Sunday, January 15, 2023

Positive thinking, polish up your profile, staying safer and the NHS - again. (5 minute read)

 Hi Swantv Viewer          

Be Positive    Kiwi Shoe Polish   Safer Swansea Neighbourhood Watch   NHS                                                                                                                             

 All I read about in the papers and see on the news is negative. So how does that make you feel? Particularly at the moment? Christmas, the happiness of being with your family, good food, not working was an uplifting time. Now January is here, cold, windy and wet, so no wonder we are all feeling low and wondering how the future will pan out.

Well it is time to be positive.  And here are 5 ways to make yourself have postive thoughts:

  • Every morning over coffee write down 3 things that you are grateful for, and these could be quite simple. For example the sun is shining, you are going to enjoy a happy evening with your partner or family, someone smiled at you, you achieved something no matter how small.
  • Go for a brisk 10 minute walk or do some exercises that make you breathless. This will increase your heart rate and will make you feel good about yourself. Do this every day.
  • When you are dressing look in the mirror, smile and think how good you look. You could write "Super Star" on the mirror so you see it when you look at yourself!
  • Stop watching the news or reading depressing newspapers. They make their money through sensational articles and bad news. 
  • Try to do a simple Act of Kindness every day, if possible. Simple things like help an elderly or blind person across the road, talk to someone maybe at a bus stop or when you are queueing in a shop - just smile and comment on the weather or something that has happened and add "How are you today". There are a lot of lonely and unhappy people everywhere today. When you fo an Act of KIndness you cheer the other person and you will feel better too.

I see the shoe polish company Kiwi will stop selling in the UK because demand has dropped. Kiwi was originally an Australian company and the name was decided as the native flightless bird of New Zealand where the owner's wife came from. The polish was favourite with the

Australian and British armies, whose soldiers always presented in perfect uniforms and highly polished boots, and still do today.. 

As a lad I remember having to polish my fathers, my two sisters and my own shoes every evening ready for the next day. My grandfather had a green apron he wore just for polishing  his shoes. Now most people wear trainers and leather shoes are only worn on formal occasions by a minority. I guess they are more comfortable! I recall going into Clarke shoe shops and standing on an x-ray machine so the shop assistant could decide on the correct size and width. It was said that this helped feet to grow well and not be deformed. Trainers have soft coverings so this is not so relevant.

Polished shoes were associated with dressing smartly. My shirts were always ironed as were my trousers with a straight crease down front and rear. I wore a suit, shirt and tie for almost all my working life and still do on special occasions. I till feel that it is important to start my day with a shower and shave, dressing appropriately for what I am doing. It is strange for me to hear of some home workers staying in pyjamas and dressing gown for the morning, or even whole day. Call me old fashioned but I still feel that I am more efficient when dressed. 

Today I had a talk with Paul Evans of Safer Swansea, whose responsibility is to promote safety in Swansea and combat crime. One of the things we discussed was Neighbourhood Watch, something I am very interested in. Around 1987 I formed a group in Watford  and eventually signed up more than 80% of the residents on the Tudor Estate where I lived. I remember producing a monthly printed newsletter (the internet was in it's infancy then) and we had monthly meetings in the local pub where the landlord gave us free use of the first floor

meeting room. He did that because many members bought beers in the bar to drink during the meeting. 

The interesting thing is that we did watch out for anything suspicious but we also informed the neighbours of any area problems, a fallen tree, accident that closed a road and so on. We also knew which neighbours were vulnerable because they lived alone, were elderly or disabled and were able to 

 We had no mobile phones but a regular system where one person called 5 people who in turn called another 5 each and these call more so that information was passed quickly. An interesting additional benefit is that you will often be able to reduce your home insurance premiums if you can show there is an active group in your street by as much as 10%.

The days of knowing all your neighbours in the street have sadly passed in most places, especially large towns and cities, but that shouldn't stop you from wanting to keep yourselves and others safe. It's never been a question of nosy neighbours but just being alert. Neighbourhood Watch is not peering out through the curtains to see what is happening but merely being alert. Let's make Swansea safer than it already is, let's deter criminals and ensure everyone  You can see that I am passionate about Neighbourhood Watch and believe it is good for everyone in the community and we will be promoting this during 2023 on SwanTV. 

