The Question asks; “Are You a ProActive and Optimistic Senior” Hmmm… #MondayBlogs


Well, I thought about this… a lot! Yes, I think, mostly, I’m optimistic. And sometimes, I’m even proactive. It was the ‘senior ‘ that I needed to think long and hard about. What constitutes a’senior’ You see, for years I’ve always thought some people were quite senior; at least to me. Until I realised I’d caught up with them. I was fifty-nine for quite some time. Then I moved up to sixty-two.  I’ve been sixty-two for a bit as well.

 So I thought I would investigate this group. And, oh, had I underestimated my peers. The members of are, as founder of the site Janice Rosser says: “… looking at the website from far and wide.” Ever courteous  she welcomes visitors to  the site  from countries as far away and diverse as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, USA, Canada, India, Venezuela, Irish Republic, Spain, France, China, Japan, Greece, Mexico, The Bahamas, Indonesia and Switzerland and cheerfully says, ” a BIG hello from the UK to you all and thank you for visiting. I hope you are enjoying the huge and varied content that is here.”

 I bet they are, as well. This is a place where the over 55s can share  news from all over the UK: local and holiday news (there’s a lovely piece written by Juliet Greenwood:  on visiting:  Portmeirion  in North Wales ), and I was recently chuffed to see a piece of my own from last year again on, Ciovo, Croatia . There are topical issues ( Top 5 UK Airports To Fly From), financial and health advice. On a personal level members can promote their talents, chat and share their interests and hobbies, giving encouragement to others to join in with their hobbies.  I was particularly interested in Chris Lovell’s piece about launching  her small boat, the Blue Nun, from Neyland in Pembrokeshire  as that’s local news for me, as well as learning about a hobby. And then there’s Tracy Burton talking about how it’s Never Too Old To Backpack! ; quite a consoling thought as I struggle along the narrow rugged Pembrokeshire  coastal path sometimes!

Portmeirion1smallCroatia JB

Portmerion                                                                     Ciovo

As you can see I’ve picked out the items that are of particular interest to me  but there are similar and constantly changing  items from all over the UK and abroad that will be of interest to many. The OAPSchat  net is spread far and wide. 

Members also give an insight to their lifestyles, share memoirs and occasions. I loved the story  written by Georgia Hill, In Remembrance – and a Mystery

Most importantly for me, when I first came across OAPSchat were the books I saw to buy there. And there is often a wealth of talent to be found. For instance, in the present issue,  Jane Lovering is being interviewed with her book: Can’t Buy Me Love  Margaret James discusses her new book; Girl in Red Velvet and Sheryl Brown, one of my favourite authors,is talking about her latest book, Learning to Love

Then there is the scope for authors to promote their own work! When I first explored the site; after I’d looked at all the different topics, read articles, noted places I’d liked to visit (one day) I saw Advertise with OAPSchat … yes I do know I’m a bit slow sometimes!! I realised that all the books on the left hand side bar of the site were advertisements/promotions of books placed by the authors. Would Janice take mine? Of course! Rates are so reasonable. More importantly the readers are there; ready and waiting; people who have so many interests must have so many preferences for genres. Some one might like mine. And they did! I had great sales.

So, for me, OAPSchat  has given me so much: new friends, new interests, new ideas, new readers. Do I mind being a ‘senior’?  Well no… as long as I’m also mostly “optimistic”. And sometimes, even “proactive”. I can cope with being sixty-two… for a few more years!

For more information on OAPSchat  check out About Us


Of course I couldn’t finish without giving Janice a little space (well, she is the founder) The floor is yours, Janice.

Thanks Judith.

OAPSchat was born in April 2013 as a Facebook page. It was in November 2013 that I decided I had enough material and confidence to launch the website.

Since that day, I have been writing articles on all kinds of topics, ranging from hobbies, holidays, food and drink, memories, families, finance and much much more. I now have over one hundred and thirty seven wonderful contributors to date and articles on all different subjects are posted on a daily basis. Over 1400 articles can be read now! Members can comment via disqus, FB and Twitter.

