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Diary July 2019

Gwerinwyr Diary July 2019 by Sue Venn

On the 12th June we had our second conference booking of the year, this time at Caldicot Castle. International delegates at a medical conference in Cardiff were holding their gala dinner in a marquee in the castle grounds, and GG was part of the welcoming events before their meal.

With about 200 people arriving, the timings were well planned and precise, but unfortunately traffic from the M4 to the castle was so heavy that the coaches were over 30 minutes late arriving. This meant our plans to dance for two separate groups and then get people to join in had to be curtailed. We completed our display, and then as the rain started, found some space in the marquee to get a few people to join us - half the delegates were still exploring the castle grounds.

A shame but I think particularly the foreign delegates enjoyed seeing our Welsh costumes and dancing, even if it was only for a short while.

The 27th June saw us back at the adult special needs school on the Treforest Industrial Estate. This has become an annual event and our visit is always eagerly anticipated. Barbara Griffiths had again put together a Welsh culture session with questions for the students to answer, some dance demonstrations, including clogging, music from our band and some simple audience participation dances.

Usually our bookings are arranged well in advance, sometimes almost a year, but at the end of May we had an invitation to dance again at Llanover, this time in the village, on the 4th July for a visiting VIP.  Some time later we were informed that the VIP would be Prince Charles, who after visiting a school and the Winding House in New Tredegar with the Duchess of Cornwall, would be arriving alone to tour Elizabeth Murray’s lovely gardens and hear about the work of her ancestor Lady Llanover. GG would be dancing Llanover Reel for his arrival at the village hall, and another dance as he departed.


The 4th July turned out to be a really hot day, and in our woollen costumes with the ladies wearing bonnets and tall hats, we were feeling the heat as we waited for almost an hour past the intended start time. Finally HRH and Mr & Mrs Murray arrived and we started dancing, they then entered the village hall to meet various local dignitaries and we began to prepare for our second dance. Prince Charles’ equerry suddenly appeared to say not to dance again but to form a group as HRH wanted to meet us. He shook hands with everyone, was very charming, and suggested we go into the hall for a cup of tea and get out of the sun. Some of you may have seen our photo accompanying the SW Argus article the following day.

July was a very busy month for GG, so there is more to follow in the next edition....

Gwerinwyr Gwent would love to recruit some new dancers, especially men! Welsh dance steps are basic and few, it is just the patterns of the dances that need to be learned. We would also be delighted to welcome extra musicians to join our little band. Practice night is Thursday 8-10pm at the Graig Community Hall, Bassaleg (opposite the Ruperra Arms). Either just come along, ring 01495 271953 for more details, or check out our website or Facebook page.