And back to the NHS. I've been so very lucky. 3 letters arrived on Thursday with appointments for various tests and scans that my hospital consultant has arranged for me. And I hear of
people waiting longer than ever, long ambulance queues waiting to discharge patients into A & E, and then long delays whilst waiting to be seen by a doctor and treated, patients fit and able to be discharged from wards being detained because there is no care plan in place either whenthey are sent home or in a care home, care homes being unable to take more residents because of staff shortages.And a high percentage of doctors and nurses leaving the NHS whilst replacements are not coming forward to be trained. It is pretty obvious that governments have failed miserably over the years in training, offering decent salaries and building sufficient new hospitals or updating existing buildings and equipment.  Promises have been made by governments over and over by both Tory and Labour and now it is time for action.

In Wales Mark Drakeford and his merry men should now take action and use the powers they asked for and received from Westminster, one of which is the power to increase taxes. Yes life is tough but if the NHS declines further then life will be yet still tougher with longer waiting for operations, the exudus of more staff, no-one wanting to train as a doctor or nurse, and possibly the only solution then being to use private health facilities. Lack of investment now will be a heavy burden on many and in fact will mean that they won't be able to afford treatment at all for their ailments. In Australia it cost up to £580 to call out an emergency ambulance, imagine that charge here plus hospital care charges. We have to be realistic and, despite the cost-of-living crisis we should realise that the NHS is the backbone of our way of living. We have dropped from offering the best health care to way down the line. Nursing now is not just a calling but a profession that should be treated as such. Remember clapping outside our doors? Does that mean nothing now? The next person needing an emergency ambulance or hospital care might be someone close to you, a family member, close friend. How will this crisis affect them . . . and you?

SwanTV is your local TV station and we want to hear your views. Want to come to our studio and have your say? Record yourself on your smartphone and send us a copy but use it landscape and not portrait please. 

Keep watching

Director Swantv Community Interest Company Ltd

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Swansea in 2023

 Hi SwanTV Viewer

Wishing you a very happy, successful and healthy year ahead in whatever you do. Let's put last year to bed and move on . . . the only way is onwards and upwards.

The old tradition of New Year Resolutions is not so popular now as it was when I was a kid. Then everyone made them but like today they were quickly dropped. And it is estimated that about 80% are dropped by mid February at the latest. I believe it is better to make resolutions any time of the year, be specific but don't be too ambitious and track how you are doing So good luck if you make New Year resolutions to get fit, lose weight or give up smoking.

We all want a better future and here is my wish list for our local Swansea community. Will we see any of them mature this year? What do you think? Do you have anything to add to my personal list? These are some ideas I have been thinking about in recent weeks that might make a difference to us all in the coming year.

Local NHS. We are all complaining but that doesn't fix anything. What can we do to help ease the strain on doctors, hospitals, nurses and ambulances? I feel we should all take more responsibility for our own health, safety and wellbeing. So eating a healthy diet will keep your body working well and may stave off building up extra fats. Taking some regular exercise: they say 10 minutes getting your heart beating harder and faster, even fast walking,  3 or 4 times a day will make a noticeable improveent if you've not been exercising at all. And you can do that anytime, no need for changing into special clothing or visiting a gym.

Don't call the 999 Emergency Services unless you have a life threatening or serious injury. There is plenty of help for minor injuries and medical problems. Try dialling 111 where trained staff can help and advise you (incidentally for emergencies dialling 112 is the same as 999 but can be used from a mobile phone too). Did you know pharmacists are highly trained and can give you advice and in some cases can now prescribe drugs, so ask at your local chemist.

And of course, if non-emergency then you should try your doctor first. I understand that many surgeries arrange a phone call appointment first where the doctor might want you to visit the surgery immediately after speaking with you. Some surgeries are booking doctor appointments 2-3 weeks ahead which is obviously not good if you are really suffering, and that has to change. Unfortunately that delay can result in the patient deteriorating and suffering stress and anxiety. The difficulty in speaking to a doctor or having to wait is causing some patients to either call an ambulance or visit A & E. And this means longer waiting times for all.

