Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay: the lustre of pearls?

The video presentation released by Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay certainly looks impressive, but will the scheme have a ‘lustre of pearl’ effect on the bay?

The presentation describes plans to construct a 10.5 km causeway, using innovative techniques, to create a 11 sq km lagoon in a £650m development. But will it live up to its promises?

A lagoon for energy?

Fitted with turbines capable of generating enough electricity to power over 100,000 homes, the causeway certainly ticks the environment-friendly boxes, helping to create a carbon-neutral Wales. But what will the impact be on the local ecology? On its website the company appear to be quite honest in accepting that the development will have some impact on the local environment, and have confirmed that they will be producing an Environmental Impact Assessment report.

A lagoon of opportunity?

The developer states that the lagoon will provide an environment for reviving old marine-based industries such as oyster beds, kelp farming; and watersports like sailing and triathlon. These are to be welcomed and can only further enhance the bay’s status as a premier location for seafood and watersports.

A lagoon for jobs?

It is fair to say that the tidal lagoon will create some much needed jobs for the area and give our local economy a boost. But I assume that a development as cutting edge as this will require some highly-skilled expertise. I wonder how many of these jobs will come to Swansea Bay? I believe that the lagoon offers the Swansea Bay region an exciting opportunity to create a research centre, possibly at the new university campus on Fabian Way, to lead the way in the development of tidal power technologies for export.

A lagoon for art?

Some may find the suggested dragon sculpture a little cliche. However, the developers should surely be applauded for their efforts to include public artworks in the scheme. Cape Farewell, an arts group committed to engaging the public around the issue of climate change through the arts, have been commissioned to develop a creative inquiry into the scheme and how it will impact change on the area. Perhaps, artworks that stimulate debate around climate change and the marine environment specifically would be more appropriate and beneficial, and better reflect the innovation of the scheme?

What do you think?

Detailed plans are still being prepared ahead of an expected public consultation during the summer and submission to the UK Secretary of State for Climate Change and Energy in the autumn.

Meanwhile, here’s the report of the children of nearby St Thomas Primary:

And here’s what the children of Grange Primary had to say in a classroom debate:


A reasonable start!

Anyone who knows me would have been shocked to have seen me walking out of a central Swansea gym earlier this evening. But yes, I have made a good start on one of my resolutions – I’ve joined a gym and actually been for a workout.

The gym I’ve joined is The Gym, a national chain of budget gyms newly opened in Swansea. At only £10.99 a month for the first 12 months it’s a bargain. And, the no joining fee or contract suits me fine – should I suddenly lapse .


The gym itself is fairly spacious, spreading across the upper floors of a retail complex, and is equipped with a good range of basic cardio and resistance machines supplied by Matrix Fitness – don’t expect state-of-the-art with entertainment screens or internet access, it is a budget gym after all.

There are number of personal trainers walking the floor, who seem to be happy to put you right if you’re using the equipment wrong. But, if you’re looking for anything more such as a training programme or motivational support you’ll have to pay extra.

I went around 6.00pm today and it was rather busy. There are around 25 treadmills and all seemed to be occupied, although I didn’t have to wait long. I started with 10 minutes on one of the cycling machines before another 10 minutes on a cross-trainer. I then tried a couple of reps on two different types of shoulder press machines before finishing with 10 minutes on the treadmill. If the machines are to be believed I burned off around 300 calories – a reasonable start (if I may say so!).

Having worked up a sweat I wanted to shower before heading home. I was pleased to see that there were separate cubicles and several of them. The changing room is basic but clean and well appointed.

As I’m just starting out and not looking to join a fitness class yet (I think I’m not fit enough yet) I’d have to say that I’d give The Gym the thumbs up. It offers good facilities, basic but perfectly fine equipment, and at an introductory price of £10.99 a bargain to boot.

Just married! Well, about two months ago.

On Wednesday 7th April I got hitched to my best friend and one true love, Emma, at the Civic Centre in Swansea.

We had a really lovely day, the weather was fairly bright and sunny. It was a little  funny as I used to work at the Civic Centre for quite a few years. I knew the deputy registrar and it did feel like something of a busman’s wedding.

Anyway, the ceremony went well. It was rather intimate with just my wife’s parents as guests and witnesses.

After the ceremony we had a few photos taken outside with the bay in the background.

We then left Swansea and headed for Abergavenny where the four of us (my wife and I and the in-laws) were staying the night and dining at The Walnut Tree.

We arrived around 2.15pm so we had a starter for light lunch, I had a delicious Steak Tartare with a few bottles of Dorothy Goodbody’s Golden Ale, brewed by nearby Wye Valley Brewery. Dorothy Goodbody’s is perfectly quaffable ale and I must admit she’d be quite a looker – check out the 1940’s style image of her they use in their marketing.

We spent the afternoon lounging around the Walnut Tree’s Ivy Cottage sipping champagne.

Come the evening we headed to the restaurant where I had a crab cake-like starter, belly pork main and rice pudding for dessert. Wow! It was heaven.

Really, if you want to eat well, head for the Walnut Tree. The head chef and proprietor is Shaun Hill. A well-known and much respected chef who had a restaurant in Ludlow, and on leaving there for London, thought twice, and headed to Abergavenny. 1-0 to Wales.

The following day we headed to Emma’s parents’ house in Cheshire for an overnight stay before flying out to Italy’s Lake Como, our adventures there I’ll write about soon.

Here’s a photo of my wife, Emma, and me on our happy day. Awh!

Film locations I’ve helped with – Nescafe “Hairy old Cortina”

Until recently I handled film enquiries for Swansea Council. I was the main contact for people looking to film in Swansea for several years. I was involved in many projects – Doctor Who, National Lottery, Mine All Mine, among many others.

One of the shoots I assisted was for this Nescafe ad. The director was Vaughan Arnell who had worked on a few of the Robbie Williams videos – Rock DJ, Something Stupid, etc.

The location manager wanted something earthy so I took him to Penderry – with its views over the city and ponies grazing in street verges it was perfect .

When we came to shoot in Wind Street (the footage didn’t make the final edit) I had to negotiate with some workmen digging up the street to down tools for the day.

The shot looking towards Port Talbot steelworks features a lamppost from Swansea Council’s depot – a last-minute arrangement. The production team did say that the steelworks was the inspiration for Ridley Scott’s futuristic city in Blade Runner.

Anyway, here’s the ad, unbelievably the result of a whole weeks worth of filming.

Let me know what you think?

I’m happy with it!

I’ve been playing about with this blog for a little while now, getting it to look ok, and I’m happy to say that I’m now pleased with it.

It’s Saturday and the sun has been shining pretty much all day here in Swansea. I woke early this morning and headed down to the village for a stroll (the village is Mumbles). I live a stone’s throw from Catherione Zeta Jones’ Welsh home, not that I’m dropping names, of course!

Anyway, I sat in Verdi’s, a really popular cafe/ice-cream parlour right by the sea, sipping a cappuccino whilst watching the world go by – bliss! I must admit that I’m pretty lucky to live where I do, we’re at the start of Gower, Britain’s first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – for more info visit www.visitswanseabay.com

I then relaxed for a while at Limeslade, a small rocky cove, the tide was in and the sea was calming.

I’m just about to get ready to go out for a nice meal with my better half tonight – I can’t wait as I’m starving.

I’m not going to be able to drink too much as I’ve got an early start tomorrow, I’m directing a photoshoot at one of leisure centres, well at least this time I’ve got professional models. I’m looking forward to seeing the results.

Thanks for stopping by – I hope that as I get used to this blogging thing my posts will be more interesting.