Raffles are held monthly, sometimes more often. A newsletter goes out once a month with my plans for the coming weeks. I am an Independent Happy List Winner 2014 for founding the website.

janice cheers

   Janice celebrating at the ceremomies

Loneliness is a big scourge on our society worldwide and the website helps combat this awful isolation by coming together and sharing our thoughts and ideas. OAPSchat is well and truly born now and I hope it will continue to thrive. With your support, I’m confident it will!

OAPSchat FaceBook Link:

omline hit oapschatoapschatposter



The Tenby Book Fair is moving and Being Renamed…The Narberth Book Fair. Ta dah!!


Welcome to the first post of the Narberth Book Fair.

Just to let you know that we have decided we have outgrown the Church House in Tenby.  Having searched around for a suitable place we have found the perfect venue. So the Tenby Book Fair will no longer be held in Tenby. In fact it will no longer be the Tenby Book Fair but the Narberth Book Fair. We are quite excited  to be having a new challenge and I’m sure we will be bigger and better… just in a different hall. In a different town.

From now on the Book Fair will be held at the Queens Hall there. Check out their website As you can see it’s a vibrant and busy venue in a bustling little town full of interesting shops, antique places, cafes and restaurants. And there is a large nearby car park. But, sorry… no beach.

The date will be Saturday, the 23rd September. 10.00am to 4.oopm.

I’ve been to a few craft fairs at the Queens Hall with my books and always there is plenty of footfall.

A little information on Narberth; the former capital of Pembrokeshire boasts one of the best high-streets in the county. It’s a gorgeous little market town in the east of Pembrokeshire. Multi coloured Edwardian and Georgian buildings line the high street which has developed quite a reputation as a shopper’s heaven. many of the cafes, pubs and restaurants are award winners..

Transport:  Narberth has a railway station about a mile outside of town. And there are quite a few taxi firms based around and in Narberth. And, I’m sure, one or two of the authors who would be willing to pop there to meet stranded fellow authors 

Accommodation: Check out this website: But I’m sure there are more dotted around

The History of Narberth:


The town has grown around the walls of its stone castle, but the name is older than the castle. Narberth is derived from ‘Arberth’, the pre-Norman name for the district (or commote). This Celtic heritage is also represented in the myth and legend of the Mabinogion – ancient Welsh folk tales that were written down in the 14th century, originating from an earlier tradition of oral storytelling. Two branches of the Mabinogi in particular are centred on ‘Arberth’, which was reputedly the court of Pwyll, Prince of Dfydd.

So.. we have already had many of our usual authors wanting to take part in our inaugural book fair in Narberth. But we’re always thrilled to welcome new authors. Those interested in taking part please contact me: 


Funerals are Strange Occasions… Well, I Think So.



                                            My Mum

I haven’t been online much over the last few months; my mother had been on end of life care for over a year and she passed away peacefully three weeks ago. It’s been  a difficult time, both for her and for all the family. There have been many occasions when I’ve wished her at peace. Now she is.

I didn’t intend to write anything publicly about this. But something happened after she died that made me think and to remember a piece I wrote some years ago on motherhood, for an anthology.

I gave it the title I Am Three Mothers because, after much thought on what to write, I realised that although generally the same (and hopefully fair) in all the practical things and the everyday stuff of sharing attention, giving time, listening to each,  I was actually a different mum to each of my three children when they were young. My approach to each child differed  because they were all such diverse personalities.

With our eldest daughter I was more careful how I said things, knew I needed to give her time to tell me anything she was worried about (even though my instinct was to jump right in there…hmm…still is) She tended to try to sort things out for herself and would only come to me as a last resort. She was strong-willed, disliked authority and was loyal to both us as a family and her friends. This last, at times, tended to land her into trouble in school. She had (still has, a wonderful sense of humour – one, I like to believe, is inherited from my mother)

With our son I had a more laid-back relationship.  Much like his elder sister, he had a great sense of humour. But he took everything in his stride, had loads of friends, was popular with the teachers and, after the first year or so, enjoyed school. He loved sport and, as long as we got him to his football practice and games on time, didn’t complain much. More open about anything that worried him, nevertheless there were still times we needed to sit with him and wait for him to talk.

