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Just arrived home from our ‘virtual trip’ to Belarus.

Armchair Travel Challenge

Its been time to start a new adventure, a virtual one: the Armchair Travel Challenge, and what a blast its proving to be. We’ve already spent a month in Burkina Faso, Libya, Rwanda, Bulgaria, Colombia, Philippines, Norway, Tunisia, Tajikistan, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Belarus.

I’ve been having fun making clocks in the shapes of the different countries and meeting people from those countries to gift the clock to. Still searching for someone in Cardiff from Burkina Faso!

My many Challenges

I like a challenge. Back in 1984 I set myself a target to walk around the coast of England and Wales. It took me 20 years to complete but I got there.

After that I needed new challenges. One was to walk up all the mountains in England and Wales. It took a fair time to complete but again I managed it (apart from the one you have to be a rock climber to get up).

The other challenge I dreamt up was to see if I could have a pint of Guinness in all 52 European Capital Cities. What a great adventure that tuned out to be and was completed in 2019 with a celebratory pint at the Guinness brewery in Dublin.

A-Z of Railway Stations

The A-Z of Railway Stations was a challenge I set myself in early 2019 and involved seeing if I could visit a station beginning with every letter of the alphabet – and in alphabetical order of course. Things had been going pretty well before Covid struck and I only had X,Y and Z to go. The fact that there are no stations in UK starting with X or Z made things a bit more challenging. Nevertheless my friend Ian and I did devise a cunning plan of going to visit Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands to complete the challenge, something we did in October 2022.

Cardiff Local History

Over the past five years I have become very interested in local history. It’s the research I like, discovering things that appear to have been forgotten over time. I am an active member of Roath Local History Society. Most of the research I do gets posted on the society’s website including the research into the fallen that gets posted on the Roath Virtual War Memorial.

Having my own website has enabled me to start branching out and doing some research in the wider Cardiff area. A tear or so back I completed my research into churches in the Roath, Splott, Adamsdown and Cathays area of Cardiff. I thought it may be nice to look at some of the other Cardiff churches so have started posting the information on the History of Cardiff Churches page.

With the help of some other people in U3A Cardiff I have put together a suggested walk around Cardiff City centre looking at the history of the late 1800s and early 1900s when the population of Cardiff hugely expanded mainly because of the development of Cardiff Docks as a coal exporting port. The walk is called Cardiff – the Boom Years.

I’m easily distracted.  It’s one of my many faults. I almost bumped into the statue of Nye Bevan the other week. It led me to ask myself ‘Who is this man?’  Just as I was making some good progress in researching Bevan I got distracted yet again and asked myself another question ‘Who made this statue?’ The answer is Robert Thomas and he was a busy man.  My latest blog Robert Thomas – the man who made Nye Bevan looks at the works of the sculptor and the story of the man himself.