And finally we need more First Responders across the city and county. First Responders are volunteers who are trained by the ambulance service and who can handle mainly minor injuries. When a 999 call is made the operator can decide if the call warrants an ambulance and if not will call a local First Responder who will immediately visit the patient, administer first aid or decide an ambulance is required. With sufficient trained volunteers the call on ambulances coud be drastically cut. An added bonus is that having a trained first aider in the family or workplace can deal with emergencies without even a 999 call being made. Qualified First Responders must be capable and car owners, they should be paid which might increase numbers. A network throughout Swansea would be a real community asset and take some strain off the NHS.

We all clapped the NHS and nurses during the pandemic. Now they need our support for more money, although the high rate they are seeking should be less. Higher salaries might encourage more new nurses. Mark Drakeford is blaming Westminster for not providing extra money to pay these increases but he asked for and has been given authority to raise extra taxes in Wales. He is refusing to do this despite a high percentage of the population saying they would willingly pay a little more if the NHS was improved. What do you think? A small increase from everyone wold make a big difference.

Wellbeing of All. When I was young something that was never mentioned . . . wellbeing and mental health. How things have changed for the better. Our wellbeing is the fountain of life. If you feel that people around you at home and work care then you will feel good in yourself.. Wellbeing centres around connecting with others, too many people are isolated or lonely and that isn't just people living alone. You can be part of a family or in a busy workplace and feel lonely. Connecting with others means talking to those around you, being interested in them (for if you are interested then they will surely be interested in you). Listening properly when having a conversation. It was said that the best conversationalists are listeners. Your wellbeing can be improved if you are active, not just physically active, walking, swimming, the gym: but active in the community, getting involved and not standing on the sideline. I mentioned listening, well taking notice improves wellbeing, taking notice of what is happening around you, the changein the seasons, the colour of leaves on the trees, the waves lapping against the shoreline. 

The poem line "What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare" is very relevant today. We are all in too much of a hurry but how much of our busy, busy life is important.  Be alert to what is happening and how the people around you are reacting. I was eating out with my family a couple of weeks ago and looking around noticed many diners on other tables were looking at and typing into their mobiles, not actively taking part in the table conversation. They might as well be eating alone!! 

And keep learning. Once jobs were for life but now we change jobs regularly and new work skills become necessary. Likewise we should keep learning new social skills: take up a hobby, widen your interests. There are people in their seventies and eighties starting degree courses, opening new businesses, travelling and meeting new people. And finally, giving improves our wellbeing. It makes us feel better. And giving has a ripple effect. You give to someone and they will give something different to another person. Do small acts of kindness  . . help that blind person across the road, carry that bag for the older frail person, pay for an extra coffee in a cafe that has a sharing table where peolpe can find someone to talk to if they feel lonely or sad. Not you? Come on give it a try and you'll see and feel the difference. And if you see someone in trouble don't look the other way or cross over, go and help. It might be you next time.

Equalling up . . .  getting around in the city. I'd like to see a land-train travelling from the railways station, down Orchard Street, across towards Castle Gardens and along Oxford Street, turn down by Wilko and stop at the entrance to the Quadrant Shopping Centre before turning round and retracing the route back to the railway station. This would greatly help older and disabled people get around the city easier and make access to the new Community Hub and Library so much easier when it opens, and justifies the £15m estimated cost. It would also improve access to the Train station where I see many people struggling along the HIgh Street with cases and large bags.

Safety of all residents is paramount and I believe a bigger Neighbourhood Watch presence would make a substancial difference to actual and perceived safety. There are groups within Swansea but many areas are not covered. The benefits are high including reduced home

insurance costs and knowing that a scheme will deter thieves and give you some peace of mind. 

The biggest reason people cite for not wanting to be involved is that they associate Neighbourhood Watch with nosey neighbours spying on them but nothing is further from the truth. SwanTV will be looking at some successful local schemes and helping anyone who wants to be involved. It's all voluntary and you don't need to give up any of your time, just be alert, aware of strangers in your area, and things that look amiss. Keep watching SwanTV for more information.