With our youngest daughter, his twin, it was a different matter. She put herself under so much pressure in everything she did, striving all the time for perfection that, sometimes, we had to say, ‘stop…enough… relax’. An anxious child, she needed a lot of reassurance and was very shy. She too loved sport and, for someone so quiet, was very competitive.At school she absorbed education like a sponge and loved to write stories. The family sense of humour, sometimes a little dark, burned brightly in her.

I’m glad to say that, whatever mistakes I made as a mother, they all three turned into great adults. We’re very proud of them. And it’s such fun watching them deal with parenthood!

Bear with me; I’m rambling on, I know. But this is leading somewhere…

Last week I was at my mother’s funeral. I say at because I felt it was a funeral I was a spectator to, not part of.

During the service I realised something strange. Being the eldest, and living nearer to Mum than me,  my sister had insisted on organising the whole thing. It was a Humanist service which was fine; my mother had no beliefs.

But what was odd, was that what my sister had written about Mum was totally unlike the mum I knew.

And I wonder if that is something all siblings share; a different view of the characters of their parents.

The mother my sister saw was a woman who liked poetry. So there were three poems in the service. I’ve never once seen my mother read poetry although she did like to misquote two lines from ‘ What is this life if, full of care…’

The mum I knew read and enjoyed what she herself called ‘trashy books.’ They weren’t, but she did love a romance and the odd ‘Northern-themed’ novels. (I’m always glad she was able to enjoy the first book of my trilogy – dementia had claimed her by the time the next two were published. She still managed a smiling grumble, though,telling me it had  taken me ‘long enough to get a book out there’) And she loved reading anything about the history of Yorkshire and Lancashire. Oh, and recipe books… she had dozens of recipe books and could pour over them for hours. I often challenged her to make something from them. She never did… it was a shared joke.

Mum had a beautiful singing voice in her younger days.  She and my father would sing duets together. Anybody remember Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson?  My parents knew all their songs. And so did my sister and I… I thought. The songs and singers chosen were not ones I remembered. And Mum loved brass bands! She’d have loved to have gone out to a rousing piece from a brass band. preferably the local band. She loved everything about the area and the house she’d live in for almost sixty years

Which brings me to the main gist of the service. No mention of Mum’s love of nature, of gardening, of walking.Nothing about Mum’s sense of humour; often rude, always hilarious. Telling a tale she had no compunction about swearing if it fitted the story. And her ability to mimic, together with her timing, was impeccable. She was smart, walking as upright in her later years as she had when in the ATS as a young woman, during the Second World War. She worked hard all her life;  as a winder in a cotton mill, later as a carer, sometimes as a cleaner. Throughout the talk there was no inkling of the proud Northern woman willing to turn her hand to any job as long as it paid. No mention of her as a loyal wife, even in difficult times.

Thinking about it on the way home I realised that my sister had seen none of what I’d known and I knew nothing of what she’d seen in Mum. And then I thought, perhaps as we were such dissimilar daughters to her, Mum became a different mother to each of us? Hence the completely opposite funeral to the one I would have arranged for her.

Is that the answer? A funeral is a public service. Are they all edited, eased into the acceptable, the correct way to be presented for public consumption? Because it reflects on those left behind? I don’t know.

Perhaps, unless we’ve had the foresight to set out the plan for our own funerals, this will  always be the case.

So I’d like it on record that, at my funeral,  I’d like Unforgettable by Nat King Cole (modest as always!), a reading of Jenny Joseph’s When I Am Old (yes, I do know it’s been performed to death but won’t that be appropriate?). I’d like anybody who wants to say anything…yes anything…about me to be able to…as long as it’s true, of course! And then I’d like the curtains closed on me to Swan Lake’s Dance of the Little Swans. (Because this was the first record bought for me by my favourite aunt when I was ten. And because, although as a child I dreamt of being a ballet dancer, the actual size and shape of me has since prevented it.)

