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Making blogs while the sun shines

Reading back over my entries, it seems I only really like posting here when the sun is shining! It's another beautiful day at St Fagans and it seemed only right to fire up the blogging engine and start writing.

You'll find us in a very cheerful mood at the moment: after many months of working collaboratively, we handed in a dossier as thick as a loaf of bara brith to the Heritage Lottery Foundation. They, in turn, pored over it and decided to award St Fagans with a whopping grant of £11.5 million, to fund its redevelopment. We still have a few quid to raise in order to reach our goal, and so the '£1 appeal' was launched last week. Its message? If you've got a pound to spare, then we promise to do something amazing with it!

Our plans for the future, while unbelievably detailed, still seem a bit distant and unreal - but soon enough, you'll start to see the site start to change. The museum, as an entity, will change, too - and we hope you'll come along with us for the ride. We want to open up how we work, and give people from all walks of life a chance to take part in the day-to-day life of the museum.

At the moment, though, it's business as usual.

My Tudor Plant walks went off without a hitch (and by hitch I mean rain and slugs). I was joined by students from England, France, Germany and Japan, as well as a couple of English/Welsh/Spanish families. I was a linguist in a former life and so dredged as much vocabulary as I could from the back of my mind, so that everyone could follow the tour. We tasted and smelled our way around the gardens, where 16th century varieties still grow. We usually discourage people from picking plants while they're here, to leave enough for our furry/feathered residents - but on this occasion, we were allowed to have a nibble here and there. Thankfully, Bernice and Paul from the gardens department have been kind enough to teach me which ones to eat, and which to avoid!

Yesterday, I met with students from Cardiff University yesterday, to talk about how we can use information and objects from excavations to engage the public. We looked at all sorts of things: from the pigments on the church walls to cauldrons and Tudor toilet-seats. This morning, I helped Sian and Ian take eighty-four (we counted) cardboard shields up to the Celtic Village for a painting workshop.

The reason I find myself in the office is because I am preparing a lecture for the Eisteddfod. I'm honoured to be speaking, and want to make sure I show off St Fagans in its best light! The topic of the talk will be murals from the Vale of Glamorgan - reading about all these little fragments has me keen to traipse around a graveyard with my camera pretty soon.

I hope you're enjoying this sunny spell - if you're thinking of coming to see us, then have a look here for our upcoming events. If you're coming by bus, remember that, as well as the number 32, you can now catch a band new shuttle bus, the number 5, which takes you from the steps of the National Museum in Cardiff, right to our front door.

PS: next time there'll be pictures, I promise!

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