Swansea is alive with creative people. There is a thriving artist community. We should be nurturing this and looking to make another bid as the City of Culture based on the local creatives. Some years ago I was ready to set up an artist quarter on Sundays similar to

Bayswater Road in London where dozens of artists display their work. I talked to the Council Leader at this time and it was going to be around the Little Theatre and Pumphouse area. Could this be a future possibility? We also discussed a live busker area such as found in
Covent Garden where quality acts could perform. This could be at the small amphitheatre next to the LC Leisure Centre. This hasn't been used since the eighties to my knowledge but it is a perfect setting and with webcams set up sreaming live this could be a world-wide internet attraction. Covent Garden used to have regular Monday morning auditions so that the quality of performers was to an acceptable standard, acts where given a particular time slot and it was smooth running. This would bring in acts from outside Swansea as well as local ones. I guess it runs the same now.  

So those are a few of my thoughts on making Swansea even better in 2023. Some are minor and others larger projects but all will have an impact on our community. We shall be following these up through the year. There is no point in talking without action. If you have any comments please write below or contact us direct at giving your name and contact number. Help us make SwanTV the local online TV channel.

Have a successful 2023 in everything you do, stay safe and keep healthy. And don't forget to download the Swantv app.

Mike Leahy SwanTV



Friday, December 30, 2022

Changes in voting at polling stations (5 minute read)

 Hi Swantv Viewer

Watch out! Big changes coming with voting. You will need photo ID when you vote at your local polling station and the local elections are in May so be prepared. We all have a right to vote here in Wales and every one of us should go to the polling station and tick the boxes of the candidates you support. If you don't vote you don't really have the right to complain if the government bring in laws that we disagree with. If you vote for candidates that are not elected then you can complain because you took action. 

Showing ID to vote may be overkill. In the Uk there were 595 cases of fraud reported by the Electoral Commision. All these were investigated and only 6 were proven to be fraudulent. Matt Hancock said that this was 6 too many cases and everything should be done to reduce this. But the additional cost of preventing any fraud must surely be totally excessive.   

ID trials took place in both May 2018 and May 2019, which required voters to present personal identification when visiting the polling station - fifteen English local authorities took part over the two trials. The government said that pilot schemes would help to see what the impact would be for voters and electoral administrators, and would help them to decide how to design a scheme that could be used for UK Parliament elections and local elections in England.      

 Compared with allegations and verified cases of personation, the number of people turned away in both pilot years is material. The 2018 voter ID pilots saw more than 1,000 voters being turned away for not having the correct form of ID. Of these, around 350 voters did not return to vote. In 2019, round 2,000 people were initially refused a ballot paper, of whom roughly 750 did not return with ID and therefore did not take part in the election. In total, across both sets of pilots, over 1,000 voters did not return to vote after being refused a ballot because they did not have ID.

One of the key pieces of evidence used to support the need for the government’s voter ID pilots was discredited by the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) in the run-up to the 2018 vote. The government claimed that in-person voter fraud more than doubled between 2014 and 2016. While the statistic is technically accurate – there was a rise from 21 cases in 2014 to 44 in 2016 – the Cabinet Office failed to mention that the number of cases then fell by more than a third in 2017, to 28. There was a 0.01% prosecuted fraud on election voting in the last elections. Is this enough to change the law?? Hardly worth thinking about, and certainly not worth the expenses involved across the UK.

It was discovered that MPs may have been misled to believe that the evidence showed no disproportionate impact on any particular demographic group. The Electoral Commission has since admitted it that in fact, it had no way of measuring the effect of voter ID on minority ethnic communities’ votes. Having to present your ID may have an impact on anyone who does not drive or have a passport or hold one of the other acceptable credentials. Is this a way to tip the poll reslts in favour of the Conservative party as the largest groups without acceptable ID are presumed to be labour supporters.

I understand the country has been in turmoil with changes of prime ministers and cabinet members. I know that the cost of living has escalated dramatically and many are having to choose between eating and heating. And the current strike position is terrible. But I hope that the country will settle down, and that we can regain the prestige and position we had in world affairs. We need a government that can lead us to a better place where no-one goes hungry, all children have a bed of their own, wages are sufficient to give everyone a good standard of living, and we never need a food bank again. 