Thank you for reading this. I do hope I haven’t offended (or, even worse, bored) anyone. I was tempted to put this under the category ‘Fantasy’ but thought better of it!

Chat again sometime.

I posted this blog about  Mum, last year:



Tenby Arts Festival – Day Eight – 26th September 2015

Children’s Art WorkshopScreen Shot 2015-06-17 at 17.48.38

Children’s Arts and Crafts Workshop
Tenby Library Hall

All age groups are welcome, so come along and get messy with paint, glue and other exciting materials. Create your very own collage of Tenby.

Booking is advisable as numbers are limited to 25. Phone 01437 775151.



Gregynog 2015 Winners

Gregynog Young Musician 2015
Prize Winners’ Concert

Skeku Kanneh-Mason – cello
Jeneba Kanneh-Mason – piano

duo Kanneh-Masons photo

In recent years winners of the prestigious Gregynog Young Musician Competition have delighted our audiences. Last year Sheku,

as string section prize winner, joined two other winners of the competition to give us a memorable afternoon’s music of the highest quality.

At Gregynog this year, Sheku was judged overall winner having won the adjudicators’ admiration for playing of great maturity and style.

Sheku has recently performed cello concertos  by Haydn, Elgar and Shostakovich. In 2016 he will perform the Schumann concerto.

Sheku’s younger sister, Jeneba, was both winner of the piano section of the Gregynog competition and winner of the competition’s

accompanists prize. Jeneba has performed Mozart’s Triple Piano Concerto with two of her sisters and has recently given two solo recitals

in Paris. The two young musicians are giving a sparkling recital including music  by Schubert, Faure, Shostakovich and J.S. Bach

as well as Rachmnaninov, Liszt and Haydn.

St. Mary’s Church

Tickets £5.00

The Railway Children Lady



Forever remembered as the author of ‘The Railway Children’ and a host of other children’s books, Edith Nesbit was testimony to the maxim that

you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

Prolific novelist and poet, and co-founder of the Fabian Society with her husband Hubert Bland, Edith Nesbit was to the world at large a figure

of conventional if progressive tastes.

The people in Edith’s life read like a who’s who of Victorian and Edwardian society. Eleanor Marx, Annie Besant, Emmeline Pankhurst, H. G. Wells,

Sydney and Beatrice Webb, Annie Besant, and Noel Coward were just a few of the notable personalities she numbered among her friends.

In the relative privacy of her home she was the Bohemian duchess, obsessive searcher of occult mysteries, chain-smoking mother to five children,

two of whom were actually those of her philandering husband’s mistress, Alice Hoatson, who came to live with them. Edith herself was lover of

George Bernard Shaw – and later an ever-younger string of adoring young men.

This mesmerising contrast between the public figure – author of lyrical poetry and children’s stories – and the private, often outlandish individual,

makes the story of Edith Nesbit fascinating drama.

‘The Railway Children Lady’ is written by Derek Webb whose play about Dusty Springfield ‘Call Me Dusty’ played to packed houses across South Wales

in 2013. It is brought to the stage by Tenby-based actress Eloise Williams who has dozens of TV and stage appearances to her credit, including

playing Dylan Thomas’ wife Caitlin, Natasha in ‘Three Sisters’ and Gertrude in ‘Hamlet’.

Eloise Williams, who plays Edith Nesbit in The Railway Children Lady


Eloise trained at the Royal Welsh College of music and Drama (BA hons Drama) and Guildford School of Acting (Postgraduate Acting). She has

appeared in hundred of productions across the Uk in roles as diverse as the Duenna in Cyrano de Bergerac to part of a wooden fence at the Minack Theatre,

and Caitlin Thomas at The Boathouse to a Sherpa at the Wales Millennium Centre.

