‘Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the street’

I think it’s the way I was brought up.  I always feel the need to apologise and this week has been no exception.

Its April, we are in the middle of a mini heat wave and Swansea has gone sun crazy.  OK by the time you read this we might have all turned our central heating back on.  We could be frantically searching for the long trousers and woolly jumpers we tossed back in the wardrobe last Wednesday so carelessly but while the sun shines isn’t it great?

When I get into the BBC studios every morning at 4am one of the first things I do is check the weather forecast.  In fact, I get a pretty good idea of what the weather is going to be almost as soon as I open my front door.  Barely a month ago I could feel the intense cold as it cut into my face.  The temperature gauge in the car was showing -1c, -2c even -4c some mornings. Some weeks later it was noticeable when  winter finally let go, I almost felt like Mary Poppins noticing that the wind had changed.

This week took me by surprise.  Getting up on Wednesday didn’t really feel any different.  I got in the car, drove to the studio, made a cup of tea and read the news headlines and then the weather forecast.  The news was all Brexit and Trump so no change there.  Then I read the weather.  Temperatures reaching up to 70 degrees in old money!  So, latching onto some good news at last I filled the show with the Beach Boys and ‘Here Comes the sun’ and all the way through I went really  big on the imminent arrival of summer in Swansea.

After a show I pack down all the computers, wash my cup and make sure the studio is tidy for the next person coming in.  By the time I left I was expecting Alexandra Road to resemble San Diego.  As I opened the door the rain hit me in the face and the skies were definitely cloudy. I already had in mind the great big apology I was going to make to the BBC Radio Wales audience the following day for giving them such duff weather information.

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Most mornings I try to get another hours sleep before getting on with the rest of the day.  At 10 o’clock I opened the curtains and there it was…summer! Derek the Weatherman was right after all. This is where the apologies really started.  I’m a man of habit. After my shower I like a coffee and maybe a bagel or croissant. On Wednesday instead of cuddling up next to the radiator with hot water bottle I took my morning coffee out into the front garden to sit in my towel and take in the sunshine.  I waved to the neighbours, I think they are used to it after all these years, but I always feel I should apologise and blame the sun.

Then it was to a couple of meetings as Chair of the Swansea International Festival.  It’s our 70 anniversary this year and I bet I’m the first Chair to turn up to a board meeting in shorts and flip flops!  Of course, I apologised but with summer often being so fleeting I need to take advantage of every ray to top up my tan. I think they understood.

No apologies though for driving around with my window open, my right arm nonchalantly resting on the door frame as I play Beach Boys music at top volume.  I feel I’m adding to the sweet Swansea summer sensation and as for that big smile on my face.  That’ll last as long as the sun shines I’m sure.

Comedy Night in Mumbles

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Mumbles is changing. As was noted recently in the Sunday Times survey Mumbles is the best place to live in Wales. There are new restaurants and new shops and there is definitely a feeling of business optimism in the village. Some of the new restaurants are housed in brand new buildings, others like Pierre Bistrot and La Parrilla have taken the Tivoli and given the building it a new life.

Tonight, I’m hopefully going back to another Mumbles institution.  It started as a cinema. It then became a night club ‘Nutz’ and it used to be ‘Bentleys’.  In the past it apparently played hosts to bands like Suzi Quatro who it is said only cost £50 because she had been booked before her record had become a hit.  Maybe Slade, definitely Plastic Sam, but I’m sure a host of other legends have been there, and it was a place dear to many people in Swansea.

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In recent years it has been taken over by brothers Adrian and Nigel and turned into an indoor play area for kids.  Well, that’s what I thought.  In the night ‘Café Play’ it changes to become ‘Café Play By Night’.  The lights get turned down, a curtain is drawn to hide the 2 storey play frame and Café Play becomes Café Play By Night.

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Sometimes its jazz, sometimes it’s a DJ like it used to be in the old days but tonight its comedy. And I’m told your feet don’t stick to the carpets anymore so maybe things have really changed in Mumbles.

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