It would be good if all parties laid out an easy to understand manifesto that they do actually stick to, if elected. Election promises have been like the water in a boiling kettle, loud attention bubbles simmering away but turning to steam and vanishing into thin air. We need a party that acts fairly, encouraging free enterprise and entrepreneurs but stopping the legal tax evasion loopholes, ensuring that workers are paid at least a good living wage, that older people, disabled people and marginalised people are offered the best support and treated with the respect they deserve. Illegal immigrants should be processed fast and fairly, and either returned to the country they left or integrated into our society. Those who have a place of responsibility like House of Lords peers and members of parliament should be immediately prosecuted if found to have acted unlawfully, together with anyone who has acted fraudulently and taken public money such as through false furloughing schemes. The pandemic has caused so many changes in our society and it is time to try and wind the clock back a couple of years.

Our democracy is underpinned by free and fair elections and this government has committed to securing the integrity of thoseelections for the future. At the heart of an election is the simple action of a voter casting their ballot. Now the government has decided that there are potential vulnerabilities in our current system. That is why the government will be updating outdated security protections around identity at the polls and  introducing a requirement for voters to prove their identity at the polling station.

If you don't have a driving licence or passport do not worry. There are several other options or you can apply for an Electoral Identity Document, called a free Voter Card, issued by local authorities. free of charge from the beginning of January 2023. Other options include the Blue Badge for disabled people, European Economic Area (EEA) issued national identity cards, biometric immigration documents,  and Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) cards. Other options may be available later.

The information on the Voter Card will be kept to a minimum – it will show the elector’s name and photograph, the local authority that issued the card, and a card number. This is the essential information required for the voting process, and in taking this approach we have deliberately sought to ensure inclusivity (though more information, such as the elector’s address and date of birth, will necessarily be required to apply for and receive a card).

The elector’s date of birth has been intentionally excluded for Great Britain. The government does not intend for this card to be used for demonstrating proof of age. This is consistent with the fact we have always been clear that this policy will not introduce a national identity card by the back door; the Voter Card is solely for the purpose of supporting the democratic process.

Photocopies will not be accepted as they can be altered. Not all work or student cards will be accepted, neither Railcards. So check this out. We should all vote so check this out. Will you have the correct identification? If not sort it with your local authority. Remember! If you don't vote you can't complain when you disagree with the government and your local authority.


Mike Leahy Swantv           All comments are the views of the writer. Comments


Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Putting the Last Year behind us

 Hi Swantv Viewer

Christmas has passed and the beginning of 2023 approaches fast. Let's hope that the New Year brings hope and happiness for everyone.

We've had three prime ministers in as many months and the nightmare that has caused. The bank rate has been on a continuous upward trend. The was in Ukraine will soon have it's first year anniversary. Russian has tried to blackmail us over gas prices. Farmers have been battling with drought, lack of staff, bird flu and other disasters. Strikes have crippled the railways and postal services to name just two sectors. And the spiralling cost of living has impacted everyone, many with dire consequences. I think it's fair to say this has probably been the worse year for a generation!

So how can we think anything is going to change? It's true I can't see a magic wand being waved and all these difficulties vanish into thin air. 

The railway and postal strikes seem to be two pronged. These are not just wages disputes but working conditions. Both seem to feel that changes will be detremental to their jobs but if we don't embrace modern technology these industries will suffer. Yes there may be redundancies but streamling wil increase both efficiency and productivity. It would be a disaster if they lingered on without being resolved with the possibility of the same result as when the miners went on strike and within a couple of years the mining industry was dead. 

Postal services could easily be replaced by competitive services which would be bad for some rural areas where new carriers might cherry pick and cut certain services which were not

    profitable. The Royal Mail has certainly fallen down since privitisation, many services already cut, prices dramatically increased and existing services changed where deliveries can be in the afternoon. And now there are possible no future Saturday deliveries, first class stamps hitting £1 and self-employed delivery drivers employed.  I remember when there were two deliveries a day and the first was usually before 9.30 in the morning, where post boxes where empties several times a day postmen were recognised by their uniform, rater than the private cars we see sometimes and the motley selection of clothing worn!.

Roads are busier and ever, city parking is expensive and difficult, costs of fuel, insurance and running costs continue to rise. But cars are not the only alternative to trains. Coaches are clean, tidy and efficient with usually good facilities for wifi and a smooth ride so work is posssible And the cost is often less that half the price of a train ticket. Personally I love coach travel an if you are a regula commuter you get to now fellow passengers easier. Ok there can be motorway holdups but my experiences have been very few delays.

Today it emerged that 250 signallers and track engineers earn at least £100,000 annd another 650  earned more than £80,000. And a quarter of track maintenance staff are on £60,000-plus – more than double the £27,055 given to a newly qualified nurse. The average earnings for a signaller were just under £56,000 and £50,000 for track maintenance staff. Most staff have an average wage of £31,000 which is in line with wages/salaries across the UK. They include base salary, overtime, rest day working and allowances for unsociable hours. And now Mr Lynch has rejected a 9 per cent pay offer from Network Rail, a deal that has been accepted by the TSSA union. It is worth double digits over two years for the lowest paid.  Mick Lynch earns £84,000 a year and I bet his salary was paid on every strike day, unlike the strikers who must be seeing a loss of earnings right now. What are you earning in comparison and do you think they deserve the rise the demand? Should they demand no compulsory redundancies when changes might be necessary to give a similar or better service but cut costs to increase efficiencies?

Strike action can be a positive way to wage increases and working practice imrovements but holding the country to ransome is not the answer. Trade unions started in the 1800's when workers were treated unfairly and almost as possessions of the bosses, when health and safety was still 100 years away, and when deaths and injuries were the norm. Workers were treated unfairly and could usually be fired at a whim, when 12 hours a day and six days a week was the normal work pattern. Then trade unions were formed to protect workers conditions and wages.

The nurses strike, in my opinion is different. Wages are low, the hours long and the stress levels of dealing with a whole range of seriously sick or abusive patients are high. The NHS has been the poor relation for too long and badly neglected. Now I hear the prime minister

saying money is available to improvements but not wages. Sounds like Boris's claim to build 40 new hospitals when he meant upgrading existing hospitals, which is not additional. 

So lets hope the railway strikers see sense, accept a reasonable offer, realise that changes are necessary and get back to work early in the new year and lets get back to being able to work. And hope the government can make a reasonable and acceptable offer to the nurses.

Will the war in Ukkraine finish in 2023? I certainly hope so. Putin must realise now that he has already lost and that he has put himself in a precarious place when he could be toppled. I read about escape plans to South America but, when the conflict  finishes, let's see him on trial for Crimes Against Humanity and imprisoned for live, and Russia responsible for re-bulding Ukraine. I find it incredible that governments sidled up to Putin and acted like he was a friend, that when he build up his forces on the Ukraine border for "Military Exercises" they believed him and that the actual attack on Ukraine was met with disbelief.

And finally the cost of living! Ok, so there have been several factors that has affected world prices, the major factor being Russia again. Gas prices have spiralled, although we only use about 4% Russian gas. Prices from other countries have risen as demand has gone up. And, of course, Ukraine is known as the world's breadbox, growing cereals and supplying the world. But Russian has cut off Ukraine from the ports so exports are not possible. 

When Covid struck the the government generously paid out furlough money to millions of workers who were forced to stay at home but because insufficient checks were made, billions went to dishonest businesses that have never been recovered, a sustancial loss for the

government and our pockets. Many started working from home and a high percentage were then able to make considerable saving because commuting costs, morning coffees and lunches unnecessary; whilst the other half found their income slashed.  And of course, the PPI money that appears to have been siphoned off irresponsibly, much on equipment that was not of a satisfactory quality and for which millions are now being paid in storage costs. The government have much to answer for the losses that have now come home to roost in higher taxes etc.

I've thought about this but cannot see a solution. Although there is so much help out there for those in need, food banks and so on, we must think of a time ahead when those become redundant and nobody is living in poverty. Will the government find a way through this quagmire and bring us back to sanity? Maybe we should have a coalition where both major politican parties work together as happened after WW2. Two heads are better than one, and there is strength in teamwork. 

This has been a long post. What is your take on the current situation? If you were in charge of the govenment what would you do? Let me know. Comments below or come and talk with us.



Mike Leahy Director SwanTV



Friday, December 16, 2022

His Dark Materials at Glynn Vivian Gallery (10 minute read)

 Hi Swantv Viewer

Today we filmed in the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. We looked at His Dark Materials and also visited a Mosaics Class that was running. 

The His Dark Materials exhibition has a cool selection of props and costumes from the BBC drama series and we had an uplifling tour with Gemma Mughini of the Gallery. You can see the video on the Main Page and Events Page too.

His Dark Materials is a World Building in Wales exhibition and The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery is delighted to present, in partnership with Bad Wolf, IJPR Media and Screen Alliance Wales, a look behind-the-scenes of BBC and HBO’s multi-award-winning, His Dark Materials. The exhibition is open to the public and free until Sunday 23 April 2023. Opening hours 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Last entry 4:30pm but closed Mondays. I would certainly recommend this exhibition.

If you have not visited the Gallery before it is the large building down past the main police station and BBC studios on Alexandra Road, opposite the Old Library. I find that there is often a free kerbside parking space opposite the Gallery. It is only a short walk from the railway station or city centre.

The creation of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery was made possible when in 1905 Richard Glynn Vivian offered his collection of paintings, drawings and china to the city with an endowment of £10,000. The donor laid the foundation stone himself in 1909, but it was after his death that the Gallery was formally opened in 1911, with "great enthusiasm and gaiety".

Glynn Vivian's collection, like most private collections, was eclectic. By donations – including the Deffett Francis collection of prints and drawings and the Kildare S.Meager bequest of Swansea china – and by purchases the Gallery's holdings have become more representative of the range of European art, while remaining rich in the work of local artists. The gallery also presents loan exhibitions and events, and has an educational programme.

But returning to His Dark Materials. This is set in a multi-world reality, with the action moving from one world to another. The series is based on Philip Pullman's trilogy of the same name. It begins in an alternative world where all humans' souls manifest as animal companions called daemons. The series follows the life of a young girl named Lyra who is an orphan living with the scholars at Jordan College, Oxford, in a world governed by the Magisterium, a religious and political body. Lyra discovers a dangerous secret that involves Lord Asriel and Marisa Coulter, and is the subject of a witches' prophecy that she will change the world. In her search for a missing friend, Lyra also uncovers a series of kidnappings and a link to a mysterious substance called Dust, which leads her on a journey of epic proportions and ultimately to other worlds. The witches' prophecy also links Lyra's destiny to  Will, a teenager from our world, who is himself being pursued by figures connected to his vanished father.And now series Three is being screened by the BBC from 18th December.

There are some huge props from the production in the Atrium including two large bears, a selection of huge bones and a massive angel that I understand took 4 weeks to create. It is only when you see the scale of these props that you realise that much of the work was done in the studio and not digitally. 


  I was struck by the detail in both the costumes and props of all sizes. There is a selection of handwritten letters, each individually written: the costumes are made down to the last stitch, the materials used look authentic! The Gallery displays many of the costumes and many props including the alethiometer, the important instrument that guides Lyra through her famtastical journey. In addition there are several photographs taken during production and video clips taken during shooting.

Watch series three on BBC1 Sunday 18th December at 7.00pm or catch-up the whole three series on the BBC I-player. Go to the exhibition and the whole series comes alive.


Mike Leahy Swantv Community Interest Company Ltd 

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

SwanTV app now here! (5 minute read)

Hi SwanTV Viewer

We are flying! We now have an app on both GooglePlay and Apple Store. Please download and follow us, it's free and you'll keep up to date with everything happening in Swansea.

Since our re-launch in July we have talked to many businesses, community groups and individuals. Following this we have been playing around with the website at to improve and give you the services you've asked for. Please look at our website and let us know what you think. If there is something you feel we should include then tell us. We are here for you. 

Another develpoment is that we plan to have a new studio in central Swansea where we can produce a variety of programmes. This will also be available for community groups or commercial businesses to make promotional, documentary or advert videos. Ask for details. We can supply videographers, editors and sound engineers to give you a quality product. Talk to us about your needs. WE have black, white and green-screen backgrounds. Watch for more details on this exciting project.