Since moving to Pembrokeshire to marry artist Guy Manning she has taken up writing for young people and her first Children’s book ‘Elen’s Island’ was

released by Firefly Press this year.

Church House


Tickets £10.00


Tenby Arts Festival – Day Seven – Friday 25th September 2015

Laurie Dale

Laurie Dale in full swing in front of the microphone.
Laurie Dale in full swing in front of the microphone.

Well known to all Tenby Festival fans, Laurie will entertain his audience with his very own particular style of songs, jokes and stories.

Tea is included

Church House

Tickets £6.00 (includes tea)



Tony Jacobs and his band,  The Tuxedo Jazz Orchestra. present a wonderful evening of exciting music,

There may even be some dancing!

It is always a swell party with Tony Jacobs and company. You can enjoy the music of Gershwin, Cole Porter, Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong to name but a few. Listen again to those favourite songs such as Georgia on my Mind, Tiger Rag, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Chattanooga Choo Choo and many others. If your toes keep on tapping there will be room to get up and trip the light fantastic, dancing the night away.

The Grand Raffle will be drawn during the evening.

De Valence Centre


Tickets £18.00


Enquiries to:


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Poster-online (2)

On the first day of the Tenby Arts Festival;  the 19th September 2015, between 11.00am and 2,30pm, we’re having a Book Fair. We would love for you to join us to  meet and chat to our lovely authors.


There’s a chance to relax and listen to music while having a cup of coffee and a cake. There’ll also be a chance to win and choose one of the authors’ books as a raffle prize  Stay for a short poetry reading at 1.00 pm and then to discover which of the children won the competition we previously set on the subject, ‘ The Book I Enjoyed This Year’. The prizes of great books have been kindly donated by Firefly Press and will be presented by Editor and Founder Member, Janet Thomas.

These  are some of the authors who will be there:

JUDITH BARROW:jbarrow_1438471747_11

Publisher’s website:



Publisher’s website:


CARLY HOLMES:Carly Holmes cover photo

Publisher’s website:





Publisher’s website:



Publisher’s website:

COLIN R PARSONS:Colin R. Parsons

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Mark Williams-8



For enquiries:

Poster-online (2)

graham hadlow pic

Watercolour Techniques

Graham Hadlow, well known and popular local artist will give a talk on watercolour techniques with some practical demonstration.

Graham is also donating one of his paintings “Rising Tide” to be raffled to raise money for the festival. See Additional Events for further details.

Risiing Tide, Tenby Harbour

Church House

Tickets £5.00

The Divine Sarah

Sarah_Bernhardt_by_Félix_Nadar_2Sarah Bernhardt was one of the finest actresses that has ever  lived. She was a contemporary of Adelina Patti and a friend of Adelina’s first husband the Marquis de Caux. She was perhaps the first modern superstar. She shocked polite society with her unconventional life style but she was an innovator in her art as she was the first actress to strive for realism in her performances.

This fascinating talk by Josephine Hammond followed  by tea will take place at the

Fourcroft Hotel

Tickets £5.00 (includes tea)

The Solva Duo

Catherine Hare – flute

Isabel Harries – harp

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An evening of beautiful music from this most haunting of instruments which developed from the simple reed pipes of our ancient ancestors.Catherine Hare is from Saundersfoot but studied at the Royal College of Music in London where she now performs in concerts and teaches flute. She has a wide ranging repertoire.

Catherine Hare (flute) and Isabel Harries (harp) are musicians from Pembrokeshire, who met when they both won places at one of the world’s most prestigious specialist music schools, Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester. When Catherine and Isabel both decided to continue their education at the Royal College of Music in London, they formed the Solva Flute and Harp Duo, named after one of their favourite places in their home county. Despite forming only recently, Catherine and Isabel quickly became a strong partnership and have enjoyed their blossoming performance calendar.

