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November 2010


Posted by Danielle Cowell on 29 November 2010
Cheeky robin begging for food.
All puffed up.
Winter berries in the snow.
Ice melting on crab apples.

How the weather has changed since my report last week!

Temperatures have dropped and there is snow all over the country. Many schools have closed and many others are reporting 'rain gauges - full of snow'!

Maesycwmmer Primary School cleverly melted the snow in their rain gauge then recorded it! See the comments below.

Last night, temperatures plummeted to the coldest on record for November. In mid Wales, a record minimum of -18C (0F) was reached at Llysdinam, in Powys. Dr. Fred Slater reported: ‘I’ve been diligently recording the weather at Llysdinam Field Centre for the last 30 years – last night was the coldest on record”.

If you are able to get into school please send in your records and any snowy pictures you may have.

This cheeky little Robin reminded me of how hungry the birds are at this time of year. He came right up close to me this morning at St Fagans. Luckily, I had my lunch box so I gave him a few crumbs in exchange for a few close up pics.

If you would like to help the birds this winter remember to put some bird food out in your school or garden. I made some fat balls at the weekend. It was easy to do and good fun.

For details on how to make bird cakes and fat balls see

If you would like a good spot to watch birds why not visit our new bird hide at St.Fagans

Professor Plant.





Your questions and comments

Posted by Danielle Cowell on 25 November 2010
Professor Plant
Professor Plant

Here are some of your questions and comments.

Here are some very good questions from some very good scientists! Plus many more comments from schools below.

Oakfield Primary School asked: 'What is the tallest daffodil ever recorded in this experiment'? The tallest was recorded by Ysgol Sant Dunawd on the 15/4/2010. It was a whopping 80cms tall!

Ysgol Nant Y Coed asked: 'If these results are similar to this time last year?' A very good question. I've answered this question locally for Nant y Coed, for Wales and looked at the long term patterns.

Locally at Nant Y Coed school: On Average the first two weeks in November 2010 had less rain and were warmer than in 2009.

Rainfall: 2009 - 20.9mm. 2010 - 14.6mm.

Temperature: 2009 - 7.7degC. 2010 - 14degC.  

Was the pattern the same in your school?

Study 2010 results: 

Study 2009 results:

For Wales: This October was slightly colder than last year and had about the same amount of rain as in 2009.

Mean temperature in 2009 11deg C and 2010 9.8degC.   

Mean rainfall 128.3mm in 2009 and 123.8mm in 2010.

Looking at the long-term patterns: The monthly average for October between 1971-2000 was 6.5degC. The last two Octobers have been much warmer in comparison.


Have any schools had snow yet? If so let me know.

Many thanks. Professor Plant.

Wales for Africa, some pics at last

Posted by Mari Gordon on 17 November 2010

This is us interviewing the Residents' Development Committee at George Compound in Lusaka. They were the most articulate and motivated group of people I've met. The house is an example of what people are living in.

Also, here's me with the RDC in Kawala Compound, 200 miles north, in Kitwe in the Copperbelt Province.

Wales for Africa

Posted by Mari Gordon on 16 November 2010

By some miracle we have half-decent internet connection at the office. Actually it’s not a miracle, as I happen to know that the server providers were working on the problem over the weekend. I guess I just didn’t believe it would make any difference, any more than I believed that the designers I was supposed to be seeing on Friday would turn up, or that my ‘office’ would really only take a day to ‘decorate’ (the day in question being last Monday) or that my mail will ever turn up.

Ooh, all sounds a bit harsh I know. But I’ve just had my third frustrating visit to immigration, thinking I finally had everything I need to renew my permit, only to be told I have to return on Thursday, after ‘the boss’ has had time to check my file (so what have they been doing?!). Was also sheepishly informed by my colleague that he won’t be here most of this week as he’s on and M&E training course; this is my last week of working with the organization, and I should be crossing every t and dotting every single I with him.

But what really set a bad tone for me this week – while also putting my whinging right into perspective – was finding out on Sunday evening that my host had been in a car crash. She, some colleagues – and her baby – were travelling to Livingstone. Seeing as she was being made to make the 8-hour journey, on a Sunday, she’d decided to treat the time there as a couple of much-needed stress-free days out of the office. Instead, they drove through a downpour for about half the journey until the car slipped off the side of the road and flipped over. I don’t know who I felt more sorry for, her in Livingstone with the baby, suffering from shock and fright, or her poor husband at home waiting and worrying until the next morning when he could travel down to join them. They’ve all been discharged from hospital with, apart from the shock, nothing more serious than cuts and bruises. The fatality rate for road accidents in Zambia is notorious, partly due to the driving in the cities and partly due to the terrible condition of the roads outside the cities, especially now that the rains are here. The fact that they escaped with nothing broken – or worse – really is a miracle.

Celebrating Moel y Gaer

Posted by Ian Daniel on 12 November 2010
Pupils from Ysgol y Berllan Deg, Cardiff with Dewi Pws Morris, Children's Poet Laureate
Pupils from Ysgol Rhos Helyg, Flintshire performing with Dewi Pws Morris
Opening the doors

A big thanks to the pupils of Ysgol Rhos Helyg, Rhosesmor, Flintshire and Ysgol y Berllan Deg, Cardiff for celebrating the opening of the new Moel y Gaer with us yesterday. We were all inspired by Dewi Pws Morris, Children's Poet Laureate. He worked with us in creating a performance and a poem. I'm going to carve the words of the poem on a wooden slab over the next weeks and it will be on display next to Moel y Gaer for all to see. You can read the poem which talks about home, memory, invention and a sense of continuity between past and present

Ti yw cartref y Celtiaid

Yn llawn o atgofion henfyd

Pobol cryf a dyfeisgar ein gorffennol

A ni? Dani yma o hyd

half term art cart

Posted by Sian Lile-Pastore on 10 November 2010

I keep forgetting to take some photos of our quilt designs that the children made over half term! They are looking wonderful in the gallery, so i'll try and remember to get some photos next time i'm there and will blog about it as soon as I can!

Wales for Africa - flagging not blogging

Posted by Mari Gordon on 5 November 2010

Blog’s been a bit neglected recently, partly due to my travelling and partly because of incredibly bad internet connection in the office. Also no pics, due to more technical break down – my laptop has stopped talking to any external devices so I’ve no way of getting my photos off my camera. Disaster. All this, on top of the relentless struggle of getting from A to B whether through the gridlock that is Lusaka or over the bone-crunching out-of-town roads, is becoming wearing, if I’m honest.

Luckily the temperature has improved, as the rains finally arrived on Sunday night – and what rains! It was as if Lusaka had relocated to underneath the Victoria Falls, complete with thunder, lightning – and power cuts. Then, next day, back to intense sunshine and clear blue sky. It’s spectacular, but apparently we haven’t seen anything yet.