1) AROUND THE VILLAGE
In the Spring the Wye Valley Hotel began a series of theme nights, kicking off with an Indian one and following with Italian. National dishes from the countries involved were created by chefs Bill Hughes and Glen Williams.
Glen is a galloping gourmet, rushing between the kitchen and his place as lead singer of "Flashback", a class band from the Valleys.
The Royal George have celebrated their award as the best Consort hotel in Wales with Tony and Maureen Pearce winning a weekend in New York which they will use to visit the city's Jazz Festival - people after my own heart.
Having moved to Tintern, Magician Steve Russell is keen to promote his art within the village. He has been in discussion with the Royal George and is hoping to present a series of cabaret evenings featuring his own act and others from the club and TV circuit.
Abbey Mill's turn to provide entertainment in the form of a Ceiladh allowed the "Rarebits" to provide traditional entertainment on the Spring Bank Holiday Friday. Monday was lovely and allowed Jazz on a Summer's Day to be performed on the lawn. Local band "Just Jazz" played to a large enthusiastic audience with a repertoire ranging from Georgie Fame to New Orlean's blues.
The Anchor hosted a rock and roll weekend (Basil's Bash) organised by Bristol businessman, Brian (Basil) Cornell. Some 150 60s clad devotees descended on the inn to dance to the disco and live band "Bula Bula".
2) LOST AND FOUND
It was a sad day for the village when Polly, one of the resident peahens at the Anchor was killed by a car on the main road. Unbelievably the driver got out to check the damage to his car and ignored the bird dying in agony on the side of the road.
However on a brighter note, Alan Butt's bird population is growing apace with fourteen teal duck eggs from Ralph Arnold being taken over by a broody hen. A plastic pond for the ducklings will no doubt confuse the hen and Perry the peacock who regards himself as a surrogate father. Dolly the dog is resigning herself to a line of ducklings walking over her.
There was also a new arrival among the Highland Cattle now being grazed in the fields opposite the Abbey at Abbey passage farm.
3) NORTH AND SOUTH
At the north end of the village the tourist season sees the opening of the Old Station. It's a lovely picnic site for walkers or for just browsing, with changing exhibitions and a miniature railway. Perhaps it underused by villagers but it provides an interesting couple of hours for young and old.
At the south end of the village , preparations are underway for a summer "Son et Lumiere" at the Abbey. An audience of up to a thousand in the building is being projected for each of three weekends of three nights each.
4) THE NEWSAGENTS
It was with great regret that we closed the Newsagents. I had known in my heart for some time that it wasn't viable and when a combination of things including the weather made a disastrous Easter weekend the decision was made.
We had tremendous support from local people and I am sorry for the inconvenience of having no morning paper. At the end there just wasn't enough trade and the time to move on had arrived.
5) CRIB AND QUIZ
Ron Hoskins and Ralph Arnold won the Llanishen Crib League Knock Out Competition for the Anchor and saved the inn from an embarrassing lack of silverware in the trophy cabinet this year.
The Anchor's quiz team managed the booby prize in the Chepstow league and won the trophy in the shape of a shield full of marbles (with one missing of course).
6) HI-TECH IN TINTERN
Stella Books has commissioned a highly sophisticated computer operation to supply books via the Internet. They have a stock of 30,000 books but they now have access to a stock of millions of books world-wide.
There are high speed data links to Cardiff and their sister shop in Hay on Wye, described by proprietor Cliff Tomaleski as "a sort of electronic pipe down which you can shove anything" - then I knew what he meant.
Putting their own stock on was in itself a mammoth task. I was given a demonstration of the "Booksearch system" where my enquiry for a 1960 Rupert Bear Annual, (purely as an exercise of course!) located one in minutes. The day before a lady had come in not even knowing the author she was seeking and they found it in the United States. It's the international connotations that are really exciting.
Only 240 bookshops are on the Internet in this country and Stella are in the top 5%. They are building a huge reputation for service and expertise, particularly in the field of children's and illustrated books.
7) THE NEW PLAYING FIELD
Martin Woodford organised a quiz to raise money for the new facility for Tintern and Llandogo. First prize went to a team from Chepstow Athletic Club playing as "Five go mad in Tintern". The Anchor, playing predictably as "One Marble Short" came somewhere in the middle and the rear was brought up by the well-named but gallant "Wayward Haywards".
Martin is planning a twenty-four hour cricket marathon in August as his next fund raiser and I may say I am one of the many avoiding his eye as he casts around for recruits. (Ed. note The event is being organised by Steve Taylor, 689543, to take place on the 19th June and will be called appropriately "The Longest Day Match" and play will take place between 4:52am and 9:32pm, with breaks for meals. Profits to LATSA (Llandogo and Tintern Sports Association). More events are planned)
Edited somewhat from the Grantley James Diary. Thank you Grantley