Catherine Hare began her early musical education at Saundersfoot C.P. School and quickly progressed as a flute player, joining the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain at the age of 13. At just 15 years old, Catherine was the principal flute of both the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Wales and the National Youth Orchestra of Wales, where she was also recipient of the Haydn Davies Prize for Most Promising Player Still at School, and more recently, the Welsh Livery Guild Award. During her three years as a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, she was given the opportunity to play in many prestigious concert halls, including the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms. She has performed under the baton of some of the greatest conductors in the world, most notably Vasily Petrenko, Vladimir Jurowski, Sir Roger Norrington and Bernard Haitink. Catherine has also performed concerts throughout Europe, including Luxembourg, Sweden, Croatia, and on a tour of Germany with the renowned conductor, Grant Llewellyn, also from Saundersfoot. At the age of 14, Catherine began studying flute with Laura Jellicoe at Chetham’s School of Music. During her time there she won various prizes, including the Larsson Wind Prize and the Chetham’s Early Music Prize. She played principal flute in numerous Chetham’s ensembles and went on to become Head Girl of the school. Catherine is currently a scholar of the Royal College of Music, where she is supported by a Douglas and Hilda Simmonds Award, and is taught by Daniel Pailthorpe and Sue Thomas. She also has tuition on Baroque Flute from internationally acclaimed Rachel Brown and receives private lessons with renowned teacher Gitte Marcusson.
Recently Catherine has begun work as a freelance musician on both modern and baroque flutes, and has worked with the early music ensemble Ex Cathedra as well as being a regular dep flute player for the Wicked UK Musical Tour.

Isabel Harries is currently in her third year of studies at the Royal College of Music studying with Professor Ieuan Jones. Prior to this, Isabel studied with Gabriella Dall’Olio at Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester from 2009 to 2011. At the age of 14 Isabel joined the junior programme at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff for weekly lessons with Meinir Heulyn. Isabel’s first harp teacher was Buddug Stevens of Cardigan where she had weekly lessons until she left for Chetham’s.
Alongside her studies, Isabel teaches several private harp and piano students and also leads music workshops in primary schools across West London. In her spare time, Isabel frequently plays background music at luxury hotels such as The Royal Horseguards Hotel, The Landmark, The Grosvenor and The Dorchester Hotel.
Besides the Harp, she also enjoys singing with local Pembrokeshire Choir the Landsker Singers and has enjoyed playing the harp in their Christmas concerts as well as their World Premiere of ‘The Nativity’ in 2012.
Isabel has played the harp in numerous competitions including local and regional Eisteddfods and was successful in 2011 winning the under 26 instrumental solo competition at Wales YFC Eisteddfod at Rhyl Pavilion. She was invited back in 2012 to be the official harpist of Wales YFC Eisteddfod.

At RCM Isabel has enjoyed playing in various performances with their Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra, Film Orchestra, and the RCM Harp Ensemble. Isabel has been fortunate enough to play in masterclasses with some of the world’s leading harpists as well as performing at top venues across the UK including the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Cadogan Hall, Bridgewater Hall, Winchester Cathedral and Exeter Cathedral.

The duo will be playing Naïdes by William Alwyn, In Ireland by Hamilton Harty and Sonata Concertante by Louis Spohr (originally written for violin and harp). They  will also be playing a mixture of ther own and other peoples arrangements of classic pieces such Clair de Lune & Arabesque No. 2 – Debussy, Sicilienne (from Pelléas and Mélisande) – Fauré, Meditation – Massenet and some Welsh folk tunes. St. John’s Church


Tickets £8.00

Tenby Male Choir

An evening of traditional singing from Tenby’s very own male choir.

Founded in 1975, Tenby Male Choir has, over the past 40 years, grown from strength to strength not just in chorister numbers but also in it’s musical reputation under the guiding light of Music Director Ian Williams [affectionately know as “Wilbur”] and  accompanist Jill Williams [no relation].
Today, at over 40 choristers strong, the choir prides itself on the professional reputation that it has grown “From the Heart of Pembrokeshire”.
Read more and buy their latest CD online at www.tenbymalechoir.orggroup3

St. Mary’s Church

Tickets £10.00


Enquiries to: