High Street, Abersychan

Services offered at Clear Cuts
Services offered at Clear Cuts

After hearing a lot of good comments about the new Barbers ‘Clear Cuts’ in the village and as someone who likes to promote local businesses I decided to call in today to see what all the fuss was about.

As soon as I walked through the door I was made really welcome and decided to try a haircut with a Hot Towel Shave for £12.

The Hot Shave consisted of being led right back in the old fashioned Barber’s chair and my 3 days’ worth of growth being shaved off with an electric razor, my face and head was then wrapped in hot wet towels and my face massaged.

I was then sprayed with a lotion before my face was soaped up using the old hot soap and brush and then shaved with a cut throat razor.

Any little nicks was sealed and then I was lathered up again and shaved again, which was followed by another hot towel to the face and massage.

Another bare face massage with pore closing lotion followed, before being moisturised with balm.

A new experience was ear flaming which is basically burning all the ear hairs off followed by an ear brow trim.

I never felt so relaxed and pampered in my life and nothing was rushed a real quality service and experience.

My face now feels like it did when I was a child, really smooth and glowing.
Just a Hot Shave costs £6 and with a haircut £12

Can’t recommend it enough and something I look forward to having regularly.

Another quality business in the Abersychan Ward and a great way to treat a loved one. ‪#‎SHOPLOCAL‬

Ward Walk Friday 20th February 2015

Fly tipping - Abersychan Clothes BankJust got back from a brisk walk about the ward, today covering Talywain, Garndiffaith, Cwmffrwd and Abersychan.

Noticed a lot of black bags plonked around the Clothes Back at Talywain, obviously whoever put them there doesn’t understand that the clothes actually go inside the container, too late today to do anything about it, so will chase up Monday.

Walking across Herberts Road at Garndiffaith I was pleased to see the several bags I reported had now gone and the general area in itself wasn’t too bad.

It was also good to see the old steadmans shop on Stanley Road being given a fresh lick of paint and not looking so sorry for itself.

Further down I was glad to see that the doggie bin has now been moved to where I had asked for it to go before it was installed on the cycle track.

Sad to see a crack in the new mirror under the bridge on Harpers Road, this I will keep monitoring until it needs replacing.

Stoney Road looked ok, there’s a few potholes forming, so again will keep an eye on them.

Popped to see a resident then at Cwmffrwd who has a sewerage issue that I was contacted about for advice earlier, Welsh Water are attending later to sort out a blockage further down the line.

Good to see the fibre cabinet installed outside Victoria School, this should be connected by the end of March.

Ffwyd Road looked ok, but the small car park opposite Petals Florist needs a good clean, so will request that.

Visited Randel’s Butchers in Abersychan for a chat and to pick up a few items before inspecting Abersychan Clothes Point, which unfortunately has had several electrical items dumped there along with a kitchen cupboard, again the person responsible needs educating to what can be put there!

The walk back to Talywain wasn’t too bad with very little litter issues to report. Obviously I picked up more issues along the way, but I have tried to condense this write up 🙂