We have been visiting local events including the Togetherness at Christmas where over 500 christmas dinners were cooked and donated by KR Events and Catering at the Brangwyn Hall and the Sketty Cross Christmas Fair. We also did an interview with Thom at Matt;s Cafe in the High Street. And we have a heavy commitment for the coming weeks. As a Community Interest Company we are interested in supporting and taking with community projects. So if you are involved in one and feel we should attend, then please call us.

We are interested in music venues where we can film bands, singers and choirs. Are you an artist with interesting work then we want to talk with you. And we are looking for crafters too. 

Would you like to present a show? If you are confident and have a clear voice come for an audition. We shall be offering training so please don't think you aren't experienced enough. We can help you. Age is no barrier. well currently we'd prefer you to be between 18 and 99.   We have an auto-cue or tele-prompter like they use an the major stations, always for the news.

Out Community Support page lists all food banks and other support available locally. Are we missing something? Please tell us. You can leave a comment at the bottom of the page.

I now much of our content is not new but we are changing that almost daily now. And because we are the new kid on the block we are fluid and can change programme formats within a day if we feel that would benefit our viewers.

So please download the SwanTV app now a support us. The more viewers we have, the more content we can provide. All comments are welcome. Help us make this a success.

Keep watching

Mike Leahy Director SwanTV

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Togetherness At Christmas

 Hi SwanTV Viewers

The Together at Christmas event is was held today at the Brangwyn Hall. We attended and interviewed several people including the Lord Mayor of Swansea, Cllr Mike Day, the Leader of the Council Cllr Rob Stewart, and Jessie Rice, director of J R Events and Catering who produced over 500 meals free for those vulnerable, isolated or at risk of homelessness guests.

It is wonderful that such an event was organised but sad that it is needed in 2022. We should all have a place to call home that is warm and with a pantry of nurishing food that will sustain us, good neighbours who keep an eye on us if we are older or disabled, and free from streess and anxiety. The event lasted for a couple of hours and there was musical entertainment on stage. Supported by Swansea Council and local agencies there was help at hand to show the many organisations
and benefits available, with tables lining two long walls. At the rear of the hall huge
quantities clothing and shoes were available, free of charge. Every effort was made to help anyone in need. And of course Father Xmas put in an appearance together with an absolute army of elves and other fairyland characters, bring laughter and enjoyment to the many guests. I talked with several of those enjoying the hospitality and was struck by the stories they told. You never know when you might be an a bad place and need such support. We are living in such strange times that we should realiuse how lucky we are and help others
who needed it in any area of life.

If you have a neighbour who is alone, elderly or disabled spare some time to check they are ok and maybe share a few minutes to talk. Some older and house-bound people rarely see anyone apart from carers and can be very lonely.

So that was one end of the spectrum. The other end was the Zoom conference I attended this morning with 4 the Region, Swansea. This is a movement to co-create a happier, healthier South West Wales with a thriving economy that serves the well-being of people and the planet, who want to see the region leading the way in new ways of living and working, and new ways of organising our society and our economy, more visible, more accessible and more relevant to all those who live here.

Since the Welsh Government became the first in the world to put protecting the well-being of future generations into law, in 2015; and since Wales joined the Wellbeing Economy Governments Organisation in 2019, it’s fair to say that Wales is part of a global movement to

reshape our economies so that they work better for people and the planet.  

4 the Region want to see the region fully embracing the principles of the Wellbeing Economy and the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act for Wales (2015), making sure the purpose of growing the economy is to serve the wellbeing of people and the planet, rather than an end in itself. South West Wales is

an amazing natural environment, a brilliant quality of life, caring communities… and the opportunity to make Wellbeing the unique selling point, the regional identity, andthe shared purpose. 

The conference heard from all participants and will prepare a report from this information. If you are a local business look up 4 the Region where you can join.

To fulfil this ambition will be a long-term goal changing minds and attitude. We must all work together looking after our community, the local shops and amenities, local people and jobs. The Thatcher times when we were self-centred has passed. A major change is necessary to over come the current cost of living and improve our wellbeing.  Don't forget to keep an eye on that neighbour and, if you can, give generously to local charities trying to help those in need over the Christmas period.

Stay safe 

Mike Leahy  SwanTV